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Monday night NBA grades: Jefferson, Cousins with big nights against good defenders

Jan 15, 2014, 2:59 AM EST

New York Knicks v Charlotte Bobcats Getty Images

Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while having another coffee but just to help your memory….

source:  Al Jefferson, Charlotte Bobcats. He made every Knicks front line player look bad — you’d think Tyson Chandler had never seen a pump fake before. Once Jefferson got his post moves going (he was 8-of-10 inside three feet) and got his confidence up he stepped out and hit 3-of-6 from the midrange. That’s when you knew it was his night. Jefferson finished with 35 points on 14-of-20 shooting plus pulled down 8 rebounds in the best game the Bobcats big man has played in a while.

source:  DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings. He is for real. If you haven’t been watching Kings’ basketball this season (and can’t blame you if you haven’t) you have missed him evolving into a beast. Tuesday night he had to go up against the wall that is Roy Hibbert and the Pacers’ elite defense and he put up 31 points on 21 shots, and he pulled down 13 rebounds. Cousins had 19 of his points in a strong third quarter — Hibbert was playing good defense, Cousins was just making shots.

source:  Los Angeles Lakers’ defense. At the start of this season the Lakers played pretty much league-average defense and that was the key to them exceeding early expectations. Those days are long gone. The Cavaliers scored at a ridiculous 126 points per 100 possessions pace on Tuesday night. In their lat five games, the Lakers have allowed 117.9 points per 100, 29th in the NBA — their season average is 105.9, which is still bottom 5 in the league. But of late defense is an afterthought for the Lakers, which is a bad thing for a team heading out on a 7-game road trip.

source:  Luol Deng, Cleveland Cavaliers. Deng had his best night since being traded to Cleveland. They are figuring out how to use him properly, which is more and more in the pick-and-roll. He can handle the ball, giving the Cavaliers another ball handler, plus he worked well off the ball when Anderson Varejao had the ball at the elbow. Deng was 5-of-5 from three on his way to 27 points, plus he had some key defensive plays (in a game with little other defense) to help the Cavs get the win.

  1. prettyprettyjones - Jan 15, 2014 at 3:58 AM

    it’s Tuesday, bruh…

  2. sellahh - Jan 15, 2014 at 5:19 AM

    I can’t believe how much Chandler is still living off that Mavericks’ championship hype. He’s a decent help defender but man-to-man? Valanciunas sonned him before, so did ZBo now Big Al.
    Overrated

  3. timberwolvesbrisin - Jan 15, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    Ive actually watched lots of Kings ball. They have a fun team to watch. Theyre always in games, theyve blown a lot of close games too.

    • norcalkingsfan - Jan 15, 2014 at 1:05 PM

      I’m with you. I am a first time season ticket holder as I pledged to buy them if they got rid of the Maloofs. Now I get to seem teams struggle to guard Isaiah and Demarcus while D-will, Gay, and Mclemore run around catching oops. Pretty frickin’ fun to watch. We won’t get anywhere near the playoffs in the West but it’s cool. As long as the Maloofs are gone and we are showing progress I am cool with a top ten pick this year.

      This team is going nowhere but up. The front office has only had control since June. There was pretty much no offseason. Malone, Vivek, D’Alessandro, Mullins, Jent…. these guys are all winners. The losing culture is finally being shed.

      We don’t have an impressive record but the future is bright. We’ve been playing .500 ball since Isaiah took over and this team is starting to show consistency and chemistry. Beat the Heat, Trailblazers, Rockets twice, and almost won against SA on the road. These guys have uber talent. Now it’s time they learn how to play defense and be consistent.

      DMC is an all star. Dropped 31 on Hibbert last night.

      Playoffs 2015!

  4. themagicfanguy - Jan 15, 2014 at 6:34 PM

    Cousins got 31 points on 21 shots… That’s absolutely terrible for a big man. Why did he get a good grade again?

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