Monday, November 8th, 2010 at 8:15 am  |  42 responses

Post Up: Celts Down Thunder

An undefeated team loses and an all-defeated team wins.

by Adam Figman | @afigman

Philadelphia 106, New York 96

Not exactly the Knicks’ shining moment, this one. The 76ers, playing without Andre Iguodala (achilles), toppled New York behind great days from young’n Jrue Holiday (19 points, 8 assist and a super-clutch three-pointer with a couple of minutes to go) and refreshed big man Elton Brand (20 points, 7 boards). The Knicks just didn’t bring it as the game wound down, and a solid day from STAT (21 points, 15 rebounds) wasn’t enough. You can’t rely on the three and then shoot 3-19 from deep and expect to go home with a W. Not happening. Raymond Felton’s line was pretty indicative of New York’s game: he played alright across the board (7 points, 8 boards, 10 dimes), but shot 2-11 from the field. The Sixers are 2-5, and after two straight victories and a little too much “they’re back!” talk, Manhattan’s finest are now 3-3. 
Game Lesson: The Knicks are working their way back to relevance, but a couple of wins against mediocre teams doesn’t have them “back” just yet. Understandably, they’ll need some time.

Detroit 102, Golden State 97

Behind Rip Hamilton’s game-high 27 points, the Pistons were able to hold on against a Warriors team that’s been surprisingly (or not?) strong. This was a close one, and with only 13 seconds to go, Steph Curry missed a Stockton-esque fast break stop-and-shoot that could’ve tied it up. After sitting out one game for disciplinary reasons, Rodney Stuckey returned and scored 21. For GSW, Dorell Wright’s (19 points) good play continued, while Monta Ellis led the squad with 24.
Game Lesson: When in doubt, bench an important player and hope he bounces back with some intensity. Or in times of need, rely on the veterans. Or something else. I don’t know.

Phoenix 118, Atlanta 114

In the day’s best game, the Nash-led Suns squeaked it out and gave the Hawks their first L. Phoenix’s fearless point guard did a great job spreading the ball around—six Suns finished in double figures, while Nash went for 15 dimes—and Atlanta couldn’t pull ahead in the final minutes to bring this one in. Joe Johnson (34-7-6) and Al Horford (30-10-5) both had nice lines, while Atlanta (6-1) heads to Orlando tonight. I mean, they had to lose eventually, right? Any Hawks fans complaining about a 6-1 record? Nah? Didn’t think so. 
Game Lesson: Like the Knicks will with him, the Suns will need some time without Amar’e to come to their own. But with one of the game’s best distributors, and some strong pieces already in place, there’s no reason to believe Phoenix can’t reach a point where they could contend with the best of ‘em.

Houston 120, Minnesota 94

Nothing gets a struggling team on track like an afternoon game against David Kahn’s bros. Led by my favorite fantasy beast Luis Scola (24 points, 8 boards) and sharpshooter Kevin Martin (21 points), the Rockets were up 23 at halftime and never looked back. Kevin Love (16 and 16) had a nice line for Minny, but that’s about the only positive thing there is to say about those guys. Houston (now 1-5) is in Washington on Wednesday next.
Game Lesson: Houston might be worse than some were predicting, but they ain’t that bad. At least not “Timberwolves bad,” for what it’s worth.

Boston 92, Oklahoma City 83

In what most thought would be the day’s most exciting contest, the Celts went up big early, leading by 21 at half, and a third-quarter Thunder run just wasn’t enough to get back in it. Rajon Rondo scored 10 and dished another 10 dimes, while Ray Allen and Paul Pierce combined for 36. Kevin Durant (36 points) and Russell Westbrook (16 points, 10 assists) were both great, but the two didn’t do a great job of getting their teammates involved, and the team as a whole appeared flat. It’s cool when those two put up impressive stat lines, but they’ll have to do a better job getting the others on the board (and others will have to do a better job getting themselves on the board) if OKC is to have any chance of living up to all that offseason hype.
Game Lesson: Yeah, this one stings a little, but let’s be real: The Thunder aren’t on the level many thought they would be when making those dangerous predictions this past summer. At least not yet. But they’re still young, and are still showing signs of occasional greatness, so no final judgments just yet.

L.A. Lakers 121, Portland 96

I’ll sum this one up right off the bat: The Lakers are really, really, really good at playing basketball. Last night they were led by Pau Gaso’s triple-double (20 points, 14 boards, 10 assists), and an off night from Kobe was barely a factor. I won’t make a big deal about it, but I do that think LA’s dominating performance against a fellow West Coast contender while Kobe’s rendered moot is, indeed, a big deal. Andre Miller led the Blazers with 20 points, but they were down by 21 at the half and just didn’t have the fire to compete.
Game Lesson: Simply put: As of now, the Lakers are on a different level than every other team in the NBA. I wish it wasn’t true, but I haven’t seen much that’s convinced me it’s not the case. Though I’m still accepting evidence, if you guys have any. The Celtics are close, I guess, but LA is winning games in such a dominating fashion that it’s hard to imagine them losing a seven-game series to, well, anyone. For now.

Performance of the Night: Pau Gasol: 20 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 steals
Moment of the Night: Between the speed at which he moves from midcourt to the top of the key, and the absurd way he releases the ball to put the shot up, I’m putting Nate’s second quarter buzzer beater up as was yesterday’s MOTN. In that situation, how many guys in the L can move so quickly and still get a decent shot off? Can any?

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  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    Wow, the post up is up early. But it was under polloftheday lol.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    Kobe was moot because he had foul trouble. And Portland got crushed. Great game last night by my Lakers. 76 wins baby! lol

  • http://blog.mysanantonio.com/spursnation/ Anthony

    co-sign on the Lakers note, they look really sharp and are the best team atm. Im waiting for them to play a higher quality team but still, the Blazers aren’t bad and they were eaten like a 99c cheeseburger.

  • ClydeSays

    Crazy! Especially with Kristic on top of him…

  • TrailBlazing&SportingLisbon

    good write up Adam, and Portland didnt bring sh1t to that game, might as well play the bench all game if you´re not gonna fight..Lakers as of today would beat Miami in a series in less than 7..C´s are the nº2. Blazers need Oden and Pryzbilla ASAP

  • riggs

    gotta love nate, that wasnt a shot that was a damn shorryuken

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    Man I am going to miss this season lol. Fack!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Kulchakris

    The Lakers are getting strong contributions from the bench. Blake, Barnes, and Brown are all playing well. Now, if Bynum can come back, and stay healthy (a big if), this team will be hard to beat. As noted before though, let’s reserve judgement until they play a contender….Celtics, Heat, Magic, Spurs, Nuggets, Mavericks, etc.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Kulchakris

    Oh, and OKC is 3-3, including 1-2 at home. Not quite championship material, though it’s still early.

  • vtrobot

    This C’s/Lakers Finals should be one of the best ones ever. Ray is balling this season.

  • TrailBlazing&SportingLisbon

    @Kulchakris, yesterday we looked like sh1t but Portland is as good as Spurs, Nuggets and Mavs, not the East big 3 though..and gotta love NateRob


    I hope this record(THINder = 3-3) quits down all that Durant talk this past summer(him being better then Melo and the news on him winning the MVP this year). Their front court were bullied by J.O and Garnett.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    @James the B: Stay safe over there, man. Don’t be a hero now, keep your head way down when the shooting starts and call in that UAV air support to blast the heck outta those fools.
    Oh, and down with the Yellow/purple. Hehe

  • Kobe

    Lakers best team in the history of The NBA

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    I actually think Pau Gasol may win the MVP this year. It sounds crazy but he has been the MVP so far.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    Thanks Darks, airport in roughly an hour ladies. Weird.

  • TrailBlazing&SportingLisbon

    Kap, CP3 and Pau, also D12…youre MVPs thus far

  • The D Train

    My least favorite part of this new season: people rushing to judge OKC and Durant based on 1 and a half weeks of ball. Many of those same people will quickly defend any negative comments thrown their favorite team’s way, but apparently Durant has more than justified he was ranked too high by Slam, and the pundits who said OKC were title contenders were way off base. Totally ridiculous. Boston has been the balls-out best team the last 2 seasons for the first two months of the season. That didn’t equate to them being the best team, though, did it?

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    Yea I definitely forgot about CP3. Everyone spoke of Miami approaching 72 wins but it may be the Lakers who have a slim and improbable chance. But I doubt anyone wins 70 games.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    When Bynum comes back, Pau slows down. And Kobe and Pau grabbing co-mvp would be amazing!!

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    I would love to see Odom stay in the starting lineup when Bynum returns. He is playing like he’s a top five PF right now.

  • Hammer

    D-ZAM! My blazers got their @sses handed 2 them yesterday. But we’ll catch them on the rebound when they come 2 p-town n feb. 4 whatever reason they have a hard time beating us on r home turf. Batum tho,es un animal! He keeps this up,he SHOULD b the MIP

  • MikeC.

    I don’t see any team going for 70 this year. When the Bulls went 72-10, they were in the watered-down East so there were more freebie games as long as they stayed focused. The West isn’t as tough as it has been in recent years, but it’s no walk in the park. The East is much improved as well since most of the major Free Agents either stayed East, or moved East.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    Hey everyone, stay safe. have a great holidays and I will talk to ya’ll when I touch down. Peace out!!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Kulchakris

    Co-sign @ D-train. However, you know that’s the world we live in. Fans and pundits all want to draw conclusions at first tip of a pre-season game. I do think that 7 or so games is enough to highlight a team’s strengths and weaknesses. There’s no guarantee the weaknesses won’t be rectified as the season progresses.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Adam Figman

    Stay safe, James.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Kulchakris

    For example, as a Wizards fan, I think I can safely conclude after 5 games that they will finish somewhere near the bottom of the league in points allowed, and rebounding differential. No big stretch there. It might be a stretch to write off OKC after 6 games, but I think it’s also safe to say they will not be one of the top 3 or 5 teams in the West.

  • http://google c_cantrell

    i really do believe the thunder will be a top 3 team in the east.. kd just needs to start shooting better n get his roll going cause here lately he has been shooting horrible.. jus a slow start for them but they will make up for it

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    James, I’ll be expecting pics of your helmet, bro!!!!! Be safe and know that we’re all proud of your service to your country and the effort to keep freedoms for people everywhere, not just at home it Canada. Stay steady, kid.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Couple things about the clip: 1) I’m not sure who I’d put my money on, but a footrace between Rondo and Lil Nate would be epic. Would bring back memories of Speedy Sam Rubenstein. 2)I don’t now if I’ve ever seen a guy moving so fast, with that much momentum, get such a great number of bounces. That almost seemed physically impossible.

  • http://simonlawy888.blogspot.com Simon Lawy

    where’re james the balla going ? iraq???

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Damn, I just looked at the Bulls upcoming schedule….it’s possible they may start the season 5-11.

  • tRay

    Lakers still aren’t impressive yet I’ll change my mind if they start crushing quality teams.

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    So now Portland is not a quality team? They held Roy to 8 points. The league is just a little watered down at the moment because of teams clearing all that cap space and rebuilding with young talent.

  • elvis freshly

    Ray Allen still the BEST SHOOTER TO GRACE THE HARDWOOD at age 35. Will most likely break Millers record THIS season.

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    With that cross-court pass to Odom, Pau can easily start as the Cowboys’ QB next week.

  • letsmotor

    saying Westbrook was “great” last night is way off. rondo took him our of the game for the most part. he got a lot of those points and assists when it didn’t matter anymore.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    When will Pau be recognized as the best player or co-best player on the Lakers? ….obviously never, but he should be in the discussion. and its been true since last seasons finals. Probably the only multiple champion in NBA history other then Dennis Rodman who is underrated.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Let Pau do it over the whole season, before we call him co best player, because Odom is playing just as better as Pau right now. Also if Pau can perform like this for the whole season I will be surprised. Also this is not Shaq/Kobe, lets let Pau do this for more years in a row. Pau biggest contribution was in last year last two to three games during the NBA Finals. Dissappeared at the beginning of the series. Also Pau is overrated to me, because he was a better overall player in Memphis, just better players around him now, but Pau needs to produce over the next 4 to 5 season at high level to be consider an all time great to even consider to stand by Kobe as an equal on the team. BOOK IT!!

  • CoolBreeze


    cosign on that Westbrook/Rondo talk from last night.

    Rondo totally took Westbrook out of his game offensively and defensively. By halftime westbrook had 1 point, numerous turnovers and a few assist. Boston was already up by 21 and Westbrook got most of his stats during garbage time when the game was already decided and Rondo let up.

  • bdub

    James the baller. You in the US Army?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    the seed basketball is played one season at a time, I absolutely hate when people are ignorant enough to think a player can sustain or is equal to themselves over a stretch of years. Kobe is not the Kobe he used to be, take his balls out of your mouth and accept it.