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Tuesday night NBA grades: Damian Lillard is clutch

Dec 18, 2013, 2:49 AM EDT

Damian Lillard, Portland trail blazers Getty Images

Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while salivating over the idea of a “Rounders” sequel. Or wincing at the idea. (Count me with the latter group.)

source:  Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers. Two clutch game winners in a row. Tuesday night he had 23 of his 36 points in the second half and helped spark a 22-7 run that seemed to have Portland in control midway through the fourth — then Kyrie Irving helped spark changed everything. The Cavs went on a 12-2 run and tied it all up with 7.1 seconds left.

All of which set this up. Dagger.

source:  Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors. Yes, Stephen Curry was carrying the offense (30 points), but do you think it’s a coincidence that Iguodala returns to action after 26 days off and the Pelicans only shoot 37.5 percent on the night? Iguodala himself only played 17 minutes and had 2 points on 1-of-4 shooting (finishing an alley-oop from Stephen Curry), there certainly was rust. But the simple fact is Golden State’s ball movement was improved as was their focus on defense. And that all ties to Iguodala.

source:  Denver Nuggets’ pick-and-roll defense. Brian Shaw set out a strategy of switching on the pick-and-roll Tuesday, especially when Kevin Durant had the ball. Not many doubles, just switches. Durant ended up with 30 points and would just shoot over the top of whoever came at him or back poor Randy Foye down in the block. Durant is going to get his, you just need to make him work for them. Denver didn’t. Next meeting Shaw needs a new strategy.

source:  Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters (Cleveland Cavaliers). It was in a losing effort but the two guys who reportedly are not tight off the court looked good together on it — they combined for 50 points and both had key roles in the Cavaliers fourth-quarter comeback that made it a game at the end. This was what the Cleveland front office had in mind with this pairing, but with Waiters on the trade block we may not see many more nights like this.

  1. poundtherock - Dec 18, 2013 at 3:09 AM

    DeMarcus Cousins? 30 pts, 17 rebounds, 6 assists. Yeah he had 6 turnovers but I think his performance is worth noting.

  2. ljl2 - Dec 18, 2013 at 8:14 AM

    He’s not on the trade block! Stop taking random bleacher reports that cite themselves as gospel when teams come out saying they aren’t true.

  3. shanelsweet - Dec 18, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    Cavs lost a heart breaker to Blazers, and Bobcats beat Sacramento. Last 2 nights, the East is up 3 on the West. David Aldridge reported on 12/9 that the West was up 60 to 29 over the East. Let’s go EAST!

    • asimonetti88 - Dec 18, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      “Let’s go EAST!”

      Do you root for the whole SEC too?

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