By Jason Wojciechowski on December 9, 2009 at 8:45 PM
The Nets won? Charlotte beat Denver? And the Cavs fall in Memphis? Well then.
Wolves 88, Raptors 94: Chris Bosh had 21/16, but it's a good thing the refs put Toronto on the line 48 times, because the team shot 32% overall and 2-21 from three. Fortunately, Minnesota shot almost as poorly (37%) but got to the line less than half as often (23 free throws). I guess Minnesota was playing Hack-a-Jack, because Jarrett got to the line 12 times by himself. This is a guy who averages 3.7 free throws per 36 minutes in his career. The twelve attempts ties his second-highest in his career, surpassed only by a 16-free-throw game for Portland against the Bobcats back in the '07 season. Anyway, Kevin Love led the Wolves with 18 off the bench, but he did turn the ball over five times.
Nuggets 95, Bobcats 107: That's a bad loss for the Nuggets, who seem to think they're contenders. Charlotte's better than people thought they'd be (9-11) and they were at home, but still. Carmelo put in 34, but the team assisted on less than 1/3 of its field goals. Charlotte, meanwhile, got 25/16 from Gerald Wallace, 25/7/6 from Captain Jack, and 15 bench points (ten free throw attempts!) from Nazr Mohammed. Ray Felton threw in six steals, presumably contributing to Chauncey's five turnovers. (Carmelo had six of his own. Turnovers, not steals.)
Bucks 89, Celtics 98: Andrew Bogut had 25/14/5, but added seven turnvoers, and Branond Jennings continued his streak of poor shooting with a 7-19 night. Boston forced 20 turnovers and shot 52%. That'll win you some games. Kevin Garnett led the way with 25/9 (that's right, nine boards! He's back, people!), and five other guys scored between 11 and 15. The immortal Tony Allen came back (and he's apparently going to get some time in the next 6-8 weeks that Marquis Daniels is out), but he only played six minutes and managed to not put up a shot. (He did miss two free throws, though. Out of two.) Rajon Rondo missed a triple-double by a single rebound (11/9/13). Or by five steals, however you want to look at it.
Kings 94, Hornets 96: These two teams exited the game with the same record, which is pretty remarkable, considering where they were last year. David West had another nice game with 24/12/5, helping show that maybe Byron Scott really was the problem, not Chris Paul. Emeka Okafor added 17/12 with four blocks and Chris Paul had 12 assists and three steals. And Peja hit four threes in five attempts. In short, the four best players did the things they do best. Of course, they did all that, and Darius Songaila hit all five of his shots, and they still only beat the Kings, at home, by two. Tyreke Evans had a lot to say about that (again) with 25/5/9. A little hotter hand from Andres Nocioni (3-10 from the floor, 0-2 from three, 2-6 from the line) and Sacramento might have pulled this one out.
Nets 103, Bulls 101: The Nets! 2-19! Let's go, Jer-sey! CDR tweeted about scoring twenty, but he shouldn't be proud that it took him 20 shots to get there. That he only managed to get to the line once (and he missed that only attempt) isn't a good sign. Anyway, Brook Lopez had 25/10, and the Nets kept Derrick Rose relatively restrained: he got 27, but needed 23 shots, and only reached the charity stripe four times. (Luckily for the Jerseyans, he missed three of those.) Big reason the Nets were losing a few weeks ago and won last night: Trenton Hassell was starting three weeks ago; last night, he put up a three trillion.
Cavs 109, Grizzlies 111: As I watch Cleveland losing to the Rockets by 10 in Houston (going into the fourth quarter), with at least four technicals handed out already (two of them to Mike Brown, who was very angry about something or other), I can delight in last night's overtime loss to Memphis. JJ Hickson and Andy Varejao didn't have any answer for Z-Bo, who went off for 32/14, including seven offensive boards. (Varejao fouled out.) Neither team did a good job on its defensive glass, as Memphis had 17 offensive rebounds while Cleveland managed 16. Memphis got nothing from its bench (seven points, nine boards, three assists) and let LeBron get 43/13/6, so it's a good thing OJ Mayo had 28 of his own (despite seven turnovers).
Suns 101, Mavs 102: These two teams also exited the game with the same record, which is another surprise. Nobody expected Phoenix to be this good, and Dallas probably had to be considered a longshot to be a 50-win team as well. But Dirk had 33, Josh Howard scored 20 off the bench, and Channing Frye missed all four of his threes, so the Phoenix starting backcourt's combined 52 went for nought.
Magic 97, Clippers 86: Superman hit his free throws (11-15) and thus was dominant: 25/11/5/2/7. No Magician was credited with more than 11 field goals, and the team got 22 assists on 32 makes. Matt Barnes shot 0-6, but everyone else pitched in a little here and there. Eric Gordon had an efficient 21 for the Clippers, but Chris Kaman shot just 8-22 and Baron Davis needed 19 shots for his 18 points. Marcus Camby did his thing with 13 boards.