Thursday, January 5th, 2012 at 8:35 am  |  35 responses

Post Up: No ‘D’ New York

Boston, Miami and Orlando win big, while the Knicks are nearing panic time.

by Abe Schwadron | Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

12 games in all to recap from last night, now with links to our nifty new in-house box scores, if you didn’t already notice the brand new scoreboard above, in all its glory. I won’t sugar-coat it, a good chunk of yesterday’s matchups were stinkers, most notably the early games. Only one game pitted two teams with winning records against each other (Indiana-Miami). But hey, you can always go play NBA 2K12 instead, like this guy. Or not. If you only click on one link in this post, that should be it, by the way. And then feast on these basketball words…

Raptors 92, Cavaliers 77

Andrea Bargnani had 31 points on 11-for-16 shooting and Toronto led by as many as 20 en route to an easy win over the Cavaliers. DeMar Derozan scored 25 and Jose Calderon had 11 assists to go with 14 points in the Raptors’ second straight win. Cleveland shot just 30 percent from the field, including just 12 points in the third quarter, and Kyrie Irving scored 12 points but shot just 3-of-13 form the field (he also had 4 assists, 2 turnovers). Antawn Jamison led the Cavs with 19 points and one of the team’s 13 offensive rebounds, but Cleveland just couldn’t get anything going on the offensive end—a trend you can expect to continue going forward. Last note from the Raptors side of things: James Johnson is quietly contributing productive minutes despite not scoring a whole lot. Last night, he finished with 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks in 28 minutes (okay, so he shot 1-8, whatever, I had to come up with something else to say about this game).

Magic 103, Wizards 85

The Wizards missed 12 straight shots to open the game—really, it was incredible to watch—and this one was pretty much over after the Magic took a 13-2 first-quarter lead. Washington, now 0-6 for the first time in franchise history, is almost officially unwatchable. At least I can get started on my Draft scouting early, huh? Dwight Howard took advantage of the Wiz front line, to the tune of 28 points and 20 rebounds, completely dominating all night and leading Orlando to a seventh straight win over Washington. Ryan Andersen chipped in 23 and 15 for the Magic, who led by as many as 28. Bullets Forever blogger Mike Prada noted this fun stat: “Dwight Howard and Ryan Anderson combined for 35 rebounds. Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee combined for 10.” Honestly, it’s getting comical for the Wiz at this point. I’m about ready to take suggestions for a Western Conference mistress to root for this season, just to keep myself sane.

Celtics 89, Nets 70

After these two crawled to a 35-34 halftime score (Nets on top), the Celtics broke out in the third quarter behind 9 of Paul Pierce’s 24 points, and took control to beat a New Jersey team playing without Deron Williams and Kris Humphries. Then again, Ray Allen didn’t play either, due to illness. Boston’s big guys dominated the Nets up front, as Kevin Garnett (14 points, 12 rebounds) and Brandon Bass (15 x 13) both posted double-doubles in 26 minutes apiece. Rajon Rondo also had 12 dimes and Jermaine O’Neal returned after missing time with a sore hammy to give the C’s a boost with 5 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. The Nets shot 4-of-20 from three-point range, including a combined 0-7 from Sundiata Gaines and Mehmet Okur (notable because those dudes are starters), and were once again led in scoring by MarShon Brooks, who had 17 points in 34 minutes. How badly did New Jersey struggle to score? West Virginia scored as many points as the Nets last night…in a football game.

Bulls 99, Pistons 83

About a hundred people watched the Bulls beat the Pistons last night, with Rip Hamilton making his return to Detroit with a solid game—he had 14 points (5-9 shooting), 5 assists, 3 rebounds in 32 minutes. Must be fun playing the 2 next to the MVP. Derrick Rose scored 17 points and handed out 10 assists, and while he was shaken up on a hard fall in the fourth quarter, looked to be okay. And damn, he’s fast. Detroit’s Rodney Stuckey wasn’t so lucky, as he missed the entire second half after suffering a groin injury. Meanwhile, Greg Monroe had a monster game, a shame his breakout season may go unnoticed in Detroit—how about 19 points, 13 boards and 5 assists? But the Pistons’ starting wings, Ben Gordon and Tayshaun Prince, shot 2-10 and 3-11 respectively, stifled by the Bulls’ defense. Joakim Noah added 13 points and 11 boards for Chicago, while Carlos Boozer matched Monroe for the high point total in the game at 19.

Bobcats 118, Knicks 110

Wasn’t Tyson Chandler supposed to bring some defense to the Knicks? If so, why did the Bobcats shoot 55 percent and 7-11 from downtown? And why is Boris Diaw scoring 27 points on 12-15 shooting, including 3 threes, after scoring 5 total points in his previous two games? And how did Byron Mullens score 16 points in 20 minutes? Seriously, New York’s defensive effort last night was nothing short of atrocious, especially down the stretch, when the Bobcats could get whatever they wanted. The Knicks had no trouble scoring, starting from the opening tip and led by Carmelo Anthony’s 32 points (plus 6 boards, 5 assists and 3 steals), but couldn’t get a crucial stop when they really needed it. Or, ever. Embarrassing, really—even Mike D’Antoni pretended to care that New York barely even bothered to put a hand in someone’s face. Sure, Amar’e Stoudemire had 25 and 12 in his return form injury, and Iman Shumpert was back on the court and making a difference with 18 points in 30 minutes, but desire on D is missing (along with a point guard). Plus, Shumpert hurt himself in the last few minutes—though he said later he was just cramping up. Stay tuned.

Heat 118, Pacers 83

With Dwyane Wade on the bench nursing a left foot injury, the remaining two-thirds of the Big Three picked up the slack. LeBron James had himself one heck of a game, with 33 points, 13 assists, 8 rebounds, 2 steals and just 2 turnovers, and Chris Bosh added 22 points and 1 memorable assist as the Heat blew past the Pacers, silencing Indiana-as-contenders apologists along the way. Roy Hibbert had 16 and 10 and Tyler Hansbrough made 10 of 11 free throws en route to 14 points, but Miami led by 38 at one point and shot 53 percent from the field as a team, plus they made 26 of 28 free throws. The Heat held Danny Granger to six points on 2-of-13 shooting and forced the Pacers into 23 turnovers, resulting in 28 points for Miami. So, is Indiana as good as their 4-2 record shows? Their wins so far: Detroit, Toronto, Cleveland and New Jersey. As for the Heatles, peep this on your way out: through seven games, LeBron has attempted 1 three-pointer. He came in shooting 60 percent from the field for the season. Sixty!

Sixers 101, Hornets 93

Eric Gordon was back in action for New Orleans after missing four games with a knee bruise, and he scored a team-high 22 points (on 22 shots), but Jrue Holiday scored 14 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Sixers to a comeback win over the Hornets. Holiday shot just 3-for-9 from the field through three quarters before exploding in the fourth, and he also had 8 assists. Evan Turner had 21 points off the bench and Elton Brand put up a double-double (12 x 12) in his 33 minutes. The starting small forward matchup in this game was curiously bad—Hornets SF Al-Farouq Aminu finished with zero points on 0-4 shooting in 20 minutes, while Andre Iguodala shot 2-for-10 (one nasty dunk) and had 6 points for the Sixers—but both lead guards delivered nice performances. Overshadowed by Holiday, Jarrett Jack had another nice game for NO, with 19 points, 11 assists and 5 boards. Philly is now 3-2 and starts a four-game home stand on Friday, with Detroit, Toronto, Indiana and Sacramento coming to town.

Grizzlies 90, Timberwolves 86

In what was the best game of the night by far, the Grizz held on to beat Minnesota after getting the news that Zach Randolph will miss up to two months. Memphis responded by putting together a team effort led by an unlikely source of points in Tony Allen (who had 20) and a ten-deep rotation that ran all night long, leading to 25 fast break points. Rudy Gay had 19 points, including the biggest bucket of the night with just over 30 seconds to play and the Grizzlies needing a basket to preserve a two-point lead, and OJ Mayo scored 11 of his 14 in the fourth quarter. But, of course, regardless of the outcome, the talk of the game was Ricky Rubio. If you were hesitant to go all in on this kid, your time is running out—the bandwagon’s filling up fast. Rubio had 12 points, 10 assists (4 TOs) and 2 steals in 30+ minutes. And he drilled a three to bring the Wolves within one with under twenty seconds to go, nearly bringing Minny back in a game during which they trailed at one point by 15. Check out this slick oop to Michael Beasley. Apparently, Anthony Randolph is the only one who doesn’t get it—for some strange reason, he decided to not give Ricky the ball to lead a fast break on this play, causing basketball fans everywhere to hate Randolph even more than they already do. Oh, and Kevin Love had his usual night: 27 points, 14 rebounds. Per the AP, last night, he became the first player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975 to record 20 points and 12 rebounds in his team’s first six games. But hey, he plays in Minnesota, so nothing to see here.

Mavericks 98, Suns 89

Dirk Nowitzki’s 1,000th game was the second straight win for Dallas, and the Champs are inching back to top form. Dirk scored 20 points to go with 7 assists and 6 rebounds, and Jason Terry chipped in 18 off the bench for the Mavericks (now 3-4), who led by as many as 21 and finished with 30 assists as a team on 38 made field goals. Lamar Odom had his best game as a member of the defending champions, with 15 points and 5 rebounds. Coming into the game, he was sporting a sub-20 percent field goal percentage. The Suns finally got the kind of game they’ve been expecting from Marcin Gortat, who put up 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Steve Nash was Nashean as usual with 15 points and 12 dimes, but Phoenix shot just 5-of-17 from three-point range and lost the rebounding battle 53-42.

Spurs 101, Warriors 95

As the Notorious B.I.G. once said, “No Manu, no problem.” Wait, what? Coulda sworn those were the lyrics. Semantics aside, the Spurs won game one without their go-to shooting guard and his 17+ PPG, taking down the Warriors despite 38 points from Monta Ellis. Tony Parker led San Antonio with 21 points and 8 assists, and Tim Duncan had a double-double (15 points, 11 boards) and the Spurs came back from a 5-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter. The Spurs outscored the W’s 31-20 in the fourth quarter, but the big news from this game, outside of San Anton’s solid win, was Stephen Curry’s ankle, which just will not go away. He rolled it in the third quarter and did not return. If Curry can’t go for a while, then this stat should be ominous for Golden State, from @gswscribe: “Curry/Ellis: 58 points on 22-for-41 FGs (53.6%). Rest of Warriors: 37 points on 15-for-39 FGs (38.5%).”

Nuggets 110, Kings 83

I flipped over to this game about two minutes into the second quarter, and watched Jimmer Fredette miss three shots in a row on one possession. And then I looked at the score. And then I changed the channel. Fredette finished 3-for-13 from the field with 7 points, while the Nuggets once again put their ridiculously deep roster on display, and blew out the Kings without Nene. A total of 12 players got burn for Denver, and every single guy scored at least 6 points, the high man being Al Harrington with 15. Twelve guys, all between 6 and 15 points, they win by 27 points. That’s awesome. I guess it helps when you shoot 61 percent from the field and rack up 68 points in the paint and 31 fast break points. But I mean, Kosta Koufos had 10 points and 10 boards! The Nuggs are 5-2 and are 3rd in the NBA in points per game. Things are clearly still awkward in the Sacramento locker room, but DeMarcus Cousins still managed to score 26 points in 25 minutes off the pine.

Clippers 117, Rockets 89

That Chris Paul was a good pickup, eh? In the first quarter, he led L.A. to 41 points as a team on 11 points of his own, 6 assists and 2 steals. In all, he only needed 29 minutes to go for 20 points and 10 assists, before taking a seat on the bench with the rest of the starters. Blake Griffin had 22 and 9 rebounds and the Clippers shot 57 percent in a rout of the Rockets. Since this one was over almost from the start, I’ll leave you with some random thoughts on the last game of the night:

— Mo Williams lob cities it to Blake.
— At one point, DeAndre Jordan swished a pair of free throws. I almost passed out.
— Chandler Parsons dunked on Blake. Then he stared him down. LMAO, indeed.
— The Clippers announcers refer Brian Cook as “Cookie.” Like, constantly. That needs to stop.
— Those same announcers insisted on talking about “their first time” after Travis Leslie’s first NBA dunk.

Line of the Night: Dwight Howard’s 28 Pts (8-10 FGs), 20 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 Blk

Dunk of the Night: Rudy Fernandez to Kenneth Faried. Altitude sickness.

Other Dunk of the Night: Air Blake, courtesy of CP3. (This came right after a DeAndre Jordan lob, too.)

Tonight: Only four games, but every one save for Bucks-Kings has major intrigue. First, Atlanta hosts Miami as the Heat look for revenge against the team downed them on Monday for their first loss of the season. Then, the Mavs are in San Antonio and the Lakers are in Portland. ATL-MIA and LAL-POR are parts one and two of the TNT Thursday Doubleheader, so no doubt we’ll pay extra attention to those games. And Charles Barkley.

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  • http://www.slamonline.com spit hot fiyah

    where u at max? i saw that u called that bobcats win! and rudy’s pass is one of the best i’ve seen. And abe, what does tyson chandler have to do with the bobcats shooting 7-11 from downtown, that’s on the perimiter guys. diaw i can understand if he was guarding , but the rest is not on him. and mullens is ballin’

  • RobbieJay

    watching lebrons post moves last night…my god

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    I’m LMAO @ab40, he said “it’s the bobcats, take a chillpill” lol

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    And Mullins is a nice surprise coming of the bench. Bobcats have quite a fun team to watch.

  • Allenp

    Kyle Lowry is nice. Real nice.
    Pacers and Sixers are still good teams. Monta is so nice.
    The Kings have a team full of checkers and no real coaching.

  • Lew alcindor

    can they pleaseee fire D’antoni.

  • Mvp23100

    Did I see Diaw put a slow ass spin on Stat and get to the bucket the Knicks suck no D playing mediocre stars

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    I’m loving Greg Monroe…dude is a beast. He needs to get better on D though. Good to see him doing well.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ Abe Schwadron

    @spit hot fiyah youre right, tyson has nothing to do with perimeter defense, was more of just a lack-of-defense-in-general rant about the knicks and their total failure to show any “renewed defensive focus” or anything resembling it. i’m aware tyson wasn’t personally responsible for threes. but…diaw!!!

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I didn’t get too see very much last night. Caught some of the Pacers, Heat game, LeBron’s little overreaction about his ankle was pretty entertaining. And Mario Chalmers shows flashes of being a very intelligent basketball player. He’s like a person in acoma whose eyes flutter every once in a while.

  • add

    how does chandler effect how well the knicks shoot from 3 point range, he works in the middle not the perimeter

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Well what a turn of events, Chandler can’t really make all the Knicks play good, make that average D, and as soon as Mr. I miss LA, Odom, starts playing more than 15 mins a game the Mavs win games fairly easily.
    It’s still early but i’m feeling optimistic that Rick C., who just lurves to throw different lineups at opponents, will make this Mavs roster work.
    Fairly optimistic. (here’s a tissue, Lamar)

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Seems Rudy came to playayyyy last night.
    No look ally oop to Faried was bonkers.
    Now go console Corey Brewer, he’s lovesick or sth (gotta luv twitter)

  • http://www.nba.com showtime

    Where Orange??? he might be on the Sean Kingston watch(thats suicidal by the way) if the Knicks keep playing this below .500 ball because of Absoulute no D-fence. & So they hunting Mia…they should watch out for the lions , the tigers and BOBCATS oh MY….& how about T-Dot Bargn & D rozan been ballin lately probaly might kreep into that 7th or 8th seed??

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Bargnani has been en fuego every game so far.
    Any raptors fans around, the team seems to be much more dangerous.
    Whats the formula this season? DeRozan’s 3pt shooting? Health? Andrea?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Dark, they are 3-3. 2-0 against Cleveland. 1-0 againt New York. and 0-3 against Dallas, Orlando, & Indiana. They aren’t any better than last season, they just have had an easy schedule so far.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Thanks Soop, makes sense.
    Wait & see, huh?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Yeah I think that’s the best course of action. Have you gotten a chance to watch Toronto at all yet? Bargnani seems like he finally figured out he’s 7’0″ – he looks great on offense, very confident and comfortable. And he is finally using that high-post effectively.

  • http://slamonline.com AlbertBarr

    Rubio is amazing and the wolves are a treat to watch. The grizz need Randolph back to make noise in the playoffs. The kings are terrible and they need a new coach and front office and then they still may be beyond fixing. They have wasted the talent they have assembled so far. Bobcats have some signs of life and Denver is LOLing every time NY get an L while they play some of the best team ball in the league. George Karl deserves it. Mavs are waking up and the East is just damn scary at the top. Orlando, Heat, Atlanta, Bulls…they are all going to be a handful. NBA BASKETBALL!!!! (I am going to be sad when free LP is gone…I can’t bring myself to pay them any money this season regardless of how entertaining the season has been thus far)

  • Jono

    The Denver Nuggets are easily to most underrated team in the NBA. They’re beating teams they’re supposed to and giving contenders like the Lakers a good run for their money. Their roster is weaker this season than last but look for them to compete for home-court advantage in the opening round.

  • http://www.nba.com showtime

    I actually watched T-dot mostly to Lp but yea Barn is looking very good on the O he letting it flo inside or outside( finally not making that #1 pick look as bad as it use to look), but they have a good coach in casey. so expect fight for that 8th spot.D-rozan is ok he just need get a post turn j and he would be hard to guard.Wovles are very intresting prospect, & Monta just flats out balls hes got to be allstar aslong GW can stay close to .500

  • http://www.nba.com/analysis/rules_history.html Allenp

    Nah, the Blazers are underrated. They have beaten good teams so far. And I think they are better than Denver.

  • http://slamonline.com AlbertBarr

    Good call Allenp. Blazers have depth and great coaching like Nugs but definitely better.

  • chingy

    Watched that Raps game last night. D-rozan’s shot is looking a lot smoother. But to take that next next step, the guy needs to work on his handles. And I really hope now that he has a 3 point game, he doesn’t forget that he’s a slasher first. Don’t turn into a Wince Carter. The Nuggets are so fun to watch. How can you not like a team with so many guys contributing? The Blazers are scary. They have the wings to shutdown other team’s superstars. LA needs to be an AllStar this year. The Knicks gotta fire D’Antoni. I’ve said all along, the guy does not coach defence. Melo’s been more or less lighting it up this season on the offensive end. But the D is turrible. The T-Wolves are always in close games it seems like but then they just lose in the end. Growing pains for the young guys but a season or two, they’ll be dangerous (if they re-up KLove). Also, Sixers > Pacers.

  • Jay

    Blazers, Nuggets, and Sixers are my three teams to keep an eye on…Chandler Parsons stare down of Blake was comical.

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

    Jarrett jack is balling.

  • http://www.nba.com/analysis/rules_history.html Allenp

    ^true, very true.
    But not like Kyle Lowry. He was rising up in Chris Paul’s face.

  • http://slamonline.com datkid

    jarret jack is balling…which is very very weird. but kyle lowry might deserve an all-star spot. I’m serious.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I haven’t really been surprised by Lowry. He made a huge defensive jump last season. Looks like he is making an offensive one this year. Plus he has a ton more responsibility, and he isn’t looking over his shoulder at Aaron Brooks this year, which I think helps.

  • http://www.t-mac.com/tmac/index unf*ckwitable

    Kyle Lowry is balling out his skin right now, very good PG imo.

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

    I’m still amazed the grizz kept conley over lowry. Yea, he’s a lil short, but he’s strong and fast. Plays great d, can do so many things. I’m glad he’s finally getting all the minutes he can handle. I’m interested to see if jack can keep it up all season.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Kyle Lowry is my favorite player in the league right now. Really, the only reason he hasn’t averaged 18 and 12 these first few games is because McHale has only been letting him play 20-25 minutes when the Rockets are down by a large sum.
    Which is why I hate that he wants to rest Lowry, because I want this guy to put up the numbers he’s supposed to put up.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Also Chandler Parsons is a nice player–very confident for a rook. He’s not afraid to bang for boards, although he plays a lot on the perimeter (and can actually shoot). Darryl Morey really knows how to draft’em in the second round.
    Anyone know when Courtney Lee is gonna be back? The Rockets need him badly. And I’m still waiting for Terrence Williams to finally break out… The guy has all the talent in the world but seems afraid to shoot.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Lastly, the Blazers are looking NICE this season. Seriously… Deepest team in the league? I admit I overhyped the Clippers prior to the season. Blazers are looking like the best team in the West and Lamarcus Aldridge is balling out of his mind.

  • http://slamonline.com datkid

    The blazers are the best team not named OKC in the west…. now injuries might change that. but otherwise they’ve got the weapons to out duel and control almost any team. except maybe miami. They seem to struggle against dominant big men tho.