By Jason Wojciechowski on November 23, 2009 at 10:15 AM
Having already done Friday's games on Sunday, I missed Saturday's games because there's only so much one man can do. I will remedy this: two days in one! Here we go!
Knicks 98, Nets 91: You don't have to be stellar to beat the Nets, which is lucky for the Knicks, because they weren't, shoooting 43% and turning the ball over 15 times. Neither is terrible, of course, but neither is particularly good, either. David Lee shot just 4-13, but still ended up with a 16/12/5/2/1 line. Jordan Hill, I have forgotten to note in the last couple of Knicks writeups, has returned to his rightful place at the end of the bench alongside Darko Milicic. Chris Douglas-Roberts had 24 for the Nets. If he did things other than score (just one assist and four rebounds in this one), he'd be a legit undercover fantasy option, at least for as long as Devin Harris remains out.
Sixers 91, Cavs 97: The Cavs were far too close to losing another game they should win, as they needed a 22-10 fourth quarter to pull out a six-point victory over a mediocre-to-bad Philly team. LeBron did his usual damage with 32/7/9, but he also turned the ball over five times. The bench (4-15) and backcourt (Mo and Anthony Parker combined for 7-20) look to be the offensive culprits in this one. Big Z finally came to play, though, with 13/8/4. Elton Brand had 18/14, including seven offensive boards, which looks to me like two good games in a row. That's a streak!
Hawks 88, Hornets 96: The Hawks shot themselves out of this one, hitting just 37% on a night when New Orleans had to go to the Marcus Thornton well (21 points in 26 minutes off the bench) to bail them out. Darren Collison looks pretty good in Chris Paul's absence, though, as he had another strong game with 8-13 shooting leading to a 22/11 (assists, not rebounds) night. Josh Smith had 14/10/7/1/3, which was helpful for my fantasy team.
Bucks 103, Memphis 98: With Milwaukee missing Andrew Bogut and Michael Redd, Memphis has to be frustrated that they can't get their talent on the same page to win a game like this. Brandon Jennings scored 26 and Charlie Bell earned 40 minutes by hitting five threes, though, and Memphis, despite 14/14 from Gasol, 24/10 from Gay, 7-9 shooting from Z-Bo, and so forth, couldn't get the win. Luke Ridnour, by the way, had 13/12 off the bench for Milwaukee in 33 minutes as the Bucks continue to run with what looks from the box like a three-guard set for long stretches of the game, shifting Jennings to the two-guard and Charlie Bell to the small forward spot.
Kings 106, Rockets 113: Sacramento put up a real fight, but Houston overcame Spencer Hawes's 24/9 and Donte Greene hitting all net all the time (5-5 from the floor, 1-1 from the line) to win behind Luis Scola's 22/12 and Carl Landry's 20 points off the bench. If someone had told you before the season that Carl Landry was going to be a bench scoring force in the vein of Jason Terry or Jamal Crawford, you'd have laughed, no? And yet he's hit 30 minutes just twice this season while averaging 15 points per contest. Houston's just astounding. (Tyreke Evans missed the game, by the way, with ankle and finger injuries. Would that have made up the difference? It's a question Houston is glad they don't know the answer to.)
Wizards 84, Spurs 106: Nothing like a visit from Washington to get a team back on track. The Spurs are just 5-6, but Tim Duncan had 16/9/7 in limited minutes and he was presumably a large part of keeping Antawn Jamison to just 4-12 shooting.
Bulls 93, Nuggets 112: Derrick Rose and Luol Deng combined for 50, but Carmelo and Chauncy had 51 themselves, and they got helped out with 19 by JR Smith. Nobody on the Bulls could step up to match that. Carmelo added eleven boards and seven assists.
Pistons 97, Jazz 100: Utah won this in overtime on the back of CArlos Boozer's 22/7/5. Neither team shot horribly (45% and 44%), yet just two times did a team crack 25 points in a quarter. In fact, Detroit had amusing consistency in their quarter scores: 24-22-22-22. This looks like a good old Jerry Sloan walk-it-up game, which results in a box score exactly as boring as the viewing experience.
Wolves 78, Blazers 106: Al Jefferson was the only starter in double digits for Minnesota, and he scored 20 on 21 shots. Oleksiy Pecherov added 12 on 11 shots, but the offensive numbers are just miserable for the Wolves. Martell Webster led Portland with 21/13, while Joel Przybilla had more offensive rebounds in 21 minutes than all but two T-Wolves had total rebounds in the game. Ouch.
Magic 104, Raptors 96: The Raptors held the Magic to just 41% shooting, but couldn't win anyway. Vince Carter was his old self, with 24 points on 24 shots. Dwight Howard was also his old self, shooting 4-13 from the floor and 9-14 from the line en route to 17/12. He also fouled out Andrea Bargnani. Imagining poor Bargnani trying to guard Howard isn't something I want to do. One can only assume that a lot of Howard's misses were chippies he should have made. Jarrett Jack had 8/7/11 off the bench for Toronto. Rashard Lewis and Vince combined to hit zero of their eleven three-point attempts.
Celtics 107, Knicks 105: What the hell is going on with Boston? This is a game they should win going away, and instead they're saved from a second overtime only by a Kevin Garnett buzzer-beating jumper from 20 feet. (Granted, it was a wide-open jumper of the type he hits with great regularity, but still.) The Knicks held their own on the glass, got turnovers by Boston (the starters had 3-3-3-3-2 turnovers each), drew fouls ... If you didn't look at the records at the top of the box score, you'd think this was a game between two evenly matched teams. Is Boston just playing down to the competition, conserving their energy for down the road to rest their (ancient) legs? Or is something else the matter?
Rajon Rondo had 14/9/10 and four steals, but if I saw the highlights right, he missed a long jumper at the end of regulation, and shot 5-13 overall. If I'm right about his jump shot, I have to ask Doc Rivers what he's doing. There are six or seven guys on this team I'd rather have taking a jumper at the buzzer on this team. Anyway, David Lee had another big night with 22/15, although Kendrick Perkins, who was presumably his man, shot 6-7 and grabbed thirteen boards himself, including four offensive. As I also recall the highlights, Larry Hughes assisted on a pretty play to tie the game before Boston won it, but perhaps if he hadn't shot 2-11, and 0-5 from three, New York could have pulled this one out. Toney Douglas, for whatever reason, only played six minutes, and the only thing saving him from a six trillion was a turnover.
Pacers 88, Bobcats 104: Speaking of trillions, DeSagana Diop had a three-trillion in this game, and Alexis Ajinca threw up a shot (and missed it) to save himself from one as well. Yep, that's what I've got for highlights here.
Hornets 101, Heat 102: This had all the makings of a high-scoring game until an 18-16 fourth-quarter stinker derailed things. Marcus Thornton had another big scoring game off the bench for New Orleans, going for 24, with five threes. Dwyane Wade cracked thirty again.
Pistons 91, Suns 117: Asking an undertalented team to go on a road back-to-back to visit Phoenix just isn't fair. The Suns ran the Pistons out of the gym, shooting 58%, including 61% from three, and added 22-25 free-throw shooting to boot. (Detroit, while committing just five fewer fouls, was awarded thirteen fewer free throws.) Just two Suns shot poorer than 50%: Jarron Collins (0-1) and Jared Dudley (2-7). In fact, Dudley was the only Sun to shoot worse than 50% from three, and he still shot 1-3. I have nothing to say about Detroit.
Thunder 85, Lakers 101: The video highlights of this one include Kobe throwing up a prayer from behind the backboard, trying to draw a foul, not getting the foul, but having the shot swish in anyway. It's a straight-up HORSE shot, only made harder by the fact that he was being bumped along the sideline at the same time. (For what it's worth, I think not calling the foul was the right call, although I didn't look that closely at that aspect of things.) Shannon Brown also had an absurd one-handed throwdown of an alley-oop pass from Jordan Farmar. Brown does things at 6'4" that you usually only see out of guys 6'7" or bigger. (And I think 6'4" is generous. He doesn't look two inches taller than Farmar, who's listed at 6'2", to me.)
Kobe's 26 led the team, but Andrew Bynum had the best offensive game, going for 25 on just eleven shots, as he hit nine of them and also added seven perfect trips to the line. But hey, guess how many assists he had. You win! Zero! How'd you know? In sharp contrast to the Suns, Bynum was the only Laker over 50% for the game. DJ Mbenga got shut out, chucking up four shots in seven minutes and missing them all. The man knows how to make use of garbage time, though, as he took four shots, grabbed four boards, and committed three fouls in those minutes. That's active at the very least.
The Lakers won, though, by keeping Hijack City in check: Jeff Green (1-6), Kevin Durant (8-20), Russell Westbrook (5-16), and James Harden (2-15) have nothing to write home about after this one. Harden's got the most remarkable line of all: 0-10 from three. It's like the Tootsie Roll Pop question: how many licks does it take, etc., right? How many threes do you miss before you just stop taking them? Apparently Harden's answer is something less than ten. And of course this is the perfect kind of thing for Basketball Reference's Player Game Finder: what are the worst 0-fer performances in three-point shooting history? The Finder only goes back to 1986, but the NBA only introduced threes in 1979 anyway, so we're not missing that much data. Anyway, the results are here. Harden's 0-10 is not the worst 0-fer in history, but is merely tied for second with a whole host of others: Raja Bell, Ray Allen, Baron Davis, Antoine Walker, Devean George, and George McCloud. (I question George's line, though, because he supposedly shot 4-7 overall and 0-10 from three. This obviously does not add up.) One of those guys has the worst 0-fer in three-point history, and I bet it won't take you three seconds to guess the answer.
That's right, it's Antoine Walker, who shot 0-11 from three on December 17th, 2001 at Philadelphia.
Depending on whether George's line holds up, James Harden does have the distinction of being the only guy to ever go 0-10 or worse as a bench player.