What you missed while watching the Stooges finally get inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame...
Rockets 125, Nuggets 123: What I was left wondering after Carmelo Anthony missed a three pointer with Shane Battier right up on him for the final shot -- would that have been different if George Karl was coaching?
Denver probably thinks it shouldn’t have come to that shot in the first place, but it did because they got beat at their own game. Houston ran on them. The Rockets had 60 points in transition. They had 60 from their starting backcourt of Aaron Brooks and Kevin Martin. Those guys got Chauncey Billups in foul trouble and out of the game before it was time for a final shot. The Rockets new backcourt won that one -- including Aaron Brooks pull up jumper at the elbow that was the game winner -- and that bodes well for their future.
Lakers 124, Warriors 121: Worst part of this for fans watching at home: Listening to Mark Jackson campaign for the Warriors coaching job all night long on a national broadcast.
The Lakers beat the Warriors at their own game -- Los Angeles ran and shot jumpers rather than go inside (although Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol had good numbers). Los Angeles can’t really play at that pace and the ball over a lot to fuel the Warriors transition game. Everyone pounds the Warriors inside -- the Lakers didn’t do it enough and there may be no better sign of how screwed up their offense is.
Los Angeles shot the ball better, got to the line a lot more, and controlled the glass (grabbing the offensive board on 43.8% of their missed shots). LA didn’t play great defense and gave up a late 9-0 run to make it close. The Warriors had a chance to tie with the clock running down on threes from Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis (who settled for an off-balance three as opposed to passing to a wide open Anthony Morrow). That kind of decision is how the Warriors keep losing games.
Knicks 94, Sixers 84: Without David Lee, the Knicks are useless in the paint. He had foul trouble in the first half, he played just a handful of minutes, so Samuel Dalembert had seven offensive boards and the Sixers grabbed the rebound on more than half of their missed shots. The result: Sixers up 11 at the half.
Second half, Lee stays in (Dalembert has two offensive boards the rest of the way) and the Knicks step up their defense at the same time that the Sixers legs started to get tired on the second night of a back-to-back. Toney Douglas provided a great spark -- smart move by the Knicks to pay the Lakers cash on draft day to pick him up, the guy has some game. Knicks pull away in the second half, part because of them and part because the Sixers got tired and their shot went missing.
Celtics 119, Pistons 93: It seems like cause for a party -- the Celtics played up to their potential for a night. The Pistons played down to their potential for a night. The result was ugly for lovers of basketball, great for Celtics fans.
Jazz 112, Wizards 89: The Jazz are a very disciplined team that works the flex offense until they get good shots. I’m not sure the Wizards players have ever herd the word “disciplined.” They certainly don’t know what it means. Hence, your result -- Utah was up 14 at half and went from there. Mehmet Okur looked good in his return from a back injury.
Hornets 108, Clippers 100: Good Baron sighting!!! There should be a league pass alert for these rare nights when Good Baron Davis shows up to play.
The appearance of Good Baron-- the guy who drives and dishes and sees the game like few guards in the league -- made this one interesting. The final tally: 18 points (on 14 shots) and 17 assists for Davis. He took just four shots outside the paint; the usual barrage of pull up jumpers was gone. Usually that will get the Clippers a win.
But not when the Hornets are draining every outside shot -- New Orleans shot 69% in the second half. Not when the Clippers center can’t throw a pea in the ocean (Chris Kaman was 3 of 15 and a couple of those makes were dunks). Even on a rare Good Baron night the Clippers find a way to lose.