Tag:Nightly Grades
Posted on: January 11, 2012 12:16 am
Edited on: January 11, 2012 1:46 am
 

Report Card 1.10.12: Washington Wizards get a W



By Matt Moore

Your nightly report card gives you a big picture look at what happened each night in the NBA. Grades are granted based on team or individual performances, and are graded on a curve for each element. Leave your own grades in the comments. 

Washington Wizards


A win! A real win! The Nets (0-18 start) is safe! Crack the champagne! Or Shasta! Or something. The Wizards were desperate, the Raptors were lethargic, the Wizards' offense wasn't gangbusters but their defense was stout. The Raptors cut the lead to 8 at one point, and then the Wizards just hit them in the mouth. Trevor Booker was tough inside, Chris Singleton was productive, John Wall had an efficient game passing (and still can't shoot). It wasn't a great game. But a win to get them off the snide, their first of the season? That's an A.


Chicago Bulls/Minnesota Timberwolves

Since we grade on a curve, the Bulls weren't flawless on defense, and the Wolves game them a good scare. But they executed and executed and answered everything the Wolves tried to do in order to steal momentum. Rose came back from an ankle injury and still closed out the game in style, including a dagger right in the eye of Ricky Rubio to put the fire out.

But the Wolves were right there. And where so many teams would wilt and die under the Bulls' pressure, the Wolves stayed in there. What's more, they controlled the turnover battle and produced on offense. Defense was their problem (*cough* Kevin Love *cough*) but they still got some big performances from their stars (*cough* Kevin Love *cough*).

Portland Trail Blazers

The Clippers hung in this one, and that says something about where both teams are at. But the Blazers got what they needed, particularly from Gerald Wallace and Raymond Felton. Felton took over with a whirling dervish of layups and stripped Blake Griffin down the stretch. The Blazers continue to pressure teams into mistakes. It wasn't a flawless performance by any means, but it is a revenge get from the game they let slip in Staples. Blazers keep rolling. 

Houston Rockets


They beat the Bobcats while shooting 39 percent from the field, 35 percent from the arc, and 75 percent from the line. They turned it over 22 times and the Bobcats were missing two starters. So no, I am not impressed. One thing to watch, though. Jordan Hill has become a legitimate center in this league. After being cast off by the Knicks, he's one of the league leaders in rebound percentage and is playing efficiently at both ends. A good gamble that paid off for Houston. 




Memphis Grizzlies down the stretch


The Grizzlies were in this. In all honesty, they should get a B for their work against an exceptional OKC team. But down the stretch, in a tight game, the continuously made stupid fouls against Russell Westbrook who they have never been able to contain when he's in gear. Rudy Gay repeatedly took threes when they needed him creating inside, then turned the ball over in one-possession game. The Grizzlies' final meaningful possession was a Westbrook block of a Conley layup. Someone has to step up and make plays for this team if they're ever going to get out of their hole.

Toronto Raptors


Lost to the Wizards. Au-to-mat-ic.





LeBron James and the Heat in the clutch



Oh, here's a new one! 

The Heat did what they are most known for, completely self-destructing in the fourth quarter. LeBron James did not attempt a field goal in the fourth quarter. In overtime he missed several key shots and was blocked. He took a poor shot to go for the tie instead of working inside and all that post work we talked about? Gone. 

The Heat have been incredible this season, and that's not media fawning, that's just how good their play has been. But Tuesday night was a reminder that that hideous version of themselves that cost their team a championship still exists. They freeze, they lock up, and they let the whole world rain down on their heads. They utterly failed against a team they had down 17 Tuesday night. 


Gold Stars: Kobe Bryant (48 points on 18/31 shooting); Gerald Wallace (20-4-4 and so many huge plays there are too many to count plus a dagger three); David Lee, Dorrell Wright, Raymond Felton, Al Jefferson (30 and 12), Russell Westbrook
Posted on: January 9, 2012 11:02 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 1:16 am
 

Report Card 1.9.12: Iggy's World

By Matt Moore



Your nightly report card gives you a big picture look at what happened each night in the NBA. Grades are granted based on team or individual performances, and are graded on a curve for each element. Leave your own grades in the comments.

Philadelphia 76ers

If the Pacers are the surprising Eastrn team getting all the attention for their upgrades in the offseason, the Sixers are the team suprising based off the improvements of the core they've put together. The Sixers ground down the Pacers into dirt, forcing them into a 37 percent field goal percentage. Danny Granger was out with food poisoning and George Hill didn't play, but the Sixers have won five straight. Mostly on account of...

Andre Iguodala

There were four key plays you saw from Iguodala in the fourth quarter. He took his man off the dribble, slipped in-between two more defenders, then whipped a pass to a wide open Thaddeus Young for the baseline J. He then did the exact same thing from the left side wing, bouncing all the way to the far side, and dishing to Jodie Meeks for three. Then with the game still marginally in doubt, Iguodla posted his man and hit a turnaround jumper for the dagger. Iguodala is doing everything he has done the past few years, and more. And he's doing all of those things better than ever.

Toronto Raptors


The Raptors took down a dangerous Timberwolves team Monday night the way you would expect. Defense and dominating play from Andrea Bargnani. Wait, what? The impressive turnaround continues in Toronto. Bargnani had nine rebounds, and was unstoppable on offense. Meanwhile, Ed David made key plays and the Raptors shut off the lane to contain Ricky Rubio and the smooth

New York Knicks


The Bobcats are a decent team, it's not about that. I's that the Knicks continue to be unable to put together long stretches of cohesive play on either side of the ball. Needing D.J. Augustin to miss a wide-open three that would tie is just not a big confidence-getter at home. Still, they hung in there and got the win, so that's good enough for a passing grade. 

New Jersey Nets


The Nets get an F for their first quarter, again, and then a C for the rest of the game. They keep battling back but the Nets put themselves in deep holes way too much. You get the feeling that teams are basically pummeling the Knicks early, then taking their foot off the pedal and letting the Nets hang. Good on the Nets for not giving up, but in terms of getting the most out of limited options, Avery Johnson hasn't done a great job this season.

Detroit Pistons


 For reasons unknown to man, Lawrence Fank keeps playing veterans, all of whom shoot more than Greg Monroe, their best player, and having Ben Gordon play point. And that worked against the Bulls about as well as you would expect. The Pistons turned the ball over on eight out of ten possessions at one point, and repeatedly keep going to offense that isn't centered to their strengths. It's time for a youth movement in Detroit, and the results be damned. Losing anyway.

Posted on: December 27, 2011 1:58 am
Edited on: December 27, 2011 2:02 am
 

Report Card 12.26.11: Mavs crushed again



By Matt Moore


The first full night of games and it was a doozy. Rookie debuts, buzzer-beaters, and some vomit. The NBA is back in all its glory. Here are your grades for Monday, December 26th, 2011.

A: Denver Nuggets: Yeah, it was against the same team the Heat ran out of the building Sunday, this time on the second night of a back to back. But the Mavericks are still the defending champs and the Nuggets ran them out of their own building. It wasn't just the offense, either, though they were en fuego (49 percent from the field, 56 percent effective field goal percentage). Denver was also dialed in defensively. The best wins are those in which your offense allows you to set your defense to attack, which creates opportunities for your offense and it becomes a vicious cycle for your opponent. The Nuggets were like a race car wheel roaring down the track. They forced 19 turnovers, creating 20 percent more opportunities for themselves, and they took full advantage. Ty Lawson was a speed demon and when the Mavs did get in front, he smoked them from the perimeter (3-6 from the arc, 27 points). Al Harrington not only provided a huge offensive lift off the bench, he was engaged defensively. At one point he created a steal which bounced to Danilo Gallinari, who ran the floor then stopped and shoveled it back to a sprinting Harrington for the dunk. The Nuggets played so wel they could mess around on fast breaks. Dominant performance in their first season opener since 2003 without Carmelo Anthony.

B: San Antono Spurs: A little bit of revenge after the Grizzlies eliminated them from the playoffs last spring. The Spurs, six months removed from a season where they were an offensive juggernaut but couldn't stop anyone, especially down low, got back to their roots. They held the Grizzlies to an 86 offensive efficiency (points per 100 possessions),which is elite status. They got back to defending, rebounding, and grinding their opponent to dust. Throw in a surprising performace from Richard Jefferson and an impressive debut for Kawhi Leonard, and all of a sudden, the "past their prime" Spurs look like they might be getting back to what made them great.

C: New Jersey Nets: Well, they were down 21 points at one point to the Washington Wizards who were playing without the fifth pick in the draft, Jan Vesely. The Nets looked lost, inept, ridiculous. And then they turned it on. Outscoring the Wizards 53-39 in the second half, they fought their way back into it and watched Flip Saunders' team self-destruct. Deron Williams was the exerienced All-Star. And Kris Humphries, man of the hour. 21 points and 16 rebounds, cleaning up misses and killing the Wizards down low. This was a game that's hard for either team to feel good about because of the opponent, and being down 21 to the Wizards is madness. But they won, and they'll take it.

D: Kobe Bryant: Here's what is working for the Lakers right now, without Andrew Bynum, and why they fell apart in a loss to the Kings. Ball movement, hustle and intelligent, efficient play. And the Lakers, after a lackadaisical game had them out of reach, fought their way back with that exact kind of play. And once again, Kobe Bryant went hero mode and once again, an opportunity to win was squandered by the Hall of Famer. The entire Lakers get a "D" here for failing to play any on the perimeter. (Seriously, Mike Brown, what's it going to take for Derek Fisher to get yanked? How many times must Tyreke Evans blow past him or block him?) But the Lakers keep getting within range through team play, and then Bryant attempts to take the team on his shoulders like he used to. That Kobe is gone, at least until the wrist heals. 24 field goal attempts for Bryant, who leads the league by a mile in usage percentage (percent of possessions used -- tricky stat that), and two turnovers, including an offensive foul late. A bad month for the Black Mamba gets worse.

F: Dallas Mavericks: You have GOT to be kidding us.

Other notable grades:

Incomplete: Chicago Bulls: Are they as bad as they have looked in the first two games after a loss to the Warriors on the road to open the season? No. But they do look bad. Really bad. But with a 1-1 mark, considering the schedule (two West coast road games to start the season on consecutive nights) and the opponent (a Warriors team with confidence after nearly nailing the Clips, even if they were on their own second game of a back to back). The Bulls fought back in and made it a game late, but if they don't make up their homework to the teacher, bad grades are coming.

E for Effort: Minnesota Timberwolves. Open the season with a narrow loss to the Thunder? Rubio looks great. Derrick Williams looks promising. Kevin Love is an All-Star. The effort was there for the Wolves, and they're only going to get better.

Gold stars: Eric Gordon (CLUTCH). Alonzo Gee. Ed Davis. Danilo Gallinari. Sean Williams. Roy Hibbert. Manu Ginobili. Marcus Thornton. Stephen Curry. Tristan Thompson. Tyreke Evans. LaMarcus Aldridge.
Posted on: December 26, 2011 1:36 am
Edited on: December 26, 2011 11:49 am
 

Nightly Grades 12.25: Heat ace first test

Posted by Royce Young


A: Miami Heat

Holy Ghost of Christmas Fast Break. It was a total show by the Heat, who basically pummeled the Mavericks in every way possible. Maybe it was motivation, maybe it was a revenge factor or maybe it was just the fact the Heat are the best team in the league, but Miami bulldozed their way over the champs and did it in style. LeBron James showcased his revamped post game, rookie Norris Cole showed exciting flashes, Dwyane Wade was excellent the Heat suffocated the Mavs. If you want a signature opening win, the Heat made an early statement.

B: The NBA

Cliche, boring high mark for the league? You know it. But it's deserving. And not just because there was real basketball to be played after a longer-than-normal offseason. The league gets a good grade because its product looked excellent. For all the talk about shortened training camps and fewer practices, the NBA had two fantastic finishes in New York and Los Angeles, the Heat looked amazing, the Thunder played a quality game and the Clippers and Warriors both were good in the capper. There weren't many moments where the game turned to a total slopfest. The only guy looking that rusty was ref Bill Kennedy, who evidently needs a few more practices.

C: Lob City

It wasn't showtime or Lob City at all. It was just solid winning basketball. Bor-ing. It's really not fair to give the Clippers an average grade when they went on the road and won by 19 in a tough environment. But for about 40 minutes of the game, Lob City looked a bit mediocre with Chauncey Billups shooting them both in, and out, of the game at times. You saw what makes the Clips so darn good (Chris Paul coming in and completely closing out the Warriors -- he gets an A) and what makes them vulnerable (lack of depth, iffy shot selection and a conflict of roles -- also known as Chauncey Billups, who gets a D). The Clippers are probably more deserving of a B, but I don't think many came away feeling overly impressed by them Sunday.

D: Dwight Howard

His final line stunk: 11 points on 4-12 shooting, four fouls and just two blocks. He didn't change the game at all and Kendrick Perkins completely handled Howard. Now I haven't watched Howard up close all that much, but I would say he looked a bit uninterested for stretches in this game. For a player as dominant as him, there's no reason for him to be such a non-factor. Perkins is a really good defender, but Howard didn't affect the game defensively at all.

F: Dallas Mavericks

That first game as champs isn't always that easy. There's still a hangover from the champagne that was popped back in June and the banner raising only causes a little relapse. The Mavs had an entirely complacent look to them and it didn't help that they ran into a total buzzsaw in Miami. Still, you'd expect a little more effort in your first crack at defending your title.
 
 
 
 
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