It’s an odd “stat” (or group of stats) but the 5×5 is a rare and difficult feat. Nicolas Batum (11 PTS, 10 AST, 5 REB, 5 STL, 5 BLK) is the first player to do it in six years. His sore back — and his fantasy owners — must be feeling better. J.J. Hickson (24 PTS, 16 REB) had a great night and Rookie of the Year frontrunner Damian Lillard (16 PTS, 4 AST) hit the game-winning 3-pointer in the final second. Former iron man Wesley Matthews (hip) was a surprise starter, but lasted only 3:30 and didn’t return. I feel sorry for the Hornets, who lost their seventh straight. Greivis Vasquez (23 PTS, 11 AST, 8 REB) and Ryan Anderson (26 PTS, 6 REB, 7-10 on 3-pointers) were terrific in defeat, and Anthony Davis (15 PTS, 5 REB) played 33:47 off the bench.
Other December 16 Games
HOU @ TOR: There’s a theory that those 1:00 matinees the Raptors often play on Sundays put the visiting team at a disadvantage. There are temptations in every NBA city, but Toronto is a fun place on a Saturday night and maybe some Rockets didn’t get enough sleep. Or, it was too much Jose Calderon — 18 PTS, 14 AST and 10 REB for his second career triple-double. Ed Davis (13 PTS, 6 REB, 3 BLK) and Amir Johnson (8 PTS, 8 REB, 5 BLK) were the best big men and SF Alan Anderson (24) came up big off the bench, as Mickael Pietrus (2 PTS in 21 minutes) was a non-factor. PF Marcus Morris (19 PTS, 6 REB) started for injured Patrick Patterson (foot) and James Harden (28 PTS, 4 REB, 4 AST) had a nice line, but the Raps played inspired defense and Houston shot just 41% as a team.
LAL @ PHI: Without Jrue Holiday (sprained foot) the Sixers again started Evan Turner (16 PTS, 6 AST, 4 REB) at PG, and to my astonishment, Nick Young scored 30 points in another start at SF. Dorell Wright (6 PTS, 9 AST, 7 REB) and Spencer Hawes (16 PTS, 6 REB) made contributions off the bench, but it wasn’t enough. Kobe Bryant scored 34, Dwight Howard (17 PTS, 11 REB, 5 AST, 3 STL, 2 BLK) dominated the paint and Metta World Peace was outstanding — 19 PTS, 16 REB, 4 STL, 2 BLK — as the Lakers led wire-to-wire. Jordan Hill (back spasms) was a late scratch, so the artist formerly known as Artest played the ‘stretch 4’ role, with 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc.