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Three Stars of the night: Getting your team wins against elite

Jan 3, 2013, 2:58 AM EDT

Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

There were so many people who could have made three stars of the night tonight we could have done 10 stars of the night. But, for the sake of my sanity (such as it is) we are keeping it at three. So how do you separate the top three? It’s not just numbers, but who also put up the numbers against the best.

Honorable mention goes to Carlos Boozer (31 points and 11 boards against Orlando), Paul George (29 points, 14 rebounds), Stephen Curry (31 points, 8 assists), James Harden (31 points, 7 assists) and DeMarcus Cousins to had 18 points, 16 rebounds and 6 assists against the Cavaliers.

Third Star, Jrue Holiday (16 points, 10 rebounds 10 assists)

He lived up to Steve Nash’s proclamation and put up a triple-double on the second night of a back-to-back. He looked every bit the All-Star, and when you put up a triple-double (the second of his career( we’ll put you in three stars even if it was in a losing effort against the Suns. He has taken over the 76ers offense this season — the one that was supposed to flow through Andrew Bynum — that is something. This is Holiday’s second career triple double.

Second Star: Joe Johnson (33 points, 5 assists)

P.J. Carlesimo has his first signature win as Nets coach, beating the Thunder in OKC, and he can thank Joe Johnson for much of that. Johnson had 12 first quarter and 20 first half points and was at the heart of the reason the Nets led 55-32 at one point.

Then when the Thunder made their run — and you knew they would — Johnson scored 8 straight in the fourth (including a shot to break a tie) and finished with 10 in the final frame. Johnson gets flack for his contract (really the Hawks should, they offered it) but the guy can score the rock and when he’s on — like Wednesday with 33 points on 19 shots — not even a good team can slow him.

First Star: David Lee (24 points, 13 rebounds, 7assists)

Lee was at the heart of the Warriors picking up a statement against the Clippers. Yes, he put up some quality numbers and looked great running the Golden State offense out of the high post, but he is on top of this list because he played a complete game — Lee was assigned Blake Griffin on defense and had a strong night against the dunking machine (Griffin finished with just 10 points). The Warriors raced out to the early lead and it was Lee’s efforts on both ends of the floor that helped Golden State maintain that distance from the Clips and cruise into the win. He earned this.

  1. dko83 - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:32 AM

    Warriors looking really good. Psyched for them. Can’t wait to see them in a seven game series. But Boozer.. Not really a Bulls fan so can’t comment with much insight, but he seems overpaid and overrated. Seems like he was never as good as he was at Utah.

  2. jimmygrahamchrisivory - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:49 AM

    Wow. I can only imagine how good the Warriors can be if Bogut comes back healthy with no setbacks and back to his Milwaukee-form. Assuming Harrison Barnes remains the starting going forward, they have a very good player at every position in the starting lineup, plus Jack and Landry’s double digit scoring a piece off the bench.

    Curry, Thompson, and Barnes is a very solid young core that’ll make that team a top seed for years to come. I hope the same can happen for the Hornets with Davis, Gordon, and Rivers .

  3. nbascreed - Jan 3, 2013 at 5:31 AM

    The Warriors, Steph Curry and Jackson have made me fans! It’s good to know that coaching and front office can make a difference…

  4. raiderkaos - Jan 3, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    David lee was assigned to anyone but Blake griffin. But the warriors beat that a$$ anyways.

  5. bils293 - Jan 3, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    How is lebron almost never a star of the night? The guy puts up ridiculous numbers on a nightly basis while getting his team consistent wins. Have we become so used to what he’s doing that we rarely acknowledge it any more?

    • miamatt - Jan 3, 2013 at 12:11 PM

      You are so right. Lebron’s stat line last night: 32 points on just 20 shots, 11 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block, against just one turnover.

      Not to mention the usual collection of spectacular dunks and a win on OT.

      As you pointed out, we expect this type of night from LBJ. Even though he is flat out having a BETTER year than last season’s MVP campaign, I have a feeling somebody else will get the award- because what James does every night gets taken for granted. It’s hard to exceed expectations when you are the prohibitive favorite.

  6. rickeye9 - Jan 3, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    sorry dude, you did not watch the warriors game did you? Lee guarded griffin maybe 2 possessions the entire game, maybe! I was there and watching Biedrins, Ezili and Landry make Blake look weak. He did have one hell of a game, but if you watched the game, Curry was the real star, missed 5 shots and scores 31 , 8 and 6 vs CP3

  7. mat9844 - Jan 3, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    Clippers win a lot and lose a few along the way. Still # 1.

  8. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Jan 3, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    Hey you know what would be cool? If ESPN actually acknowledged the Warriors existence. I’m completely indifferent to them but they’re earning more attention due to their play, and yet they aren’t getting it. The Lakers get 10x the coverage and they’re mediocre. Shut up already. I don’t care about what city a team plays in(excluding home teams obviously), I care about good basketball. The Warriors are playing it yet the media refuses to acknowledge it.

  9. yousuxxors - Jan 3, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    For real im not a warriors team but they are kicking ass and showing that they are legit.

  10. shanelsweet - Jan 3, 2013 at 7:15 AM

    Yelling “F*** you” directly at the ref will get you ejected in any sport at any level. And you want that to change? No thanks

  11. shanelsweet - Jan 3, 2013 at 7:16 AM

    Yelling “F*** you” directly at the ref will get you ejected in any sport at any level. And you want that to change? No thanks

  12. misterchainbluelightning - Jan 3, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    Won’t get you tossed in hockey. EVER. Spoken like a boy who never played a meaningful sport in his life.
    These are the PROS, not the lil league garbage you played in as a lil boy.

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