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Tag:Game Changer
Posted on: November 22, 2010 12:11 pm
 

Game Changer: 11.22.10: In too deep

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: IRISH DESCENDENTS UNDONE BY PREHISTORIC ANIMALS


The combination of events that conspired in the Celtics' loss to the Raptors is pretty stunning. First, Rajon Rondo was missing due to injury, meaning the Celtics were without two starters. Then Andrea Bargnani had one of those games where he produces, and continues. with 18 at the half, the smart money says he finishes with 22. He finished with 29. Amir Johnson managed to not foul out. And in spite of all that, the Celtics were still up one with the ball. But instead of fouling Ray Allen, who would obviously drain the free throws, the Raptors managed to knock the ball loose, collect it, and score to take the lead.

And still the Celtics had a shot at it. They first tried inbounding to Ray Allen off a backdoor screen cutting to the corner, but were unable to get the angle, even as Leandro Barbosa slipped behind Allen. The Celtics called timeout and instead returned with Allen inbounding. They chose to go to Paul Pierce. Pierce rotated around to his sweet spot, the right elbow jumper. But take a look at where Pierce wound up instead:




Too deep. Pierce's spot is about two feet to his left. Not to say he can't hit this one, it was good defense and Pierce just missed it. But for him to be in that spot where he almost never misses, he over-drives.

That the Celtics lost this game isn't a huge deal. They were without their best playmaker, on the road, and they're clearly having trouble getting up for games. But they're now a game behind Orlando and only a game and a half in front of Chicago, Miami, and Atlanta. It's early, still, but the problem is that they could be ahead by a comfortable margin if they weren't losing games they have every reason to win.

For the Raps, I'm telling you, this team isn't nearly as bad as it's made out to be.

GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:


Pau Gasol: 28 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists on 10-10 shooting.

Runner-Up:

Gilbert Arenas, 19 points, 16 assists, 4 rebounds.


MAY YOU NEVER WATCH THAT DEBACLE AGAIN:


Neither the Hornets nor Kings shot over 39% from the field last night in a gross 75-71 game. It was neither entertaining, nor appreciably well played. The rare combination of ugly and lazy.


FINAL THOUGHTS:

The Lakers, when motivated, are really, really good. The end.

Posted on: November 19, 2010 8:56 am
Edited on: November 19, 2010 8:58 am
 

Game Changer: 11.19.10: Streamers and snarls

Posted by Royce Young

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: GEORGE KARL MIFFED AND IMPRESSED

By Ben Golliver


It's not every night you see Denver Nuggets coach George Karl storming across the floor as streamers fall, but that's what happened in the Rose Garden on Thursday night after a non-call on a last gasp Arron Afflalo three-point attempt allowed Portland to sneak away with a 86-83 home win. Amid a chaotic scene of cheerleaders, streamers and celebrating players, Karl and guard Chauncey Billups pleaded Denver's case, that Portland guard Wesley Matthews fouled Afflalo on the release, but to no avail.

"Obviously everybody in the building thought it was a foul," Karl told reporters afterwards. "I thought the fans even thought it was a foul. The fans went 'huuuuuhh.' I didn't look at it so I don't know for sure, but it was a tough whistle to get, you don't usually get that on the road, but I thought that was a foul."

Karl said he would send tape of the play to the league office for review but seemed resigned to the loss. "If they just miss it, it's just part of basketball. 

Another part of basketball is injuries, and both Denver and Portland have dealt with their fair share this season. Both teams really only played eight players on Thursday night, although Denver's Melvin Ely saw the court for 30 seconds. Karl said he was impressed by the Blazers, who fought through a tough week with news that center Greg Oden is done for the season with microfracture knee surgery and played without all star guard Brandon Roy on Thursday night. "They're still a very good team," Karl told CBSSports.com. "Every team goes through injuries. [Portland Trail Blazers coach] Nate [McMillan] doesn't cry about it. They're a talented, playoff team with the injuries they have."

Karl's Nuggets held the short-handed Blazers in check defensively for most of the game, but 24 points and 10 rebounds from LaMarcus Aldridge helped put Portland over the top. "I thought we did a hell of a job on [Aldridge] except for one thing: offensive rebounding. He was Pau Gasol'ing us on the tips on the rim, tipping the balls in. He's going to make some shots, but if you take away his offensive rebounds I think probably we defended him as well as I expect us to defend him."

POST-GAME AUDIO FROM GEORGE KARL

GO-GO-GADGET LINES

Wesley Matthews was a beast for Portland. He notched 20 points and 10 rebounds and essentially shot the Blazers back in the game in the first half.

Despite the Suns getting pummeled, Grant Hill still scored 21 points on 8-9 shooting. The old guy just keeps playing well. Send Brandon Roy and Greg Oden to Phoenix, k thanks.

Kind of a weak night for good box scores, so let's give Marcus Camby and his 14 boards a small shout-out.

ORLANDO TRIES TO ONE-UP

It hasn't been a great trip to Florida for the Phoenix Suns. Wednesday, the Heat put a beating on them, basically sending them to a Orlando with their tails between their legs.

And then Thursday against the Magic, the Suns got more of the same.

They played without Steve Nash who sat out with a sore groin. That didn't matter too much as the Suns couldn't score, couldn't stop anybody and basically, couldn't play intelligent basketball.

Phoenix turned the ball over 18 times, went just 3-18 from 3 (remember when they hit 22?) and missed nine free throws. The final score was 105-89, but that only came from a 30-14 fourth quarter for the Suns where Orlando's starters didn't play a minute.

But enough about the Suns. The Magic looked pretty impressive. It was like they watched the Heat whoop Phoenix and said, "Oh yeah? Well watch us!" Dwight Howard was outstanding notching 20 points on 8-9 shooting and showcased a number of his increasingly polished post-game. Jameer Nelson had 12 assists and set up teammates wonderfully. And Orlando had all 11 guys that played score, with even distribution throughout.

It was a total dismantling and something the Magic needed after having a lackluster week. I guess if you need a pick-me-up in Florida, just invite the Suns over.

FACE, Roy Hibbert

Eric Gordon is becoming almost a nightly posterizer. His latest victim was the Indiana big man as Gordon went high and threw down hard.


DON'T MISS

PARTING THOUGHT

Somehow, the Clippers are awful. They lost again, this time falling to Indiana 107-80 which drops them to 1-12. Before the season, this was really kind of unthinkable. In fact, after the Clips' first game, it was unthinkable. They lost the opener, but they looked good. They looked like a team that might be able to surprise some people.

But despite solid play from Blake Griffin, the team just stinks. There isn't a go-to scorer, they don't play defense and the young guys aren't performing all that well. They're extremely young which is a good excuse, but still, one and twelve?

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 18, 2010 10:33 am
Edited on: January 6, 2011 8:06 pm
 

Game Changer 11.18.10: The Greg Oden Debacle

Wrapping up and expanding on the announcement that Greg Oden will have microfracture surgery for the second time, ending his 2010-2011 season and possibly his career. 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: THE ODEN DEBACLE


In lieu of our regular game changer, we're going to provid you with a wrap up of the Oden news. We'll have more on Chris Bosh's big night in Miami later on.

Eye on Oden

Here's a debriefing on what's going on with Oden, as seen throughout our coverage last night.

As you've no doubt heard by now, Greg Oden will undergo microfracture surgery to repair his left knee. He'll miss the entirety of the 2010-2011 season, and then you have to wonder about recovery time beyond that given the wear and tear on him just from surgeries. Ken Berger spoke with executives around the league and it's widely thought that the Blazers won't even make a qualifying offer to him this summer to keep him in restricted free agency, meaning he would be a free agent.

We covered the press conference live from the arena last night and brought you both video and audio of the press conference. Oden's injuries go far beyond just the left knee and we gave you a comprehensive look at his injury history . Royce Young provided some context for Oden's experience in contrast to the rising star of Kevin Durant, and we examined how Oden's trek back to the league compares with some injury-ridden players who came before him.

Ben Golliver went in-depth on Oden's knee and the situation the Portland trainers are now trying to deal with as they begin to come under severe scrutiny once again.

And you can be sure we'll have more coverage as this unfortunate series of events unfolds. There's a genuine sense of regret and sadness around the NBA blogosphere today. We all wanted to see the next great center. Instead we got the next great disappointment, for Oden and for us.

Around the Web

It took John Canzano to put up the tombstone on the Greg Oden era last night, in what had to be a record.

If you're a sadist, or, if you live in Portland and are a masochist, you can read the reaction from Blazers fans to the news first here in letters to Oden , and here on the Blazersedge reaction thread .

At Hardwood Paroxysm, Zach Harper touches on how this isn't an actual tragedy, but it is a basketball tragedy . (Admission: I'm the editor of Hardwood Paroxysm, but I felt this piece was so good it warranted a link.)

Noam Schiller asks us to remember the Blazers.

Here's an FAQ on the injury with Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus.

Here's another timeline of this particular injury .


Posted on: November 17, 2010 11:18 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:49 pm
 

Game Changer: Bucks fans get something back

The Lakers drop the Bucks, A Milwaukee fan gets revenge, Wesley Matthews goes off for a career-high, The Grizzlies melt down at home and the Toronto Raptors didn't do their coach any favors. Posted by Ben Golliver

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: REVENGE FOR BUCKS FANS, DESPITE THE LOSS

Who could forget the Los Angeles Lakers' trip to Milwaukee last year given the controversial calls down the stretch that enraged Bucks fans and the eventual Kobe Bryant dagger to win it? Tuesday night's rematch wasn't as drama-filled, but that doesn't mean Milwaukee didn't exact a measure of revenge. First: the numbers. Los Angeles won by slapping a whopping 118 points on Milwaukee, thanks to 31 points from Bryant and four other Lakers in double figures. Shannon Brown really got it going off the bench, connecting for four three-pointers on his way to 21 points. Andrew Bogut and Drew Gooden did their part for Milwaukee, combining for 34 points, 31 rebounds and five blocked shots, but the Lakers' perimeter attack was too much. The Lakers cruised to the victory thanks to 10-16 from deep; take out Bryant and the rest of the Lakers combined for 10-12 from downtown. Anyway, back to the revenge play for Milwaukee. Here's video of Kobe Bryant's overtime dagger, that only came about because of some suspect calls that went L.A.'s way. And here's Milwaukee's "we didn't forget" moment, as a fan came well-equipped this year with a sign that reads "Stern Loves L.A." that found its way onto Milwaukee's television broadcast. stern-loves-la Sure, it's not as sweet a feeling as getting an upset win over the defending champs, but sometimes getting your point across feels just as satisfying.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT:

Wesley Matthews:   A career-high 30 points, three rebounds, three assists, two steals, one block on 11-19 shooting, 5-10 from deep in 43 minutes in a Portland road win over Memphis.

Honorable mention to...


Josh Smith:
 25 points, eight rebounds, two assists, one steal, SEVEN blocks on 9-16 shooting in 37 minutes in Atlanta's road win over Indiana. Landry Fields: 21 points, 17 rebounds, one assist, two steals on 10-15 shooting in 38 minutes in a New York road loss to Denver.

THE GRIZZLIES GO DOWN:

By Matt Moore

Here's the trick with the Grizzlies last night. To describe them as dysfunctional is to fail to give credit to how functional they were last season. Watching them slump out of timeouts, barely rotate to their man, and generally sleepwalk through another loss, this time to the Greg-Oden-less, Brandon-Roy-less, Joel-Przybilla-less Portland Trailblazers, it really hit you how far this team has fallen in a few months. Mike Conley took 14 shots last night, which is more than any other Grizzlies starter.

The Blazers were more than happy to oblige Conley with being the offensive weapon, as long as Marc Gasol and O.J. Mayo didn't get in the act. Meanwhile, as Wesley Matthews poured in shots from every single spot on the floor, Rudy Gay simply couldn't be bothered to commit to defending him, running off screens or getting a hand up. After all, he had to carry the load offensively with the rest of the team out of sync. Tony Allen was brought in to shut down the Blazers' backcourt but instead spent most of his time going ISO.

Meanwhile, Andre Miller calmly and coolly backed down Conley and nailed a turnaround in his face. Mayo looks as if he's simply going through the motions in the hopes of accelerating what seems like an inevitable trade process, and Zach Randolph is drowning in his minutes while Hasheem Thabeet can barely stay on the floor.

But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

DON'T MISS:

 

ON Mike Bibby:

By Matt Moore

Mike Bibby's old. I mean old, old. It's time for him to move on, and yet, the old guy just keeps draining J's. Even as Bibby's pick and roll abilities on both sides of the ball erode into dust, his shot has become even more accurate. The Pacers for whatever reason saw fit to test that gunslinger's pistols and he wound up dropping 3 of 5 threes on them, including a trailing three pointer early which set the tone for the half. Bibby dropped 7 dimes tonight with zero turnovers, and yet will see nothing but scorn despite the win.

For being the most forgotten man in America, Bibby has certainly set himself up as a huge part of the Hawks' core. 

WHIMSY:

Grizzlies center Marc Gasol has a left hand that is bigger than his head, one that could quite possibly be the largest human hand ever. 

marc-gasol

 

ONE FINAL THOUGHT:

The Toronto Raptors lost an ugly one, 109-94, to the Washington Wizards who were playing without rookie stud John Wall. After a defense-less 2-9 start that puts Toronto tied for the second-worst record in the league, calls for coach Jay Triano's job can't be too far away.
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 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.
Posted on: November 15, 2010 11:21 am
 

Game Changer: The Suns were hot

Posted by Royce Young

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: Suns SHINE FROM DEEP

The Suns scored 121 points against the Lakers Sunday night. That part is impressive. More impressive? That 66 of those points came from 3-point range.

Chew on this: Phoenix took 40 3-pointers against the Lakers and hit, wait for it, 22 of them. Before you ask, no it's not an NBA record. That's held by the Magic who hit 23 in 2009. But the 22 is a Phoenix franchise record and it's also dang impressive, so that's something.

Here are the cliffnotes on the shooting show:
  • Six players made 3-pointers
  • Grant Hill was the only player to attempt a 3 and miss it, going 0-1
  • The Suns went 13-19... from the free throw line
  • The Suns made 43 baskets, with of course 22 of them being from 3
Not often do you see a team lose a game with 68 points in the paint to their opponents 28. Because that was the difference between the Lakers and Suns. But it doesn't matter how good you shoot it in close when the other guy is hitting the shot that counts for one more point.

But this is the second consecutive loss for the Lakers and a big win to push the Suns to 5-4. No reason to worry for L.A., but the fact that you even gave up 40 looks at 3 is something to raise an eyebrow at. The perimeter defense is lacking at this moment and really, the defense in general. The Nuggets exposed the Lakers on that end Friday night in L.A.'s first loss and then Sunday the Suns dropped 121.

Obviously, Phoenix winning is something for the Suns to be excited about and to build on. But the way they won isn't much to think about. You're not going 22-40 from 3-point range very often. And you're not winning pretty much ever being outscored in the paint by 40 points.

But on Sunday night, the Suns were hot and that Heat from the outside is what they rode to a big win over the Lakers.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES:

Jason Richardson gets the gold star for the night with 35 points including 7-10 from 3. That's some shootin' right there.

Can't overlook Al Horford's big night against the Wolves as the newly paid Hawk went for 28 on 9-14 shooting and pulled in 10 rebounds for good measure.

Just 22 and 17 for Kevin Love against the Hawks Sunday. What's the deal man?

INFORMATION HERE:

Via John Schuhmann: "A team has hit 20 or more threes in a game 5 times (3 by PHX). The previous 4 all won the game by an avg. of 27.3 pts & by no fewer than 18."

DON'T MISS:

A GAME SUMMED UP IN DOTS:

Peep the shot chart for the Suns against the Lakers. It's not something you see very often.


SERGE I-SMASH-A:



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 12, 2010 11:07 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:41 pm
 

Game Changer 11.12.10: Unblemished no more

The Lakers finally lose, the Celtics down the Heat in front of a bunch of stars, Paul Pierce talks trash to LeBron James on Twitter and Chris Bosh is in some non-lofty company when it comes to his rebounding numbers. Posted by Ben Golliver

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: LAKERS GO DOWN:

By Royce Young.

Sometimes, when the Nuggets are really clicking, that offense is absolutely terrifying. Not in a "Oh wow, they're really good!" way. Like a lock-the-doors-and-take-cover way.
Heading in to the fourth quarter Thursday, Denver trailed the Lakers by eight and at one point, were 14 down. But the Nuggs started the fourth on a 16-0 run then later added another 11-0 spurt to essentially put the Lakers away.

But that offense wouldn't have done the Nuggets any good without the stops. For instance, Denver scored 35 points in the second quarter. However, they allowed L.A. 38. And coming off a game where the Nuggets allowed Indiana 54 points in a quarter, defense had to become a priority in order to knock off the unbeaten champs.

Denver held the Lakers to 19 points in the fourth mainly by forcing Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol into a combined 3-11 from the field. Bryant was just 2-8 and Gasol only had three shots. The Nuggets funneled the offense through Shannon Brown and Matt Barnes, essentially daring them to step up. Brown and the Laker bench has certainly done that, but they weren't able to do so in this one.

Instead, it was the Nugget bench that came up large. Ty Lawson put in 17 points and five assists in 23 minutes. J.R. Smith added 13 in 26 minutes. Between them and what the starters provided, Denver had the scoring angle covered.

A lot of this game can be summed up between the two stars. Kobe finished with 32 points but was just 11-32 from the field and started 2-10. Carmelo Anthony netted 32 but was 14-25 from the floor. Efficiency wins.

Early on, it looked like the Lakers were perfectly content to play at the Nuggets leisure. Whatever pace Denver wanted, it got. The Nuggets controlled tempo and the Lakers didn't put up much of a fight in stopping the game from going into a shootout. Not that the Lakers can't hold serve in that situation, but the Nuggets are a powerful offensive team when things get rolling. And they did Thursday.

The Lakers weren't headed for an undefeated season. Some thought they might be able to challenge the record 15-0 start. A tall order for sure, even for a team as stout as the Lakers. But I don't think 8-1 is all bad. Though that 33-19 fourth quarter for the Nuggets has to have the Lakers thinking they very well should still be unblemished.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT:

Ray Allen: 35 points, one rebound, zero assists on 13-23 shooting and 7-9 from downtown in 41 minutes in a Boston Celtics road win over the Miami Heat.

Honorable mention to...

Carmelo Anthony: 32 points, 13 rebounds, two assists, two blocks on 14-25 shooting in 41 minutes in a Denver Nuggets home win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
LeBron James: 35 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists, three setals on 9-21 shooting in 44 minutes in a Miami Heat home loss to the Boston Celtics. Luol Deng: 26 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, one steal and two blocks on 9-19 shooting in 40 minutes in a Chicago Bulls home win over the Golden State Warriors.     

BULLS ROUT WARRIORS:

By Royce Young.

It was the game that no one was watching. Heck, I'm not 100 percent sure even Warrior or Bulls fans were tuned in with Miami and Boston going for Round 2 on TNT.

But here's what you missed:

  • A swarming, relentless defensive performance by the Bulls, holding the Warriors to 90 points, including just 38 at the half.
  • A terrific game from Derrick Rose who 22 points and 13 assists.
  • Chicago's starters all scoring at least 14 points.
  • And really, a game that stayed interesting despite being a blowout after three quarters.

Credit the Warriors, who really kept playing all the way through. This was the fourth in five nights for Golden State and the Warriors were just in over their heads against a rested Bulls club. Plus, it was obvious early on how meaningful David Lee is to them. He was out of this one because Wilson Chandler broke a piece of his face on Lee's arm, requiring Lee to get a number of stitches.

But Brandan Wright started for Lee and was entirely unproductive against the Bulls' front line. Dorell Wright led Golden State in rebounds with eight, if that tells you something.

Regardless though, the Warriors are still 6-3 and actually looking like a decently solid team. The Bulls reclaimed the Central Division in the East with the win, moving to 4-3. It was a great game or anything necessarily skipping Heat-Celtics over, but the game was played and stuff happened. But you probably didn't see it. Hence why I'm here telling you about it.

DON'T MISS:

 

WHIMSY:

A "Big Four" of musicians -- Chris Brown, Bow Wow, Lil Wayne and Drake -- take in the action between Boston's Big Four (Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo) and Miami's Big 2.5 (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh).

rappers-heat

 

ONE FINAL THOUGHT:

According to Basketball-Reference.com , 5'3" point guard Muggsy Bogues averaged 4.1 rebounds in 35.7 minutes during the 1993-1994 season. So far this season, Miami Heat power forward Chris Bosh is averaging 5.1 rebounds in 33.3 minutes per game.

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 11, 2010 10:25 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:41 pm
 

Game Changer 11.11.10: Wall 3D's Rockets

Michael Beasley Nets a career high, John Wall gets his first career triple-double and finishes a sick alley oop, a giant Sonny Weems head makes an appearance in Toronto, Elton Brandon re-emerges, plus plenty of audio and video from Oklahoma City vs. Philly. Posted by Ben Golliver

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: JOHN WALL GETS HISTORIC ON THE Rockets

Wednesday was an historic, high-flying night for Washington Wizards rookie point guard John Wall, and he was all over the court on the way to his first career triple-double in a 98-91 Wizards win over the Houston Rockets in D.C.  Wall's top end speed is among the best in the league, and against the Rockets, who are dealing with absences and injuries in their backcourt, he was often a blur, racing out in transition and leaping into passing lanes. It was a hyperactive but still controlled performance for Wall, who finished with just one turnover on the evening and looked more comfortable shooting from range than he has all season.  For Houston, it was a tough night all around, as the Rockets lost Yao Ming during the first half due to a leg injury .  Yao or no Yao, the Rockets and they had no answer for Wall, who joined some elite NBA company by registering his 19 point, 10 rebound, 13 assist triple-double in just his sixth NBA game. Take a look at the chart to see how he stacks up to some of the league's all-time greats. john-wall-graphic And we'd be lacking in our Wizards/Rockets coverage if we didn't link up this video of Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas tossing a soft alley oop to Wall, who finished acrobatically with one hand. Too sick.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT:

Michael Beasley:  42 points, nine rebounds, two assists, 1 steal on 17-31 shooting in 41 minutes in a road win for Minnesota over the Sacramento Kings. The 42 points were a career-high for Beasley.

Honorable mention to...


John Wall:
  19 points, 10 rebounds, 13 assists, six steals, one block on 8-16 shooting in 42 minutes in a home win for Washington over the Houston Rockets. Deron Williams: 30 points, five rebounds, 14 assists on 8-19 shooting in 42 minutes in a road win for the Utah Jazz at the Orlando Magic. 

Kris Humphries: 13 points, 18 rebounds, three assists, one steal, two blocks on 6-12 shooting in 40 minutes in a road win for the New Jersey Nets at the Cleveland Cavaliers.

TURN BACK THE BRAND:

By Royce Young

OKLAHOMA CITY -- At one point, I had to look at my watch. I could've sworn it was 2005. There was Elton Brand, slender, fit, healthy and playing excellent basketball. It was like seeing an old dog get up and remember some of the tricks you taught it as a puppy.

Brand had his mid-range jumper working, was aggressive on the glass, posted up and defended the paint. Most people have sort of forgotten what an absolute force Brand was in the past, but with his start to 2010, folks are getting a refresher.

Against Oklahoma City, Brand put up a smooth 17 points and nine rebounds. On the season, he's averaging 18.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. And for a rebuilding team where he's a big focus for opponents.

In the offseason, it's crazy to think Brand was going to be given away for next to nothing. The Sixers wanted to dump his massive contract, get some picks and young players back and go from there. At no point did it seem realistic that Brand could be part of that building. He seems happy being on this young squad.

"I can see us getting better," Brand said after the close loss to the Thunder. "We need to grow and have this translate into victories which it will. That's a sign of us getting better; us closing these games."

This is the first time really since Brand has been in Philly that he's completely healthy and in shape. And when he has those two things working, his basketballing abilities really come out. He's not one of the premier power forwards any longer, but probably 20 other teams would enjoy having his services. (But not his huge contract.)

The question is if Brand can sustain this for a full 82. It's not that he's over-the-hill (he's 31) or that he has a ton of mileage on him. It's that his recent history has held him back and makes one wonder if he's got it in him to keep going. Character has never been an issue for Brand so even if the Sixers stink - which they will - he's going to go hard.

Brand almost looks like he's from another era. It just doesn't seem like he fits on the floor, especially in a game featuring the young Thunder against the pups of the Sixers. But Brand is throwing back to an earlier time, playing like that former self that fits right alongside these up-and-comers. And the old man showed the kids a thing or two Wednesday in Oklahoma City.

DON'T MISS:

 

WHIMSY:

Toronto Raptors fans hold up a giant version of guard Sonny Weems' head. 

sonny-weems

 

AUDIO/VIDEO GALORE:

Here's some video of Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, who had a huge night with 31 points, five rebounds, and 12 assists, talking about his team's 109-103 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.



And here's audio of Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins breaking down the game from the losing side.

ONE FINAL THOUGHT:

During his career-high scoring night on Wednesday, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley was wearing his NBA head band upside down , violating the league's new mandate. Will he be fined by the league office?

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com