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Thursday, December 26th, 2013 at 9:00 am  |  46 responses

Post Up: Christmas Lights

Rockets, Heat, Warriors shine brightest on League’s big day

by Brett Weisband | @weisband

Bulls (11-16) 95, Nets (9-19) 78

The Nets nightmare season, as Deron Williams called it after this game, continued as Brooklyn got blown out at home on the League’s marquee day. Jimmy Butler scored six points in a 12-0 Bulls run in the third quarter, pushing Chicago to a lead they never came close to giving up. Butler finished with 15 points, five rebounds and four assists after missing the Bulls’ previous game with an ankle injury, and Taj Gibson led Chicago in scoring with 20 points along with eight rebounds and two blocks.

 

Coming into the season, this figured to be a marquee matchup. Of course, both teams have been wracked by injury with the Nets struggles going beyond that. The Bulls managed to shake off the absence of Luol Deng in this one, while the Nets continued to falter with pieces out of the lineup.

The Nets were down 52-50 halfway through the third quarter, but fell behind by 18 by the end of the frame. Brooklyn missed eight straight field goal attempts at the Bulls pulled away. After Chicago’s run, the Nets never got closer than the final margin of 17. The healthy-for-now Williams led Brooklyn with 18, along with four assists, while second-year forward Mirza Teletovic netted an efficient 17 on 7-11 shooting.

Thunder (23-5) 123, Knicks (9-19) 94

Oklahoma City came into the world’s most famous arena and put on a show, much to the dismay of the New York faithful. The Knicks were thoroughly embarrassed by the Thunder, trailing by as many as 31 and being down by double digits from a minute into the second quarter until the final buzzer. They were greeted by boos and, even worse, apathetic silence as OKC ran away with it. Russell Westbrook stuffed his stocking with a triple double, going for 14 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, reaching the achievement midway through the third quarter. Kevin Durant was the top scorer, dropping 29 along with seven boards and six assists for the Thunder.

The Knicks can’t catch a break. After finally getting a full lineup on the floor, New York had to go without Carmelo Anthony (sprained ankle) and Raymond Felton (groin) on the big stage. While the Knicks’ defense wasn’t good with those two out, the defense was even worse, despite Chandler’s presence. New York allowed the Thunder to shoot 53.6 percent from the field and a blistering 54.2 percent from long range (13-24).

The Knicks got their best individual efforts off the bench, with Amar’e Stoudemire scoring a season-high 22 in 27 minutes (although he did post a -18 plus-minus rating) and Tim Hardaway Jr. netting 21. OKC’s star duo got support from Serge Ibaka, who had 24 on 10-14 shooting, and Reggie Jackson, who had 18 off the bench.

Heat (22-6) 101, Lakers (13-16) 95

It took until the third game of the day, but fans finally got an entertaining Christmas Day game. Despite being out-manned talent-wise, the Lakers stayed in the game thanks to their shooting from beyond the arc, knocking down 14 of their whopping 36 attempts, but in the end the Heat’s Big Three carried Miami to victory. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh paced Miami with 23 points apiece in the win, their fifth straight over LA on Christmas Day.

This is yet another game that looked much more appealing when the schedule was released. Thanks to Kobe’s “1225” Twitter avatar, there was preseason buzz that he’d make his comeback in this game. Sadly for all fans, Bryant is sidelined yet again with a fractured knee. In his absence, Nick Young tried his hand stepping up on the big stage. Swaggy P scored 20 off the bench  in the loss, at times going shot-for-shot with LeBron James (or, at least trying to).

Miami went up by seven late in the third quarter thanks to some sharp shooting from Bosh, but Young hit a three to end the quarter and Xavier Henry (14 points off the bench) scored three quick buckets to start the fourth as the Lakers pulled ahead. Miami seized the lead back, going hard to the basket and generating open three-point looks to retake the lead.

Bosh shook off an 0-6 start from the field and finished 9-12 overall, chipping in 11 boards as well. He did much of his damage in the third, coming out of halftime to drop 11 in the quarter. LeBron had a relatively pedestrian stat line, shooting “only” 50 percent (7-14) for his 19 points and eight rebounds, but he had the loudest play of the day with a spectacular off-the-backboard alley oop from Wade.

Rockets (19-11) 111, Spurs (22-7) 98

The Rockets were on full-blast in San Antonio, jumping on the Spurs early. Houston put up 40 points in the first quarter and, when the Spurs got it close late in the game, James Harden slammed the door shut. After missing the two previous games with an ankle injury and coming into the night as a game-time decision, Harden scored 16 of his 28 points in the fourth, including 11 straight for Houston to stretch the lead to double digits and seal the victory.

Despite falling behind big early, the Spurs battled back throughout the game. San Antonio won the both of the middle two quarters, holding the Rockets under a point per possession over that stretch. Still, the league’s no. 2 defense got torched in this one, allowing 52.3 percent shooting from the field, 12-24 shooting from three and giving up a 119.4 offensive rating.

Manu Ginobili helped keep the Spurs in the game, keeping his bounce-back year going with 22 points on 8-17 shooting. Tim Duncan posted a double double (11 and 14) and blocked six shots, but was mostly a non-factor on the offensive end. Tony Parker had a silent night, scoring just six points.

Even before Harden went off, the Rockets presented plenty of problems for the Spurs. Dwight Howard terrorized them on the glass, going for 20 rebounds as well as 15 points. Chandler Parsons was big early and finished with 21 points (8-14 overall, 5-9 from three), six rebounds and six assists. Terrence Jones, looking more and more like the stretch power forward Houston needs, posted a double double with 21 and 14.

Warriors (17-13) 105, Clippers (20-11) 103

The final game of Christmas Day proved to be the best, but Christmas cheer was nowhere to be found in Oakland as things got heated between two rivals. Draymond Green was ejected for the Warriors after a flagrant elbow to the neck of Blake Griffin, and Griffin was ejected shortly after when he got into it with Andrew Bogut. The game itself came down to the final minutes; Steph Curry got hot to score seven points in the final three minutes, and Chris Paul missed two layups to tie the game in the final 30 seconds as the Warriors escaped.

The intensity of the matchup was evident in the effort from both sides, as there were some great individual efforts on display. Despite his late misses, CP3 finished with 26 points and 11 assists, while Blake posted a 20-14 double double, along with five assists, before getting tossed. Curry put up a double double as well, overcoming his tough shooting night (5-17) to post 15 and 11. David Lee and Klay Thompson tied for the Warriors’ team lead with 23 points each, with Lee completing another double double with 13 boards, while Thompson swatted away Paul’s final layup attempt to help seal the victory.

Both teams had harsh words for the other post-game, with Griffin calling the Warriors “cowardly” and Bogut announcing that the Warriors “don’t like them.” These teams don’t square off again until Jan. 30, but you can bet both of them have that day circled on their calendars.

 

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  • Max

    Man I hope we see a 7 games series between The Clippers and the Warriors!

  • shockexchange

    In the Shock Exchange’s opinion, the ref’s decision to kick Blake Griffin out of the game was ridiculous. The guy gets attacked, defends himself and he gets ejected. That got the Shock Exchange’s dander up!

  • JML-G

    the best thing Kidd could do is to admit he isnt ready to be head coach, step down to assistant, let Prokhorov & King get a good one, have Kidd learn from him etc… not gonna happen eh?!

  • Junkie

    While the Knicks’ defense wasn’t good with those two out, the defense was even worse, despite Chandler’s presence.

    Also it is mathematically impossible to start 0/6 and finish 9/12.

  • shockexchange

    At what point does the media and fans hold the players accountable for what’s happening in BK? D. Will, KG, Pierce, JJ get paid millions and they are not getting the job done. They oughta be embarrassed.

  • Drig

    I’m in love with this Lakers team. They might not win a ton of games or give me post-season memories to cherish but their effort more than makes up for them.

    A few breaks for the Lakers would’ve made the game a lot more closer. Onto the next one.

    BTW, Blake Griffin getting ejected was a bad call. Dude stood up for himself.

  • http://kingakai.com/ Alpha-bet

    That was a terrible call to throw Griffin out. That little tussle wasn’t event about nothin’. Let rm play man.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ Nick Tha Quick

    Random thoughts from yesterday’s games:
    - Interesting announcer comments about Bron’s shot selection depending on the level of competition. How selective he gets against bad teams – only shooting very high % shots to keep his FG% up. NTTAWWT.
    - Watching Pau offer no resistance to CB4 who scores about 10 straight points in the 2nd. Seems like a recurring theme with Pau this year.
    - Tussle ain’t a tussle till Matt Barnes and/or Capn Jack get in it
    - Interesting how poor a free throw shooter Iggy is for being an elite wing player.
    - Old news that CP3 gets away with the most barking at refs with no technicals. Yes, I know. He’s ASSISTING the refs officiate the game better.
    - George Karl should have done the Dubbs/Clips game and offered his insightful and unbiased opinion on Iggy and MJax.

  • TriggaMan

    I think they meant he went 0-6 than the rest of the game 9-12
    9-18 overall they just didn’t write it right lol

  • Dfrance

    I just want to say each and every team looked incredibly foolish with that sleeved jersey, swirled sock combo. I hope the sales were bad so this idea is scrapped next year.

  • spit hot fiyah

    bulls nets looked great on paper in october. now they might be two of the most unwatchable teams in the league

  • Dfrance

    While I agree that Kidd is in over his head, I do agree with Shock that they need more than just a coaching change. Their best and most consistent player just went down in Lopez, PP and KG have managed to age 10 years over the summer, JJ seems to only play well when his teammates are playing well, and Deron Williams doesn’t seem to be 100%.

    Blatche and Livingston have been pretty solid off the bench, but they’re not going to win you any games by themselves. The team is flawed.

  • AddingVelocityDontTellMe

    The warriors are too talented to only beat clippers by 2. Rockets need trade Asik before his value depreciates further.

    Miami is really coasting. Spolestra needs give the bench players more burn and experiment with the 2nd unit.

  • Nathan Shane Long

    Christmas day thoughts

    1.I hate all those stupid gimmick “Christmas day” jersey teams should just wear their regular jerseys with the snowflake logo patch like they used to

    2.Mark Jackson is a dirty coach sending his players to hurt Blake Griffin for no reason

    3.Andrew Bogut fake tough guy

    4.Fire Jason Kidd now!!!!!

    5.Only the Knicks are holding Tim Hardaway Jr. from being a contender for rookie of year

  • davidR

    are you saying the clippers basically aren’t good? not that i think they are contenders, but clippers warriors matchup pretty evenly.

  • davidR

    and then a 7 game series between the warriors and thunder. every game between them so far has been decided by a buzzer beater

  • davidR

    that’s the modern nba for ya. refs make their impact on the game, and grown men aren’t allowed to show emotion or rile everybody up

  • shockexchange

    Bogut, aka “White Ric Flair”, should have been ejected only. He grabbed Blake around the head and neck area twice on the same position. The refs bought that nonsense. WOOOOOO! WOOOOOO!

  • davidR

    yea, it should’ve only been a tech on bogut, but refs are blind as hell.

    i did find it funny that blake made a comment about how refs falling for these type of things is cowardly, especially with how often he commits offensive fouls on dunks and flops. if you wanna keep up with the WWF themes, he sounds like heel owen hart (rip)

  • shockexchange

    It’s criminal how overpaid these guys are. If you mention it all they do is put on their BEATS and tune you out. The math – player salaries, TV rights, etc – is flawed. Once the economy contracts, the L and the players are gonna get a reality check.

  • guest

    Ric Flair is the white Ric Flair.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    you have been one hell of a commenter as of late. thought this was worth mentioning.

  • Lambert

    What’s still safe to invest in Shock? A garden and a gun?

  • shockexchange

    Put your money under your mattress with the choppa ridin’ sidesaddle. The market’s bout to crash —>

    http://t.co/IvjWUGgLEI

  • Caboose

    Bogut was a henchman. Shout out to Dexter Pittman.

  • Caboose

    Cosign on all points.

  • Nathan Shane Long

    really

  • BlackBond

    man Nick Young was swaggin yesterday. wish he woulda hit more of his shots in the beginning of the game but its all good that boy is “hard to guard”

  • James

    dude! pau gasol’s interior defense almost sucked the energy outta the Lakers in the 2nd quarter it was horrendous. my mama damn near kicked me outta the house cuz i was cussing up a storm. He was not even trying. When D’Antoni put him back in the game in the 2nd the Heat scored like 12 straight points in the paint. it was blatantly obvious that Gasol wasnt even trying.

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

    how about gold and a garden ?

  • brothasdontsurf

    N
    E
    W
    Y O R K

  • DeMacksBack

    Injuries suck period!! But honestly the worst team in the league to watch has to be the Knicks and Nets, but for sure the Knicks. I’m a little biased when it comes to the Bulls, because thats my favorite team. But at least they get out there and play theirs a$$es off and don’t make excuses.

  • MarcW

    How do you start 0-6 and end up 9-12 overall? Shouldn’t it be 9-15 or something? 6 more misses than makes (at least) right?

  • shockexchange

    SE doesn’t know to much about investing in gold. He’ll have to beg off on that one.

  • spit hot fiyah

    that part i actually enjoy watching, a scrappy team that just wont quit on their coach no matter what. it’ just such a struggle for them to get points on many nights

  • 23

    Couldn’t agree more. What’s wrong with teams wearing their normal uniforms w/the snowflake patch?

  • 23

    Disagree with #3

  • Mike From Spain

    This is one of the rare occasions when I agree with all your points.

  • Mike From Spain

    I think the thing with Bron is more like… bad teams let him have the good shots, that is why they are bad.

  • Mike From Spain

    Shockexchange on PEDs?

  • Dfrance

    The patch isn’t enough to make someone go out and buy a brand new jersey. smh

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Congratulations on the TV Spot man

  • shockexchange

    Cool.

  • shockexchange

    The cruelest cut of all.

  • initbruv

    I’m gonna cop your book, it sounds like an interesting read. Do you get money when I buy it on Amazon or is it best to get it from your site?

  • Jerome

    Apparently you need to step up your sock game. (sarcasm)

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