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Sunday, December 23rd, 2012 at 9:00 am  |  35 responses

Post Up: Nash Returns

Steve Nash’s return to the Lakers helped them pull off a big comeback win in Golden State.

by Leo Sepkowitz | @LeoSepkowitz

It wasn’t exactly the most thrilling slate of games last night, but Damian Lillard helped the Blazers win a close one and the Lakers got a big win on the road.

Pistons (9-21) 96, Wizards (3-22) 87
After getting demolished by Detroit on Friday night, the Wiz came out flat again on Saturday. They scored just 13 points in the first quarter and trailed by 19 points at the break. They made it look close in the second half, but this was a terrible game for Washington.

They made under 38 percent of their shots from the floor, including 4/21 threes. Jordan Crawford actually played an efficient game. He made just 4-of-13 shots, but added 11-of-12 free throws and finished with 21 points. Emeka Okafor double-doubled. However, they got out-rebounded by 15.

That had a lot to do with Andre Drummond, who had 11 rebounds. It’s his second game in as many nights with double-digit boards. Charlie Villanueva was Detroit’s high-scorer with 19. Greg Monroe went for 13 & 8.

Hawks (16-9) 92, Bulls (15-11) 75
Chicago led by four after the first quarter, but Atlanta dominated the second period. They outscored the Bulls 36-16 and never looked back.

Al Horford led the team with 20 points off 9-of-12 shooting and added 10 boards. Every Atlanta starter had double-digit points and they crushed Chicago on the glass (45-31).

Nobody on the Bulls scored more than 11 points. Luol Deng was the high-man, but he made just 5-of-14 shots. Joakim Noah went for 10 points and 9 boards, though he turned the ball over 6 times.

Heat (18-6) 105, Jazz (14-14) 89
Miami outscored Utah in every quarter. LeBron James paced the team with 30 points, 9 boards and 7 assists. Dwyane Wade added 21, 7 & 7 while Shane Battier scored 15 and blocked 3 shots.

Utah made just 41.1 percent of their shots, compared to 52.1 percent for Miami. Marvin Williams led the Jazz in scoring—generally a bad sign. Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap combined to make 5/17 shots—always a bad sign. Jefferson did grab 11 rebounds and block 2 shots.

Pacers (16-12) 81, Hornets (5-22) 75
The Pacers scored just 29 points in the first half, and trailed by 17 at the break. But an amazingly brutal 7-point third quarter for New Orleans allowed Indy to get back in the game. The Hornets led by five with roughly four minutes to play before the Pacers closed the game on a 16-5 run.

David West led the Pacers in scoring with 25. Paul George scored 17 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. Lance Stephenson continued his solid play with 10 points.

Robin Lopez played a great game for the Hornets. He scored 24 points on 16 shots, and tallied 11 boards, 6 blocks and 2 steals. Anthony Davis made just 5/14 shots, but finished with 10 points, 9 rebounds and a block. He’s been a productive-but-not-great player so far, though I think he’s primed for a big second half of the season.

Rockets (14-12) 121, Grizzlies (18-7) 96
Houston is a weird enough team to play this type of game from time to time. They have a bunch of young, talented players, and once in a while they click in a big way. Last night they did just that.

James Harden made 9-of-13 shots from the floor on his way to 31 points. Jeremy Lin was sharp with 15 points and 11 dimes. Omer Asik posted 14 points, 12 boards and a block. Marcus Morris, Greg Smith, Carlos Delfino and Toney Douglas each scored at least 10 points as well.

As a team, the Rockets made nearly 54 percent of their shots and 12-of-28 threes. They also made 21 free throws.

The Grizzlies got double-digit points from five players, but none of them scored more than 16 (Mike Conley). Rudy Gay attempted just 6 shots and finished with 6 points in 29 minutes. The Grizz actually made over 53 percent of their shots, but 19 turnovers and 2-of-13 shooting from downtown did them in.

Cavaliers (6-23) 94, Bucks (14-12)  82
Brandon Jennings has shot under 40 percent from the field in eight of his last ten games. Last night, he made just 3-of-13 shots, including 1-of-6 from deep, on his way to a lame 7 points. But he wasn’t the only one who struggled, as only one Buck (Monta Ellis—15/27, 37 points) scored double-digit points.

The Cavs, on the other hand, got at least ten out of six guys. Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller continued to play well in Anderson Varejao’s absence. Both guys double-doubled. Dion Waiters led Cleveland in scoring with 18 in the fairly easy win.

Nuggets (15-13) 110, Bobcats (7-20) 88
I’m not sure what’s more interesting—that the Bobcats have dropped 15 straight or that the Nuggets are 8-1 in Denver.

Last night, Denver put Charlotte out of their misery early. They led by 18 at halftime before closing the game out in the second half. Denver made 14 more shots from the floor on 5 more attempts than the Bobcats. That’s bad news for Charlotte. Denver also scored an absurd 78 points in the paint.

Kosta Koufos led the team in scoring with 16, though six others joined him in double-figures. Kenneth Faried posted 15 points, 9 boards, 4 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals.

The Bobcats got 16 points and 14 rebounds out of Byron Mullens. However, Kemba Walker, Jeffery Taylor and Reggie Williams—two starters and the sixth man—combined to shoot 10-for-37 with 22 points.

Suns (11-16) 93, Blazers (13-12) 96
Finally, an interesting game. This one was tied at 75 to start the fourth quarter. With 38 seconds left, a Jared Dudley bucket cut a Blazers lead to three. Damian Lillard missed a jumper, giving Phoenix a chance late. However, Goran Dragic missed a three, ending the game.

Lillard led Portland with 25 points on 13 shots. He made 9-of-10 free throws and added 7 assists. JJ Hickson had a big game, too, scoring 19 points on 8/11 shooting with 15 rebounds. LaMarcus Aldridge added 17 & 9. Portland’s won five straight.

Dragic had an off night for the Suns, as he finished with 10 points on 13 shots with 5 assists. Marcin Gortat led the team with 18 points and 9 boards. Dudley made just 3-of-7 shots, but bizarrely tallied 10 assists. Michael Beasley made just 1/4 shots in 10 minutes off the bench. The Suns must be kicking themselves for signing him this offseason.

Lakers (13-14) 118, Warriors (18-10) 115
Finally, a really interesting game. This was actually a blowout entering the fourth quarter, before the Lakers erased a 13-point Golden State lead.

LA opened the period on a 14-3 run. Golden State held them off for a while, but with 24 seconds left, Metta World Peace knocked down a go-ahead three. But Jarrett Jack answered, and tied the game with 14 seconds left. Kobe Bryant missed a late jumper to send the game into overtime.

In OT, the Lakers led by three with 16 seconds left after Steve Nash, playing his first game since Halloween, hit a 14-footer. Stephen Curry couldn’t convert on a game-tying three, and after a Festus Ezeli offensive board led to a turnover, the game was over.

Nash finished with 12 points and 9 dimes. Kobe scored 34 points, but needed a season-high 41 shots to do it. Bryant would have done a lot more with 41 shots against a mediocre defense a few years ago. Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol combined for just 20 points. DH fouled out after 29 minutes.

Jack was huge for the Ws, coming off the bench for 29 points and 11 dimes. He’s turned out to be an excellent acquisition for Mark Jackson’s club. Curry scored 20 with 8 boards, 7 dimes and 4 steals. David Lee double-doubled with 20 and 11.

The last seven minutes of this game were absolutely nuts, so be sure to check out the highlights below!

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  • Hursty

    Couple things I wanna add:

    - refs in GS/LAL were brutal in the 1st Q. Just cracking down on anything. Really ruined the flow of the game, even though it was high scoring.

    - Dwight really makes some stupid effing decisions. He comes into the game in the 4th Q, w/ 4 fouls and just blatantly pushes Jarrett Jack (who was mega huge in this game and for the Warriors in general this season) in the chest/shoulder on a drive and looks around like “who, me?” when a foul is called.

    - I can’t believe I’m saying this, but David Lee is actually playing like an MVP candidate (wow).

    - Houston probably had the most impressive performance of the night. They out-everything’d Memphis in stats, and every starter outperformed their counterpart. It was a really, really good win for them. Hopefully a sign of the future. Playoffs?

    - Atlanta is playing really well. I know they caught a tired CHI, but they outplayed them the whole game.

    - Al Horford should probably get more than 10 shots per game on average. He’s really, really good. Also probably the best 4/5 man ball handler in the League, especially in transition.

  • Hursty

    And the best part of that Houston performance (and you can really take your pick) was Marcus Morris dominating Zach Randolph. He really did. That almost never, ever happens, but Morris was by far the better player regardless of stats.

  • roscoe

    ssshh…. jj hickson is quietly turning into a solid front court player in POR.

  • MikeC.

    David Lee All Star? Yes. David Lee 3rd team Al NBA? Yes. David Lee MVP? Don’t see it.

  • bringbackthesonics

    standard kobe, 34 points on 41 attempts… smh

  • LLC#12

    41 shots? Eurgh! I used to be a huge, HUGE Kobe fan but..come on..

  • Nope

    if you picked up david lee and dropped him in charlotte, charlotte wouldn’t be a 5 seed and gsw wouldn’t be so near the bottom. lebron or durant are a different story.

  • RKJ92

    LOL YUPP, but still his d*ck riders will claim he’s the best player in the league unfortunately..

  • Inyourface

    People, why are you crying that much about Kobe taking 41 attempts? It’s not that this is happening every game. He’s still the man on this team, shooting on average a real effective percentage from the field. The refs were awful, he should have gotten a few calls on those missed shots and when they call those (which they should have on 6 on shots) he would have 35 FGA. In an overtime game. He is a scorer, definitely with Nash out there. Did you also cry when Jordan scored 29 points of 39 shots against the Spurs in 1997, but still won that game for them? Probably not, because that’s Michael Jordan. Everybody loves to hate Kobe these days. But you should watch the game and not just the box score. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think putting up 40 shots is going to win games in the long run, but it barely happens that he puts up 30+, so there’s no reason to act like this is routine Kobe. Plus the offense is just not that smooth yet, and they need to win ball games now. And Kobe did that for them. OK? Cool.

  • Nigel

    Standard Kobe huh? Is that why he is shooting 47 percent from the field this year? And this is coming from a Celtics fan.

  • Nigel

    Kobe is averaging 9 free throw attempts a game this year. That game, he went 0 for 1 from the line. That was definitely a factor too.

  • 80

    I actually had to respond to this “fact”. Jordan was a 50 percent career shooter, so please one game where he had it rough is not an evidence. He had more where he struggled, of course, but never when it was detrimental to his team. But that is not important, what is important is Kobe on defense. He is just horrible, horrible, horrible. And this is coming from someone who likes them

  • http://www.facebook.com/koombuy.pride Koombuy Pride

    Mamba scores 30 with no pg on near 50℅ shooting and loses, mamba shoots 41 times and beats a good team, either way he will still receive hate.

  • deafshooter

    need some fantasy help here. Should I get rid of Jamal Crawford for Kawhi Leonard? I lead my league in points and rebounds but my fg and turnover rate are the worst… i play in a rotisserie style league so should i take the risk for kawhi?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509819249 Gaurav P.

    Nobody rational thinks he’s the best player in the league anymore. That ship sailed about 3-4 years ago. He was brutally bad yesterday, although he had a good 4th Q and overtime.

  • Bored

    he has never been the best in the league. second a few times but never the best.

  • Bored

    yeah, like he is known for throwing up a ridiculous amount of shots. thats why he said standard Kobe.

  • RKJ92

    no because he does more good then harm and Kawhi wont put up enough production for you to justify dropping jamal

  • deafshooter

    aiight thanks for the help

  • Nigel

    Jordan Crawford throws up a ridiculous amount of shots. If you average close to 30 points per game and shoot an average of 21 and a half shots per game, that’s not ridiculous….that’s efficient. Yes, sometimes he shoots a very high number of shots, but look at the damn averages. “Standard” Kobe does not shoot 39 percent from the field. Haters gonna hate, but numbers don’t lie.

  • Max

    08?

  • Bored

    Lebron and then CP3 for me in 08. like i said, i think he has never been the best but im willing to hear if anyone has a season to argue?

  • Bored

    i see what your saying but the fact of the matter is he meant Kobe does it quite often. not often enough to say “standard”? well maybe but he does bust this sh*t out more than any other player probably.

  • http://www.facebook.com/koombuy.pride Koombuy Pride

    05 to 10 . If you say different your just a hater

  • bringbackthesonics

    its the shot selection that i find to be ‘standard’ kobe. he shot 3 from 10 in the first quarter, thats half his avg fga in one quarter

  • Conor

    He was fouled on at least nine of those attempts.

  • Bored

    are you serious? im not a hater for one. i love Kobe’s game but it is really hard to be the best player in the league being a SG. history tells us there is not many truly dominant players from that position. but in my honest opinion i dont think he was better than Nowitzki in 05′-06′, Duncan in 06′-07′, CP3 in 07′-08′ and Lebron since then. if you can give me reasons to say otherwise i would like to hear though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/koombuy.pride Koombuy Pride

    Okay 05/06 was the season mamba scored 81 and was having crazy 40 point months with smush parker as his pg. Dirk dominated the playoffs and blew a 2-0 lead in the finals and followed it up the next year by clearly getting basketball punked by baron davis and captain jack. Dirk admitted he wasnt tough mentally which kobe is great at. To be better than kobe at his prime you have to do what kobe did in your prime, not choke.

    The duncan better than kobe thing always bothers me because take mamba off any of the championship teams theres no ring. But with a young Ginobli, parker, Bowen you can have a kg or rasheed and still win those titles. Many may disagree butwhen the leauge was run by PF’s, it was not a runaway skill wise.

    CP3 is highly overrated. Average elite pg stats and never wins in playoffs. Nash was leading the L in assists annually. Steve
    nash>chris paul in 08

  • Bored

    wow…that was sh*t. i thought you were gonna give me a run for my money even just a little bit.

    “Average elite pg stats” ??

    this is CP3′s 07′/08′ season

    - 21/11.6/4/2.7 on 49%/37%/85% shooting,

    - MOST assists (not nash) and steals (which he has done for 6 years and counting) in the L,

    - .284 winshares per 48 (best in the L),

    - 13.2 offensive winshares (best in the L),

    - got 125 points per 100 possesions for the team while allowing only 102 points per 100 possesions.

    - he also had 16 more steals than turnovers total.

    and being only 1 game behind L.A to finish the regular season. also finished second in MVP voting.

    as for all that other stuff you said, Kobe scoring 81 against horrendous defense doesnt make him the best in the L. you obviously dont watch basketball if you think Kobe was more important than Duncan was in respect to their championships. Dirk losing in the Finals doesnt mean he wasnt the best player in the L in 05′/06′, you need better facts. when you say “not choke”, do you mean Kobe’s never choked? because…..

  • http://www.facebook.com/koombuy.pride Koombuy Pride

    To be the best you at least have to be clearly the best at your Position !

  • Bored

    youre an idiot. show me another PG that has averaged 20 points and 10 assists a game for a season.

  • http://www.facebook.com/koombuy.pride Koombuy Pride

    Deron williams. ill take westbrook 25 and 9.rondo 15 and 14. drose has better numbers. wat about tp last year?

  • Bored

    you are a moron. Westbrook 25 and 9? Rondo 15 and 14?…when? Deron actually avg’d 20 and 9 and then had 12 games with the nets after he was traded where he avg’d 12 assists a game due to him shooting at 34% and knowing he wasnt an offensive option. it was also in 65 games. CP3 done it 2 years running. you obviously dont know anything about basketball. i can see you just look at box scores and end of season averages. heard of winshares? turnovers? steals? offensive rating? defensive rating? PER? assist %?…..no? didnt think so. it is not a coincidence that the clips have the record they have. CP3 is a MVP candidate. deal with it. bring me real stats if you are going to use them otherwise f*ck off because your ignorant arguments are boring. Tony Parker? DRose has better numbers? where? what numbers?

  • http://www.facebook.com/koombuy.pride Koombuy Pride

    Everything i said is based off memory and very lil research because my basketball mind is flawless. Just like you prolly remember there was a 2-3 year period where people forgot about cp3. Until he had a good series against mamba and the lakers while he was with the hornets. My point? His stauyts are not thatt much better than the players i named but he has NO playoff sucess. That makes him overrated and laughabble t say he was ever better than mamba. Please look at cp3 playoff RECORD, thats a stat for you.

  • Bored

    whatever dude lets see what his playoff success is like after this season. its his 2nd year with a playoff caliber team. at the Hornets he was dragging their ass through the seasons and playoffs. with only the help of D West. whens the last time Kobe got anywhere without one of the best front courts in the NBA? 2000 to 04 he had Shaq. and in 04 he had Malone and Payton aswell. 04-05 and 05-06 didnt make it out of the first round because no good front court. since then he has had Odom, Gasol and Bynum. arguable the best front court in the last decade. so dont give me this playoff record bullsh*t.

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