WAS @ HOU: With James Harden (ankle) healthy enough to score 31, and Omer Asik controlling the boards (9 PTS, 16 REB) the Rockets got back in the win column. The Wizards made it closer than expected, thanks to Houston native Emeka Okafor (19 PTS, 6 REB, 2 STL, 2 BLK) who had his best game in two years. Martell Webster (16 PTS, 7 REB, 2 STL) had a nice night and rookie Bradley Beal (20) has scored in double figures for six straight.
SAS @ UTA: We had a hunch about the Jazz at home. Paul Millsap (24 PTS, 12 REB, 5 AST) was brilliant, Al Jefferson (21) made a huge contribution and sixth man Gordon Hayward (19 PTS, 7 REB, 6 AST) played one of his best games of the season. It could have gone either way, but Mo Williams (8 PTS) hit a buzzer-beating three for the W. Tony Parker (22 PTS, 7 AST) and Tim Duncan (22 PTS, a season-high 21 REB and a season-high 6 BLK) were fantastic in defeat, but Gary Neal’s shot wouldn’t drop (2-for-9) and starting C DeJuan Blair did nothing in 12 minutes.
MEM @ PHO: I can’t believe the box score. It says the Suns, despite nobody scoring more than 15 points, beat the Grizzlies. Phoenix reinstated Luis Scola to the starting five, then he was benched again after just 13 minutes, as Markieff Morris (11) may have already regained the job. Michael Beasley tossed up 11 shots in ten minutes; two found the twine and three of his six rebounds were off his own misses. Despite six blocks and 15 points, Marc Gasol finished with two rebounds, and Mike Conley (7 PTS, 6 AST) was strangely quiet. Rudy Gay (21 PTS, 11 REB) was the only Memphis player to really shine. Anything can happen in the NBA, and it just did.
December 13 Games
LAL @ NYK: By far the highlight of a 3-game slate, this one will be a nationally-televised media frenzy. Mike D’Antoni returns to MSG with a struggling mess of a team, and the Knicks are unbeaten at home. The battle underneath between Dwight Howard and Tyson Chandler will be fun to watch, and Kobe Bryant might score 40 again, though they seem to win more often when he shoots less. My guess is that Metta World Peace will be on Carmelo Anthony all night, so Melo might only get 30. Pau Gasol (knees) is day-to-day and would be a welcome addition for the Lakers, who have dropped three of their last four without him.
CHA @ ATL: Both teams played last night and the Hawks will do enough to win. Don’t expect it to be high-scoring, as Atlanta plays very solid D. This is the least-appealing of the three games if you’re playing in daily leagues. If you haven’t yet discovered that pleasure, the best place to start is in the Sheridan Hoops Friday Freeroll at DraftStreet. You can join for free, enter for free and win up to $100 cash by picking an 8-man team for Friday night only.
SAS @ POR: The Blazers are without two of their most important players. Nicolas Batum (back) is a possibility to return, but will be less than 100% if he goes, and Wesley Matthews (hip) must be really hurt, because he had never missed an NBA game until Monday. LaMarcus Aldridge becomes more important than ever, and rookie Damian Lillard must improve on his 7-for-27 shooting in the last two games if they have any chance to win. Sasha Pavlovic and Luke Babbitt are in line for extra minutes, but I don’t like either against the Spurs. Keep in mind that Gregg Popovich might not ride Parker and Duncan as hard this evening and look for other spot plays; Patty Mills and Tiago Splitter are among the possible sleepers.
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