Cleveland is boring, New York is exciting, and Washington needs to be the Bullets again

By Jason Wojciechowski on November 1, 2009 at 6:25 PM

The poor Knicks: at some point, a big fourth-quarter comeback will turn into an actual win, although I would advise them to start playing the first 36 minutes of the game like they matter. To quote the Playstation 3 ads: "Come on!"

Nets 104, Bullets 123: That's right, Washington went for 123 at home against the 0-3 Nets. They got 30 from Andray Blatche off the bench, who reached that park in just 28 minutes, using just 18 shots. He's of course not a free-throw shooting, but the shocking thing is that, as a big man, he took 18 shots, made 15 of them, and never shot a free throw. Not a single one. On the one hand, that's a nice job by Brook Lopez and Josh Boone of not fouling. On the other hand, maybe they should have fouled him if they couldn't stop him any other way. Gilbert Arenas did an ever nicer job, scoring 32 on just 13 shots to go with seven assists. Chris Douglas-Roberts, one of my favorite NBA tweeters, paced the Nets with 25 on 12 shots.

Charlotte 79, Cleveland 90: The Bobcats didn't have anyone score more than 12 points, and that was Vlad Radmanovic. LeBron himself only scored 14, but he did have seven boards and nine assists. Z Ilgauskas blocked five shots off the bench. I bet this game was as exciting to watch as it is to read about.

Philly 141, Knicks 127: New York played its second straight overtime game, and lost again. It's not easy to lose by 14 in an overtime game, but I guess they were gassed after mounting another fourth-quarter comeback, outscoring the Sixers 41-26 in that quarter. The game was weirdly mirror-like: Philly won the first quarter 40-25 and the second 30-26 before New York took the third by that same 30-26 and then nearly replicated the first quarter.

Anyway, games like this often produce eye-popping individual performances, and this was no exception. Al Harrington had 42 off the bench, in just 36 minutes, Big Cock had 30, including eight three-pointers, as a starter. That gives the Cock 18 threes through three games. That's absurd. The Knicks, though, got destroyed on the glass, 49-31, although that seems to come more from shooting than anything else: Philly shot over 60%, so there weren't many defensive rebounds to grab. Jordan Hill? DNP.

Portland 107, Houston 111: Trevor Ariza broke his career high in scoring with 33, including five threes. He's 11/21 on threes on the year, and I'm starting to wonder if maybe he really did learn something about shooting. Houston won despite Brandon Roy's 42, helped along by five threes of his own.

Detroit 85, Milwaukee 96: Ben Gordon socred 26 and five Pistons hit double-figures, but Hakim Warrick went to the free throw line 15 times in 33 minutes off the bench and Brandon Jennings continued to piss all over the NCAA (24 points to lead the team) to lead the Bucks to victory. Detroit turned the ball over 20 times, although there wasn't really a single guy at fault: nobody had more than four. The problem was that everyone who played more than six minutes, outside of Ben Wallace, had at least two.

Sacramento 94, San Antonio 113: Now there's a good old-fashioned beat down by a good team of a bad one. Spencer Hawes had a double-double off the bench and Kevin Martin had 26, but the Spurs didn't even need Tim Duncan: he only took five shots, although he did grab ten boards in 22 minutes. The minutes-played tell the story: no Spur played more than 27, and benchies DeJuan Blair, Roger Mason, Theo Ratliff (the actual Theo Ratliff, not his expiring contract), and George Hill all played 20+ minutes.

Dallas 93, Clippers 84: Dallas followed up beating the Lakers by winning again in Staples, sending the Clippers to 0-4. Baron Davis continues to suck, scoring just nine points with six assists in this game. Bassy Telfair outscored Baron and under-turnovered him as they equally split the point-guard minutes. Shawn Marion and Erick Dampier each had double-doubles, and Dirk was just a rebound away from doing the same. The Mavs' awesome starting backcourt (Jason Kidd and Quinton Ross) shot two for ten, but that's what Jason Terry is for: he was 5/13 and tossed in four steals.