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Tag:Hornets
Posted on: December 10, 2010 12:50 pm
 

Chris Paul struggles with New Orleans situation

Hornets star says he can only control what he can control.
Posted by Matt Moore




Chris Paul is having kind of an emotional rollercoaster over the past six months. On the block, off the block, top of the standings, having his team sold to the NBA, might be sold to another city, might stay in New Orleans, might go to Cafe Du Monde, might go to that awesome place across from the House of the Rising Sun (seriously, it exists). But in the meantime, Paul is just trying to stay afloat. From the New Orleans Times-Picayune :

What is your reaction about the sale of the team and all that transpired this week? Paul: That’s craziness. I’ve learned in this league to control what I can control and all of that is how I perform on the court and how our team does. That (sale) hasn’t bothered us that much if you ask me. We have no decision on who the owner is and where we play. We’re just fortunate to get to go out and play.

Is it important for this franchise to become stable? Guys have families and you always want to know where you are going to be and stuff. But at the end of the day, we can control what we can control.
via Chris Paul addresses New Orleans Hornets ownership, attendance, lockout possibility | NOLA.com .

"We can control what we can control." It's similar to when your office is considering layoffs, only instead of losing his job, having his family's stability and career threatened, he may have to pay someone to move his stuff (that would likely be reimbursed by the team as well).

For Paul, it's going to be hard for him not to have one foot out at the moment, to make it clear that no matter how this winds up, he intends on coming out in a winning situation. There's a very real palpable fear for players of Paul's age group (which includes LeBron, Wade, and Dwight Howard) that they will wind up as Kevin Garnett. With a brilliant career wasted in mediocrity and left to fight injuries and fatigue in their thirties to establish their legacies. So while Paul says he's only focusing on what he can control, you can bet that he intends on making the rest of his career something he very much can.
Posted on: December 1, 2010 1:41 am
 

The future of the Hornets in NOLA is murkier

Doubt about the future of New Orleans is beginning to creep in as attendance deadline nears.
Posted by Matt Moore




There's been constant talk regarding the Hornets relocating since their (still) current owner George Shinn already moved the team once from Charlotte and has always hungered for the dollar. But when the Hornets started rocking in 2007-2008, those talks subsided as the city got behind the team.

Now, with the team off to a hot (although starting to cool) start, surely the city has responded and there are no legality concerns surrounding the arena attendance, right? Right?

Oh, heck.

If the Hornets do not average crowds of at least 14,213 for the next 13 games at the New Orleans Arena, the franchise can opt out of its current lease agreement with the state, according to Doug Thornton, vice president of SMG, the company that manages the Arena and the Superdome.

The Hornets and the state amended their lease agreement in 2007 to extend it through 2014, but an attendance benchmark of 14,735 was implemented. The franchise can opt out of the pact if the benchmark is not made over a period of two consecutive years during the agreement.
via Apparently, the attendance benchmark is back on the table for the New Orleans Hornets | NOLA.com .

The real problem here is that there's no real way to figure it out. New Orleans has long been viewed as suspect from a financial standpoint. In major markets, ticket price alone and sheer demand will keep you afloat (see: Clippers, The Los Angeles). But in smaller markets like NOLA, you have to rely on support, especially in the "fat" years when you're winning in order to survive the "lean" years when you're rebuilding.

And the Hornets just aren't getting it. Now these numbers are more complicated than just ticket sales, since sponsorships and suites have more to do with the economics of arenas nowadays than actual sales. But those provisions are built in for a reason, to protect the team from a city that just won't support it.

Now, I'm sure Hornets fans feel very strongly about their team and its support, but the numbers unfortunately are pretty damning. And with this kind of economy, it becomes harder for a new owner in Gary Chouest to avoid looking at the options. Chouest however, has given no indications that he'll move the team during his discussions.

Then again, Chouest hasn't been confirmed as owner, yet.

It's a sticky situation for the Hornets, the city, and an arena that insiders say is one of the worst in the league. But they faced a similar situation in 2008, and once the Saints season was done, the city responded. Fans have to trust that will happen again this year, provided Chris Paul keeps the good times rolling.
Posted on: November 30, 2010 3:35 pm
 

Award-O-Matic MVP 11.30.10: CP3 as MVP

NBA F&R breaks down the MVP candidates after the first month of the season by dissecting the award down to three parts: Most Valuable, Most Important, and Most Oustanding Player. CP3 is in control.
Posted by Matt Moore with contributions from Ben Golliver and Royce Young




Well, we're a month into the season and the context of this year has begun to take shape. While certainly a long way from the finish line, we've already gotten a glimpse of who's playing well, who's playing average, and who ... not so much. And so it is that we begin our monthly look at awards. On a regular basis we'll take you around the award contenders and give you a look at who is in contention for the NBA's major awards by breaking down what they really mean in our Award-O-Matic. Today we start with the MVP.

The problem, as has been elucidated approximately a million times by various media members, is that the MVP is a nebulous, hard to define award. Its name is Most Valuable, but it most often goes to the Most Outstanding Player on a winning team. If your play is other-worldly but your team doesn't win, you have no shot. If you contribute the most to a winning team but your numbers aren't stellar, again, your chances are slim. It takes a combination of three factors: value, performance, and importance to snag the award. As such, we decided to break the award into those three categories, tally them up with the top player getting 3 points, the second 2, the third 1, then summing to see if we could come up with a list.

First up?

Most Valuable Player (To Their Team): Who is most responsible for their team's success? Or, to put it another way, whose team suffers the most without them?


Matt Moore:


1. Dirk Nowitzki: Without him that offense is anemic and it's been his rebounding that's kept them in games at points.
2. Carmelo Anthony: Seriously, Nuggets. Cliff. Teetering. Melo's the only thing keeping the truck from smashing into pieces.
3. Dwight Howard: Get him in foul trouble and the Magic turn into a Mid-Major college team, just wining it from perimeter to perimeter.

Ben Golliver:

1. Chris Paul:
  I like Darren Collison as much as the next guy, but CP3's return from injury to lead New Orleans' absurd hot start, despite an unimpressive supporting cast, reveals exactly how valuable the league's best point guard is.
2. Rajon Rondo Boston would still be good without Rondo, but his game ownership places them on an elite level and makes them the odds on favorite to win the East yet again. 10.6 points, 14.2 assists (what!), 4.8 rebounds and 2.5 steals through the end of November. Crazy.
3. Kevin Durant The Thunder have had an up-and-down start but imagining this team with Russell Westbrook at the helm by himself, dragging an ineffective Jeff Green along for the ride, would be a recipe for a guaranteed lottery team. KD will get better -- perhaps much better -- over the course of the season, and he's already easily leading the NBA in scoring again.

Royce Young:

1. Chris Paul:   Subtract Paul and what do you have. I can promise you it's not an 8-1 team. It's really as simple as that.
2. Dirk Nowitzki:   The Mavericks are dangerous in every fourth quarter that they're close in. The reason is because Dirk can score in every situation, at any time. He essentially is the Maverick offense.
3. Steve Nash:   Take Nash away and yes, there's Goran Dragic who can dazzle in stretches. But without Nash this Suns team is nothing more than a 35-win club. With Nash, there's potential to push for the playoffs.

Most Important Player: Who is most crucial to their team's success? Ex. Last year I argued that Josh Smith was MIP because when he did Josh Smith-y things, the Hawks were nearly unstoppable, and when he didn't, they were much more beatable.


Matt Moore:

1. Chris Paul:
He does everything and it starts and stops with him. This is even more clearly illustrated by their recent struggles down the stretch where he hasn't been involved.
2. Al Horford: The level of production Horford is creating right now is simply astonishing. More astonishing is how overlooked he is.
3. Pau Gasol: It's him that's carrying the Lakers. Even as Kobe scores all the high points, the most dominant Laker performances this season are from Gasol.

Ben Golliver:


1. Pau Gasol: His virtuoso early season performance has single-handedly made Andrew Bynum an afterthought. What more needs to be said?
2. Deron Williams:   Utah's streak of comebacks begins with Williams' tough-minded leadership and ends with his play-making and shot-making.
3. Dirk Nowitzki:   Another banner start from Dirk singlehandedly puts a Dallas roster loaded with question marks in the playoff mix.

Royce Young:

1. Pau Gasol: Having Gasol as part of the triangle has been like a revelation. He's really what makes the Lakers so darn dangerous.
2. Kevin Garnett:
We saw what an impact his has in regard to the Celtic defense two seasons ago when his knee was injured.
3. Nick Collison:   He's a classic no-stats All-Star. He's only played for a few weeks so far this season for Oklahoma City but his value is immeasurable and impact immediate. He tips rebounds that become extra possessions, takes charges, sets outstanding screens and makes two or three small (but big) plays a game.


Most Outstanding Player: Who has simply wowed you?


Matt Moore:

1. Rajon Rondo: Key plays every time he's on the floor and he makes it look easy, There are a lot of moments where he looks like he's just on a different plane from everyone else.. and he's got three Hall of Famers on his team.
2. Russell Westbrook: Westbrook has managed to take over the game down the stretch. His turnovers are down, assists are up, he's got range and that mid-key pull-up jumper is as deadly as it ever has been. He's been simply phenomenal in half-court and full-court sets.
3. Deron Williams: Three point guards? Yup. Check Deron at the end of the clock with the game on the line. Money. And that's after all the assists, rebounds, key plays and floor leadership. Man's a ninja, no joke.

Ben Golliver:


1. Dwight Howard:
  Lost in the Miami Heat wave, Howard is quietly putting up 22.6 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks as the defensive and rebounding engine that will make Orlando a title contender for years to come. By the way, Orlando sits atop the Southeast Division -- 3.5 games ahead of the Heat.
2. LeBron James: His numbers are crazy and his highlights are spectacular. It's a wonder he can jump so high and dunk so hard carrying the burden of Chris Bosh and Erik Spoelstra's corpse on his shoulders.
3. John Wall:   Wall doesn't belong in the MVP discussion -- there are too many holes in his game (jumper, turnovers) and his team is terrible -- but for sheer "outstanding-ness" and "wow factor" he merits inclusion here. His assist numbers have been great and his speed is tops in the league; he's a lot further along the NBA readiness scale than even his biggest fans could have imagined.

Royce Young:

1. Rajon Rondo: He's been nothing but insanely ridiculous. Manages the game perfectly, understand his place within an offense and runs the show beautifully.
2. Kevin Love: When given the time on the floor, he's a legitimate 20-20 threat every single night. How many players can you really say that about?
3. Russell Westbrook: There's a case to be legitimately made for Westbrook as an MVP contender. Kevin Durant is still leading the league in scoring, but Westbrook is what's kept the team winning games. But his play has been just insane this year (23.8 ppg, 8.4 apg, 5.1 rpg) and he's a super-highlight waiting to happen.

Here are the tallies:

Most Valuable Player:
1. Chris Paul (6)
2. Dirk Nowitzki (5)
Tied for 3rd: Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo (2)
Tied for 4th: Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash (1)

Most Important Player:
1. Pau Gasol (7)
2. Chris Paul (3)
Tied for 3rd: Deron Williams, Al Horford, Kevin Garnett (2)
Tied for 4th: Dirk Nowitzki, Nick Collison (1)

Most Outstanding Player :

1. Rajon Rondo (6)
Tied for 2nd: Russell Westbrook, Dwight Howard (3)
Tied for 3rd: Kevin Love, LeBron James (2)
Tied for 4th: John Wall, Deron Williams (1)

Top 5 in Totals:
1. Chris Paul: 9
2. Rajon Rondo (8)
3. Pau Gasol (7)
4. Dirk Nowitzki (6)
5. Dwight Howard (4)
Posted on: November 24, 2010 9:39 am
Edited on: November 24, 2010 8:38 pm
 

Shootaround 11.24.10: Winners and losers

People trying to keep LeBron out of the All-Star Game, Jarrett Jack doubts the Heat, Durant and Beasley as young guns, and T-Will is out of sight, out of mind, all in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore

  • There's a movement afoot specifically to keep LeBron James out of the All-Star Game. It's things like this that trot the fine line at the nexus of funny, pathetic, and mean. Props for the idea, but just because you don't like a guy's ego, is that really reason to sully a system to honor play that's been in place for decades? And this is all beyond the fact that it would take coaches about forty five seconds to select him as a reserve and then all of a sudden the person atually voted in would have a hamstring injury.
  • Terrence Williams looked like a star in the making last year. Now he's been suspended for two games for "violations of team policy" whle Avery Johnson is talking about him "not getting" it. A perfect example of how a coaching change can dramtically alter a player's forecast. Meanwhile, if Williams is on the block, the Grizzlies and Bulls should both be on the horn to see if they can grab him at a bargain bin price.
  • Jarrett Jack, a winner his whole career except for when he wasn't winning, which was most of his career, is already ready to pack it in on the Heat, saying their failure could curtail others from going the superstar route. In other news, Jack put the cart before the horse and said "Done!" before walking off. The Hornets are 0-1 since Jack arrived, clearly indicating he's not a winner. See what I did there? You see? Because he said ...
  • Spurs fans were joking about Ime Udoka being signed last week, and now it has happened . Still bizarre they thought Udoka was more valuable than Gee.
  • Flip Saunders, getting digs in on Doug Collins. Better hurry to get them in, he may not be around long.
Posted on: November 23, 2010 9:26 am
 

Game Changer 11.23.10: Spurs and ammo

Spurs and Magic have a classic, the Pacers show they're decent in dismantling a mediocre Miami team, and the Celtics take the Hawks to the shed in today's Game Changer.
Posted by Matt Moore


Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.  


THE BIG ONE: Spurs have one more round than Magic in shootout


San Antonio 106 Orlando 97 .

That's the final score but it doesn't even come close to descrbing A. how great this game was or B. how close this game was. It was a back and forth affair for the entire game, as neither team could shake the other one. Just as one team would seem to be pulling away, the other would respond with a flurry of offense. San Antonio would bruise their way to a lead, only to find the Magic creating turnovers, sparking the break, and dropping in three-pointers in transition. The Magic would burst their way into a lead only to find the Spurs settle down, get a bucket, then a stop, then Manu Ginobili Ginobili'ing his way with a knife to their heart. In the end, the Spurs had a few more bullets left in the gun and the Magic were unable to find an answer for Manu.

Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili combined to shoot 23 of 42, for 64 points, 13 rebounds, 21 assists, 5 steals, and 2 blocks. Guess Boston and Miami aren't the only ones with Big 3s. The efficiency with which the Spurs attacked was ruthless. In the third, Tony Parker got up to full speed and was using those wide curving pick and rolls to find Duncan, while Ginobili was using the deep wing picks for that step-back jumper he's gotten to like so much. It was a clinic in execution, and the Magic weren't far behind, with Dwight Howard forcing the issue and the Magic backcourt raining 3s. Combined the two teams hit 21 threes on 37 attempts which is just ridiculous. Matt Bonner came through with 4 big ones (4-4 from the arc) while Mikael Pietrus kept breaking up Spurs runs on his way to a 3-5 run from the perimeter.

Sharp defense, tough shots, fun basketball, a close game. This one was a beauty.

WHAT YOU MISSED: The Heat suck.


I torched the Heat for their lack of effort, cohesion, and heart.

Ken Berger spoke with Delonte West in a must-read interview about his experiences with bipolar disorder .


DEAD BEFORE THE SHIP EVEN SANK

Last night's Celtics-Hawks game was not a game. It was a mercy killing, only without the mercy. The Celtics owned the Hawks 39-13 in the first quarter, and it didn't feel that close. Boston simply could not miss. Sharp passes, smart playsets, intensity at both ends of the floor, attacking rebounds, and Nate Robinson doing his best Rondo Baron Davis when he was good impression, throw in the Hawks looking like they wanted to be anywhere but on the floor and Al Horford being physically dominated by Boston's size and you've got a recipe for Von Wafer to get a fair amount of time by the end of this one.

It was stunning, considering the Hawks swept the Celtics last year. But call it motivation over last year's flukes, or the Celtics' last fluke against the Raptors, or just the impact of a healthy Kevin Garnett, but this one was over with before the t-shirt guns had even been loaded. The Hawks continue to perplex as they look genuinely good and improved at times, and like roadkill in others.

Kevin Garnett looks not only like he's healthy, but like he's healthy like when he was 31. That's terrifying for the rest of the league.

YOUR DAILY "QUAKE" GRIFFIN NIGHTMARE DUNK:




GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:


Carmelo Anthony:
39 points (17-17 from the line), 9 rebound, 5 assists

Runner-Up:


Manu Ginobili: 25 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists

FINAL THOUGHTS:


The Hornets are 11-2. Which is great. But the last few games have shown some of their cracks in the foundation. Relying on Jason Smith to be a significant bench contributor isn't going to get it done. Neither is hoping Emeka Okafor stays as an offensive force. The bigger concern may be that Chris Paul has started looking flat-out tired at the ends of games. Him missing the game-tying assist to David West was nothing more than one of those that happens, but in general he looked lethargic down the stretch. Some concerns for the Hornets do exist, even at 11-2.

Last night's game perfectly illustrates why Boston fans get so frustrated with their team. They look so awesome when they consistently try.

The story from Indiana-Miami was the Heat playing terribly but the Pacers deserve a world of credit for getting Danny Granger going, and Brandon Rush took it to Dwyane Wade, which, injured or not, isn't an easy thing to do. The Pacers look like a solid playoff contender.

People will tell you that the Oklahoma City-Minnesota game was closer than the final score appears. And it's true the Wolves lead down the stretch. So maybe I'm just exhibiting confirmation bias when I tell you that I never had a doubt the Thunder would win that game. The Wolves have no idea how to execute in clutch situations most times, and Michael Beasley still does a lot of Michael Beasley-type things.

Houston loses. Again.


Follow F&R on Twitter at @CBSSportsNBA and check out our RSS feed . This has been your daily edition of the Game Changer.



Posted on: November 22, 2010 1:57 pm
 

Chris Paul is feeling pretty good about things

Hornets guard feeling better about things with team thriving.
Posted by Matt Moore

Seems like only yesterday that Chris Paul was unhappy with management and working to extricate himself from New Orleans in order to make sure his prime isn't wasted. Now, with the Hornets 11-1 and the toast of the NBA, Paul's feeling a lot better about things. As he told NBA FanHouse:

"Yeah, I'm happy," he said with a smile after a gritty 75-71 win in which he shot just 2 of 12 from the field for four points but had 14 assists despite the Hornets shooting just 32.2 percent. "I'm happy. We're good to go."

Most interestingly, FanHouse reports that part of Paul's newfound contentment is due to the near-sale of the Hornets to Gary Chouest. Apparently Paul was concerned about current owner George Shinn's commitment to spending for a winner. Helping things has been Dell Demps' shrewd maneuvering (depending on who you ask ), and Monty Williams' coaching, which Paul raves about.

The question is if Paul will still feel this way if the gap between the Hornets and Lakers is revealed to be as wide as it's considered to be. If Paul can win but not win a championship, is that enough for him? Likewise, best buddy LeBron James' current struggles in Miami have to put Paul a little off on the idea of ditching his team for a super-team-up in New York or elsewhere. Paul was talked about as part of the toast at Carmelo Anthony's wedding reception this summer. But Paul's under contract, has publicly supported New Orleans, and now that the Hornets are winning, you have to wonder if all that's behind him.

Then again, check back in February and things may be dramatically different, even if he does have good buddy Jarrett Jack to hang out with (at a hefty price for a backup). But for now, Paul's happy to be winning, happy to be in New Orleans, and happy with how things are going. Things have changed awful fast. Hopefully for Hornets fans, they won't change again that quick.
Posted on: November 20, 2010 11:27 am
Edited on: November 20, 2010 2:14 pm
 

Report: Hornets and Raptors close to trade

Trade being discussed to send Peja Stojakovic and Jerryd Bayless to Toronto for Jarrett Jack, David Andersen, Marcus Banks. Posted by Matt Moore

UPDATE 2:07PM: CBSSports.com confirms the trade is done, talks with the league will occur this afternoon. Bizarre.

Ken Berger confirms that the Hornets save $4.6 million immediately, which gets them off the cap and allows them to look at options at the deadline. The Raptors, in addition to getting Peja's expiring contract they can move before the deadline, save $4.7 million next year.

We'll have more analysis in a bit.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune , a bizarre Euro site via HoopsHype.com , and ESPN are reporting that the New Orleans Hornets are close to a trade that would send Peja Stojakovic and Jerryd Bayless to the Toronto Raptors for Jarrett Jack, Marcus Banks, and David Andersen. It is a baffling trade from about a hundred angles. We'll go over some of them here while the two fight over how much money the Hornets have to send the Raptors.

  • The Hornets are 10-1, not exactly in need of a bump-up, and having Bayless as a change of speed, dynamic scorer off the bench was a good thing for them. Getting Jack gives them a veteran defender and solid backup point guard in a more traditional mold, but it also means they get a B+ point guard in salary and talent for a spot they only have about 15-20 minutes or less for a night due to them having the best point guard on the planet.
  • Moving Peja right now means they lose the ability to swap him at the trade deadline, when his $14-million-plus expiring contract is likely to have more value than it does now. That kind of expiring change can help you fill in a lot of holes when teams decide they need to cut payroll dramatically. Teams will also know more about how the CBA talks are headed after the All-Star break. 
  • For the Raptors, it's just as puzzling. Bayless is a terrific young talent and having Peja's expiring are both good things. But this puts Jose Calderon firmly in the starter's role for point guard, and he's a defensive sieve. They get smaller at the guard positions, and just try and imagine a Jerryd Bayless and Leandro Barbosa backcourt. They would represent the Lollipop Guild for crying out loud.
  • As Bayless can't be moved until December 23rd, Bruce Arthur of the National Post reports via Twitter that the deal may be set up as one of those "agreed all together, executed in parts" type deals where the Raptors would use part of their Chris Bosh trade exception to acquire Bayless.
  • Andersen's not a terrible center, he's really not in a league that has so few good ones, but he's redundant with Aaron Gray on the roster.
  • Marcus Banks is barely alive in NBA terms.
  • The Raptors will at least be fun to watch, and with Willie Green becoming the entrenched backup to Marco Bellinelli (who saw either of those things happening this year?), Bayless and Peja were expendable. This isn't really about losing vital assets for the Hornets, it's about not capitalizing on bigger opportunities. But at 10-1, I guess Dell Demps and Monty Williams have earned the right to bet with House money a bit. 
  • ESPN also reports via Twitter that Jack is a close personal friend of CP3, which could explain this as a further move to make the superstar happy.




Posted on: November 16, 2010 11:08 am
Edited on: November 16, 2010 11:29 am
 

Game Changer 11.16.10: Comeback failures

Posted by Matt Moore

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: MAVS TAKE A BAT TO THE HIVE

Take note of this. The Hornets were on the road in a hostile environment. They were facing a team that features a set of players that maximizes on several of their weaknesses, most notably the fact that no one has anyone who can guard Dirk Nowitzki and the Hornets have zero perimeter defenders to chase down Jason Terry, regardless of the results of a playoff series two years ago. The Hornets faced a stifling performance against Chris Paul which held him to two points and four assists in the second half and some heroic plays from Dirk Nowitzki on broken plays.

And the Hornets lost by only three.

If that's not a sign of how good the Hornets are, I don't know what is.

So how did they shut down Paul? Easy. They threw the kitchen sink at him. Take a look.



That's three defenders closing on Paul as he comes off a deep-wing three and rolls baseline. Nowitzki is tall enough to block out the sun so Paul can't lob, Kidd is cutting off the corner three even as he hedges to force Paul off the quick baseline turnaround, and Tyson Chandler is another big body keeping Paul baseline and cutting off the wing outlet. Paul's forced to move baselines to the corner with the shot clock winding down and take a contested step-back three that misses badly. Piece of cake. You just have to throw three defenders at him and hope Willie Green isn't smart enough to figure out that if he slices down the lane behind the defense Paul's going to have a perfect wrap-around for him.

In short, the Mavericks' defense was sublime in the second half and it still almost wasn't enough. Forget best point guard. Chris Paul so far might be the MVP.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT

Tyrus Thomas: 20 points on 11 shots, 10 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 steals. We're going to ignore the 7 turnovers because we're nice like that and Thomas frowns enough.

Runners-Up:

Dirk Nowitzki: 25 points on 7-12 shooting, 10 rebounds, 3 assists. Nowitzki's rebounding is the highest both in raw per-game and percentages it's been in three years.

Carmelo Anthony: 20 points, 22 rebounds. We're going to give Melo the Gadget but this has to come with a preface. He took 19 shots, had 6 turnovers and was playing the Suns who couldn't rebound if Mose Malone's clone showed up for them last night.

Monta Ellis: 27 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, just 1 turnover in 31 minutes.

WHAT YOU MISSED

IT CAME FROM THE BLOGS

From Orlando Pinstriped Post on their quietly dominant win over the Grizzlies:

I believe the Magic really emphasized exploiting low-post size mismatched tonight, but with varying results. They cleared out to allow fifth option Quentin Richardson post up the far smaller, less physical O.J. Mayo inside, for instance. And Rashard Lewis had his shot against the likes of Sam Young and Tony Allen, but Lewis didn't enjoy similar success. Playing primarily at small forward, he shot 3-of-13 from the field and 1-of-5 from three-point range. While the Magic want--and, frankly, need--him to shoot a better percentage, I think the sorts of looks he got tonight are more in line with what we can expect for him the rest of the way. Brandon Bass' emergence at power forward has eaten into Lewis' time at that position, which means more play at the three for Lewis.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF COMEBACK

Similar to the Hornets, the Jazz faced insurmountable odds and still had a chance at the game winner. Unfortunately, Andrei Kirilenko took a pass from Deron Williams who was being shadowed similar to Paul, and elected for some sort of reverse underhand double-pump monstrosity of a shot intead of resetting the offense to work for a three and the Jazz' winning streak of comebacks fell short. The scariest part for the NBA? Kevin Durant woke up last night with 30 points on 17 shots. They hammered the Jazz inside to get to the line, and walked out of Utah with a win.

ANATOMY OF A NEAR-COLLAPSE

The Dubs were up by about a billion last night, killing the Pistons in the first half, before nearly letting the Pistons shove them back (while the Pistons were nearly shoving each other, but we'll get to that in a bit). Here's what it looked like, via our GameTracker.



FINAL THOUGHTS

The Nuggets have very nearly no reason for letting the Suns beat them last night. The Suns were on a back to back after a remarkably hot performance against the Lakers in LA and have no rebounders. Bad stuff.

On surface, Michael Beasley's big night looks great. 28 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists. But dig a little deeper and you find it took him 25 shots to get there and he was blocked three times. Beasley needs to be the Alpha Dog, he doesn't need to go off half-cocked, regardless of how bad the Wolves' offense is.

New Jersey? Not as bad as you think.

Follow F&R on Twitter at @CBSSportsNBA and check out our RSS feed . This has been your daily edition of the Game Changer.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com