By Jason Wojciechowski on November 2, 2009 at 7:10 PM
Russell Westbrook didn't have the best game of the night, but he did have one of the weirdest I've ever had the joy of seeing in a box score. Also, The Good Wife sucks; Glee may slowly be coming together, but it should really work on getting good sooner rather than later; Dollhouse had a disappointing first two episodes, but I really liked the third, and I've heard the fourth is quite good; and The Middle is really gelling as an off-beat, quirky family sitcom that, yes, completely stole every single thing about Malcolm in the Middle, but at least does a nice job of honoring the legacy. You know, because you wanted to know.
Orlando 125, Toronto 116: The Magic had four guys go over 20 points, with Jameer Nelson hitting 30. That's pretty good when you're a team that's down Rashard Lewis, Vince Carter, and Mickael Pietrus. Ryan Anderon had 20, and J.J. Redick apparently forgot he's not at Duke anymore, going for 27, with six boards and five dimes for good measure. Anderson, Nelson, and Redick each hit five threes. Da-wight Howard? 24/11. Whatever. Chris Bosh's 35/16 for the Raptors was pretty nice, though, and if you're the kind of fan I am, you like that Andrea Bargnani went four for five from three as the de facto starting center. Out of a seven-footer, though, you might like to see more than four rebounds in 32 minutes.
New Orleans 87, Boston 97: The Celtics are 4-0, and the way their defense has been manhandling the other guys, I'm getting a little concerned. Peja (apparently coming off the bench for the Hornets) had 26 on six threes and Chris Paul had 22 with eight assists, but the third-leading scorer was David West, with just 10. Much more damning, West had just two rebounds. I never liked the guy, so it's hard not to engage in a little schadenfreude at his struggles, even though I'm not usually that guy. I don't delight in the difficulties of other people, even when those other people seem like giant assholes. Anyway, Paul Pierce scored 27.
Chicago 87, Miami 95: Miami is now 3-0, helped along by two double-digit bench scorers in this game: Carlos Arroyo with 12 in just 16 minutes and Udonis Haslem with 19, as he got 35 minutes off the bench, seemingly at the expense of Jermaine O'Neal. Luol Deng had 26 and John Salmons took four steals, but Derrick Rose struggled along with a 4/15 night, with just five assists.
Portland 83, Seattle 74: That's a pretty ugly final score. The Thunder shot 34% and turned the ball over 16 times. Horrifyingly, only six of their 24 field goals were assisted. Kevin Durant put up a donut in that category in 41 minutes, which seems like it'd be hard to do. He shot 3/21, so at some point you'd figure he'd start looking for the open man. The fact that he only turned the ball over once implies to me that he was purely in catch-and-shoot mode last night: no giving up the rock, no dribbling. Just fire away. And miss a lot. (This is pure box-score supposition, of course.) For some reason, Steve Blake decided to lead Portland in scoring (18) by hitting four threes.
Russell Westbrook gets his own paragraph, though, because he had one of the weirdest lines I've ever seen. He shot great, hitting 8/12, although he missed his only three-point attempt. He got to the line as well, and hit 7/10 from there. He grabbed two offensive rebounds, which is pretty nice for a point guard. He even had two steals and a block. However, he added to (subtracted from, really) all that by turning the ball over nine times and fouling out in just 32 minutes. All you can really say about all that is, "Well ... he was active!"
Memphis 123, Denver 133: Now that's a box score. O.J. Mayo went off for 40 on 17/25 shooting and Marc Gasol added a 20/11, but Denver won on the back of Carmelo, who scored 42 on 15/26 shooting to go with seven boards and five assists. Speaking of assists, here's what makes me think the game was as fun to watch as the box score makes it seem: Denver assisted on 36 of its 47 field goals; Memphis assisted on 27 of their 48. (With A.I. arriving to make his Memphis debut tonight, I'm guessing we won't see as many assist-happy performances from here on out.) Ball movement is a beautiful thing to see, even when you're just looking at the stats the next day.
Minnesota 112, Phoenix 120: Phoenix is 3-0 on the strength of its recommitment to running: Steve Nash had 14/14, but an uncharacteristic seven turnovers, and he got three of his teammates over the 20-point mark, with Amare falling just a point shy. Jason Richardson coming back, pushing Leandro Barbosa back to his destructive second-unit role, feels a lot like Pau Gasol's eventual return to the Lakers -- neither team has an impressive bench, but both benches look vastly different when you add a starting-caliber guy (Barbosa, Odom) to them. Ryan Gomes had a monster 23/15 night for the losers, and maybe Al Jefferson should have tossed him the ball a few more times, because he finished with a 9/23 night.
Atlanta 110, Lakers 118: I typo'd the Lakers' score initially as 188, which is the height of wishful thinking, no? The game writeup says Ron Artest dedicated himself in the second half to shutting down Joe Johnson, who still finished with a 27/9/4 night. I don't know who was guarding Kobe, but maybe they should have done an Artest, because he wound up with 41 and contributed five of the Lakers' 14 steals. Lamar Odom had one of those "I love being the third or fourth option" nights, where he only took eight shots (and two free throws, so it's not one of those "shooting fouls masked how often he actually shot" situations), but had fourteen boards and eight assists. There aren't many teams that would score 120 points when the starting power forward has as many assists as field goal attempts, are there?
Finally, Jordan Hill once again failed to get off the bench. Granted, the Knicks didn't actually play a game last night.