Honorable mention tonight goes to the fans of the Toronto Raptors for the reception they gave Jose Calderon, and to the Rockets Omer Asik who had 22 points and 18 rebounds in a win.
Third Star: Rudy Gay (34 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists)
He put up big numbers and did it shooting efficiently — 13-of-18 from the field, getting to the free throw line four times. And for three quarters he played some good basketball, his jumper was falling. But in the fourth quarter, when the Pistons bench won the game, his shot selection seemed forced. Sometimes he tries to take over tames when he should just let the game flow to him. Still, that was too gaudy a stat line not to make the list.
Second star: Nikola Pekovic (29 points, 5 rebounds)
This really was a pretty simple equation: no Kevin Garnett = Nikola Pekovic can do whatever he wants. So he did. Pekovic had 15 points in the first quarter and he was controlling the paint. The Celtics started to double him — particularly in the second half — but that just opened the door for other players to step because they had room to operate.
First Star: Roy Hibbert (26 points, 10 rebounds)
THAT is the Roy Hibbert the Pacers need in the playoffs. He had 15 points in the first quarter and was trouble for the Clippers in the paint at both ends of the floor. He owned DeAndre Jordan, which is one of the reasons the Pacers won the game. That and the tone and energy Hibbert had from the opening tip. He fouled out with 1:35 left in the game but hot free throw shooting down the stretch won it for the Pacers.
Sometimes a picture can tell the story better than words.
That’s why above you can see all of Kobe Bryant‘s shot attempts against the Warriors Tuesday, a night where he went 1-of-14 from the floor (and “facilitator Kobe” had two assists). If you want another picture, here is Kobe’s shot chart for the game.
On the season, Kobe is shooting 31.1 percent overall, 19.5 percent from three, and he has a career low true shooting percentage of 41.5 percent. It’s hard to watch. On a team that is supposed to be developing their young stars, Kobe took as many shots as D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle combined. Laker coach Byron Scott is good with Kobe doing whatever he wants.
But Kobe is worried about his shooting performances, right? Not so much. From Baxter Holmes of ESPN.
If Kobe can figure out the Lakers’ system this season, he will be in a club of one.
I could go on a longer rant here, but the bottom line is this is just a sad spectacle to watch. And there’s a lot of season left to watch it.
Pat Riley compared the Warriors backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to one of the legendary guard tandems the game has ever seen — Jerry West and Gail Goodrich. Two Hall of Famers who led the 1972 Lakers to an NBA title.
That West/Goodrich team also won 33 straight games that season.
The Warriors are off to the fastest start in NBA history at 16-0 after destroying the hapless Lakers on Tuesday night, and the question of “when will they lose?” Kobe Bryant thinks these Warriors could get to that legendary 33 mark, as he told Sam Amick of the USA Today.
“Yeah, they could do it – because they’re good,” Bryant said afterward. “It’s a very young league, and they’ve managed to put together a team of extremely intelligent players and extremely versatile players, and great shooters. And so I see no reason why they couldn’t continue to extend (the record).”
The Warriors are not even halfway there and have shown some flashes of one-game vulnerability of late (a rough game against the Nets, for example). They have an upcoming seven-game road trip with a couple back-to-backs where they likely stumble at least once.
Then again, look at their next dozen opponents: Suns, Kings, Jazz, Hornets, Raptors, Nets, Pacers, Celtics, Bucks, Suns, Bucks, Jazz. Teams such as the Raptors and Pacers are certainly playing well, but there is no team on that list that makes you step back and say “that’s a loss.” Get through that dozen and the Warriors are at 28-0 and the Lakers’ record is within shot. The Warriors are not going to stop doing what they do — if the wearable science tells them Curry needs a night off, he’ll sit — but if they can get close, for a team trying to establish a legacy of greatness this would be a step in that direction.
The 16-0 mark already is.
In a disastrous Lakers season, one thing can be counted on (besides Byron Scott saying absurd things about Kobe Bryant): Nick Young will always be able to lighten the mood. He brought some levity to the Lakers’ blowout loss to the Warriors on Tuesday night with a blast from the past: a pair of gold shoes formerly worn by his ex-Wizards teammate Gilbert Arenas.
These shoes, like Swaggy, and like Gilbert before the injuries and the guns, are awesome and should be celebrated.
During the third quarter of the Clippers’ Tuesday night win over the Nuggets, Blake Griffin had some SportsCenter-worthy acrobatics that had nothing to do with dunking. He caught a ball in the air behind the three-point line as the shot clock expired and sank this buzzer-beater:
It was just his third made three of the season.