by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad
During yesterday’s early game, the Nets took care of business at the Barclay’s center against the Magic. Though Brooklyn had just beaten Orlando by 39 a few days prior, Orlando hung tough against a tired Nets team and fought back from 20 down to make it a game. Brooklyn opened the afternoon strong, outscoring their opponent 35-17 in the opening quarter and it seemed like it would be a repeat performance of their thrashing in Florida. With a substantial lead built, the Nets took their foot off the gas and only scored 45 points the rest of the game and in turn allowed a lesser Orlando team to start chipping away. The Magic were able to cut the lead to five with two minutes to. But Brooklyn finally got their heads out of their asses and Deron Williams hit a clutch shot at the top of the key to push the lead back to seven. From there, Brooklyn buckled down defensively and a big block by Kris Humphries ended all hope of an Orlando comeback.
— Humprhies had a big game with 14 points and 21 boards.
— Aaron Afflalo played 40 minutes, scored 19 points, grabbed 7 boards, dished out 5 assists and only turned the ball over once.
— Joe Johnson’s struggles continue as he shot 3-13 from the field yesterday. Better get it together, Joe!
— E’Twuan Moore has been giving Orlando great minutes thus far but got killed on defense yesterday. The Nets were able to screen him at the top of the key and Moore was having difficulty sliding under screens allowing D-Will to hit a few open shots and finish with 17 points.
During the offseason, I remember taking a quick glance at the Clippers roster and thinking, “Damn, they got a lot of minutes to go around to keep everyone happy.” Well thus far, Coach Del Negro has shocked me and done a really good job getting the right guys minutes. Yesterday, Matt Barnes, Jamal Crawford and Eric Bledsoe combined for 33 points as Lob City’s reserves scored 20 of 24 fourth quarter points and helped carry the Clippers to a 13-point win at home. After going back and forth during much of the game, Devin Harris hit a pull-up jumper a the beginning of the fourth cut LA’s lead to three. With the Hawks threatening, Los Angeles broke off a 20-3 run led by Crawford, Bledsoe and Barnes who combined for 18 during the run to go up by 20 and bury the Hawks.
— The Clippers owned the paint outscoring the Hawks 50-22.
— LA is second in the NBA in bench scoring at 41.8 points per game.
— The Hawks shot a horrible 7-16 from the line.
The Grizzlies put together a dominating performance against the defending champion Heat for their fifth straight win in this very young season. Memphis was led by their bench aka “The Zoo Crew” and got a tremendous effort from Wayne Ellington who led all scorers with a career-high 25 points. Thanks to Ellington, the Grizzlies bench outscored Miami’s 41-26. The Grizzlies never trailed and were up by as many as 27 and while the Heat focused on shutting down Marc Gasol and Z-Bo (which they did with some success) Memphis’ perimeter players took over. Memphis hit 14 three-pointer’s–seven from Ellington–and amassed 26 assists on 38 made shots. The Heat did cut it to single digits an had a chance to cut it to seven after an errant pass by Jerryd Bayless led to a Ray Allen fast break. But, Bayless hustled back and made a remarkable block on Allen that led to a Grizzlies three on the other end and pushed the lead to 12. That series of plays proved to be the last straw as Memphis kicked off a 13-0 run that ended all hope for the visiting Heat.
— The Grizzlies are off to their best start in franchise history and have now won 14-straight regular season home games dating back to last season.
— Dwyane Wade had a tough night scoring 8 points on 3-15 shooting.
— Z-Bo finished with 18 points and 12 boards.
— Miami shot an uncharacteristic 22-36 from the free throw line.
Cleveland got off to a hot start, caught the Thunder napping and built a 10-point lead in the first quarter. Once OKC woke up they got things under control. Kevin Martin hit a few shots and Russell Westbrook got out in transition finding his teammates for easy alley-oops and before you knew it, the Thunder recovered from their opponent’s opening blow and took a one-point lead into the half. Cleveland kept on battling and continued to hang tough despite being over matched. Kyrie Irving played another strong game and single handedly kept his team in it during the third quarter. Irving, who led the Cavs with 20 points, hit back-to-back three-pointers after the Thunder had taken an eight-point lead. The outstanding point man then went on to hit two straight layups and cut a 13-point deficit to two with under four minutes to go in the third. With OKC on the ropes and holding onto a three point lead, Russell Westbrook hit a halfcourt buzzer beater to push the lead to six. After that, Westbrook went off, hitting two more three’s to open the fourth quarter to push the lead to twelve. Westbrook finished with 27 points and 10 assists to lead his team over a tough Cavs squad.
— Durant finished with a season-high 26 points and 8 boards.
— Last night was probably Westbrook’s best game so far. His 27 points came on 10-16 shooting (4-6 from three), and he added 6 boards and 4 steals. His 8 turnovers are cause for concern, though.
— Martin finished with 16 off the pine for Miami.
With DeMarcus Cousins suspended due to some bullshit and Thomas Robinson sitting after being suspended for his malicious elbow against Jonas Jerekbo, Dwight Howard took full advantage and absolutely feasted on the deteriorated Kings frontcourt. Howard scored a Laker-high 23 points, 18 boards and 3 blocks and played his best game in LA so far. The Kings stayed in it until the end of the third quarter when the Lakers went on an 11-0 run to push the lead to 15. The fourth quarter was more of a formality than anything else and saw Metta World Peace catch an alley-oop over Francisco Garcia to put an exclamation point on the dub. The real story here is Phil Jackson, but c’mon, aren’t you already tired of hearing about it?
— Jimmer Fredette led the Kings with 18 points but almost all of those came when the game was already decided.
— Free Boogie Cousins.
— Kobe finished with a smooth 20/6/6.
— LA outrebounded Sacramento 50-39.