News and notes from a slow Monday, with just six games.
• The tale of the tape from Monday’s Heat-Bobcats game: LeBron James(notes) and Dwyane Wade(notes) combined for 69 points, 22 rebounds, 27 field goals made, and three treys; Charlotte had 82 points, 35 rebounds, 30 field goals made, and three treys as a team. The Bobcats only showed up for one quarter in this one, shooting 62 percent (12-of-19) in the first and 30 percent (18-for-60) the rest of the way. They were without Gerald Wallace(notes) (ankle; several games), Nazr Mohammed(notes) (knee; no timetable), and DeSagana Diop(notes) (Achilles; rest of season), meaning we saw 22 more minutes from Kwame Brown(notes) than needed. THIS MAN IS A BONAFIDE SCRUB! HE CAN’T PLAY! Depleted frontcourt and all, Tyrus Thomas(notes) still couldn’t get over the 25-minute mark, a barrier he hasn’t surpassed since Nov. 24.
• James (38 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 threes, 15-of-26 FG) and Wade (31 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 12-for-20 FG) led the way in this one, turning in two of the three best lines of the day and scoring 30 points in the same game for the first time this season. Both were recently named Eastern Conference Players of the Month, the 16th time LeBron has garnered this award, tying him with Michael Jordan for most all-time. Joel Anthony(notes) grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds, while Chris Bosh(notes) was largely invisible (11 points, 4 rebounds, 3-of-5 FT).
• Predictably, Stephen Jackson(notes) (22 points, 5 assists, 5 turnovers, 2 steals, 7-for-8 FT) and D.J. Augustin(notes) (16 points, 4-of-10 FG, 2 threes) led the way for Charlotte. Augustin (59) is the only Bobcat to crack the top-140 over the past month, as Stephen Jackson (40.1% FG, 4.3 turnovers) and Gerald Wallace (37.9% FG, 58.3% FT, 8 FTA per game) have struggled mightily with general inefficiency.
• Can someone remind the Warriors that games don’t end at halftime? We’re getting to the point where a 10-point lead at halftime might as well be 40. They’ve been outscored 60-30 in the third quarter in their last two games, and managed to turn what was a nine-point halftime lead into a 20-point blowout loss. Turnovers were a huge problem in this one as they finished with 19 (Curry 5, Reggie Williams(notes) 5, Vladimir Radmanovic(notes) 4).
• Dorell Wright(notes) (17 points, 2 threes, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals) had a rather pedestrian game by his recent standards, but still put up the best line for his side in this one. Wright has been on an absolute tear as of late, leading all players in per-game value over the past two weeks and coming in at 12th on the month. The points (17.6) and threes (2.9) are obviously huge, but he’s also been a plus-contributor with respect to rebounds (7.0), steals (1.8), and blocks (0.7).
• Hedo Turkoglu(notes) picked up his third-career triple double and his first since March of 2008, totaling 10 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists, and a career-high five steals. Turkoglu passed Penny Hardaway, Tracy McGrady(notes), Scott Skiles, and Bo Outlaw for the most triple-doubles in franchise history. The obvious disclaimer applies given that the Warriors allow career-bests almost every other game, but it’s clear that Turkoglu feels back at home (go figure) in the Magic offense where he can control possession and have the ball in his hands, a role he is familiar (and comfortable) with. Since his trade to Orlando, Turkoglu has posted top-35 value in eight games.
• Jason Richardson(notes) (20 points, 5 rebounds, 4 threes) and Dwight Howard(notes) (22 points, 17 rebounds, 2 steals) turned in strong performances, while Ryan Anderson(notes) and J.J. Redick(notes) each scored 13 points off the bench.
• Runner-up for quote of the night: “You lose to a team where they beat the Spurs by 22, and you lose by 20. Not that bad.” – Bob Fitzgerald, Warriors play-by-play announcer
• The Celtics rallied late to overcome a monstrous rebounding effort from Kevin Love(notes) as Paul Pierce(notes) scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half (15 in the third). Love almost out-rebounded the Celtics by himself; falling just six rebounds short (24-30). He looked to be within range of another 30-30 effort, going for 11 and 15 at half, but was largely ineffective in the second half (1 point, 9 rebounds, 0-for-3 FG). The big rebounding total masked what was otherwise a forgettable performance (3-for-11 FFG, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 0-of-3 3PT).
• Quote of the night: "Thank you, Jim, but I met with Darko today because I hadn't talked to him in awhile, and I think there's just still so much more to come. And I think that we expect it out of him. It's not enough, is what I'm trying to say. We think that Darko can actually get to sort of a near All-Star if not All-Star level. There are not a lot of quality centers in our sport. There's no reason to think that a year from now if Darko were to continue his trajectory upwards, he couldn't be in the mix about a year from now for the All-Star game." KAAAAAAAHNNNNNNN!
• Defense was the name of the game for the Hornets as they held the 76ers to just 34 percent shooting as a team. New Orleans has won three games in a row by way of defense, holding each of those opponents to less than 82 points. They rank fifth in defensive efficiency this season. Chris Paul(notes) put up a sneaky good line, hitting all six of his free throws en route to a 15-point, five-assist effort. Emeka Okafor(notes) (13 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks, 4-for-6 FG) and David West(notes) (game-high 17 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks) also put up lines of note.
• The Sixers bench shot just 20 percent, led by Lou Williams (1-for-11) and Evan Turner(notes) (2-for-14). Andres Nocioni(notes) was about the only bright spot with 13 points, seven rebounds, and two threes on 5-of-9 shooting. Spencer Hawes(notes) (back) was a late scratch, and Andre Iguodala(notes) (Achilles) missed his fourth-straight game. The earliest you can expect him back is Jan. 11 against the Pacers.
• The Nuggets snapped the Rockets’ perfect 9-0 record when hitting 10 or more treys behind a big effort from Carmelo Anthony(notes) (33 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists). Melo rebounded from a dismal 6-for-22 effort, scoring more points at halftime (17) than he did all of last game (16). He got to the line 14 times and made 13 of them, just two short of the Rockets’ combined total. Arron Afflalo(notes) shut down Kevin Martin(notes) on the defensive end and had a nice game of his own (15 points, 2 threes, 5-for-7 FG, 3-for-3 FT).
• Two of the top five lines of the day came from Brad Miller(notes) (10 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 threes, 2 blocks) and Kyle Lowry(notes) (21 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 treys, 3 steals) though. As mentioned in this week’s Dashboard, Miller will be a sneaky top-65 option with Chuck Hayes(notes) sidelined for the next two-to-four weeks with a sprained ankle. Lowry continues to start at the point ahead of Aaron Brooks(notes), with the plan to ease Brooks back into the starting five slowly.
• Deron Williams(notes) double-doubled (22 points, 10 assists, 13-for-13 FT) for the first time in six games, his longest drought of the season, as the Jazz were able to hold off the Pistons in a highly-contested game. Tayshaun Prince(notes) led the Pistons with a game-high 26 points, while Tracy McGrady messed around and nearly got a triple-double (11 points, 11 assists, 9 rebounds). Don’t look, but T-Mac is 45th in per-game value over the last two weeks.
Monday’s top performers (per-game value): LeBron James (+1.24), Hedo Turkoglu (+1.05), Dwyane Wade (+0.92), Brad Miller & Kyle Lowry (+0.84)
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photos via Getty Images