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Monday, January 16th, 2012 at 8:35 am  |  54 responses

Post Up: Jazz Hands

Millsap leads Utah past Denver, plus Sunday wins for the Warriors and Spurs.

by Abe Schwadron | @abe_squad

Only three games last night, as the NBA gave way to the NFL on Sunday and geared up for a big Monday of hoops action. I’ll use the rest of my intro space here to declare my allegiance to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC, and point out that my Washington Redskins beat the Giants not once, but twice this season. And the Skins were horrible. (Although they may still finish with more wins than the Wizards…) Back to the hardwood we go, where Tim Duncan turned back the clock against the Suns and Paul Millsap did the damn thing in the fourth quarter versus Denver.

Warriors 99, Pistons 91

The Pistons headed to halftime with a 48-44 lead, but Golden State used an 8-0 third-quarter run to take the lead, and never looked back, riding big days from David Lee (24 points, 10-12 FG, 6 rebounds) and Monta Ellis (22 points, 17 in the second half) to their first road win of the season. Dorell Wright shot just 3-for-13 and 1-for-6 from three-point range, but finished with 11 points and 11 boards, and the Warriors got double figure scoring outings off the bench from Brandon Rush (12), Nate Robinson (10) and Ekpe Udoh (10, plus 4 blocked shots). As a team, the W’s shot 52 percent from the field, and scored 20 fast break points. Once again, Greg Monroe and Tayshaun Prince went off for Detroit, but it wasn’t enough—Monroe had 25 and 8, Prince 20 and 7. The Pistons fell to 3-10 on the season, currently last place in the Central Division and tied for the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference. Things don’t get much easier for the men from the Motor City, as they get 5 Western Conference foes before hosting Miami at home.

Jazz 106, Nuggets 96

Before I get into the big win for the Jazz, I have to say, the award for ugliest jerseys we’ve seen so far this season has officially been awarded to Utah, with these hideous green guys. On to more important matters: Paul Millsap scored 16 points in the fourth quarter (including a string when he rattled off 14 straight) and the Jazz opened up a late lead to beat the Nuggets, who were coming off an impressive win against the Heat on Friday. Millsap finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds, Gordon Hayward had 19 and Al Jefferson scored 18 to go with 12 boards to help Utah improve to a surprising 8-4. Are the Jazz for real? Their four losses came to the Spurs, the Lakers (twice) and the Nuggets the last time these two played, while they have a win list that includes Philly, Memphis and now Denver. This week should tell us a lot about the Jazz, who host the Clippers and the Mavericks over their next two games. The Nuggets came in averaging a league-best 24 assists per game, but were out-assisted (?) by a 27-21 margin by Utah, which also shot 52 percent from the field as a team. Denver was led by 18 points apiece from Nene and Danilo Gallinari (12-12 from the free throw line) and Ty Lawson had 13 points and 8 dimes, but they missed 13 free throws and had no answer for Millsap down the stretch. The Nuggets dropped to a half-game behind the Jazz and a full 3 games behind division-leading Oklahoma City in the Northwest division.

Spurs 102, Suns 91

Tim Duncan partied like it was the early 2000s, dropping a vintage 24-point, 11-rebound performance, plus 4 assists and 2 blocks, and the Spurs improved to 9-0 at home and 9-4 overall. It’s still ridiculously early, but San Antonio is 2nd in the Western Conference, and in yet another year when experts and pundits deemed them to be too old, they’ve hung tough, averaging 101 points per game (4th in the League) even without Manu Ginobili. Tony Parker had 17 points and 9 assists, and rookie Kawhi Leonard added 12 and 8 boards in his third NBA start. Steve Nash had 20 points and 10 dimes for the Suns, and Marcin Gortat matched Duncan’s number with 24 points (plus 15 rebounds). But Channing Frye and Michael Redd shot a combined 0-for-11 (0-for-4 from the three-point line) and Phoenix could never get quite close enough in the fourth quarter to make this one a game, falling to 4-8 on the year. On the bright side, rookie Markieff Morris had another nice game off the pine, with 14 points in 25 minutes (6-10 FGs). Both teams have huge Tuesday games up next, as the Suns are in Chicago—Nash vs. DRose—and San Antonio heads to Miami.

Line of the Night: Paul Millsap — 26 Pts, 12 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

Moment of the Night: Monta Ellis with the ridiculous circus shot for two of his 22.

Dunk of the Night: My guy Jeremy Evans with the put-back slam against the Nuggs.

Today: MLK Day is a holiday tailor-made for NBA hoops. Assuming you have the day off, sit back and enjoy 11 basketball games tipping off at 1 p.m. with Bulls-Grizzlies on ESPN and ending with a late-night matchup between the Mavericks and Lakers. In between, keep an eye on Magic-Knicks, Thunder-Celtics and the Clippers host the Nets with or without CP3.

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  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    The Suns medical staff is so good, even their opponents get a boost of youth.

  • DeeDre

    I was probably the only one watching that Suns-Spurs game (just because I wanted to see the Spurs up close and to see if Nash still had it without the usual cast) and I have to say I’m impressed with Martin Gortat. He has a nice hustle, offensive skill set and solid defense as well. I mean, the rest of the Suns are a freakin morgue but if Gortat can keep it up maybe an All Star game is in his future

  • DeeDred

    Marcin not Martin. Sorry guys

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    Markieff Morris and Greg Monroe have a bright future;

  • http://sfjklf.com Jukai

    Steve Nash is just way too old to be trying to carry a team the way he’s trying. His injuries are getting unnerving.
    I still am shocked that Gordon Hayward can actually ball.
    Monta Ellis needs an all-star bird this year.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Where do they sell all star birds? cuz me and monta are going to try and get a discount buying 2 at the same time.

  • http://sfjklf.com Jukai

    Speaking of all-stars… can anyone come up with a coherent 24-man all-star selection? Cause… I’m kinda having trouble.
    East: Rose, Rondo, Wade, James, Anthony, Howard… Bosh and Josh Smith… uh… maybe Iggy… Hibbert? JJ? Jrue? Jennings? Does Deron qualify?
    West: Paul, Bryant, Westbrook, Durant, Griffin, Love, Bynum, Alrdige… er… Nowitzki… maybe Parker… Milsap? Wallace?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    These are who I would put, not necessarily who I think will make it,
    .
    East – Rose, Wade, Melo, James, Stoudemire, Howard, Bosh, Rondo, Iguodala, Greg Monroe, Roy Hibbert (gotta have a Pacer), Josh Smith.
    .
    West – Paul, Bryant, Durant, Griffin, Bynum, Love, Aldridge, Ellis, Westbrook, Dirk, Parker, Kyle Lowry

  • http://nba.com GP23

    East – LeBron, Melo, Wade, Rondo, Howard, Deng, Rose, Bosh, Deron, Amare, JJ, Collison.
    West –
    Kobe
    CP3
    Blake
    Dirk
    Lowry
    Aldridge
    Westbrook
    Durant
    Love
    Rubio
    Ty
    DeAndre Jordan

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    MEllis doesn’t deserve an all-star bid not when he’s shooting 40% from the field and his team is 4-9. The man has been underrated for a while now that he’s become overrated.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    There really isn’t anyone to put over him though. Who would you pick that I left of JT?

  • logues

    so far here’s who i think should make it:
    west:
    kobe, durant, paul, griffin, love, aldridge, ellis, lowry, westbrook, bynum, harden, gay
    east:
    lebron, wade, rose, melo, howard, rondo, amare,josh smith, deng, ray ray, dwill, bosh

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Either PGasol (16/9/2/2/54%) or Ty Lawson (17/3/6/2/50%). I think you’re right, Ellis gets in just because he’s flashier and scores more (the fans tend to love things like that) but I think Lawson or Gasol are more deserving of a spot due to team success and efficiency.

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    East Guards: Rose, Wade, Rondo, Deron, Iguodala
    East Forwards: LeBron, Melo, Stoudemire, Josh, Deng
    East Centers: Dwight, Monroe
    ______________________________________
    West Guards: Paul, Kobe, Lowry, Westbrook, Ellis
    West Forwards: Durant, Love, Blake, Aldridge, Dirk
    West Centers: Bynum, Marc

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    If he doesn’t start it’s up to the coaches. I hadn’t thought about Ty Lawson at all honestly.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    Tony Parker will probably get it on rep alone.

  • http://sfjklf.com Jukai

    You guys realize Stoudemire is averaging 18.7 and 8 on 41% shooting, right? I’m actually really, really down on STAT… I know his main form of offense is with a point guard, but he’s struggling more than I thought.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    He’ll get voted in.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    I thought Melo was supposed to be their Point Forward and the second coming of LBird. What happened?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Shumpert was also supposed to be the ROY just a week after getting booed during the draft. And Tyson Chandler is supposed to be DPOY. And Amar’e is supposed to lead the league in scoring. The Knicks are going to win the atlantic division and eliminate the heat. And Chris Paul will be a Knick becuase he’s goin to sign for eight dollars. And then Phil Jackson will come out of retirement to coach them to 10 straight championships without losing a playoff game.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    duh

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    HA! CP is going to sign for $8. Classic!

  • http://sfjklf.com Jukai

    NBK: Er, with Lebron and Melo, STAT will be voted in? Not so sure about that, dude… considering he’s 100k away.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Oh haha my bad.

  • http://sfjklf.com Jukai

    Not a huge deal. Hell, I’m avoiding the STAT thing entirely. I said he’d be leading the league in points with Durant two years ago…

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    I understood the notion that he’d score a ton without Melo, not with though.

  • http://sfjklf.com Jukai

    If he was dropping low 20s on 48-50% shooting, I’d agree with that notion.
    I’ve SEEN Amare play great isolation offense. Saw it for years. Back to the basket and spin or turn around and faceup… his confidence is down without easy buckets and he’s gotta shake outta that.

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    Speaking of Stoudemire, anyone watching the Magic game? STAT just looks lost, timid, and disinterested. Any reason for that do you guys think?

  • http://fklfs.com Jukai

    Caboose: I said before, no easy buckets because no pick and roll point guard… and his confidence is SHOT without those easy buckets. He’s not looking to post (even though Melo is clearly doing it less for Amare) and he’s hesitant on his jump shots. At least, that’s my theory. He doesn’t LOOK shaken, but I refuse to believe he really is one of those “need a point to get my points” players.
    Speaking of games today, anyone know why Rose sat this one out?

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Turf toe

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    WEST:
    Andrew Bynum
    Tim Duncan
    Kevin Love
    Kevin Durant
    Kobe Bryant
    Chris Paul
    Tony Parker
    Dirk Nowitkzi
    Al Jefferson
    Kyle Lowry
    Blake Griffin
    Westbrook

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    Sounds right Jukai. It just seems criminal that Shumpert is consistently taking more shots than Stoudemire. On an unrelated subject, does anybody think that the Spurs, Grizz, Magic, or Knicks will make postseason noise? They all look like decent teams, but can they compete?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Amar’e isn’t really an elite 1 on 1 scorer. He’s good, but not great. He definitely could never lead the league in an offense that features him as an isolation player. However, he is the best finisher among PF’s in the league. He THRIVED with Nash & Felton. Not too say he still can’t be a 22-25PPG guy outside of the Pick & Roll, but he wouldn’t be nearly as efficient, and thus not elite. atleast imo

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    The Magic can compete. They have the same type of lineup they had the year they went to the finals, except Ryan Anderson’s shot is never going to fall apart like Lewis’ inconsistent release allows him too. Plus Jameer Nelson healthy is better then Rafer Alston. The big ? would be Turkoglu (imo), if he’s in good shape and locked in mentally they are a threat in the East. If not, then well, they are second round fodder.

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    ^Exactly what I was hoping to hear haha. I think the Magic are just a ridiculous wild card because they have 6(!) players outside of Dwight capable of dropping 20+ on any given night (Jameer, JRich, Redick, Anderson, Davis, Turk). As long as about 4 of the 6 post solid games, the Magic are in good shape. Spurs though? I really don’t think they should be written off as long as Pop is still around.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Not if Manu isn’t 100%. Gary Neal just won’t be able to score in the playoffs. And Duncan has already proven he can’t control a whole series anymore.

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    Danny Green has looked more than solid the last couple of times I’ve seen him play to be honest. Not to mention Richard Jefferson’s stroke looks beautiful lately. Maybe I’m overly optimistic but I don’t think the Spurs go down easy this year.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    lol imo you’re being overly optimistic. They aren’t as good as last year. And Manu is less healthy. And they are older. Kawii Leonard seems to be the best part about them. Him and the re-emergence of Dujuan Blair

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    Haha about time we find something we disagree on nbk. Honestly, we both know it could go either way. Smart money says Spurs fall in the 1st round but I see them going further. How far? I’ve no idea, but it will be fun to watch (yes, I said the Spurs are fun to watch).

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    haha you m’f'r don’t say something i can agree with right after our extended argument. but really though, you right. who knows

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  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    ROY race will come down to KIrving and Rubio. I think Rubio wins due to the immense hype surrounding him even though Irving is the better player and will have a better season. Dude just dropped his 7th 20+pt game of the season vs Charlotte and KWalker.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Rubio is playing defense.

  • http://fklfs.com Jukai

    Rubio: 11/4.1/8.3/2.0 on 46%/45%/75% with 3 turnovers a game
    Kyrie: 17/3.1/5.1/0.8 on 47%/40%/89% with 3 turnovers a game
    It’s gonna be a close race. I kinda give the edge to Rubio, but I’d be lying if I said I have watched a lot of Cleveland.

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    I know I’m incredibly biased, but I have to give it to Rubio. His stats are gonna keep climbing with him in the starting lineup. Averaging a double-double isn’t out of the question. When was the last time a rookie guard did that? Mark Jackson is the only one I could find…And to nbk, that’s my devious way of “winning” arguments ;)

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    Spurs are better than last season. Blair, tiago, and rj are all better. Add leonard, very impressed with him. They will be a tough out

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Haha there won’t be a winner of that till atleast April, health permitting.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Tarzan I was talking about their literal performance.

  • http://slamonline.com datkid

    I’ve thought maybe the magic could secretly be the dark horse in the east… especially since ryan anderson is playing so well.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    kyrie is ROY. that’s all

  • http://www.slamonline.com melvin ely

    Philly is probably going to be the only Division leader without an all-star player come Feb 15.

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    ^Spurs?

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Caboose…. I think coaches will HAVE to pick either Timmy or Tony..

  • Justin G.

    Free Steve Nash!

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