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Sunday night NBA grades: Russell Westbrook returns, Kevin Love puts up numbers

Nov 4, 2013, 2:16 AM EDT

Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook AP

Our grades from Sunday around the NBA, or what you missed while watching your Ferrari get run over by a delivery truck

source:  Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City. He returns and the Oklahoma City offense, particularly in the fourth quarter, looks better. (Not great by any stretch, there’s still work to do, but better). It’s not a coincidence. Westbrook looked explosive but rusty on the finish, which is why his 21 points came on 5-of-16 shooting, but he was getting to the line and dished out seven assists. He looked like his old self. There is rust to shake off but the rest of the West should worry.

source:  Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves. Another big line: 34 points on 10-of-19 shooting, plus 15 boards. He was attacking inside with 9 of his 19 shots coming in the restricted area (he hit seven and got to the line for 15 free throws), but he also drained an off-balance jumper then got a high-five from Spike Lee. Love also had 9 points and 5 rebounds in the fourth quarter when the Knicks made the game interesting but the T-Wolves hung on. Love and Kevin Martin (30 points on 9-of-12 shooting, 5-of-5 from three) led the Timberwolves to an offensive rating of 110.4 (points per 100 possessions) against a Knicks team that had a strong first two games defensively.

source:  Washington Wizards defense. This isn’t just a grade earned tonight — although the Heat certainly abused them — this is one for the season. Think they miss Emeka Okafor? Washington has given up at least 100 points in all three of its games. The Wizards have allowed 108.1 points per 100 possessions in their first two games (that would have been third worst in the NBA last season) then let the Heat rack up 113. Miami shot 52.9 percent, the Heat’s “big three” had 69 points. Washington isn’t going to come close to their goal of the playoffs if they don’t clean up that end.

source:  Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns. He had an unimpressive first half (1-of-5) shooting, but after Goran Dragic left the game with an ankle sprain he stepped up — 20 points on 6-of-12 shooting in the second half. Bledsoe  finished the game with 26 points and 14 assists. He kept Phoenix ahead for much of the third and the start of the fourth quarter, until Oklahoma City did what it does and pulled away. Bledsoe has struggled on the season (40.9 percent shooting) but this half was a glimpse of what he can be for Phoenix. He just needs to attack and get the threes to fall if he’s going to keep gunning them.

  1. allday420ap - Nov 4, 2013 at 3:00 AM

    K Love 4 MVP

    • adamsjohn714 - Nov 4, 2013 at 3:11 AM

      Team wins matter too much (in voters’ minds) for him to win MVP. He’s been robbed of one already.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 4, 2013 at 3:39 AM

        When was he robbed? When the Wolves won 17 games? Or was it when they won 26 games? You’re not going to win an MVP if you can’t even lead your team to 27 wins. A better player would’ve had that team in the playoffs already.

      • adamsjohn714 - Nov 4, 2013 at 4:06 AM

        2010-2011 he was a fantastically efficient scorer at an impressive volume and dominated the glass. His team was absolutely awful and squandered his incredible play. If we took Lebron and put him on the bobcats does that mean he isn’t any good anymore? No, it doesn’t. Stop pretending that Norris Cole is the best player of all time because he’s won 2 rings in 2 years.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 5, 2013 at 10:24 PM

        You’re forgetting one key point: If we took LeBron and put him on the Bobcats, the Bobcats would make the playoffs.

        If you put LeBron on the 2010-11 Wolves, they’re in the playoffs – with Kevin Love they only won 17 games. There is no way – not even remotely – that Love deserved an MVP at any point in his career.

      • ryanrockzzz - Nov 4, 2013 at 8:00 AM

        You know, part of me agrees with you. The NBA is such a star driven leauge, that having only one star player usually doesn’t mean anything unless you have 2-3 high level piece players with them. I think it’s completely in the relom of possibility for a player on a bad team to win it. The problem is there is usually a player on a good team that is nearly as deserving. The Wolves never surrounded Love with much, and the one piece he did have (Rubio) has been as injury prone as him. That aside, no way he’s been MVP worthy..YET….

  2. razorbyrd - Nov 4, 2013 at 6:13 AM

    no love for the Magic taking it to the Nets?!

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