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Thursday night NBA grades: ‘Melo did all he could do. Dwight Howard… not so much

Nov 15, 2013, 2:30 AM EST

Carmelo Anthony Getty Images

Our grades from around the NBA Thursday night, or what you missed while figuring out how to win at The Price is Right

source:  Andrea Bargnani, New York Knicks. He’s played a few good games in a row now… I’m still not fully going to buy into him yet but if you want to make the case he’s finding his groove you have a legit argument. Bargnani finished with 24 pints on 9-of-12 shooting plus he played good man defense in the post against Dwight Howard. He’s not getting an A because his help defense was non-existent and that’s one of the reasons the Rockets won, but he played a generally good game.

source:  Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks. It was basically Carmelo Anthony vs. the Rockets — and Anthony almost won. Check out his shot chart from the first half.

source:

Anthony finished with 45 points on 17-of-30 shooting, he had 10 boards, and if you ask me that was a continuation foul with five seconds left (Harden did get an early slap and bump in there but those didn’t strike me as a fouls you call that late in the game, plus you could argue ‘Melo had started his motion). Anthony is going to have to carry this team for a while and this kind of effort would have won most nights.

source:  Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets. He got pushed out of his position and couldn’t get comfortable in the post; he couldn’t get the ball and make plays, while guarded by Andrea Bargnani. The Knicks did throw doubles at him in the first half trying to get the ball out of his hands (which worked but just opened driving lanes) but by the second half Knicks coach Mike Woodson thought just Bargnani would be enough to control the guy thought of as the best center in the game. And it was. Howard can’t disappear like that on offense. His grade bumps up thanks to his 15 rebounds and defensive presence, but we expect more.

source:  Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors. Grades can come down to how you did on your finals. How did Iguodala do on his final shot?

source:  Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder. Anyone want to tell me again how he is not all the way back? This was his best game since his return, with 31 points hitting 13-of-20 shots, plus 9 rebounds and 5 assists. Plus he almost had a game winner, if Iguodala hadn’t spoiled everything. It’s just good to see Westbrook back and playing like this.

  1. Mr. Wright 212 - Nov 15, 2013 at 2:37 AM

    Melo can’t get an “A”, Kurt. Those horrible possessions down the stretch, holding, dribbling too much, forcing shots, etc. Andrea no looks for the final 9 minutes of the game. The critical foul by Melo not knowing the situation.

    I have loved what Andrea is doing now that he has found the touch, but Felt and Pablo look like the two worst PGs in the league on both ends this year. It is atrocious to watch. Makes me cringe that we gave Cope’s money to Pablo SMH.

  2. lakerade - Nov 15, 2013 at 4:10 AM

    Silent assassin: Klay Thompson.

  3. moseskkim - Nov 15, 2013 at 4:15 AM

    I wish Westbrook the best. He’s a fierce competitor and iron man (Beverley incident was a freak injury) but he is not close to being back. This is his first game shooting 50% and it was a high scoring open court game. Physically he looks good but you can tell that mentally he’s not anywhere close. He’ll get there but it’s goin to take some time

    • antistratfordian - Nov 15, 2013 at 3:44 PM

      A healthy Westbrook is more likely to shoot 40% or less than 50% or better – so you shouldn’t be using 50% shooting as an indicator of Westbrook’s progress.

      • moseskkim - Nov 15, 2013 at 4:28 PM

        not healthy.. a totally “back” westbrook is very up and down in fg’s. of course the average is going to sit in the low to mid 40%. my point was..when hes fully back (mentally and physically), he’ll have 50% shooting games mixed in frequently. thats how it averages out ya know. up to this point, this was his first one over 50% and it was against GSW in an uptempo open court game.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 15, 2013 at 4:48 PM

        Having one 50%+ shooting game in his first 6 games is perfectly within the norm of a healthy Russell Westbrook. Take his last 2 seasons for example – through the first six games of both years he also only had one game of over 50% shooting. So it’s now happened three years in a row.

        In fact, we have this…

        Westbrook FG% Thru First 6 Games:

        2013-14 – 40.4%
        2012-13 – 36.4%
        2011-12 – 38.0%
        2010-11 – 41.1%

        Sp this is standard Russell Westbrook we’re seeing right now when it comes to shooting percentages.

      • moseskkim - Nov 15, 2013 at 5:06 PM

        fair point, my argument doesnt hinge on 50% alone. he doesnt look right. physically he looks like a beast. mentally hes not right. im saying he’ll be back.. i just disagreed with the sentiment of the author when he said tell me how hes not all the way back right now and i used the 1st game of over 50% and fast paced game as some evidence.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 15, 2013 at 5:23 PM

        It’s the beginning of the season – that’s probably what the issue is. He always starts off like this. We can roughly see via his average Game Score (currently 12.3) that his overall production is about the same through the first 6 games as it was in 2012-13 (11.9) and 2011-12 (8.6).

        He seems to be a bit like LeBron James in that he always starts a little slow (for them) – the first 10 games or so they’re just getting ramped up.

      • moseskkim - Nov 15, 2013 at 5:29 PM

        obviously it is the beginning of the season.. but thats the only thing thats common about your comparison. hes coming off his first and only big injury/setback. he didnt have a training camp/preseason to get him going. so i dont see how you say oh he always gets off to a slow start. the variables are way different this time. the other years, he played everything along with USA basketball stuff and still got off to a slow start according to you. stats may look similar, im saying he doesnt look right mentally and thats completely understandable

      • antistratfordian - Nov 15, 2013 at 5:42 PM

        He’s actually playing better than he was at the beginning of the last two seasons – so I don’t think the injury is an issue – that’s my point.

        He didn’t tear his ACL – an MCL tear isn’t that severe. He looks fine.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 15, 2013 at 5:43 PM

        Oh, and Westbrook NEVER looks “right mentally.” That’s what makes him Russell Westbrook. ;)

  4. 00maltliquor - Nov 15, 2013 at 4:46 AM

    Soooo….Howard left Kobe, one of the games greatest and proven winners to get more touches with Harden in HOU and thought he could be the man…how?
    1-5 from the field in 34 min., 5-8 from the charity stripe while Game-Time Decision Harden shot 17 times and had 18 FT attempts.

    Yeeeeeah, things are much different Dwight. At least they are 2 whole games against the “lowly” Lakers, 6-4 to 4-6. Hey Dwight, newsflash…LA to H-Town, you are always going to be 2nd banana. But don’t mess things up, outside of my Lakers I still route for the Rockets as my 2nd team like I have been my whole life. Just don’t drag them down, capice!

    • bucrightoff - Nov 15, 2013 at 7:13 AM

      Dwight left the Lakers because the money was pretty much the same when you factor taxes, and the Rockets roster is better than the Lakers. Kobe as a proven winner is very debatable, Kobe only wins with other very good talent. Hate LeBron all you want (and I do) but he took an incredible crappy Cavs team to the Finals. Dwight took an incredible crappy Magic team to the Finals. In 05-07 when Kobe had crappy teams he…missed the playoffs and flamed out in round 1 (with a 3-1 series lead no less).

      • kb2408 - Nov 15, 2013 at 8:51 AM

        “Kobe only wins with other very good talent”?! What, you mean like Bird who didn’t win anything without Parish and McHale? Like Shaq who didn’t win without Kobe or Wade? MJ didn’t win not one single title without Pippen. Or perhaps you mean like Russell who had he played for Philly instead of Boston wouldn’t have anything close to 11 rings. Your argument is baseless in regards to Kobe. There is a reason why he is considered one of the top 15 players ever on just about every list and a player like Horry with more rings is not.
        @maltliq…at least in L.A., Dwight was the 2nd option, in houston he’s becoming the 3rd or 4th. He’s falling behind Parsons and Lin in the pecking order. How does he get outplayed by a notorious softie like Bargnani?! I guess all that work with the Dream payed off, huh?

      • unxpexted1 - Nov 15, 2013 at 10:02 AM

        I love when people bring up dwight bringing a “sub par” team or talen to the finals. That team was one of the best three point shooting teams in the history of the league. So dont act like Diwght put that squad on his back to the finals. When you have a three point barage like that did that year, you always have a chance.

      • moseskkim - Nov 15, 2013 at 12:06 PM

        and the east was putrid for many years. detroit with billups was solid and they deserved to win, boston had a good year, and miami. but all the other years in between..east was weaksauce. the bobcats made the playoffs. washington was in.. horrible teams. west has been stacked. you dont see anyone saying..ooh someone carried some team through the west with subpar talent because it was always a war of really talented squads.

    • antistratfordian - Nov 15, 2013 at 3:48 PM

      You guys keep getting it wrong. It’s not just about touches. He doesn’t like Kobe. He doesn’t care what Harden does – Harden’s a chill dude. Dealing with Kobe’s ego is a completely different thing.

  5. thedefinitiveman - Nov 15, 2013 at 4:59 AM

    So Dwight Howard plays outstanding D as usual, blocking shots, altering countless other shots, showing why he is the best rebounder in the game, guarding the pick and roll etc.. and he gets a D? I know it is cool to bash D12 for his flaws and a lot of it is deserved and brought on by himself, by come on Kurt, does that mean Carmello should get a D too for playing zero defence?! Last time I checked you understood that there are 2 sides to basketball, attack and defence! Before you hate on me, yes I know Dwight was not good offensively tonight, but at least he sank some clutch FT’s for a change! Any other centre would have got a pass for that output tonight. Hell it’s as good as Asik could ever hope to achieve…

  6. nokoolaidcowboy - Nov 15, 2013 at 6:50 AM

    No one really thought that one closed door meeting would fix this team’s ills, right? It’s still early in the season and it’s going to take some time to fix the problems on D and then gain some momentum.

    This needs a real GM.

  7. jgray30 - Nov 15, 2013 at 8:36 AM

    Yea and what was the result of those crappy carried teams when they faced the western conference in the the finals? Those teams in the east sucked bad back then. So you can’t sit there and say a particular player is better. That Laker team was worst then CLE and ORL. And it was way harder to win games in the west. 8th place record in the west would have been close to a top 4 in the East. But yea, people just want to hate on Kobe..

  8. jgray30 - Nov 15, 2013 at 9:08 AM

    Oh and if Orl and Cle was so bad when they went to the finals, who in the East was better? I’ll wait………exactly! And for the record, DH didn’t lead them anywhere. Rafor Alston and He do running the point did. without Rafer, we were left with Jameer Nelson. exact same team just two different types of point guards. And obviously 2 different outcomes. DH grabbed rebounds blocked a couple shots and scored 18 pts off of dunks. you can’t carry a “crappy” team in that position, with Average scoring.

  9. jgray30 - Nov 15, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    not to mention having Lewis, Courtney Lee and a solid backup in Gortat. they had pretty good role players, they were a huge team that played TEAM ball and with absolutely NO competition. That’s why the made it. Howard isn’t a leader. You’ll find that out sooner or later

  10. unxpexted1 - Nov 15, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    I know there is more to being a superstar besides scoring, but c’mon how can you only have ONE attempt in the first half and the get out played and guarded by Andrei freakin Bargnani. Yes i’m a Laker fan, but seriously, if I’m a Houston fan I’d been like WTF this whole game.

  11. jgray30 - Nov 15, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    @ unx yea and its not like DH commanded double teams on the way to the finals. So there is no way he put Orlando on his back. the same thing Bargnani did to him, Pau did to him I’m the finals. that’s what happens when you have absolutely no offensive game whatsoever……. “BUT ITS ALL KOBES FAULT” lol

    • kinggw - Nov 15, 2013 at 2:17 PM

      He absolutely created double teams, thats why Hedo and Lewis were so wide open. Some people, mostly Lakers fans, love to create this revisionist history where Dwight Howard wasnt the focal point of the Magic team that went to the Finals.

      You dont have to like him but the Lakers fans need to stop acting like he’s just another guy, especially when you acted like he was the next Wilt just one year ago. He had a poor offensive game, but he still contributed 15 boards and 4 blocks. He is still the best center in the game, Lake Show fans are just bitter that he left.

    • antistratfordian - Nov 15, 2013 at 4:25 PM

      “that’s what happens when you have absolutely no offensive game whatsoever”

      Well he has to have some sort of offensive game – no center in the NBA has scored as many points as Dwight Howard from his rookie season until now. In fact he just about doubled the point total of the next guy. No other center comes close.

      If you want to put that historically, Dwight Howard ranks 11th among all centers in history for most points through their first 9 seasons. That’s just a tick below Moses Malone, but ahead of names like Dave Cowens, Willis Reed, Robert Parrish, Alonzo Mourning, Nate Thurmond, Bill Russell, George Mikan, etc.

      • 22yearsagotoday - Nov 15, 2013 at 4:40 PM

        Lakers fans don’t need no stinkin’ facts.

  12. soundsofsuccess7 - Nov 15, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    Dwight is not good

  13. DBabbitt - Nov 15, 2013 at 11:03 AM

    “Anyone want to tell me again how he is not all the way back? This was his best game since his return”

    Tell you again, Kurt? You can’t be that dumb. When Westbrook shot 4 for 16 and dished out 4 assists in a 1 point win over the lowly Wizards you were crowing about being ahead of the curve on Westbrook? Bwahahahahahahahaha.

    This was only his second good game and as EVEN you managed to point out, it was (by far) his best game so far.

  14. bballhistorian - Nov 15, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    Dwight’s back is still not 100%, his explosiveness is half gone. Don’t believe me, just go on youtube and type in “Dwight Howards top 10 career plays”…and see the explosiveness he once had. That all changed once he had back surgery (a la Larry Johnson…and he was never the same afterwards).

    Dwight will still be one of the best centers in the league for the next few years, but if you’re expecting him to be explosive like in his Orlando days, you can kiss that goodbye (that includes you, PBT writers).

    • unxpexted1 - Nov 15, 2013 at 11:14 AM

      Its not his lack of his explosiveness, its his lack of skill. His lack of explosiveness has nothing to do with why he couldn’t get buckets on Andrei Bargnani. He’s still leading the league in rebounidng so I’m pretty sure he’s doing just fine physically.

    • antistratfordian - Nov 15, 2013 at 4:07 PM

      Howard looks more agile and springy than he was last year, so he seems to be slowly getting some ability back. But he had to start over on a new team (his choice) so that will slow his progress down a little bit. But because he’s approaching 30 I don’t think you’re ever going to see him get back to flying like he was when he was 21 or 22 (as in his top 10 career plays).

      But that’s okay. He can still impact a game because he has a nose for the ball regardless of his athleticism.

  15. bballhistorian - Nov 15, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    Not hard for an athletic 6’10 guy to get rebounds! People are expecting the old Dwight Howard (like the Orlando days) to be back. That won’t be back.

  16. sportsfan18 - Nov 15, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    Year-to-date season stats

    Melo vs. The Great Bargnani (I know, he isn’t great at all, sarcasm folks, sarcasm)

    Melo

    .432% FG
    .375% 3 pt
    .818% FT

    The Great Bargnani

    .516% FG
    .444% 3 pt
    .857% FT

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