by Leo Sepkowitz | @LeoSepkowitz
Clippers 137, Rockets 118
The Rockets didn’t have a prayer against Chris Paul last night. The dude was everywhere, running as sharp an offense as you’ll ever see. In all, CP3 finished with 23 points, 17 dimes, 2 turnovers and a pair of steals,. The Clippers clicked on all cylinders all night long, swinging the ball around and finding the open guy over and over and over again. Their depth at the wing is astounding.
Lob City sank 15 treys, 8 of which came from the duo of JJ Redick (26 points) and Jamal Crawford (21). Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Jared Dudley each dropped at least 11, too. It was the kind of game that makes any viewer believe the Clippers are true title contenders, and just might be the West’s best team.
Meanwhile, the Rockets didn’t look too good for a team that scored 118 points. The offense never really clicked, but obviously the defense is the real problem. They had no answer for the Clippers’ impressive ball movement, and even when Omer Asik played alongside Dwight Howard the defense looked abysmal. They went small for most of the night, giving about 50 minutes to the combo of Francisco Garcia and Omri Casspi while Asik saw just 24 minutes. The likes of Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas only surfaced in garbage time. Defense and the power forward spot could be major issues for the Rockets this season.
James Harden scored a quiet 15 on just 6-of-16 shooting (0/7 threes). He seemed invisible for most of the night—bizarre considering his Rockets were going up against one of the League’s top squads. Howard battled early foul trouble but managed to finish with 13 points and 9 rebounds. Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin each scored 14, though it was Casspi who led the team in scoring with 19.
Cavaliers 93, Timberwolves 92
Cleveland led by 16 with just over five minutes left last night before nearly blowing the game. A 91-75 advantage evaporated into a 93-92 battle, but the TWolves couldn’t convert a game-winning chance in the closing seconds.
CJ Miles led Cleveland in scoring, pumping in 19 in just 19 minutes. Kyrie Irving managed 15 points, 8 boards and 6 assists, but committed 9 turnovers. Andrew Bynum was able to play 19 pretty solid minutes, and finished with 10 points, 4 rebounds and 3 rejections. If he can give the Cavs that much most nights, they’ll be a Playoff team in the East.
Kevin Love double-doubled for Minnesota, and it looks like he’s returned to dominant form after playing only 18 games last season. He’s as good a big man as we have in the League when healthy. Kevin Martin scored 23 and Corey Brewer chipped in 13. Ricky Rubio was brutal offensively, though, finishing with 4 points (0/7) and 5 turnovers.
Warriors 110, 76ers 90
The Sixers finally ran out of gas last night. They got smoked through the first three quarters, and made the final score look not that bad by outscoring Golden State 25-12 in the fourth with the game already out of hand.
Andre Iguodala erupted in his return to Philadelphia, knocking down seven treys on his way to 32 points and making one insane pass (below). Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and David Lee each scored at least 15. Only Iggy played more than 30 minutes in the blowout.
Philly shot just 35 percent and a brutal 5/25 from downtown. Michael Carter-Williams missed 13 of his 17 attempts from the floor and turned the ball over 6 times, but managed to knock down 9/12 free throws. Just about the only silver lining for the Sixers was Tony Wroten scoring 14 points off the bench. The 6-6 guard has scored in double figures in each game so far this season.
Grizzlies 95, Celtics 88
Boston hung around for most of the game—they even led with six minutes to play—but Memphis closed on an 11-2 run to win it.
The Grizzlies’ box score isn’t particularly pretty, but they got contributions from enough guys. Zach Randolph, Mike Conley and Jerryd Bayless each scored 15, and Marc Gasol went for 14 and 8.
The game was there for the Celtics’ taking, but they just don’t have enough good players to win games like these. Still, they got nice efforts from Jeff Green (22), Jared Sullinger (14 & 5) and Avery Bradley (14), and this season will be all about seeing what they’ve got in their young guys. Playing a tough Grizz team close for 45 minutes is a win for this Celtics squad.