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Three Stars of the Night: The Butler did it

Dec 31, 2012, 2:14 AM EDT

Ryan Anderson, Caron Butler AP

Four games, three stars on a Sunday night. As always there are some honorable mention guys left out — Tony Parker with his 21, Monta Ellis with 30 points and 9 assists, and Al Jefferson with 30 against the Clippers front line almost made the cut. But instead, it’s an all-perimeter guys three stars tonight.

Third Star: Tayshaun Prince (20 points, including game winning free throws).

Someone in the comments will tell me that Monta Ellis deserved to be here, and he had a great game including the shot that put the Bucks up two with 1:06 left in the game. But Tayshaun is here because of what happened on the two possessions after Ellis tied this game — the Pistons went to Prince and went with isolation sets. On the first one he backed Monta Ellis down into the paint and hit a hook shot over him to tie it up. Next time down, with 10 seconds left he backed his man down, spun into the lane and drew the foul on the help defender. Then sank two free throws to give the Pistons a quality win at home.

Second Star: DeMarcus Cousins (12 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists)

This is the first career triple-double for Cousins as he had a big night against the Celtics front line — and this is why other teams are interested in him despite his off-the-court issues and fights with coaches. Cousins is talented and that is beyond question. What was impressive is Cousins’ shot was not falling (4-of-12 shooting) but he compensated by dishing assists and also making some key defensive plays to lift the Kings over the Celtics.

First: Caron Butler (29 points, 6-of-6 from three)

The Clippers are up to 17 wins in a row and the Clips can thank Butler, who had 17 of his points in the first quarter and another dozen in the third against the Jazz Sunday.

In a sense I should put Chris Paul here because he made this happen — Butler is not one of the go-to Clippers scorers (9.5 points a game), but he was knocking down everything and CP3 kept feeding him the rock. Butler was 6-of-6 from three and had his 29 points on just 14 shots. But he also hit them at key times — he hit a big three in the third quarter as the Jazz were starting to close in.

  1. dannomac21 - Dec 31, 2012 at 2:29 AM

    Monta never deserves to be here. His two isolation attempts in the final minute (after his jumper to tie it) were pathetic and predictable. Everybody and their mother knew the Bucks were running a high pick & roll iso for Ellis at the top of the key on that final possession, and sure enough they did.

    The fact that the Bucks had the choice of either Ellis or Stephen Curry for Bogut and chose Ellis based on Curry’s questionable ankles makes me sick. Huge blunder by the organization.

  2. dko83 - Dec 31, 2012 at 3:27 AM

    Man.. Cousins, please get your &@%# together. You could be special.

  3. timb12 - Dec 31, 2012 at 6:43 AM

    Is it Ellis’ fault that that’s what the coach drew up?

  4. themagicfanguy - Dec 31, 2012 at 8:10 AM

    I’d love if ORL could come up with a package to get Cousins. If we could somehow keep Nicholson and/or Harkless that’d be even better. Obviously is probably wont happen, but it would sure be nice…

  5. mat9844 - Dec 31, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    Butler is just one more reason the Clips are on a winning streak. Terrific addition to the Clip’s lineup, which includes the best bench in the NBA. Every player on the bench could be a starter.

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