Now I get it. The Nets were cleverly sandbagging in San Antonio, to make the Thunder overconfident. A completely different team showed up in Oklahoma City, took charge early and finished strong. Deron Williams (19 PTS, 13 AST, 5 STL) was every bit as good as Russell Westbrook (26 PTS, 10 AST, 6 TO) and while Gerald Wallace didn’t help his fantasy owners, he held Kevin Durant to ‘only’ 27 points with five turnovers. Joe Johnson was brilliant (33 PTS, 5 REB) and Brook Lopez (25 PTS, 5 REB, 2 STL) showed off his shooting range. Just as Kris Humphries (11 PTS, 7 REB) appeared ready to regain a starting job, he left with a sprained ankle.
Other January 2 Games
CHI @ ORL: Even without Joakim Noah (flu) the Bulls prevailed, as undersized Taj Gibson (21 PTS, 11 REB, 4 BLK) played 45 terrific minutes at center. We told you Carlos Boozer would be good; a season-high 31 (with 11 REB) is certainly not bad. The Magic never gave up. Nikola Vucevic had another double-double (20 & 12) while Jameer Nelson (hip) not only played, he hit six 3-pointers en route to scoring 32, and just missed sending the game into overtime.
POR @ TOR: When was the last time two point guards combined for 22 assists without scoring at all? Jose Calderon (13 AST) missed his only shot, and Kyle Lowry (9 AST, 2 REB, 2 STL) had made just one attempt until a late, meaningless 30-foot heave as the shot clock expired. Neither is making his fantasy owners happy in this timeshare, but the Raptors keep winning. DeMar DeRozan (24 PTS, 3 STL) and Ed Davis (19 PTS, 7 REB) led the starters, but rookie Terrence Ross (26 PTS, 6-of-9 from downtown) was the star off the bench. The Blazers were tired and lifeless, especially J.J. Hickson (2 PTS in 28 minutes) who eventually gave way to rookie Joel Freeland (11 PTS, 4 REB in 21 minutes). Damian Lillard (18 PTS, 7 AST, 5 REB) also committed seven turnovers.
SAC @ CLE: Credit where it’s due department — DeMarcus Cousins (18 PTS, 16 REB, 6 AST) is a major talent when he isn’t being his own (and his team’s) worst enemy. Jason Thompson (19 PTS, 10 REB, 3 BLK) helped the Kings win just their second road game of the season. Sadly for owners and fans of Isaiah Thomas (8 PTS in 19:29), he can’t seem to fend off Aaron Brooks (13 PTS in 28:34 off the bench). The Cavs swapped SG, with C.J. Miles (12 PTS) starting and rookie Dion Waiters (20) still getting 29+ minutes off the bench. Alonzo Gee (16 PTS, 10 REB, 6 AST) had a solid game and Kyrie Irving (22 PTS, 6 AST, 5 REB) is great, but they really miss Anderson Varejao, whose bruised knee has now kept him out for seven games.