If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while trying to stop a koala who wants to drive a car…
1) Spurs going to have first-ever losing record on rodeo trip. They look nowhere near team that can repeat. The San Antonio Spurs have dropped four in a row after falling to the Blazers. That drops them to 2-5 on the nine-game rodeo road trip — for the first time in the Popovich/Tim Duncan era the Spurs will finish with a losing record on the trip. The Spurs haven’t looked right on either side of the ball for a while. That said, the bigger concern has been on defense, where in the last 10 games they have allowed 103.6 points per 100 possessions, 20th in the NBA in that time. All season long the Spurs have not looked elite, but we have given them a pass because of injuries, and because we’ve thought they were dead before only to see them rise up and smack everyone. But let’s be honest: Right now the Spurs are playing the worst of any of the playoff teams in the West. Tony Parker has not looked the same, and he is the key to their offense. The defending champs look a lot like one-and-dones come the playoffs. And I’m not sure they can flip the switch one more time.
2) Evan Turner can give you a triple double. We have proof. Yes, it still counts if you do it against the Knicks. Evan Turner was doing all the little things, playing tough defense, controlling the flow of the offense, and so Brad Turner left him out there for an extended run. Turner finished with his first career triple-double of 10 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists.
3) They love Kevin Garnett in Minnesota. But we knew that. Listen to the welcome he got as he was introduced again in Minnesota.
4) It may have been freezing outside, but Atlanta is getting hot again inside Phillips. The guys in the suits almost called this game off because the weather outside was frightful, but when the game started it was the Hawks who were cold, and the Mavericks were up by 14 in the first. Over the last couple games, the Hawks have started to get their groove back, and they did in this one. In the second quarter, the Hawks made it close then took over the lead with a 13-0 run in the third, and they never looked back. It was the balanced Hawks attack, led by Dennis Schröder with 17 points off the bench. The Hawks are back to beating good Western Conference teams.
5) Zach Randolph has some real shooting range. Nobody can stop Zach Randolph. Nobody.