Under-appreciated: It is about time that Al Horford gets some love. He has been solid all season for the Hawks, and is averaging a career high in just about every statistical category. The Florida product went off for 23 points on 10 of 13 shooting, a career high 22 rebounds to go along with his gigantic ears in the win against the Detroit Pistons. Josh Smith chipped in for another 23 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. For the Pistons, Rodney Stuckey, who has struggled all season in a misplaced role, got 22 points (10 of 17) and 5 rebounds. Jonas Jerebko came off the bench for 21 points on 9 of 12 shooting and 6 boards.
Retina Damage: It was all sorts of ugly down at the Air Canada Center, as the Washington Wizards took on the Toronto Raptors for the second time of the season. If you tuned in, you would have caught a night of horrendous shooting and glorious misplays from both teams. The Wizards shot a vomit inducing 42 percent from the field, while the Raptors shot an even worst 37 percent. There were a total of 34 turnovers in this game, and only 2 Raptors scored in the double digits. DeMar DeRozan had a game-high 25 points on 9 of 17 shooting, and 4 rebounds. Kyle Lowry added 18 points on 17 shots and if you were wondering about Rudy Gay, well, he shot a career low 1 of 10 from the field for 7 points, not the most efficient night for the swing man. The rookie, Bradley Beal of the Wiz led his team with 20 points (8 of 13) and 6 rebounds in Washington’s 3rd straight victory.
Truth: The Boston Celtics maybe old and riddled with injuries, but they will always find a way to fight back. After allowing Alec Burks of the Utah Jazz to tie the game in the closing seconds to force overtime, Paul Pierce goes off for 7 straight points (a solo 7-0 run) to give Boston the win. Avery Bradley brought more than just his defense last night, helping himself to 18 points (8 of 12) and 5 rebounds in Salt Lake City. Gordon Hayward led the second unit with 26 points (7 of 16) in Utah’s 4th loss in their last 5 home games, which is pretty rare.
Fun fact – Paul Pierce is a perfect 2 for 2 when his shorts gets pulled down.
NBA JAM: Just when you thought the Lakers were starting to get back on track, they go ahead and lose to the Denver Nuggets. The score might say 119 to 108 in favor to the Nuggets, but it was certainly not all that close. Denver had their way on offense for the entire game. To put this into a perspective for those of you that missed the game, imagine if you were playing NBA JAM against someone who has never played before and you were able to keep one of your players “on fire” for the whole game because your opponent can’t stop you. It was kind of like that. Denver scored 78 points in the PAINT and a season high 33 fast break points. Wilson Chandler stepped up in place of the injured Danilo Gallinari, going for 23 points on 10 of 18 shooting. Ty Lawson had 22 points (8 of 19) and 8 assists. Kobe did kobe things at the Pepsi Center, he scored 29 points (12 of 23), snagged 6 rebounds, and dished out 9 dimes to go with his clenched jaw.
The Lakers are not going to have a fun time watching any footage from this game in their next film session. But they don’t really need to watch it, as with all their games, it comes down to defense, which they still don’t know how to play.