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Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 at 9:00 am  |  34 responses

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.

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  • Fan of the game

    It’s early, but MCW is on pace to be the 3rd rookie in NBA history to average 7+ assists and a turnover % of less than 17%, as did Chris Paul and . . . Al (as per Rich Hoffman Jr of Philly.com – His article on MCW is fantastic, MCW is the real deal, plays both ends of the court well). Victor is going to be right there though, perhaps not this season but soon.
    Anyway, I just love how these 2 rookies are so young, physically gifted, are real competitive, have a desire to improve and have done so, and are committed to and very good at defense (also, at 20 years old, AD and Andre Drummond are unbelievable – except for Dre’s free-throws, man).

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    that Larry Bird scores 60 on the Hawks video is the best thing that’s been posted anywhere on the internet today.
    .
    i draw your attention to the 5:00 mark. Bird said to Antoine Carr, “3 pointer, trainer’s lap” before he got the ball.

    i’m pretty sure this was Antoine Carr’s reaction,

    http://assets0.ordienetworks.com/images/GifGuide/michael_scott/Michael-What-the-office-10400786-400-226.gif

  • Fan of the game

    Now, who is the best in the game right now? PG got player of the month over LeBron (and I believe is deserved) but KD is just too sick, and he is still just 25 years old.
    However, some interesting points were made on LeBron by Lowe and Simmons yesterday in relation to LeBron’s mindset going into games (basically LeBron is too obsessed with efficiency). I think there is some merit to this, but I’m excited to see how LeBron does on the road trip, he normally balls out (barring back issues). We will see.

  • Fan of the game

    Larry Bird is just ridiculous. I’m not sure if I rate LeBron better overall than him yet (at least offensively – defensively it is advantage LeBron).

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    just for the record, we know from numerous interviews that Durant is also very very obsessed with his efficiency numbers. idk if it’s good or not that it matters to the point that it changes how they play (for instance, you won’t see Durant attempt a really low % buzzer beater at the end of a quarter, presumably for this reason), but it definitely affects both of those guys.

  • Stepfan Raiford

    MCW and Oladipo co-rookies of the year or am I’m just getting caught up in the moment? Great game by these young teams.

  • Fan of the game

    Yes. And Kevin has been shooting below his standards thus far (I think he will end up at 48-50% by the end of the season). Also, what I like about Kevin so far is that he is rebounding and diming at career best-levels. This impresses me especially because his first few years in the league, his passing left a lot to be desired (I thought he would average Carmelo-like assist numbers for his career).

  • Fan of the game

    I’m just enjoying the moment regardless. These talented, young, two-way ballers are great for the game.
    However, I think MCW is on a higher plane than Victor right now. This dude D’s up, can run a team, score the ball, (still needs to improve turnovers and fg%), but it’s more than that. His height, length, IQ, quick first step and speed in general, as well as moves that I just don’t see often from rookies such as his pull-ups/shots around the rim, no. of FT attempts, etc.

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

    *is done feeling bad for Knicks fans*

  • Max

    Trey Burke might challenge them, but yeah it’s up for them to grab it.

  • Sérgio

    Good reminder. And Lebron’s obsession with efficiency sometimes hurt Miami. Last night, for instance, he should’ve shot way more in the 4th quarter.

  • Perry the PlatyPteranodon

    Being a Knicks fan is like being in an abusive relationship. Sure, it started out well and both sides were happy, but then something just happened to the Knicks, he changed and started to let himself just go, turned to the bottle, started hitting the heavy drugs, surrounded himself with the wrong kinds of people. The once proud and reliable guy started coming back late, beat up and took it out on the SO who did nothing but stand by him. It doesn’t matter, she won’t leave him, she keeps holding on to those fragments from the past, just hoping that someday he’ll change back. But it won’t happen for a long, long time. Some say, he’ll never fix himself. I’m not disinclined to believe them.

  • Fat Lever

    MCW! Really tho! That is my only reaction to the first Sixer rookie to generate this type of buzz in a LONG time.

    And we still have The Elf on the Shelf(Noel). Really, really tho.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    it’s pretty much a toss up. for the sake of sanity, let’s just not project any active players other than Kobe/Duncan on All-Time ranks. LeBron is 2 years into his (a normal player’s) prime, there is still a lot of road ahead.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    yeah definitely. but if they keep winning titles, with him playing like this, a few regular season losses here and there are totally acceptable.

  • bike

    Awesome stuff for sure. What gets me is how many of those shots are nothing but pure net including the contested ones.

  • i_ball

    Drummond is a beast! But he needs to make more FTs if he doesn’t want to become Andres Biedris 2.0

  • spit hot fiyah

    i remember having this game on vhs. one of the craziest things i have ever seen.

    hawks’ bench at 4:15 and 5:06 is PURE GOLD

  • https://twitter.com/jasontichenor Mr. Wet

    two rookies with triple doubles, and big baby davis drops 33…. while someone else on his team at 40+…… all in the same game. what in the hell is going on this season.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    yeah, they were in awe of that performance. everyone was. except Bird. Who probably thought he could do that everyday.

  • LakeShow

    It’s awesome for Philly. I hope they keep Evan Turner, and Spencer Hawes with the team while Noel and MCW improve over the next couple years. ET, much like Andre Iguadala, can provide that secondary point guard on the floor and be an all around glue guy for them going forward. They can become a legit playoff team over the next couple years if all goes well.

  • LakeShow

    Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb are combining to average 20.7ppg, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 1.5 steals, on 47.5% FG’s. and 40% 3 pointers for Lamb. (27% for Jackson thus far)

    They have actually seamed the gap left by Harden, and then Martin, decently well. Not great, but if they continue to improve… Thunder could be at the top of the West again.

  • Sérgio

    Yeah, sure.

  • LakeShow

    I feel you man, I feel you haha…

  • spit hot fiyah

    yeah, that is exactly what presti was hoping for and it seems to be happening slowly. it would help if they could get more from perry jones. adams is nice though

  • LakeShow

    Adams is a beast.

  • davidR

    they are definitely look good for the future. to think, we all thought they were crazy for giving up jrue for noel. they knew MCW was gonna be this good

  • davidR

    a beast version of nick collison. just seems to be at the right place right time, all the time

  • Max

    Inflated stats everywhere!!

  • jufu

    boy the cavs’ management were probably facepalming all night…

  • Caboose

    If they nab a skilled SF in the draft (Rodney Hood? Doug McDermott?), Philly could see the Playoffs and maybe 2nd Round sooner rather than later.

    Carter-Williams, Turner, DRAFT PICK, Young, Noel with Hawes, Wroten, and James Anderson off the bench has the makings of an excellent team.

  • jaycee

    Efficiency I totally understand. But a buzzer beater is a free shot you MUST take, regardless of how low %. It’s a free shot in my books.

    I’d rather play alongside someone trying to be efficient, than someone trying to ‘get theirs’.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    PREACH

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