NBA 11/13 by Jason Wojciechowski Thursday, November 23, 2006, 01:14 AM
Orlando sent the Celtics to their sixth loss in seven games (hi Doc!), led by Jameer Nelson's 24 points and seven assists. I thought Nelson wasn't supposed to be that good a pro? That he was just a college star? Dwight Howard had his usual 17 points, 15 boards, and three blocks. He only shot the ball eight times. That's ridiculous.
Paul Pierce had 21 points to lead Boston, but nobody else had more than 14 (Wally), as Boston was outshot 53.5% to 38.3%. You won't win many games that way.
New Jersey, fresh off their overtime win, lost at home to Seattle in a shootout, 119-113. The problem looks like rebounding: no Net had more than six boards (and that was the point guard), while four different Sonics had at least that many. The total team-rebound gap was only 12, but the Sonics grabbed ten more offensive boards than the Nets, which is key when both teams are shooting well (48% and 51%, Nets ahead), getting to the line (29 and 27 times, Sonics ahead), and not turning the ball over (12 and 10, Nets with fewer).
Four different Seattle players scored over 20, led by Luke Ridnour's ridiculous (for him) 32. He added seven assists to that total, helping Rashard Lewis, Ray Allen, and Chris Wilcox (what!) get their points. Vince had 38 more for the Nets and Krstic and Kidd added 21 and 20, with Kidd dishing 12 assists.
Cleveland beat the woeful Knicks by six, which is a closer margin than you'd like to see out of a supposed championship contender (though maybe it's not fair to place the Cavs on that mantle, considering the utter lack of supporting cast on this team). In any case, LeBron had his usual 29, and Damon Jones finally had a good game for Cleveland, scoring 29 on 7-10 shooting from behind the arc in just 28 minutes off the bench.
Six different players scored in double digits for the Knicks, but the leader, Nate Robinson, had just nineteen. That came on 9-10 shooting, which is pretty impressive for a guy who's well under six feet tall. You don't see backcourt players hitting 90% of their shots very often, particularly when they're small enough that they really have to work to get their shots off.
Amazingly, of those six scorers, none were named "Francis" or "Marbury." Those two scored three and two points respectively, shooting a combined 1-10. Marbury contributed seven assists and three steals, though, which is why he's a vastly better player than Francis, who's not contributing if he's not scoring. Channing Frye finally had a not-terrible game, with seventeen points and nine boards, but he had to take 18 shots to get his points, so that's not ideal.