Post Up: Hayward’s Heroics

by November 06, 2014

Hornets (2-3) 96, Heat (3-2) 89

After starting the season a perfect 3-0, the Heat haven’t been able to figure it out the past two games. Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade continued their stellar play last night—dropping 23 points/13 rebounds and 25 points/7 assists, respectively—but nobody on the Heat’s front line could stop Al Jefferson, who poured in 28 points on 13-25 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds. Kemba Walker (18 points, 7 assists) and Cody Zeller (13 points, 8 rebounds) also chipped in for Charlotte, a team that had gone 0-16 against the Heat during the LeBron era.

Raptors (4-1) 110, Celtics (1-3) 107

T. Dot’s backcourt is pretty darn good, huh? Kyle Lowry went for 35 points, including 14 in the third quarter and the game-sealing fadeaway jumper with 8 seconds, while DeMar DeRozan did his part with 23 and 6 assists. Patrick Patterson dropped 14, and the freshly acquired Lou Williams delivered 11 off the bench.

The Raptors edged Boston at TD Garden despite a triple-double from Rajon Rondo (13 points, 15 assists, 10 rebounds). For the second time this season, all of Boston’s starters attained double figures, as Jeff Green (20 points), Kelly Olynyk (17 points, 13 rebounds), Jared Sullinger (19 points, 16 rebounds), and Avery Bradley (16 points) all contributed to the C’s point total. However, the Celtics failed to take care of the ball, turning it over a whopping 27 times. Toronto, on the other hand, coughed up the rock just 7 times.

Timberwolves (2-2) 98, Nets (2-2) 91

The T-Wolves were looking to bounce back following a heartbreaking one-point loss to the Bulls on Saturday. Bounce back they did, as Ricky Rubio (14 points, 12 assists) and Kevin Martin (26 points, 7 rebounds, 4-9 from three) led the way offensively against Brooklyn. Andrew Wiggins had the best game of his young career, scoring 17 points on 7-12 shooting with 4 rebounds. Thad Young and Nikola Pekovic were solid as well, coming up with 10 points/11 rebounds and 16 points/11 rebounds, respectively. The game was close until Minnesota scored the final nine points to put it out of reach. DWill dropped 19/6 and Joe Johnson finished with 22 for the losing side.

Wizards (4-1) 96, Pacers (1-4) 94

The first game of ESPN’s double-header featured two teams headed in seemingly opposite directions. Without Paul George and Lance Stephenson, the Pacers are shorthanded on offense to say the least, left to rely on Chris Copeland for most of their scoring. Meanwhile, the Wizards came into this game winners of three straight and appear ready to compete for a top playoff spot in the East.

If you expected John Wall to run all over Donald Sloan in this one, you were spot on. What you probably didn’t expect was for Sloan to fight back just as hard. Wall played like a man on a mission—he zoomed across the court, hitting layups, dunks, and jumpers, driving and kicking to open three-point shooters—and ultimately finished with a statline of 31 points, 10 assists, and 6 rebounds. However, the lesser-known starting PG in this game did his thing as well, as Sloan dropped 31/7/6 including some absolutely huge buckets down the stretch. Washington led for most of regulation but blew a 12-point lead, and Paul Pierce missed a three-ball at the very end to send the game into OT, a period in which John Wall scored 7 points to lift the Wiz Kids. JWall’s supporting cast was terrific; Garrett Temple (16 points, 7 rebounds) continued to play well in his expanded role due to Brad Beal’s injury, and Marcin Gortat (14 points, 10 rebounds) handled Indiana’s tough front line.

Pistons (1-3) 98, Knicks (2-3) 95

It wasn’t pretty, but the Pistons avoided going 0-4 to start the season. The Knicks battled back from an 18-point deficit, but couldn’t finish the job on a night when ‘Melo shot just 5-21 from the field for 13 points.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed two free throws with six seconds left and his team up three. The Pistons then put Iman Shumpert on the foul line, who hit the first attempt and purposefully missed the second. New York was unable to gather the rebound for the potential tie three-ball and fell, 98-95. Greg Monroe had a monster game with 23 points and 18 boards, while his frontcourt companion, Andre Drummond, posted 7 and 13. For the Knicks, Shump finished with 15/6/5 and Amar’e put up 15 and 8.

Magic (1-4) 91, 76ers (0-5) 89

Orlando snapped a four-game losing streak thanks to a Tobias Harris jumper from the right wing at the buzzer. Though they’re both destined for the lottery, Magic-Sixers was arguably the most exciting matchup of the night, thanks in large part to a ridiculous KJ McDaniels dunk (big ups to Tony Wroten on that pass too, by the way).

Harris dropped 16 points aside from those two gigantic ones at the horn, while the Magic frontcourt of Channing Frye (13 points, 11 rebounds) and Nicola Vucevic (17 points) provided added support. For Philly, Wroten had 27 points, 8 assists, and 5 steals, but also committed 9 turnovers.

Bulls (4-1) 95, Bucks (2-3) 86

Chi-town got the W in the re-return of Derrick Rose, who was questionable for Wednesday night’s game with the ankle injury he acquired against the Cavs. Every one of the Bulls starters dropped double figures in scoring, with Taj Gibson (23/10) and Pau Gasol (22/14) leading the way and Jimmy Buckets flirting with a triple double (14/7/6). Rose scored 13 points and dished out 7 assists in 31 minutes of play as the Bucks dropped to 2-3 on the year.

Spurs (2-1) 94, Hawks (1-2) 92

The Hawks came back from down 17 to put a scare in the defending champs, but San Antonio eked out a win. The Spurs, as always, shared the ball extremely well and finished with 25 assists as a team. Vintage Timmy (Can we even call it that? Dude is always on his game) was on display, with 17 points, 13 boards and 6 blocks. Tony Parker was solid with 17 points and 7 assists. Atlanta fought to the very end but couldn’t get over the hump.

Grizzlies (5-0) 102, Suns (3-2) 91

Grizz Nation, where y’all at? Memphis is clicking on all cylinders and are off to a 5-0 start thanks to a balanced offense and shut-down D. Marc Gasol posted solid numbers with 18, 6, and 5, Mike Conley dropped 24 and 11, and Courtney Lee shot 4-5 from long distance and finished with 22 on the night. One half of the Suns exciting backcourt was non-existent last night, as Goran Dragic (3-9, 6 points) disappeared leaving Eric Bledsoe (23 points) to fend for himself. Markieff Morris put up 20 and 5, and Isaiah Thomas scored 15 off the bench. We might be looking at a 10-0 Memphis squad soon—their five upcoming games are OKC, Milwaukee, LAL, Sacramento, and Detroit. The Grizzlies’ next real test comes on Monday, Nov. 17 at home against Houston.

Kings (4-1) 131, Nuggets (1-3) 109

So, are the Kings good or nah? Five games is not exactly a large sample size, but so far, so good for Sac-town. DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay are playing like madmen right now—last night was case in point. Boogie logged just 22 minutes, but he made them count, scoring 30 points on 10-14 shooting with 11 boards. Rudy Gay dropped 29 on 9-12 from the field, and Carl Landry came up big off the bench with 18. The Nuggets looked fine on offense, but allowed 131 points…

Kenneth Faried had an off-night, as the Manimal shot just 1-5 for 4 points and grabbed only 5 rebounds. He also only played 21 minutes, which is a bit confusing. Ty Lawson had 13 and 9, and Randy Foye provided a spark off the Denver bench, but the Nuggets ran into an offensive juggernaut in Sacramento.

Warriors (4-0) 121, Clippers (3-2) 104

Golden State’s offense is a video game. I mean 58 percent from the field? Really? 15-25 from three? That’s not fair, guys. The Splash Bros combined for 47 points and Draymond Green posted 24/8/5 as the Warriors dismantled the Clippers by 17. The game wasn’t even that close, though. GSW was on fire all night long until taking the foot off the pedal a little bit toward the end. CP3 got his 15 points and 12 assists, and DeAndre got his 17, 13 and WTF alley-oop, but it was clear who who the winner was very, very early on in this one.

Jazz (2-3) 102, Cavaliers (1-3) 100

Remember that time when Gordon Hayward claimed he would crush LeBron James one-on-one? Can we forget for one second that he was talking about League of Legends, and just pretend that Hayward predicted his own buzzer beater against the Cavs on a weekday in early November? If you missed it, peep the video clip below and you’ll see LeBron get bamboozled by a Derrick Favors screen, allowing young Gordon to create space with a step-back, rise up, and nail a jumper over Tristan Thompson. In fairness to the King, he’s the reason Cleveland was still in the game at that point—LeBron hit a threeball from the corner with barely any space to cut it to one with 13 seconds. Next, he drew a foul on Favors from beyond the arc and made three clutch free throws to tie it up with three seconds remaining. Then it was the Hayward show.

So… is there reason to panic in Cleveland? No. Relax. We’re five games in, people. But it’s still pretty telling when a team that has Kyrie Irving and LeBron James can only manage six total assists. That’s pathetic team basketball. Uncle Drew dropped 34 points but not a single assist—only the second time in his career he’s gone without a dime. But credit where credit is due. Favors had a night, posting 21/10, Enes Kanter went for 18/5, and Hayward finished with 21/7 including the game-winner. LeBron had 31 and Kevin Love scored 14 with 8 boards, but the Cavs fell for a third time.