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Thursday, January 9th, 2014 at 9:00 am  |  52 responses

Post Up: Warriors Finally Fall

Winning streak ends at 10 in Brooklyn

by Brett Weisband | @weisband

Spurs (28-8) 112, Mavericks (20-16) 90

With both teams playing the second night of a back-to-back set, you would think it would be the Spurs taking it easy, especially considering this game was played on national TV (hey, Gregg Popovich). Well, the Spurs did get to kick their feet up in this one, but only after they finished running the Mavericks out of the gym. Tony Parker put up 25 points and 7 assists, Tim Duncan had 16 and 13 boards and only one Spur played even 30 minutes in the blowout as the stars got a fourth-quarter rest.

Dallas allowed the Spurs to shoot 51.6 percent while going cold from the field themselves, shooting just 41.9 percent from the field. Dirk Nowitzki struggled, scoring just 8 points on 3-14 shooting. Monta Ellis was one of just two Mavs in double figures, netting 21 on 10-18 shooting. Vince Carter was the other, scoring 14 and turning the clock back with a nice dunk in the first half.

For San Antonio, Marco Belinelli kept up his remarkable season off the bench. The Italian sharpshooter dropped 17  on 6-9 shooting, including 2-3 from deep. He’s shooting an even 50 percent on threes for the season, just the latest shooter that Pop has turned into a real weapon.

Raptors (17-17) 112, Pistons (14-22) 91

Toronto’s losing ways didn’t last long as they dominated the second half to score a win at home over Detroit. After trailing by four points at half, the Raptors won the second half, a time when the Pistons have struggled all season, by a whopping 62-37. Kyle Lowry led the Raps with 21 points and 9 assists while DeMar DeRozan bounced back from starting the game 0-9 from the floor to score 19. Terrence Ross, who has been locked in for the past month, kept up his fantastic shooting on corner threes, going 2-5 from the corners and 5-10 in total from deep to score 17.

The Pistons pulled their typical brick-laying act, shooting 39.5 percent from the floor. Brandon Jennings scored 22 points to lead the team, but he shot 6-19 to get there. Andre Drummond dominated the glass with 16 boards but only managed 6 points. No surprise, but Drummond is in the top-5 in the League, averaging 12.6 RPG.

Hawks (19-17) 97, Pacers (28-7) 87

The Hawks jumped on Indiana early, starting the game on a 12-0 run, and never let the Pacers fight their way back as they rolled to a win. Indiana was playing the dreaded fourth-game-in-five-nights and it showed, as they shot just 40 percent from the field. Kyle Korver led Atlanta with 17 points, and four players scored between 15 and 17 for the Hawks.

Atlanta keeps treading water without their star center, Al Horford. Starting Pero Antic (16 points, 3-6 from three) as something of a stretch 5, the Hawks have managed to go 3-4 without their All Star. In the weak Eastern conference, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Atlanta hold their Playoff spot even without Horford.

Paul George led the Pacers with 28 points (11-25 shooting), but everyone else struggled. Already missing Lance Stephenson, a late scratch with a knee injury, the rest of the Pacers went missing in action. Roy Hibbert had just 2 points (1-8 shooting) and 4 boards, and David West didn’t crack double figures in scoring either (8 points, 13 rebounds). Danny Granger did have 14 points as he got the start in Lance’s place.

Nets (14-21) 102, Warriors (24-14) 98

Visibly exhausted at the tail end of their East Coast trip, the Warriors still did everything in their power to keep their winning streak going and end their trip undefeated. Fatigue got the best of them, though, as the Nets put an end to Golden State’s 10-game winning streak. The Warriors couldn’t hit a shot down the stretch, going nearly four minutes without a made field goal as they watched a 93-89 lead evaporate and disappear. Steph Curry (34 points, 7 assists) did everything he could to try to pull out the win, hitting several shots as time wound down, but the Warriors just didn’t have enough to overcome the Nets.

Joe Johnson led Brooklyn with 27 points, but Kevin Garnett (13 points) was huge in the final quarter, where he scored 11 of his points. To put things in (a very sad) perspective, he’s matched that point total in just four other games this season. Despite their many injuries, Brooklyn has actually put together a nice stretch, winning four straight and five of seven. The Nets also got a solid effort from Andray Blatche, who dropped in 17 off the bench.

The Warriors were sloppy with the ball as per usual, especially Curry (7 TOs). Steph had a chance to knot things up with 12 seconds to go, but coughed it up to KG (he lives!). Although Curry came back to hit three free throws followed by a jumper with his foot on the line, that turnover was the final nail for the Warriors. David Lee (20 points, 9-14 shooting, 7 rebounds) gave Curry a helping hand, but most of the squad struggled on the night.

Wizards (16-17) 102, Pelicans (15-19) 96

The Pelicans made a valiant effort to come back on the Wizards after trailing big in the second half, but fell short as they dropped their third in a row. The Wiz were led by Trevor Ariza (21 points, 10 rebounds) and John Wall (20 points) as they continued their strong play on the road. They’ve now won six of their past seven games away from the nation’s capital as they continue their slow climb to .500.

The Wizards led by 17 at half after a 33-16 second quarter and were up 21 to start the fourth, but New Orleans got back into the game thanks to Anthony Davis (21 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks), who scored 10 in the fourth to pull the Pellies within six points, as close as they’d get. Eric Gordon netted 23 on 9-18 shooting, but no other Pelican offered much help.

Rockets (23-13) 113, Lakers (14-22) 99

The Lakers looked like they were on track to get to 2-0 against their former future franchise center. James Harden made sure that didn’t happen, helping the Rockets blow things wide open in the third quarter. After the Lakers were up five at halftime, Houston dominated the third quarter, 33-15, effectively ending things. Harden (38 points, 5 steals) scored 17 in the quarter, getting to the basket at will and raining in a few jumpers for good measure. Dwight Howard had 20 points and 13 boards against his former team, although he did not shoot well from the field (5-14) or free throw line (10-24).

Pau Gasol keeps upping his value for the Lakers, as he went for 21 and 13 in this one, while Nick Young pitched in 25 points off the bench. Kendall Marshall fell back to human levels of play, scoring just 5 points (2-13 shooting) and dishing out 8 assists.  

Suns (21-13) 104, Timberwolves (17-18) 103

The Suns shocked Minnesota late, overcoming a nine-point hole with 4:30 to go to pull out a last-second win. Down a point in the final seconds, Phoenix was scrambling to find a good shot. After nearly losing the ball, Markieff Morris found Gerald Green (14 points) cutting down into the corner. Green rose up (really high) and sank the baseline jumper to complete the Suns comeback. Kevin Martin (20 points) left a layup short as time expired, as Minnesota dropped to 0-10 in games decided by four points or less.

Goran Dragic (26 points, 9 assists) was the engine that powered the Suns’ comeback. The point guard scored 12 in the fourth and picked up two of his assists to boot. He’s putting up All-Star numbers, averaging 19 and 6 with a Player Efficiency Rating over 20. Channing Frye, who is criminally overlooked, scored 20 and knocked down 5-10 threes for Phoenix.

Minnesota did almost enough to win, but committed a few bad fouls and went under a few too many screens on the Suns’ shooters in the fourth quarter. Kevin Love had 15 and 12, but was brutal shooting the ball (4-20). He complemented his ugly shooting night with some ugly words about his teammates’ effort after the game. Nikola Pekovic added a double double as well (17 and 12) and Ricky Rubio stuffed his stat sheet as per usual (7 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists) but committed a costly turnover and committed one of those fouls in the last minute of the game.

Trail Blazers (27-9) 110, Magic (10-25) 94

Looking at the final score, you would never guess Portland actually trailed heading into the final quarter. Outscoring your opponent by 20 in the fourth makes things look pretty rosy, though. The Trail Blazers went off late, scoring 39 in the final 12 minutes as Nicolas Batum (14 points, 10 rebounds, 14 assists) notched his second triple double of the season in the win. LaMarcus Aldridge chugged along with a 36-point night, also grabbing 9 rebounds and 3 blocks.

Orlando stayed in the game and even held a decent lead early thanks to the shooting of Arron Afflalo (22 points on just 7-14 from the field). They also got a double double from Jameer Nelson (17 points, 10 assists), but simply couldn’t withstand the Blazers’ shooting barrage in the fourth. Portland made over 60 percent (17-28) of its shots in the quarter and shot 47.4 percent for the game. Orlando dropped its fifth straight, but got more solid minutes from rookie Victor Oladipo as he continues to impress.

Clippers (25-13) 111, Celtics (13-23) 105

The Clippers held on in a close one to help Doc Rivers go to 2-0 against his former team. Blake Griffin’s excellent play has kept up without Chris Paul in the lineup; he went for 29 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists in this one. Oh, and he also destroyed Kris Humprhies with one of his patented throw-in dunk things. Get well soon, Kris.

The Clippers didn’t really assert themselves until late, trailing midway through the third before starting to pull away. Boston got 24 points apiece from Avery Bradley and Jordan Crawford, while Crawford also handed out 8 assists. For L.A., Darren Collison filled in for CP3 and put up 15 points and 6 assists, not bad for a guy who couldn’t find minutes for the point guard-hungry Mavs last season. The Clips also got 26 from Jamal Crawford in a starting role, but he needed 26 shots to get there.

Back to Blake, though. Over his last 13 games, Griffin’s averaging 25.7 points and 11 boards. While his rebounding has dropped a bit in the three games Paul has missed, Griffin has stepped up his playmaking, averaging 5.3 assists per game – two more than his season average. He’s also throwing outlet passes like he’s Kevin Love. Blake has plenty of critics, but he’s doing his best to silence them with his play.

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  • Fan of the game

    Griffin too slept on as a big man passer. Been able to do this aspect well for a minute.
    A fan of Gerald since his dominant Gulf Shores days. Did it hard but doing it big now.

  • Fan of the game

    VC still ballin at this stage is a testament to his talent and maturity. Great exemplar as a pro for the younger ballers turnin into middle aged vets.
    Duncan also getting there.
    VC or Harden at 24? James is better at getting to the line, and . . .

  • Sérgio

    Griffin has been ballin strongly this season. And oh, poor Humpries…

    Dwight had a horrible shooting night. He needed 14 shots and 24 freethrows to score 20 points? What a shame.

  • Max

    KLove with the 4-20!

  • Saleem Rainman

    you guys know the stat now, Wolves are 0-10 in one possession games at the end.

    Taken from a post on Canis Hoopus(Wolves blog):

    93-92 loss to Cavs – Love missed 3 pointer
    109-107 loss to Clippers – Pek misses layup, Love rebounds and misses tip in
    117-113 loss to Denver – Love has 3 pointer blocked
    104-98 loss to Wizards – Love missed 3 pointer
    102-98 loss to Clippers – Love misses 3 pointer, Brewer misses 3 pointer
    101-97 loss to Celtics – Love missed 3 pointer with 10 seconds left
    120-116 loss to Clippers – Pek hook shot missed
    100-98 loss to Dallas – Love missed 3 pointer (foul by Marion not called)
    115-111 loss to OKC – Love missed 3 FTs
    104-103 loss to Suns – Martin misses shot at rim

    Kevin Love had the ball in his hands for 8 of those 10 losses. A couple of them bunnies (that missed tip in against the clippers, and those 3 free throws). Now i excuse the one where he was fouled by marion, but Thats where ur superstars are supposed to win u games. at least a couple of those 10.

  • Fan of the game

    Yes on Griffin. His play as a result of his gradual evolution as a baller has been one of the joys to watch this season and the bonus is he still has a lot of room to improve. Hope he gets there.

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

    My poor poor Lakers. I was very pleased by the way they played in the first half but it just all fell apart in the second. The defense was on point but just broke down as soon as the 3rd quarter started. It’s all about effort which they showed in the first half but just didn’t sustain it.

  • i_ball

    KG is trying to find a bit his shooting touch – in the last 3 games he is 8/12. Not shooting much but it seems he is slowly picking himself up.

  • James Travelled

    Travel!!! by James Harden

  • Drig

    I know…….and it doesn’t look like it’ll let up anytime soon. We’ve got a huge road trip coming up which is gonna put us in the lottery.

    The prospect of getting Jabari in the draft looks more likely than making the playoffs at this point…….Oh well, might as well cash in the one good pick Lakers have in god knows how many more future seasons.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    for the last 20 games, Jordan Hill has been playing about 18mpg. now, what in the entire world is Mike D’Antoni doing? that guy has been the best player on the team this season, but he can’t stay on the court. He just had 10 points, 8 rebounds, and a block in 22 minutes last night. idk about you guys, or maybe i’m missing something, but imo, that’s pretty damn solid, no reason he should be struggling to stay on the court.

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

    It’s just so damn frustrating to see such a total breakdown from the first half to the second half because it’s all effort. They are obviously capable of playing well defensively so to see that lapse is unacceptable. I haven’t looked at the schedule going forward but these are dark times ahead for us so it seems.

  • spit hot fiyah

    underrated passer and ball handler. check out this nba street s#!t

    http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3752261/griffinPG.gif

  • spit hot fiyah

    VC in the watch-ability category by 10,000 miles

  • spit hot fiyah

    if they are not going to call that then they might as well get rid of traveling all together

  • spit hot fiyah

    the anti-portland

  • Stepfan Raiford

    Ricky Rubio, I’m sorry he’s overrated.

  • LakeShow

    I really like Hill and wish he was seeing close to 30mpg. Especially with Shawne Williams cut, and the fact that he is their best post defender. (not saying much)

    D’Antoni as much as you and I both vouch for him… really is confusing sometimes…

  • LakeShow

    Where is he rated?

    Are you talking about SLAM’s top 50?

    He’s probably played around #12-15 in terms of point guard ranking this season.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    seems like he is dead set on doing it his way just so he can someday say “hahahaha i told you guys so” no matter how blatantly wrong his way is along the way. there is only so much bashing your face into the wall a person can take before they die.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    his skillset is so damn underrated. he is averaging 5apg since CP went down, and that has absolutely impressed me more than that dunk last night did.

  • LakeShow

    Agreed. As much as he is responsible for them being in the game in the first place, he has to close out at a high rate in order to be deemed the best PF or a top 5 player.

    I am feeling rather reserved on my thoughts on Love this morning. He does need to will them to a couple of wins in those close ones.

    You all probably saw the “Pythagorean Wins” on NBA.com yesterday. The Wolves have the highest in that category by a great number. Their advance stats say they are a much better team than they are record wise. That is as disappointing as it is encouraging for the Wolves and their fans I think.

  • LakeShow

    Uggh..

  • Drig

    If there was one cliche statement that could sum up the Lakers’ season so far it’s One step forward, two steps back….

    I’m already worried about how gassed the players look. At the rate they’re going, they might not even be able to play a quarter’s worth of good D by the time the ASW rolls around. And that’s without the injuries…….

  • Drig

    Whoa! That’s unbelievable! I haven’t had a chance to watch much of Griffin this season with more of the Pacers and Spurs matches being telecast here locally but I sure as hell hope he’s been able to consistently enforce himself on the game this season. That and his passing becoming better.

  • LakeShow

    Yeah. It’s disappointing for me. I still have faith that he can take a team to the promised land, but I think he may need someone to slap him upside the head to remind him that defense is as important as the other side of the ball, and that big guys are the easiest way to shore that problem up.

    The best thing that could happen for him is to have a team like the Pacers. That naturally love playing defense so he can orchestrate his offensive magic. Whatever. The Lakers are in disarray anyway. No point in having Phil Jackson here to show Nick Young how to play the triangle.

  • Conor

    He’s done the same with Farmar and Kaman this season. D’Antoni is a bad coach who has held a grudge against Hill since New York. There’s no mystery.

  • Drig

    The only reason which makes any sense to me is that the Lakers are tanking without making it obvious. At the start, I was hoping it was just D’Antoni giving everyone a chance to contribute before Kobe comes back and he locks in the rotation but with the increasing injury list and no increase in playing time, I’m beginning to think D’Antoni simply doesn’t like him on a personal level. Maybe something from his NYK days.

    He’s also starting to do the same to Farmar as well……

    I’m still hoping its because the FO has told him to tank.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    right, in hindsight, if Phil really was willing to coach the Lakers last season that was the right play, just because he might have been able to salvage Dwight’s feelings about being a Laker. Other then that tho, i think we all realize that they weren’t a title team, and their problem isn’t about who the coach is as much as the makeup of the roster.
    .
    D’Antoni needs a superstar PG imo.that’s the only way he gets his title.

  • Drig

    Nick Young trying to make sense of the triangle would be SO.MUCH.FUN.

    The expression on Phil’s face when Young inexplicably screws up the odd perfectly executed triangle play would be hilarious

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i wouldn’t play Kaman much either, for what it’s worth. He’s a dead end, and considering this is LA’s season with draft picks before they go back to Phoenix, might as well not play any “dead end” type guys. But I don’t see how Jordan Hill or Jordan Farmar are dead ends.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    but don’t you want to retain Jordan Hill going forward? his contract is expiring, pissing him off before he’s a free agent is a pretty sh*tty way to ensure you keep him when you aren’t tanking.

  • spit hot fiyah

    yeah and his ft% is almost at 70 which is major for him. his mid range J looks much better as well, but that is total eye test. i haven’t seen any numbers. which i’m sure u can find in less than 2 minutes

  • Drig

    It’s also the injuries. Kobe, Nash, Howard, Pau have never been healthy together.

    Hell, Nash, Gasol, Kobe haven’t ever been healthy together this season.

    That’s 3 starting players for the Lakers. I don’t know any other team in the L that’s had quite such an injury ridden stretch save for the Wolves probably.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i actually don’t have access to his shooting data at the moment. we are too early in the season as of now. all i know is that he’s shooting .526% from 2point range, which is the 2nd lowest of his career.
    .
    but that may also just be because he’s shooting more shots outside the paint then at any other point. hard to say. but fundamentally speaking, his shot looks a lot more fluid, he has sort of gotten rid of that little pause/hitch that plagued him that last couple years.

  • Drig

    Um………Aaa……….But!……Wait a sec……….

    Screw it, D’Antoni hates Hill because of something that happened in NYK.

  • Stepfan Raiford

    Nah just in terms of when he got in the league. They were calling him the next Pistol Pete, which is an insult. Great passer and can run a team but he’s a liability on the court cause he cant shoot or finish at the basket. I bet the T-wolves regret passing on Trey Burke right about now.

  • retrobat

    Yeah, VC alllllll day.

  • Stepfan Raiford

    ……..

  • LakeShow

    I think your dogging him a little hard here.

    All he needs to do is find an offensive move that he can connect on 50% of the time and he will be fine.

    You have to realize how special his other abilities are. He is a very good defender and a very good play-maker. His scoring ability is one of the worse in the L, but everything else in his game he is close to elite at. He’s shown some success in terms of shooting the ball from distance so he is not hopeless enough to just give up on him and draft another point guard imo.

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

    Yes Hill has been great for us this year.

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

    Hence why guys have been dropping like flies.

  • Stepfan Raiford

    You think so bruh? Alright I’ll ease up.

  • davidR

    i got to see him live at the dubs v clippers on christmas, and they were giving him the midrange all day. problem was, he was knocking them down. i also dont know if hes consistent with it, but it definitely looks like he’s getting there

  • davidR

    i cant stand the way harden plays. disinterested on D, shuts his teammates out when he’s frustrated, and of course the constant flopping/running into players to draw a foul.

    VC and it’s not even close

  • davidR

    great run by the dubs. even tho they lost, they kept the game verrrry close but had some really questionable reffing toward the end. no excuses tho.

    if curry can stop himself from lazy dribbling and passing (turnovers)…. watch out

  • davidR

    bledsoe is now out indefinitely for his knee. damn.

  • brothasdontsurf

    Now the Warriors need to Bop their way back home from Brooklyn….

  • LakeShow

    Haha, you don’t have to. Just was playing Devil’s advocate a bit. He pisses me off with his scoring “ability”, but he is actually really special in the other aspects of the game.

  • LakeShow

    I wanted to down-vote you but it felt misguided… This sucks. I love watching him play and the Suns are one of the great stories of the year.

  • davidR

    don’t shoot the messenger!

    but yea, that hella sucks

  • The Fury

    It maybe because he’s (Hill) a 4 who doesn’t shoot threes, he (Antoni) may be the most stubborn coach in the League.

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