by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad
Last night saw two triple-doubles, another blowout loss for the Knicks, a return to Utah for Jimmer and an enthralling matchup between the Bobcats and Wizards. Catch up on all the action below…
Andre Iguodala turned 28 yesterday and for his birthday he treated himself to a triple-double at the expense of the lowly Pistons. Dre shot 4-7 from the field, scored 10 points, grabbed 10 boards dropped 10 dimes and had only 1 turnover—it doesn’t get any more efficient than that. Coming out of the half, the Sixers continued their habit of playing strong to start the third quarter. They put together a quick 8-2 run thanks to 3-pointers from both Iguodala and Jodie Meeks to push the lead to 17. From that point on it was over, Detroit never got within nine for the remaining quarter and a half. The Night Shift once again put together a great performance; Lou Williams had 17, Evan Turner had 12 and 6 boards to pace Philly’s bench who finished with 46 points compared to Detroit’s 32. For the Pistons, Greg Monroe had another double-double with 16 and 10 but was the only strong performer on a night where Lawrence Frank’s team struggled to find the bottom of the net. The Pistons only scored 31 points in the first half and shot a terrible 35 percent from the field. Philly currently sits at 14-6 and are 3-1 during their current 7 game home stretch. The next week will be a true test for Doug Collins’ crew; they host Orlando, Chicago and Miami.
Well, somebody had to win this game. Rookie Kemba Walker scored the first triple-double of his promising career with a stat line of 2o points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds—clap for him. The Bobcats also got a career best 23 points on 10-17 shooting from Byron Mullens but it was free throw shooting that proved to be Charlotte’s achilles heel. As a team, the Bobcats shot 17-29 from the field, good enough (bad enough?) for 58 percent on the night. Had they shot their season average of 73 percent, they would have scored an additional 4 points, good enough for a 1-point victory—tough. The Wizards had 5 players score in double figures including Nick Young whose 8 fourth quarter points proved to be the difference in the game. JaVale McGee had a double-double with a team high 22 points and 10 rebounds. He also had 5 blocks and now leads the League with 63 swats on the season. John Wall also had a double-double with 16 points (2 of which came on this monstrous slam) and 10 assists but also had 4 turnovers, a stat that has been killing him and his team thus far. Also, DeSagana Diop: C’mon Son.
For the second night in a row, Chase Budinger stepped up for the Houston Rockets and led the team in scoring; this time with 19 off the bench as the Rockets blew out the Knicks for their ninth win in 10 games. Houston’s bench played phenomenal as Jordan Hill (14), Goran Dragic (16) and the aforementioned Budinger combined to score 49 points. It’s a great luxury for Coach McHale that on a night when budding superstar Kyle Lowry (3 points, 4 assists) has an off game he can look down the bench with confidence and get great minutes from a guy like Goran Dragic. Compare that to D’Antoni’s point guard rotation of Mike Bibby, Toney Douglas, Iman Shumpert and Jeremy Lin and you can see why the Rockets have found great success while the much hyped Knicks have under achieved. Is this rock bottom for New York? I’m really not sure. To be honest, I think it could get much worse. This team is playing with no confidence offensively and without a veteran point guard to take control they have no shot. Sure, Baron Davis may prove to be an upgrade, but can fans truly feel confident in a 30-something point guard who may or may not be in shape coming off a relatively serious back problem? The Knicks problems don’t fall squarely on D’Antoni’s shoulders. Management put together a collection of players who don’t “fit” together. In order for D’Antoni’s system to work he needs a competent point guard—just look what he did with Ray Felton and even Chris Duhon. Houston, on the other hand, has really surprised me—I completely overlooked them during the preseason. The emergence of Kyle Lowry coupled with the strong play of Samuel Dalembert (14 boards last night) has invigorated a team that is now 12-8 and 9-2 at home. If they can figure out a way to win on the road they could be dangerous.
With Andrew Bogut out, Drew Gooden has now eclipsed 20 points in two straight games as the starting center of the Bucks. The Lakers allowed Milwaukee to shoot 50 percent from the field as they fell to 1-7 on the road this season. Playing without Bogut and Stephen Jackson, who was serving a one game suspension, the Bucks got great guard play from the starting backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Shaun Livingston. Doo Be Doo finished with 12 points, 7 assists and provided the Bucks with great decision making, only committing one turnover in 32 minutes of play. Jennings’ backcourt mate Livingston had 11 points on 4-9 shooting, 2 steals, 0 turnovers and 1 posterizing dunk. Kobe Bryant had 27 points and 9 assists and Pau Gasol had 12 points and 15 rebounds but the Lakers cannot escape their current funk. Kobe also set another Laker record; by hitting 6 free throws, he passed Jerry West for most free throws made with 7,160.
Jimmer Fredette got the start in his return trip to Utah where he spent his college years playing for BYU.After receiving a standing O from the crowd, Jimmer came out and scored 14 points but missed a potential tying 3-pointer with 4.2 seconds left and the Jazz pulled off the victory. ‘Reke Evans had a game high 31 points, 9 assists and 6 boards but couldn’t will his team to victory. Down by 13 points in the fourth, Evans all but carried his team back to striking distance and the Jazz did all they could to give the game away but the young Kings couldn’t take advantage. Gordon Hayward finished with a career high 21 points to go along with 5 rebounds and 4 assists. The Jazz needed a career night from Hayward since their usual strong frontcourt of Millsap and Jefferson only had a combined 18 points on 7-23 shooting, but, they did chip in with 20 rebounds. C.J. Miles provided 20 points off the bench on 8-13 shooting and the Jazz escaped with an ugly win.
Jared Dudley had a season high 20 points and hit two clutch free throws with 3.3 seconds remaining to defeat the Memphis Grizzlies who have now dropped three in a row after winning seven straight. Steve Nash, who was playing his 700th game as a Sun, finished with 21 points and 6 assists but was hurt on the last play of the game after running into a Marc Gasol pick. Following Dudley’s free throws, the Grizzlies had a chance to win it all but Mike Conley (15 points, 10 assists) missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer and the Griz dropped another one on the road. Marcin Gortat had 13 points and 12 rebounds (6 offensive); he has now tallied double-digit rebounds in 11 straight games, the longest active streak in the NBA. Marc Gasol finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds but was guilty of fouling Jared Dudley at the end of the game—a foul that effectively cost Memphis the game. Phoenix won their first game at home since January 8th and Memphis finished their 4 game road trip 1-3.
Stat Line(s) of the Night: Kemba Walker with 28 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for his first career triple-double and Andre Iguodala with 10/10/1o on his born day.
Dunk(s) of the Night: ‘Reke flies through the lane.
Shaun Livingston on Goudelock.
Andre Iguodala with the self-assist.
C’mon Son: DeSagana Diop.
Tonight: Abe is back and has you covered for all 8 games going down as we head into Super Bowl week (Sorry, I can’t contain my excitement). A few good matchups tonight as the Pacers and Magic square off and the Clippers and Nuggets square off in what should be an exciting game. Thanks for reading everybody.