By Jason Wojciechowski on November 22, 2009 at 11:50 AM
Fresh off my viewing of Bergman's The Seventh Seal, here's Friday night's NBA action, which I forgot to do yesterday as I spent the day with my television, watching ... well, basically everything. (One-line-or-so review of each of this week's shows here on The Woj.)
Cavs 105, Pacers 95: LeBron had 40/9/7 on 25 shots, to help pull one out for Cleveland. They trailed by five entering the fourth quarter after scoring just eleven points in the third. J.J. Hickson shot 7-9, but Big Z was 1-12 and Mo Williams was just 3-11 (but he did hit all eleven of his free throws). I'm starting to wonder whether Shaq can be blamed for Big Z's problems, because he hasn't exactly astounded during this time that Shaq has been inactive. Indiana got an inefficient 19 from Danny Granger, although he did add nine boards, five dimes, and three rejections, to go with just one turnover.
Grizzlies 102, Sixers 97: Maybe (getting rid of) Iverson was the secret all along. The Sixers aren't hot stuff, but playing at home, they should probably beat Memphis, so credit to the Grizzlies for the win. Rudy Gay went off for 33/10 and Z-Bo added 21/11. Marc Gasol had one of those 19-points-on-eight-shots nights that only the Gasol brothers seem to be capable of at will. Lou Williams had 31 points for Philly as Iggy struggled with 5-17 shooting. Elton Brand briefly came alive, shooting 8-14 and garnering four blocks and four steals. (Williams had six steals of his own.)
Heat 113, Raptors 120: This is the way Toronto is going to have to win: they have the best offensive rating in the league (115 points per 100 possessions) and the worst defensive rating (116 points). They're the kind of team the Suns were always accused of being except that their pace of play is middle-of-the-pack (14th) and their defense is genuinely horrendous (the Suns, by contrast, were typically average on a per-possession basis). Anyway, as long as Chris Bosh is going to keep going for 29/12 every game (on 10-14 shooting), the Raptors can keep winning. Andrea Bargnani added 24/10 himself, and Hedo Turkoglu had 19/5/8. Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers had 30 apiece for Miami, but Chalmers did it in 15 shots, while Wade required 24. Wade did have eight assists and zero turnovers, though.
Rockets 103, Hawks 105: A narrow escape by the continually awesome Hawks. Marvin Williams took the reins for Atlanta with 29/9 while Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby shot poorly (a combined 9-27). Jamal Crawford continued his gunner ways off the bench with 21 points and 4-9 three-point shooting. Meanwhile, the Rockets are just playing games with us now: 14, 15, 16, 17, 18. That's what Kyle Lowry, Aaron Brooks, Trevor Ariza, Luis Scola, and Carl Landry scored for Houston. Houston grabbed twenty offensive rebounds, including five apiece by Landry and Chuck Hayes. Hayes, in fact, had only five rebounds total. That's odd, especially from a starting "center".
Magic 83, Celtics 78: The teams came in with identical 9-3 records, but Orlando left Boston on top despite Vince Carter shooting 10-29 and turning the ball over six times, despite Dwight Howard scoring just nine points, and despite 20 turnovers because the Celtics shot under 35% for the game, and made just two of their nineteen threes. Rasheed Wallace's 4-16, including 0-8 from three (this is after he was asked by Doc Rivers to stop shooting so many threes), was especially egregious. He did have 13 rebounds and three steals, though, as he had to play a lot of minutes with Kendrick Perkins limited (14 minutes) by foul trouble.
Wizards 108, Thunder 127: Yeah, Washington still ain't much for defense. Kevin Durant had 35/6/6 and three steals and everybody with more than two shots hit at least half of them except Thabo Sefolosha, who just missed, shooting 7-15. James Harden is giving Jamal Crawford a run for his bench-gunner money as he had another big game, netting 25 points on 8-11 shooting. Antawn Jamison had seven offensive rebounds and Brendan Haywood had six, en route to 12 and 16 overall, respectively, but there weren't a ton of bright spots other than that. Gilbert Arenas still misses a ton of shots.
Kings 102, Mavs 104: This would've been a huge win for the surprising Kings, but they couldn't stop Dallas's bench, which scored 52 points. Tyreke Evans had 29/7/10, which is starting to become par for the course for him.
Bobcats 88, Bucks 95: Milwaukee is now 7-3, which I didn't even notice even though I write these recaps every day. That's pretty under the radar. Brandon Jennings had 29 more points and seven assists to go with just two turnovers. Gerald Wallace is, in the news of the week, still Gerald Wallace: 22/10/4/2/2. Why can't all small forwards be like him?
Blazers 94, Warriors 108: That's a very unfortunate loss for Portland because Golden State just isn't good, and Portland supposedly has contender aspirations. Remember, this is a Warriors team missing Raja Bell, Ronny Turiaf, Kelenna Azubuike, and Andris Biedrins, and CJ Watson also missed the game with the flu. Anthony Morrow and Monta Ellis played wire-to-wire and Stephen Curry only got two minutes of rest. Ellis launched 28 shots, belying the "I don't have to do anything more with Jackson gone" statements, but he also added eight assists and six steals, and he shot just below 50%, so it was a pretty good night overall. Rudy Fernandez was active off Portland's bench with 19/4/5 and four steals, but 23 turnovers just sunk the Blazers, seven of them by Andre Miller.
Nuggets 99, Clippers 106: The contenders can't seem to get it together early this season, losing to teams they should beat. Of course, I don't actually think the Nuggets are contenders, but some people do, and presumably they believe it themselves. Carmelo scored 37, but you can't let Rasual Butler score 27 off the bench for L.A. and expect to win. The Clippers presumably moved the ball very well in the game, as they racked up 28 assists on 36 made field goals, thirteen of those coming from their big men (Kaman, Camby, and Craig Smith).