by Abe Schwadron | @abe_squad
There were 10 NBA games last night, with more than half of them decided by halftime. And it all began with one of the most hard-to-watch halves of basketball I’ve ever had the pleasure of enduring. With that in mind, forgive me for the brevity and negative attitude that I’m sure will litter the remainder of this post. Here goes…
Sigh. I’m sad to report the Lizards are back. By halftime, Washington was down 62-32. That’s around the time I started doing other things with my time. Like playing with fire and punching myself repeatedly. Elton Brand and Jrue Holiday had 17 points apiece, Andre Iguodala had 11 assists, and the Sixers’ bench scored 45 points in the absolute thrashing of the Wiz. Jordan Crawford led Washington with 17 points, but shot just 6-of-16, while John Wall had 13 points (5-11 FG), 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 turnovers. The Sixers shot 52 percent to improve to 12-5, and get New Jersey, Charlotte and Detroit next up on the schedule. I’d like to leave it at that if that’s cool with you guys. Plenty more less depressing games to talk about from last night.
Speaking of depressing, Orlando shot 24.6 percent from the field for the game, lowest in the NBA since 2004, and scored a franchise-low 56 points. And Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo didn’t even play—Boston’s starting backcourt was Avery Bradley and Sasha Pavlovic. Ryan Anderson went 0-for-8 with zero points, J-Rich and Jameer Nelson had 5 points each, and Dwight Howard shot 4-for-15 (though he did have 18 points, 14 rebounds and a tomahawk). It got so bad for the Magic, that they didn’t even want/remember to have 5 guys on the court at all times. Paul Pierce and Brandon Bass scored 19 apiece, while Kevin Garnett had 14 and 10 in the Celtics’ dismantling of Orlando. The Magic had 23 turnovers, the C’s led by as many as 33, and, and…yeah, the Magic looked horrible. Bye, Dwight?!
Tim Duncan played 34 minutes and scored a season-high 28 points—including a game-winning runner from the free throw line with just over one second left to play—to lift the Spurs to just their second road win on the season (11-7 overall). Tony Parker backed up his big man with 20 points and a ridiculous 17 assists, and San Antonio shot 55 percent as a team. Carl Landry missed a desperation heave at the buzzer, and the Hornets dropped No. 8 in a row (3-14 for the year, 1-9 at home). But hey, New Orleans scored 100+ points for the first time this year, and were within a possession of beating the Spurs after Emeka Okafor denied Tiago Splitter at the rim and Landry tipped in a Jarret Jack miss to tie things up. Jack had 26 points, 9 assists and 6 boards, and Landry and Trevor Ariza each chipped in 18. But alas, America runs on Duncan.
Apparently DRose’s ankle toe is just fine—he scored 22 points to lead the Bulls past the Nets, who played without MarShon Brooks. It’s sort of sad when a missing rookie means a team has no chance, but in New Jersey’s case, it’s probably true. Deron Williams scored 16 points and dished out 10 assists, and Jordan Farmar scored 22 off the bench, but by the end of one quarter, the Bulls were up 28-18 and cruised to the easy W from there. Richard Hamilton set season-highs in points (22) and assists (10) and eclipsed 15,000 career points on a fast break finish from a Derrick Rose delivery. Also, Brian Scalabrine played 23 minutes, finishing with 5 points. For you math majors out there, that’s 5 more points than Nets starting SG DeShawn Stevenson scored.
Joe Johnson scored 14 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter, and the Hawks survived a late push from the Bucks to move to 13-5. Milwaukee was coming off wins over the Heat and Knicks, and got 21 points and 11 assists from Brandon Jennings, but turned the ball over on their potential game-tying possession, and the Hawks salted this one away with free throws. Josh Smith continued his hot start to the season with 19 points and 13 boards, plus 4 assists and 3 blocked shots (not a single turnover!), and Zaza Pachulia pulled down 14 rebounds for Atlanta in the first game of a 5-game road trip. Andrew Bogut had 12 rebounds for the Bucks, but shot just 3-for-10 and scored only 6 points.
The Rockets might be the hottest team in the NBA right now (we’ll get to Memphis in a moment). Last night they won their seventh in a row, despite 39 points and 12 rebounds from Kevin Love. Houston’s own Kevin (Martin) scored 31 and Kyle Lowry had a triple-double with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, as the Rockets used big first and fourth quarters to get past the Wolves. Lowry even snuck one of his assists between Luke Ridnour’s legs. (Why is Luke always the victim of sick highlights?) Ricky Rubio had 12 assists, but shot just 2-of-10 for 6 points, and it was Houston that got out in transition, not Minnesota—the Rockets racked up 21 fast break points. Okay, fine, one Rubio highlight.
Whaddaya know, another blowout. The Thunder went up 30 by the second quarter and the Pistons never got back within 17 after midway through that period, as they shot a miserable 34 percent and were outrebounded 51-38. Russell Westbrook and James Harden each scored 24 points (RW had 16 at half) and Kevin Durant had 20, including two on a pretty fast break dish from Russ. Detroit is now 10 games under .500 at 4-14, while Oklahoma City sits at 14-3. Rookie Brandon Knight was the Pistons’ leading scorer with 13 points. Yes, 13 points was the leader. Seriously how did the Pistons win 4 games already? Greg Monroe had 12 and 7, but missed 9 of his first 10 shots. Tough times in Detroit!
With Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki nursing a sore knee, Shawn Marion turned back the clock and score a season-high 29 points to lead the Mavs past the Suns. (There’s a Matrix-time machine joke here, so have at it.) Dallas has won seven straight at home (11-7 overall) and have three more home challenges up next: Minnesota, Utah, San Antonio. Incredibly, Ian Mahinmi scored 17 points to help Marion, and the Mavs held Phoenix to 37 percent field goal shooting en route to the win. Steve Nash had 12 assists but just 8 points (2-9 shooting) while Marcin Gortat went for his 8th straight double-double, this time 19 and 17. The Suns turned it over 19 times, leading to 21 Dallas points and Sebastian Telfair was ejected after things got chippy in the fourth quarter. PHX just straight up couldn’t hang with the Dirk-less Champs, and Jared Dudley knows it was a missed opportunity.
It would be easy to call this one another snoozer on a rather uneventful evening, but nothing in Portland ever is. Those fans, man. After a dead-even first quarter, the Blazers outscored the Kings 32-17 in the second quarter, and it would have been even worse if not for another Tyreke Evans halfcourt heave. Side note: does Tyreke practice those shots? Back to business, Jamal Crawford scored a season-high 26 points to lead all scorers, and Portland outrebounded SacTown 53 to 36. DeMarcus Cousins had 13 rebounds and 18 points, after surviving a seemingly nasty fall after an alley-oop, and Jimmer Fredette scored 13 off the bench, but Gerald Wallace had 20 and LaMarcus Aldridge posted a 13/16 double-double, plus 5 assists, helping the Blazers get to 10-7.
Okay, Memphis, we see you. That’s seven in a row for the smoking hot Grizzlies, who this time overcame a 20-point second-half deficit to beat the reeling Warriors. Rudy Gay scored 23 points and closed things out with a bucket in the waning moments to put the game out of reach. Memphis scored 16 fast break points in the fourth quarter (and 39 total points in the fourth), and got 20 points and 9 dimes from Mike Conley. Stephen Curry, in just his second game back from an ankle injury that cost him three weeks, looked shaky, but still got to 18 points and crossed Conley up at one point on a smooth move. Curry and Monta Ellis (20 points) had 12 turnovers between them, though, and Golden State had 24 as a team.
Line of the Night: Take your pick: Kyle Lowry’s 16/10/10 triple-double, KLove’s 39 points (13-19 FG, 5-5 3-pointers) and 12 rebounds, or Tony Parker with 20 points and 17 dimes.
Moment of the Night: Tim Duncan hits the game-winner. And did I detect a hint of a shimmy?
Dunk of the Night: Russell Westbrook…Dear God…
White Mamba of the Night: As long as he keeps playing, the highlights will keep coming.
Tonight: Five games on the docket tonight, highlighted by Magic-Pacers at 7 and Grizzlies-Blazers at 10. Then again, I’m assuming most of tomorrow’s discussion will center around Knicks-Bobcats. Hey, there’s always the Giants.