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 wondering why seals have sex with penguins (well, it was 2 a.m. and nobody else was in the bar)….
Memphis Grizzlies. Houston had not looked good the last couple games (the Rockets scored 69 points against the Thunder) yet they squeaked by with wins and had a 9-1 record heading into Monday night’s showdown. However, play poorly against 9-1 Memphis and they embarrass you — which is what happened. Memphis jumped out to a 34-16 lead after one quarter, helped by the Rockets 15 first half turnovers, and never took their foot off the gas. The Grizzlies have one of the best defenses in the NBA and they clamped down, holding the Rockets to 8-of-34 shooting from three and an offensive rating of 94.7 points per 100 possessions. Meanwhile Memphis shared the rock — seven guys in double figures and they shot 53.5 percent as a team. It’s early in the season, but he Grizzlies showed they are the best team in the NBA 10 games into the season.
Anthony Davis. He is a beast. And he continues to show it nightly He went against Portland’s strong front line and had 31 points on 20 shots, pulled down 11 rebounds, blocked three shots and was generally one of the top five players in the NBA. He had the Pelicans in position to pick up a key win on the road until…
Tyreke Evans/Jrue Holiday. These guys suddenly forgot it might be a good idea to run the offense through Anthony Davis and as a result Portland got the win. In the final 6:30 of the game Holiday was 0-of-7, while Evans was 0-4. Davis? He got just one shot (until he took a desperation three on a rebound in the lat 30 seconds). Evans and Holiday were 10-of-37 on the night, and when you throw in a 1-of-5 night from Austin Rivers it got worse from the guards. Run the offense through the best player on your team in crunch time guys. It’s pretty simple.
Morris twins. Goran Dragic had the key plays late, but the Suns were in it because Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris combined for 43 points on 19-of-29 shooting. The Suns owned the Celtics in the first half behind 23 points, 6 boards, and 6 assists from the twins. Markieff led the way with 30 points, seven rebounds and even four steels, looking like the guy who got consideration for Sixth Man of the Year last season. Good road win for Philly.
Los Angeles Clippers. No Derrick Rose. No Pau Gasol. Yet it was the Bulls went on a 51-18 run from late in the second quarter through the start of the fourth to take control of the game. The Bulls have an identity, they know who they are and they play hard in that system regardless of who puts on the uniform and suits up. Which is pretty much the opposite of the Clippers. The biggest problem remains L.A.’s perimeter defense — when Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick were on the court together Jimmy Butler morphed into Jimmy Buckets and was just making plays to the tune of 22 points and 8 assists. It forced Doc Rivers to put Matt Barnes back in late in the fourth and sacrifice shooting. However, the Clippers problems go beyond just that — there is a clear chemistry issue on this team, guys are not playing hard, their defensive rotations are slow and there are going to be more ugly losses as long as that continues.