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NBA Nightly Grades: Joakim knows winning

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.

Joakim Noah and the Bulls in general

Luol Deng was fantastic with 29 points and 13 rebounds, but it was Noah's 15-9-6 line that showed what the Bulls did, being smarter and more versatile than the Knicks in every aspect of the game. The four-point differential doesn't reflect how close this game was, as the Bulls were pretty comfortable with a 22 point lead early in the fourth. Noah is the engine of this team right now, and it's his overall utility that sets the tone at both ends. And if you want an example of what he brings defensively:

Additionally, this happened:


Milwaukee BucksMilwaukee tried several times to give their game against Boston away, but couldn't quite trip themselves up enough. Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis were sensational down the stretch, while Larry Sanders made huge plays at both ends. This was a tough-nosed win on the road for a Bucks team that finds itself 14-11. Their defense feeds their offense, and their offense, while inconsistent, has times where it looks sensational. Something's going on in Milwaukee.
Philadelphia 76ersOut-executed a good Hawks team at home, winning a game they needed. You still can't figure out how good they are, or how good they can be if Bynum came back, or if Bynum's coming back. But at full strength, with Jrue Holiday back on the floor, they have some weapons. With the defense like they have, they can give teams fits. Doug Collins continues to do a masterful job with what feels like a very incomplete roster.
Memphis GrizzliesMemphis had a response to everything the Mavericks had. They out-schemed, out-hustled, and controlled the pace of the game. Memphis continues to rack up wins which show their resolve and the fact that they belong in a tier above where they've been... well, pretty much their whole existence.
New York KnicksThey had a bad night. It happens. But the reason they get this D is for their reaction to these nights. The officials in this game let everything go early, lost control, then tried desperately to reel it back in, unsuccessfully. But the Knicks showed something they've shown all season, they react horribly when things don't go their way.

It's not just the calls. Missed a few threes? Frustration. Feel they didn't get a call against a team who plays physical defense without fouling? Super-frustration. And it builds and then explodes. The Knicks' mental toughness has a lot of issues with how they react to adversity. The threes won't always fall. They need to learn to play through it.
Washington WizardsForfeit this season. I'm not kidding. The fans deserve their money back.
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