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Monday night NBA grades: Time to stop shoveling dirt on Anthony Bennett

Feb 12, 2014, 3:09 AM EDT

Golden State Warriors v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while thinking this may be the best soccer goal celebration ever….

source:  Anthony Bennett, Cleveland Cavaliers. You don’t know how a draft pick is going to pan out for three years. You just don’t. Some guys start fast but never really develop beyond that (Tyreke Evans, for example) and some guys start slow and find their game. Anthony Bennett is finding his game — 19 points and 10 boards as the Cavs beat the Kings. Bennett showed a real variety in his game — he knocked down threes, he attacked the rim and drew and and-one on DeMarcus Cousins. Bennett was injured all summer, was nowhere near in shape for the season, doesn’t bring his best energy every night, but he has skills. And he’s young, he has good shooting form and he could turn out to be a good pick for the Cavs.

source:  Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls. David Thorpe likes to say “energy is a skill” and Joakim Noah has it in bunches. That skill brought him a triple-double Tuesday — 19 points, 16 rebounds and 11 dimes to lead the Bulls past the Hawks. He may be the ultimate Tom Thibodeau player with his defense, his grinding style and an ugly shot that just works.

source:  Al Jefferson, Charlotte Bobcats. Charlotte was really moving the ball well against the usually stout Memphis defense — 42 assists on the 45 made baskets — and the big beneficiary of that Tuesday was Al Jefferson. He finished with 30 points on 14-of-23 shooting, he was getting the ball where he likes it — on the block, preferably left, about 8-10 feet out with his back to the basket — and was getting in close and finishing. He has played very well this year.

source:  LeBron James, Miami Heat. He apparently enjoyed his vacation in Utah — did you see him that game? — because he came back refreshed and with a new energy on Tuesday night. He played like a guy who might someday belong on NBA’s Mount Rushmore. LeBron finished with 37 points on 22 shots, plus he pulled down 9 boards. With Dwyane Wade out (migraine) more is expected of LeBron, and he delivered.

source:  Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City. His hot streak continues — 36 points on 15-of-28 shooting. It’s almost just expected. Durant gets his grade dinged a little for the 8 turnovers he had, but the man got buckets. He was just 5-of-9 inside eight feet but hit 7-of-13 from the midrange.

source:  Michael Jordan. Congratulations, new father. His wife gave birth to twin girls Sunday. Savor every moment, your daughters will grow up fast and you want to be present (in the Zen sense of the word Phil Jackson used to tell you about in meditations before games) for every minute of it. Also, I hope you can get by on less sleep.

  1. rockthered1286 - Feb 12, 2014 at 6:32 AM

    How do you ignore Bradley Beals career high 37 point night?!

  2. drubyy1993 - Feb 12, 2014 at 7:50 AM

    Because they lost . You can score 100 points but if you don’t win it don’t matter

    • rockthered1286 - Feb 12, 2014 at 8:25 AM

      This is grading players not teams. If Bron went off for 50 and they lost, I highly doubt they’d exclude him from their grades. Beal had a phenomenal night. He came up short on his final shot (and Wall couldn’t get him the ball for the final possession) but because his team lost (primarily due to Gortat and Nene getting manhandled in the paint) Beal becomes irrelevant? I’m not buying it.

      • abchome - Feb 12, 2014 at 8:35 AM

        If Beal went off for 50, I’m sure he’d be mentioned as well. 37 points in an loss is not much a big deal.

      • paleihe - Feb 12, 2014 at 10:54 AM

        37 points is a big deal no matter who you’re playing against, or whether your team wins or not.

    • timberwolvesbrisin - Feb 12, 2014 at 9:05 AM

      But they highlighted Durant who lost/

      • unxpexted1 - Feb 12, 2014 at 9:20 AM

        The thunder definitely won

      • timberwolvesbrisin - Feb 12, 2014 at 9:35 AM

        my bad, i thought they lost

  3. abchome - Feb 12, 2014 at 8:32 AM

    Man! It’s Tuesday night, and Charlotte actually played against Dallas and their cheese defense.

  4. timberwolvesbrisin - Feb 12, 2014 at 9:03 AM

    Every player has at least one good game. Lets back off him being a total bust, but yet dont act as if he’s arrived.

  5. unxpexted1 - Feb 12, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    I dont know what award Al Jefferson would qualify, whether most improved or something but this guy has been BALLIN since coming back from injury. Definitely deserves some recognition. Always felt bad that he has never been on a contending team cause he can really help a squad

    • borderline1988 - Feb 12, 2014 at 10:14 AM

      It’s so frustrating watching him score, b/c it seems like his entire game includes 2 post moves from the same block (spin right and lay it up with the right hand, or take a dribble left and hook shot). Every time he scores, I practically shout at the defender “You know he was going to do that!!”

      But obviously it’s harder stopping Al Jefferson than it seems, because he’s been consistently putting up numbers all season.

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