It’s the same old Spurs. When Kawhi Leonard went down, then Stephen Jackson got hurt, I thought Danny Green would become a fantasy star for at least a couple of weeks. It hasn’t worked out that way. Instead, the veteran stars have stepped up their games. Tim Duncan outscored Nikola Vucevic 13-0 by halftime and Tony Parker (14 PTS, 8 AST) was needed for less than 30 minutes. Manu Ginobili was brilliant as the sixth man, hitting 6-of-9, all from 3-point range, for 20 points. If you picked up Gary Neal on his promotion to the starting five, that finally paid off, as he scored 19. Arron Afflalo (16) and Jameer Nelson (14) led the Magic but the game was really no contest.
Now Gregg Popovich’s team has to do it again 24 hours later in Miami, a much sterner test. Dwyane Wade vs. Neal is a mismatch and LeBron James is either too big or too fast for whoever tries to guard him. If Chris Bosh earns a standoff with Duncan and sixth man Ray Allen does as much as Ginobili, the Heat should prevail.
Other November 28 Games
POR @ WAS: The Wizards win! It was a team effort; the bench outscored Portland’s subs 46-4, led by 19 from Jordan Crawford. After 11 straight losses, they are now 1-12 and still the worst team in the league, but it’s a relief not to be compared every day to the most inept teams in history. Kevin Seraphin (10 PTS, 10 REB) was solid and Trevor Ariza (14) was a key factor. For the Blazers, Wesley Matthews had just 6 points on 2-for-10 shooting, and their lack of depth really hurts when any starter is off-target. Nicolas Batum (20) hit five 3-pointers and J.J. Hickson was outstanding (15 PTS, 19 REB) in the losing cause.
BRK @ BOS: One of the most anticipated games of a busy evening turned ugly, as Rajon Rondo retaliated against Kris Humphries for a rough foul on Kevin Garnett. Hump and Gerald Wallace were also tossed in the ensuing melee. Rondo could face a suspension, so his 6-point, 3-assist night may not be the worst news for his fantasy owners. After the fracas, the Nets’ bench took over, with Andray Blatche (17 PTS, 13 REB) and a rejuvenated Jerry Stackhouse (17) leading the way. KG and Brandon Bass each had 16 for the Celtics, who are rudderless without Rondo.
CHA @ ATL: That was a much better effort by the Bobcats, who fell just short. Al Horford (17 PTS, 11 REB, 6 AST, 3 BLK) was great, and Josh Smith (17 PTS, 13 REB, 6 AST, 3 STL, 5 BLK) had that vintage Smoove line I predicted. Louis Williams added 17 off the bench and Devin Harris (7 PTS in 23:40) returned after missing just one game with turf toe. Ben Gordon (26) and Ramon Sessions (18 PTS, 8 AST) both played well for Charlotte, but Kemba Walker (15 PTS, 5 REB, 5 AST) was the only starter to have a good night.