The new lineup wasn’t the answer for the setting Suns, losers of six straight. Jared Dudley started at SF but scored just 8 PTS in 18 minutes; Michael Beasley actually played better than usual off the bench (21 PTS, 5 AST, 4 REB) but was -21 in 30 minutes and made a couple of boneheaded turnovers. Marcin Gortat (6 PTS) did get another start at C and backup Jermaine O’Neal (2 PTS in 18 minutes) is really not the answer. If (like me) you are stuck owning Gortat, pray for a real-life trade to rejuvenate him. No starter played more than 30 minutes for the Clippers in this romp, but Chris Paul (16 PTS, 11 AST) and Blake Griffin (24 PTS, 8 REB, 4 STL) put up decent lines anyway. Even Lamar Odom (8 PTS, 8 REB) looked good against such weak opposition.
Other December 8 Games
SAS @ CHA: What’s the league record for points on the road in the second game of a back-to-back? The Spurs dropped 132 on the defenseless Bobcats. Danny Green answered any and all questions about his hamstring with 23 points, including 7-of-9 from beyond the arc. He can also block shots and should be owned in most leagues. Byron Mullens (ankle) played 14 minutes, but lost his starting job to Bismack Biyombo, at least for one night. Kemba Walker had 23 in the losing cause; Charlotte has dropped seven straight.
NOH @ MIA: The Heat went on an inspired 33-10 run in the second quarter and coasted home. LeBron James (24 PTS, 7 AST, 5 REB) and Dwyane Wade (26) did the heavy lifting and Shane Battier (11 PTS in 29 bench minutes) was a lot more involved. Three big men scored 56 of the Hornets’ 90 points, led by Ryan Anderson (24) and Robin Lopez (20) but there’s a gaping hole at SF, where Al-Farouq Aminu is in the coach’s doghouse. Xavier Henry and backup Darius Miller combined for seven points in 45 minutes.
GSW @ WAS: All those who imagined the Warriors would go 13-7 without Andrew Bogut (ankle) raise your hands. Liars. Stephen Curry (22) and David Lee (24 PTS, 17 REB) did it again and Klay Thompson (23) also contributed in REB (6), AST (5) and BLK (2). The Wizards lost PG A.J. Price after four minutes to a broken hand, but Shaun Livingston went scoreless in 14:16 off the bench; both Bradley Beal (17 PTS, 6 REB, 6 AST) and Jordan Crawford (22 PTS, 7 REB, 8 AST) served as combo guards. Cartier Martin (14 PTS in 25 minutes) got some extra run and may remain relevant in deep leagues.