SAC @ PHI: This was closer than expected, as Jrue Holiday (21 PTS, 6 REB, 7 AST, 2 STL) committed eight turnovers and Evan Turner (8 PTS, 6 REB, 6 AST) was relatively quiet. For once, Tyreke Evans (29 PTS, 4 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL) and Isaiah Thomas (24 PTS, 5 AST, 4 REB) both had good games, and DeMarcus Cousins (12 PTS, 12 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL, 3 BLK) went from half-speed to three-quarter-speed. My pick Thaddeus Young was outstanding (23 PTS, 15 REB, 2 STL) and Nick Young (20 PTS, 4 REB) continues to fill in quite nicely for Jason Richardson (knee).
MIL @ NYK: The big guys won this for the Knicks. Professor Tyson Chandler (9 PTS, 20 REB, 2 BLK) gave a lesson to Larry Sanders (2 PTS, 10 REB, 2 BLK) who may not have recovered yet from the flu. When Amare Stoudemire (17 PTS, 7 REB) comes off the bench, Carmelo Anthony (25 PTS, 8 REB, 6 AST) becomes the SF. Raymond Felton (14 PTS, 8 AST) re-injured his right hand but X-rays were negative. Milwaukee got 19 points, 7 rebounds and 4 steals from the rejuvenated Ersan Ilyasova but their guard tandem of Brandon Jennings (14 PTS, 6 AST) and Monta Ellis (16 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST) was kept in check.
CHI @ BRK: What an effort by the shorthanded Bulls, especially Taj Gibson (16 PTS, 9 REB, 2 BLK), who played all 48 minutes as Joakim Noah (foot) joined Carlos Boozer (hamstring) and Kirk Hinrich (elbow) in street clothes. Had emergency staring PG Nate Robinson (12 PTS, 11 AST) shot better than 4-for-16, this might have been quite the upset. The Nets were all-out for the narrow win; Deron Williams (11 PTS, 6 AST) may still not be feeling 100% but Brook Lopez (20 PTS, 4 REB) did just enough and Gerald Wallace (6 PTS, 13 REB) played 41 energetic minutes.
WAS @ MEM: The new guys arrived, dressed and played for Memphis, but only Tayshaun Prince (14 PTS, 3 AST) is worth owning. Ed Davis got only five minutes and is buried behind Zach Randolph (7 PTS, 11 REB) and Marc Gasol (13 PTS, 15 REB, 5 AST, 2 BLK) on the depth chart. For the Wizards, Emeka Okafor (8 PTS, 10 REB) got in foul trouble and John Wall (9 PTS, 7 REB, 6 AST) played only 23 minutes; he left with a shoulder strain but did return. Mike Conley (18 PTS, 6 AST, 4 STL) was the game’s high scorer as the Grizzlies held Washington to just 46 points in the final 36 minutes.
DAL @ PHO: When you make predictions on every game, every day, some are spectacularly wrong. Guess what? Michael Beasley (4 PTS on 2-13 shooting) is an inconsistent space cadet who can’t be trusted. Marcin Gortat (17 PTS, 7 REB, 2 BLK) and Goran Dragic (19 PTS, 9 AST, 8 REB) were the other Suns I’d recommended. The surprise was Dallas having so much energy in back-to-back road games. O.J. Mayo (20 PTS, 5 REB, 4 AST, 3 STL) and Darren Collison (19 PTS, 6 AST, 6 REB) led the way, and the versatile Shawn Marion (14 PTS, 11 REB, 4 BLK) is helping to replace Dirk Nowitzki (adductor strain).
CLE @ DET: The only player involved in the big three-team trade who didn’t appear for his new team, Jose Calderon is dealing with a visa issue. Brandon Knight (20 PTS, 10 AST, 6 REB) played like he doesn’t want to give up the PG reins, Kyle Singler (20 PTS, 8 REB, 3 BLK) was outstanding at SF, and Greg Monroe (18 PTS, 16 REB, 4 AST, 2 BLK) dominated the paint. The Cavs were never in it. Kyrie Irving (14 PTS, 5 AST) was quiet and Tyler Zeller had more fouls than points or rebounds. Garbage time came early, but Marreese Speights (17 PTS, 8 REB, 2 BLK) is looming over Zeller’s shoulder.