Sunday, November 10th, 2013 at 9:00 am  |  25 responses

Post Up: For the Win

Jeff Green and Kyrie Irving hit clutch shots to headline Saturday’s games.

by Jay Wallis / @jaywallis11

Raptors 115, Jazz 91

Leading 30-16 after the first quarter, 62-36 at halftime and 100-62 a few minutes into the fourth quarter, the Raptors never let the Jazz even think about winning this game. Toronto took the lead after 14 seconds of play on an easy Jonas Valanciunas (14 points, 6-8 from the field) hook shot and never looked back. Tyler Hansbrough (23 points, 7 rebounds, 11-13 on free throws) had one of the best games of his NBA career as 9 Raptors had 7 or more points on the night. Amir Johnson (7 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks) has been a force on the boards of late, collecting 21 in his past 2 games. As Derrick Favors (17 points, 7 rebounds) and Enes Kanter (14 points) continue to try and find their chemistry down low, Gordon Hayward (24 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists) and sixth man Alec Burks (17 points) remain the lone bright spots for this 0-7 start for the Jazz. Utah fans can at least look forward to watching Tuesday’s Duke-Kansas matchup and seeing some stars their team might end up drafting.

Hawks 104, Magic 94

Atlanta went on an 18-2 run to start the second half, making the score 64-47 and giving them the largest lead of the game. However, Arron Afflalo (game-high 21 points, 7 assists) and the Magic wouldn’t go down easy, countering with a 24-6 run. Orlando eventually held a one-point lead with 3:50 to go in the fourth quarter, even with Nikola Vucevic (season-low 7 point, season-low 6 rebounds, 3-10 from the field) having his worst game of the young season. Al Horford (15 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 blocks) played a large part in containing Vucevic. Jeff Teague (19 points, 13 assists) decided to take control at the end of this game, scoring or assisting on four of the Hawks’ final five baskets. If Teague, Horford, Paul Millsap (18 points, 11 rebounds, 4 steals) and Kyle Korver (14 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists) can find a way to play more consistent team defense (this was only the second game Atlanta gave up less than 100 points) and Mike Scott (17 points) and Cartier Martin (7 points, 2 steals) are a force for the second unit, the Hawks could very well make the playoffs for a seventh consecutive season.

Pacers 96, Nets 91

The League’s only unbeaten team kept a 0 in the loss column by doing the same thing they have done all year—play defense. Frank Vogel showed off his coaching prowess, helping his Pacers jump out to a 17-8 lead to begin this rugged game and go on a 15-5 run to start the second half. Through 7 games, Indiana has outscored its opponent in 5 of 7 first quarters and all 7 third quarters. With just over a minute to go, the Nets had multiple chances to tie this game up but ended up with a Deron Williams (17 points, 10 assists) turnover a Kevin Garnett (6 points, 8 rebounds) missed hook shot and a Joe Johnson (17 points) missed three. After these three missed opportunities and 9 seconds on the clock, David West (18 points, 8 rebounds) finally pushed this to a two-possession game with two made throws. In every game this year, Paul George (24 points, 6 rebounds) has scored 20 or more points, Roy Hibbert (15 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks) has blocked at least 2 shots and the team has given up no more than 91 points. Lance Stephenson (15 points, 7 assists) is also becoming a solid “glue guy.” The Nets, on the other hand, have been anything but consistent. Other than an impressive win against the Heat, they beat the hapless Jazz and lost their other four games. Whether this is a problem of chemistry or motivation, Williams, Johnson and Paul Pierce (15 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists) will need to pick up the pace if they plan on making Prokhorov’s championship dreams come true.

Cavaliers 127, 76ers 125 (2OT)

If Kyrie Irving should be considered a top 10 player in the NBA, his first six games gave no indication that he was ready to join this VIP club (scored under 20 points in five of the first six games and failed to reach double-digit assists in all of them). Saturday night was a different story. After battling through a game in which neither team led by more than 10 points, Irving made a driving layup to give his team a double-overtime win. Even though he shot the ball 33 times and failed to hit a game-winner at the end of regulation and the first overtime, his overall performance and the team’s end result made the bigger impression. Irving finished the game with 39 points, 12 assists, 5 rebounds and a huge confidence boost. Michael Carter-Williams (21 points, 13 assists, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks) did continue to show that his hot start isn’t a fluke, but there’s no question—this game was all about Uncle Drew and his assertive take-over game to start the season. Jarrett Jack also came alive and reminded Cleveland why he was so valuable during the Warriors most recent playoff run. He set season-highs in points (20), assists (5), rebounds (4), steals (3) and blocks (3).

Celtics 111, Heat 110

(Who says the Heat-Celtics rivalry is dead?) On a lesser scale than Irving, Jeff Green is also expected to make a jump in production this season. And similar to what Irving did Saturday night, Green stepped into the spotlight and hit a big shot in crunch time. The Heat came close to playing a perfect game offensively: They shot 57.7 percent, had a season-low 10 turnovers and held a 110-106 lead with 3.6 seconds left in the game. Michael Beasley (10 points in 8 minutes) even showed up to play. Just as the Spurs seemed to have Game 6 of the NBA Finals within their grasp, the Heat looked to be a few seconds from their fifth victory. After a quick layup from Gerald Wallace (6 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds), Dwyane Wade (18 points, 7 assists) was put on the line with 0.6 seconds left on the clock. Wade went on to miss the first, and in an attempt to purposefully miss the second, missed the rim as well. After a beautifully drawn up inbounds play from Brad Stevens, Green (team-high 24 points, 10 points in the fourth quarter, 5-8 on 3-pointers) caught the ball in the corner and gave his team a third straight win. This will most likely go down as one of the best shots and plays of the year. LeBron James (25 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds) and the Heat shouldn’t have let this one slip away, but give Stevens credit for earning his first statement NBA win.

Clippers 107, Rockets 94

The Rockets are undefeated this season…against teams not from Los Angeles. For the second time in less than a week, these two championship-aspring teams faced off. And for the second time, the Clippers ended up with a double-digit victory. Dwight Howard (21 points, 8 rebounds) and the Rockets had a great first half, taking a 55-46 lead to the locker room. Once Los Angeles stopped the Harden-Howard pick-and-roll, though, this game quickly became out of reach. Down 71-60 midway through the third quarter, the Clippers forced four turnovers in five straight Rockets’ possessions. This led to an 18-0 spurt by the Clippers as James Harden (12 points, 4-15 from the field) never seemed to find his rhythm. Chris Paul (14 points, 13 assists) has had a double-double in all seven games this season while J.J. Redick (22 points, 3-7 on 3-pointers) has been on the receiving end of many of Paul’s assists. DeAndre Jordan (12 points, 18 rebounds, 3 blocks) still lacks certain dimensions to his game but has refined the dimensions he excels at. He is second in the League in rebounds per game (13.7), only trailing Kevin Love. At one point in the fourth quarter, hack-a-Howard and hack-a-Jordan happened in consecutive possessions before Doc Rivers ended the shenanigans by taking Jordan out of the game. The Rockets had a great 3-0 start to the season but have since gone 1-3.

Grizzlies 108, Warriors 90

Memphis handed the Warriors their second straight loss by playing tough, Grizz defense and pounding the ball in the paint. Zach Randolph (23 points, 11 rebounds) and Marc Gasol (18 points, 7 rebounds) controlled the inside while Mike Conley (20 points, 6 assists, 3 steals) orchestrated this dominance. Stephen Curry (team-high 22 points, 4-10 on 3-pointers) did his part offensively but couldn’t contain Conley. And none of the Warriors could contain any of the Grizzlies in the third quarter as Memphis scored 36 points on 68.4 percent shooting. Klay Thompson (12 points) has come back down to earth recently after having a scorching start. In these last two losses, Thompson is averaging 11.5 points on 10-29 shooting from the field. For a team that has all five returning starters from last season, it seemed odd that Memphis got off to such a rocky start through the first five games. With this blowout win, the Grizzlies finally looked like the team that just went to the Western Conference Finals. This could be the momentum necessary to get the grind going once again.

Mavericks 91, Bucks 83

It may have been an ugly win, but the Mavs finally held an opponent to under 25 points in all four quarters, something that hasn’t happened this season. Throughout the entire night, Monta Ellis (18 points, 5 assists) drove into the lane against his former team. Carlisle is making a concerted effort to get Ellis in the habit of making penetrating a habit. DeJuan Blair (7 points, 11 rebounds, 3 steals) continues to be a spark plug off the bench night in and night out. Even though O.J. Mayo (game-high 28 points, 4-7 on 3-pointers) had a nice, statistical revenge game against his former team, Mayo had a total of five turnovers in the fourth quarter after only having one in the first three quarters. This tendency to play at his worst when his team needs him the most is one of the main reasons the Mavs decided to let Mayo walk. Fellow former-Maverick Caron Butler (19 points, 13 rebounds) also played well but was the only other Bucks player in double-digits. Shawn Marion (14 points, 10 rebounds) posted his second double-double this season and Dirk Nowitzki (16 points) hit a crucial mid-range jump shot with 1:40 to go that put this game out of reach. After playing 4 games in 5 nights, Dallas will get a chance to rest, only playing 2 games in the next 6 days.

Blazers 96, Kings 85

The Blazers outscored the Kings in the first three quarters of this game and eventually led 80-58 early in the fourth quarter before trash minutes were divvied out. While the Kings leading scorer, DeMarcus Cousins (33 points, 12 rebounds), scored in the 30s for the second straight game, the Blazers leading scorer, Damian Lillard, looked nothing like his normal self. Lillard shot 1-15 from the field and ended with only 4 points on the night. The rest of the starting lineup picked up the slack. Nicolas Batum (12 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists) had a nice all-around game, LaMarcus Aldridge (22 points, 14 rebounds) and Robin Lopez (12 points, 10 rebounds) were forces down low and Wesley Matthews (21 points) had a game-high 3 threes. If the Blazers hope to snag one of the bottom two playoff spots in the West, they are going to need much more production out of their—yet again—weak bench.

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  • spit hot fiyah

    i have to vent.

    can we talk about harden’s “defense”?

    it is one of the most pathetic/embarrassing things i have seen in about 20 years of watching basketball. he is like the guy at the pick up game that thinks he is head and shoulders above everyone else so that he doesn’t even have to play defense on the scrubs at the pick up game. the problem is that in the nba the scrubs will hit wide open 15 footers and burn you on the back door cut.

    i mean, if u don’t want to play defense, at least act like u do it u might be able to fool some people. he doesn’t even care. On the the ball he will just LET u go by. Of the ball he has absolutely no clue, he doesn’t even watch his man. and he will run and make the most mind boggling double teams.

    if i’m the opposing coach i would attack him EVERY time down court. if they hide him on an non-one one one player, i would just put him in the pick and roll or run a play were his man cuts of the ball or gets a back screen.

    what a joke

    rant over

  • i_ball

    It’s not only Harden. The game went south for the Rockets when Beverley had to go to the betch after picking his 4th foul in the middle of the 3rd. CP abused Lin.

  • i_ball

    The Rockets tried a hack-a-DeAndre and the Clipps replied with a hack-a-Dwight. I laughed my ass off at 6 AM

  • Caboose

    Ben McLemore is pretty good on offense and an UTTER TRAINWRECK on defense.
    Same goes for Harden, but he’s amazing at offense.
    It’s so easy to see how sick of DMC’s sh!t the refs are. Dude has something to say about EVERY freaking play. It’s maddening and makes Kobe and Wade look like model citizens.
    It’s hard to overstate how huge JJ has been for the Clips. He’s Jamal Crawford with a better stroke and he doesn’t need to dominate the ball to be effective.
    The hell is wrong with the Heat?
    It’s hard to take stats from 2OT games seriously, but Kyrie played a really good game last night.
    That’s twice now that the Jazz announcers have claimed that Alec Burks is a top 10 isolation player in the league. STOP. HE IS NOT.
    I thought Curry would have taken a bigger step forward this season. And I didn’t think Paul George would have nearly as much. Silly me.

  • Caboose

    Day 1: Commenters wonder why there aren’t any team records on TPU.
    Day 2: SLAM puts team records. Commenters thank them.
    Day 3: Disappeared again. Commenters confused.

  • Caboose

    The only thing more powerful than Hack-a-Deandre might be Hack-a-Drummond…

  • i_ball


  • spit hot fiyah

    beverly is great on defense, the rest of the team is terrible when it comes to perimeter d. the thing with lin is that he TRIES, which is the way it is supposed to be. he just isn’t very good at it and gets destroyed. harden is just mailing it in on every possession though.

  • spit hot fiyah

    i have feeling that the clips might move crawford if they find a team that is willing to give up an interior defender that can rebound some. i don’t think doc likes jamal’s ball dominating style of play and i’m sure that he doesn’t like his defense or lack there of. and crawford still has value for a lot of teams that are looking for some instant bench scoring and someone that leads the league in meaningless dribbles.

  • Max

    The Pacers are so nice to watch, they just destroy a team really slow and steady.

  • Pingback: SLAM ONLINE | » Richard Jefferson Dunks On Jonas Valanciunas (VIDEO)

  • Young C

    Did the Pacers get a new coach named Jeff Vogel? What happened to Frank? Also, I wonder if the Sixers had won, would you have mentioned Evan Turner’s career high 31 points. Two teams did play that game.

  • spit hot fiyah

    and this wasn’t aimed at the clippers game in particular, it was was regarding this and last season in general

  • Nathan Shane Long

    Saturday night thoughts

    1.Jeff F’N Green FTW

    2. MCW has already won Rookie of the year

    3. To say Kyrie Irving is a shoot first point guard would be a understatement

    4. Damien Lillard 1-15 shooting YIKES!!!

  • Shamu

    why did they take the scores link off?

  • Caboose

    I’m still not sure what to make of Jeff Green…star, superstar, or average player getting lucky….

    Yeah probably. Short of an injury or a rookie wall the size of the Chinese one, he’s got it

    33 shots for Kyrie…

    He was just off. He was given a LOT of open looks, just never got a rhythm

  • house

    I wonder if he is purposely making less of an effort this year in particular just because Dwight is in the middle to bother shot-takers, and so he can get easy leak out baskets. I agree though, its infuriating to watch and in terms of mindset and ability I would rank P. George easily over Harden purely because of PG’s want to become an elite wing defender. PG > Harden imo.

  • Guest

    Who did we call to fix this issue? or does Ben Osborne read our comments and report it to the IT department.

  • LenieLO

    Hack-a- is not fun for the viewers. Teams don’t win off this strategy. Except once in a blue moon.

  • Tarzan Cooper

    hardens defense is just sad. it really shows what kind of a competitor he is, and how much he cares about being his best and helping his team win. he wants stats, all stars, and fame.

  • Ernie D

    Teams taking Boston lightly this season better think again. Still plenty of weapons. Probably better ones later in to the game and the season. Green and Bass over KG and Pierce? Believe it.

  • The Fury

    – Evan Turner – 2013-2014 MIP.
    – Blake Griffin is having a silent (but nice, statistically) season thus far.

  • Walter Gus Pinkman

    shut up turdburglar.

  • Daniel Noel

    I’d like to. I’m a celtics fan too; I hope so. Great Win saturday nite

  • Tarzan Cooper