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Thursday, January 16th, 2014 at 9:00 am  |  38 responses

Post Up: Return of the G.O.

Greg Oden comes back to the court in blowout loss

by Brett Weisband | @weisband

Bulls (18-19) 128, Magic (10-29) 125 (3OT)

This game was a veritable basketball marathon, with an extra 15 minutes of hoops played as neither team could pull away. The Bulls eventually were the last men standing in this battle of attrition, hanging on for the win when the Magic couldn’t score for the final 2:39 of the game. Tom Thibodeau’s wildest dreams came true, as he was able to play four players for 40 or more minutes, including a mind-boggling, team-record 60 for Jimmy Butler (21 points, seven rebounds, six assists) in his second game after returning from injury. Joakim Noah led the way with 26 points and 19 boards, while D.J. Augustin came off the scrap heap to score 19 in 40 minutes off the bench.

Jameer Nelson (31 points, 10 assists) sent the game to OT with a long jumper, dropping the Sam Cassell dance after knocking it down. After the game went to a second OT, Big Baby Davis (17 and nine rebounds) brought the Magic back from the dead with a long 3-pointer. In the end, Orlando simply ran out of gas. You can’t blame Victor Oladipo, though. The rookie had a career-high 35 points (15-24 shooting) and eight assists, making play after play in regulation before tailing off in the overtimes. One downside is the turnovers, which he had eight of, although that can be expected of a rookie pressed into playmaking duty.

 76ers (13-25) 95, Bobcats (16-24) 92

Thaddeus Young (11 points) drilled a 3-pointer with three seconds left, breaking a tie and preventing the Sixers from dropping their fifth straight game in a back-and-forth win. The Sixers led by as many as nine in the second half, but Charlotte fought back to take the lead in the fourth quarter. Al Jefferson (24 and eight boards) and Kemba Walker (26 points and eight assists) were both cooking all night for the Bobcats and turned in strong fourth quarter efforts: eight points for Big Al, five points and three assists for Kemba.

Spencer Hawes had a beauty of line with 17 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists, while Michael Carter-Williams posted 20, eight boards and seven assists. Tony Wroten was the Sixers spark of the bench, leading the reserves with nine points and throwing down one of the meanest dunks of the night.

Wizards (18-19) 114, Heat (27-11) 97

LeBron James told everyone to watch him go off on Wednesday, but it was the Wizards who exploded at the Verizon Center. Washington hit Miami with a 20-0 run in the first quarter en route to 43 points, putting the game out of reach pretty quickly. Miami eventually made it respectable, getting the deficit down to nine points in the fourth quarter before the Wiz pulled away. John Wall had 25 points and nine assists for Washington, Nene scored 19 and also dished out nine assists (a career high) and Bradley Beal pitched in 19. LeBron’s version of turning it on looked a lot like his everyday effort, minus the fact that he didn’t seem to play hard until nearly halftime. He posted a line of 25 point, eight rebound, seven assist on 8-18 shooting, playing 41 minutes in the blowout.

The biggest, and really only news from this game was the return of Greg Oden. After not having played a regular season game in over four years, Oden stepped back onto the court late in the first half for Miami, hammering home a putback dunk on his first possession. Oden finished with six points and two boards in eight minutes and looked effective in deterring shots at the paint. No matter how the season winds up for Oden, basketball fans everywhere have to be thrilled he made it back onto the floor. 

Celtics (14-26) 88, Raptors (19-18) 83

Playing shorthanded after trading away Jordan Crawford earlier in the day, the Celtics squeezed out a home win over Toronto. The Raptors made a late run after getting blown out by a combined 19 points in the second and third quarters, cutting it down as close as 86-83 in the final minute. Boston got a massive effort from Jared Sullinger, whose 25 points and 20 rebounds made up the first 20-20 game for the Celtics since Kevin Garnett’s first game in Celtics green.

The Raptors had a rough night from the field, shooting just 38.5 percent. DeMar DeRozan was the only Raptor who had anything going offensively, shooting 9-22 for 23 points, along with eight rebounds. Kyle Lowry had a double double with 18 and 12 assists but shot just 6-17 on his way there. Lowry turned it on late, scoring Toronto’s final six points, but the Raptors couldn’t overcome the whole they had dug themselves.

Memphis (19-19) 82, Milwaukee (7-31) 77

The Grizzlies had to grit their teeth, but they withstood a late run by the Bucks to claw their way to a .500 record, winning their fourth straight. Mike Conley and James Johnson both scored 15 to lead the Grizz, who nearly blew a big fourth quarter lead. Up 78-67 with under four minutes to go, Memphis watched the Bucks reel off an 8-0 run led by Brandon Knight (27 points). Memphis temporarily reasserted control, but missed four straight shots to keep Milwaukee in it. Luckily for Dave Joerger’s crew, the Bucks couldn’t take advantage. Memphis got nothing from reigning DPOY Marc Gasol in his second game back from injury, as the center didn’t score in 14 minutes. Larry Sanders had 10 points and 12 boards for the Bucks.

Kings (14-23) 111, Timberwolves (18-20) 108

It got too close for comfort at the end, but the Kings pulled out a win over the Timberwolves in crunch time. After a 3-pointer by Isaiah Thomas (26 points, seven assists) put the Kings up 11 with 3:17 to go, it seemed like they’d cruise to a win. The Wolves kept fighting, getting two triples from Kevin Love (27 points, 11 boards) and an and-one from J.J. Barea (14 off the bench) to get it within a point before losing the free throw game.

Rudy Gay had another efficient game (words you never thought you’d see in print) for the Kings, scoring 33 points, including a crucial late 3-pointer, on 12-19 shooting. The Kings shot 54.9 percent as a team overall and got a double double from DeMarcus Cousins, who had 20 and 11. Sacto led by double digits for much of the second half before Minnesota’s late run, using a big rebounding advantage – 45-35 – and their hot shooting to carry them.

Rockets (26-14) 103, Pelicans (15-23) 100

Houston didn’t lead for long, but they were up when it counts. James Harden (26 points, seven assists, 10-11 from the line) helped drag the Rockets back into it after trailing the Pelicans by as many as 12 points in the second half and nine in the fourth quarter. The Beard broke and 100-all tie with a nasty step-back jumper, sending Austin Rivers flying the wrong way, to give the Rockets the lead for good. Terrence Jones had 25 for Houston while Dwight Howard had a 12 and 10 double double.

After taking advantage of some lax Houston defense early on, the Pelicans couldn’t keep their grasp on the lead as they didn’t hit a field goal for the final four minutes and finished the game shooting 45.5 percent. They wasted a season-high 35 points from the white-hot Eric Gordon (11-17 from the field, 6-9 on 3-pointers). The Pellies got 24 and seven boards from Anthony Davis, his sixth straight game over 20. While they’re playing without three of their five best players, the Pelicans are going to have to start finding ways to pull out games like this. They’ve now dropped a season-high seven striaght games.

Spurs (31-8) 109, Jazz (13-27) 105

The Spurs held off a furious Jazz rally late, pulling out a closer-than-expected win over the West’s cellar dwellers. Utah closed the game the game on a 19-7 run powered by Trey Burke, who scored 11 points in the final 1:05 and finished with 17 points and 11 assists. The Spurs were led by Tony Parker’s 25 points and nine assists. Kawhi Leonard was a full-court terror: 15 points, seven rebounds, six assists, three steals, two blocks and one coast-to-coast steal and dunk.

Manu Ginobili actually got a start for the Spurs, his first at home this season, and scored 13 points. Tim Duncan played just 24 minutes for San Antonio, but still managed 15 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. Enes Kanter was a beast off the bench for the Jazz, going for 25 points and 11 rebounds on 12-15 shooting, while Alec Burks chipped in 20. The Jazz were without top scorer Gordon Hayward, who couldn’t go with a hip injury. 

Suns (22-16) 121, Lakers (14-25) 114

The Gerald Green Renaissance continued in Phoenix, as the journeyman guard paced the Suns to a victory with his 28 points. Known as a highlight factory earlier in his career, Green has turned into more of a shooter than anything, hitting 12-18 shots and 2-5 3-pointers in this one. While he was judicious from downtown, where he’s averaging a crazy 8.7 attempts per 36 minutes, Green destroyed the Lakers from mid-range all night. He got support from Goran Dragic, who had 18 and 10 assists, and Markieff Morris, who scored 24 off the bench. Channing Frye warrants a mention as well, as the big man popped in 20.

In what classifies as an NBA fight, Nick Young and Alex Len got into and both got tossed early after Young took exception to a hard but clean foul from Len. It was a net win for Phoenix, as the ejections left the Lakers without their only player who can create for himself. Kendall Marshall had a double double with 10 points and 13 assists, although he shot 4-16. The Lakers shot 47.3 percent, but couldn’t keep up with the Suns frenetic pace; they allowed Phoenix to get up an even 100 shots on the night.

 Trail Blazers (29-9) 108, Cavaliers (14-25) 96

LaMarcus Aldridge must be looking for some MVP love, as he single-handedly carried the Blazers to the win down the stretch. In a two-minute span, LMA scored nine straight points for Portland, turning a 94-93 deficit into a six-point lead. The mid-range specialist even stepped out to knock down his first trey of the season in that run and finished with 32 points and 18 rebounds. He wasn’t without help, with Damian Lillard slashing and shooting his way to 28 points (10-20 from the field, 5-10 on 3-pointers).

Dion Waiters (18 points off the bench) hit a few shots in the fourth quarter to keep Cleveland in the game, but the Cavs were shut out over the final 2:54. Luol Deng scored 25 for his new team, while Kyrie Irving went for 21. Cleveland dropped to 3-6 on the second night of back-to-backs and is still on the outside of the Playoff picture in the East.

Nuggets (20-18) 123, Warriors (25-15) 116

Four days of rest couldn’t help the Warriors keep the Nuggets from pulling away in the final minute. With the Warriors up a point with 1:13 on the clock, J.J. Hickson capped off his monster night (13 points, 24 rebounds) with two close-range shots to put the Nuggets up for good. Denver had four players score more than 20 points, led by Nate Robinson’s 28 (9-12 shooting) off the bench. Ty Lawson put up 22 and 11 assists for the Nugs, who shot 54.2 percent, including 12-24 from long range, against the typically very stingy Warriors defense. Golden State came in ranked fourth in points allowed per 100 possessions, but let Denver get whatever they wanted all night.

Steph Curry’s odd shooting funk continued for the Warriors, despite his 24 points. Steph shot just 7-19 from the field and 4-13 from deep. He’s been below 40 percent shooting in four of the last five games for the Dubs, and he’s hitting just 30 percent of his 3-pointers in January. David Lee led the Warriors with 28 points and 11 boards.

Clippers (27-13) 129, Mavericks (23-17) 127

Los Angeles staged a massive comeback in the final 4:30, making up a 16-point hole to stun the Mavericks. Four different Clippers hit 3-pointers down the stretch, capped off by J.J. Redick’s seventh triple of the night to pull them within a point. Redick led all scorers with 33 points, hitting 7-9 shots from deep and 10-14 overall, while Matt Barnes scored 25 coming off the bench. The Clippers moved to 4-1 since Chris Paul injured his shoulder against Dallas two weeks ago.

The Mavs allowed the Clippers to shoot 17-34 from long range on the night, a major reason they weren’t able to hold their lead. They outshot L.A. on the whole – 52.6 to 50.6 percent – but those threes and the Clippers’ 16 extra attempts from the free throw line contributed to the loss. Dirk Nowitzki started hot and finished with 27 points on 8-22 shooting.

Blake Griffin continues to be a vastly improved all-around player. He put up a well-rounded line of 23 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, and he hit 13-16 from the line. If there was ever a question about Blake’s status among the League elite, it’s been put to rest in the CP3-less stretch. Griffin did get into one of the dustups we’ve become familiar with, engaging in some tough guy posturing with Sam Dalembert after a hard foul.

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  • spottieottiedopaliscious

    Thibodeau played Butler 60 min in just his second game coming back from injury? That seems not smart.

  • Sérgio

    “Tom Thibodeau’s wildest dreams came true, as he was able to play four players for 40 or more minutes” – LOL. That was gold

  • JJ Jones

    This pace and space offense is turning lebron, wade and Bosch into role players. They take a role # of shots so they can’t get into the rhythm necessary to dominate on most nights. Wade was uninvolved last night and lebron looks like he forgot HOW to take over a game. At least Greg Ogden looked good which is probably the most important thing for them going forward.

  • i_ball

    I hope Oden has a better comeback than Brandon Roy. If he manages to get to around 20 mpg at any point of his career from now on that would be a great accomplishment

  • Max

    Moe Harkless only attempted 1 fg in 45 minutes?
    Wait what?

  • JJ Jones

    Him and mike dantoni are the worst at this.

  • JML-G

    good to see Greg back

  • spit hot fiyah

    and jameer nelson took 30 shots and it’s 2014

  • spit hot fiyah

    that kawhi play…nice

    is alec burks making hayward seem expendable?

  • LakeShow

    I personally think Hayward is best as a SF.

  • brothasdontsurf

    Even Shawn Marion laughs at Kendall Marshall’s shooting motion.
    He shoots like a High School Girl’s JV Benchwarmer

  • LakeShow

    It’s so weird when they go in.

  • Max

    Lmao, to his defense they kinda needed that last night..

  • Bruno

    if Lebron had blocked Nene the way Nene put the King to the ground, it were all over the internet but no words about that

  • spit hot fiyah

    true, they are eying jabari though

  • spit hot fiyah

    this is amazing

  • LakeShow

    Remember that Nathan Shane guy saying saying that they were going to start Derrick Williams over Rudy… LOL…

    I think we all knew he just needed to not play next to DeRozen to have a semblance of success. He was nice on the Grizz, and so far is superb on the Kings.

  • LakeShow

    True, but woulda been nice if he didn’t score the same number as the amount of FGA.

  • LakeShow

    James Johnson has only played in 15 games this season, but he’s putting up 1.5 steals and 1.7 blocks in 23mpg…

    Damn! That’s over 2 steals and nearly three blocks in 36mpg.

    I hope he get’s more PT. He’s very inconsistent on his jumper though.

  • LakeShow

    8.7 attempts per 36 mins for Gerald Green from deep! Holy Smokes!

    Steph Curry shoots 8.2 in 38mpg…..

  • Sérgio

    Cosign. The block wasnt even on the NBA Top 10 of the night.

  • spit hot fiyah

    he has been really good for them. the sample size is still pretty small but that coaching staff deserves major credit imo due to using him so well. and at the same time getting good production from derrick williams even though he is coming of the bench.

  • Saleem Rainman

    On a night where there were so many high scoring games…my raptors dissapoint.

    JOhn Wall watch:

    His best performance since is tartedkeeping track, 25, 9, 5, 1 block, 4 turnovers(still too high) and it was the perfect game for his talents because the game didnt get too close to begin with, so no slip ups down the stretch.

  • spit hot fiyah
  • spit hot fiyah

    http://deadspin.com/jameer-nelson-did-the-big-balls-dance-1502558392

    he also did that, which makes him a legend in my nba book

  • ATL dynamite

    60 minutes of play? Wow Jimmy Butler is something else.
    Btw typo it should be James Johnson not Anderson

  • http://SLAMonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    Good catch. Fixed.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    it’s all about how Sacramento is using him. like i said a week ago, i LOVE what Mike Malone is doing out there. that guy is way underrated as a coach.

  • playa

    As a laker fan i just have to do this: Tank so hard, tank tank so haaaaaaaaard!!!!
    Ps.I’ve just heard that Young will probably suspended+Hill might too(small chance but a one nonetheless) which would leave the roster with 6 or 7 active players which could= forfeiting a game, NOW THAT IS HOW YOU TANK BABY!!! Can you imagine that??!!! :D

  • playa
  • Conor

    HaHaHa

    These past two seasons have been such a circus. I’m going to see them in Toronto on Sunday, but if I can’t at least be entertained by Young, I may just start a “We want Phil” chant to spite D’Antoni’s rancid stewardship of this sinking vessel.

  • davidR

    tellin yall, curry coughs the ball up over lazy dribbling way too much. a minute to go, down a bucket, at home, and he gets picked by jj hickson on an iso?

    if he could protect the ball better, and be smarter with shot selection, the dubs would be unstoppable.

    on a side note, mark jackson pulled a poppvich. he planted bogut on the bench and went small with the game on the line on the defensive side. as a result, denver came away with 2 key offensive boards (1 off a missed free throw, the other… hickson just literally jumped over klay and grabbed the board despite klay clearly having position) with a minute to go to seal the game. cmon mark!

  • TriggaMan

    Pyrex bowl whoa

  • Max

    I love that guy!

  • jaycee

    PR for the stars.

  • LakeShow

    You’re right.

    He really needs to tighten down on his TO’s.

    He can be really good. Have a game where he just has 1 or 2 TO’s with several assists, but then he has games of 11 TO’s, and 8, and 8, and 8, and 7, then 1 and then 2…

    He’s very inconsistent on his TO’s and NEEDS to get that under control for the Dubs to have the success they should.

    Bogut should almost be reserved for the end of the game finish. He’s so important to them defensively.

  • davidR

    yea man. i feel like people overlook his turnovers because of his shooting ability, but curry gives the ball up way too much during key possessions. he just literally dribbles or telegraphs a pass like he’s at practice. i dunno if its a lack of focus, but he definitely needs to change

  • LakeShow

    Absolutely. I love his game all around, but that has to change.

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