SAC @ POR: Again, my apologies for bad advice based on poor guesses. DeMarcus Cousins didn’t play after all, and his coach openly boasts about misleading the media, so who knows what the hell is going on? This was a laugher for Portland; the Kings are a laughingstock. Wesley Matthews (hip) wasn’t missed, as LaMarcus Aldridge (28 PTS, 12 REB) and Damian Lillard (17 PTS, 11 AST, 8 REB) got plenty of help from J.J. Hickson (17 PTS, 14 REB). Backup SG Will Barton had career highs in minutes (25:43) and points (14) but won’t play as much when Matthews is healthy.
NYK @ PHO: That may have been the finest victory of a 21-8 season for the Knicks, as they were without both Carmelo Anthony (knee) and Raymond Felton, whose sore left pinky finger is broken. Jason Kidd (23 PTS, 8 AST, 6 REB) is the starting PG for the next few weeks, and J.R. Smith (27 PTS, 6 REB, 5 AST, 5 STL) was absolutely brilliant. Phoenix lost despite a career-high 36-point outburst from Jared Dudley. A flagrant foul by Smith knocked Goran Dragic out of the game near halftime with bruises to his hip, back and wrist. Sebastian Telfair (11 PTS, 4 AST, 3 STL) played the entire second half.
December 27 Games
DAL @ OKC: It’s way too soon to expect miracles from Dirk Nowitzki. Once he’s 100% confident and 100% fit, we’ll have a better read on the Mavs. One logical guess is that O.J. Mayo won’t get as many shots; selling high makes sense if you are fortunate enough to own him. The Thunder will be rolling tonight, as both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will be very difficult to slow down. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle prefers Darren Collison coming off the bench, so Dominique Jones may start at PG for a while.
BOS @ LAC: The main obstacles on a 14-game win streak are overconfidence and complacency. Not everyone likes the Clippers’ swagger, and there could be fireworks between Kevin Garnett and Blake Griffin. The point guard battle is as good as it gets; if Rajon Rondo and KG are both fired up, this will be a terrific game. Paul Pierce proved he’s still a scoring machine last week, putting up 35 and 40 in consecutive games. The Celtics also need to slow down Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes to pull off the upset. It’s unlikely, though not impossible.
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