By Jason Wojciechowski on November 12, 2009 at 8:35 AM
I finally figured out my server issues (sorta), so here we are, posting in the morning, live from work! (Don't tell anyone.) Fresh off my extreme disappointment about Dollhouse, here's some nonsense chatter about last night's full slate of games.
Golden State 94, Indiana 108: Thrills and chills and spills from these two ... um, exciting teams. Thirty-one and sixteen for Danny Granger is pretty awesome, although it's hard to tell how good he'd be on a good team, a team that had actual scorers aside from him. I mean, his starting lineup mates were Dahntay Jones, Roy "The Big Stiff" Hibbert, Brandon Rush (granted, he is is the better of the Rush brothers), and T.J. Ford. These aren't bad players, but they're also not scorers. Which on the other hand could make it harder on Granger, not easier, because the defense entirely keys on him. Ah, who knows. Corey Maggette had 21 in 22 bench minutes for the Warriors.
Chicago 89, Toronto 99: Each team is now 4-4, although you'd like to see better out of a Toronto team featuring Bosh, Turkoglu, Bargnani, and Calderon, with Belinelli and Amir Johnson coming off the bench. Bosh had 28/11 despite a poor shooting night, which is basically par for his course. I feel like he's being overlooked in the media narrative about the 2010 free agent class. He's not LeBron James, but he's an excellent power forward and he'll be only 26 next year. Joakim Noah was big on the offensive glass again for Chicago, with five rebounds out of eleven overall, although he did foul out in just 31 minutes. Weirdly, the team committed just eleven other fouls. Similarly, Bargnani was whistled five times in the game to just 12 for the rest of the Raptors. If Bargnani weren't Bargnani, I'd think the big men were banging down low, but we know what kind of big man Bargnani is, so that seems implausible.
Utah 86, Boston 105: You have to expect Boston to win the game, but you'd like to see Utah put up a bit more of a fight. Neither team had anyone go over 18 points (the fourth quarter seems to have been handled by the benches), but Utah didn't have anyone go over 13, and only four players went into double-digits, while Boston had all five starters over ten, plus Marquis Daniels and Rasheed Wallace off the bench. Utah did have seventeen offensive rebounds to just 21 defensive rebounds by Boston, which is pretty crazy. Paul Millsap did his usual work, getting five (13 overall), but Deron Williams also contributed four and Andrei Kirilenko had a weird rebounding line: four rebounds, all offensive. Utah also missed all ten of its three-point attempts.
Charlotte 75, Detroit 98: Charlotte, on the other hand, you expect exactly this kind of result. Charlie Villanueva went off for 30, combining with the other new Piston, Ben Gordon, who had 22 himself. Charlotte's leading scorer, and you'd be able to figure out they lost the game just by knowing this information, was Nazr Mohammed. He had 13 in 15 minutes to go with eight rebounds. It's an impressive line, for sure, but you'd rather not have Nazr be the guy who's your Man of the Match.
Atlanta 114, Knicks 101: New York fell to 1-8 despite leading at the half by seven. For once they didn't get off to a terrible start, but they were outscored by 14 in the third quarter and Atlanta held on from there. Al Horford played 42 minutes and scored 25, and Josh Smith had 22/12. The bigs going off is no surprise because, as has been noted before, the interior is the major weakness, personnel-wise, of this Knick team. Migs sent me a text from the game that mentioned Toney Douglas, and I see why: 23 points as the starting two-guard on better-than-50% shooting. Al Harrington also had 23 for the Knicks, and added 12 rebounds and three steals. I do wonder why, with Al Horford apparently torching them, Darko Milicic did not get off the bench.
Denver 102, Milwaukee 108: That's a bit of a surprise, but Milwaukee is now 4-2, so they're rolling right along on the back of Brandon Jennings, who had 32 on nineteen shots in this one to go with nine assists. How many games do they play in the Italian league he played in last year? Is he less likely to run into a rookie wall because of it? Or is their season not much longer than the college season anyway? Carmelo had 32/10 but took 25 shots and have seven turnovers, so it wasn't a great night overall.
Portland 107, Minnesota 84: Check this out: Greg Oden, 26 minutes, zero fouls. Against Al Jefferson, too, not some chump. He profited from being on the floor, shooting 8-10 and grabbing eleve rebounds. Portland won the middle quarters by a combined 67-38, so the game was over early. Jefferson did have 14 points, but just six rebounds, and he didn't get to the free throw line a single time.
Cleveland 102, Orlando 93: This was ESPN's opening game. Dwight Howard's early foul trouble resulted in a discussion between Jeff Van Gundy and Hubie Brown about going to the ABA's foul rules (no foul-outs; after a player's sixth foul, the other team gets an extra foul shot and the ball on any foul) to try to ensure that fans who come to the game will get to see the stars they came to see, while leaving in some penalty that will prevent the game from just going "hack-a-bad-free-throw-shooter". The fact that the ABA did it, apparently successfully, intrigues me. Anyway, Howard ended up playing 32 minutes, but he took only three shots and hit just 5-12 from the stripe, for eleven points. Vince Carter returned to the starting lineup and scored 29. LeBron had 36/8/4 and the Cavs shot 10-14 from three. Big Z continued to struggle in his backup role, picking up five fouls in 24 minutes and shooting 0-6.
Memphis 79, Houston 104: Luis Scola had 22/15, and Kyle Lowry had 8/8/10 off the bench, which is probably as close to a triple double as he's ever come. (Ok, I'm wrong. Basketball-Reference, which is one of the ten or so most wonderful sites on the entire internet, has a game finder, which gives these results. Lowry had 14/9/9 on December 7th, 2007, so he's actually been quite close before.) Anyway, Marc Gasol finally had an off night, shooting 1-7, but Z-Bo continued to impress with 18/10.
Dallas 83, San Antonio 92: A predictable result in the Texas showdown, right down to the size of the final score. San Antonio actually only scored 13 points in the final period, but they'd won the second quarter by 30-17, so it didn't really matter. Dirk did have 29, but shot just 9-27, which is a ton of shots, especially for a guy who's a willing passer, as Hubie would call him. Richard Jefferson had his second straight big game as a Spur with 29/7/4 and three steals, following up on 24/8/7 against Toronto, albeit in a much faster-paced game.
Thunder 83, Clippers 79: Yuck. Kevin Durant had 30/10 and Chris Kaman needed 26 shots to score 20 points. Can we move on?
New Orleans 104, Phoenix 124: Phoenix is coming to L.A. for the second half of a back-to-back with the Lakers off of this nice win. Seven players went into double digits for the Suns as they scored 75 points in the first half, shot 55% from the field, and destroyed the Hornets on the glass, winning the rebound battle 45-29, and graabbing 15 offensive boards to 19 defensive by New Orleans. When you've got Emeka Okafor and David West and the other guys have Channing Frye and Louis Amundson, you should be winning the rebounding battles. (Ok, I'm conveniently ignoring Amare, but the knock on him has been a lack of desire to rebound and play D in his career, right?) Steve Nash only had 12/10, but he missed just one shot and only played 23 minutes, leaving the point guard duties to Goran Dragic, who had 14/7/7. I remember thinking while watching the game that Dragic should grow his hair out like Nash so that people couldn't tell them apart. I'm not sure what benefit this would have for him, but I like the idea.