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Nightly Grades 12.11.12: Let Melo cook

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.

Carmelo AnthonyWhen Melo's cooking, you don't complain about the ingredients. You let the man cook. And so with Melo taking his fair share and then some of some contested jumpers, you go ahead and bypass that and just marvel at the ability of an elite player to hit tough shots over and over again. Melo lit up the Nets from every angle, and while Jason Kidd might have nailed the game-winner, it was Melo who put the Knicks on his back. That's why you pay a superstar his money.
Cleveland CavaliersThe Cavaliers played the game you need to when faced with a team like L.A. They victimized the Lakers by being opportunistic. The slips in coverage by the Lakers resulted in drives or shots. The Cavaliers just kept at them, never backing off and that's how they covered the talent gap. And despite appearances, there was a talent gap.
Denver NuggetsThe rare road win for Denver, and they managed to close out a team on the road, something they'd stumbled over a lot this year. It was just Detroit, but after a furious rally by Detroit, Denver finishing them off behind Ty Lawson not dribbling the ball out of bounds for once was a big step forward.
Kyrie IrvingHow about this kid? First game back from a broken hand and he blisters from the field and makes brilliant pass after brilliant pass. His speed and aggressiveness draws defenders and his comfort with all manner of passes just has him finding guys slipping in-between the cracks. Irving was brilliant against the Lakers. When they tried single covering him, he nailed jumpers. They brought help, he found the open man. Irving is fast rising as a top-ten point guard. Maybe higher.

He's twenty years old.
Los Angeles ClippersWhile their Staples Center brethren were getting pantsed by Cleveland, the Clippers were knocking off one of the toughest teams in the East in Chicago. The Clippers out-worked and out-exeucted Chicago. Blake Griffin was spectacular in doing Blake Griffin things (read: dunks) and he even hit a three. But in the end it was the same depth and versatility. The Clippers just have too much they can hit you with.
Los Angeles LakersI'm pretty sure we covered it all here.
Brooklyn NetsIt's not that they played badly, but they didn't play well enough. Most especially, their defensive communciation was for the dogs. The Nets lead for most of the game and losing this one down the stretch due to breakdowns has to be disheartening, especially as it extends their losing streak. They miss Brook Lopez.
 
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