Atlanta 121, New Orleans 98
Studs: Joe Johnson had a game-high 26 points, along with 5 rebounds and 7 assists, and Jamal Crawford added 21 points off the Hawks' bench. Josh Smith also chipped in with 17 points and 17 rebounds. Peja Stojakovic made 10-of-17 shots on his way to 25 for the Hornets, playing their first game without the injured Chris Paul.
Duds: Starters Devin Brown and David West both struggled mightily without Paul. Brown was 1-for-6 and West just 4-for-17 (while committing 4 turnovers). Marvin Williams was 2-for-10 for Atlanta.
Game Notes: The game featured 52 fast break points- 29 for the Hawks and 23 for the Hornets… The game might has well have been called after three quarters. Atlanta is 7-0 when leading after three quarters, while New Orleans is 0-7 when trailing after three periods… Rookie Darren Collison made his first career start in Paul's place, posting 10 points, 4 assists, and 2 steals in 26 minutes… An update on Paul's status should come on Monday.
Indiana 113, Boston 104
Studs: Indiana had six players in double figures, led by Danny Granger with 29 and Dahntay Jones with 25 as they handed Boston their second straight loss. Ray Allen led the Celtics with 24 points and Kendrick Perkins added 11 points and 13 rebounds.
Duds: Boston's usually impenetrable defense was surprising porous in this one, allowing the short-handed Pacers to shoot 52.6% from the floor and 50% from behind the arc. The Pacers' Solomon Jones fouled out in just 15 minutes.
Game Notes: Boston led by 9 at halftime but was outscored 61-43 in the second half… After starting 7-0, the Celtics have lost 3 of 4. The Pacers, on the other hand, have won 4 straight after starting 0-3… Paul Pierce was just 4-for-10 the night after sustained a bruised left knee.
Detroit 106, Washington 103
Studs: Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva each shot 10-for-21 from the floor and led the Pistons past Washington with 29 and 25, respectively. Mike Miller returned after missing three games with a sprained AC joint, and scored 20 points, as did Earl Boykins, who signed with Washington on Wednesday and on Saturday, played in his first NBA game since April 2008.
Duds: The Pistons' Rodney Stuckey and the Wizards' Andray Blatche were each 5-for-13 from the field.
Game Notes: Gordon, Villanueva, Stuckey, and Will Bynum combined for 91 of Detroit's 106 points… Washington's Antawn Jamison will make his season debut on Wednesday against the Cavaliers… Many of us had high hopes for the Wizards this season, but they find themselves just 2-7 through 9 games.
Portland 80, Charlotte 74
Studs: Brandon Roy led the Blazers with 25 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists; and Greg Oden made all four of his field goal attempts and blocked 4 shots as Portland escaped Charlotte with a win. Boris Diaw led the Bobcats with 21 points and 6 rebounds.
Duds: Flip Murray was just 1-for-8 for the Bobcats, and Steve Blake had his second rough shooting game in as many nights, posting a 2-for-10 for the Blazers.
Game Notes: Both benches really struggled in this one. Portland's reserves were 3-for-11 with 13 points and Charlotte's were 7-for-23 with 17 points… Portland had just 8 assists on 27 made field goals in the ugly win… Oden had 8 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 blocks, but fouled out in just 17 minutes… Portland is now 8-3 overall and 5-1 on the road. They have won 6 straight… Travis Outlaw suffered a stress fracture in his left foot in the first quarter. He'll miss 6-8 weeks.
Cleveland 107, Utah 103
Studs: LeBron James was back to his old tricks, posting 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 9 assists, and teammate J.J. Hickson had his best game as a pro, tallying 20 points on 7-for-13 shooting. The Cavs started Jamario Moon in place of Mo Williams, who responded by adding 21 points off the bench. Carlos Boozer had 25 points and 12 rebounds, and Eric Maynor started for the second straight game in place of Deron Williams, and netted 24.
Duds: Both teams shot over 50% from the field, so finding a dud is tough. The worst performance of the night was Daniel Gibson, who shot 1-for-4, with 3 points and 4 turnovers in 21 minutes.
Game Notes: After likening James to Picasso on Thursday, Cavs' coach Mike Brown called him Rembrandt on Saturday. James scored Cleveland's final 8 points for the second straight game… Shaquille O'Neal missed the game with a strained shoulder… Cleveland has now won 6 straight after opening the season 1-3… James said after the game that the NBA should retire the number 23 in honor of Michael Jordan. According to James, he'll switch to #6 next season.
Miami 81, New Jersey 80
Studs: Miami held off the Nets thanks to a huge performance off the bench from Udonis Haslem. Haslem shot 12-for-20, and tallied 28 points and 12 rebounds. Dwyane Wade had a good night too, posting 22 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 6 steals, and 2 blocks. Brook Lopez and Trenton Hassell led the Nets with 17 points apiece, and Chris Douglas-Roberts added 16 off New Jersey's bench.
Duds: The Nets played just 8 players, only 6 of who scored a point. Of those six, Rafer Alston and Terrence Williams combined to shoot just 6-for-20. Daequan Cook, Joel Anthony, and Carlos Arroyo combined to shoot 5-for-21 for the Heat.
Game Notes: Wade was 1-for-5 from 3-point range, but hit his most important attempt. With .1 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Wade sank a 3 to give Miami the win… Heat center Jermaine O'Neal missed the game with a bruised hip and point guard Mario Chalmers left just 4:25 into the game with a strained shoulder… Quentin Richardson hasn't attempted a free throw since April 12th.
Chicago 94, Philadelphia 88
Studs: The Bulls gave the term 'balanced' a new meaning on Saturday night. Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng led Chicago with 19 points apiece, and Joakim Noah, John Salmons, Derrick Rose, and Brad Miller scored 14 points each in the win. No one else scored for the Bulls. Andre Iguodala led the 76ers with 24 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists; and Lou Williams chipped in with 20 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals.
Duds: Thaddeus Young was 5-for-15 from the field and Philly's bench combined to shoot 4-for-15 with 9 points. Rookie Taj Gibson and James Johnson went scoreless and combined to shoot 0-for-8 for the Bulls.
Game Notes: The Bulls overcame 20 turnovers to win the game largely thanks to Philadelphia's struggles at the free throw line. The 76ers shot just 61.9% at the charity stripe… Chicago will play its next 6 games on the road and won't be back to the United Center until December 2nd… Speights sprained his left knee and will be evaluated on Sunday.
Memphis 97, Minnesota 87
Studs: Marc Gasol made all 8 of his field goal attempts and posted 17 points and 16 rebounds as Memphis furthered Minnesota's misery. Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo had 19 points apiece, and rookie Sam Young added 15 off the bench. Corey Brewer had 16 to lead the Timberwolves, who played without All Star Al Jefferson for the second straight game.
Duds: Rookie Jonny Flynn had arguably his worst game as a pro, shooting just 5-for-14 and committing 6 turnovers in the Wolves' 10th straight loss. Teammate Ryan Gomes shot better, but one-upped Flynn with 7 turnovers, as Minnesota tallied 20 as a team. Zach Randolph was 2-for-9 for the Grizzlies.
Game Notes: The first half featured 13 ties and 9 lead changes, with neither team compiling a double-digit lead… Both teams shot between 48 and 49% from the field and below 15% from 3-point range, but Memphis had a +11 advantage at the free throw line… Memphis signed Jamaal Tinsely on Saturday. He will presumably take Allen Iverson's vacant minutes and roster spot.
Milwaukee 129, Golden State 125
Studs: Brandon Jennings. Period. The Bucks' superstar rookie exploded for 55 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists against the Warriors. Jennings's 55 came on 21-for-34 shooting, and marks the highest total for a rookie since 1968 (Earl 'The Pearl' Monroe). Monta Ellis had 26 and Corey Maggette 25 for the Warriors.
Duds: Everyone guarding Brandon Jennings. Jennings made 7-of-8 3-point attempts and blew past Golden State defenders at will. Milwaukee shot 52.7% as a team and made 14-of-24 3-point attempts.
Game Notes: Are you starting to notice a theme here? Jennings went scoreless in the first quarter, before putting in 10 in the second, 29 in the third, and 16 in the fourth to secure the victory and break Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's franchise rookie record for points scored. The remarkable third quarter effort included a 12-for-12 start before Jennings missed a 3 with 5.9 seconds left in the period.
Oklahoma City 101, San Antonio 98
Studs: The Thunder's big 3 willed them past the Spurs' big 3 thanks to 25 points from Kevin Durant, 21 points and 10 rebounds from Jeff Green, and 19 points and 11 assists from Russell Westbrook. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker played well in their first games back from injury, scoring 22 and 17, respectively, but it wasn't enough. George Hill also tallied 18 off the Spurs' bench.
Duds: Manu Ginobili went 0-for-8 from the field for the Spurs and Durant shot just 6-for-18 for Oklahoma City.Game Notes: Oklahoma City is now 5-4. Their 5th win last season didn't come until early January… San Antonio is 4-4 through their first 8 games, but the schedule offers a little relief. They play 7 of their next 9 at home.