By Jason Wojciechowski on December 20, 2009 at 11:45 AM
I have been what I call "hella cleaning". I will take some time out for you, though, dear reader, because I know you hunger for my mostly groundless NBA opinions.
Blazers 83, Magic 92: The Magic became the latest team to get to 20 wins, taking advantage of a Blazers team that just added a guy named Jeff Pendergraph (yes, Jeff Pendergraph -- the immortal!) to their active roster. (He didn't play, sadly.) Orlando didn't have anyone score over 15, but they had eight guys with 7+. Dwight Howard grabbed 20 boards, although he had a ton of defensive opportunities with Portland shooting only 37%. Brandon Roy had 33 to lead Portland. Oh, one other bad number for the Blazers: seven assists on 29 field goals, and no player had more than one.
Jazz 110, Bobcats 102: The Jazz had three players with 20+, including CJ Miles off the bench, and three others in double digits, led by Paul Millsap's 18. Deron and Boozer had their usual double-doubles. Miles got his time at the expense of Wesley Matthews, who started by played just seven minutes, although the recap contains no mention of an injury. Gerald Wallace had an enormous game for the losers with 30/13/5/2/1. He apparently called out Boris Diaw and Tyson Chandler after the game for not really doing the work big men are supposed to do, as they ended up with eight rebounds in 61 combined minutes. If I'm Larry Brown, I don't mind that too much from Diaw because that's just not who he is, and I've got Wallace doing great boardwork from the other forward spot. But my center has to have more rebounds.
Clippers 112, Sixers 107: This one went to overtime as the Clippers tied the game wit 0:11 left on an Al Thornton layup off an Eric Gordon assist. The Sixers apparently could not get a shot off in the remaining 0:11. Chris Kaman led the Clips in scoring with 24 and added eleven boards, Marcus Camby had 22 rebounds, including 19 on the defensive glass, and Baron Davis had 20 points and 13 dimes. Iguodala played 50 minutes for the Sixers and wound up with 20/9/7 and four steals. Marreese Speights (one of the best names in the NBA, currently, although the Sixers have a lot of competition for that crown just on their own roster, including Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Sam Dalembert, Jrue Holiday, Elton Brand, Royal Ivey, and Rodney Carney. Even Jason Kapono's name is kind of cool. Quite a collection, right?) led the team in scoring with 28 off the bench. Dalembert was sidelined most of the game (11 minutes of run) as he wound up with five fouls.
Hawks 98, Bulls 101: This was also an overtime game, as neither team was able to score in the final 0:35 after Derrick Rose's game-tying layup. Rose had 32 for the game to go with six assists and zero turnovers. Luol Deng added 21/12/6 as a solid second banana. Atlanta was led by Joe Johnson's 40 and Al Horford contributed 15/12.
Lakers 103, Nets 84: The (arguably) best team in the league against the (not even arguably) worst? A 19-point win for the visiting team is about what you'd expect. Andrew Bynum had a disappointing game, fouling out in just eleven minutes, but he was pretty much the only one. Pau had 14/14/6, Lamar Odom had 14/12/4, Kobe had a rare double-digit rebounding game and ended up with 29/10/5, and Jordan Farmar was the night's bench contributor (not counting Odom, who's more like a sixth starter) with 7-9 shooting, three assists, and two steals. Brook Lopez had 18/11/4 for the Nets, who were led by Devin Harris's efficient 21 (11 shots), followed closely by CDR's inefficient 20 (20 shots). DJ Mbenga got seven minutes for the Lakers and Adam Morrison shot 2-3, but poor Eduardo Najera couldn't get off the bench for Jersey.
Thunder 90, Rockets 95: Carl Landry got a rare "DNP Elbow to Mouth". I don't even know what that means. Wouldn't "DNP chipped teeth" or "DNP concussion" or "DNP headache" make more sense? "Elbow to mouth" sounds like some horrifying British disease. It does describe what happened, but it happened in the previous game.
Anyway, Trevor Ariza stepped up in a big way, scoring 31 on 20 shots and adding eight boards and six assists while committing just one turnover. That's the best game of the year for Ariza as far as I can remember. Chuck Hayes had 13/15, including eight offensive boards (his specialty). Kevin Durant got shut down, shooting 6-18, leaving Jeff Green as the Thunder's leading scorer with 21.
Kings 96, Bucks 95: Is that back-to-back last-second one-point losses at home for the Bucks? Tyreke Evans made a layup with under a second to play and Andrew Bogut missed a 12-footer to seal it. Evans had 24 on the game to with seven boards, although he did turn the ball over six times. Jason Thompson had 22/10, and Spencer Hawes celebrated his return to the starting lineup by fouling out. All five Bucks starters scored between 14 and 17 points. Bogut added 13 rebounds and Jennings had nine assists. Michael Redd shot 1-6 off the bench. They could really use him contributing, but he's obviously not all the way back yet.
Pacers 99, Spurs 100: The Spurs needed a 30-16 fourth quarter to squeak this one out over a mediocre (bad, even?) visiting Pacer team, and even required a Tim Duncan dunk with four seconds left followed by a missed TJ Ford jumper. The Spurs were this close to going down in defeat as Roy Hibbert blocked Duncan's attempt just prior to his dunk. TD had 19/16/3/2/3 overall. He got 14 points of support from Keith Bogans, and while Tony Parker had 15, he shot just 4-17. Hibbert, before almost winning the game for Indy, had 20 (one off the team lead) to go with seven boards and six blocks. The Big Stiff indeed.
Wizards 95, Suns 121: That's called getting run out of the gym. Jason Richardson returned to the lineup with 22 points, Steve Nash had 15/7/15, and Amare had 23/14. Goran Dragic didn't take his return to the bench personally, scoring 12. The Wizards were led by Gil Arenas's 22, but he shot 6-21. Nick Young had a nice game, though, with 20 points on nine shots in 28 minutse off the bench. He was the only Wizard, regardless of how many or few shots were taken, to shoot over 50%, though.