Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while getting sucked into an oral history of Nirvana….
Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves. In a matchup of two of the top power forwards in the game, Kevin Love outplayed Dirk Nowitzki for a night. Love had 35 points and the Timberwolves final six in overtime — he hit what would be the game winner then defended Dirk Nowitzki on his attempt to force a second OT. Love also played well off Ricky Rubio, in a way that makes you think they could be quite a pair together… if Love is going to stick around past 2015. Which I wouldn’t bet on.
Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves. Rick Adelman will sit Ricky Rubio at times late in games. Not Wednesday. Rubio was the best player on the court — he drove and scored or found cutters, he made good kick out passes and at the other end was making steals. Rubio was decisive with the ball. Adelman rode Rubio through the entire second half and in overtime, because coaches ride the players having an impact. Rubio was that guy on Wednesday and keyed the Minnesota win — 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting (including two free throws to tie it in regulation), 15 assists, 10 rebounds, and 4 steals.
Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks. Mike Woodson did nothing to show new boss Phil Jackson why Woodson should hang on to his job as coach — the Knicks were isolation heavy in this game. Anthony thrived in that setting, scoring 34 points on 12-of-23 shooting. The Pacers don’t like to double but eventually they did and Anthony adjusted, sometimes by shooting quickly other times by making the smart pass out. Anthony showed Jackson exactly why Phil would want to keep him around.
Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics. There were three keys to the Celtics beating the Heat for the second time this season. One was LeBron James was out for Miami. Another was that Avery Bradley and the rest of the Celtics were putting on a shooting show that likely impressed even Ray Allen — Boston was 13-of-28 from three. But the big one was Rajon Rondo, who late in the game just owned the Heat defense and did what he wanted, Rondo battled through foul trouble to put up 9 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists (six of those 9 points came in the fourth quarter). He was impressive.