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Friday, November 15th, 2013 at 9:00 am  |  42 responses

Post Up: Hot Hands

Rockets overcome Melo’s best, Warriors win at the buzzer.

by Brett Weisband | @weisband

Rockets (6-4) 109, Knicks (3-5) 106

The Rockets got the weirdest win of the season in Madison Square Garden, eking this one out over the Knicks. Houston did everything they could to give this away late, coughing the ball up twice on shot clock violations, but managed to hold on. They withstood Carmelo Anthony (45 points, 17-30 shooting, 10 rebounds) flipping the switch into NBA Jam mode.

The Knicks came thisclose to tying it up in the waning seconds. After getting burned by not fouling when up 3 twice already this season, Houston elected to give a foul right after the ball was inbounded to Melo. Anthony, knowing the foul was coming, flipped it up toward the rim from deep, only to have the foul called as on the floor as the ball ripped through the net.

melo_foul

Dwight Howard (7 points, 1-5 shooting, 15 rebounds, 4 blocks, 5 turnovers) was largely ineffective, shut down by some tough defense from Andrea Bargnani (not a sentence you’ll read often). But just about everyone else was hitting for the Rockets.

bargs_block

Bargs, on top of helping bottle up Howard, had yet another strong game for the Knicks, netting 24 points on 9-12 shooting (3-3 from three). James Harden nearly matched Melo’s output, with 36 points, although most of his damage came at the line. Jeremy Lin dropped 21 in the arena where he burst onto the scene, while Chandler Parsons had 22 for Houston.

Both teams looked very much like they’d played road games the night before – which, of course, they had – as things got off to a choppy start. The first quarter was marked by fouls and missed shotsleast. Anthony was one of the few Knicks to come out ready to play, going 5-7 in the first quarter.

The Rockets got rolling in the second quarter, getting into the paint with ease and either scoring at the rim or kicking out to open shooters. At one point, Chandler Parsons had 11 straight points for the Rockets, including a nasty stuff on…no one, because the Knicks don’t have anyone to guard the rim (despite Bargnani’s impression of a post defender).

Meanwhile, the Knicks outside of Melo were barely factors in the first half. Anthony, though, was going nuts, enough to keep the Knicks in it until they went on a 13-2 run to end the half down 53-52. Melo had 26 points on 11-15 shooting, while the rest of the New York roster was 9-27 for their other 26.

Anthony cooled off significantly in the third quarter, scoring just 4 points as Houston reestablished their lead. That was okay, though, as Bargnani and JR Smith (15 points, 4-16 shooting) hit some jumpers to keep Houston from pulling away. In the fourth, Lin helped pushed the Rockets’ lead as high as 8 points before Carmelo went back to abusing Houston’s defense. Dude was so hot that he couldn’t even miss a free throw intentionally to try to extend the game, letting the Rockets escape victorious.

Warriors (6-3) 116, Thunder (5-3) 115

I take back what I said yesterday: Warriors-Thunder is the Playoff series we all deserve to see. The Dubs pulled out a buzzer-beating victory over Oklahoma City, thanks to Andre Iguodala’s heroics. With the clock running down, Dre (14 points on 5-6 shooting, 9 assists) calmly drilled a baseline turnaround to give Golden State the win, sending fans at the Roaracle home euphoric.

These two Western Conference contenders went back and forth at each other all night, totally immune to the cold streaks that plague normal basketball teams. The game was close pretty much throughout, with the lead changing hands 16 times, including twice in the final seconds. The Thunder, led by Reggie Jackson’s aggression in the fourth, shot their way back into it after going down by as many as 12 early the in quarter. Jackson (12 points) scored 8 of the Thunder’s first 12 points of the fourth, and a couple of timely threes by Kevin Durant (20 points on just 13 shots, 8 assists, 7 rebounds) and Thabo Sefolosha got OKC within striking distance. With the clock running down under 5 seconds, the Thunder gave the ball to Russell Westbrook (31 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists), and he delivered what appeared to be a back-breaking three pointer from way behind the arc, putting OKC up one. The 2.3 seconds left on the clock were just enough for the Warriors, who inbounded the ball to Iguodala for his clutch jumper.

The first half was just as fun as you could have hoped for, with both teams unable to miss. The two teams combined to hit their first 8 three-pointers, and the pace barely slowed from there. First half three-point shooting? 15-22! That’s from the NBA three-point line, by the way. Both teams were over 50 percent from the field, and went into half with the score tied 62-62. Russ and KD combined for 29 first half points, while Klay Thompson had 14 and Steph Curry had 12 and 6 assists. There were all sorts of beautiful offensive moves, but KD going Dirk 2.0 had to be the nicest.

KDshot

Golden State looked to be pulling away after halftime. Thompson (27 points, 10-15 shooting and 6-9 from three) drained two quick threes, followed by Curry (9 points in the third, 22 on 4-8 from three and 9 assists for the game) making magic for himself and his teammates. When the Thunder drew within two, it was Iguodala and Harrison Barnes (16 points) who responded. Those two combined to close the third quarter on an 11-4 run for Golden State.

The final box score shows some gaudy numbers. OKC assisted on just under 50 percent of their made field goals, while that number was nearly 58 percent for Golden State. The Warriors also shot a ridiculous 14-23 (60.9 percent) from deep. The Thunder weren’t too bad themselves, knocking down over 40 percent of their triples. Serge Ibaka, a night after getting tossed from the Clippers game, bounced back strong, going for 27 points, 13 boards and 3 blocks.

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  • i_ball

    To be fair i think Melo should have had a 4 point play.

    And if Barginani gets in the highlights on defense NY deserves to win the game.

  • christianbullen

    first I was like damn Westbrook is that dude. then I was like IGUODALLAAAAAA. awesome game

  • Max

    Bargs the Dwight stopper lol

  • http://twitter.com/niQknacks niQ

    That Bargs blocking Dwight gif. Already immortalized on teh internetz.

  • Stepfan Raiford

    1.Jeremy Lin sixth man of year!!!!??

    2.Knicks pick and roll defense without Tyson Chandler is laughable.

    3.Andrea Bargnani locked up Dwight Howard. Outplayed him on both ends of the court. Please take away his “best center in the league” title away from him; He has not one go-to move or counter? So clueless in the post? Maybe I need to give him more time with Hakeem and McHale, but after last nights performance its just hard to defend/consider him the best center in the league.

    4.Harrison Barnes post game though.

    5. I want a WCF of OKC vs Golden State. Whoever has homecourt will win that series. Great game. Great finish.

  • spit hot fiyah

    that andrea gif was too positive, we need to balance things out here

    http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/196c1bbetb5yhgif/ku-xlarge.gif

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    JR Smith’s reaction is so damn perfect.

  • spit hot fiyah

    the ball is not even in the hoop before their bad body language starts kicking in

  • Max

    The Rockets always let teams get back into games.
    New York’s defensive transition was just awful..

  • pposse

    Bargs is a defensive juggernaut

  • bringbackthesonics

    Please be joking…

  • Slick Ric

    There’s so much parity in the league right now, intrigued to see how things shape out a month from now.

  • http://signup.divinerenergy.com/ Anthony Dixon

    was last night

  • http://signup.divinerenergy.com/ Anthony Dixon

    Lin will be traded so nah.

  • spit hot fiyah

    btw, since i brought up wroten yesterday. demarre carrol is starting for the hawks. wasn’t he drafted by memphis?

  • Dagger

    For years Bargnani has played pretty good individual defense in the post when he wanted to. For years that has surprised people. His help defense, however, has always been perhaps the worst in the league. He demonstrated both the good and the bad last night.

    With that said, the attention on Bargnani is letting Howard off the hook. Howard is a very good player, but his flaws are really hurting his team. He still doesn’t post up consistently; he still can’t make his free throws. At this point he looks more like the league’s best role player than a genuine franchise player.

  • brothasdontsurf

    Dwight is STRONG, but he never has learned how to earn inside position while trying to post up. He has about 3 moves in his mind that he’s half-confident about. He can spend all of the summers w/ Akeem that he wants, but unless you’re Shaq most of your work needs to happen before getting the ball.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Dwight Howard loses flexibility, and thus athleticism, and adds zero wrinkles to his game. .
    it seems like others give more f*cks about Dwight’s ability to play basketball then Dwight does. i really hope he doesn’t wind up our generations Derrick Coleman.

  • Slick Ric

    LOL……He looked at JR like, dude what are you doing.

  • Stepfan Raiford

    Great analogy.

  • Vince Gully

    Derrick Coleman actually had skills though.

  • Vince Gully

    I bet Hakeem was looking on in horror and disgust as he was watching Dwight get shut down by Bargnani. He was probably yelling “Dwight, did you not learn ANYTHING over the summer???”

  • bringbackthesonics

    thats fair, but he has to show consistency before being considered a ‘juggernaught’

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    word? i never knew that!
    .
    i’m just talking about not fulfilling potential. While Derrick Coleman had “skills” – Dwight is a far superior defender, and equally productive offensive player. The point was just about potential, but if you want to get into the semantics, Coleman wasn’t as good of a player.

  • bringbackthesonics

    oh and his help d is so atrocious that i doubt he would be able to attain that status

  • spit hot fiyah

    i was just going to say. dwight’s career achievements eclipse coleman’s by a lot. but if we are talking about unfulfilled potential then yes, they could be similar if dwight doesn’t do a lot of significant things from this point

  • guest

    great start to the season!

  • brothasdontsurf

    Dwight would have just giggled too

  • LakeShow

    Andre Iguodala is too perfect for the Warriors.

    Steph is a solid point guard, but for the most part he’s a shooting guard playing point.
    Iguodala is a point guard that is best served at the small forward spot.

    They’re tailor made for each other.

    The Warriors need Bogut to be healthy. If he is come June, I see them going to the West Finals.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk
  • LakeShow

    Sorry, meant STAY healthy.

  • theDankerNuggets

    Having Iggy + a healthy Bogut and a confident Harrison Barnes makes the Warriors such a scary team, I definitely agree they can be a contender

  • pposse

    ofcourse, but that ish was so funny last night, it reminded me of when Borris Diaw was turning himself into the Lebron stopper during the finals

  • pposse

    it had to have bruised his ego a little for Kevin McHale to wait until after the 2 minn. mark to put him back in the game when everyone knows (without hack-adwight) he would have been put back into the game around the 4 or 3 minute mark.

  • Matisse

    I hope these gifs are a recurring theme this year. This is hysterical.

  • davidR

    that was one of the best games i’ve ever seen. sick offense, great pacing, refs letting them play, crowd was into it, 2 game winners, AND it’s only like the 8th game into the season. i really hope they run into each other in the WCF.

    some of those curry step backs were nasty as hell

  • davidR

    they definitely can be, but they seem to rely a lot on making hard shots. they were on fire last night, but those shots won’t always fall.

    just my only critique of them. they do move the ball pretty well however, so i’m not toooo worried

  • Inceoptor

    Bargs has always been an ok to above average man to man defender, his weakness lies in his help d.

  • Inceptor

    By weakness I mean non-existent…

  • theDankerNuggets

    Yeah that’s true, it just seems that now with Barnes really looking confident on offense they have too many weapons for teams to be able to slow them down, they usually have three or four guys on the court at a time that can create offense and it’s risky to try to double any of them with all of their shooters.

  • Max

    He was..
    Sam Young also started a couple of games for Indy last season I think.

  • JoeMaMa

    Guys….Coleman was getting 20/10 on no effort at all. If he’d put in serious work, I guarantee that he would’ve been a top 10 player throughout the 90s. Worst attitude regarding team dynamics, work ethic, practice habits. Man…DC could’ve been a game changer. I’d say 25 and 12, with 4 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal.
    And DC was better at offence than Dwight. Dwight has no skills in the post. SVG did WONDERS for him.

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