Author: Kurt Helin

Andre Drummond, Serge Ibaka

When Andre Drummond dunks Serge Ibaka cannot stop him (VIDEO)


Serge Ibaka shuts down a lot of people at the rim.

Not Andre Drummond. Not Sunday night.

That is a powerful throwdown and poster with Ibaka in it. Consider it payback for what Russell Westbrook did to Josh Smith.

Kevin Durant’s 28 points — including a key three late — led the Thunder to a 98-96 win over Detroit. Smith had a chance to win it with a wide-open three late in the game, but this is Josh Smith from three so it turned out how you’d expect it to turn out.

PBT’s Sunday night NBA Winners/Losers: Durant and Rondo both looking healthy

Washington Wizards v Boston Celtics

Every night the NBA can be a cold hard reality — there are winners, there are losers. It’s the nature of the game. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to bring you the best and worst of the NBA each week night. Here’s what you missed while watching the trailer for the new Terminator movie

source:  Rajon Rondo. That’s 31. Sometimes as fans we overemphasize the triple-double (it’s not always as impactful on the game as it sounds) but if you’re hitting that number consistently then you’re doing something right. Sunday was the second time this season and the 31st time in his career that Rajon Rondo hit that number. He’s doing something right. He wasn’t exactly efficient (he had 13 points on 17 shots) and he missed some key shots late (his floater was off) but he had 13 rebounds and 11 assists, which — along with Jeff Green’s 25 points — helped fuel the Celtics past the Wizards in a quality win.

source:  Kevin Durant. He’s still getting his legs back under him, he had an off night against Philly recently, but he bounced back and looked like the KD we know and the rest of the league fears on Sunday. Durant had 28 points on 10-of-19 shooting. He was Durant again, and that included hitting what ended up being the dagger three — with less than two minutes to go Detroit got caught on a bad switch and Durant drilled the three that put them up four and gave OKC the win. But it didn’t matter if Detroit defended well, earlier in the game Jonas Jerebko defended him as well as one could and Durant just scored over him anyway. Because when he’s on Durant can score on anyone. Which is more than we can say for….

source:  Josh Smith and the Detroit Pistons. Saturday they couldn’t beat the hapless, tanking Sixers (we’re going to have a new team on the bottom of the PBT Power Rankings Monday). At least Sunday they showed a little pride and had a shot at beating an Oklahoma City team still trying to get its feet under it with Durant and Russell Westbrook back. OKC was up two with 10 seconds left in the game when Westbrook missed a 16-foot jumper, Brandon Jennings got the rebound pushed the ball up the court looking for a chance to tie or maybe win the game for the Pistons. Jennings got into the lane but saw big men coming over to contest his shot (or more likely swat it into the third row) so he made a smart, quality pass to a wide open man — Josh Smith at the arc. He got a wide open, uncontested shot to win the game. Of course, Smith is shooting 25 percent from three this season, which is just below his career average, so what the Pistons got with the game on the line was a shot they want to avoid and every opponent would encourage them to take. The results were predictable. This is why they are the Pistons right now.

source:  Chandler Parsons. For some reason the Milwaukee Bucks kept leaving Chandler Parsons open and he made them pay — 28 points on 14 shots (4-of-6 from three) as the Mavericks toyed with the Bucks in an easy win. Parsons had nine uncontested looks according the NBA’s Sports VU cameras, he hit seven of them. This was the most comfortable he has looked in the Dallas offense (being wide open will do that), which frankly already was pretty powerful.

source:  Denver’s back court’s shooting. Ty Lawson was 1-of-10 from the floor. Arron Afflalo was 4-of-14. Gary Harris came in off the bench and was 1-of-8. Throw in an 0-of-6 night from Danilo Gallinari and the Nuggets were not impressive in their loss to Atlanta. It happens, guys have off shooting nights, but Denver had one of those nights when basically everyone they count on to create points was off. (Wilson Chandler, who had 29 points on 22 shots, was the exception to the rule, but it wasn’t enough.)

Justin Timberlake joins in, helps Memphis camera crew (VIDEO)

Miami Heat v Memphis Grizzlies

Justin Timberlake is a threat behind the camera, not just in front of it.

Apparently Timberlake needed a little extra cash on the side so he’s picked up a gig as a cameraman for the Grizzlies broadcasts. I can see that. It’s not like he could be making more money anywhere else. I mean this is a union gig.

As a reminder, Timberlake is a Memphis native and is a minority owner with the Grizzlies. So, if he asks to borrow a camera, you let him.

Russell Westbrook unleashes devastating dunk on Pistons (VIDEO)

Russell Westbrook, Kyle Singler

Russell Westbrook plays in fifth gear and that puts a lot of pressure on a defense to get back and get in front of him in transition. The Pistons’ Spencer Dinwiddie and Josh Smith got back. But the part about getting between him and the basket, that could use some work.

The result was one of the better dunks of the season — Westbrook was ferocious.

The Thunder went on to win a close game, 96-94, behind 27 points including a key late three from Kevin Durant.

Jeremy Lin, Carlos Boozer benched by Lakers; Ronnie Price, Ed Davis start

Los Angeles Lakers v Houston Rockets

Lakers coach Byron Scott has been hinting at lineup changes coming for a few days now. Well, Sunday night against the Pelicans Scott broke them out.

Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer will come off the bench. In their place, Ronnie Price and Ed Davis will start, something reporter Mike Trudell tweeted.

Davis for Boozer should have happened already. Davis is shooting 62.4 percent (compared to Boozer’s 49.8 percent) and the Lakers are +9 points per 100 possessions better than their opponents when Davis is on the court, compared to -12.2 per 100 for Boozer. Davis has outplayed Boozer all season.

Lin has admitted struggling in the Lakers offense this season, he prefers to attack off the pick-and-roll and Scott wants more Princeton-style ball and player movement. Lin’s struggles are not new, in fact it was Price who started most of the preseason for the Lakers until he was injured and Lin was pushed into a starting role. Lin is averaging 11.9 points and 4.9 assists a game.

Of course, with the way the Lakers are defending this season — 112.1 points allowed per 100 possessions, worst in the NBA by a couple points — this is almost rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. And the Lakers do not plan to bring in help via trade. There are nights the Lakers offense will click — Kobe Bryant or Nick Young will get hot — and they will win by just outscoring the opponent.

Maybe they can do that more with this lineup.

UPDATE: The change didn’t really matter as the Lakers got the same result, a 104-87 loss to the Pelicans. Davis had 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting and 7 rebounds, Boozer had 12 points on 12 shots off the bench. Ronnie Price was 1-of-4 shooting, Lin was 1-of-5, and neither was impressive.