by Jake Fischer / @JakeLFischer
There was plenty of basketball for NBA fans on Saturday night, as 22 teams were in action. And while the likes of Lebron, KD, Kevin Love and Dwight Howard were all on full display, one rising young superstar truly stole the show.
Heat (7-3) 97, Bobcats (5-5) 81
Entering the ’13-14 campaign, many talked about MVP voters likely getting bored with The King and writing someone else’s name on his or her postseason ballot in April. But LeBron hasn’t missed a beat through Miami’s first 10 games of the year, averaging 27.0 points, 6.9 assists and 5.6 rebounds per game while shooting a ridiculous 61.0 percent from the field.
James scorched the Bobcats with 30 points and 7 boards on Saturday, good for his third-straight 30-point game and just a night removed from dropping 39. Is that MVP really so up for grabs?
Mavericks (6-4) 108, Magic (4-6) 100
The Mavs captured just their second road win in six tries when they traveled to the Amway Center last night. Rick Carlisle’s squad did so behind six different players all scoring in double-figures. Monta Ellis paced Dallas with 19 points and 8 assists while Dirk Nowitzki and Dejaun Blair each poured in 18 points, too.
Fortunately for the Magic, Aaron Afflalo kept up his hot start to the season, going for 25 points and shooting a ridiculous 13-14 from the charity stripe. However, Victor Oladipo struggled mightily, posting an assist to turnover ratio of 6:9.
Cavaliers (4-7) 103, Wizards (2-7) 96 (OT)
We all know that the SLAM 169 coverboy has the illest handle on the planet, but Kyrie Irving was straight nasty in Chocolate City, leading his team to a victory and ending Cleveland’s three-game losing streak.
Irving first hit three triples in the last two minutes of the first half and then came up huge in the extra period, scoring seven of his 41 points on the night. Kyrie also shot a perfect 9-9 from the foul line, but the real story was the man’s wizard-like drive.
Hawks (6-4) 110, Knicks (3-6) 90
Madison Square Garden has always brought out the best in visiting players’ games. Unfortunately for Mike Woodson, the bright lights of world’s most famous arena haven’t been too comforting for his Knicks players this season. New York’s loss to Paul Milsap and the Hawks is now their fifth-straight L in the Big Apple. The former Jazz big man posted his fourth double-double of the young season.
Sixers (5-6) 98 , Pelicans (4-6) 135
In his first meeting against his former team, Jrue Holiday and the New Orleans Pelicans ran the Sixers out of the building in NOLA. Holiday dropped a clean 14 points, 12 dimes and 6 boards, but the real story was Monty Williams’ sharp-shooting stretch-4.
Ryan Anderson drained 6-10 three point attempts en route to his 26 points in 27 minutes off the bench during his first game of the season. Anderson had previously missed the Pelicans’ first 9 games with a broken toe. And we can’t forget, the Brow swatted 8 shots while also dropping 13 points and grabbing 9 boards. The New Orleans crowd also saw Evan Turner fail to score 18+ points for the first time this season as Turner had just 4 points and 6 rebounds in 26 minutes.
Pacers (9-1) 94, Bulls (5-3) 110
The invincible Pacers are in fact beatable, as D-Rose and the Bulls proved in the United Center. After sitting out Friday’s win at Toronto, the former MVP scored 20 points and added 4 assists in 31 minutes as Chicago handed Indy its first loss of the season. Rose was very impressive from beyond the arc, knocking down 6-11 from three-point land.
The Bulls improved to 4-0 at home despite Roy Hibbert’s double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Nuggets (4-5) 111, Rockets (7-4) 122
Brian Shaw is still trying to figure this head-coaching thing out. The rookie Nuggets head coach implemented a hack-a-Howard strategy and repeatedly watched the big man drill free-throw after free-throw. Dwight knocked down 17-24 from the line as the Rockets had all five of their starters in double-figures, along with Donatas Montiejunas and Jeremy chipping in 12 and 16 points off the bench, respectively.
However, Ty Lawson continued his insane start to the year. The former UNC Tar Heel hung 28 on Houston while adding 17 dimes!
Celtics (4-7) 88, Timberwolves (7-4) 106
The ’13-14 campaign has been one of three streaks for the Celtics and their rookie head coach, Brad Stevens. Boston began the year 0-4, then tallied 4-straight W’s and have now dropped three in a row. The only bright spot on the night for Boston was Avery Bradley. The defensive specialist went for 27 points.
Minnesota has looked like a legitimate contender in the West throughout their first eighth of the year, and it’s been largely due to Kevin Love playing like an MVP candidate. Love finished the night with 23 points and 12 rebounds and has recorded a double-double in all but one of the Wolves’ contests. The one night he failed to reach the mark? K-Love hung 33-8-6 on the Cavs.
Thunder (6-3) 92, Bucks (2-7) 79
OKC ended their two-game skid with they travelled to Milwaukee on Saturday. After surrendering 110.5 points per game to their last four opponents, the Thunder buckled down defensively and forced the Bucks to shoot a paltry 34.9 percent from the field. After an O.J. Mayo triple cut the Thunder’s lead to 77-73 with 6:12 remaining in the game, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook helped OKC rattle off a 15-6 run throughout the remainder of the game.
Serge Ibaka was key for OKC, anchoring that stingy defensive effort. The big man turned in 4 blocks and grabbed a career-high 20 rebounds, including 16 on the defensive glass.
Jazz (1-10) 88, Warriors (7-3) 102
Fresh off Andre Iguodala’s buzzer-beater over the Thunder on Thursday, the Warriors thumped the Jazz to remain undefeated at ORACLE Arena this season. Klay Thompson led Mark Jackson’s crew with 25 points on 5-8 shooting from downtown and Andrew Bogut added a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The Jazz can only hope Trey Burke comes back from injury sooner rather than later.
Nets (3-5) 103, Clippers (6-3) 110
Down four of their five starters, the Nets gave the Clippers everything they could handle before escaping Staples Center unscathed. Joe Johnson was the lone starter for Jason Kidd on Saturday, but six Brooklyn players, including Johnson, scored in double-figures.
Yet Blake Griffin’s 30 points and 12 rebounds and J.J. Redick’s 26 points on 5-7 shooting from deep ended up proving to be too much for road team. DeAndre Jordan also grabbed 16 rebounds in the Clippers’ victory, even going 2-2 from the foul line in the waning moments of the game.