Maybe the West won't shape up like I thought

By Jason Wojciechowski on October 31, 2009 at 12:47 AM

Only two games last night, but that's ok, because the Bulls did the Lakers a favor, beating their major Western rival, the Spurs, mainly behind keeping everyone but Tim Duncan off the scoreboard. Duncan had an efficient 28/16, but Manu was the next leading scorer with 12 on 11 shots.

On Chicago's side, everyone contributed, as six players were in double digits, but on the other hand, it was an inefficient night: 41.7% shooting for the team, just 18.8% from three, and 67.9% from the free throw line. The Spurs shot about the same in all three areas. The key looks like four extra turnovers by the Spurs and seven extra offensive rebounds by the Bulls. Greg Popovich has to be angry at his team for letting Luol Deng grab four offensive rebounds, Joakim Noah gather six, and even Taj Gibson garner three. (See that? Three synonyms for "get a rebound" all starting with the letter 'g'. Eh? Eh?)

Denver went to 2-0, beating Portland, as Carmelo made a statement clearly aimed at my doubting that team's results last year. I think they're set to regress and have no chance of being back in the Western Conference Finals. Carmelo apparently thinks different, as he went for 41 and was just one point shy of a two-points-per-shot performance. He took advantage of a loose-whistle night, as the teams combined for sixty fouls and ninety free throws.

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