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Thursday, December 12th, 2013 at 9:21 am  |  31 responses

Post Up: Sealing The Deal

TWolves and Warriors hold second-half rallies to secure comeback wins.

by Ryan Wallerson / @RCWallerson

Spurs (17-4) 109, Bucks (5-17) 77

Tim Duncan’s shot returned to form as the Milwaukee Bucks collectively lost their own. The result was exactly what you’d expect it to be when one player can outscore the entire opposition’s starting five; the Spurs rocked the Bucks on their own floor, winning by 32 and leading the game from tip off to the closing buzzer.

The Bucks’ starters, Kris Middleton, Ekpe Udoh, John Henson, OJ Mayo and Brandon Knight scored a combined 19 points, shooting 7-28 from the field. If not for double-digit scoring nights for Giannis Antetokounmpo (15), Nate Wolters (18) and Miroslav Raduljica (10) off the bench, the score of this one could have been even uglier for the home team.

San Antonio, who had lost three of six after starting off the season 13-1, may have gotten exactly what they needed out of the Bucks in order to get back to form. Not only were they able to return to dominating an opponent, but the Big Fundamental regained his shot, netting his 21 points on just 12 shots.

Magic (7-15) 92, Bobcats (10-12) 83

After missing the last four games with a sprained left ankle, Magic center Nikola Vucevic returned with a vengeance Wednesday night against the Bobcats. The 7-footer had 12 points, 14 rebounds, a block and even a steal as he led his team to a much needed road win. His double-double was secured by halftime.

Vucevic was the star, but the win was a team effort, as seven Orlando players finished the game in double figures. The Bobcats on the other hand, shot 37 percent as a team, as they saw their modest two-game winning streak come to an end. The Bobcats’ defense returned to form after giving up 111 points to Golden State on Monday, but the offense couldn’t hold up its end last night.

The contest featured a matchup of ex-Indiana Hoosiers, with Cody Zeller going up against Victor Oladipo. Both players finished with 10 points, with 6 and 4 rebounds respectively. Neither was abused by the other, so that encounter will have to go down as a draw.

Clippers (15-8) 96, Celtics (10-14) 88

The first leg of Doc Rivers’ reunion tour ended in a road win, while the Celtics, who lost to KG and the Nets on Tuesday, have now lost games to their formers stars and former coach in back-to-back games. CP3 was his usual beastly self, racking up 22 points, 9 assists and 7 boards, with Blake Griffin scoring 18 of his own.

Jeff Green had a game against the Clips, amassing 29 points to lead all scorers. Crawford added 20 and Brandon Bass had 17 in the losing effort. The Celtics’ bench will go down as the difference in this one, as they managed only 4 points collectively compared to 34 from the Clippers’ second team.

The game was still tight midway through the fourth when L.A. led 73-71 before Darren Collison scored six straight. Boston got close again with three minutes left, getting within two points at 85-83, but back-to-back treys by Jamal Crawford helped Doc’s new team pull away from his old one. Next stop for L.A.—Brooklyn.

Thunder (17-4) 116, Grizzles (10-11) 100

OKC outscored Memphis in the every quarter but the fourth, in which both teams put up 27 points. This one was all Thunder from tip to buzzer. Oklahoma City had a great offensive night, shooting 56 percent from the field and 50 percent from downtown, both percentages well above their season averages. It was just one of those nights that the whole team was feeling it. Whoever was taking shots was making shots.

RussellWestbrook led the way with 9 assists and a very efficient 27 points on 12 shots as he continues to blow away any concerns about his knee injury. KD took the same amount of shots, finishing with 18, but Westbrook was the main star last night. His performance continued a trend of very high level point guard play that has been an essential factor of the Thunder’s early season dominance.

Memphis, still without injured stars Marc Gasol and Tony Allen, managed to stay in the game for most of the first half, but got blown out in the at the end of the second quarter that featured a 17-5 OKC run. The Thunder pulled away and stayed away in the second half, securing the win.

76ers (7-16) 99, TWolves (11-11) 106

Philly came out big early, outscoring Minnesota 39-20 in the first quarter, looking well on their way to a blowout win. But you don’t get to a record of 7-16 by stringing together consecutive quarters of such dominance, and last night was no exception. After the first, which netted them a 19-point lead, the 76ers got outscored by 26 in the following three quarters as the Wolves pulled off the comeback.

Kenvin Love had 26 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists in the turnaround performance; Ricky Rubio has 21 points, 7 assists and 5 boards; and Nikola Pekovic had 20 points and 10 boards of his own. Even the usually suspect bench showed up last night on the comeback trail. The game was Minnesota’s last home game before a road trip that will land them on San Antonio’s floor, so the team really couldn’t afford a loss to the Sixers and played like they knew it.

It took the Wolves until the fourth quarter to snatch the lead back, but once they did they kept it. Tony Wroten, again starting for injured rookie Michael Carter-Williams, had 20 points in the game. James Anderson contributed 16 points and 8 boards in the loss.

Pistons (10-13) 106, Pelicans (10-10) 111 (OT)

At the end of four back-and-forth quarters of regulation, the Pelicans and Pistons were deadlocked at 96 and needed a period of overtime to settle things in New Orleans. Ryan Anderson shot unusually poorly in the early going, finishing with a not very efficient 22 points on 18 shots (33 percent shooting), but made up for it with two clutch treys in the overtime period that helped NO pull away from Detroit.

Greg Monroe and Brandon Jennings actually led all scorers with 28 and 25 points, respectively, but with Rodney Stuckey, who had 20 points of his own, the trio outscored the rest of the Pistons. It was almost enough to finish off New Orleans, as Detroit put together a 12-0 to tie the game late, but the Pels managed to hold on into overtime and found more offense in the free period that the Pistons could manage.

Josh Smith had an atypically quiet night, shooting just 5-15 and finishing with just 11 points in five frames.

Bulls (8-12) 78, Knicks (6-15) 83

After losing five straight games to the Chicago Bulls between this season and last, four of which Chi-Town won without D-Rose in the lineup, no Knick lead felt safe at the Garden last night, despite the fact that the gap was pretty wide at times.

In a game in which the Knicks held an opponent to 32 first-half points and had a 19-0 run in the second quarter, New York still found itself tied late in the fourth after blowing a 23-point lead, and in danger a taking a loss that could leave a different flavor of bad taste in the team’s mouth following their 41-point beat-down the last time they were on the Garden floor. Instead, Amar’e Stoudemire came up big in another nostalgic performance, hitting the big shot with two minutes left that gave the Knicks the lead for good.

Carmelo Anthony had 30 points on a somewhat tolerable 21 shots and 10 rebounds—far and away the Knicks’ top scorer. STAT came in second with 14, but arguably had the more impressive all-around game as he continues to play well for New York.

Jazz (5-19) 122, Kings (6-14) 101

A match up of teams that have a combined 11-33 record would seem like a toss-up, but Utah was clearly the better team on the floor on Wednesday night. Utah played well above its season averages, especially from three-point territory, where their 54 percent performance Tuesday came in almost 24 percent higher than their season average.

Richard Jefferson led all Utah scorers with 20 points, and the team had five players reach double digits in the win, which ended a four-game losing streak for the team with the NBA’s worst record. The Jazz held the largest lead of the season at the end of the third quarter. They led by 24 after never having a lead greater than 19 at any point this season.

The Kings, to be fair, weren’t playing at full strength, as Rudy Gay, Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray, the players acquired in the team’s trade with Toronto, can’t play until Greivis Vasquez passes his physical for the Raptors. So perhaps the over-match was one of circumstance, but then again, perhaps the Jazz have finally remembered how to play good basketball.

Mavericks (13-10) 93, Warriors (13-10) 95

In what was probably the most entertaining game of the night, the Baby Faced Assassin did it again. Overcoming a subpar first half, Stephen Curry went off in the fourth quarter. He scored 16 of his 33 points in the fourth and iced the contest with the game-winning shot, a 19-footer off a pump fake, with three seconds left on the clock.

The Warriors got off to a sloppy start, evidenced by their 18 turnovers, but big performances from David Lee (15 points, 11 boards) Andrew Bogut (season-high 18 boards) and Harrison Barnes (17 points) helped Golden State right the ship in the second half. Andre Iguodala missed his 10th straight game with what is being called a left hamstring strain.

In the losing effort, Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki each tallied 21 points.

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  • Max

    If MCW is going to continue missing games don’t hand him the ROY over just yet. Trey Burke will have a say in that.

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

    Curry the second best PG right now. Might be tied with CP3.

  • Max

    Amare is scoring 14 on 70% in his last 4 games for what it’s worth. (24mins)

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

    Steph Curry is probably the most exciting player to watch. Dude has like a hair line trigger for a jumpshot. He hit Marion with that deadly pump fake and drilled the shot with ease. And before nbk or spit hot fiyah get started….Josh Smith was 5-15 and 1-3 from downtown smfh.

  • Saleem Rainman

    That Curry kid is amazing…

  • JML-G

    glad to see Amare back

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    The Spurs made the Bucks look foolish last night, those guys couldn’t land a punch

    http://s3.amazonaws.com/br-cdn/temp_images/2013/12/12/AliDodge.gif

  • spit hot fiyah

    greak freak has the reach to make it happen though

  • spit hot fiyah

    and that was almost a good night’s shooting for josh

  • spit hot fiyah

    3 man race

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

    Josh smith is killing me man. One game he’ll play like everyone knows he should play then the next he thinks he’s the second coming of Dale Ellis.

  • davidR

    ali was insanely nimble for a heavyweight. greatest of all time. are you up on boxing too?

  • spit hot fiyah

    one of the most frustrating player sin the league. this year and last year i remember seeing him play and thinking that this guy is just going through the motions, what is he doing, what a terrible game he is having etc. both games he ended up with like 20 and 15! if he was fully engaged at all times he would be incredible.

    i put a lot of it on the coaching staff though, they are the ones that are putting him out there by the 3 point line. they and we knew this was going to be an issue when the signing happened. 20 games in and they still haven’t solved it. i would be surprised to see a trade soon. (15th coming up)

    speaking of trades, the name we hear is monroe. is it just me or is this guy in the bottom 5% of athletes in the nba?

  • Initbruv

    Lol you mean hair trigger. A hair line trigger is what Lebron has.

  • spit hot fiyah
  • spit hot fiyah

    according to his contract it’s worth about 45 million over the next two years

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

    Lol you get what I mean

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

    Yeah it’s really frustrating to see this guy play for the most part. So much talent but he seems so disengaged from the game. Mo Cheeks has no control over this team despite the record not being THAT bad. I figured Monroe would’ve gotten dumped a while ago once they signed Smith because I knew playing both of them together plus Drummond was a mistake. Monroe is definitely in the bottom 5% of athletes but I love his game. I’d much rather keep him than have signed Smith. Especially with the improvement Drummond is showing.

  • LakeShow

    It’s just you. He’s not nearly that bad.

    He can run pretty fast for a 6’11″ guy and can jump pretty high and quick.

    They set themselves up for this mess in Motor City.

  • LakeShow

    I thought he was going to be nice and appears to be growing into his shoes a bit.

    Some people didn’t think he had any chance. I think nbk related him to DJ Augustin. I think he’s better than that. He can actually run a team and can shoot.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    nah, i’m not really up on anything like basketball. i mean i’ve watched a lot of his fights, but i can’t really say my opinion on the boxing front is very educated.

  • davidR

    ahh no worries. if you like defensive skills, i’ll drop this here. pernell whitaker has to have the best/most talented defensive skills in boxing of all time. floyd is definitely up there too, but i think pernell outshines him: if only there was a time machine to allow greats from different eras fight each other, especially cuz boxing doesn’t necessarily evolve. prime pacquiao vs prime pernell would be something else

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rw1t2yAK_wU

  • spit hot fiyah

    yeah i like monroe too as a player. good passer and solid all around

  • spit hot fiyah

    jump high and quick?! when? he really struggles just to dunk

  • LakeShow

    You’re just watching him next to Drummond and Smith.

    Ya’ll acting like he’s Zach Randolf

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RlPO7Cpns4

  • LakeShow

    He had low Draft Express numbers, but they are still ahead of a guy like Lamarcus Aldridge. He’s not a superb athlete, but he is skilled and smooth and that has to do with athleticism too.

    Vern Gambetta’s definition:
    Athleticism is the ability to execute athletic movements (run, jump, throw) at optimum speed with precision, style and grace while demonstrating technical competency in the context of your sport.

    It depends on how you view athleticism I suppose.

  • spit hot fiyah

    i watched him since georgetown. and if that is an athletic monroe dunk, then it proves my point. he gets about 8 inches of the ground on the jump.

    i really like him as a player. nice touch, underrated passer. i just struck me that his athleticism is well below average

  • spit hot fiyah

    sure. i was referring to running fast and jumping high/quick. having a quick first step. that is what most of us refer to in basketball circles when we talk about athleticism.

    but i agree that athleticism extends way beyond that, i was using it in a limited sense in my first statement. steve nash was very athletic, no doubt in my mind.

  • candlewood jay

    That’s what she said

  • LakeShow

    Yeah It’s not uber impressive…
    But for being 7 feet tall! That guy can move and spin and is agile.

  • Max

    The sad thing is you would be happy if he could keep this up lol.

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