Before our daily Spin around the NBA, kudos to “bpovlins“, who won $100 in our Freeroll last night with DeMarcus Cousins and Kyrie Irving anchoring his team. It was a photo-finish (1/2 point, or one missed shot) over “bt111”, but $60 for second is a nice consolation prize. Thanks to all of the 668 people who entered; hope you had fun. My team stumbled home 239th, as I guessed wrong on Terrence Ross and DeMar DeRozan.
January 4 Games
CLE @ CHA: Turning it on in the fourth quarter, Kyrie Irving (33 PTS, 6 AST, 5 REB, 4 STL, 3 BLK) singlehandedly won that game. OK, he had help from Tristan Thompson (19 PTS, 13 REB) and C.J. Miles (18) but it was a virtuoso display. The Bobcats got 27 from Ben Gordon and 20 from Ramon Sessions as the bench outscored their starters; Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (scratched cornea) saw just 21 minutes (7 PTS, 9 REB) and Tyrus Thomas (4 PTS, 4 REB in 12:33) played his first game in seven weeks. He may soon take minutes away from the inconsistent Hakim Warrick.
SAC @ TOR: Though he walks up and down the court half the time and stands around pouting a lot, DeMarcus Cousins sure changes with the ball in his hands. He punished the Raptors for 31 points and 20 rebounds, adding 4 AST and 2 STL, but is always one tantrum away from irrelevance. Toronto was out-of-sync all night, shooting 38% while allowing the Kings (52.6%) to score at will. Kyle Lowry (24 PTS) and Alan Anderson (20) did most of their damage when the game was out of reach.
BRK @ WAS: It required double-OT for the Nets to prevail, so Deron Williams (24 PTS, 10 AST, 7 REB) and Brook Lopez (27 PTS, 13 REB, 3 BLK) got extra minutes. We told you Andray Blatche (13 PTS, 12 REB, 4 STL in just 19:27) would silence the DC boobirds in his return. Rookie Bradley Beal (24 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST, 3 STL) was great for the Wizards, with Jordan Crawford (23) and Nene (20) also contributing. Fill-in PG Garrett Temple (8 PTS, 11 AST, 7 REB) played his best game yet, though he’s a 34% shooter so far.
ATL @ DET: You have to be impressed with the Pistons, a much-improved team. Austin Daye hit 9 of 11 shots for 20 points, Greg Monroe (18 PTS, 9 REB) was strong up front and they won a tight defensive battle. The usual Hawks played well; Josh Smith (20 PTS, 3 REB, 2 STL, 2 BLK) and Al Horford (18 PTS, 15 REB) got help from Louis Williams (17 PTS, 8 AST), but the Atlanta bench was outscored 41-14.
POR @ MEM: Without Zach Randolph (flu) the Grizzlies got 22 PTS and 13 REB from Marreese Speights, but their backcourt had a rough night. Mike Conley and Tony Allen combined to shoot 4-for-17 with more turnovers than assists. Credit the Blazers for a determined effort. Wesley Matthews (21 PTS) hit five 3-pointers, while LaMarcus Aldridge (15 PTS, 12 REB, 5 BLK) and J.J. Hickson (19 PTS, 11 REB, 2 BLK) both double-doubled. Marc Gasol had a team-record eight blocks in the loss.