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Sunday NBA grades: All hail the unstoppable Jodie Meeks

Mar 10, 2014, 12:59 AM EDT

Jodie Meeks, Kevin Durant AP

Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while thinking Minnesota State Representative Pat Garofalo must be a small minded racist (is there another kind)…

source:  Jodie Meeks, Los Angles Lakers. Meeks epitomized the Lakers on this day — not only was he hot he was aggressive, and that’s what led to his career high 42 points. He was attacking off the dribble, getting into the body of Thunder bigs and getting to the free throw line 14 times. He was 11-of-18 shooting and 6-of-11 from three. He was also the guy guarding Russell Westbrook when he airballed a key three late (although that was more Westbrook than Meek’s defense). Meeks has been one of the few consistent Lakers this season (played in 59 games, scored in double digits in 51 of them) and he took advantage of the next grade in this list.

source:  Oklahoma City Thunder’s perimeter defense. For the second game in a row — against the Suns and now Lakers — the Thunder’s perimeter defense was exposed by guards who can attack or shoot from distance (Gerald Green and Meeks, both of whom topped 40) and by teams that want to play at a fast pace. Part of this was that the Thunder really miss Thabo Sefalosha (out until likely about the start of the playoffs) but part of it is that they are simply not playing good defense right now. Guys are getting blown by on the perimeter, the help is late and if it is there guys are not helping the helper. Miami lost and looked bad, but at least they defended. Against the lowly Lakers there just is no excuse.

source:  Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls. Pretty much every Bulls fan felt like Yannick Noah — the tennis legend and father of Joakim — who erupted mid-interview on ABC to cheer on another big play from his son, the heart of the Bulls and the reason they beat the Heat on Sunday. Noah was at his best when it mattered most scoring 10 points plus he had 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks in the fourth quarter in overtime. For the game Noah had 20 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists, and 5 blocks.

source:  Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder. He had his sixth career triple-double — 27 points on 8-of-19 shooting with 10 rebounds and 12 assists. That needs to be acknowledged — as does the fact Russell Westbrook took a terrible three late in the game (Thunder down 3, 45 seconds left, they don’t need a three but they do need Durant to at least touch the rock and he didn’t instead Westbrook airballed a step-back three). The Thunder are 3-5 since Westbrook’s return, make of that what you will. But when Durant has the hot hand he needs to get the rock and initiate plays down the stretch. The MVP candidate has earned that right. (Durant’s “B” is because his team lost.)

source:   Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors. While we are mentioning triple-doubles, here is Lowry with 20 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists leading the Raptors to a win over the Timberwolves. Toronto remains the three seed in the East and with a soft schedule the rest of the way we could see a lot more Raptors in this space in the coming weeks.

source:  James Harden, Houston Rockets. It’s not just the 41 points, it’s that 20 of them came in the fourth quarter and overtime when the Rockets came from 13 points down to beat the Trail Blazers. He didn’t just do it for one night this week — in the wins over Miami, Indiana and Portland for the Rockets Harden averaged 30.3 points, 6.8 assists and 5.3 rebounds a game plus hit 45.2 percent of his threes. The Rockets are hot, their offense is carrying them and Harden is a big reason.

Honorable mention: Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics, who had 18 assists, 0 turnovers; Anthony Davis had 32 points and 17 boards in the win over Denver; LaMarcus Aldridge had 28 points and 12 boards for the Trail Blazers in a loss; and Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins with 28 points and 20 rebounds (10 offensive) in a losing effort).

  1. retxedfred - Mar 10, 2014 at 1:22 AM

    On OKC’S perimeter defense: “Miami lost and looked bad, but at least they defended.” I think they meant OKC.

  2. nykfanwakemeupin2015 - Mar 10, 2014 at 1:35 AM

    I honestly would put Noahs fathers interview as one of the better basketball moments of the season. Locking Lebron down, talking some smack to him, running up the court, grabbing the board and putting it back up and getting fouled. This guys motor is incredible, and you could see how emotional it was for his father. Great Sports moment IMO

    • rawgator06 - Mar 10, 2014 at 8:27 AM

      As a Heat fan, the sequence hurt bad. But seeing the excitement on Yannick Noah was awesome and was one of the cooler interview moments.

    • jcmeyer10 - Mar 10, 2014 at 11:01 AM

      Amen. I was watching that thinking of how proud that man must be. It certainly showed in the interview and the reaction on that OReb and put back.

      Nice to be reminded of the other side of sports.

  3. pfic15 - Mar 10, 2014 at 1:42 AM

    As an OKC fan, I will never understand how this team kept Westbrook and let Harden walk. Westbrook will be the reason why OKC doesn’t get a ring. That plus poor personnel moves. Harden actually makes players around him better. Westbrook…not so much.

    • money2long - Mar 10, 2014 at 4:26 AM

      Did u know harden was capable of holding down a franchise when he was coming off okc’s bench?
      Everyone sounds like a genius with hindsight. That doesn’t mean I agree with your post. Westbrook is great. Let him find his rhythm. And it looks like you closed the door on okc’s duo getting a ring. I think you’re mistaken. They will one day get a championship.

      • sprest83 - Mar 10, 2014 at 9:22 AM

        Everyone could tell that Westbrook isn’t a team player like Harden was/is. OKC might not have known that Harden was going to be better when they gave Westbrook that contract. Westbrook has had his chance to find his rhythm, he is the same player that won’t change.

      • pfic15 - Mar 10, 2014 at 10:22 AM

        They need a 3rd scorer. Brooks is infatuated with Westbrook …perhaps because he’s the PG Brooks dreamed his was during his playing days. Westbrook should be the clear #2 on this team…7-23 isn’t bringing any rings to OKC. OKC is playing money ball….I am a huge OKC fan btw.

      • money2long - Mar 10, 2014 at 11:42 AM

        It’s become increasingly clear that the sporting world is incredibly fickle.

        Living in the moment and making judgements based on what they see instead of educated, poised forecasted and level headed Analyzation. As soon as Westbrook goes on a tear and gets triple doubles, or rounds up a bunch of 30+ point games in a streak or gets some amazing stat lines or game winners, then he’ll be the greatest thing since sliced bread. But since he’s back off injury now, and the thunder had some poor performances, then Westbrook is a virus. And he ain’t all that. And we all knew harden should have been kept. And yaddah yaddah yaddah.

        What were ppl saying earlier in the season when reports were out that harden was an atrocious defender ? A liability on that end? And he was being exposed as such? People were hopping off his bandwagon. Now as soon as harden has some good performances and the rockets are balling, while at the same time the thunder are struggling, then it’s super easy to make the thunder look like fools so you the fan can look like the all knowing one. As if you were so certain of the move to make and what the future held.

        The fact of the matter is…Westbrook is a superstar. He and durant love playing together. They have a great record. Opposing teams hate playing against them. A lot of people hate trying to defend Westbrook. Westbrook will show the world one day his true worth when he is hoisting the championship trophy.

        The end.

      • evenbetterthancorinne - Mar 10, 2014 at 5:51 PM

        Harden is more of a team player than Westbrook? That’s funny because Westbrook averages more assists. And before you say it’s because he holds the ball more, that’s not true… how many Houston possessions have we seen where Harden just dribbles out the ball until there’s like 5 left on the shot clock? Harden is the reason Jeremy Lin is having his growth stunted because it’s hard to be a PG without the ball in your hands. You see that every time Harden is out Jeremy has a great game, just like every time Westbrook is out KD has a great game. The difference is that KD is a great player and is able to adapt to Westbrook. Now I agree Westbrook should defer to KD in the end game situations but it’s not like Harden is without his flaws either. Westbrook still has more upside and is an infinitely better defender (why do people criticize KLove for his defense and not Harden?)

  4. padraighansen - Mar 10, 2014 at 7:52 AM

    Jodie Meeks. Another Buck traded by Hammond.

  5. jbeagles23 - Mar 10, 2014 at 9:11 AM

    I don’t watch much of okc but when I see the box scores it blows my mind when Westbrook has more shots than Durant. Can these two win a title co existing?

    • bizmarks12 - Mar 10, 2014 at 2:49 PM

      Ship Westbrook to the Lakers.

      • evenbetterthancorinne - Mar 10, 2014 at 5:56 PM

        for who?

  6. velocirep - Mar 10, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    Westbrook is the same guy that got emotional and made the same dumb basketball plays to lose in the finals. He needs to learn to give Durant control in the last five minutes. That alone would dramatically change their chances
    Great talent but low bball IQ

  7. gmsingh123 - Mar 10, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    Jimmy Butler–A. The best ball stealer in the NBA.

  8. velocirep - Mar 10, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    ..and Jodie Meeks has proven that he is very stoppable- don’t boost

  9. bizmarks12 - Mar 10, 2014 at 2:48 PM

    Yannick Noah claps like a girl! “Yesss, Yesssss, sooowy”. LOL

  10. evenbetterthancorinne - Mar 10, 2014 at 5:48 PM

    I love Yannick Noah

  11. ranfan12 - Mar 10, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    Trying not to get happy in the 4th quarted because I thought it was inevitable that the thunder were going to get really close. People talking all that trash about westbrook now since they lost but had the game been won after that late dunk and leaning 3 pointer, no one wouldn’t have bothered.

  12. velocirep - Mar 10, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    Uh.. ‘Talking trash’ about Westbrook taking errant 3’s since he ruined OKC’s chances in the finals against Miami.

    Just more obvious every time he blows a game with a bonehead play as one of the games most clutch watches on.

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