Tuesday, 11/7, saw six NBA games, including the Lakers winning at home over the Wolves. Andrew Bynum led the team with a career-high twenty points, grabbed fourteen rebounds, blocked three shots, and committed a combined zero turnovers and fouls. That's just a remarkable game. It's unlikely that he had to mess with Kevin Garnett (that was probably Lamar Odom's job - I'd guess, in fact, that they guarded each other, which means more credit for Lamar, since Garnett ended up fouling out), and that means that he was only contending with Mark Blount, but Blount's a big guy (if not quite as big as Bynum) who's been in the league long enough to play nearly 450 games, but Bynum wasn't going to let that slow him down.
Given Bynum's out-of-nowhere start to the year along with Kwame Brown and Chris Mihm's flashes of usefulness last year, one starts to get the feeling that Kareem is actually having some effect over there as a big man coach.
The game smells like a team effort all over for L.A., as all five starters scored in double digits, and Kobe, even though he committed five turnovers, had six assists and took just seven shots (making five of them). Luke Walton had the kind of all-around offensive game he's capable of if he gets the rock, scoring 14 and adding five assists. He also contributed nine boards, a steal, and two blocks, all of which are pretty good for a guy singularly lacking in athletic ability. But hell, NBA history is replete with smart players who overcome less-than-stellar tools to become good players. Sometimes, in the case of John Stockton, great players.
Ronny Turiaf, it should be noted, made the most of his thirteen minutes off the bench, committing five fouls.
The rest of the games:
Atlanta outscored Cleveland 14-5 in the overtime period to take a win in Ohio. Joe Johnson led Atlanta in scoring again, with 25 points, but Tyronn Lue had the line of the night, with nineteen points and eleven assists off the bench. LeBron poured in 34 and added seven boards, six dimes, two steals, and a block (and turned the ball over just once), but his supporting cast was terrible: James was the only Cav to shoot at least 50%, as the team shot 36.3% overall. Drew Gooden grabbed 14 rebounds, but fouled out and missed ten shots, including two threes. Why is Drew Gooden shooting threes?
Indiana had a 25-point lead going to the fourth quarter and cruised to an 11-point win over the Sixers. Six players scored in double digits for Indiana, include Rawle Marshall's 5-5 (16 points) night off the bench. Energetic White Guy (TM) Jeff Foster grabbed ten boards in just 21 minutes. Jermaine O'Neal swatted four shots, but couldn't match Stephen Hunter's five blocks in just 23 minutes for Philly. Andre Igoudala shot 5-6 and Kyle Korver 5-10, but the Sixer stars, Alley-I and C-Webb, combined for 21 bricks. Webber, besides no offensive game, only contributed three boards. Is there any reason why he's still starting? I haven't said a good thing about him yet this year.
Miami beat Seattle in Florida despite scoring just eleven in the first quarter. The Heat shot under 40% in Shaq's absence, but Dwyane Wade's 14-17 line from the free thrown line went a long way. Nobody else on either team shot more than six times from the line. I realize that Wade goes to the basket more than almost any other player, but still, seventeen free throws? The refs already made Miami's playoff run a 6-5 affair in every game - are they trying to win him an MVP now, too? Seattle's rookie center, Sene, didn't even get off the pine despite starting against the Lakers just a few days earlier.
The Hornets beat the Warriors with a balanced effort: no starter played more than 36 minutes, no starter scored fewer than 10 points (Tyson Chandler), and the four guys not named Tyson took 15, 15, 16, and 16 shots, respectively. Chris Paul made the most of his shots, scoring 22 points while also dishing eleven assists. How many teams passed on drafting this guy again? Andre Biedrins blocked six shots for the Warriors, but also grabbed just five boards in 35 minutes. That's an inexcusable number for a starting five.
Houston beat Memphis in a battle of teams I like to root for in minor ways. Jeff Van Gundy coaches an ugly game, sure (and this was an 86-80 affair, just his style), but I love his style. The Rockets turned the ball over too much (Yao, McGrady, and Skip had 6, 6, and 5, respectively), and got nothing from their bench (nine points), but they held the Grizz in check: Stromile Swift led the team in scoring with 15 points; Memphis was outrebounded by 12; and they were out-foul-shot by 13. Rudy Gay took ten shots in just 17 minutes off the bench for Memphis, which won't make too many coaches happy, though he did make five of them.