by Adam Figman | @afigman
Move over, Knicks; we’ve got a new “Wow, didn’t expect them to start winning” team. The Sixers have now won six of eight (the two losses being close ones vs. Boston and Atlanta), and are sitting only a game and a half out of Playoff contention in the East. Jrue Holiday, who’s now scored in double figures five straight, led them with 19, while Spencer Hawes went for a season-high 18. Meanwhile, New Jersey shot an abysmal 34.1 percent, and Avery Johnson’s guys have now dropped eight straight. But do not fear, Nets fans. Help is on the way, and its his name is Sasha Vujacic.
On the night in which the G.O.A.T. was inducted to the North Carolina Hall of Fame, the Bobcats—the franchise he owns—rewarded him as well, defeating a struggling Raptors team. Nazr Mohammed (18 points, 8 boards) did some serious work for the ‘Cats, who shot 52 precent from the field, just 10 percent less than they shot from the charity stripe. Charlotte now takes off for a three-game road trip, which begins tonight, in Memphis.
In this contest’s box score, the first thing that jumps off the page is the fact that the Lakers were outscored 19-11 in the fourth quarter. The second thing is that the Lakers still won by 14, meaning they had a pretty dominant first three. Andrew Bynum returned to the court, going for 7 points in 17 minutes, while Kobe Bryant went for 24—his 18th straight 20-plus scoring effort. The Wizards were playing without John Wall, Andray Blatche, and any heart whatsoever, as the Lake Show ran all over them before enjoying the D.C. tourist attractions later in the night. Yeah, I made that up, but don’t act like you wouldn’t wanna visit the Lincoln Memorial or the Capital Building with Ron Ron and Co. Speaking of, here’s Artest on JaVale McGee, via Michael Lee: “I don’t think he watches tape. I think he plays video games and I think he could possibly have an Atari. He could potentially become a force, if, if he wants to. But if he doesn’t, he can continue to play Atari.” True story.
For the first time in the past few weeks, the Hawks looked like they could really use some Joe Johnson assistance. With Jamal Crawford (2 points) in a funk, they just couldn’t put up points, and the Pistons’ merciless defense completely smothered their chances at a victory. (I honestly have no idea if that was a joke or not.) Josh Smith (26 points) and Al Horford (17 points, 12 boards) played well, but Rip Hamilton and Charlie Villanueva’s combined 47 points propelled Detroit to the W. Atlanta’s rebound opportunity comes Thursday night, in Boston.
Not exactly a defensive dogfight, but behind 10 team three-pointers and Luis Scola’s 23 and 10 night, the Rockets were able to bury the Kings. Both squads shot 50 percent or higher from the field, which is cool and all, but if you can’t get a stop or two, you’ll still end up taking the L. Sorry, Sacto. Houston continues to turn around its weak start, having now won five of seven. They’ll be in Oklahoma City tonight.
This one was actually kinda close, until the Nuggets’ 19-3 fourth-quarter run ended that talk and gave them the victory. Amidst all the trade rumors and other nonsense, Carmelo Anthony was focused enough to score 35 points (plus 11 boards), while the Nugs shot an impressive 53.8 percent from the floor. Also impressive: JJ Redick put in 29 points, but the Magic didn’t do much else, as they dropped their fifth in six games. Jameer Nelson, in particular, was a little off—he scored just 2 off 1-10 shooting. Orlando has a few days off, and something tells me multiple players-only meetings and Stan Van Gundy speeches are in store.
Damn, can we get something close? A buzzer-beater? A game-winner? Not tonight, huh? Anyway, Reggie Williams and Monta Ellis combined for 60, and with Steph Curry sidelined, the Warriors were finally able to get a W—snapping their seven-game skid. Nothing else too exciting went down, though Darko Milicic did score a career-high (!) 25 points. You see kids: Dreams do come true.
Actual Stats: Carmelo Anthony: 35 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists.
Moment of the Night:
Dear DeMar DeRozan,
Don’t hurt ’em.