Despite the eight-point final score spread, this one was really close up to the end. Until last night I never realized the Raptors have been employing the just-give-it-to-Andrea-Bargnani-and-let-him-do-his-thing offense, and it actually kinda succeeded against the Sixers—Bargs had 30 to go with 7 boards. Sonny Weems had a big night, too, with 25. The Raps now move to 3-9, while Philly falls to 2-10. So yeah, both of these squads still have some work to do.
And things just keep getting worse in Detroit. Kobe Bryant dropped 33 in 32 minutes, while Pau Gasol had another solid game with 25 and 12. Apparently the Pistons are 4-8, though I write this column five days a week and don’t remember them winning once. Weird. Rip Hamilton was ejected five minutes into the first quarter for arguing with the refs—generally a surefire sign of frustration. If I were a gambling man, I’d bet Detroit’s roster looks awfully different come, say, March.
No John Wall. Second night of a back-to-back. Playing an energized Celtics team. There wasn’t much in the Wizards’ favor going into this one, and the outcome proved it; Boston was up 16 at the half and didn’t need to look back. The C’s brought a balance attack—all five starters, plus Delonte West (with 12 in his debut) finished in double figures—and were led by Paul Pierce’s 23. Last note: the Wiz shot 38.8 from the field, while Boston shot 65.8 percent. So, yeah.
New rule of thumb: If any two of the following Western Conference teams are going up against each other, you’re gonna wanna watch: Lakers, Thunder, Hornets, Mavericks, Blazers, Spurs, Jazz, Nuggets, Suns. And you know what’s crazy? There are nine teams on that list, meaning one of them won’t even make the Playoffs. Wild.
Anyway, these two battled it out last night, and the Hornets were able to pull away behind some big buckets and a pair of clutch David West steals. Chris Paul had 20 points and 11 dimes, and all five NO starters scored in double figures. They’re now 9-1, and play the Cavs tomorrow night at home.
The Rockets just can’t seem to be, um, you know, good. They ‘re now 3-8, falling to a Thunder team that shot 50 percent from the field behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook’s combined 45 points. Serge Ibaka—the squad’s new third best player, at least until Jeff Green gets healthy (and beyond then?)—had 11 points, 8 boards and 4 blocks.
Oh hey, Chris Bosh. He had 35 points in 31 minutes, albeit against the Suns—already a weak team up front—playing without starting center Robin Lopez. But still! Good stuff! LeBron put up a 20-8-9 stat line, while DWade scored just 17. I’m curious to see what a game would look like with all three of these guys playing strong—I’m thinking 22-10-10 from Bron, 30-5-5 from Wade, and 25-12 from Bosh. That’s when they’ll actually be unbeatable, no? This might’ve been the closest to that we’ve seen, and Phoenix didn’t have much of a chance yesterday. Their Florida trip continues in Orlando tonight.
Neither team shot well, and Anthony Morrow led both teams with 24 points, but the Jazz led for most of the game and pulled it out. All five Utah starters finished in double figures, and Paul Millsap went for 19 and 15. The Nets fell to 4-7, though they’re still sitting in second in the Atlantic division. No bad team should have all that power. I’m just saying.
Derrick Rose did a great job scoring (33 points), but not such a great job spreading the ball (4 dimes), as the Bulls were downed by the Spurs. San Antonio outscored Chi-Town 37-12 in the third quarter—and that pretty much did it. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili combined for 21 points, and Tim Duncan scored 16 and snatched 18 rebounds in the victory. Coach Pop’s guys are now 9-1, tied with the Hornets atop the Southwest.
The Michael Beasley–Kevin Love frontcourt just keeps dazzling. B-Easy scored 33 and hit a game winner with two seconds remaining, while Love went for 24 and 14, and the TWolves this took this one at home. Blake Griffin did some damage—with 26 and 17—and Eric Gordon dropped 30, but Rasual Butler’s game-winning attempt was all rim and the Clips went down.
The Knicks finally snapped that six-game losing streak by defeating the Kings behind 27-point outings from both Amar’e Stoudemire and Danilo Gallinari. They shot 52.1 percent from the field, and held off Sacramento in the game’s final minutes to earn the victory. I wasn’t too impressed with New York’s win (the Kings were both playing terrible defense and unable to convert on some easy offensive possessions), but the fact that they came out strong in the second half of a back-to-back was impressive, and speaks well of the team’s youthful energy. Speaking of youthful energy, I’m shot. Let’s wrap this thing up.
Performance of the Night: Chris Bosh: 35 points, 6 boards, 4 assists, 1 steal.
Moment of the Night: There were two. First, on the court: Mike Beasley smoothly sinks the game-winner:
Then, off the court: Chris Bosh wants to chill. But his coach wants him to do stuff, like work out, and/or play basketball. Some jokes just write themselves.