Atlanta 125, Denver 100
Studs: Atlanta bounced back after an ugly loss to Charlotte on Friday night, with a big win against Denver on Saturday. Jamal Crawford led the Hawks with 25 points and Joe Johnson and Josh Smith equaled one another for the second straight game, this time with 22 points each. Carmelo Anthony had 30 points in a Nuggets loss for the second straight day. Chauncey Billups was much more aggressive this time around, scoring 27 on 10-for-22 shooting and adding 7 assists.
Duds: Anthony shot just 7-for-21 and the Nuggets bench scored just 25 points in 97 combined minutes. Rookie Jeff Teague was 1-for-9 off the Hawks' bench.
Game Notes: The game featured only 8 turnovers (10 by Denver and 8 by Atlanta), but 47 fast break points, including 28 by the Hawks… Smith added 9 rebounds, 7 assists, and 6 blocks to his 22 points.
Boston 86, New Jersey 76
Studs: It was a good day to be alliterative, as Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce scored 16 points apiece for the Celtics. Kevin Garnett added 9 points and 13 rebounds. Brook Lopez had a game-high 23 points for the Nets, who also got 20 points and 7 assists from Rafer Alston.
Duds: Trenton Hassell shot 1-for-7 and Terrence Williams was 4-for-14 in the loss. Garnett was just 3-for-13, while fellow big man Rasheed Wallace posted 3-for-10.
Game Notes: The Nets played just 8 men and started a star-studded lineup of Alston, Hassell, Bobby Simmons, Josh Boone, and Lopez… New Jersey committed nearly twice as many turnovers (23) as they attempted free throws (14)… Chris Douglas-Roberts tested positive for the H1N1 virus before the game.
Chicago 93, Charlotte 90
Studs: Chicago had their own version of a big three against Charlotte, but interestingly, not one of them was named Derrick Rose. John Salmons had his best game of the season, with 27 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals; Joakim Noah had 21 points, 16 boards, and 4 blocks; and Luol Deng notched another double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Charlotte was led by 20 points from Boris Diaw and 14 points and 10 assists from Raymond Felton.
Duds: Raja Bell and Flip Murray were each 3-for-12 from the field, as the Bobcats shot just 39.5% as a team. The Bulls' bench was just 4-for-14 shooting with 12 points, including a 3-for-10 outing by Kirk Hinrich. Rose shot well, but posted just 13 points and 4 assists, while committing 7 turnovers.
Game Notes: Look for Charlotte coach Larry Brown to be fined by the league after his comments about the officiating. Chicago was whistled for just 15 fouls, a fact that wasn't lost on Brown… Murray missed 2 3-pointers that would have tied the game in the waning seconds… Gerald Wallace is shooting just 30.9% from the field, but, in quite a surprise, is the league's leading rebounder.
Dallas 129, Toronto 101
Studs: Dallas scored 44 in the fourth quarter for the second time this season and beat the Raptors behind 29 points and 9 rebounds from Dirk Nowitzki and 18 points and 8 rebounds from Shawn Marion. Josh Howard scored 16 in his first game of the season and Jason Terry added 18 off the bench. Chris Bosh (26 points and 12 rebounds) and Andrea Bargnani (22 points and 5 rebounds) each shot 8-for-16 for the Raptors.
Duds: Antoine Wright was 1-for-9 for Toronto, who saw only three players (Bosh, Bargnani, and Jose Calderon) connect on more than 3 field goal attempts.
Game Notes: Dallas shot a remarkable 62.4% from the floor and committed only 9 turnovers in a near perfect offensive effort. Their Achilles heel was the free throw line, where the shot only 61.9%… The Mavericks recorded 32 assists as a team, led by 12 in 24 minutes off the bench from J.J. Barea.
Milwaukee 102, New York 87
Studs: The Bucks jumped out to a big first quarter lead thanks to 74% shooting as a team, and never looked back. Andrew Bogut had a team-high 22 points and rookie Jodie Meeks scored 19 off the bench, showing a flash of the greatness he displayed at the University of Kentucky last season. David Lee had team-highs with 18 points and 7 rebounds in the loss.
Duds: Where to begin? Chris Duhon was 0-for-4, Al Harrington was 1-for-7, and Wilson Chandler was 1-for-10, as the Knicks shot 41.3% as a team. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was 1-for-6 for the Bucks.
Game Notes: Milwaukee shot 60% from the floor in the first half, but coasted down the stretch to end at 46.6% for the game… The Bucks are now 3-2 and tied with Detroit for the Central Division lead, percentage points ahead of the mighty Cleveland Cavaliers … The Bucks are the only NBA team not to allow an opponent over the 100-point plateau this season.
Sacramento 104, Utah 99
Studs: Against Utah, Tyreke Evans showed the skills that led this blogger to project him as the NBA's Rookie of the Year. Evans posted a career-high 32 points on 7-for-15 shooting, and added 7 assists as the Kings matched the Jazz at 2-4. Deron Williams had 29 points and 15 assists for Utah, who also got 16 points and 17 rebounds from Carlos Boozer.
Duds: Ronnie Brice shot 1-for-5 and posted a -13 rating in just 11 minutes and Mehmet Okur shot just 6-for-15 before fouling out.
Game Notes: Utah is 2-4 and one of only 10 NBA teams with 2 wins or fewer. They also are the proud owner of an unprotected first round draft pick from the Knicks. If this keeps up, they could be looking at two very attractive top-10 picks next June… Sacramento led by 20 points in the fourth quarter before Utah trimmed the lead to just 5.
LA Clippers 113, Memphis 110
Studs: Chris Kaman continued to look like an All Star-caliber center for the Clippers, as he posted 26 points and 9 rebounds against the Grizzlies and Craig Smith led the reserves with 18 points. Rudy Gay carried the load for Memphis, with 33 points, but came up short.
Duds: Zach Randolph (6-for-17) and O.J. Mayo (4-for-12) both struggled with their shots, and Mike Conley committed 6 turnovers as Memphis lost at the Staples Center for the second straight night.Game Notes: Allen Iverson missed his first game of an indefinite leave due to 'personal issues'. 68% of people polled on ESPN.com believed Iverson has played his last game with Memphis… Hasheem Thabeet recorded what might be his best professional effort to date, with 2 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 11 minutes.