Post Up: Point Guard Hard

by January 22, 2015

Hornets (18-25) 78, Heat (18-24) 76

It wasn’t pretty, but Charlotte got its eighth win in nine games thanks to stingy defense.

Bismack Biyombo posted 12 points and 12 boards and Kemba Walker dropped 15. The Hornets outrebounded the Heat 56-41.

Surprise, surprise: Dwyane Wade (17 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals) and Chris Bosh (17 points, 7 rebounds) were Miami’s two bright spots. The Hornets have now held their opponent to less than 100 points for 10 consecutive games.

Cavaliers (23-20) 106, Jazz (14-28) 92

The Cavaliers were clicking on all cylinders during a home tilt versus the Jazz on Wednesday night.

All five Cleveland starters scored at least 15 points. LeBron James led the way with 26 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds and 4 steals. Kevin Love had 19 points, 13 boards, 2 blocks and a couple of pinpoint outlet passes to LeBron for buckets. Kyrie put up 18 points and 5 steals, newly acquired Timofey Mozgov provided 16 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks, and JR Smith chipped in with 15 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals.

The easy W over the lowly Jazz marked the Cavs’ fourth straight win. They’re 4-1 since LeBron returned from his eight-game absence. Enes Kanter (24 points, 17 rebounds) and Gordon Hayward (14 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) padded their stats in a losing effort.

Knicks (7-36) 98, Sixers (8-34) 91

The New York Knickerbockers have won two straight games. Is this real life?

Granted, last night’s win came over the Sixers in a game that was dubbed the “Tank Bowl.” Still, big ups to NYK for their first back-to-back victories since October 30th and November 2nd. Carmelo Anthony played terrifically, finishing with 27 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Jose Calderon controlled the pace and posted 15/7/5.

The Knicks led by as many as 14 points but allowed Philadelphia to creep back into it thanks to Michael Carter-Williams’ rim-attacking ability. Robert Covington (17 points, 2 blocks) hit a three-ball to bring the Sixers to within four with under two minutes remaining, but Langston Galloway (11 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals) responded with a dagger from beyond the arc to put the game out of reach. In the end, MCW’s 27 points, 7 dimes, 6 boards and 5 robberies weren’t enough to propel Philly. Henry Sims chipped in with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Rookie center Nerlens Noel was out due to illness.

Hawks (35-8) 110, Pacers (15-29) 91

If you’re a basketball fan—which, I’ve got to assume you are if you’re reading this—make it a priority to sit down and watch an entire Hawks game this season.

As usual, Atlanta relied on balanced scoring to dismantle their opponent. Jeff Teague had 17 points, 11 assists and 2 steals in a home rout of Indiana last night. DeMarre Carroll added 17 to go along with 4 steals, Al Horford posted 14, 7 and 5 and Paul Millsap contributed 12 and 9. Oh, and Kyle Korver dunked FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE NOVEMBER 2012!

Atlanta has now won 14 straight games and 28 of its past 30 thanks to the team’s unselfish, find-the-open-man mentality. Head coach Mike Budenholzer deserves boatloads of credit for the job he’s done thus far. He’ll coach the East squad at All-Star Weekend in New York and he’s the frontrunner for Coach of the Year Honors. The Hawks are comfortably perched atop the Eastern Conference standings with an astounding 35-8 record.

Pistons (17-26) 128, Magic (15-30) 118

Brandon Jennings accounted for more than half of Detroit’s 128 points in a 10-point home win over Orlando. His 21 assists were a career-high. He also dropped 24 points of his own.

Jennings was in complete control of the game, but he’s got his two big men to thank for being on the receiving end of his plethora of dimes. Andre Drummond had 26 points and 17 rebounds and Greg Monroe put up 24 and 10. All five Piston starters scored in double figures.

The Magic impressed on offense as well. Nikola Vucevic AKA the double-double machine posted 26 points and 15 boards, Victor Oladipo had 23 and 5 and Tobias Harris provided 19 and 5. However, Orlando was a mess on the defensive end.

Grizzlies (30-12) 92, Raptors (27-15) 86

Memphis struggled at times against Toronto, but the Grizz grit-n-grinded en route to their 30th win of the season.

The game was neck-and-neck until T. Dot gave up a huge run in the fourth quarter. The Raps can’t seem to muster the same energy they displayed earlier in the season, as they’ve have now dropped 8 of their last 11 games.

Marc Gasol (26 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks) continued his monster season. Frontcourt buddy Zach Randolph (19 points, 13 rebounds, 2 blocks) was a beast down low. Jeff Green made his first start in a Grizzlies uniform but couldn’t find his shot. It’ll likely take a few games for him to gel in Memphis. Kyle Lowry (20 points, 8 boards, 2 steals) and Lou Williams (21 points) carried the load offensively for Toronto, while DeMar DeRozan (2 for 11 from the field, 6 points) disappeared.

Mavericks (30-13) 98, Timberwolves (7-34) 75

This one wasn’t close—the Mavs blew out the inexperienced T-Wolves for their third straight win thanks to Dirk Nowitzki’s 16 points and 9 rebounds and Chandler Parson’s 22.

Dallas hit 11 three-pointers, shot 51% from the floor and held Minnesota to just 35%. Thaddeus Young was productive with 14 points, 11 boards and 6 dimes. Andrew Wiggins (18 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals) is the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year. He’s averaging 20.5 PPG over his last 15 outings.

Rajon Rondo completely fooled two defenders with his signature move:

Pelicans (21-21) 96, Lakers (12-31) 80

No knock to Ed Davis’ game, but there was zero chance he was gonna be able to check Anthony Davis.

New Orleans’ superstar returned from a toe injury to shoot 11-18 for 29 points alongside 8 rebounds, 3 steals and 4 blocks. People tend to forget that Eric Gordon is pretty nice when he’s not injured—which is most of the time. The former Indiana Hoosier dropped a statline of 17 points, 10 assists, and 5 rebounds. Tyreke Evans added 19. The Pelicans improved to .500 on the year.

Kobe shot 6-14 for 14 points and 7 rebounds. Bryant’s right shoulder bothered him in the second half, and as a result, he resorted to shooting with his left hand. No problem for the Black Mamba, who cashed in on this lefty jumper (that’s why he’s one of the greatest!):

Thunder (22-20) 105, Wizards (29-14) 103

The first of ESPN’s Wednesday night double-header turned out to be the best game of the night.

Wiz fans were not subtle about their courtship of DC native Kevin Durant. Quite the opposite, they were extremely thirsty. Verizon Center was sold out and full of KD2DC signs.

In terms of the actual game, Washington got the best of OKC in the first half but the Thunder stormed back to send the game to overtime. With 0.8 seconds left in the extra period, Russell Westbrook exploded past Bradley Beal, got to the bucket and laid it in. Paul Pierce and John Wall were in help position, but The Truth was flat-footed defensively and Washington’s point guard didn’t move a muscle, allowing Russ to finish easily. John Wall missed a three-pointer on the ensuing possession that would’ve won it.

Kevin Durant broke out of his shooting slump and dropped 34 points and 7 rebounds. He also ended Marcin Gortat’s life with this dunk:

Westbrook was a monster with 32, 8 and 8. Wall put up 18, 13 and 4 steals, Beal had 14 and 8 and Nene posted 24. Pierce provided 14 and a season-high 12 boards.

Suns (26-18) 118, Blazers (31-12) 113

Eric Bledsoe had a career-high 33 points to go with 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals and the Suns defeated the Northwest Division-leading Blazers. Fellow starting guard Goran Dragic scored 16 points and dished out 4 dimes. Isaiah Thomas continues to show why he’s the ultimate sparkplug—he navigated Portland’s defense for 27.

The Suns were up by 25 points but somehow found themselves down five with 2 minutes left. Bledsoe scored 7 points in the final minute and a half to rescue Phoenix. Nicolas Batum (27 points, 10 boards, 5 assists), Damian Lillard (22 points, 6 assists, 2 steals) and Wesley Matthews (22 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals) were locked in but couldn’t stop PHX’s electric guard in crunch time.

Nets (18-24) 103, Kings (16-26) 100

Brook Lopez has lost his starting spot and is involved in trade rumors. That didn’t stop the seventh year center from scoring 22 points and grabbing 6 rebounds to lead BK to its 18th win on the season.

The Nets relied heavily on their big man but also found help from Joe Johnson (16 points, 8 rebounds) and Jarrett Jack (16 points, 8 assists, 2 steals). Boogie Cousins had a game with 28, 14 and 2 steals. So did Rudy Gay—he posted 25, 8 and 6.

Warriors (34-6) 126, Rockets (29-14) 113

Golden State jumped out to a huge advantage before Houston’s second string made the game respectable.

Stephen Curry (22 points, 10 assists) and Trevor Ariza got into a skirmish early on in the third quarter. Ariza, likely frustrated, bumped into Curry without the ball while running down the court. Luckily, things didn’t escalate. Later on, Josh Smith was ejected for his second technical.

Klay Thompson was outstanding with 27 points, 5 assists and 4 steals. Is he the best two-guard in the league? Draymond Green is constantly making his case for Most Improved Player—he had a cool 18 points and 6 boards last night. For Houston, MVP candidate James Harden finished up with 33 points, 6 assists and 2 steals. Corey Brewer had 20 and 6.