By Jason Wojciechowski on November 18, 2009 at 2:00 PM
Instead of writing an intro, I'm going to embed a video of Cass McCombs's song that's been stuck in my head.
Warriors 108, Cavs 114: You'd like to see Cleveland win by more than six at home against a Warriors team that traded Stephen Jackson and had Raja Bell and Ronny Turiaf on the bench along with Kelenna Azubuike, Andris Biedrins, and CJ Watson out with injuries and illness. Seven guys played for Golden State, and all seven scored in double-digits, led by Monta "I ain't shouldering more of the load" Ellis's 23 (on 23 shots). LeBron had 31/5/12, and JJ Hickson was his main back-up, shooting 9-9 for 21 points (and also nine boards). Vladimir Radmanovic, by the way, started for the Warriors, which says a lot about the team.
Thunder 100, Heat 87: Or maybe the Thunder really are here! Miami came into the game 7-2, but Dwyane Wade shot 6-19 and Jermaine O'Neal's 19/10 couldn't overcome Kevin Durant's 32/9/5 combined with Russell Westbrook shooting 9-13. Thabo Sefolosha gave a clinic in contributing without scoring, shooting 1-6, but adding nine rebounds, four assists (and as a starter alongside Krstic, Durant, Westbrook, and Green, having four assists when you've probably never got the ball is pretty impressive), and four steals.
Pacers 91, Nets 83: The Nets won't go 0-82. They might go 3-79, but they won't go 0-82. Probably. Chris Douglas-Roberts and Brook Lopez took 25 and 27 shots respectively, an astounding percentage of the team's 80 total shots. Unfortunately, they only hit 21 of those 52. Lopez did have 16 rebounds (eight offensive) and five blocks, though. The Pacers, by contrast, had each starter take between 10 and 16 shots. They also shot poorly, coming out at 39% as a team, helped along by Psycho T's 0-5 effort (and no free throws -- it ain't the ACC anymore, Tyler), but it doesn't take much to beat the Nets.
Clippers 102, Hornets 110: David West had a good game, with 24/10/5, and apparently he had the ball in his hands to create a little more than he has had. The question is whether this is the coaching change or the point-guard change that precipitated this. Hornets fans had better hope for the former, because if West is just going to revert to "5-12 with six rebounds" David West when Chris Paul comes back, this team is really going to be stuck. Al Thornton had 30 for the Clippers, but Baron Davis shot 7-21, including 3-12 from three, completely undermining his larger compatriot's effort.
Suns 111, Rockets 105: The Rockets at home isn't cake, so credit to the Suns for getting their tenth win here. Steve Nash only shot 2-10, but he had 16 assists (are single-season assist records in trouble this year?), and Trevor Ariza continues to struggle with the rock in his hands, shooting 8-21, although he did hit three of his five threes. Carl Landry scored 27 off the bench, and it was efficient, as he took just 18 shots, but the Suns refused to put him on the free throw line (just two free throws). Maybe the formula for beating the Rockets is to keep the backcourt off the scoreboard (Aaron Brooks also struggled in this game, shooting 5-18, and 3-11 from downtown, although he did have 13 assists).
Raptors 112, Nuggets 130: The Raptors aren't a terrible team, but they don't appear so solid defensively. Denver took them apart, shooting 62%, and 41% from three. JR Smith had 29 in just 22 minutes and Carmelo put up 32 on just 15 shots. Chauncey Billups was the only guy with more than three shots to shoot under 50%, and he still only shot 2-6. The entire team just poured it in. Chris Bosh had 14 rebounds, including eight on the offensive glass.
Bulls 101, Kings 87: I was just starting to take the Kings seriously. But that's not really fair, because of course Kevin Martin is out, and they were also missing Nocioni for this game. John Salmons had 23 points, Joakim Noah had 14 rebounds (seven offensive), and Donte Greene was forced to lead Sacramento in scoring with 24 points as Tyrke Evans couldn't get it going (8-19, 0-4 from three). Not the most thrilling of box scores.
Pistons 93, Lakers 106: Apparently the Pistons actually closed to within seven before they were finally put away, which wouldn't sound so bad if you didn't know the Lakers were up 25 going into the final quarter. That bench just has to get better, whether it's missing Luke Walton or not. Shannon Brown shot 4-12, and 1-5 from three, and had zero assists. It's fine to have no fear and all, and I know it's the triangle, but when you're supposedly a point guard, shouldn't you be hitting the open man sometimes? Jordan Farmar almost shot just 1-5 from three, but at least he hit 3-4 from inside the arc and had four assists. Lamar Odom had an awesome 8/8/8 line (on eight shots, no less), but Kobe carried the load for L.A. with another 40-point game, together with four offensive boards, five assists, and three steals. Will Bynum led the Pistons with 24 off the bench, and Ben Gordon shot fine (7-15), but you have to stare directly at him and the Pistons' coaching staff when you see Kobe's scoring line.