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Nightly Grades 12.12.12: The Warriors fight out a tough win

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.

Golden StateSometimes you win close games against good teams because they have a hot night. And sometimes you win close games against good teams because you have a hot night shooting. But sometimes you just out-execute the good team, and that's how the Warriors toppled the Heat. LeBron James was in fine form and made play after play, but couldn't nail the game winner. On the other side, the Warriors got the complete effort you want to see. Phenomenal win for a team that believes in itself with incredible power now.
Boston CelticsGutted out a fierce win in overtime vs. a Mavericks team that had a lot of punch left in it. Boston's defense came and went repeatedly, but it managed to wear out the younger Mavs. Boston needed this kind of win and it's proof that the strides they've made are legitimate.
Minnesota TimberwolvesWith all the drama surrounding the Wolves this week, getting this win was big. It's a home win to set up Saturday's return of Ricky Rubio. Kevin Love and the Wolves closed out the Nuggets with some help from Denver's horrible late-game execution, but the result stands and it's a quality win for the Wolves.
Oklahoma CityThey didn't play well, it was a horrible game, really. But they get the B, entirely for winning when they didn't play well. Great teams can win without a dominant performance.
Phoenix SunsThis was the prototypical "win one for the coach and players who are under fire" game. It's usually followed by a complete self-destruction, but the Suns needed a win and got a huge one with key defense and forcing the issue with Memphis. Big win for a team that needed it.
Denver NuggetsOh, so that's what it's like when a team runs itself off a cliff.
Dallas MavericksIt was a game they could have won but they didn't have the discipline. It was a good effort, but not good enough. They went to MayoBall too much down the stretch and turned the ball over with reckless abandon.
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