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Friday, November 8th, 2013 at 9:00 am  |  36 responses

Post Up: Take That

Wade pushes Miami past the Clippers, Lakers get last-second W over Dwight and Co.

by Brett Weisband | @weisband

Heat 102 (4-2), Clippers 97 (3-3)

In one of the biggest matchups of the young season, Dwyane Wade looked like his old self, putting up 29 points on 13-22 shooting, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and a block as the Heat dispatched the Clippers.

Miami got out to another slow start in this one, spotting the Clippers 7 points before finally netting a bucket. JJ Redick continued a trend of hot first quarters for LA. He came in averaging 9.2 points in the first, and upped that average by scoring 10 to open the game, although he scored just 5 points the rest of the way. The Clippers defensive issues were glaring from the start: Miami shot over 62 percent in the first, and didn’t even look like they were playing well in doing so. Things didn’t cool off a bit for the Heat in the second quarter – they finished the half shooting 60 percent. The Clippers forced some turnovers (13 in the first half) to cope with Miami’s shooting, but they didn’t have any answer for no. 3. DWade went to the locker room at halftime with 14 points on 6-8 shooting. Blake Griffin (27 points, 14 rebounds) picked up the scoring where Redick left off in the second quarter, and went into halftime with 13 points and 6 rebounds, and the Clippers held a 56-52 lead after two quarters.

Things remained tight in the third quarter, as both defenses locked in (relatively). The Heat drew several charges and forced a couple of shot clock violations in the third, throwing the Clippers offense out of sync. The Heat kept Chris Paul (11 points and 12 assists, with just 3 dimes in the second half) out of the paint, limiting him as both a scorer and playmaker. LeBron James (18 points on 6-13 shooting, 6 assists, 5 rebounds) finally started to make his impact felt in the third, scoring 5 points and notching an assist in the frame. The Heat snatched the lead back with him on the bench at the end of the third.

They stretched that lead with LeBron still resting to start the fourth, with Wade leading the push. He got easy dunks, jumpers and assists as Miami went up by as much as 8 with Bron out. Jamal Crawford did what he does, though, knocking down jumpers to keep the Clips in it, but the Heat held them at arm’s length for the win.


Nuggets 109 (1-3), Hawks 107 (2-3)

A season after winning a franchise-record 57 games, the Nuggets avoided the distinction of being the last team to notch a win in the 2013-14 season, pulling one out at home over the Hawks. They withstood a huge effort from Paul Millsap, who put up 29 points and 10 boards for the Hawks.

After an up-and-down first half that saw the Hawks go up by as many as 10 and the Nuggets later building a 9-point margin, the Nuggets took a 54-51 lead into halftime. Denver got a balanced scoring effort. Six players had between 5-8 points, and four tied for the halftime lead at 8. The Hawks big man combo of Al Horford and Millsap were both big in the first half, combining for 26 points and 9 rebounds.

Horford (21 points, 9 rebounds) came out of halftime firing, putting up 4 quick points for the Hawks. Defense was not at a premium in this one, as both teams found themselves scoring on open jumpers, layups and runouts off of turnovers.

Denver fell behind early in the fourth, as can happen when you’re counting on Nate Robinson (15 points, 5-11 shooting) to generate your offense. Andre Miller (7 points, 7 assists) came through big as the quarter wore on, hitting a big triple to draw the Nuggets within one, and making a slithering layup to keep the Nuggets in it. The biggest basket of the game came from Ty Lawson, who led Denver with 23 points, with just under a minute to go. He took a pass from Professor Miller coming off a curl and knocked down a three to put Denver up 107-102. With under 10 seconds to go, Millsap had a chance to tie it for the Hawks, but missed the first of two free throws. Robinson then had a shot to put Denver up three from the line, and he bricked his second free throw. The Nugs escaped with the W when Atlanta missed jumpers by Millsap and Horford in the final seconds of the game.

Lakers 99 (3-1), Rockets 98 (4-2)

They nearly blew it, but the Lakers exacted some measure of revenge on Dwight Howard (15 points, 14 rebounds) as they pulled out a fall-from-ahead win. After Houston came back strong in the second half, Steve Blake nailed a dagger to win it for LA.

The Lakers hopped out to a big lead early, going up by 15 toward the end of the first quarter. Blake (14 points, 4-6 from deep) had an explosive start to the game, hitting a trio of corner three pointers in the first quarter. Everything was falling for the Lakers early, as they hit 6-9 threes in the first. They stretched their lead as far as 19 points in the first half, and sustain a double-digit margin through halftime. Houston’s defense, which logic says should be vastly improved from last year with the addition of Dwight Howard, definitely was not good in this game. The Lakers shot 50 percent and a ridiculous 78 percent (11-14) from three in the first half and led by 14 at the break, despite James Harden’s 20 points. It’s safe to say that it is not good when you’re getting burned by the likes of Blake and Jodie Meeks (18 points, 5-7 from three).

Houston finally got it under 10 with five minutes to go in the third, but the defense didn’t improve all that much, as the Lakers kept finding shooters wide open around the perimeter. Harden was one of the main culprits in letting his man get away from him, nearly offsetting the damage he inflicted on the offensive end, where he finished with 35 points and 5 assists. Despite their defensive shortcomings, Houston managed to stay in the game thanks to a massive free throw disparity. Through three quarters, the Rockets had a 36-10 edge from the line (finishing the game 52-15 in that department, although we’ll get to that).

The Rockets fought all the way back to tie it up early in the fourth on two Harden baskets. Things got really sloppy for the next few minutes, with turnovers, batted passes and clanked shots becoming the norm. The Lakers, after hitting 12 of their first 15 three-point attempts, went on to shoot 4-20 from deep the rest of the way, even though many of the shots were wide open.

Chandler Parsons (16 points)  came up huge down the stretch, nailing a tough fadeaway jumper and rolling down the lane for a dunk to give the Rockets their first lead since the game’s opening minutes.

Unfortunately, fans were subjected to the slog of intentional fouls on Howard, and he went 5-12 from the line in the fourth quarter. Houston held a slim lead in the final minute when Parsons made the mistake of inbounding the ball to Howard, who, of course, was fouled and missed both at the line. He made up for it by destroying Wes Johnson’s shot attempt at the basket right after, preserving the lead.

Dwightfoul

The Rockets’ effort ended up being in vain, though. After Harden bricked a long jumper attempt, the Lakers nearly threw the game away. On the ensuing inbounds play, Blake got wide open off of a screen and splashed in the winning three over Dwight’s outstretched hand.

Solace for Houston fans: Chandler Parsons threw down the dunk of the night.

Handsomedunk

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  • RunMoreThanYourMouth

    Loved what the TNT guys were saying about Dwight last night. After how everything went down in LA last season, he should have come out ready to demand the ball and dominate the game. He came out smiling and giggling with former teammates. Pau Gasol was more serious about the game than Dwight was as if he was the one who was playing against his former team. The Lakers had no business beating the Rockets last night. Harden played well. It’s too bad Dwight didn’t show up the way he should have to help him out.

  • pposse

    imo mario chalmers is a borderline elite defender at the pg position. At times last night he was smothering CP3 and really took advantage of his length, height, strength over him.

  • Sérgio

    Oh, boy… SUCK IT, DWIGHT MOTHAF#CKA!!!

    I know it was only one game, but it was sweet as chocolate to see Howard struggling mightly against LA and preventing his team to win. Also, props for D’Antoni for hitting the clown in his weakest spot.

  • Hursty

    Houston did not deserve to win that game. Hopefully (as a Rockets supporter), this gives them a kick in the pants. They have started off well in only 1 game of 6. It’s not the offense that should bother them. It’s the defensive intensity by Harden, Lin and Parsons. Harden especially. (Parsons is a solid man to man defender. But gets caught looking too often as a help defender.)
    It’s very frustrating. Guys either don’t know what they’re doing, or they just don’t care enough to do it. Casspi and Garcia are trying to dribble around too much, when they should just take the shots available to them. They’re both excellent shooters. Take the 3 when Blake or Nash or Henry closes out on them. Grr. Know your role.
    The more I think about that game, the more I’m glad “we” lost. They’ve been able to win games on sporadic high intensity effort. Must be more consistent. Hopefully it gets better. (I’m sure it will. Because if it doesn’t, this team is going to get pieces moved around. Morey won’t stand still.)

  • Hursty

    Dwight and Omer and Beverley were the only 3 Rockets to play (at minimum) average defense. Harden damn near lost the Rockets the game on defence by himself.

  • Max

    Lmao, that GIF of Dwight running from the Lakers is awesome haha.
    See what I did there?

  • RunMoreThanYourMouth

    I’m talking about offensively. It didn’t look like he worked on a single post move last night. Barreling into Pau Gasol. He just didn’t want it. It’s his attitude. Not the attitude of a player you can build a championship team around.

  • Max

    Yeah it should be clear that the Chalmers/Cole duo is one of the best defensive tandem’s at the point guard position.

  • Stepfan Raiford

    Clippers offense when the game slows down is much to be desired. It’s either pick and roll and when that not there its CP3 trying to create something by over dribbling. The champs defense on him was impressive. And as much as I hate on Blake, I thought he played well last night. I just wish that when they run that pick and pop with I want him to look to shoot the elbow jumper than rather to pass to the corner three.

    Now on to the Rockets. The twin towers experiment isn’t working. Rockets either need a stretch four to work out their spacing issues or give Terrance Jones some burn; but its obvious the coaching staff doesn’t trust him. I don’t want to sound like a hater, but Dwight Howard is a liability. Never understood why they consider him dominate. I don’t understand how the Rockets aspire to be champions when all they want to do is outscore you and have no commitment on defense.

    Props to the all the “lottery” teams for playing hard thus far into the season; Suns, Sixers, Lakers, Magic etc. I believe it helps the brand when even the bad teams give a great effort on the court night in and night out.

  • Hursty

    I wouldn’t say Gasol was exactly a bastion of strength for the Lakers either though. 10% shooting, 0 FT attempts, 3 TO’s. No blocks or steals.
    Dwight doesn’t look bad on a 1:1 post up. He just doesn’t look good.

  • underdog

    Ladies and gentleman, the so-called best center in the game today! SMH.

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

    Chris Paul should have signed with the Pacers.

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

    Yea he did, but they also trapped him every time in the second half.

  • pposse

    thats what they should do tho, no other guy in the clipper starting lineup can even handle the ball really. J J Redick is not really known for his handles, i would take my chances with him bringing the ball up the court or force him to initiate offense.

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

    true, Doc should have put Crawford into counter even though Reddick was hitting.

  • ratguts

    harden blows off lin (slam, you should use that as a headline) down the stretch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-c9dClaPKgk#t=6

  • Brett Weisband

    Watching Redick pull up instead of driving at LeBron was hilarious. Dude doesn’t trust his dribble (or finishing ability) enough to go at the King.

  • Harvey

    If the Rockets weren’t as solely focused on Nash at the very end, they may have prevented Blake getting a free look. Or, even better, they shoulda had someone defending the inbound pass!!
    - I don’t know what is going on with the Hawks; they should be much better than this.

  • J

    And how would they have accomplished that from a salary standpoint?

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

    CP would have to take an pay cut

  • CKLOH

    “They nearly blew it” and “the refs cheated after LA went up twenty” are two entirely different forms of truth. In fact, the former isn’t one at all.

    52-16 is a disgrace (though all sixteen of Howard’s were boons, of course).

  • CKLOH

    Gasol did conserve most of his energy for the defensive end, but you cannot have watched the game, experienced “52-16″, and seriously think that there weren’t obvious biases at play.

  • CKLOH

    His suppression was more of a result of Miami’s bigs adeptly flanking/trapping Paul on the sidelines/corners than Chalmers or Cole simply sagging in front of Paul. He also missed a LOT of open scoring opportunities (something he’d never do against the Lakers, of course).

    Speaks to LAC’s IQ when they’re setting screens at the 45 instead of the elbow or the direct arc. The boundaries make trapping so much simpler, they’re a tertiary defender.

  • CKLOH

    They would be unstoppable.

  • Brett Weisband

    LA was bombing away from three, tough to get foul calls out there. Also doesn’t help that they have literally zero guys who can get to the rim.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    remember the Hibbert/George defense conversation from yesterday?
    .
    yeah ….. loook,
    .
    “@TomHaberstroh: With Paul George & Roy Hibbert on the floor, the Pacers are allowing just 71.2 points per 100 possessions.”

  • CKLOH

    Houston took 27 threes. The refs (including the ever-useless Dan Crawford) had LA in the bonus less than four minutes into the second. Not to mention the third quarter entire. I mean, there’s obvious and there’s a mallet connecting directly with your face.

    Nash, Gasol, and Hill were fouled multiple times without avail.

  • spit hot fiyah

    it’s a microcosm of this past summer

  • Sérgio

    Christ!

  • spit hot fiyah

    he should have signed with miami if he was ready to play for the minimum

  • LakeShow

    That’s roughly…unheard of.

  • LakeShow

    I think I saw Mitch grab at his jersey from the sideline.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Lol “roughly” ….. if you want to be gentle about it

  • Brett Weisband

    A huge percentage of LA’s two-point attempts were from mid-range, whereas Houston takes almost no shots from that area. Not saying every call that went the Rockets’ way was legit, but you get calls when you attack the rim.

  • pposse

    he had the perfect angle to show off that vertical leap of his!

  • pposse

    Harden was being extremely lazy and dumb on this sequence.

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