By Jason Wojciechowski on December 7, 2009 at 7:30 PM
At some point I will figure out how to consistently access this computer from elsewhere. For now, though, I'll just have to keep doing this at night, because you know I'm damn well not going to wake up in the morning for it.
Nets 97, Knicks 106: The Nets are now one for twenty on the season, which is the same as the Raptors' three-point shooting against the Suns the other night. It's not good. Mike D'Antoni appears to have figured out his seven-man rotation, with Toney Douglas getting a few minutes here and there as the eighth guy. Out of the mix? Nate Robinson, Darko, and Jordan Hill. Also Marcus Landry, but I'm not even sure who that is, so I'm not counting him. What's less clear is whether Mike D. has figured out which five of those seven are going to start every night, but part of that is the interchangeability of five of those seven. You know you're going to get David Lee at center, and you know you're going to Chris Duhon at the point. Those are the only two guys on the roster that play those positions. (Well, the only two Mike D. isn't completely disgusted by. Sorry, Nate!) But after that, you can go with Harrington, Jeffries, Chandler, or Big Cock at the power forward, pretty much any of those guys plus maybe Larry Hughes at the small forward, and basically that same group except for Harrington at shooting guard. Anyway, it all worked out last night as Harrington, Lee, and Hughes combined for 75 points, Harrington grabbed 14 boards, and nobody got into foul trouble (which is a key component of D'Antoni not having to reach deep into his bench). The Nets, meanwhile, got 26 from CDR and an efficient 19 from Brook Lopez, but they got to the line just 15 times (to 34 for New York, half of those by Hughes), and that pretty much sunk them.
Cavs 101, Bucks 86: The Cavs are 15-5 and they just don't feel like it, but regardless of how good they are, they've still got plenty to beat the Bucks. LeBron didn't even need to score in this one, putting in just 14 on ten shots (to his credit, no threes and seven free throws) while dishing 10 assists. Delonte West had one of his good days, leading the team in scoring with 21. Brandon Jennings shot poorly again, scoring 24 on 22 shots, Michael Redd didn't play, the team shot 38%, and managed just eleven assists on 35 made shots. And hey, a Coby Karl sighting for Cleveland! Last time they were on TV, Coby wasn't even active. He got two minutes in this game, though, managing three turnovers and nothing else in those minutes. You have to admit, that's pretty impressive.
Wizards 94, Pistons 98: Ah, mediocrity. Rodney Stuckey had 25 to lead the Pistons, who won despite Charlie Villaneuva chucking eight threes, missing seven of them. Villanueva, you'll recall, is a 6'11" power forward. To go with all those missed threes he had four rebounds. Villanueva, you'll recall, is still a 6'11" power forward. The real chuckers got outchucked in this game, though, as Ben Gordon took just one shot in his twelve minutes (making it), and Gilbert Arenas was 3-9 instead of his usual 8-21. The percentage is the same, but whe you lower the volume and add nine assists, you're helping your team. Although it's a loss either way. Weirdly, Arenas was the only starting Wizard to manage even a single assist.
Heat 115, Kings 102: The Heatians bounced back from their heartbreaking loss to the Lakers to knock the Kings around. The scoring was oddly concentrated for Miami: 34 for Wade, 20 for Q and Beasley, 19 for Dorell Wright, and 15 for Haslem. That left just seven points for the entire rest of the roster. (Only eight players got into the game, though.) Everybody was relatively efficient, and Beasley (10 shots) and Wade (16) were supremely so. The team also racked up 30 assists on 41 field goals. The rebounding totals also jump out at you: 6, 5, 5, 5, 5, 4, 2, 1. Just kind of a weird box score all around. Tyreke Evans had 30 for the Kings, and Omri Casspi had 14 in 19 bench minutes, but the two young bigs, Thompson and Hawes, were kept quiet, scoring 13 points on 13 shots.
Suns 88, Lakers 108: Tacos for everyone in this one. Nobody went off for the Suns, as Amare led the team with 18 points, and L.A. got 15 turnovers out of them as well. Most importantly, the pace of the game was not high. The Lakers actually play at the sixth-fastest pace in the league, but you like to see a good, well-coached team that decides "we run, but the Suns run better, so we'll just slow it down on them" and then executes that plan. Consonant with the pace of the game, nobody went off for the Lakers, either. Instead, they got solid contributions beyond Kobe's efficient 26: 15 for Artest (on three threes), 14 for Pau, 13 for Bynum (he missed a three, which was hopefully a full-court heave), 12 for Shannon Brown, and 11 for Jordan Farmar. Those last points are perhaps the most important. Both guys hit a pair of threes, and Farmar only turned the ball over once (Brown had three). With Sasha Vujacic officially a zombie, Lamar Odom not really a scorer in the best of times, and the rest of the bench relegated to Taco Time, Farmar and Brown have to produce points if the bench is not to be completely punchless. Odom can break down the defense and get them the ball, but they have to make the shots. They seem to be doing just that in the last few games.