Washington 109, Cleveland 104
The Good: The Wizards and the Cavaliers renewed their rivalry Wednesday night in Cleveland, with Washington emerging the victor. Former Timberwolves Mike Miller and Randy Foye combined to score 45 points off the bench for the Wizards, who also got 18 points and 4 assists from Gilbert Arenas. Cleveland kept the game close despite a DNP from LeBron James, who missed the game with flu-like symptoms, led by 21 points from Jawad Williams.
The Bad: I mentioned Cleveland's lack of perimeter defense the other day, and the trend continued against Mike Miller and the Wizards. Miller made all five of his 3-point attempts, as the Cavs allowed Washington to shoot 8-for-12 as a team from beyond the arc.
The Ugly: DeShawn Stevenson reportedly got in a shouting match with an airport employee who voiced his distaste for the Wizards' outspoken 2-guard.
Boston 106, Toronto 90
The Good: Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce combined to score 33 points on 14-of-22 shooting for Boston, who got double-digit contributions from 6 players, including rookie guard Lester Hudson. Toronto's Chris Bosh matched Garnett with an 8-of-13 shooting night, on his way to a team-high 21 points.
The Bad: Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan each shot 2-for-8 for the Raptors, while Ray Allen and Eddie House combined to shoot 4-for-20 for Boston.
The Ugly: Not one Raptors' player recorded a positive +/- ratio. Rasho Nesterovic came the closest, recording a -1.
Chicago 99, Minnesota 94
The Good: Derrick Rose and Tyrus Thomas each missed their second straight game due to injuries, but Chicago had enough to sneak by the Timberwolves at the Target Center. Chris Richard led the Bulls with 17 points and 13 rebounds off the bench against the team that drafted him, and former Florida teammate Joakim Noah added 14 points and 7 rebounds on 7-of-8 from the floor. The Timberwolves had 6 players reach double-figures, led by their point guard tandem of Jonny Flynn and Ramon Sessions, who tallied 13 apiece.
The Bad: Chicago's Jannero Pargo followed up a 3-of-11 shooting effort against Milwaukee with a 3-of-13 showing against Minnesota.
The Ugly: Minnesota shot poorly from every area, posting 39% on field goals, 11.1% on 3-pointers, and 65.3% on free throws.
Oklahoma City 96, Miami 91
The Good: Kevin Durant scored 30 points and Jeff Green added 25 for the Thunder, who also got 12 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals from second-year point guard Russell Westbrook. Miami kept the game close without their star, Dwyane Wade, behind 24 point from Michael Beasley. The Heat also missed only 0ne of their 18 free throw attempts, for a staggering success rate of 94.4%.
The Bad: Oklahoma City's bench made just three field goals and accounted for only 12 points.
The Ugly: Miami gave up 35 fourth quarter points to the Thunder and blew a 9-point lead to lose by 5.
Atlanta 111, Memphis 96
The Good: Atlanta overcame lackluster performances from Joe Johnson (8 points), Mike Bibby (6 points), and Marvin Williams (4 points) to beat Memphis due to 27 points on 8-of-10 shooting from Maurice Evans. The Hawks also got 13 points from rookie Jeff Teague and 12 points from former Michigan standout Courtney Sims. Zach Randolph led Memphis with 18 points and 8 rebounds and rookie DeMarre Carroll had another strong showing, with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.
The Bad: Many believed Hasheem Thabeet had 'Bust' written all over him before Memphis picked him number 2 overall, and while the jury may still be out, he has been nothing but underwhelming so far in the preseason. Another 17 minutes, and another 4 points and 7 rebounds for Thabeet.
The Ugly: Memphis out-rebounded Atlanta 42 to 31 and shot 51.4% from the field, but lost due to carelessness. The Grizzlies committed 22 turnovers, including six apiece by O.J. Mayo and Mike Taylor.
LA Clippers 93, San Antonio 90
The Good: Top overall pick (and my recent fantasy draftee) Blake Griffin got his first NBA start against the Spurs and made the most of it, posting 23 points and 7 rebounds in 29 minutes. DeAndre Jordan had 15 points and 8 rebounds, and Al Thornton added 18 points off the bench in the win. Richard Jefferson led San Antonio with 15 points and second-round rookie DeJuan Blair added 11 points and 12 rebounds off the bench for San Antonio.
The Bad: The Clippers shot 51.3% from the field as a team, but their starting back court of Baron Davis and Rasual Butler combined to shoot just 3-of-16. LA also made just nine of 14 free throw attempts, for a pedestrian 64.3%.
The Ugly: The use of replacement referees has been a bigger media issue than an on-court issue thus far, but something strikes me as odd in looking at this game. San Antonio secured more offensive rebounds (16) than they committed fouls (14). I'm not saying, I'm just saying.
Phoenix 110, Portland 104
The Good: Steve Nash and Leandro Barbosa made 10 field goals apiece and scored 23 and 25 points, respectively in beating Portland. Nash also added 15 assists, as the Suns connected on 12-of-23 3-point field goals. Portland's starters played big minutes, and put up solid numbers. Andre Miller led the way with 25 points, to go along with 5 rebounds and 6 assists, and Greg Oden tallied 17 points and 13 rebounds. LaMarcus Aldridge also chipped in with 20 points and 7 rebounds in 34 minutes.
The Bad: Portland struggled from the outside, converting on just two of their 12 3-point attempts, and both teams managed only 66.7% from the free throw line.
The Ugly: After a hot start in his first two games a Sun, Channing Frye has struggled. Frye followed up a 2-for-10 outing against Oklahoma City with a 1-for-9 effort against Portland.