By Jason Wojciechowski on November 25, 2006 at 5:03 AM
- Jersey beat Indiana by 100-91, led, as usual, by the big three (minus RJ, but plus Nenad), with a strong assists from Clifford Robinson's 14 points on 5-6 shooting off the pine. Al Harrington led the Pacers with 18 points and shot over 50%, and Jamaal Tinsley had a solid 16 points and six assists. For some reason, Danny Granger thought it was appropriate to shoot eight threes in the game, but made just two of them. He did redeem himself a little bit with four blocks, but that doesn't quite make up for the damage of missing all those shots. The leading rebounder in the game was Jeff Foster, who comes off the bench for Indiana, and only played 29 minutes. He was the only player in double digits.
- Boston blew out Portland by 28. The Celtics shot 60% from three: Paul Pierce was 4-6 and Wally World threw in a 3-6 effort. As often happens in a blowout, minutes got distributed Marxist-style, with only Pierce playing more than 30 minutes. Delonte West, who normally plays anyway, took the most advantage, scoring seventeen points in his nineteen minutes. Zach Randolph had a good game, with 23 points and 12 boards, but it looks like the Blazers aren't really built to win games (whether against good teams or the Celtics) unless Randolph has a dominant game. Six for fourteen shooting isn't what I'm thinking of as "dominant."
- Cleveland beat Minnesota by 16, which is pretty much what you expect if you think Cleveland is as good as they should be. LeBron scored 37, but (and this says it all) nobody else on the team went past fifteen. Kevin Garnett shot poorly (5-17) and, like the Blazers, the Wolves can't win unless Garnett dominates. He did grab eleven boards and had five steals, but because his 14 points led the team, you know the Wolves got spanked. Randy Foye got to play ten minutes, but missed all four of his shots and didn't have an assist. He did make one free throw. (Woo!)
- Miami continued its lackadaisical early-season play. Shaq or no Shaq, the world champs shouldn't get beat by 24 hosting the Knicks. Dwyane Wade, you're better than that! (Those who watch Mark Jackson on the YES network know what I'm talking about.) Jamal Crawford led the Knicks with 19 off the bench (23 minutes) and Q Richardson overcame poor shooting to contribute in other ways, with eleven boards and six assists. Alonzo Mourning's four blocks were the extent of the good news for Miami, which shot 36% as a team, typified by Antoine Walker's 1-9 (0-4 from three) performance.
- Detroit beat Washington by nine. Multi-skilled swingmen Caron Butler and Tayshaun Prince cancelled each other out, with Butler contributing 24 points and seven boards and Prince scoring 20 and also grabbing seven boards. Rip Hamilton and Gilbert Arenas shot poorly, hitting 11-27 and 7-20 respectively. Rasheed Wallace out-played his "big man with a perimeter game" counterpart, Antawn Jamison, as A-Jam (yes?) shot just 3-12 while 'Sheed contributed 20 points and ten boards. Chauncey and DeShawn Stevenson shot about the same, but Billups had ten dimes to Stevenson's three. (Of course, that's because Billups plays the point while Stevenson is nominally the shooting guard for his team. Nominally because Gilbert does all the shooting.)
- Chicago lost big on the road again, losing by 17 to San Antonio. Tim Duncan shot 10-15, leading the team to a >50% shooting percentage, which is pretty remarkable against the Bulls. Brent Barry shot well off the bench again, scoring 14 points, and Manu Ginobli had four steals, trying to make up for his 1-6 shooting. Ben Gordon led the Bulls in scoring again, despite coming off the bench, but he also had seven turnovers. They call him Little Kobe (or at least some people used to call him that, because facially, he does bear a strong resemblance), but he could do with getting rid of Kobe's turnover proclivities. Ben Wallace did what Ben Wallace is supposed to do to earn his paycheck, grabbing ten boards, blocking four shots, and getting three steals. Thabo Sefolosha put up one of those neat "nothing" lines, where his box score is all zeros (except for one turnover, but I don't count that, because it's not positive) despite playing five minutes.
- Dallas beat Memphis by 12, sending the Grizz to their seventh loss in eight games. All five Mavs starters scored in double digits, with Erick Dampier of all people actually scoring the second-most points on the team (behind Dirk, of course). Big Damp shot 8-11 and hit all six of his free throws. He didn't forget his other duties, either, grabbing fifteen boards, nine on the offensive end. Rudy Gay scored just one point in twelve minutes despite starting for Memphis. It's not really fair to compare him to the scoring that Adam Morrison has been doing, because with the number of shots Morrison's getting, it's clear that he's a focus of the offense. On this team, though, Mike Miller, Hakim Warrick, and even Chucky Atkins (just among the starters) are all likely to get more shots than Gay will, so he's going to have to find other ways to contribute.
- The Lakers beat Toronto by seven. Kobe scored 31 against his favorite team, which is lower than his season average from last year (but that's not really fair, is it?). Kobe's aforementioned turnover proclivities were on display, as he handed the ball over six times, though he did have seven assists and even led the entire game with eleven rebounds (that's right, Kobe outrebounded Lamar Odom and Chris Bosh, undoubtedly two of the better board men in the game). Andrea Bargnani found some way to commit five fouls in just six minutes, which is really hard to do, I have to imagine.
- Phoenix beat Philly with Steve Nash out hurt, led by Amare Stoudemire (now back apparently), who scored 23 and had ten boards, and Leandro Barbosa's 10-15 shooting (remarkable for a point man), 26 points, ten boards (did I say remarkable for a point man already?), and five steals. Allen Iverson had five steals and Willie Green shot 9-18 off the bench for the Sixers. That's pretty much the extent of the good news for them.
- Utah improved to 8-1 in Seattle, led again by Deron Williams (27 points, eight assists), Carlos Boozer (14 points, 13 boards), and Mehmet Okur (15 points, 2-4 from three, eleven boards). Matt Harpring poured in 21 more from the bench. Ray Allen led the effort for Seattle, scoring 32 on just 17 shots, but the uncharacteristic 1-6 shooting from three hurt. The lack of defense hurt more, though. You should never allow a Jerry Sloan team to score 118 points. That's inexcusable. Derek Fisher, by the way (who I'll always love), fouled out in 18 minutes for Utah, which is pretty hard to do as a backcourt player, isn't it? Bargnani with five fouls in six minutes is one thing, because he's seven feet tall, and fouls happen inside. But a guy who's running around the backcourt? What's he doing?