SAC @ MEM: I thought the Grizzlies would win more easily, but they still aren’t firing on all cylinders. Marc Gasol (24 PTS, 12 REB) and Mike Conley (22 PTS, 7 AST) played very well, and Tony Allen (19 PTS, 8 REB) isn’t really shooting more since the Gay trade, he’s just making everything — 65% in February. Zach Randolph had a quiet 13 & 9, while Tayshaun Prince (7 PTS) was the fifth option. DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings (23 PTS, 7 REB, 5 STL) and Tyreke Evans (20 PTS, 7 REB) woke up, but when Evans has the ball, Isaiah Thomas (11 PTS) is under-utilized.
OKC @ UTA: Why do I bother making predictions? Anything can happen in the NBA, and it just did. Kevin Durant (33 PTS, 6 REB, 5 AST, 4 STL) lost his temper and committed a rare flagrant foul, while Russell Westbrook (22 PTS, 5 AST) committed seven of the Thunder’s 20 turnovers. After two disappointing losses, Utah was inspired. Paul Millsap (18 PTS, 10 REB, 6 AST, 2 STL) and Al Jefferson (23 PTS, 7 REB, 2 STL) did most of the damage, but the Jazz bench added 47 points. Alec Burks (13 PTS, 5 REB) and DeMarre Carroll (13 PTS, 3 REB, 3 STL) have both played well in the absence of Gordon Hayward (shoulder) and deserve minutes even when he returns.
PHO @ LAL: Let’s call that a failed point-guard experiment by Kobe Bryant (4 PTS, 9 AST, 5 REB) — he missed seven of eight shots (a season low in attempts) and turned it over eight times in possibly the worst game of a glori0us career. Fortunately for the Lakers, Dwight Howard (19 PTS, 18 REB, 2 BLK) was dominant and sixth man Antawn Jamison woke up with 19 points and ten boards in 33 minutes. L.A. scored just nine points in the third quarter and needed a 20-6 run in the fourth to beat a really weak team. Michael Beasley (18) led the Suns in scoring, Luis Scola (15 PTS, 11 REB, 4 STL) was sharp and Jermaine O’Neal (12 PTS, 13 REB, 5 BLK) was a lot more effective than starter Marcin Gortat against big Dwight.
February 13 Game Previews
ATL @ ORL: Who leads the east in double-doubles? Nikola Vucevic has 29, but most people haven’t noticed. J.J. Redick is also crucial for the Magic, whether he starts at SG or comes off the bench. They could give the Hawks a good fight; Josh Smith is trying to ignore trade speculation and Jeff Teague will need to be at his best against Jameer Nelson.
SAS @ CLE: Don’t make a move without checking the injury report. Tim Duncan (knee) and Manu Ginobili (hamstring) are very doubtful, Tony Parker (knee) might make a miraculous ‘recovery’ and Tiago Splitter (ankle) is less than 100% for the Spurs. Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green are the best spot plays. For Cleveland, it’s always Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson; others run hot and cold.
CHA @ IND: It’s possible, though not guaranteed, that Danny Granger (knee) will make his long-awaited season debut. He’ll come off the bench at first, but will eventually bump Lance Stephenson to a sixth-man role. Paul George will bounce back from a horrible game, and David West had an excuse for his latest stinker — he was poked in the eye in the first minute. Optimists could use Kemba Walker or Byron Mullens, but the Indiana D is scary.
CHI @ BOS: The Celtics finally lost a game (on the road, the day after a triple-OT win) and they lost another player. Leandro Barbosa (torn ACL) is out for the year, which will increase the workload of Jason Terry and means a longer leash for the starting backcourt. Joakim Noah is so hobbled by foot pain that Kevin Garnett could have a big night, and Paul Pierce has been heroic lately for Boston. Conflicting messages have us wondering when Derrick Rose (knee) will return. Or if…