by Anton Kudriavtsev / @TheDiesel
While most rookies have hit the rookie wall, John Wall is slowly starting to climb over his. Wall scored 18 points, dished 8 assists, and grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds as his Wizards outlasted the Wolves. Kevin Love put up 20 points to go with 21 rebounds (his 11th 20/20 game this year), placing Minnesota up one point before Trevor Booker scored 6 critical points in 90 seconds as Washington went on a 13-5 run to close out the game. What’s better – fundamentals or athleticism? Love got his usual positioning and was inches away from grabbing a rebound before Booker soared over him for the put-back dunk.
Who would have imagined that the most exciting game of the day would be between teams that had a combined 35 wins before the game? The Nets completed their London sweep as they narrowly beat the Raptors in triple overtime. Travis Outlaw (14 points) scored the last 8 points for the Nets while the extra periods gave players to raise their stats. Brook Lopez led the way with 34 points and 14 rebounds, Deron Williams had 21 points and 18 assists, and even the Masheen scored 25 points. Andrea Bargnani scored 35 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Toronto but missed the final isolation jumper to win the game. D-Will made a jumper in the 2nd overtime with 9.8 to play to tie the game at 126 before DeRozan (30 points) missed a jumper, sending the game into triple overtime. Vujacic made 3 free throws and Outlaw took the game over offensively and defensively, blocking Bargnani’s shot, hitting long jumpers and hustling for put-backs to push the lead to 7. Though the Raptors scored 8 straight points, Outlaw iced the game with two free throws and Bargnani’s jumper did its best LeBron impression, abusing the rim. Dear London – if you are wondering, the answer is “yes, the Nets and Raptors always play this well back home!” Can I interest you in the purchase of these franchises?
The Rockets earned a much-needed win with a rout over the Pacers, led by Kevin Martin (20 points) and Air Chase Budinger (18 points). Houston never let the game escape from them, taking advantage of Indiana’s poor shooting in the first half then finishing the game with an 18-4 run in the 4th quarter. Tyler Hansbrough scored 17 for the Pacers.
Al Jefferson and Raja Bell led the Jazz over the Kings in overtime to stop their home losing streak. Jefferson (27 points) scored 6 points in overtime as Utah outscored the Kings 10-2 in the period. Bell (16 points) hit two key jumpers and added a steal in overtime to put the Jazz up 5 with 17 seconds to play. DeMarcus Cousins had 18 points and 18 rebounds but the Kings didn’t make enough plays in overtime to give them a chance. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to outfit your players with Power Balance wristbands?
Without Stephen Jackson, the Bobcats didn’t have enough offense to compete as they fell to the Blazers. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 points while Patty Mills hit 4 triples off the bench as Portland look to get home court advantage in a potential 1st round match-up with the Nuggets. Mills and his Australian accent make anything sound positive, he should be the voice of the organization whenever a player gets traded: “Eh Prizzy, sorry about the trade, mate! Come on down and I’ll put a shrimp on the barbie for ya. Cheers.” Gerald Henderson scored 16 points for Charlotte.
Nuggets 94, Clippers 100
The Los Angeles Blakers took down the Nuggets thanks to a few young stars delivering when it mattered most. Blake Griffin had 18 points, 12 rebounds, and a career-high 9 assists and Eric Bledsoe stepped in for the injured Eric Gordon to score 15 of his career-high 20 points in the 4th quarter (in addition to his 7 steals) to lift the Clippers to their second win of the month. Nene had 25 points and 14 rebounds as Denver used a 14-2 run in the 4th quarter to bring them within one but L.A. maintained control after Mo Williams (17 points) hit a three-pointer to give the Clips a cushion while they worked the clock. The Nuggets are now 5-2 after the Melo trade.
“Check My $tats” of the night: Blake Griffin – 18 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals, 1 block.
I’m out like Bargnani in the clutch.