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Tuesday night NBA grades: DeMar DeRozan is the Raptors go to guy

Feb 26, 2014, 2:32 AM EDT

Toronto Raptors v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while wishing you had watched the Winter Olympics in a snow fort…

source:   DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors. He is the guy the Raptors go to in the fourth and what’s different than the Rudy Gay era is how he gets his points — it’s not isolations. He’s coming off picks and getting the handoffs, or he’s working off what Kyle Lowry is doing, but the bottom line he is getting it out of sets. Tuesday night DeRozan delivered — he had 16 points in the fourth quarter (33 for the game) including an impressive driving reverse slam and the Raptors beat the Cavaliers because of his play. He may settle for too many jumpers but when they fall good luck stopping him.

source:   James Harden, Houston Rockets. Most players get pumped to play in Madison Square Garden or the Staples Center — James Harden was up for Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. Harden dropped 22 points in the first quarter, pushing the Rockets out to an early 25-point lead over the Kings. From there it was basically over — Harden had 43 points and didn’t even play the fourth.

source:   DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings. DeMarcus, just between you and me, you’ve done a better job this season of letting the bad calls and injustices on the court — perceived and real — roll off your back. You really have, you’re becoming one of the game’s top big men. Call it maturity, call it needing to lead your team, call it whatever you want. But when you have setbacks like you did Tuesday night it hurts the team and you (they needed you to body up Dwight Howard to have any chance of a comeback). That’s 15 technicals now, one more this season and you get a forced vacation from the league. I know it’s not in your nature, but you can’t let the refs or opponents get under your skin like that. You can’t get in the referee’s face.

source:  Jeff Teague, Atlanta Hawks. His team lost but his 11 fourth quarter points — 10 of the team’s 13 at one point in the final frame — kept the in it at all. But then he made a couple mistakes that sabotaged the Hawks hopes — getting stripped when the Hawks were going for a tie. Or stepping out of bounds with less than 20 seconds left. Don’t let that completely overshadow a strong game — 26 points (on 10-20 shooting) and 7 assists — but he just couldn’t close and neither could the Hawks.

source:  Indiana Pacers in third quarter. Whatever it is Frank Vogel tells his team at halftime, he could make him a mint with it on the motivational speaking circuit. In the third quarters this season the Indiana Pacers have outscored their opponents by an NBA best 4.9 points on average — more than double what the second best team does (Portland at +2.2). Or to look at it another way the Pacers outscore their opponents by an average of 20.2 points per 100 possessions in the third quarter. Or, you can just ask the Lakers — Indiana outscored Los Angeles by 18 in the quarter, shooting 58 percent while holding the Lakers to 33 percent. It went from a close game to a rout where the Pacers starters got a lot of rest.

By the way, Evan Turner looked pretty good for the Pacers — 6-of-12 shooting and he was doing it within the offense.

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  1. 1forest1 - Feb 26, 2014 at 3:29 AM

    And people say he’s the best center in the league..

    Perhaps he and Davis have the most potential to the best. Personally if I were trying to win now, I would rather get a center I can rely on like Howard, Noah, and Jefferson. This kid needs to grow up and lead his team, or the kings would never accomplish anything

    • elcapitanfiscal - Feb 26, 2014 at 8:32 AM

      He just needs to get out of Sacramento..it’s a dysfunctional organization thay can’t do anything right.

      Cousins is just super frustrated because he truly wants to win. If he was on a well-run team, he wouldn’t be so angry all the time.

    • bhunter1995 - Feb 26, 2014 at 10:42 AM

      You lost credibility with me when you said Noah and Jefferson. Noah is a non factor in the post on offense and has less range and creativity then Cousins, Noah out hustles Cousins thats basically it. Jefferson was better then Cousins two years ago but its clear Cousins is better now.

      • ryanrockzzz - Feb 26, 2014 at 12:54 PM

        Davis is better than all of them. Demarcus can’t play defense which puts him well behind Noah and even Howard at this point. Part of the reason that team can’t win with him Thomas and Rudy Gay.

      • 1forest1 - Feb 26, 2014 at 2:38 PM

        Okay Noah may have been a bit of a stretch, but I’m not saying any one of the three players i mentioned are better than Cousins. I’m just saying if I were trying to win games, I would choose these centers to do so.

        Other than having a great coach, and Boozer, the Bulls don’t really have a great team, yet they still win games. Jefferson also has been able to lead, and win games, last year with Jazz, and this year with the Bobcats. The guy doesn’t get enough recognition. Cousins has enough talent around him to at least have a respectable record.

  2. unxpexted1 - Feb 26, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    It’ll be interesting to see what Demar’s ceiling is as a player. He seems to improve every year.

  3. phillysports1 - Feb 26, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    Bring Cousins to Philly please !

  4. ryanrockzzz - Feb 26, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    I love all of this Cousins is a great player who’s getting better each year talk. That is great if you’re playing Fantasy Basketball. He can score at an elite level, and has turned himself into a decent rebounder overall and keep your fantasy team up there.

    But Cousins still struggles playing defense, and still seems lost on the floor, despite being the league for a decent amount of time. He still looks awful vs. pick and roll defenses at times, and you can manipulate his head so easily, you can take him right out of a game. Put that with inconsistent effort that seems to never go away, and I don’t see how DeMarcus leads any team at this level.

    I fail to see how he has elite center ability in this league. I think he will always be an above average offensive contributer, but really his style of play isn’t condusive to winning a Championship. The last hope is that he can leave Sacramento, which hasn’t done him any favors either with poor coaches and development plans prior to Malone.

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