Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Points In The Paint - Tuesday, February 5

By Jeremy Conlin

There were five NBA games Tuesday night, and while none really qualified as marquee matchups (sorry, Lakers and Nets), we still had a surprisingly entertaining slate of games.

Pacers 114 - Hawks 103

I don't know what the impetus is behind seemingly half the teams in the league wearing late 80s/early 90s throwback jerseys lately, and frankly, I don't want to know. I just want it to keep happening. Granted, last night the Hawks wore this jersey, which is one of the worst jerseys in NBA history, as opposed to this one, which is one of the best. I'm just hoping that it leads to the Kings wearing their powder-blue throwbacks with the number above the name on the back, which is also known by another name - The Greatest Uniform in the History of Organized Sport.

Lakers 92 - Nets 83

For all the talk about the Lakers turning their season around because Kobe became more of a facilitator, the Lakers have actually won their last three games with Kobe shooting 36.8% and averaging 5.7 assists (a solid number nonetheless, but nothing spectacular).

The real reason the Lakers have won six of their last seven is because their defense has finally stepped up. In five of those six wins, the opposing team was held below their season average in offensive efficiency - New Orleans was the only team that exceeded it. Once the Lakers started clamping down on defense, they started winning. Funny how that works.

Also, this happened:

Rockets 140 - Warriors 109

So, the Rockets scored 140 points in regulation by making 23 threes. Those 23 threes tied an NBA record. 140 points in regulation? Doesn't even come close. It doesn't even crack the top 100 since the 1985-1986 season. Even more ridiculous? The Suns played a game in 1990 where they scored 173 points without making a single three.

The Rockets win last night was their sixth win of the season by 20+ points. The only teams with more 20-point wins are the Spurs (13), Clippers (nine), Thunder (nine), Heat (seven), and Knicks (seven). They have more 20-point wins than Denver, Memphis, Golden State, Utah, Indiana, Chicago, and Brooklyn, each of whom they are behind in the overall standings. Obviously this isn't a foolproof conclusion, but this gives you some idea of how much of a Jekyll & Hyde team Houston is. When they're at their best, they're almost impossible to beat, but they just can't find that gear often enough to be legitimate contenders.

Suns 96 - Grizzlies 90

Down the stretch of the game, the Memphis broadcast team seemed to think the reason the game was slipping away was because Rudy Gay was no longer around to create shots. That wasn't really the case.

Memphis finished the game with an offense rating of 101.8, compared to a season average of 103.8. Slightly less, yes, but not substantially so. Defensively, they allowed Phoenix an offensive rating of 107.9, compared to a season average of 100.0 for the Memphis defense. An eight-point drop in defensive performance is the real culprit, not a two-point drop in offensive performance. Foul trouble for Marc Gasol was a big factor in that, which forced Darrell Arthur onto the court for more minutes. Arthur finished the game 1-for-10 from the floor, which didn't help either. Having Rudy Gay around to take low-efficiency shots and play sub-par defense wasn't going to win this game for the Grizzlies.

Nuggets 112 - Bucks 104

I don't want to alarm anyone, but yes, it's true - Samuel Dalembert scored 35 points on 17-21 shooting. And he did it in 27 minutes. You get the canned food, I'll get the water, and we'll meet in the storm cellar in an hour.

There are two plays to discuss from last night's game - the first is what could have been the most hellacious dunk in the history of people forcing spherical objects through circular hoops:

Look at where Faried took off from. He was basically at the free throw line. If Larry Sanders was a split second late on rotating over, Faried would have effectively ended Sanders' entire existence. Taking off from the free throw line and dunking on the head of the league's leading shotblocker? Yeah, Sanders would have literally disappeared into the ether never to be seen again. In fact, that kind of happened anyway - he left the game with a back injury after his awkward fall.

The other play -  Danilo Gallinari pulling off one of the most ridiculous circus shots in recent memory:

The Denver broadcast team giggling like schoolgirls is probably the best part, or perhaps second to JaVale McGee's incredulous look from the bench.

Gallo has been playing like an All-Star lately. Over his last 20 games, he's averaging 20 points and five rebounds with 62.6% True Shooting. He certainly struggled to start the season, but his play recently certainly looks to warrant the $42 million extension he signed last year.