Chasing Down The Latest NBA News
It sucks to see the Hawks lose Al Horford but it seems like it may be early enough in the season to allow him to return before the post-season begins. That’s good news, because I really think this Atlanta team can be scary if they are at full strength in the playoffs.
Horford’s absence didn’t seem to matter in this one, though. Josh Smith had his best game of the season , dropping 30 points on the Bobcats, who looked hapless for most of this game. 13 boards and four dimes as well, for Smith, who only missed of his 22 shots. Joe Johnson and Jeff Teague both had good, versatile games. Johnson had 23 points, eight assists and seven rebounds and Teague added 16 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Zaza Pachulia rounded out a great game for the Hawks’ starters with 10 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. No bad for Zaza, who will likely do a pretty good job filling in for Horford.
Not much happened for Charlotte in this one, but Byron Mullens did score a career high 21 points in his first career start. That was nice to see. Something that wasn’t nice to see: Atlanta had an offensive rebound rate of 44%.
This game was fun to watch, if only because Greg Monroe is coming into his own as one of the best big men in basketball. One of the best games you’ll see all season from Monroe in this one, as he scored 32 points on 12-of-16 shooting. Monroe was knocking down the mid-range jumper, he was fighting on the offensive glass for easy putbacks and making polished moves from the pinch post and block. Even though Dwight Howard will get the majority of the attention for his performance on this night, Monroe was even better, adding 16 rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block.
You can make a legitimate case for Monroe as a top five center in the league right now, if we are going to call him a center, with Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, Andrew Bogut and Marc Gasol. Outside of those guys, the players in the mix are Monroe, Roy Hibbert, Andrea Bargnani, Al Horford, Tyson Chandler, Al Jefferson and Marcin Gortat. I love Horford and Hibbert and Bargnani has looked better this season, but Monroe would be my fifth best center in the league right now and he actually has the highest PER of all centers in the league right now.
Monroe’s partner in crime for the next five or so years, Brandon Knight, had 20 points on seven-of-nine shooting in this one, but he did have five turnovers as well. If he wants to keep up with Kyrie, he’ll have to cut down on the turnovers. That said, he’s playing well enough to make the contract the Pistons gave Rodney Stuckey look stupid.
Monroe gushing aside, the Bucks won this one because Stephen Jackson and Brandon Jennings had very good games. Jackson is finally looking like the offensive focal point that the Bucks envisioned him as. He made nine of his 17 attempts and finished with 25 points, six rebounds and six assists on the night. If Captain Jack can keep playing with this level of efficiency, the Bucks will start to come into their own. Jennings added an even more efficient 27 point outing, making nine of his 15 shots including three three’s. Jon Leuer, who has looked like one of the best rookies in the league so far, added 15 points, six rebounds, five assists and two blocks in his new role as the starting power forward.
The Grizzlies dominated this one throughout, so don’t let the final score fool you. Their defense was all over the place against a Knicks team that can’t seem to run any semblance of an offense. I highly doubt it Mike D’Antoni was looking for Iman Shumpert to shoot more than Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony combined in this game. Shumpert had taken 15 shots by halftime and ended up with 20 attempts. He only made five. He also had six turnovers.
Carmelo got banged up twice in this game. He suffered a wrist injury in the first half but returned in the second half only to sprain his right ankle. Amare wasn’t injured, he was just awful. He made one of his seven shot attempts and was swatted by Marc Gasol on more than a couple of occasions. Toney Douglas didn’t do much to improve the already awful reputation of Knick point guards as he shot three-of-13. Man, New York need some work. And a point guard. That would help things.
New York was carried by Rudy Gay, who had his best game of the season. 26 points on 11-of-16 shooting for Gay, who found his way at the cup often against New York’s porous defense. Marc Gasol brought it all together, on both ends, as he showed why he’s one of the very best centers in this league. He only had 10 points, but his offense is limited without Randolph in there because of the synergy they had. 12 boards, five assists and four blocks for Gasol in this one, as he ate up Amare and facilitated from the high post.
O.J. Mayo had himself a nice game, increasing his trade value on the same day that more trade rumors about him broke. He poured in four three’s, scored 18 points (on seven-of-12 shooting) and grabbed eight rebounds as well. The rumor reported by Yahoo! Sports dealt with Mayo and New Jersey Nets shooting guard Anthony Morrow. Morrow is a more consistent three-point shooter but isn’t as versatile as Mayo. The advantage for Memphis would be getting a shooter on a long-term contract as Mayo is set to walk after this season. That said, the deal is unlikely to happen.
Phoenix hung around for a bit in this game but their defense was awful in this loss. Kyrie Irving had a pretty nice game, going for 26 points on 11-of-17 shooting, with six assists and six turnovers. Antawn Jamison will make a nice trade deadline chip, though he may be the worst defensive player in the league. He had 23 points and a few triples. He didn’t do much rebounding, though, grabbing only four boards in 33 minutes. That didn’t matter, though, as Anderson Varejao had 17 boards, seven of which came on the offensive end. Varejao could be a great defensive presence for the Cavs going forward, but he may a nice a trade chip at the deadline, too.
Steve Nash is so good. 16 points and 15 dimes in this game. All for nothing.
#FreeSteveNash. For real.
Michael Redd made his season debut in this one, and he actually looked good. He made three of his seven three-point attempts and scored 12 points. Not bad after all he went through.
This looked like it was going to be a fun game as the Warriors started off on a 9-0 run that got the crowd on it’s feet. It looked like it would be a repeat of the Heat-Warriors OT game from a couple of nights ago with similar flow and excitement. But then hack-a-Howard, happened. Though it was an effective strategy early, Dwight got into a rhythm late and it ruined the flow of the game. Had the Warriors just played it out, they probably would have won, because the Magic weren’t stopping them very often on the other end. But instead, Mark Jackson kept sending Howard to the line and the result was a historic statline.
45 points, 23 rebounds, four blocks, three assists and two steals for Howard in this one, as he went to the line an NBA record 39 times. Yes, he shot 39 free throws. Howard could have approached a 60 point game if he had been a bit more accurate from the line, but Howard finished strong, making 12 of his last 15 from the stripe and a late three from Von Wafer closed it out.
Hedo Turkoglu had a heck of a game, putting up 20 points, nine assists and four boards. With Jameer Nelson struggling on both ends, Turkoglu made some big plays down the stretch when the Magic needed them.
Monta Ellis was making plays, too, as was David Lee, but in the final minute they weren’t able to come up with the buckets they needed. Ellis had 30 points on 12-of-23 shooting and dished out 11 assists. It’s nice to see how much more of a playmaker Ellis has become while also being Golden State’s top scorer. The development has been big enough to make me wonder whether or not Curry is an essential part of the team’s future. If they can center a package around Curry and ship him for Dwight Howard, I wouldn’t hesitate to do it.
Lee was awesome. He played out of the high post most of the evening but also made some moves downlow with Dwight lurking. He had 26 points on 11-of-17 shooting and had four assists as well. Klay Thompson added 14 points off the bench and the Warriors ran some pretty out of bounds plays to free him up for open three’s. He hit four of them on the night.
Golden State needed to come out with this win and I think they could have if they didn’t keep interrupting play to send Dwight to the free throw line. It’s odd to say that having Kwame Brown would have helped the Warriors in this one but: Kwame Brown could have helped the Warriors in this one.