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Three Stars of the Night: Buckets in Bunches

Dec 24, 2012, 1:23 AM EDT

Denver Nuggets v New York Knicks Getty Images

We had a pretty streaky Sunday around the league. Chris Paul and the Clippers extended their winning streak to 13 games, the longest seen this year in the NBA. Dirk Nowitzki returned for the Mavs, but the Spurs made it six straight at home in a laugher. The Knicks squeaked out a win over the Love-less Wolves, the Jazz ended their road journey with a win in Orlando, and Sacramento took it to the Blazers for a win without DeMarcus Cousins. There are six games and six winners, but there are only three stars:

Third Star: Chris Paul – (17 points, 13 assists, 5 steals)

The Clippers aren’t just winning all the games they should be winning on this streak — they’re usually doing it in three quarters. Chris Paul barely needs to shower after games these days, but that hasn’t stopped him from putting up some big time stat lines. Paul came out right away in the first quarter and hit the Suns for 12 points, sending the message loud and clear that the Clippers wanted to put this one away as quickly as possible. Paul’s been his usual self offensively, but his defense this year has been on another level. Yet again Chris Paul completely locked down Goran Dragic and Sebastian Telfair, as those two combined to go a miserable 5-for-18 with 1 assist and 6 turnovers. No individual Clippers has had a very “loud” performance during this run, but Paul has very quietly churned out quality game after quality game.

Second Star: Danny Green – (25 points, 7-for-8 from 3-point land)

This was like watching someone shoot fish in a barrel. Green hit the game’s first shot (a three) and then hit three more in the period, setting the tone for the Spurs’ offensive attack right off the bat. Green finished 7-of-8 from behind the arc to help the Spurs set a franchise record with a whopping 20 3-pointers. The Mavericks looked awfully old and slow trying to close out on Green and the rest of San Antonio’s shooters, and all the open looks led to some big time numbers. The Spurs hit the 100 point mark in the third quarter, shot 56 percent as a team, and dropped 129 points on the game. The Spurs were an absolute buzzsaw.

First Star: Carmelo Anthony – (33 points, 7 rebounds, 19 point fourth quarter)

New York had trailed Minnesota the entire game, but then Carmelo Anthony flipped the switch. Melo rattled off an incredible 19 fourth quarter points to complete the comeback victory. When he gets in one of those grooves, Anthony is almost impossible to derail — especially when he’s putting his head down and going to the rim. Say what you will about New York’s title chances, but if it comes down to one game or one quarter, Anthony is one of a handful of players capable of completely swinging the tides and taking over a game all by himself, even against a great individual defender. The big threes, the bullying drives and the clutch free throws — Anthony had it all going, and the Knicks needed every ounce of it.

  1. danielgmz - Dec 24, 2012 at 1:42 AM

    I have never really been a fan of Melo, but I feel so happy to see him play at the level he has been this season.

  2. goraidersgospurs - Dec 24, 2012 at 5:10 AM

    Much Respect to whoever put that spurs video together, NICE!!!

  3. nbascreed - Dec 24, 2012 at 7:34 AM

    1. There’s no such thing as a “perfect alley” for Griff. He’ll go get almost anything. I had a teammate with a 40+ inch vertical in college. I threw one from outside half court. He caught it. Coach said “nice pass” I said “nice genes”…he laughed.

    2. I like the development I’m seeing with Griff. He’s been handling the ball and shooting (but not making as much as I’d like) the 16+ footer with some confidence. Losers will say that’s not his game. I’m glad he’s not listening. Develop yourself young fella.

    3. I’m not sold on the Spurs as a championship team. But they put together really good regular seasons. I don’t think they beat the Clips or Grizz in 7.

    4. AK47 is a nice addition for the Wolves, but unfortunately he’s just not capable of slowing down Durant, Melo or LBJ in any meaningful way anymore.

  4. davidly - Dec 24, 2012 at 7:58 AM

    Did anybody notice that every one of those threes came off a pass hitting the open man? No surprise from the team leading the league in assists.

  5. reemer894 - Dec 24, 2012 at 9:31 AM

    Reffing in the Wolves-Knicks game was atrocious. It was like a bunch of Tim Donaghys were officiating the game. questionable calls, but gotta give it to the Knicks. They played a great 4th quarter of ball.

  6. mat9844 - Dec 24, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    CP3 is a man with a mission, and that mission is to take the Clippers all the way this year, and so far he’s succeeding. 13 straight wins and a lot of teamwork.

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