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Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 at 9:00 am  |  60 responses

Post Up: Undefeated

The Pacers moved to 8-0 behind Lance Stephenson’s triple-double on Monday.

by Leo Sepkowitz | @LeoSepkowitz

Monday night saw the Pacers stay perfect, the Rockets outlast the Raptors and the Clippers juuuuust avoid choking against Minnesota. Let’s dive in.

Pacers (8-0) 95, Grizzlies (3-4) 79

The Pacers are really, really, really good. They held the Grizzlies to just 16 points in each of the first and third quarters last night, and destroyed Memphis on the glass (45-32).

Lance Stephenson triple-doubled with 13 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds. He committed just one turnover, knocked down 3 threes and led the team in minutes with 34. His ascension has been an amazing one, going from highly touted recruit to second-round pick to benchwarmer to defensive wiz to, maybe, an all-around star. He’s the shooting guard of the future for Indiana, regardless of Danny Granger’s health.

Paul George isn’t bad, either, and dropped 23 on the Grizz. He added 7 boards and got to the stripe 6 times. He’s been as god as any player in the League this season (LeBron included). David West, George Hill, Luis Scola and Ian Mahinmi each scored in double figures.

Memphis, now 0-3 away from home, just couldn’t get anything going offensively. Marc Gasol led the team with 15 points, Zach Randolph shot 6/12 for 12 points with 6 rebounds and Mike Conley hit just 4/11 shots with 2 dimes. We should all be very afraid of Indiana.

Rockets (5-3) 110, Raptors (3-5) 104 (2OT)

Toronto managed just 33 first-half points last night, but bounced back in the second half and took a one-point lead with 40 seconds left in regulation. On the following Rockets’ possession, James Harden split a pair of free throws to force overtime.

In the first OT, Houston led by three in the closing seconds when Rudy Gay, whose draft rights were traded by Houston to Memphis back in ’06, sank a three at the buzzer to knot the score again.

The Rockets finally managed to close the game out in its sixth period, as they held the Raptors scoreless for the final 1:49.

Lin led all scorers with 31 off the bench in 46 minutes while Patrick Beverley started at point guard but struggled greatly (24 minutes, 1 point, 0 assists). Lin obviously outplayed him, but that might serve to further lock Lin into his new sixth man role, rather than start a point guard controversy.

Meanwhile, James Harden double-doubled with 26 points and 10 assists, while Dwight Howard did the same in very different fashion—18 points and 24 rebounds, including 6 off of the offensive glass. He also swatted 5 shots in 45 minutes and has posted some mammoth stat lines the likes of which we rarely saw from D12 last season. It’s nice to have him back.

Toronto was led by Rudy Gay’s 29 points on… how do I put this… thirty-seven shots. DeMar DeRozan launched 25 shots of his own and scored 22 points, while Kyle Lowry shot just 6/16 and somehow didn’t attempt a free throw despite playing 48 minutes in total. Each of Gay, Amir Johnson (10 points) and Jonas Valanciunas (10 points) snagged at least 10 rebounds.

Bulls (3-3) 96, Cavs (3-5) 81

Cleveland cut down a big deficit early in the fourth quarter, but Chicago pulled away in the final minutes last night.

Derrick Rose scored 16 points with 7 assists, but he made just 8/21 shots and didn’t get to the free throw line. He also left early with what seems like a minor hamstring injury, so in all it was something of a mixed bag for the former MVP. D-Rose has looked rusty this season, but the Bulls have plenty of time to figure things out in a surprisingly shallow East.

Carlos Boozer led the team in scoring with 17 and added 7 boards and 4 assists. Jimmy Butler and Luol Deng combined to make only 7/25 shots, but Chicago held Cleveland to 41.3 shooting on the night.

That had a lot to do with Kyrie Irving, who was scoreless at halftime and finished 5/19 with 16 points. On the bright side, Tristan Thompson double-doubled yet again and Andrew Bynum started and played 21 solid minutes (11 points, 6 boards, 2 blocks).

Hawks (4-3) 103, Bobcats (3-4) 94

Charlotte led at the break last night, but a 26-7 third quarter run by Atlanta allowed the Hawks to pull away.

Al Horford paced the team with 24 points and Cartier Martin came off the bench to score 16 points in 20 minutes, including a pair of treys in the final two minutes of the third. Jeff Teague posted 14 points and 12 dimes. He’s double-doubled in five of seven games so far this season, and had 24 points and 9 dimes in the Hawks’ opener. They certainly made the right call re-signing him this summer, and it seems like he’s clicking with new coach Mike Budenholzer.

Seven players scored at least 10 points for the Bobcats, led by Josh McRoberts, who finished with 19, 6 rebounds and 7 assists. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added 16 points with 6 boards.

Spurs (7-1) 109, 76ers (4-4) 85

San Antonio played without Tim Duncan last night, but they didn’t need him. The Spurs jumped out to a 31-13 advantage after one quarter, and the Sixers never made it interesting.

The Spurs spread the wealth, with 10 players scoring at least 6 points and zero players scoring 20 points. They knocked down 13 threes, including 5 from Danny Green, who finished with a team-high 18 points. Tony Parker went for 14 and 9 and Kawhi Leonard scored 13 with 8 rebounds.

Philly got 20 from Evan Turner and 17 and 13 from Spencer Hawes, but Michael Carter-Williams (2/11, 8 points) and Thaddeus Young (3/7, 7 points) both struggled. The Sixers have dropped four outta five since their 3-0 start.

Celtics (4-4) 120, Magic (3-5) 105

Boston has turned around an 0-4 start in impression fashion.

Last night, the Celtics offense clicked against a pretty decent Orlando squad. The team shot 60 percent overall and 13/15 from the free throw line. Avery Bradley led the team in scoring with 24 (10/15), and Jordan Crawford ran a surprisingly efficient point guard on his way to 16 points and 10 assists. Jeff Green and Kelly Olynyk (7 rebounds, 5 assists) each scored 16 points, and Olynyk looked especially sharp in the W. His rookie campaign is off to a solid start.

Seven Magic players scored in double-figures, but it’s tough to win when you give up 120 points on the road. Nikola Vucevic double-doubled with 15 & 10, Arron Afflalo scored 18 with 7 assists and Victor Oladipo came off the bench to shoot 7/17 with 17 points. Orlando is 3-1 at home and 0-4 on the road.

Nuggets (2-4) 100, Jazz (0-8) 81

Utah trailed 70-68 after three quarters before getting smoked in the fourth. Denver closed on a 25-7 run.

The Nuggets’ offense was solid, getting double-doubles from Ty Lawson (17 and 10) and Kenneth Faried (15 and 13). JJ Hickson scored 14 points with 9 rebounds in 29 minutes, and he figures to handle a major role in JaVale McGee’s absence.

Utah’s numbers perfectly outline why this team will likely be among the NBA’s worst two or three this season. Gordon Hayward dropped 22, Derrick Favors went off for 21, 13 and 3 stuffs, Enes Kanter was okay with 12 points and 4 boards and everybody else was brutally bad. Richard Jefferson shot 2/10; John Lucas III shot 2/8; Alec Burks shot 2/9; Jamaal Tinsley and Marvin Williams added next to nothing in a combined 30 minutes.

The Jazz are the League’s last remaining winless team, and face the Pelicans (twice), Warriors (twice), Spurs, Mavericks, Thunder and Bulls over their next eight games. They then get two games against the Suns, followed by three against the Rockets, Pacers and Blazers. They could be looking at an 0-21 start if they don’t take one of the games against Phoenix at the end of the month.

Blazers (5-2) 109, Pistons (2-4) 103

Don’t look now, but Portland is playing really good ball. Last night, they held off a late push from Detroit behind 25 from Damian Lillard. He knocked down 5 treys and handed out 5 assists. LaMarcus Aldridge kicked in 18 and 12, Robin Lopez posted a big 17 and 10 and Mo Williams delivered 17 points off the bench. The Blazers got absolutely nothing from their reserves last season, but the core of Mo, Dorell Wright (11), Joel Freeland and Thomas Robinson has added some much needed punch to the team.

Meanwhile, Detroit got 28 from Brandon Jennings, 19 from Greg Monroe and a massive 16 & 16 from Andre Drummond. Still, the defense was brutal—Portland shot over 51 percent overall and 11/23 from deep—and it cost them on Monday night. The Pistons have now lost three in a row, but the Ls have come at the hands of Indiana, Oklahoma City and Portland. I’m certainly not ready to give up on Lob City East.

Clippers (5-3) 109, Timberwolves (5-3) 107

Blake Griffin miraculously hit a pair of free throws with under a minute left to put LA up four on Monday, but a bucket and a stop gave the TWolves the ball back with about six seconds left down two. But Kevin Martin, Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Love each missed game-tying chances in the waning seconds.

Griffin finished with 25, 10 and 5 dimes, continuing his monster start to the season. He seemed to regress in the two years following his rookie campaign, but he’s back to being a 20 and 10 guy so far in ’13-14. Chris Paul scored 21 with 11 dimes and 4 steals, extending his season-opening double-double streak to eight games. (This makes me very happy.) DeAndre Jordan joined the double-double-fest with 14 points and 11 rebounds. The Clippers shot 55 percent overall.

Did somebody say double-double-fest? Love posted 23 and 19 (and 7 dimes) for Minnesota, who also got 25 and 10 from Pek. That’s a hell of a duo. Martin continued his torrid scoring pace with 30 on 22 shots. Ricky Rubio handed out 10 assists, but made just 2/6 shots. He’s shot better than 34 percent in only two of Minnesota’s eight games thus far. The TWolves are the real deal, and look like they’ll be competing for a 4-6 seed in the West, rather than just clawing their way into the eighth spot.

Bonus: Vintage Show Of The Day

This season, I’ll be posting a semi-random highlight video of a former baller at the bottom of my Post Ups. Today, Magic gets the honor. Enjoy this ridiculous compilation of his greatest passes, the best of which is impossible to pick. (2:53 is irresistibly awesome and 3:19 is not on the charts.)

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  • spit hot fiyah

    jordan crawford had 10 assist and zero turnovers in the same game. this actually happened in our lifetimes.

  • spit hot fiyah

    nbk, bargs will not get outdone when it comes to defensive futility

    http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/1961rh2sp2xwmgif/original.gif

  • pposse

    kyrie irving likes to padd his stats. We seen that three pter your put up at the end of the game for no good reason, plus D Rose dominated him defensively!

  • shockexchange

    In the Shock Exchange’ opinion, after SLAM put him in the top 10, Kyrie has a bullseye on his back.

  • pposse

    thats right, forget calling him Kyrie we should just call him ‘#9′ from now on

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i am just speechless

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    .

  • LLC#12

    Most D I’ve ever seen him play

  • shockexchange

    Like #86 o #99 from “Get Smart” … hilarious.

  • playa

    Wow,just watching the box score from raptors-rockets game i get so disgusted i almost throw up…..how long the trend of rudy-demar shooting 40-50 shots and jonas attempting 4-6 will continue???What the hell is wrong with this club??!!

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    That’s just pathetic

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    Huh?!

  • Max

    Crazy right, I mean they were 17/62 together..

  • Max

    lol These gifs are great.

  • Max

    There were 5 airballs in the first 15 minutes of the Bulls – Cavs game..

  • troy

    Clown azz. Where was all this bragging when Rose got dominated by rooks like MCW? And he still played like crap.

  • pposse

    so your saying that i should be ‘braggign when Rose got dominated by rooks like MCW’ – what world are you from? Im curious to know which universe that makes sense.

  • http://twitter.com/niQknacks niQ

    Looks like the Pacers are for real.

  • http://twitter.com/niQknacks niQ

    Leonard missed. Looks like it worked.

  • troy

    I’m saying your all quiet when Rose loses and plays like crap, but you talk crap about other pgs like Rose has no equal when the Bulls get a w. And its not even like his frail azz played well last night.

  • pposse

    he hasn’t been playing well no doubt, but this is only game 6. From my take, he just aint putting it all together in a game yet. The defense was on display last night. Kyrie was easily checked by Rose, I think the only bucket he got in the game when Rose was in the game was on a transition opportuity, other then that Rose was leading Kyrie into Noah and Kyrie obliged by throwing up brickes air balls, turnovers etc.

  • LLC#12

    A rare Joel Freeland mention! As an Englishman I enjoyed that. Also, Bynum was not good defensively, he just struggles to move laterally so badly, pick and rolls and cuts are just more than he can handle. Offensively he was solid though.

  • troy

    You are right, it is only 6 games into the season so why you are hyping Rose like he’s some defensive stalwart is beyond me. Kyrie has been off lately as well. And we all saw already that Roae wasn’t really shutting other pgs down.

  • The Fury

    Lol, top that JR!!

  • deafballer

    Why oh why did the raptors keep dumping the ball to Gay when he was bricking shots like never seen before? And also, when harden had a chance to win the game but airballed it into a triple team, Lin was standing behind him wiiiidddeee open. Lin finished with a decently efficient 31, maybe give him the damn ball.

  • pposse

    The bigger the name, the harder they fall when going against the bulls and D Rose in particular !

  • Sérgio

    Seriously, why a Guy so athletic like Gay doesn’t go to the line?

  • pposse

    i gotta agree. for all the criticism Linn gets it can’t be easy to drop 31 pts in the nba ever. I wonder how many current players in the league dropped 30 plus in an nba game. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was less than 10% of the total amount of players in the league.

  • troy

    Well man, one thing is for sure. Your definitely a true fan.

  • pposse

    someone needs to beat curious paul george and the pacers immediately.

  • LakeShow

    Harden is being a b*tch these days.

    Needs to pull his head out his ass.

    One season of super stardom and he thinks he doesn’t need to play defense or be a good team mate.

  • LakeShow

    Because he doesn’t penetrate and make contact.

    Oh that was probably rhetorical right? haha

  • Sérgio

    Hahahahaha…. yeah, but that was a good one.

  • LakeShow

    This f*cking Knicks team is straight fodder for us to chew on all day.

  • LakeShow
  • LakeShow

    -Rudy F*cking Gay and DeMar F*cking Derozen congratulations. You suck.

    -Can someone describe Pat Beverly’s offensive game? Does he have one? He’s been awful all year. He’s averaging 8 points and less than 2 assists on 34% shooting…

    -Lance Stephenson is showing how good a crack head can be in the NBA (ode to ppoosse)

    -Why are the Rockets still starting Asik?? McHale this isn’t 1980…

    -Sounds strange, but the Clippers are lucky to have Matt Barnes back. Great rebounder, solid defender, and he can hit timely buckets from anywhere on the floor… and likes to run. Perfect for the Clipps.

    -Who was the guy that was dissin Lin, and I was telling him about Lin being better off the bench and averaging around 15ppg from there?

    He’s averaging 16-4-2-2 on 55% and 45%

    Now, why he had ZERO assists in over 45mins of play… I don’t know haha.

    -Kevin Martin with his least efficient game of the season… and still highly efficient haha. I bet the Thunder are pissed that he is showing out for the Wolves, but I guess that is more Adelman vs Brooks than anything.

    -Thinking about doing a daily Kevin Love stats update just because they are so pretty. [ 26-15-5 on 47% and 36% and 85% from the line ]

    Sorry SLAM, but K-Love got the better of Griff. (individually)

  • LakeShow

    The biggest name is Chris Paul… He does great against Rose.

  • pposse

    tune in on 11/24 at 3:30pm sir. Tip off followed by an imminent face plant from Chris Paul will occur!

  • i_ball

    My fantasy team hopes not long!

  • LakeShow

    Stop doing this to yourself lol.

    Stop making these dates by which Derrick Rose will be better than Chris Paul…

    Just wait till it happens.

  • pposse

    i can’t help myself the NBA Gametime app helps me get into the game at the swipe of a finger 24/7 days a week

  • LakeShow

    heheh
    Really though, it will bode well for you if you stop putting so much pressure on this situation. Just sayin… Do you though.

  • pposse

    pressure makes diamonds!

  • Enigmatic

    I agree Chris Paul is the best PG in the NBA, but when he and Rose go head to head neither player really gets the better of the other. Rose’s team has yet to lose to a Paul-led team, though.

    In 5 games Rose has averaged 17.6 ppg, 8.6 apg, 5.2 rpg and 40.2 FG% to Paul’s 18.4 ppg, 9.0 apg, 3.2 rpg and 50.7 FG%.

    Obviously, Paul destroys Rose in the efficiency category, no surprise there, but other than that and the first time they played against each other when a rookie Rose had just 4 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds to Paul’s 29, 6 and 6, there really hasn’t been another time one player really outplayed the other.

  • LakeShow

    I’ve looked over those same stats before.

    I didn’t say that Paul “kills” Rose, or outplays him greatly, but he does outplay him slightly and is the all around better player IMO. To which I think you agree.

    I’m just trying to advocate for truth, not against Rose.

    Rose will most likely be the best PG by the end of the season(or at worse end of next season). I really do believe that.

    It’s just not happened yet, so i’m asking pposse to let an egg hatch.

  • LakeShow

    Been wanting to ask you about Butler.

    What’s going on with Jimmy so far this season? He looks like half the player he was last year from what I’ve seen.

    His averages look fine at 10-5-2-2, but those shooting percentages are awful. Is he trying to do too much or is he just not in rhythm yet? Any idea?

  • pposse

    i think both buth butler and rose are doing too much..and partly butler is not in rhythm just yet. Our backcourt is relying on the three pt line way too much..but yesterday when butler would pumpfake a three pt attempt then take a dribble and shoot the midrange he looked real good.

  • Enigmatic

    Man, the whole damn team is not in rhythm yet. I have no idea what’s going on with any of them. The starting backcourt is shooting a combined 35% and averaging almost 6 turnovers per. I do think Butler might be trying to do too much.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Josh Smith stat count time: 51 2PA 35 3PA 17 FTA 35 Total Rebounds 15 Assists 21 Turnovers 7 Steals 10 Blocks 21 Personal Fouls—

  • Max

    $_$

  • LakeShow

    You keeping it going? Please do.

    Sorry Piston’s fans…

  • LakeShow

    Figured as much.
    We all need to wait another month or two to try and judge anything lol.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    yeah, this will be an all season thing if he keeps playing Small Forward.
    .
    He attempts 2 threes to every free throw!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • LakeShow

    Leo, I love that Magic highlight vid.

    Keep em coming.

  • LakeShow

    Dear Lord almighty…

  • deafballer

    Seriously. I used to love Harden but the more I watch him play this year, the more his arrogance turns me away from him.

  • deafballer

    couldn’t agree more, I always feel that you should go to the hot hand and Lin was doing it.

  • Mike From Spain

    I see no comments about CP3′s egregious flopping. He’s been warned. And what with Doc Rivers walking to the middle of the court? That is a T. NBA Officiating is a joke.

  • Guest

    A better one: CP3 flops reacting to a Blake Griffin movement http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/1106098/paulf_medium.gif

  • Tarzan Cooper

    the spurs will return to the finals in 14

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