The Sonics beat the Hawks, sending Atlanta to its second loss, by winning the overtime period 12-11. The Sonics did what they usually do, with Ray Allen scoring 33 (though he shot just 1-6 for threes), Rashard Lewis adding 23, and Chris Wilcox grabbing 15 rebounds. Joe Johnson scored 28, Josh Smith 24, and Josh Childress added 17 off the bench on 5-6 shooting. Additionally, Zaza Pachulia contributed 21 points from the center position, which is the first time I remember noticing him making a real contribution this year. So how'd the Hawks lose? Try eighteen missed threes by Johnson and Smith. Two or three more makes and this game doesn't get to overtime.
Cleveland beat Boston, sending the Celtics to 1-5. LeBron scored 38 on the strength of 19-23 free-throw shooting while everyone else took the night off. Sasha Pavlovic had 14 off the bench, but he was the only other player in double digits. The team outside of James shot 37% and had one steal (LeBron had three). But the key, given the absence of Wally Szczerbiak, was keeping Paul Pierce down. Pauly Knifeholes shot just 6-21 and had only one assist. Sebastian Telfair came back from his shortness-of-breath scare of the night before, but shot only 5-16. Finally, Brian Scalabrine played as many minutes as Rajon Rondo. We love you, Doc Rivers.
Orlando beat the T-Wolves by 11 in Minnesota, led by Jameer Nelson, Dwight Howard, and the bench, in the absence of Grant Hill, who was apparently put on the injured list, bringing Travis Diener back onto the roster. Nelson led the team with 23 points, but Howard was the star with 21 points and 22 rebounds. The bench looked great, though, with four players scoring in double digits, led by Darko's fifteen. Milicic did commit five fouls in just 24 minutes, though, which is the kind of thing that prevents you from the staying on the floor even if you're playing well on the offensive end.
Kevin Garnett went to the free-throw line 13 times on the way to 28 points, grabbed eleven boards, and dished five assists, but his supporting cast just didn't shoot well enough. Ricky Davis and Mike James each shot 5-13 and combined for just two rebounds. Davis did have eight assists, though.
This, by the way, is what Troy Hudson has fallen to: ten minutes, no shots, one rebound, one block.
The Spurs did what they're supposed to do against the Knicks, beating them by eight. Tim Duncan was horrible from the free-throw line, shooting 4-12, but he scored 24 anyway and grabbed 16 rebounds besides. He also blocked three shots, which is three more than the entire Knicks team. I can't remember the last time I saw a team with zero blocks in a game.
Tony Parker led the Spurs with 33 points and also added six assists while turning the ball over just twice.
The Knicks committed a lot of fouls, which might be a good strategy against a team that's going to shoot 55% from the free-throw line and 51% from the field. Channing Frye, Eddy Curry, Jamal Crawford, and Malik Rose all had five fouls (Rose in just 19 minutes, Frye in fourteen), and David Lee fouled out (in 23 minutes). Curry tossed five turnovers in with his five fouls, making absolutely certain to do enough bad to cancel out his fifteen points. Q-Rich was the Knicks' top player with 21 points and eleven rebounds.
The Bulls evened their record at 3-3, beating Indiana on the strength of a 30-14 final quarter. Chicago shot terribly (38%), "led" by Ben Gordon's 1-8 performance, assisted ably by Kirk Hinrich (7-19), Ben Wallace (4-11), and Andres Nocioni (3-10). Gordon, for good measure, committed five fouls in just 21 minutes. In spite of all of this, though, the Bulls won, largely due to rebounding: they won that battle by a 51-28 count, and grabbed 24 offensive boards (to just four for Indiana). Ben Wallace had ten offensive boards and eighteen overall, and Luol Deng added six boards on each end.
Al Harrington and Danny Granger were again the Pacers' top two players, with nineteen and eighteen respectively (Granger shot 5-6 from behind the arc). When your top two score that few points, though, you're probably in trouble, as Indiana was here. Jermaine O'Neal and Stephen Jackson stumbled again, scoring just twelve and ten and committing eight turnovers between them.
Utah won again, improving to 6-1, by beating Milwaukee. The Bucks scored 42 points in the final period but still managed to fall by two. Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams were big scorers again, with 32 and 27 points. Boozer added ten rebounds, including five offensive, and Williams had fifteen assists and five steals. Mehmet Okur shot just 1-9, but Matt Harpring and Paul Milsap each shot 6-9 in 27 minutes off the bench to pick up the slack.
All of this was just enough to overcome a great game from Michael Redd, who scored 57 points, hitting 6-12 three-pointers and 15-17 from the free-throw line. Ruben Patterson backed Redd up with 8-9 shooting, but Mo Williams struggled again, shooting just 2-12. Charlie Villanueva, who had been playing very well over the first couple games, was hardly present, shooting 1-6 and grabbing four rebounds.
Terrible news for people who like exciting defensive players: Andrei Kirilenko severely sprained his ankle in the game, which is why he played just ten minutes. AK-47 has been limited by injury each of the last three years, and it's getting to the point where you worry about the label "injury prone" wrecking his career.
Phoenix finally won its second game, beating Memphis, which was similarly gunning for win #2. This game wins "Best Second Half" awards, where by "best," I mean "craziest." The Suns won the third quarter 35-15, giving them a 31-point lead going into the final quarter. Phoenix proceeded to win by just nine, though, as they were outscored 29-7 in the final quarter. The Phoenix Suns were held to seven points in a quarter. Seven. Yes, it was the reserves, but still, seven points is crazy.
Amare Stoudemire had a "welcome back" game, scoring 25 points on 10-14 shooting and adding 15 rebounds despite playing just 25 minutes (probably due more to his five fouls than to the blowout). Leandro Barbosa and Steve Nash shot poorly (9-25 combined) but had 21 assists to just four turnovers. Jalen Rose's debut for the Suns was mixed: 3-9 shooting, but 3-6 from behind the arc.
Chucky Atkins led the Grizz with 20 points off the bench, as no starter scored more than 12 (that was Hakim Warrick). Damon Stoudamire, of all people, led Memphis with three offensive rebounds.
Golden State destroyed the Pistons, winning 111-79, which is a score you usually associate with a Detroit win over a team like the Warriors. Lindsey Hunter was the leading scorer for Detroit, which is bad on multiple counts: first, that it's Hunter; second, that it was just 14 points; third, that he shot 5-13.
The Warriors shot well over 50%, including 12-21 from three-point range, with only Troy Murphy contributing a bad shooting game (3-9). Mike Dunleavy shot 4-8 and added six boards and eight assists off the bench, which is how he has to contribute, if he's going to.