By Jason Wojciechowski on November 23, 2006 at 2:57 AM
- Cleveland beat Portland despite sending Zach Randolph to the line twenty times. Lucky for the Cavs, he only hit twelve of those free throws. Further luck that there aren't any other good players on the Trailblazers. The four other starters around Randolph combined for a whopping 14 points. Cleveland got almost that many out of Eric Snow alone, who scored 13. As usual, though, it was the LeBron show: 32 points, seven boards, seven assists. I'm happy that LeBron only took 15 shots, though, and had as many assists as he did - if he can learn that he doesn't need to show 25-30 times a game, he can be a much more fun player to watch.
- Orlando sent Denver to defeat by 108-99. Carmelo scored 34, but the Magic bench was the story, scoring 57 points, led by Keyon Dooling's 25 in just 24 minutes. Grant Hill got tee'd up in the game, which is probably pretty rare. Hill's a mild guy if there ever was one in the NBA.
- Boston finally won again, destroying the Pacers by 26. Jermaine O'Neal has to pick up his scoring: he shot just 3-14 in the game. He did grab 12 boards and block five shots, but Indiana needs someone besides Al Harrington to put the ball in the bucket. Paul Pierce sprung for 32 to lead the Celtics. The only other item of note is that Doc Rivers appears to have gotten his priorities straight for one game: Brian Scalabrine only got five minutes of run, the fewest of any Celt.
- The Hornets edged Detroit by one, sending the Pistons to 3-5. I guess Tyson Chandler is hurt, since Marc Jackson is suddenly on the roster and Hilton Armstrong started at center for the Hornets. Would a guy like Hilton Armstrong ever have dropped 17 points on 7-11 shooting if Ben Wallace were still patrolling the middle for Detroit? Didn't think so. Chris Paul got back to his Chris Paul ways, scoring 20 and dishing 13 assists. The Pistons' team numbers are pretty good in this game: 52% shooting, only eight turnovers. Two keys, though: they only forced seven Hornet turnovers, and New Orleans grabbed nineteen offensive boards, leading to taking 13 more shots than the Pistons managed, negating the field goal percentage advantage. I'll invoke Ben Wallace again: do the Hornets, of all teams, grab nineteen offensive boards two years ago?
- New Jersey beat Milwaukee despite Michael Redd and Mo Williams, the starting backcourt for the Bucks, combining for 51. J-Kidd and Nenad Krstic offset those 51 with 47 of their own, and Vince Carter and Ruben Patterson's 15's wiped each other out. The difference, then, looks like the 23 scored by Clifford Robinson and Antoine Wright. Andrew Bogut did nothing to help match that, shooting 0-4 and missing both of his free throw attempts. Kidd finished two boards shy of a triple double.
- The Knicks beat the Wizards by 20 by holding Gilbert Arenas down (5-19 shooting) and by spreading the scoring around (which they've been doing all year): Quentin Richardson had 17, Eddy Curry 13, Starbuy 16, David Lee 10 (and fifteen boards), Nate Robinson 11, and Renaldo Balkman led the way with 18 (maybe he is good). Steve Francis has to really be worrying Knicks fans, as he had another bad game, scoring just four points on 1-5 shooting.
- Charlotte beat San Antonio in Texas by winning the overtime period 12-9. Adam Morrison shot 12-23, scoring 27 points, leading the way. The Bobcats won despite being outrebounded by 22: three Spurs had double-digit rebounds, including Manu Ginobli's twelve. Ginobli, though, shot just 3-14, which was emblematic of the Spurs' trouble shooting: 37.5% isn't getting it done in the NBA, even if you have a good defense and you're facing a bad team.
- Memphis lost again, going down to Sacramento, 115-111. Rudy Gay started for the Grizz, but scored just six points. Chucky Atkins shot a remarkable 10-11 en route to 27 points, but Memphis didn't have an answer for the Kings' backcourt: Kevin Martin and Mike Bibby combined for 56 points, while Shareef and Ron-Ron added 40 more.
- Philly beat Seattle in a matchup of solidly mediocre teams with aging-but-still-great superstars (AI and Ray-Ray, of course). Iverson scored 28 despite 6-22 shooting, but Ray Allen wasn't much better, hitting nine of 23 for 22 points. Rashard Lewis had one of those games that makes everyone salivate over his talent, with 25 points and fifteen boards. He's a consistent scorer, but he's not necessarily a consistent presence in the other areas of the game. When he's on, though, he's on.