Saturday, October 31, 2009

NBA Recap-October 29th

Chicago 92, San Antonio 85


Studs: Luol Deng had a team-high 17 points to go along with 9 rebounds, and Joakim Noah notched a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.  The Bulls also got good point guard play, as starter Derrick Rose posted 13 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists, and reserve Kirk Hinrich added 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists.  Tim Duncan did nearly everything for the Spurs, tallying game-highs in points and rebounds, with 28 and 16, respectively. 

Duds: Richard Jefferson continued to struggle with his new team, shooting just 3-of-9 from the field and 3-of-6 from the line, on his way to 9 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 assist.  Jannero Pargo went 0-for-3 and rookie Taj Gibson was just 1-for-6 for Chicago.

Game Notes: Chicago got off to a good start, with what has to be considered an upset over the Spurs.  Chicago played a conservative style of basketball, totaling only 6 fast break points, but committing only 9 turnovers in the win… Rounded to the nearest percentage, both teams shot 42% from the field and 19% from the 3-point line.  Each squad was also below 70% from the free throw line.


Denver 97, Portland 94


Studs: Carmelo Anthony exploded for 41 points, including 19 in a furious fourth quarter comeback, and Chauncey Billups overcame a poor shooting night to add 22 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists.  Brandon Roy led Portland with 30 points, and added 5 rebounds and 5 assists, while super sub Rudy Fernandez made 6-of-9 field goals, on his way to 22 points in just 23 minutes.

Duds: Greg Oden scored just 6 points, after putting up only 2 on Wednesday.  He had 9 rebounds, and blocked 2 shots, but picked up 5 fouls in just 22 minutes and missed 2 free throws that would have given Portland the lead with a mere 4.6 seconds left.

Game Notes: Portland shot 80.5% from the line for the game, but missed 3 (2 by Oden and 1 by LaMarcus Aldridge) monumental attempts in the waning moments… The game featured just 15 turnovers (8 by Denver and 7 by Portland), 12 fast break points (9 by Denver and 3 by Portland), and 52 points in the paint (28 by Denver and 24 by Portland).

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

NBA Recap-October 28th

Atlanta 120, Indiana 109

Every Hawks' starter reached double figures against Indiana, led by 25 from Joe Johnson and 24 points and 16 rebounds from Al Horford. Mo Evans also added a dozen points off the bench. Danny Granger poured in 31 for the Pacers and Troy Murphy flirted with a triple-double before a mediocre fourth quarter that saw him end at 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists. Reserves Earl Watson and Dahntay Jones were effective as well, scoring 20 and 17, respectively.
Duds: T.J. Ford shot just 1-for-9 from the field and Indiana collected just 1 steal as a team and forced only 10 turnovers. They also committed 25 turnovers, including 6 in just 26 minutes by Dahntay Jones.
Game Notes: Indiana shot 53.4% from the floor, 55.6% from the 3-point line, and 84% from the charity stripe, but gave up 35 points off of turnovers and 54 points in the paint in the loss... The game was much closer than the score would indicate, as Atlanta turned a 1 point lead at the beginning of the fourth into an 11 point win.

Orlando 120, Philadelphia 106

Orlando looked fantastic in their dismantling of the 76ers. Dwight Howard led the Magic with 21 points and 15 rebounds and Ryan Anderson added 16 points, including 4 made 3-pointers. Jason Williams played spectacularly in his return to the NBA. Williams posted 15 points and 5 assists on 4-for-5 shooting, including 3 3-pointers. Marresse Speights played well for Philadelphia, scoring 26 points on 10-of-11 shooting, although much of that came in garbage time.
Duds: The 76ers go-to-guys, Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand, both struggled, tallying just 8 points apiece on a combined 5-for-18 field goal shooting.
Game Notes: Orlando led 70-47 at halftime and 100-69 at the end of the third quarter before sending in their B-squad... The Magic shot 55.6% from the floor and made 16-of-29 3-point attempts (55.2%), even without their main gunner Rashard Lewis. They also made 14-of-17 free throw attempts including a typical 3-for-6 effort from Howard.

Toronto 101, Cleveland 91

Andrea Bargnani had 28 points and Chris Bosh posted 21 points and 16 rebounds as the Raptors won their season opener. LeBron James registered the season's first triple-double with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists in a losing effort.
Duds: There are a lot of options here for the Cavaliers. Anthony Parker shot just 4-of-12, Mo Williams was 4-of-14, but the worst was Anderson Varejao, who posted an 0-for-5 effort, with 5 fouls in just 25 minutes.
Game Notes: Cleveland is in the process of digging themselves quite a hole. They're now 0-2 and 2 full games behind Boston... After missing just 3 free throws all of last year, Jose Calderon missed his first two free throw attempts of the '09-'10 season... Hedo Turkoglu scored 12 points on 3-for-7 shooting and added 7 rebounds and 3 blocks in his Raptors debut... Shaquille O'Neal posted 12 points and 7 rebounds on 6-for-12 shooting in 25 minutes in his second game for Cleveland. He is now 0-for-5 from the free throw line as a Cavalier.

Boston 92, Charlotte 59

Ray Allen led the Celtics with 18 points and Rajon Rondo posted 10 points and 11 rebounds, as Boston got back-to-back wins to start the season. None of the Bobcats deserve a mention here.
Duds: All of the Bobcats deserve a mention here. The team flirted with the shot-clock-era record for futility (57 points) and barely surpassed it. Charlotte had 31 points at halftime and only 41 points through three quarters. The 'Cats shot just 31.1% from the field and an abysmal 52% from the free throw line, failing to make a single 3-pointer in the game. They also committed 18 turnovers and managed only 8 fast break points.
Game Notes: It's hard to say if this result is due more to Boston's talent or Charlotte's ineptitude, but one thing is clear- Boston is a very good basketball team. They're 2-0 after a road win against a team that won 66 games a year ago and a near-historic win over a hapless Bobcats' squad... After playing his starters for big minutes against Cleveland, Doc Rivers was able to give his veterans some rest Wednesday night. Kevin Garnett played just 26 minutes, while Paul Pierce saw just 25 minutes.

Miami 115, New York 93

Miami had their own version of "The Big 3" against New York, as Dwayne Wade (26 points), Jermaine O'Neal (22 points, 12 rebounds), and Michael Beasley (21 points) looked mighty formidable. New York got 22 points apiece from big man David Lee and second-year small forward Danilo Gallinari. Gallinari, who played sparingly last season due to injury problems, made an NBA season-high 7 3-pointers off the Knicks' bench.
Duds: Chris Duhon was just 1-for-7 and Nate Robinson was 0-for-8, as the Knicks shot just 37.9% from the field in the loss.
Game Notes: Miami shot 56.6% from the field, behind a 10-for-12 showing from a rejuvenated O'Neal.

Minnesota 95, New Jersey 93

Rookie Jonny Flynn started and led Minnesota with 18 points in his first NBA game. Flynn also added 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. Damien Wilkins notched a double-double in his first game with the Timberwolves, with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Brook Lopez looked like a legitimate NBA star with his effort against Minnesota. Lopez posted 27 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists, and 5 blocks for New Jersey, who also got 17 points and 12 rebounds from Yi Jianlian and 15 points from rookie Terrence Williams.
Duds: Courtney Lee shot just 2-for-11 in his first game as a Net, posting just 5 points in 38 minutes. Minnesota had a rough game all over offensively- Al Jefferson shot 2-for-9, Ryan Gomes and Sasha Pavlovic were each 3-for-11, and Corey Brewer was just 3-for-14.
Game Notes: This was without question the best of the early games, as Minnesota came from 19 points behind to win on a Wilkins put-back at the buzzer... The teams combined to make just 1-of-15 3-point attempts. (Minnesota had the make, in a 1-for-7 effort.)... Minnesota shot just 36.6% as a team, but posted a +12 turnover margin.

San Antonio 113, New Orleans 96

Tony Parker had 17 points and a healthy Manu Ginobili added 16, as the Spurs got the season off on the right foot. Rookie DeJuan Blair was also impressive, notching a double-double in his first NBA game, with 14 points and 11 rebounds in a productive 23 minutes. Chris Paul posted 26 points and 9 assists for the Hornets, while Emeka Okafor and David West added 18 points apiece.
Duds: Richard Jefferson was just 1-for-7 shooting in his first game with San Antonio, totaling 5 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists in 24 minutes. The Hornets bench shot just 7-for-21 and contributed only 19 points, all of which came in the second half.
Game Notes: Both teams shot above 50% from the field, but struggled from the free throw line. San Antonio was an even 70% from the charity stripe, while New Orleans only managed 59.1%... Blair's 11 rebounds included 5 on the offensive end, matching the total posted by the entire Hornets' team... New Orleans was only able to convert San Antonio turnovers into 3 points at the other end.

Oklahoma City 102, Sacramento 89

The Thunder had three players surpass the 20-point plateau- Kevin Durant, with 25 points and 11 rebounds; Jeff Green, with 24 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocks; and a rejuvenated Nenad Krstic, with 20 points and 7 boards. Russell Westbrook also had a strong showing, with 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 13 assists. Kevin Martin had 27 points for the Kings, who also got 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting off the bench from rookie Omri Casspi.
Duds: Martin scored, but did so very inefficiently. He was just 5-for-19 from the field, as the Kings shot just 40.5% as a team. Desmond Mason followed his unproductive preseason with an equally underwhelming first regular season effort. He shot 1-for-4, with 2 points and 2 rebounds in 17 minutes. (I stand behind my claim that he is the worst opening night starter in the NBA.)
Game Notes: Oklahoma City shot above 50% from the field and the 3-point line and showed the explosive offense that many had expected. If they continue to get production from Krstic, they could be a force in the West, but depth is a major issue. The Thunder used just 9 players and used their subs for only 60 total minutes (or 1 quarter of the game)... This game featured only 13 fast break points, only two of which were scored by Sacramento.

Detroit 96, Memphis 74

Richard Hamilton started slowly, but finished well, on his way to a game-high 25 points, and super-sub Ben Gordon added 22, as the Pistons handled Memphis on Wednesday night. The Grizzlies got 21 points and 15 rebounds from Marc Gasol.
Duds: How can I talk duds without mentioning Hasheem Thabeet? Thabeet missed two field goals and 2 free throws, committed 2 fouls, and gathered 2 rebounds in his first 12 minutes of NBA action. The rest of the Memphis' bench wasn't much better, as the group combined to shoot 4-for-22, with only 15 points in 77 minutes.
Game Notes: I picked Memphis to be one of my surprise teams this season (I picked them an optimistic 11th in the West), and I'm already regretting it. They shot just 36.1% from the field, 16.7% from the 3-point line, 64.5% from the charity stripe, forced only 9 turnovers, which turned into just 6 points, and scored only 7 transition points, despite an athletic lineup full of young players with fresh legs... The Pistons' big man rotation of Charlie Villanueva, Ben Wallace, Kwame Brown, Chris Wilcox, and Jason Maxiell combined for just 18 points and just 1-for-10 free throw shooting. This team's strengths offensively lie on the perimeter, and as the adage states, "You live by the jump shot, you die by the jump shot". Stay tuned.

Denver 114, Utah 105

Carmelo Anthony scored a game-high 30 points, and added 8 rebounds and 5 assists to lead Denver past the Jazz. Chauncey Billups overcame a slow start to post 25 points and his backup, rookie Ty Lawson, dazzled with 17 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists in just 26 minutes in his first NBA game. Deron Williams (28 points and 13 assists) and Carlos Boozer (12 points and 11 rebounds) each recorded double-doubles for Utah.
Duds: Boozer showed rust after an injury-plagued '08-'09 campaign, shooting just 3-for-14 from the field. With J.R. Smith suspended, Anthony Carter got the start at the off-guard for Denver and managed only 1-for-6 from the floor.
Game Notes: Denver boasted five players (Anthony, Billups, Lawson, Nene, and Kenyon Martin) with at least 7 made field goals, while Utah had just one (Williams)... Utah managed only 8 points off of 13 Denver turnovers... The Nuggets posted 54 points in the paint.

Houston 108, Golden State 107

Houston evened their record at 1-1 thanks to 25 points from Trevor Ariza, 21 points and 11 rebounds from Luis Scola, and 18 points and 12 assists from Aaron Brooks. Monta Ellis had a game-high 26 points for Golden State, who also got 14 points, 7 assists, and 4 steals from rookie Stephen Curry, who started and looked very comfortable in his first NBA game.
Duds: Corey Maggette was just 3-for-14 shooting off the Warriors' bench. Ariza, Brooks, and Scola combined to account for 53 of the Rockets' 86 field goal attempts, and Ariza and Brooks combined for 11 of the team's 18 turnovers. Kyle Lowry followed a strong opening game with a 1-for-5 showing against the Warriors, with 4 fouls in just 17 minutes.
Game Notes: Anthony Morrow missed a game-tying 3-pointer in the waning seconds, as Houston held off a late surge from Golden State, who trailed by 6 points at the beginning of the fourth quarter... Despite fielding the league's smallest lineup (several times the Warriors had Ellis at the off-guard and Maggette at the power forward), Golden State managed 58 points in the paint, which is the highest total in the NBA so far this season.

Phoenix 109, LA Clippers 107

Steve Nash scored 15 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, including seven in a row to erase a 104-97 deficit. He also added 8 assists for the Suns, who also got a great performance from Grant Hill, who posted 19 points and 13 rebounds for an under-sized Phoenix team. Marcus Camby filled up the stat sheet for the Clippers, with a team-high 23 points, to go along with 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 3 blocks. L.A. also got strong showings from Chirs Kaman (22 points and 9 rebounds) and Rasual Butler (19 points off the bench).
Duds: Amare Stoudemire scored 16 points, but only gathered 5 rebounds in 40 minutes, and rookie Earl Clark posted 6 points and 5 rebounds, but shot just 3-for-9 in his 20 minutes.
Game Notes: Phoenix was outscored by 18 points in the paint (44-26) and managed just 2 fast break points... In a sign that change may be on the horizon for the Clippers, Butler logged 32 minutes, compared to just 25 for starter Al Thornton... Baron Davis had his second straight poor shooting night (4-for-11), but again was active, posting 12 points, 12 assists, 5 steals, and 2 blocks.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

NBA Opening Night: October 27th

Boston 95, Cleveland 89

Paul Pierce scored 10 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, and added 11 rebounds to help the Celtics hold off a hard charging Cavaliers squad. Kevin Garnett also notched a double-double in his first game back since a knee injury ended his '08-'09 season prematurely, while Rajon Rondo posted a Jason Kidd-like line of 8 points, 6 rebounds, 10 assists, and 3 steals. LeBron James did all he could for Cleveland, totaling 38 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, and 4 blocks.
Duds: Cleveland's bench shot just 3-for-11 and contributed just 10 points and 8 rebounds.
Game Notes: Boston jumped out to a one game lead over the Cavs, which is more important because the win took place at Quicken Loans Arena, where Cleveland started 23-0 last season, on their way to a 39-2 home record... It may take some time to incorporate Shaquille O'Neal into the Cavs' system. The big man was 5-for-11 for 10 points and 10 rebounds, but missed some easy looks and only reached the free throw line twice (missing both attempts)... Rasheed Wallace, on the other hand, looked right at home in a Boston jersey. He hit on 3-of-6 3-point attempts on his way to 12 points and was very effective at stretching the floor and creating mismatches.

Washington 102, Dallas 91

Gilbert Arenas was back on his game for the Wizards, scoring 29 points and adding 9 assists. Washington also got solid contributions from two key reserves, as Andray Blatche posted 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks, and Randy Foye added 19 points. Dirk Nowitzki led the way for Dallas with 34 points and 9 rebounds, and J.J. Barea added 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists off the Mavericks' bench.
Duds: Drew Gooden was only 1-for-6 from the floor and reigning 6th Man of the Year Jason Terry was just 4-for-15 and 1-for-6 from beyond the arc.
Game Notes: Each team committed just 9 turnovers... Dallas only scored 4 points off of Washington turnovers... Nowitzki and new addition Shawn Marion were very inconsistent for Dallas. Nowitzki started the game 3-for-14 from the floor before finishing 7-of-11 (10-for-25 overall) and Marion started and finished 3-of-3, with an 0-for-6 stretch sandwiched in between (6-for12 overall).

Portland 96, Houston 91

Travis Outlaw scored a game-high 23 points off the Portland bench and Brandon Roy tallied 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists in the win. The Rockets got good point guard play, as Aaron Brooks led Houston with 19 points and 5 assists, and Kyle Lowry added 12 points and 8 assists off the bench.
Duds: Houston shot just 37% as a team including 2-for-9 from Shane Battier and 3-for-12 from Carl Landry.
Game Notes: Portland committed 26 team turnovers and was outscored by 8 points on the fast break and 16 in the paint, but won the game behind 10-of-21 3-point shooting, a 20-of-22 effort from the charity stripe, and a +18 rebounding advantage... Andre Miller shot poorly, but posted 9 points, 4 rebounds, and 7 assists off the bench in his first game as a Blazer... Portland's centers, Greg Oden and Joel Pryzbilla had two of the strangest lines you'll ever see. The two combined for 4 points, 22 rebounds, 7 blocks, 9 turnovers, and 11 fouls.

LA Lakers 99, LA Clippers 92

Kobe Bryant was back to his old tricks, posting 33 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 steals, and Andrew Bynum added 26 points and 13 rebounds as the Lakers again won the battle for L.A. Lamar Odom also notched a double-double, with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Eric Gordon led the Clippers with 21 points and Chris Kaman added a double-double, with 18 points and 16 rebounds, making him the NBA's leading rebounder after day one.
Duds: Baron Davis showed good energy, posting 4 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, and a block, but he only shot 1-for-10 from the floor and failed to get to the free throw line. The Lakers' bench combined for 9 points and 7 rebounds.
Game Notes: The Lakers received their 2009 championship rings and unveiled the franchise's 15th championship banner before the game...Both teams shot below 70% from the free throw line... The Lakers scored 50 points in the paint... Ron Artest scored 10 points on 3-of-10 from the field and 3-of-7 from the charity stripe, and added 5 rebounds and 4 assists in his Lakers debut.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

NBA Preseason-October 23rd

Memphis 95, Charlotte 92

The Good
: DeMarre Carroll led the way for Memphis with 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists off the bench. Zach Randolph added 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks in the win. Raymond Felton led the Bobcats with 15 points, and Gerald Wallace filled up the stat sheet with 10 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals, and 4 blocks. Charlotte blocked 13 shots as a team.
The Bad: It was a tough night for the 2008 draft class, as O.J. Mayo shot just 2-for-9 for Memphis and D.J. Augustin shot 1-for-11 for Charlotte.
The Ugly: Stephen Graham was just 1-for-6 from the field in his 16 minutes, as the Bobcats were outscored by 18 while Graham was on the floor.

Indiana 114, San Antonio 112

The Good
: Indiana held off a late charge by the Spurs to win by two behind a 34-point third quarter. The Pacers were led by 29 points by Danny Granger, who also added 14 rebounds and 6 assists. Indiana also got 16 points and 3 blocks from Roy Hibbert and 6 points, 6 rebounds, and 9 assists from Earl Watson, who started in place of T.J. Ford. Dahntay Jones added 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists off the bench. George Hill led San Antonio with 21 points off the bench, and Tim Duncan added 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists in just 23 minutes, as San Antonio cut a 10 point fourth quarter deficit to just two before falling short.
The Bad: The Spurs made just 2-of-16 3-point attempts and forced only 10 turnovers. They also shot just 68.4% from the free throw line, including a combined 2-of-10 from Antonio McDyess and DeJuan Blair.
The Ugly: Hibbert played well offensively, shooting 7-for-10, but fouled out after just 18 minutes.

Chicago 93, Washington 70

The Good
: Chicago dominated Washington down low en route to a big win to cap off the preseason. Chicago got double digit showings from big men Joakim Noah (13 points and 16 rebounds), Tyrus Thomas (18 points), Brad Miller (19 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists), and Taj Gibson (13 points). Gilbert Arenas led Washington with 15 points, and Andray Blatche added 14 off the bench.
The Bad: Washington shot just 37.3% from the floor and 65.4% from the free throw line as a team.
The Ugly: The Wizards had a poor showing all around on Friday night, but their starters were particularly awful. Arenas, Caron Butler, Mike Miller, Fabricio Oberto, and Brandon Haywood combined for just 28 points on 7-of-29 (24.1%) shooting.

Minnesota 98, Toronto 90

The Good
: Minnesota beat Toronto behind a balanced offensive attack. The Timberwolves had seven players with 9 points or more, including five in double figures. Jonny Flynn led the way with 16 points and 5 assists. Chris Bosh was a one-man show for the Raptors, posting 27 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Jose Calderon chipped in with 17 points, 6 boards, and 6 assists, as the Raptors kept it close at the free throw line, connecting on 88.9% of their free throws.
The Bad: Toronto made just 2-of-20 3-point attempts and committed 22 turnovers in the loss.

New Jersey 110, Philadelphia 88

The Good
: New Jersey finally gets into the win column behind 51.4% field goal shooting. The Nets were led by 23 points from rookie Terrence Williams and 22 from Yi Jianlian, who also added 11 rebounds. The 76ers had just 3 players in double figures, led by 13 from Rodney Carney and 12 from Jason Smith. Andre Iguodala added 7 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists.
The Bad: Philadelphia managed only 52.6% from the free throw line, including a combined 4-for-10 from Iguodala and Elton Brand. They also committed 3o fouls, to New Jersey's 18.

Orlando 123, Atlanta 86

The Good
: Orlando rolled to an easy win and completed the first perfect preseason in team history against Atlanta on Friday night. Dwight Howard and Vince Carter each shot 9-for-10 from the field on their way to 25 and 26 points, respectively. Howard added 13 rebounds and 3 blocks, as well. Ryan Anderson impressed also, posting 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting, that included 14 points in the first 7 minutes of the game. As a team, Orlando shot 61.3% from the floor and 62.5% from behind the arc. Jamal Crawford led the Hawks with 14 points.
The Bad: Atlanta was thoroughly out-played on this night. They managed just 37.5% from the floor and just 3-of-13 from the outside. They also forced just 12 Magic turnovers and were out-rebounded by 14.
The Ugly: Rookie Jeff Teague received his "Welcome to the NBA" moment on this night. He finished a putrid 0-for-15 from the field.

Dallas 98, Houston 94

The Good
: Dirk Nowitzki was on his game, posting a game-high 32 points, and Jason Kidd (14 points and 10 assists) and Drew Gooden (12 points and 10 rebounds) each notched double-doubles in the win. The Rockets put up a good fight, led by 22 points from Carl Landry, and 17 points and 8 rebounds from Trevor Ariza. Kyle Lowry added 16 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assist, and 4 steals off the Rockets' bench.
The Bad: While each team committed 18 turnovers, Houston was only able to convert their chances into 18 points, while Dallas tallied 28 points off turnovers. Houston, playing without Luis Scola, was also out-rebounded by 10.

Detroit 95, Milwaukee 93

The Good
: Ben Gordon netted 19 points and Rodney Stuckey added 16 points and 6 assists as the Pistons got back in the win column against Milwaukee. The Bucks were paced by 23 points from Michael Redd and 16 points off the bench from Ersan Ilyasova.
The Bad: Charlie Bell, Kurt Thomas, and Roko Ukic played a combined 41 minutes for Milwaukee and shot just 1-for-14 as a group. Ben Wallace was just 1-for-7 from the floor for Detroit, who also got just 2 points, 1 rebound, and 1 assist from first-rounder Austin Daye, who drew the start.
The Ugly: Milwaukee scored just 14 points in the first quarter, and the teams were tied at 38 at halftime.

Utah 95, Sacramento 85

The Good
: Utah moved to 6-2 on the preseason with a win over Sacramento, led by 19 points apiece from Deron Williams and Paul Milsap. Williams added 11 assists, while Milsap collected 7 rebounds. Tyreke Evans led Sacramento with 21 points, along with 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals.
The Bad: Sacramento shot just 36.8% from the field, 26.3% from distance, and 62.2% from the free throw line in the loss. They also committed 20 turnovers, while only forcing 14, which turned into only 12 Kings' points.
The Ugly: Spencer Hawes was 0-for-6 from the field and 1-for-6 from the free throw line, but may not have been the worst King on the floor. This may sound like hyperbole, but after another rough start (0-for-4 with 2 points, 6 rebounds, and an assist in 21 minutes), Desmond Mason may be the worst opening night starter in the NBA.

LA Clippers 91, New Orleans 88

The Good
: The Clippers finish off the preseason at 6-2 thanks to a costly win over New Orleans. Al Thornton led the Clippers with 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting, and DeAndre Jordan added 16 points and 9 rebounds on a perfect 6-for-6 from the field. Peja Stojakovic led the Hornets with 19 points, and David West added 18 points and 7 rebounds, as New Orleans kept it close without all-world point guard Chris Paul.
The Bad: The Clippers won despite converting just 3-of-18 3-point attempts and only 60.9% of their free throws.
The Ugly: Before L.A. had "Manny being Manny", they had "The Clippers being the Clippers". Many thought the Clippers' curse may have ended when they landed top pick Blake Griffin. I, however, was not one of them (see NBA Awards Predictions: ROY). As predicted, Griffin was seriously injured against the Hornets, breaking a kneecap. The injury is expected to sideline Griffin for up to 6 weeks, or about a quarter of his rookie season.

Denver 119, LA Lakers 105

The Good
: Friday night saw the rematch of the NBA's favorite matchup, as Denver and L.A. squared off on national television for the second straight night, with Denver evening the series at 1 win apiece. The Nuggets had six players in double figures, led by a huge night from rookie point guard Ty Lawson. Lawson, who was drafted by Minnesota and traded on draft night, torched the Lakers to the tune of 29 points, 6 assists, and 5 steals. Sasha Vujacic led L.A. with 18 points, while the starters saw very limited minutes.
The Bad: It's hard to read too much into this game, as it was basically B-squad versus B-squad, but the teams combined to commit 44 turnovers.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

NBA '09-'10 Predictions: Awards

MVP: LeBron James- SF (CLE)
King James is the ultimate competitor. Rather than resting on his laurels and relying on his God-given athletic ability, LeBron continues to push both himself and the limits of what seems "possible" in today's NBA.
Each season, James returns to the court an new man. He finds his flaws and systematically eliminates them.
Last season Cleveland won 66 games and was the best defensive team in the league. This off-season, they added Jamario Moon to improve their already stellar defense and Anthony Parker to take some offensive pressure off of LeBron on the perimeter. They also added a center, but his name eludes me at the moment.
Long story short, there's no reason Cleveland shouldn't be even better this year than last. If they can stay healthy, they may win 70 games and even challenge the NBA record of 72. If so, there's no way to deny King James his 2nd MVP.

ROY: Tyreke Evans- PG (SAC)
Evans will be playing out of position on what promises to be an abysmal Kings team. However, he has a blend of size, speed, and athleticism that reminds me of Dwyane Wade.
Blake Griffin was the consensus top pick and is the popular choice to win this award, but don't forget- he's a Clipper. And that fact can only lead to one conclusion: he will falter, somehow, someway.
Griffin sustained multiple injuries last year at the University of Oklahoma, and while I'm as big of a fan as the next guy, I do have serious concerns about his durability and toughness. If he can stay healthy, Griffin wins the award going away, but if he misses any significant time, it's Evans' to lose.

Coach: Flip Saunders (WAS)
A (presumably) healthy Gilbert Arenas and a new stable of perimeter weapons looks very appealing. The Wizards may still be a quality big man away from being a title contender, but they should be in contention to host a first-round playoff series, which would be a marked improvement over last year's 19-63 debacle.

Defensive Player: Dwyane Wade- SG (MIA)
Miami will likely be a lottery team this year, but Dwyane Wade couldn't spell the word quit. He'll likely have to carry quite an offensive load, but if Michael Beasley makes the strides many expect, Wade can convert some focus onto his defense. He averaged an impressive 3.5 steals + blocks per game last year coming off an injury. If he can stay healthy this year, I expect him to maintain or even improve on those numbers and continue to be a defensive headache for opposing guards.

Most Improved: Rodney Stuckey- PG (DET)
Stuckey was thrust into a much higher-responsibility position last season after Allen Iverson's disappearance, and he seemed to be able to handle the pressure. This year, the team has added shooters in Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, which should mean more assists for Stuckey. He is also the team's only proven point guard, so he should see a lot of minutes. If he can improve his outside shooting, he has a chance to be an 18 point and 8 assist per game player and a franchise cornerstone.

6th Man: Jason Terry- G (DAL)
Terry is Mr. Dependable for Dallas, so he is always in the discussion for this award. Manu Ginobili could challenge for the title, but his healthy is always an issue, so Terry is most likely the pick. Chris Douglas-Roberts could be a dark horse for this award (or the previous one).

NBA Champion- Cleveland over San Antonio in 6 games.

NBA '09-'10 Predictions: Western Conference

Southwest Division
1) San Antonio Spurs
2) Dallas Mavericks
3) New Orleans Hornets
4) Memphis Grizzlies
5) Houston Rockets

Northwest Division
1) Denver Nuggets
2) Utah Jazz
3) Portland Trail Blazers
4) Oklahoma City Thunder
5) Minnesota Timberwolves

Pacific Division
1) LA Lakers
2) LA Clippers
3) Golden State Warriors
4) Phoenix Suns
5) Sacramento Kings

Conference Standings
1) LA Lakers
2) San Antonio Spurs
3) Dallas Mavericks
4) Denver Nuggets
5) Utah Jazz
6) Portland Trail Blazers
7) New Orleans Hornets
8) Oklahoma City Thunder
9) LA Clippers
10) Golden State Warriors
11) Memphis Grizzlies
12) Phoenix Suns
13) Houston Rockets
14) Sacramento Kings
15) Minnesota Timberwolves

Playoff Predictions

First Round
(1) LA Lakers over (8) Oklahoma City in 4 games
(2) San Antonio over (7) New Orleans in 5 games
(6) Portland over (3) Dallas in 6 games
(4) Denver over (5) Utah in 5 games

Second Round
(1) LA Lakers over (4) Denver in 7 games
(2) San Antonio over (6) Portland in 6 games

Conference Finals
(2) San Antonio over (1) LA Lakers in 6 games

NBA '09-'10 Predictions: Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division
1) Boston Celtics
2) Toronto Raptors
3) Philadelphia 76ers
4) New Jersey Nets
5) New York Knicks

Central Division
1) Cleveland Cavaliers
2) Chicago Bulls
3) Detroit Pistons
4) Indiana Pacers
5) Milwaukee Bucks

Southeast Division
1) Orlando Magic
2) Atlanta Hawks
3) Washington Wizards
4) Miami Heat
5) Charlotte Bobcats

Conference Standings
1) Cleveland Cavaliers
2) Orlando Magic
3) Boston Celtics
4) Atlanta Hawks
5) Washington Wizards
6) Chicago Bulls
7) Toronto Raptors
8) Philadelphia 76ers
9) Miami Heat
10) Detroit Pistons
11) New Jersey Nets
12) Indiana Pacers
13) Charlotte Bobcats
14) New York Knicks
15) Milwaukee Bucks

Playoff Predictions

First Round
(1) Cleveland over (8) Philadelphia in 5 games
(2) Orlando over (7) Toronto in 6 games
(6) Chicago over (3) Boston in 7 games
(4) Atlanta over (5) Washington in 6 games

Second Round
(1) Cleveland over (4) Atlanta in 4 games
(2) Orlando over (6) Chicago in 6 games

Conference Finals
(1) Cleveland over (2) Orlando in 7 games

NBA Preseason-October 22nd

Atlanta 92, Miami 87

The Good
: The Hawks improved to 5-1 on the preseason behind a strong team shooting performance. The team tallied 57.1% from the field, paced by 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 8 assists from Joe Johnson, and 12 points and 10 rebounds from Al Horford. Miami was led by 20 points from reserve Daequan Cook.
The Bad: Miami shot only 36.8% from the floor, including a 1-for-9 effort by second-year point guard Mario Chalmers. Atlanta looked sluggish as well, equaling their field goal output with a 57.1% showing from the charity stripe. The Hawks also committed 20 turnovers as a team.
The Ugly: Fantasy owners beware, Josh Smith is on the loose again. Smith converted just 1-of-10 free throw attempts.

Minnesota 122, Detroit 114

The Good
: Minnesota got a big come-from-behind win over Detroit due to 34 points in the second quarter and 32 in the third. The Timberwolves got strong performances from four starters, as Corey Brewer scored 21, Oleksiy Pecherov notched a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds, Ryan Gomes shot 8-of-10 on his way to 19 points, and rookie Jonny Flynn added 18 points and 6 assists. Minnesota shot over 50% from the field and the 3-point line, and over 80% from the charity stripe. The Pistons shot 58.6% from the field and 90.3% from the free throw line and had six players in double figures, led by Rodney Stuckey with 25 and Richard Hamilton with 21.
The Bad: The Pistons have undergone quite a transformation from a team that won a championship with their defense in 2004 to the team that gives up 122 points to an undermanned Minnesota team. Detroit collected only 4 steals and 1 block and forced only 9 team turnovers from a team with a rookie point guard. They also committed 36 fouls to Minnesota's 22.

Sacramento 104, Oklahoma City 89

The Good: Sacramento beat Oklahoma City behind 19 points from Andres Nocioni and 15 points from Jason Thompson. The Kings also got strong showings from a couple of newcomers as rookie Omri Casspi started and scored 17 and former Blazer Sergio Rodriguez added 7 points and 11 assists off the bench. Kevin Durant led Oklahoma City with 15 points in only 26 minutes and rookie James Harden added 14 points and 5 steals off the bench.
The Bad: Oklahoma City committed 19 turnovers to only 12 team assists and allowed Sacramento to shoot 52.5% from the field.
The Ugly: This game featured two starting off-guards having terrible preseasons. Thabo Sefolosha and Desmond Mason continued to have trouble, shooting 1-for-9 and 2-for-7, respectively.

LA Lakers 106, Denver 89

The Good
: Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 23 points, and added 6 rebounds and 2 steals as the Lakers beat Denver in front of a national television audience. Lamar Odom stepped into the starting lineup for Andrew Bynum, who missed the game with a shoulder strain, and played well, posting 17 points and 9 rebounds. Carmelo Anthony shinned on the big stage for Denver, tallying a game-high 28 points, to go along with 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
The Bad: Kenyon Martin and Nene combined to shoot just 3-for-16 for Denver, and the Nuggets committed 26 turnovers as a team, including 6 by Aaron Afflalo and 5 by Carmelo Anthony.
The Ugly: Anthony Carter's line for the game: 11 minutes, 1 missed shot, 1 assist, 5 turnovers. Ouch.

Portland 113, Phoenix 93

The Good
: Portland's starters jumped out to a big lead over Phoenix and the bench was able to keep them rested. Brandon Roy posted 22 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists in just 22 minutes, and LaMarcus Aldridge and Travis Outlaw added 17 points apiece. Steve Nash led the Suns with 14 points and 7 assists in 24 minutes of action.
The Bad: The Blazers' Martell Webster missed three 2-pointers and three 3-pointers on his way to an 0-for-6 night. Phoenix struggled again defensively, allowing 113 points. Besides reserve Jared Dudley (3 steals), the Suns only collected 2 steals in the game.
The Ugly: Phoenix was out-rebounded by an astounding 50-28 margin.

Golden State 126, New Orleans 92

The Good
: The Warriors played only eight players in their final preseason contest, as 6 players missed the game with injury or illness. Anthony Morrow led the way for Golden State with 34 points on 13-of-19 shooting. Corey Maggette added 23 points and Stephen Curry filled up the stat sheet with 14 points, 6 rebounds, 10 assists, 6 steals, and 2 made 3-pointers, as the Warriors shot a remarkable 62.5% from the field. The undermanned Hornets were without Chris Paul, David West, and Emeka Okafor. Rookie Darren Collison led the way with 17 points and 5 assists off the New Orleans' bench.
The Bad: New Orleans shot just 39.8% as a team and made only 4-of-26 3-point attempts, while committing 20 turnovers in the loss. Starters Peja Stojakovic and Morris Peterson combined to shoot 4-for-16 from the field.
The Ugly: Golden State outscored New Orleans 71-39 in the second half.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

NBA Preseason-October 21st

Boston 96, Cleveland 82

The Good
: Boston coasted to an easy win in what many consider to be an Eastern Conference Finals preview behind 21 points off the bench from Eddie House and 17 points from Marquis Daniels, who started in place of Ray Allen. LeBron James had 18 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists, and Shaquille O'Neal added 16 points for the Cavaliers.
The Bad: Cleveland's defense only collected 5 steals and forced just 8 total turnovers. The Cavs also shot 57.1% from the free throw line.

New York 94, New Jersey 92

The Good
: New York got solid point guard play, as starter Chris Duhon posted 21 points and rookie reserve Toney Douglas added 13. David Lee barely missed out on another double-double, tallying 11 points and 9 rebounds. Chris Douglas-Roberts scored 26 points for the Nets, who also got a double-double from Brook Lopez, who contributed 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 blocks.
The Bad: Yi Jianlian and Rafer Alston each shot just 4-for-11 and the Nets' bench added only 18 points for an already short-handed New Jersey squad, which played without Devin Harris, Keyon Dooling, and Tony Battie, among others.
The Ugly: Bobby Simmons shot 1-for-6 from the field and committed 4 turnovers and 4 fouls in just 16 minutes off action of New Jersey's bench.

Orlando 117, Indiana 87

The Good
: Orlando moved to a perfect 7-0 in the preseason with a convincing victory over Indiana on Wednesday night. The Magic will attempt to complete the franchise's first ever unbeaten preseason when the play Atlanta on Friday night. The Magic had seven players reach double-digits, led by Vince Carter with 21. Reserves Marcin Gortat and Brandon Bass posted 15 points and 8 rebounds, and 13 points and 9 rebounds, respectively. Roy Hibbert led the Pacers with 20 points and 5 blocks, and Troy Murphy chipped in with a game-high 15 rebounds.
The Bad: Solomon Jones was the only Pacer at or above 50% from the field, as the team managed only 39.8%. They also made only 3-of-26 3-point attempts (for 11.5%) and 14-of-23 free throws (for 60.9%). Dwight Howard was 6-for-16 from the charity stripe for Orlando.
The Ugly: Every member of the Magic posted a positive +/- ratio, while every Pacer posted a negative result.

Miami 99, Memphis 93

The Good
: Dwyane Wade scored 35 points and collected an impressive 6 steals as the Heat got their second win of the preseason. Udonis Haslem added 17 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 steals off the bench for Miami. Rudy Gay did his best for Memphis, scoring 28 points and collecting 9 rebounds.
The Bad: Both teams struggled from the free throw line, as Memphis posted 67.7% and Miami only managed 60.7%. Each team also had one awful shooting performance, as Yakhouba Diawara went 1-for-7 for Miami, while Zach Randolph struggled to a 2-for-12 effort.
The Ugly: Memphis only tallied 11 team assists on their 34 made field goals.

NBA Preseason-October 20th

Washington 90, Philadelphia 89

The Good
: Washington had five players reach double-figures, led by Randy Foye with 17 and Caron Butler with 16. The Wizards also had five players with 6 or more rebounds, as they gathered 50 total rebounds as a team. Andre Iguodala led the 76ers with 19 points. He also added 3 boards and 4 assists. Marresse Speights had his third straight strong showing, tallying 14 points and 8 rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench.
The Bad: As good as Speights has been for Philadelphia, Elton Brand has been equally bad. Coming off serious injuries the last two seasons, Brand struggled for his third consecutive contest, posting just 4 points and 2 rebounds on 1-of-4 shooting in 21 minutes. Fabricio Oberto and Dominic McGuire combined to shoot 0-for-8 in 42 minutes for Washington.
The Ugly: There were only 35 total fouls in this game, leading to only 17 free throw attempts for Washington. The Wizards only converted 10-of-17, for 58.8%, including a 1-of-5 effort by Brendan Haywood.

Charlotte 94, Milwaukee 87

The Good
: Tyson Chandler was quiet in his debut with Charlotte, but the Bobcats pulled out the win behind 15 points and 4 steals from D.J. Augustin and 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting from rookie Gerald Henderson. Milwaukee got 14 points apiece from four players, including Andrew Bogut, who added 10 rebounds and 2 blocks, and lottery pick Brandon Jennings, who posted 8 assists and 2 steals.
The Bad: Michael Redd scored only 6 points in 25 minutes and Hakim Warrick went scoreless off the bench in only 5 minutes for Milwaukee. The Bucks were also plagued by mental mistakes, committing 20 turnovers and converting only 68.2% of their free throw attempts. Charlotte was better from the line, but committed an eye-popping 25 turnovers in the win.
The Ugly: Charlotte got the win, but it came at a huge cost. Starting guard Raja Bell will likely require surgery on his left wrist that would keep him out for most of the season.

Cleveland 96, Dallas 66

The Good
: Cleveland destroyed Dallas behind five double-digit performances, led by 16 points apiece from Mo Williams and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Williams added 6 rebounds and 11 assist, and Ilgauskas had 7 rebounds and 3 blocks. LeBron James tallied 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 7 assists, with 2 steals and 2 blocks. Kris Humphries may be the surprise of the preseason, as he continued his stellar play, posting 20 points and 9 rebounds in 29 minutes off the Dallas' bench.
The Bad: Would it be fair to simply say the Dallas Mavericks? Dallas shot 33.8% from the floor, 22.2% from the 3-point line, and only reached the free throw line 13 times. In their defense, the Mavs played without Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Shawn Marion, and Josh Howard.
The Ugly: In the four quarters of this game, Dallas scored 18 points, 16 points, 16 points, and 16 points.

New York 108, Boston 103

The Good
: New York had a great showing against Boston after playing a stinker against Maccabi Tel Aviv on Sunday. Nate Robinson led the Knicks with 21 points and 5 steals, but Danilo Gallinari also had a promising showing, posting 18 points in 25 minutes. The starters played well too, as Al Harrington tallied 20 points and 8 rebounds and David Lee did his thing, with 19 points and 16 rebounds. Rajon Rondo had 20 points and 7 assists, and Marquis Daniels added 17 points off the bench for the Celtics.
The Bad: Boston settled for jump shots far too often in this game. They attempted 24 3-pointers, making only 6. Eddie House and Rasheed Wallace were a combined 5-for-17 from beyond the arc.
The Ugly: Hawks' center Al Horford claims that Paul Pierce welched on a $10,000 bet the two made during their 2008 first-round playoff series. Horford and teammate Marvin Williams claim that Pierce bet Horford that Boston would sweep the series, which eventually went to seven games.

San Antonio 119, Oklahoma City 102

The Good
: Michael Finley led the Spurs with 20 points and rookie DeJuan Blair notched another double-double, with 17 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, while Manu Ginobili showed little rust in adding 7 points and 5 assists off the bench for San Antonio. Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, and James Harden showed the firepower that many expect will make the Thunder dangerous in the Western Conference, as each shot 50% or better from the field on their way to a combined 64 points. Russell Westbrook had an interesting line, posting 9 assists and 3 blocked shots.
The Bad: Oklahoma City shot just 61.9% from the free throw line and allowed San Antonio to top 30 points in each of the first three quarters. San Antonio committed 22 turnovers in the win.
The Ugly: Thabo Sefolosha scored just 1 point on 0-for-6 from the field and 1-for-4 from the free throw line, and registered a +/- rating of -24 over his 27 minutes.

Denver 129, Minnesota 100

The Good
: Denver had five reserves in double-digits, and shot 58.8% from the field as a team as they dismantled Minnesota, who was playing without Kevin Love (broken hand) and Al Jefferson (flu-like symptoms and Achilles tendinitis). Carmelo Anthony had 24 points in only 23 minutes, and former Piston Aaron Afflalo added 20 to lead the reserves. Corey Brewer had 23 points to lead the Timberwolves, and added 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.
The Bad: Minnesota struggled all over without their best two players. The worst shooting night by any Denver Nugget was Joey Graham's respectable 3-for-7. Minnesota saw starters Oleksiy Pecherov and Damien Wilkins, and reserve Ramon Sessions combine to go 3-for-23 from the floor.
The Ugly: Minnesota was outscored by a whopping 38 points in the 19 minutes Sessions was on the floor.

LA Lakers 113, Golden State 107

The Good
: The Lakers took the lead in the first quarter and never looked back in this one. Kobe Bryant was back on his game after two off nights, posting 21 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals on 7-of-12 shooting, and Andrew Bynum had yet another good game, with 20 points and 9 boards on 7-of-11 from the field. Ron Artest attempted only 3 field goals in 29 minutes, but led the Lakers with 8 assists. Anthony Morrow led the Warriors with 24 off the bench and Ronny Turiaf (12 points and 12 rebounds) and Stephen Jackson (15 points and 10 assists) notched double-doubles for Golden State.
The Bad: Anthony Randolph had an effort characteristic of a young player, posting only 1 points, 1 rebound, and 1 assist in 20 minutes. The Lakers were out-shot from the floor and the 3-point line, but won due to an 11 point edge at the charity stripe.

Phoenix 143, Sacramento 127

The Good
: Holy offensive explosion, Batman! The Suns scored above 30 points in each quarter, including 42 in the third quarter, despite only making 41-of-87 field goals (47.1%). Sacramento, by comparison, made 49-of-98 field goals, for an even 50%. The difference in the game was at the free throw line, where Phoenix had an unprecedented night. Sacramento committed 36 fouls, leading to 56 Phoenix free throw attempts, of which Phoenix converted 91.1%. That's 51 points from the free throw line! Phoenix also made 10-of-21 3-point attempts for 47.6% and were led by 29 points from Channing Frye and 27 from Amare Stoudemire. Goran Dragic added 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists off the bench. Omri Casspi had 22 points and 7 rebounds, Tyreke Evans had 21 points and 8 assists, and Kevin Martin had 20 for Sacramento, who shot 8-for-15 from beyond the arc. The Kings also collected 20 offensive rebounds, but it wasn't nearly enough.
The Bad: No one playing in this game could even spell defense. I'm hesitant to blame the Suns' feast at the free throw line on the referees, as the Suns themselves were only whistled for 19 total fouls to the Kings' 36.
The Ugly: Phoenix finished the game without both Steve Nash (ankle injury) and Grant Hill (technical fouls).

Utah 108, Portland 97

The Good
: Utah shot over 50% from the field, exactly 50% from 3-point range and over 83% from the free throw line in their win over Portland. Deron Williams led the Jazz with 27 points. The Blazers got strong performances from a couple of young players, as rookie forward Dante Cunningham and second-year point guard Jerryd Bayless combined to score 30 points off the bench. Martell Webster shot poorly, but collected 2 steals and 4 blocks in his 29 minutes.
The Bad: Portland shot just 2-for-15 from 3-point range, and their starters contributed only 28 points in the loss. Mehmet Okur and Paul Milsap combined to shoot 1-for-12 for the Jazz.
The Ugly: Brandon Roy attributes the Blazers' preseason struggles to chemistry problems, likening the team to a quarterback trying to get on the same page as a new receiver. One can't help but wonder if this is due to Nate McMillan naming Steve Blake the starting point guard over Andre Miller before the start of training camp.

LA Clippers 108, Maccabi Tel Aviv 96

The Good
: The Clippers had seven players in double-figures, led by Chris Kaman with 18 points. Blake Griffin notched yet another double-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists in 29 minutes. Chuck Eidson led Tel Aviv with 18 points.
The Bad: The Clippers shot just 4-of-15 from 3-point range and committed 18 turnovers, while securing only 7 steals as a team.

Monday, October 19, 2009

NBA Preseason-October 19th

Atlanta 113, Washington 95

The Good
: The Hawks had six players in double-figures, led by 16 points apiece from Marvin Williams and rookie Jeff Teague. Williams made six of his 7 field goal attempts, and added 6 rebounds, while Teague tallied 5 assists and 2 steals. Jamal Crawford led had a game-high 9 assists off the bench for Atlanta, who shot 55.8% from the floor and 57.1% from beyond the arc as a team. The Wizards played without Gilbert Arenas (rest) and Antawn Jamison (injury), and were led by 19 points from Randy Foye, 15 from Nick Young, and 14 from Caron Butler.
The Bad: Washington shot 42.2% from the floor as a team, and only two Wizards shot above 50% for the game- Fabricio Oberto and Paul Davis combined to score 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting in 25 minutes.
The Ugly: JaVale McGee scored 8 points and gathered 7 rebounds in 21 minutes. The ugly part? He didn't collect one single defensive rebound.

Orlando 101, Chicago 98

The Good
: The Magic won their sixth straight game to open the preseason behind a balanced offensive attack. Playing without Rashard Lewis, Orlando saw seven players attain double-digits, led by 18 from Ryan Anderson and Dwight Howard. John Salmons and Kirk Hinrich led the Bulls, with 19 and 18 points, respectively.
The Bad: J.J. Redick shot 0-for-7 for Orlando and Jannero Pargo continued to have a rough preseason, posting a 3-for-11 effort for the Bulls.
The Ugly: Chicago shot better from the field and the free throw stripe, tallied more assists, steals, and blocks, and committed fewer turnovers. However, the difference in the game was 3-point shooting, as the Magic outscored the Bulls by 15 points from beyond the arc.

Houston 105, Oklahoma City 85

The Good
: The Rockets made 11-of-20 from 3-point range and got double-digit scoring nights from five players on their way to a win over the Thunder. Chase Budinger led the way off the bench with 17 points, and Trevor Ariza added 16 points and 3 steals. Kevin Durant scored 20 points for Oklahoma City, who also 11 points apiece from a trio of players: Jeff Green, Thabo Sefolosha, and rookie James Harden.
The Bad: The Thunder's center rotation of Nenad Kristic, B.J. Mullens, and Serge Ibaka combined to score just 8 points on 3-of-15 from the field and 2-of-7 from the free throw line.
The Ugly: Each team missed 10 free throws and neither was able to crack 66% from the charity stripe.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

NBA Preseason-October 18th

New York 106, Maccabi Tel Aviv 91

The Good
: Nate Robinson led the Knicks with 19 points and David Lee notched another double-double with 14 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 assists as New York beat Omri Casspi's former team, Maccabi Tel Aviv. The Israeli side was led by 20 points from Alan Anderson.
The Bad: The Knicks are BAD. I mean bad. They only managed 40.4% from the field and collected 47 rebounds. Both of which were actually bettered by Tel Aviv, who posted 42.5% from the floor and 52 total rebounds. Had Tel Aviv shot better than 1-for-14 from 3-point range and forced more than 11 turnovers, they may have actually WON THIS GAME.
The Ugly: The game was delayed more than 10 minutes in the third quarter, when Tel Aviv's head coach was ejected from the game and refused to leave the court. Only in America? Maybe not.

Boston 101, Toronto 82

The Good
: Kevin Garnett led Boston with 21 points and Ray Allen added 20 as the Celtics improved to 5-1 on the preseason. Hedo Turkoglu led Toronto with 16 points and Chris Bosh added 15 points and 8 rebounds on only 3-of-4 field goal shooting. (Bosh did convert 9-of-12 free throws.)
The Bad: Paul Pierce struggled in this one, posting only 2 points, 2 rebounds, and 5 assists in 26 minutes. Toronto missed 10 of their 27 free throw attempts on their way to a 63% showing as a team.
The Ugly: Rasho Nesterovic missed 5 field goals, 2 free throws, and collected 2 rebounds in a dreadful 13 minutes.

Philadelphia 116, Phoenix 94

The Good
: The 76ers got the win on Sunday that alluded them against Phoenix on Friday. Andre Iguodala turned things around, scoring 23 points on 10-for-17 shooting, and added 6 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals. Marresse Speights continued to give Phoenix trouble, notching his second straight double-double, with 14 points and 1o rebounds. Jason Richardson led the way for Phoenix with 17 points off the bench and Steve Nash added 14 points and 7 assists.
The Bad: Phoenix shot just 38.2% from the field and 63.6% from the free throw line in this one. They also committed 20 turnovers. Channing Frye, who has had a feast-or-famine type of preseason, had another rough night, shooting just 2-for-11. Elton Brand struggled again against Amare Stoudemire, posting just 6 points and 8 rebounds on 3-for-9 shooting.
The Ugly: Phoenix was badly out-rebounded again by the 76ers, who this time put up 104 shots as a team, making 47 of them. Maybe Phoenix could persuade Cleveland to send Shaq back to the desert?

Utah 110, Charlotte 103

The Good
: The Jazz had six players reach double-figures, led by Carlos Boozer with 22 points and Deron Williams with 17 points and 8 assists. Paul Milsap got the start alongside Boozer with Mehmet Okur out of the lineup, and added 12 points and 7 rebounds. D.J. Augistin had a huge game off the bench for Charlotte, posting 29 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including 5-of-9 from distance.
The Bad: Charlotte's starters combined to score just 35 points, as the Bobcats only managed 40% from the field as a team, while yielding 51.9% to Utah. Charlotte also mustered just 30 rebounds (only 17 defensive) to Utah's 43. The Jazz let Charlotte stay in the game by committing 20 turnovers.
The Ugly: Stephen Graham scored in double figures with 11 points, without making a field goal. He was 0-for-7 from the field and 11-for-12 from the free throw line.

Portland 98, Denver 96

The Good
: Portland came from behind to beat Denver thanks to 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists from Andre Miller, and 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks from Greg Oden, both of whom came off the bench.
The Bad: Denver had 11 of their shots blocked by the Blazers, including three by Travis Outlaw. They also committed 17 turnovers and only managed 68 field goal attempts in the game. Portland shot just 2-for-13 from 3-point range.
The Ugly: For the second time in as many days, a West Coast game featured more total fouls (67) than made field goals (61). Most had believed that the replacement refs weren't a problem, but I'm starting to disagree.

LA Lakers 114, LA Clippers 108

The Good
: If you haven't noticed the theme yet, I'm a huge fan of Andrew Bynum. He's had great performances in all five of L.A.'s preseason games to this point, including Sunday night against the Clippers. Bynum finished up with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Shannon Brown had 20 as well. Kobe Bryant shot 3-for-11 for the second straight game, but the Lakers prevailed due to a 9-for-17 showing from beyond the arc, including a 4-of-4 day for the once great Adam Morrison, who added 14 points. Craig Smith led the Clippers with 26 points and 7 rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench, Blake Griffin notched his first NBA double-double, with 13 points and 12 rebounds, and Eric Gordon added 18 points and made four 3-pointers.
The Bad: Smith fouled out for the second straight game and Baron Davis picked up 5 fouls after also fouling out against Utah on Saturday. This could be a sign that Davis' old legs are again unprepared for the long NBA season. Derek Fisher, who has struggled with his jumper in the preseason, shot just 1-for-7 for the Lakers.
The Ugly: Bynum had as many offensive rebounds (8) as the entire Clippers' team.

NBA Preseason-October 17th

LA Clippers 103, Utah 96

The Good
: Blake Griffin, Chris Kaman, and Eric Gordon scored 16 points apiece for the Clippers in their come-for-behind victory over the Jazz. Baron Davis added 10 points and 9 assists, and Craig Smith chipped in with 12 points and 4 rebounds before each fouled out. As a team, the Clippers recorded 29 assists on their 36 made field goals. Carlos Boozer had 20 points and 8 rebounds, and Deron Williams posted 19 points and 6 assists for Utah.
The Bad: Ronald Dupree had 12 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals in 18 minutes for Utah, but posted a +/- rating of -21 over that span, 15 points worse than any other Jazz player. Utah led by three points to open the fourth quarter, but were outscored 30-20 over the final 12 minutes to lose by seven.

New Orleans 108, Indiana 96

The Good
: The Hornets outscored the Pacers by 14 points in the fourth quarter to turn a two point deficit into a twelve point win. New Orleans was led by Chris Paul, who overcame a poor shooting night to post 21 points, 5 rebounds, 11 assists, and 2 steals in 34 minutes. Peja Stojakovic bounced back from a 0-for-7 game against Miami on Thursday with 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting against Indiana, including four 3-pointers. Indiana got 23 points from Danny Granger, 22 from T.J. Ford, and 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists from Troy Murphy.
The Bad: Marcus Thornton was just 3-for-6 from the free throw line for New Orleans, but Indiana's Luther Head did him one better (or worse) by shooting just 2-for-6 from the charity stripe.

Memphis 115, Detroit 94

The Good
: Memphis was hitting on all cylinders against Detroit. Rudy Gay led the charge for Memphis, posting 25 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists, while O.J. Mayo chipped in with 21 points, 5 boards, and 4 assists, and Zach Randolph added 17 points and 12 rebounds. Each of the Grizzlies' starters posted a +/- rating of +20 or better. Will Bynum led the way for Detroit, scoring 19 points in 25 minutes off the bench. Swedish bruiser Jonas Jerebko got his first start of the preseason and played well, adding 12 points and 4 rebounds to the cause.
The Bad: Aside from Jerebko, the other four Pistons' starters shot just 9-for-27 from the field, and Detroit only managed 14 assists as a team.
The Ugly: I hate to sound like a broken record, but how soon is too soon to call the second overall pick a bust? Hasheem Thabeet only logged 10 minutes and had all of 1 point, 1 rebound, and 1 blocked shot.

Dallas 93, Cleveland 82

The Good
: Dirk Nowitzki made 8 of his 11 shots on the way to 19 points, and Kris Humphries had another strong showing for the Mavericks, adding 12 points and 9 rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench. Jason Kidd also had a JKidd-like showing, posting 5 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. The Cavaliers (playing without LeBron, Shaq, and Mo Williams, among others) were led by 18 points and 10 rebounds from Jamario Moon, and tallied 20 assists as a team on their 28 made field goals.
The Bad: Dallas only shot 60.7% from the free throw line in the win, but luckily Cleveland could only manage 37.8% from the field. Coby Karl was 1-for-7 from the floor for the second straight game for the Cavaliers.
The Ugly: The Cavaliers scratched 3 players from the game with flu-like symptoms, which also held LeBron James from action earlier in the week.

Milwaukee 101, Minnesota 87

The Good
: Andrew Bogut had a double-double, posting 10 points and 13 rebounds, and rookie Brandon Jennings had 16 points and 7 assists in his first start of the preseason for the Bucks. Michael Redd and Hakim Warrick also pitched in, with 15 points apiece. Rookie Jonny Flynn led the way for Minnesota with 19 points and 5 assists. Minnesota shot better from behind the arc (50%) than from in front of it (35.7%) for the second straight game.
The Bad: Minnesota struggled without rebound machine Kevin Love. Aside from the 9 boards collected off the bench by Oleksiy Pecherov, Minnesota's team high was just four. Ryan Gomes was just 2-for-9, making him 2-for-14 over his last 2 games.
The Ugly: The Timberwolves failed to block a shot and managed only 5 steals defensively.

Sacramento 101, Golden State 94

The Good
: Sacramento secured its first win of the preseason by holding the fast-paced Warriors under 100 points. The Kings were led by 32 points from Kevin Martin and 20 points and 20 rebounds from Jason Thompson. Golden State made 22-of-23 free throws and got 28 points from Corey Maggette and 22 points from Stephen Jackson.
The Bad: The Kings won despite committing 24 turnovers to the Warriors' 14 and only tallying 17 assists on 38 made field goals. They also made only 3-of-13 3-point attempts. Golden State, meanwhile, was out-rebounded by 18 and made only 4-of-15 of their attempts from beyond the arc.
The Ugly: Desmond Mason shot just 1-of-8 for Sacramento, while Stephen Jackson, Monta Ellis, and Stephen Curry combined to shoot just 16-for-45 (35.6%) for the Warriors.

LA Lakers 91, Charlotte 87

The Good
: The Lakers got a fourth straight strong performance from Andrew Bynum, who looked healthy on his way to 15 points and 5 rebounds. Kobe Bryant struggled through an off shooting night on his way to 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 7 assists, and Josh Powell, Sasha Vujacic, and Jordan Farmar also reached double-figures. The Bobcats had six players reach double-digits, led by former Laker Vlad Radmanovic with 15 points.
The Bad: This game was plagued by mental mistakes. The two teams combined for 43 turnovers and only 13 steals and 6 blocks. The Bobcats' last 2 first round picks, D.J. Augistin and Gerald Henderson, struggled mightily, combining to shoot just 1-for-10 from the floor.
The Ugly: This game featured significantly more totals fouls (66) than made field goals (55).

NBA Preseason-October 16th

Indiana 119, Houston 104

The Good
: Danny Granger scored 22 points as the Pacers made 12-of-23 3-point attempts in beating Houston. Granger shot 7-of-13 in his 18 minutes and added 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and a block for Indiana, who scored 71 points in the first half and led by 23 points after three quarters. Houston got 14 points apiece from reserves Carl Landry and Will Conroy, and 9 points and 10 rebounds from Luis Scola. The Rockets also collected 58 rebounds as a team, including 24 offensive boards.
The Bad: Houston shot just 36.7% from the floor as a team and committed 18 turnovers, while only forcing 10. Roy Hibbert shot just 2-of-11 from the field and the Pacers only managed 63% from the free throw line.
The Ugly: It may have been good defense, it may have been bad offense, but in any event, the two teams combined for an eye-boggling 26 blocks.

New York 93, New Jersey 89

The Good
: This was a pretty even game between two teams playing awful basketball. Each squad recorded a double-double and saw five players reach double-figures. David Lee and Wilson Chandler led the way for the Knicks, with 20 points and 14 rebounds, and 16 points and 8 rebounds, respectively. Yi Jianlian and rookie reserve Terrence Williams did most of the damage for the Nets, recording 21 points apiece. Jianlian added 11 rebounds, while Williams posted 8 boards.
The Bad: The Knicks had a poor shooting night in all facets, managing only 40.2% from the field, 35.7% from 3-point range, and 69.2% from the free throw line, but the Nets did them one better (or worse). New Jersey shot 38.4% from the field, 25% from 3-point range, and 65.5% from the line in the loss.
The Ugly: New York's big off-season acquisition, seventh overall pick Jordan Hill, went scoreless, missing all seven of his shots and collecting only 2 rebounds in 14 minutes.

Chicago 94, Minnesota 90

The Good
: Tyrus Thomas played a stellar game off the bench for Chicago, posting 22 points, 13 rebounds, and 2 blocks in only 25 minutes. Minnesota saw five players reach double-figures, led by Corey Brewer with 20 points. Al Jefferson had a double-double for the Timberwolves, contributing 10 points, 16 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots.
The Bad: Minnesota kept the game close from the outside (42.1%) and the free throw line (82.8%), but struggled overall from the field, shooting only 34.1% from the floor. Wayne Ellington and Ryan Gomes were a large part of the problem. The pair combined to shoot just 1-for-15 from the field.
The Ugly: Kevin Love got off to a strong start for Minnesota, with 9 points and 6 rebounds in 14 minutes, but broke a bone in his left hand battling for a rebound. Love will be out 4-6 weeks for an already thin Minnesota team.

San Antonio 105, Cleveland 98

The Good
: Tony Parker scored 22 points and added 7 assists for the Spurs, who posted 23 assists as a team on their 33 made field goals. Tim Duncan, Malik Hairston, and George Hill also reached double-digits for San Antonio. Cleveland had five players in double-figures led by (who else) LeBron James with 22 points. James sat out Cleveland's previous game with flu-like symptoms but hadn't contracted the H1-N1 virus. Shaquille O'Neal collected a game-high 13 rebounds for the Cavaliers.
The Bad: Shaq and reserve center Zydrunas Ilgauskas combined to shoot just 4-for-16 for Cleveland, who also got an dreadful 1-for-7 effort from Coby Karl.
The Ugly: Cleveland has struggled defensively on the perimeter in the preseason, but held the Spurs to 29.4% from the outside in this one. However, as a team, Cleveland only accumulated 3 steals and 2 blocks.

Phoenix 115, Philadelphia 113

The Good
: The Suns had five players in double-figures, and Amare Stoudemire notched a double-double with 16 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 blocks in the win. Reserve Jared Dudley totaled 5 steals in only 20 minutes for Phoenix. Second-year forward Marresse Speights had a huge game for the 76ers, totaling 32 points and 12 rebounds, and point guard Louis Williams added 27 points for Philadelphia. Rookie Jrue Holiday posted his best showing to date, with 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists.
The Bad: Go-to-guys Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand cleared the way for Speights and Williams to explode for Philly, as Iguodala and Brand combined to shoot a putrid 1-for-13 from the field. One-time starter Willie Green also struggled from the floor, shooting just 2-for-8. Goran Dragic missed all seven of his field goal attempts in 20 minutes for Phoenix.
The Ugly: This has to be one of the ugliest box scores I've seen all preseason. Philadelphia scored 41 points in the fourth quarter, took an even 100 field goals attempts for the game to just 87 for Phoenix, out-rebounded the Suns 55 to 43, and shot an even 10% better from the free throw line, but still lost the game. Williams' 27 points came on 9-of-22 shooting, including 1-for-7 from 3-point range, and team had only 15 assists on 41 made field goals.

NBA Preseason-October 15th

Houston 124, Toronto 112

The Good
: Shane Battier exploded for 26 points on 8-of-11 shooting, including 8-0f-9 from beyond the 3-point line to lead the Rockets past the Raptors on Thursday night. Houston shot 56% from both the field and 3-point range and tallied 30 assists on their 47 made field goals. Andrea Bargnani led Toronto with 16 points on 6-of-11 from the field. The Raptors also shot 50% from the field and got a respectable 27 assists on 45 made field goals, but lost the game at the 3-point line, shooting only 2-of-13 as a team.
The Bad: Chris Bosh shot only 4-of-12 for Toronto and rookie Chase Buddinger was only 2-of-10 in his 26 minutes.

Dallas 113, Detroit 88

The Good
: Dallas' bench was the key to this win, as four reserves scored in double-figures, including a team-high 21 points by 6th man Jason Terry. Terry made his mark on the outside, contributing four 3-pointers and shooting 8-of-10 from the field, as Kris Humphries (14 points and 9 rebounds) and Drew Gooden (16 points and 7 rebounds) did the damage inside. Rodney Stuckey led the way for Detroit with 20 points.
The Bad: Will Bynum had been a huge surprise in Detroit's first few preseason games, but he was disappointing against Dallas, logging only 13 minutes and shooting 1-for-5 on his way to 4 points.
The Ugly: Where has Detroit's championship-caliber defense gone? They allowed Dallas to shoot 55.8% from the field and 54.5% from the 3-point line.

Miami 97, New Orleans 81

The Good
: The return of Dwyane Wade meant the first win of the preseason for the Heat, who completely shut down the Hornets. Wade had 14 points and 6 assists on a poor shooting night, but the Heat also got 15 points from Daequan Cook and 11 points and 11 rebounds from Michael Beasley. Bobby Brown came off the bench to score 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting to lead the way for New Orleans.
The Bad: New Orleans shot only 36.7% as a team, including 2-of-10 from David West and 3-of-9 from Chris Paul. Paul also added only 4 assists, as the team only made 29 field goals.
The Ugly: Peja Stojakovic went scoreless and contributed nothing but 2 rebounds and 7 missed field goals in his 22 minutes.

Utah 99, Portland 96

The Good
: The Jazz shot 52.2% from the field and 5-of-10 from 3-point range in holding on to beat the Blazers. Utah had six players reach double-digits, including Deron Williams, who posted 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists in just 25 minutes. Portland was led by 19 points off the bench by Steve Blake.
The Bad: Portland cut a 11-point fourth quarter deficit to just three behind a strong showing by their reserves, but it just wasn't enough. The Blazers' starters looked lost without Brandon Roy, who got the night off. LaMarcus Aldridge played only 6 minutes, but missed all four of his shot, Greg Oden gathered in 9 rebounds, but shot only 3-of-10 on his way to 7 points, and Martell Webster scored 6 points on just 2-of-9 from the floor. Travis Outlaw also posted a 2-for-11 shooting effort off the bench.
The Ugly: Portland had more offensive rebounds (25) than defensive rebounds (22) against Utah. And, while the Blazers will likely be the best offensive rebounding team in the NBA this season, if they can only manage 39.8% shooting as a team, it won't matter.

LA Lakers 98, Sacramento 92

The Good: Andrew Bynum led L.A. with 24 points on 7-of-13 shooting and a respectable 10-of-12 from the free throw line, and added 8 rebounds to post his third strong performance in as many games for the defending champs. Kobe Bryant also added 18 points for the Lakers, who only had three players reach double-digits. Sacramento's young front court of Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes combined for 37 points and 23 rebounds, and Tryeke Evans just missed out on a triple-double, posting 13 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists, and 3 steals.
The Bad: Rookie Omri Casspi may have been the difference in the game, as he posted a +/- rating of -20 in only 16 minutes for Sacramento.
The Ugly: Sacramento remained winless on the preseason largely due to their difficulties at the free throw line. As a team, the Kings shot just 14-for-24, for 58.3%.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

NBA Preseason-October 14th

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.

NBA Preseason-October 13th

Washington 101, Detroit 98

The Good
: Gilbert Arenas scored 24 points on 9-of-11 field goal shooting and led the Wizards past the Pistons in Flip Saunders' first game against his former team. Detroit's fourth guard, Will Bynum, scored 23 points in 32 minutes off the bench for the Pistons.
The Bad: Rodney Stuckey and Ben Gordon combined to shoot just 6-of-26 for the Pistons, who shot better from 3-point range (41.9%) than they did from 2-point range (40.3%).
The Ugly: Nick Young posted a 2-for-10 performance against Detroit, and is now 4-for-21 in his last two games.

Boston 91, New Jersey 88

The Good
: Rasheed Wallace got the start and led Boston with 20 points and 9 rebounds. Rajon Rondo had a performance reminiscent of his run in the 2009 playoffs, posting 18 points, 9 rebounds, and 13 assists in the win. Glen 'Big Baby' Davis also added 18 off the bench. Courtney Lee led the Nets with 21 points, who also got 19 points from Chris Douglas-Roberts and 17 points and 10 rebounds from Brook Lopez.
The Bad: New Jersey's reserves were on the court for a total of 102 minutes, and only accounted for 20 points against a short-handed Celtics team, playing without all the members of their Big 3.
The Ugly: Boston only shot 53.8% from the free throw line as a team, including a dubious 6-of-14 effort by Rondo.

Philadelphia 93, New York 85

The Good
: Philadelphia moved to 4-0 on the preseason for the first time in over 3o years behind 26 points from Thaddeus Young and 20 points and 8 rebounds from Elton Brand. The 76ers also got double-digit showings from Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams. Al Harrington scored 18 points and David Lee collected 12 rebounds to keep the Knicks close.
The Bad: Former first-rounder Danilo Gallinari posted just 4 points and 4 rebounds on 1-of-6 shooting in his 19 minutes for New York, while Iguodala committed 8 turnovers for the 76ers.
The Ugly: Nate Robinson (15 points) outscored Philadelphia's bench (14 points) all by himself.

Orlando 121, New Orleans 86

The Good
: Orlando moved to a perfect 5-0 with an offensive explosion against the Hornets. The Magic had eclipsed the 100-point plateau by the end of the third quarter behind 60.9% field goal shooting, paced by 22 points from Ryan Anderson in just 19 minutes (including 16 points in a 3:30 span in the third quarter). Mickael Pietrus scored 19 points in his 25 minutes, a span in which Orlando outscored the Hornets by an astounding 48 points!
The Bad: New Orleans shot only 38.9% from the field and trailed by 16 points after one quarter, 26 points at halftime, and 36 at the end of the third quarter.
The Ugly: Hornets' guard Bobby Brown shot just 1-of-7 from the field and the team was outscored by 33 points in his 18 minutes.

Chicago 87, Milwaukee 86

The Good
: Chicago survived to beat Milwaukee, as the Bucks missed two potential game winning shots in the final 14 seconds. Joakim Noah had 20 points and 16 rebounds and Taj Gibson had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Chicago, while Hakim Warrick countered with a game-high 25 points for Milwaukee before fouling out of the game.
The Bad: Jannero Pargo shot 3-for-11 from the field for Chicago and rookie Brandon Jennings was only 2-for-13 from the floor for Milwaukee. (Jennings did add 6 rebounds and 12 assists, in addition to his 10 points.)
The Ugly: This game felt like a preseason game. The teams combined to shoot 57.1% (32-for-56) from the free throw line and 29% (11-for-38) from 3-point range.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

NBA Preseason-October 12th

Atlanta 107, Charlotte 90

The Good
: Jeff Teague had his second solid showing in as many days, tallying 17 points and 7 assists off the bench, and Zaza Pachulia and Juan Dixon added 14 apiece in the Hawks' second win on the preseason. Gerald Wallace made all 12 of his free throws on his way to 20 points and rookie Gerald Henderson scored 13 points on 4-of-6 field goals and 5-of-5 free throws for Charlotte.
The Bad: Charlotte committed 22 turnovers and shot just 16.7% (2-for-12) from the 3-point arc in the loss.
The Ugly: Vlad Radmanovic and Raja Bell combined to shoot a horrendous 2-for-13 from the field for the Bobcats.

Cleveland 111, Olympiakos 94

The Good
: As a team, Cleveland shot 55.1% from the field and 45.5% from behind the 3-point line. The Cavs had 7 players reach double figures, including reserves Koby Carl and J.J. Hickson. Former NBA 6th men Josh Childress and Linas Kleiza had 16 points apiece for Olympiakos.
The Bad: Cleveland is loaded with scorers, but it appears defense (especially on the perimeter) could be the Cavs downfall. The Grecian side shot 47.5% from the field, including 42.1% from behind the 3-point line.

Oklahoma City 110, Phoenix 105

The Good
: Kevin Durant posted 30 points and 11 rebounds in only 31 minutes for Oklahoma City, who held on to beat Phoenix in Overtime. The Thunder outscored the Suns by 24 with Durant on the floor, but struggled without him in the fourth quarter, blowing a 17 point lead. Amare Stoudemire led Phoenix with 20 points and 6 rebounds.
The Bad: After a couple of strong outings, Channing Frye struggled against the Thunder, shooting just 2-of-10 from the field. While Durant played well, he did commit 7 turnovers for Oklahoma City.
The Ugly: The Suns' defense struggled mightily on the perimeter, allowing the Thunder to shoot 52.9% (9-of-17) from beyond the arc.

Orlando 102, Memphis 83

The Good
: The Magic remained unbeaten in the preseason behind double-digit performances from 6 players (Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis, Matt Barnes, Mickael Pietrus, Marcin Gortat and J.J. Redick). The Magic outscored Memphis by 26 points with off-season addition Jason Williams on the floor and 25 points when Redick was in the game. Sam Young led Memphis with 22 points.
The Bad: Hasheem Thabeet took only one shot and went scoreless in his 18 minutes, but did post 2 rebounds and 3 blocks in his second straight start. Memphis managed only 65.4% from the free throw line in moving to 1-3 on the preseason.
The Ugly: Ryan Anderson got off 10 shots in 16 minutes (including six 3-pointers), but only made 2-of-10.

Milwaukee 96, Houston 92

The Good
: Michael Redd was the game's high scorer with 18 points and Carlos Delfino added 16 points and 8 rebounds in Milwaukee's win. Ryan Andresen led Houston with 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting.
The Bad: Houston shot just 37.8% as a team, including a 1-for-6 showing by Shane Battier, a 3-for-10 performance by Aaron Brooks, and a 3-for-12 effort by Chase Budinger.
The Ugly: Two games ago, I was ready to anoint Brandon Jennings as the NBA's next big thing. Today, I'm not so sure. Jennings was just 1-of-8 for 3 points, 1 rebound, and 1 assist in 14 minutes.

LA Clippers 124, Golden State 117

The Good
: The Clippers got 27 points from Rasual Butler, 22 points from Eric Gordon, and 15 points and 9 rebounds from Blake Griffin. Golden State was led by 32 points from Anthony Morrow and 24 points from Monta Ellis.
The Bad: Stephen Curry was back to his old self, shooting just 3-for-10 from the floor.
The Ugly: If you like offense, there was nothing ugly about this game. If you prefer defense, the whole thing was ugly. Both teams shot 50% or better from both the field and the 3-point line in combining for over 240 points.