Two surprises, three ... less so [NBA roundup]

By Jason Wojciechowski on December 14, 2009 at 9:30 PM

I'm very late on this because I've been watching my one national broadcast of the 49ers of the year. And they're beating up on the poor Cardinals, leading it 17-0 at the half on the strength of five Cardinal turnovers and Michael Crabtree's absurd hands. Seriously, have you seen this guy catch a ball? My ex-coworker tells me about this drill Texas Tech does where you have to run around a sandpit catching balls shot at you from all sorts of angles. Catching balls from Alex Smith is kind of like that (Smith's throws have been, um, erratic tonight), so it's been good practice.

Anyway, the NBA.

Rockets 88, Raptors 101: This counts as one of the surprises, although the Rockets have fallen off a bit after their surprisingly good start. This is also the game where Trevor Ariza threw a punchy, elbowy sort of thing at DeMar DeRozan after DeRozan stole the ball from him. There was no provocation or anything. Ariza was just frustrated. He was shooting 0-9 at the time, and that was his fourth turnover. Of course, seeing as how he threw an obvious punch (he missed, by the way -- all the jokes about how "of course he missed" have already been made on other, better blogs), those were also his final numbers. One thing I don't get: why does Ariza only get assessed one technical and then ejected? Shouldn't the other team, if the ejection is automatic, get the benefit of the two free throws on two technicals? I think that's how it should be.

Chris Bosh had 27, but only six boards, leaving the rebounding to Jarrett Jack of all people, who led the team with eight boards. Hedo had his second straight good game with 23/6/5, although he did have five fouls. The Rockets were led in points by Carl Landry with 25 off the bench. Landry had seven rebounds, six of which were offensive, but he only missed three shots, so he wasn't padding his numbers on his own missed shots. Luis Scola had a nice 21/15 night, but Aaron Brooks shot 6-20, including 3-12 from three.

Nets 107, Hawks 130: For once, the Net offense wasn't the issue. They shot 51%, 50% from three, didn't commit a crazy number of turnovers ... but they gave up 53% shooting and 65% from three to the Hawks in a fast-paced game. They also got outrebounded, letting the Hawks grab 16 of the 44 boards on their defensive glass. Devin Harris led the Nets with 23 and nine dimes, and Brook Lopez had another solid game with 19/12, but seven Hawks scored in double digits, led by Mo Evans with 22. Joe Johnson also hit 20+, with 21, ten assists, and four steals.

Grizzlies 118, Heat 90: That counts as surprise number two, and that's a big surprise. Miami's not that good, but the Grizz are supposed to be legitimately bad, and Miami was at home. Yet there it is, a 28-point loss. Rudy Gay went off all over the yard with 41 on 15-28 shooting. Marc Gasol provided his usual Gasolian goodness with 7-7 shooting, leading to a 16/15 night. Memphis grabbed 15 offensive rebounds to Miami's 18 defensive. (They took 34 of 42 on their defensive boards.) Dwyane Wade had 25 points on 23 shots as he looks more and more like that horrific first post-Shaq year that Kobe put up.

Cavs 102, Thunder 89: LeBron had 44/7/6 and four steals. He's pretty good. Mo Williams added four threes, four rebounds, four assists, and four turnovers. Jeff Green had 26 and Kevin Durant had 29, but they combined for nine rebounds and three assists in 82 combined minutes. Durant did have four steals, but he also turned the ball over seven times and managed a -17 in a game when no one else on the team was worse than -9. Serge Ibaka was perfect on four shots off the bench for Hijack City.

Spurs 115, Clippers 90: Six players in double digits for the Spurs, three of them benchies. One of those was DeJuan Blair, who shot 7-9 for a 14/9 night in just seventeen minutes. The Spurs just keep finding these guys and keep putting them in a position to succeed. Last year's version of Blair (although a completely different kind of player, of course), George Hill, had 11 points on five field goal attempts. Baron Davis didn't start for the Clippers, although he did play 31 minutes and led the team in scoring (20 points). Chris Kaman had 19/10, but he got to the free-throw line just twice. Bassy Telfair got the start for LA, but shot 1-6 and had three turnovers to one assist. The recap, which I try to avoid reading when I do these, says that Baron had an upset stomach that held him out of practice.