Dec 28, 2011, 3:07 AM EDT
What you missed while debating the merits of a law forcing porn actors to wear condoms…
Heat 115, Celtics 107: We broke this one down as our game of the night. But can you ever really get enough Norris Cole?
Lakers 96, Jazz 71: If you watched this game and didn’t know which team was playing their third game in three nights and which team was opening the season, you would have gotten it wrong. From the opening tip the Lakers looked more energetic — desperate if you will — and were diving for loose balls, trying to run on the break and generally looking like the team with the younger, fresher legs. L.A. did not want to be 0-3 and it showed.
The real key was defense for the Lakers — Pau Gasol just shut down Al Jefferson, who was 2-for-15 shooting. (Gasol just hs his number, always does.) Gasol had four blocks as well. Utah shot 28.2 percent through the first three quarters. The Jazz had just 36 points in the paint — the Lakers owned that area all night.
Los Angeles also got 14 off the bench from Metta World Peace, who might be growing into the sixth man role.
Hawks 106, Nets 70: New Jersey started this game just like their opener — they played sloppy and were down 20 in the second quarter. It was ugly. New Jersey had just 30 points total in the first half on 31 percent shooting. In the opener the Nets came back to win. The difference is the Hawks are not the Wizards. The Hawks are good. They were not going to fall apart.
Pretty much everything the Hawks did worked, to the point the starters didn’t play more than 27 minutes and Vladimir Radmanovic was the team’s leading scorer with 17. Only fantasy owners were pissed about this. How well did things work for the Hawks? Even when they had plays break down, it worked. Just ask Jeff Teague.
Bucks 98, Timberwolves 95: The Timberwolves can argue they are 2-0 in the moral victory category. But that and $4 will buy you a latte.
Milwaukee played a good team game for most of the way — good defense, great ball movement, knocking down open looks — and were up 20 in the third. They seemed to be in control. But Milwaukee got stagnant in the fourth and Ricky Rubio led the Wolves as they nibbled away at the lead (Rubio was good again, 6 points, 4 assists, but with three turnovers). At the end the Wolves got it within three with 29 seconds left.
With the game on the line up three the Bucks offense was not the team play that got the Bucks the lead but a Brandon Jennings isolation, which led to a leaning baseline three. He missed, Rubio got the rebound. Minnesota’s last shot was a contested Kevin Love fade-away three from 25 feet — we should just call that the Kobe shot — and he missed it. Bucks win.
Kevin Love’s line for the night: 31 points on 6-of-18 shooting, but he was 19-of-24 at the free throw line, plus 20 rebounds (9 offensive).
Trail Blazers 101, Kings 79: This was close in the first half (46-46 tie at the break) as both teams focused on getting the ball in the paint. LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMarcus Cousins each had 10 first half points, although Cousins looked better getting them with some very athletic moves. Gerald Wallace had 13 in the first half (25 for the game).
In the second half the Blazers tightened up their defense and the Kings started to look like a tired team on the second night of a back-to-back. Portland took Cousins out of the game offensively and the Kings could not get the outside shots to fall and balance things out. Meanwhile, Nicolas Batum and Wallace started leading out after closing out on shooters and the Blazers were racking up the easy transition buckets. And soon the game was out of reach.
- Kevin Love leaving Team USA not helpful, certainly not devastating either 9
- Kevin Love pulling out of USA Basketball due to lingering likelihood of trade from Timberwolves 14
- Why are the Lakers hiring Byron Scott as head coach? 18
- Report: NBA considering week-long break for All-Star Game next year 6
- Report: Knicks made (ridiculous) offer to trade for Kevin Love 48
- Report: Lakers finally offer coaching position to Byron Scott, deal expected soon 26
- Report: Cavaliers leading Kevin Love-trade sweepstakes 41
- Chris Paul on boycott if Sterling is still owner: “That’s something me and Doc are both talking about” 32