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Wednesday, February 5th, 2014 at 9:00 am  |  46 responses

Post Up: Keeping Pace With Indy

Indiana holds off Atlanta and Nash returns in a losing effort against the TWolves

by Alex Shultz / @AlexShultz

Indiana Pacers 89 (38-10), Atlanta Hawks 85 (25-22)

Pacers guard Lance Stephenson might’ve converted the play of the night, throwing in an acrobatic layup while taking a hard fall onto the court. The and-one was a scary moment for Pacers fans, but it appears Stephenson isn’t seriously injured, telling Pacers reporter Candace Buckner he felt “good” after the game.

The Pacers nearly blew an 11-point fourth quarter lead, but two clutch free throws from Danny Granger (8 points and 4 rebounds) with three seconds left sealed the deal for the team with the best record in the NBA.

David West was as steady as ever for Indiana, scoring 22 points and adding 10 rebounds. The Hawks, meanwhile, didn’t have a single starter score in double figures. All-Star Paul Millsap had just 7 points on 2-11 shooting. Backup big man Mike Scott actually led the team with 15 points.

Indiana is off until Friday when it will take on the Portland Trail Blazers in a matchup of two of the best teams in the League.

Minnesota Timberwolves 109 (24-24), Los Angeles Lakers 99 (16-32)

Even with Pau Gasol’s groin injury set to keep him out indefinitely, the Lakers started Tuesday night on a relatively high note—Steve Nash and Steve Blake were back in the starting lineup after long absences. That feeling didn’t last long though. Jodie Meeks left the game one minute in with a sprained right ankle, Jordan Hill was knocked out with a cervical strain and a headache after getting hit in the head by Chris Kaman’s elbow, and Steve Blake played through a ruptured ear drum.

The Timberwolves were a two-man show offensively, as Kevin Love finished with 31 points and 17 rebounds and Kevin Martin added 32 of his own. Ricky Rubio had an interesting statline—just 4 points, but 13 assists and 6 rebounds in 31 minutes. Love went down hard in the fourth quarter and appeared to be in some pain, but stayed in the game until there was less than 30 seconds remaining.

Nick Young led Los Angeles with 24 points and Manny Harris chipped in 19 even though he had discovered before the game that he wasn’t going to be signed for the remainder of the season. Nash had 7 points and 9 assists in his return to the floor. The Lakers have dropped seven straight games and are 3-19 since Dec. 21.

Chicago Bulls 101 (24-24), Phoenix Suns 92 (29-19)

Chicago’s frontcourt tandem of Carlos Boozer (19 points and 12 rebounds) and Joakim Noah (14 points and 14 rebounds) proved to be too much for the Suns, who stumbled out of the gate with just 13 first quarter points.

The Bulls got 18 points apiece from D.J. Augustin and Jimmy Butler, and that balanced scoring helped propel them back to a .500 record.

Phoenix guard Goran Dragic had 24 points and 7 rebounds, but backcourt mate Gerald Green struggled mightily with 5 points on 2-13 shooting. The loss snapped a five-game winning steak for the Suns, who will quickly have to turn their attention to the Rockets in Houston on Wednesday.

Charlotte Bobcats 91 (22-28), Golden State Warriors 75 (29-20)

The Charlotte Bobcats—yes, the Charlotte Bobcats—held the Warriors to their second lowest scoring output of the season and finished up a four-game West Coast road trip with an impressive 3-1 record.

For the second time in three games, Al Jefferson carried Charlotte offensively, finishing with 30 points and 13 rebounds. Gerald Henderson did his part with 17 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Starting point guard Kemba Walker struggled in his return from a sprained ankle (3-11 shooting), but was still a welcome sight for Bobcats fans.

Not a single Warrior shot even 50 percent, unless you count MarShon Brooks making his only attempt in two minutes of action. In fact, Golden State shot 31.2 percent from the field as a team. Steph Curry put up 17 points and 11 assists but was just 1-7 from beyond the arc. He also provided this pregame moment with father Dell Curry:

The Warriors have dropped three straight games against Eastern Conference opponents, a surprising statistic considering the West’s dominance over the other conference thus far this season.

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  • Sérgio

    Lake, I agree with everything you said yesterday about Al Jefferson, but dude has been straight out ballin this season. He will take the Bobcats to the Playoffs, what would be a great feat considering their roster, even in the awful East.

  • JJ Jones

    Hard to believe that paul george was the leading mvp candidate a couple of months ago.Do people still believe that hes better than melo right now because imo that proclamation was a little premature.

  • JJ Jones

    Definately deserves more credit than hes getting that roster is terrible.

  • Harvey

    I’m just glad to see Nash back on the court

  • Saleem Rainman

    to anyone who didnt see the game, the stats dont do justice to just how well Steve Nash looked out there. comfortable, not laboring, he shud have had 10 assists at the half. Its one game, but its a good start.

    This guy literally had to re teach his body how to move certain ways to not aggravate any nerves to get back to the game, he compared it to teaching a baby how to walk, or re learning how to walk, ridiculous how much work has been put into this comeback. Much respect.

  • Blake

    Whoever thinks paul george is mvp is not watching basketball. He is for sure a top 20 player in the league, but better than durant, no. Is he better than melo, i don’t know, defensively he is years ahead of him simply because all Carmelo loves to do is shoot, with good reason. Carmelo has to carry his team all the time, while Paul George doesn’t.

  • JJ Jones

    Dont forget that melo is a MUCH better rebounder as well. Better than durant lol

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    you do realize this is only the 3rd season Melo has averaged over 7 rebounds a game don’t you? or do you just judge everything based on the stats in this one season?

  • i_ball

    Melo isn’t carrying his team to a good record. I mean the Knicks are 2 games behind the Bobcats and have one 3 games less than them.

    I still think if you trade Melo for PG straight up the Knicks will get better and the Pacers will get worse.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i don’t think anyone has Paul George as the MVP.

  • LakeShow

    Melo plays PF for the Knicks. Durant(and Paul G.) plays mostly on the wing, like a SG. Durant is the better rebounder and PG is very comparable when all things are taken into consideration.

    Like the fact Melo get’s a lot of his rebounds off his own misses near the rim. And that he was the best rebounder on his team while Tyson was out. While that’s nice that he offensively rebounds those misses, Durant doesn’t need to, because he puts the ball in the bucket at a much higher rate.

    Yes Melo rebounds more, but he is not, technically speaking, a “better” rebounder.

    Semantics though.

  • LakeShow

    And all Slam’s people said: AMEN!

  • LakeShow

    I only seem like I don’t like him because some people think he’s a legit All-Star or top 5 Player at the PF/C spot. To which I vehemently disagree.

  • JJ Jones

    Im just talking about this season. And I’m saying that RIGHT NOW george isnt better than melo. He has the potential to be in later years though.

  • JJ Jones

    Good point I’m just saying that george isn’t on carmelo level yet imo.

  • Dagger

    I fear that he’ll be underrated after he retires. Without a doubt, the best combination of passing and shooting that I’ve ever seen. And an incredible leader/team player to boot.

  • LakeShow

    I’m not sure, but I think I may agree with you…

    It’s fairly easy to make an argument for Paul George though.

    He’s the best defender of the top 4 SF’s.

    Current defensive rankings:

    PG
    Durant
    Bron

    Melo

  • LakeShow

    This^

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i’m saying Melo isn’t a “MUCH” better rebounder than Durant. He is just in a situation (playing power forward, on a team that is terrible on the boards) that leads to more rebounds. Technically, over their careers, Durant has been superior to Anthony on the boards.
    .
    And i’m not arguing the Melo/George thing, i would much rather have George. But i understand the inverse argument.

  • LakeShow

    Agreed. Which is saying something when a guy like Stockton is in the history books.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    …… are you saying that Durant is a better defender than LeBron, or that he is just statistically better this season?

  • LakeShow

    He has both been better statistically and physically THIS season.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i agree about this season, just didn’t know if you meant in general or not.
    .
    speaking of defensive improvement, Serge Ibaka has to be in the running for DPOY again, but this time deservedly so.

  • LakeShow

    And honestly, a great argument can be made for the physically part for this season for Bron. He’s been superb.

    Yeah Serge is better than years past, but I still don’t like him in the top 3.

    Hibbert
    Bogut
    George

    Those are my currrent top 3.

    What do you got?

    I kinda like Deandre Jordan up there too.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    - Hibbert
    - Bogut
    - Ibaka
    - Duncan
    - Dwight (gross, but seriously, he’s the only reason teams don’t score 1,000 points per 100 possessions against Houston)
    - George (Roy Hibbert, George Hill, Lance Stephenson are so good that George’s one on one defense is less valuable then it would be on a different team. And DPOY to me is about value).
    - Jordan
    - Gasol (Holy sh*t is Memphis good at defense when he’s healthy)

  • LakeShow

    Good stuff.

    I probably should be giving Ibaka a little more credit. But like you said with George, I almost feel the same about Ibaka.

    Jackson, Thabo, Durant, Ibaka, Perkins with Collison and Adams off the bench… Great defensive cast.

    Don’t you think the Clippers defense would be sh*t w/o Jordan though?

  • Sérgio

    I think he has a case for All Star this season. He is putting 20-10, on a Playoff team as of today (not that it says much in the East, still…), with no other legitimate scoring threat on his team. He started the season slow, but averaged 24 ppg in January and 27 in the last 10 matches.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    ehhhh, Jordan is giving up more production then he’s giving at Center. They would be pretty bad without him, definitely. But if they had a better defensive 5 (imo) they would be elite, rather than pretty good.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    regarding the Ibaka / supporting cast issue,

    Perkins is a bad defender at this point. Unless he’s matching up a back to the basket 5, he’s just not that great.
    .
    and with that being said, all of his teammates are really good. OKC has the 2nd best defense in the league and imo Ibaka is the catalyst to this, maybe i’m giving him more credit then i should but the same could be said for Bogut. With Andre Iguodala & Draymond Green, he’s got some stoppers surrounding him.

  • LakeShow

    Yes, he could be an All-Star. I like Hibbert, Bosh, Milsap, West and Noah over him, but I can see arguments over the last two.

  • LakeShow

    Yeah Perk is weird. He saves your ass or screws you over. Against, Dwight, Z-Bo/Gasol, and Hibbert, he’s great, any other time he is as useless as Jimmer Fredette on the defensive end.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    haha pretty much. i mean not THAT useless, but yeah.

  • JJ Jones

    No you misunderstood my post I was laughing at people who said that PAUL GEORGE was better than durant

  • JJ Jones

    Hes my pick for dpoy

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    “Dont forget that melo is a MUCH better rebounder as well. Better than durant lol”

    - my bad about the “MUCH” part. but still, Melo is not actually better on the boards than Durant, despite what this years stats say. that was my point.
    .
    “And I’m saying that RIGHT NOW george isn’t better than melo. He has the potential to be in later years though.”

    - quote, “i’m not arguing the Melo/George thing, i would much rather have George. But i understand the inverse argument.”

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i don’t understand how anyone can have him over Hibbert.

  • JJ Jones

    They might take conferences into consideration

  • LakeShow

    What does that mean?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    so you think Serge Ibaka has been a better defender than Roy Hibbert this year because he plays in a different conference?
    .
    What if Indiana’s defensive numbers against the West are no worse than against the East?
    .
    Have you actually put more thought into this than, “well they play in different conferences” at all?

  • JJ Jones

    No I was responding to the people saying that george was better durant. I wasnt comparing melo and durants rebounding at all. In was implying that melo has rebounding over george

  • Saleem Rainman

    Im gonna go ahead and say he is the best offensive point guard of all time. Stockton was a VERY good shooter, but i wudnt say he was great. (to refer to lake below) Nash, percentage wise, is the greatest shooter of all time.(if Curry can stay healthy and keep this up he will take that crown though), but he wasnt just a shooter, he was capable of dropping 30-40 on anyone if u forced him to shoot rather than pass. and he WOULD. (see: Dallas MAvericks in the conference finals of 06, where he dropped 48 on em) and ofc we all know about his passing. offensively, he was as complete as they come.

  • JJ Jones

    I haven’t checked the numbers I was just guessing what the voters train of thought could possibly be.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    ooooh, voter train of thought is generally a bunch of lies, don’t put too much thought into that. i care more about your reasoning

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    oh alright, my fault man.

  • JJ Jones

    Its all good I should have worded that better.

  • LakeShow

    Oh, and He is a top 10 player. No need to stretch it to 20.

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