Post Up: Grind City

by December 11, 2016

Grizzlies 110 (17-8), Warriors 89 (20-4)

Memphis entered Saturday’s game as +450 underdogs, and for good reason. Despite a pristine 16-8 record, the Grizzlies were without Mike Conley, Chandler Parons, Vince Carter, or James Ennis (not to mention the Warriors’ six game winning streak against Memphis).

The Grizzlies turned the tables on Golden State, however, boasting seven double-digit scoring performances while holding Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to a combined 8-of-28 mark from the field. The Grizzlies – who at one point led by 30 points – may have a higher ceiling than we had anticipated.

Pacers 118 (12-12), Trail Blazers 111 (12-13)

C.J. McCollum, Damian Lillard and Paul George did the offensive heavy-lifting in this match-up, scoring over 30 points apiece. Ultimately, a lopsided fourth quarter led to an Indiana W, as the Pacers outscored Portland 28-to-13. The perennially underrated Thad Young helped Indiana’s cause, scoring 24 points on a career-high six treys.

Nuggets 121 (9-15), Magic 113 (10-15)

The “Jurkic” tandem helped Denver snap a two-game skid, as Jusuf and Nikola scored 17 and 14 points, respectively. Danilo Gallinari had a team-high 21 points, and Juancho Hernangomez poured in 14 off the bench.

The offensively-challenged Magic weren’t without solid performances; Evan Fournier and Serge Ibaka each exceeded 20 points, while Jeff Green shot 6-of-10 off the bench.

Wizards 110 (9-13), Bucks 105 (11-11)

Hopefully the embarrassment of losing in a career night for John Wall has lit a fire under the Wizards. After dropping three of four during a Nov. 30-Dec. 6 stretch, Washington has now won two straight at home. John Wall double-doubled, and Kelly Oubre added 19 points with nine boards off the bench.

Giannis Antetokounmpo did his part with 28 points and 13 boards, while Mirza Teletovic shot 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. Milwaukee will look to regroup against the Raptors on Monday.

Clippers 133 (17-7), Pelicans 105 (7-17)

Mercifully, the Clippers defeated the Anthony Davis-less Pelicans with a dominant second half run. Shooting 57% from the field on the night, L.A. boasted seven double-digit scoring performances on the night. Jamal Crawford hit 10-of-13 off the bench, while Chris Paul tallied 20 points and 20 assists with zero turnovers. Did we mention he’s a free agent-to-be?

Cavaliers 116 (17-5), Hornets 105 (14-10)

In a milestone performance for LeBron James, the Cavaliers won their fourth straight against Kemba Walker (24 points, five dimes) and the Hornets. In midst of a dominant 44-point showing, King James became the first NBA player with 27,000 points, 7,000 rebounds, and 7,000 assists. That James’ performance came on the second night of a back-to-back set makes his night all the more impressive.

“I didn’t want to play LeBron this many minutes, but he came and said, ‘Coach, I’m fine,’” Lue said. “Then, he started raining 3s. We had to ride him tonight.”

Bulls 105 (13-10), Heat 100 (7-17)

Dwyane Wade was sure to get a couple of highlight-reel plays in against his former team, and Jimmy Butler posted a game-high 31 points in Chicago’s second straight W. Willie Reed and Josh Richardson have re-joined Miami’s rotation, but the Heat are still missing several key contributors (Dion Waiters, James Johnson, Justise Winslow). They’ll look to end a five-game losing streak against the Wizards on Monday.

Rockets 109 (17-7), Mavericks 87 (5-18)

How bad are the Mavericks this season? Teams are beating them by 20+ points on ‘off-nights.’

“I wish we would’ve played a little better. They turned it on when they needed to,” D’Antoni said. “As a coach … you kind of feel silly sometimes. You look over there and say, ‘Come on guys, come on, start playing.’ They look at me like ‘What’s his problem?'”

Despite the one-sided score, D’Antoni gave his players a full workload, as James Harden scored 18 with 16 dimes over 39 minutes, and Trevor Ariza shot 6-of-11 from the field in 17 minutes.

Spurs 130 (19-5), Nets 101 (6-16)

Jeremy Lin can’t return fast enough for the struggling Nets. Turning the ball over 16 times and shooting just 7-of-27 from downtown, Brooklyn was picked apart by Kawhi Leonard (30 points, six boards) and the Spurs. Caris Levert scored his first NBA points, and Spencer Dinwiddie made his Nets debut in Saturday’s loss.

Jazz 104 (15-10), Kings 84 (8-15)

The Kings scored just eight fourth quarter points, as DeMarcus Cousins’ double-double was no match for Gordon Hayward (26 points) and Rudy Gobert (17 points, 14 boards, six blocks). Despite committing 22 turnovers (four coming within the game’s first three minutes), the Jazz were let off the hook by Sacramento’s lethargic play.