There were people who put up bigger numbers on each of their teams, but these three players had the big fourth quarters that got their teams the win Tuesday night. So yes, that means guys like Kevin Durant with big lines (34 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists) miss the cut. That’s life.
Third Star: Monta Ellis (21 points; 14 in second half, 8 in fourth quarter)
It was kind of a classic Monta Ellis game — not very efficient (21 points on 18 shots) but he ended up making some plays that the Bucks needed in the fourth, when he hit three-of-four shots and had a key assist. Jennings had he better overall game, but credit Ellis for finding a way to work with that and play a key role in getting a win.
Second Star: Andre Miller (20 points; 13 points, 6 rebounds in fourth quarter)
In the biggest game of the night the not-exactly-getting-younger Miller had a huge game on his 37th birthday. The Nuggets took charge of this game in the third quarter after Miller spoke to the team at halftime to fire them up. But in the fourth quarter you knew the Thunder’s run was coming. It did. But every time they made a push it seemed Miller hit a big shot. That included some key free throws. The Nuggets are a dangerous playoff team in part because of the damage their bench can do, and Miller is at the heart of that.
First Star: Toney Douglas(19 points; 17 in fourth quarter)
Sacramento is a good landing spot for Toney Douglas right now (I wouldn’t have traded Thomas Robinson for him and that package, but still). The Kings rely on Isaiah Thomas and Tyreke Evans as playmakers, but Douglas is a guy who can step into that role and do it well. Against the Clippers he was nailing right corner threes and other deep bombs against the clock. Douglas was also playing good defense on Chris Paul. It was an epic quarter for Douglas.
Timberwolves read mean tweets about themselves (video)
LeBron James now says he feels better than he did even a year ago.
“I feel better in the mornings; I feel better throughout the games; I feel better throughout the day,” James said before a Cavs shootaround Wednesday in preparation for their game against the Toronto Raptors. “It was a rough start to the season for me last year and for our team. Obviously the way we’ve been playing, a lot is predicated on my health and being able to lead these guys out on the floor and not from the sidelines.”
LeBron certainly looks healthier than he did at this point last year. He’s moving much better and giving more effort.
But comparing November to November means very little for the Cavaliers, who hope to play deep into June.
The key question: Did LeBron properly time his injection? There’s a limit on the number he can have in a year, and it takes time to recover after one. Cleveland doesn’t want LeBron to peak to early.
It’s good for the Cavs that LeBron feels better now, but his health in the playoffs remains the priority.
The Jazz waived Cotton before the season despite Dante Exum‘s injury leaving them with just two other healthy point guards. That says something about Cotton – but also Utah’s depth.
Cotton – who went undrafted out of Providence last year – is quick, varies his speed well and can leap. There’s reason to believe in his potential at age 23. But his 6-foot-1 frame limits him defensively, and he’s not much of a distributor.
Plumlee lowered his head and tried to barrel through Butler’s chest on a Butler screen. Butler fell and retaliated by putting Plumlee in a leg lock, causing Plumlee to fall.
You might remember a leg lock as what Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova did to Bulls forward Taj Gibson during last year’s playoffs. For all the talk then of Dellavedova being a dirty player, Butler seems particularly aggrieved after getting a technical foul, which comes with a $2,500 fine – the same penalty Dellavedova eventually received. (Plumlee got a flagrant foul.)
“He thought he was playing football for a second there,” Butler said. “Almost had to let the Fort Greene Projects out of me, Brooklyn, you know what I’m saying?”
It was said tongue in cheek considering Gibson was a few feet over and Butler wanted to draw some laughs. Gibson is a Brooklyn native and grew up in the Fort Greene Projects while Butler grew up in Tomball, Texas.
It was no laughing matter when he said he would find a way to approach Plumlee about the fine money, jokingly suggesting he would have his agent email him at “Mr. Dukie@yahoo.com or something” and made a joke about Mike Dunleavy applauding Plumlee’s act.
Plumlee and Dunleavy are products of Duke University.
“Yeah, he cost me 2,500,” Butler said. “I’m not happy about that. Gonna ask him to pay me back and I’m not playing.”