Golden State 90 @ Chicago 120 – The Chicago Bulls blasted the Warriors Thursday night. The Warriors were coming off of a win against the Knicks the night prior and they were playing without David Lee. Without Lee, the Warriors were led by Monta Ellis (24 pts, 5 rebs, 5 asts, 1 stl, 4 to) and Stephen Curry (17 pts, 3 rebs, 6 asts, 5 stls, 5 to), but with no size the Warriors had no chance. The Bulls pretty much had their way with the Warriors, with 6 players in double figures and they were led by an unlikely (based on last year) player in Luol Deng (26 pts, 11 rebs, 6 asts, 1 stl, 2 blks). Deng has quietly (over a small sample) raised his level of play to average 20 points, 5 boards, and 2 assists (also 2 turnovers) a game. If the Bulls can find a two guard that can shoot with range, they will be dangerous. Write that down.
Boston 112 @ Miami 107 – Round 2. The Heat are having a rough time as of late. Losses to the Hornets, Jazz, and the Celtics (again) have this Heat team in a Miami vice. Jesus Shuttlesworth (Ray Allen) was in rare form last night as he connected on 7 3-pointers and ended the game with 35 points and is probably hitting buckets as I type. The Heat got down early and made this close at the end, but it wasn’t enough. KG (16 pts, 13 rebs, 2 asts, 2 blks), Paul Pierce (25 pts), and Rajon Rondo (8 pts, 16 asts, 3 rebs, 2 stls) were the usual suspects for the Celtics. The Heat were led by LBJ (35 pts, 10 rebs, 9 asts, 3 stls) and Udonis Haslem (21 pts, 10 rebs, 1 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk), while D Wade had problems with the Celtic defense and ended a horrible game with 8 pts, 3 asts, 6 to. The Heat’s problem can be spelled with one word, D-E-F-E-N-S-E. When they buy in and get Marky Mark (Mike Miller) back they will be ok.
Denver 118 @ LA 112 – This was a great game with lots of back and forth, but the Nuggets, to my surprise, pulled this game out. I can honestly say this is about as bad as I’ve seen the Lakers this year, and yes this was their first loss, but they looked like they played down to their competition. Kobe (34 pts, on 11of 32 from the field, 3 of 10 from the 3 point line) led the Lakers, but even his best effort couldn’t pull the Lakers out at the end. That’s a lot of shots for 34 points. The Nuggets were led by Melo (32 pts, 13 rebs, 2 blks) and a surprising small ball attack with Ty Lawson (17 pts, 5 asts) pushing the ball against a much bigger Lakers team. The Lakers only outrebounded the Nuggets by 7, so this strategy seemed to work today. We all know this was an anomaly because the Lakers are stacked at every position and barring an substantial injury to either Gasol or Kobe, this Lakers team is already playing in Game 4 of the NBA Championship in my opinion. Note to NBA teams, if you can slow down Gasol, you have a real good chance of beating the Lakers. Yes, Kobe is out there, but Gasol’s play is giving Kobe an extra 2-3 years on his knees.