|Derrick Rose carved up the Knicks on Thursday. (Getty Images)|
Here's a quick rundown of Thursday night's NBA action. it was a light schedule, with just six games on the docket.
32 points, 13 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal and 2 turnovers. It was an interesting situation on Thursday night where the power of one scorer/distributor was greater than the power of two scorers. Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony combined for 60 points but took 53 shots to get it done, and while Rose didn't shoot out of this world himself -- 12-for-26 -- his ball distribution made sure Chicago was above 50 percent as a team. He found Joakim Noah for a number of easy dunks with well-timed passes. Here's Ken Berger of CBSSports.com from Madison Square Garden on Rose's huge night.
A 21-point road win over L.A., even if the Clippers were on the back-to-back, is worth writing home about. Sometimes everything goes right. When Danilo Gallinari doesn't miss any of his five 3-point atempts and Timofey Mozgov doesn't miss a shot -- 5-for-5 -- while holding his own against L.A.'s frontline, Denver won't lose many games. For a team that shoots roughly league average from deep, they sure make 12-21 from outside look easy. Their reward is sole possession of the West's No. 2 seed.
The Kings snapped a 5-game losing streak so it probably feels like an A+. This wasn't a perfect effort thanks to some porous first half defense, but Sacramento made a strong fourth quarter push, a run that proved there's enough room, in the right situation, for Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton and John Salmons. Evans, who has struggled against Portland this season, compensated for a slow start with some physical drives late, and Thornton made up for an off shooting night by getting to the free throw line 12 times. Portland folded hard down the stretch but that doesn't much matter to Sacramento, who is happy to get February off to a winning start. Don't overlook the 13 points and 12 rebounds from Jason Thompson, who struggled to defend LaMarcus Aldridge but made sure to get some back on the other end.
When Amar'e Stoudemire flipped in a running left-handed scoop after drawing contact, it seemed like Thursday night just might be his night. He finished with 34 points and shot 16-for-27 from the field. New York's supporting cast is such that you don't raise your eyes too much at the shot attempt number these days, especially against an elite defense like Chicago's. Live and die by your best offensive weapons. What dragged Stoudemire down was his ill-advised late 3-pointer off of an inbounds play. A career 25.9 percent shooter, that was an inexcusable decision. Then again, maybe Thursday wasn't the night to nitpick his game, seeing as how it was the first time all season he scored more than 25 points.
The Hawks got hit with your typical "lockout" game, which is strange because they had a day off to prepare. Regardless all the signs were there: poor shooting, getting killed on the glass, lots of turnovers and an inability to get to the free throw line. Who played well in this one for Atlanta? Not Joe Johnson (-27 and 4-for-10 shooting). Not Jeff Teague (-20 on 2-for-7 shooting). Not anyone, really. Memphis crushed Atlanta, 58-38, in the paint and Marc Gasol finished with a whopping +40 on the night and Tony Allen wasn't far behind, with a +36. That's a steamroll right there.
Portland Trail Blazers
You might think that Portland's 3-9 road record speaks for itself but the nature of the losses is as damning as the final number. Fully in control of Thursday's game against Sacramento at the half, the Blazers fed LaMarcus Aldridge, who pounded the Kings' bigs mercilessly. Once Sacramento started doubling Aldridge, though, Portland's shooters couldn't hit a fish in a barrel. Wesley Matthews, Jamal Crawford and Raymond Felton combined to shoot 3-16 from deep. Blazers coach Nate McMillan seems unable to generate any other offense late in games. If this team plans to live or die by the three, it will be dying quite a bit.