Happy new year, everyone! 2012 ended with a colossal upset, as the Charlotte Bobcats actually won a game after losing 18 in a row. Kemba Walker (18 PTS, 8 REB, 6 AST, 4 STL, 2 BLK) had his way with Nate Robinson, who shot2-for-11 in a start for injured Kirk Hinrich (knee). Far more surprising was watching Bismack Biyombo (5 PTS, 11 REB) outplay Joakim Noah (2 PTS, 4 REB, 3 STL, 2 BLK) for much of the night. Noah was clearly not feeling well, which the disappointed Chicago crowd may have misinterpreted as a lack of effort. Luol Deng (20 PTS, 12 REB, 3 STL) and Carlos Boozer (19 PTS, 14 REB) tried to rally the Bulls, but they shot 35% as a team (to Charlotte’s 47%) on a night to forget.
Other December 31 Games
MIA @ ORL: There was almost another upset, as Miami needed overtime to eke out the W. Although Arron Afflalo (28 PTS) and J.J. Redick (23) were very good for Orlando, Nikola Vucevic (20) was simply incredible. His 29 rebounds set a new Magic record, eclipsing Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard, among others. LeBron James (36 PTS, 11 AST, 8 REB) is a machine, but even the world’s best player needs help. Chris Bosh (22) hit two clutch shots in the 48th minute and Dwyane Wade (21 PTS, 6 AST) scored the OT winning basket.
MEM @ IND: That wasn’t a great outing for Roy Hibbert (9 PTS, 6 REB, 4 BLK) but it was good enough, especially compared to his previous disaster. With George Hill (groin) sitting out, D.J. Augustin (17 PTS, 6 AST) did an excellent job at PG, and Paul George (21 PTS, 6 REB, 5 AST, 2 STL) definitely won his battle with Rudy Gay, who missed 14 of 17 shots. Zach Randolph (21 PTS, 15 REB) led the Grizzlies, who have now lost three of their last four.
BRK @ SAS: Yikes, that was ugly. An entire team scored FIVE points in an entire quarter. Gerald Wallace (knee) didn’t play and neither Reggie Evans nor Kris Humphries got into any kind of groove. Brook Lopez and Deron Williams were shut down all night; MarShon Brooks led the Nets with 16 points, 13 of them in garbage time. Tony Parker (20 PTS, 6 AST) and Tim Duncan (15 PTS, 4 REB, 2 BLK) got plenty of rest as the Spurs used 12 different players for 12 minutes or more. There’s nothing a fantasy owner can learn from such a game, unless it’s that the Nets problems were not all Avery Johnson’s fault.