Post Up: Rookie Showcase
The League’s top two rookies faced off on Tuesday and delivered. Big time.
by Leo Sepkowitz | @LSepkowitzSLAM
Magic 125, Sixers 126
There were some unbelievable stats-related things in this game last night, but first let’s leap to the fourth quarter, where the Magic had the ball down three with 18 seconds left. Glen Davis—yes, Big Baby—sank a game-tying three, and Evan Turner couldn’t win the game for Philly at the buzzer.
In OT, the Sixers led by three with 12 seconds remaining, when Arron Afflalo was fouled shooting a three and knocked down all of his free throws to tie the game yet again. And, again, Philly couldn’t win at the buzzer.
In the second OT, though, Orlando’s luck ran out. An Afflalo three at the buzzer pulled the Magic within one, but it was obviously too late for another comeback effort.
Now the stats! Where to begin… Two rookies had triple-doubles: Victor Oladipo (26 points, 10 boards, 10 dimes) and Michael Carter-Williams (27 points, 12 boards, 10 assists). They’ve been by far the best two rookies in the League so far (nice job, Cleveland!), and their talents were on full display on Tuesday night.
Afflalo finished with forty-three points to continue his insane season. He’s averaging roughly 22 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game this year. Davis played 50 minutes and scored 33 points, but somehow managed only 3 rebounds. Ronnie Price pulled off an equally remarkably lame feat: 40 minutes, 1 point (with 6 boards, 7 assists and 3 steals, to be fair).
MCW led Philly in scoring, but Thaddeus Young (25 and 12) and Evan Turner (24, 6 and 5) were big, too. James Anderson kicked in 19 off the bench, and Spencer Hawes scored 17 with 7 rebounds in the wild win. Philly won the rebounding battle 56-34, a remarkable number considering the game needed six periods to decide.
Pistons 107, Heat 97
The Heat don’t drop home games to non-elite teams often (I mean seriously, look at this), but Detroit came to play last night. Andre Drummond, fresh off of his 31 and 19 Sunday explosion, snagged 18 rebounds against the helpless Heat, whose own center, Chris Bosh, managed just six. Each of Brandon Jennings, Greg Monroe, Josh Smith, Rodney Stuckey and Kyle Singler scored at least 15 in the win.
Miami cut a big deficit down to three with a few minutes left, but never got closer than 91-88 late. LeBron and Michael Beasley each scored a game-high 23 and Ray Allen scored 12 while seeing some bonus minutes with Dwyane Wade sitting out.
Raptors 103, Warriors 112
A really good Western Conference team beating a mediocre Eastern Conference team at home isn’t usually all that impressive. But, considering the Raptors led by 18 entering the fourth quarter, Tuesday night’s win was a sweet one for the Dubs.
Golden State simply caught fire in the final 12 minutes, outscoring Toronto 42 to 15. (A full game at that pace would finish 168-60.)
Steph Curry (27 and 10), Klay Thompson (22, 6 threes, 7 assists), Harrison Barnes (19 on 7/12 shooting) and David Lee (18 and 8 ) were unsurprisingly at the center of the massive comeback.
The Raptors got big nights from a few guys—26 for DeMar DeRozan, 20 and 9 from Kyle Lowry, 18 for Rudy Gay and a double-double by Amir Johnson—but obviously fizzed in the fourth.
Bucks 100, Celtics 108
Not to take anything away from the Cs, but Milwaukee is the worst team in the League and it’s not that close right now. Last night, they hung with the Celtics for most of the night, but allowed 39 points in the fourth quarter.
Boston was led by Jordan Crawford’s 25. Brandon Bass (16 & 9), Jeff Green (18), Avery Bradley (15), Jared Sullinger (12 & 8 ) and Courtney Lee (11) were all solid, too. Unbelievably, the Celtics are first in the Atlantic division as of Wednesday morning.
Milwaukee’s leading scorer was OJ Mayo with 19. Brandon Knight added 15 (5/15) in the loss. The Bucks are 1-12 in their last 13.
Suns 91, Grizzlies 110
Something of an offensive explosion from the Grizz last night playing without both Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
Jon Leuer was the high-man, dropping 23 (10/13) with 9 boards off the bench. Mike Conley (18 & 14), Ed Davis (21 & 14) and Kosta Koufos (14 and 12) all double-doubled, and Memphis hit just south of 55 percent of its shots overall.
Phoenix struggled on both sides of the ball. Marcus Morris scored a team-high 18, while Eric Bledsoe struggled (4/13, 9 points).
Bobcats 82, Mavericks 89
Charlotte had a chance to pick up an impressive road W last night, as they led by six early in the fourth quarter. But Dallas closed the game on a 24-11 run, and moved to 9-2 at home on the season.
Dirk Nowitzki (10/21, 25 points) and Monta Ellis (22, 5 and 5) made up for most of the Mavs’ offense. Shawn Marion (8 and 10) and Vince Carter (10 and 7) had nice nights as well.
Al Jefferson dropped 19 and 12 for the Bobcats, but it wasn’t enough.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist left early with a broken left ring finger, and we wish him a quick recovery.
Nuggets 111, Nets 87
The Nets just weren’t on the same level as Denver last night. Playing without Deron Williams and Paul Pierce, the offense shot only 40 percent (2/16 from deep) in another blowout loss.
Meanwhile, the Nuggets are streaking after a slow start to the season. They’re now 11-6 following Tuesday’s win, in which nine guys scored at least seven points. Timofey Mozgov was the star, scoring a team-high 17 points and grabbing 20 boards in 31 minutes.
Thunder 97, Kings 95
A Reggie Jackson triple with 2:25 remaining halted the Kings’ comeback attempt last night in Sacto.
Jackson finished with 14 points, 4 boards and 4 dimes—roughly the line he posts on a nightly basis for OKC. His production has been huge for a team with major question marks off the bench around him. Kevin Durant led the way with 27 points and 11 boards, while Russell Westbrook struggled and finished with 15 points on 7/19 shooting. He managed 8 boards and 7 dimes, but committed 7 turnovers, too.
Isaiah Thomas led Sacramento in scoring with 24. Jason Thompson, Greivis Vasquez, Ben McLemore and Derrick Williams all scored double-figures, though Williams failed to record a rebound or an assist in 27 minutes. Baby steps, I suppose.
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 Larry Bird gets the spotlight. You know that saying about the lost art of the midrange game? Yeah, well, please keep it in mind while you enjoy watching Bird drop 60 on the Hawks in ’85.