Nightly Grades: The dominant teams keep dominating

By Zach Harper | 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.

TeamGradeAnalysis
A+I don't know how you bet against the Indiana Pacers when they're at home. You saw a pretty dominant effort from them tonight against the Minnesota Timberwolves because they're just more physical than everybody else. Made half of their shots, over half of their 3-pointers and they stopped the Wolves from getting out in transition (6 fast break points).
A+What do you do at this point if you're an opponent of the San Antonio Spurs? They had 19 turnovers in the game and still dominated. Great shooting, great passing, and the defense was awesome. That's a Gregg Popovich game.
ALeBron James scored 35 points on 11-of-14 from the field. What's insane is this didn't even register at first. That's how good he's become. He puts up an ungodly efficient scoring night and it barely registers. He's shooting 60.9 percent from the field on the season after this game.
AThe Milwaukee Bucks are so bad right now that the Detroit Pistons allowing them to be in this game for more than a quarter would have been a disappointment. Instead they started off with a 38-18 lead after 12 minutes and dominated the Bucks all night.
ADon't look now but the Denver Nuggets are playing like a good team again. Ty Lawson was ridiculous once again with a 19-point, 11-assist performance and JJ Hickson was a great safety valve all game with 22 points. Total team effort with a big, convincing road win.
B+James Harden was out with his foot injury. Dwight Howard didn't play at all in the fourth quarter. And the Houston Rockets still managed to close out the win in Memphis against a scrappy Memphis Grizzlies team. Rockets played most of the fourth quarter with a lineup of Chandler Parsons, Omri Casspi, Omer Asik, Patrick Beverley, and Francisco Garcia. Outscored Memphis 38-23.
BA road win for the Boston Celtics. Jordan Crawford had an efficient 21-5-4 performance for the Green and they kept the Bobcats out of the paint with just 32 points in the key. Gerald Wallace was huge off the bench for Boston as well.
BThe Portland Trail Blazers controlled the majority of this game but took longer to put the Knicks away than they probably should have needed. It's not a big deal but it wasn't the dominating performance you expected out of them. Still, they've extended their winning streak to 11 thanks to 23 points and six assists each from Nicolas Batum and Damian Lillard.
BYou'd like the Memphis Grizzlies to be able to close out this game after dominating the first half but not having Marc Gasol out there is going to leave them vulnerable for stretches. 24 points from the bench but it took 27 shots to get them.
B-All you can hope for in this game if you're the Phoenix Suns is to be competitive in a road game against the Miami Heat. They managed to do that for most of the game behind a balanced effort before talent won out.
C+I'm not sure what you can expect out of the New York Knicks in an environment like this. They're sadly depleted from a talent standpoint right now and they're facing a red hot Blazers team. At least we saw more fight from the Knicks tonight than we have been seeing. Carmelo Anthony was great tonight but it wasn't enough.
CDallas Mavericks can't lose a home game like this against the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets have been much better lately but you can't stop moving the ball against their defense. 3-point shots didn't fall but you have to find a way to keep getting buckets and maybe a few defensive stops.
C-At this point, I'm not sure you can fault the New Orleans Pelicans for getting smoked by the Spurs. They're just overmatched and they were on the road.
C-The Minnesota Timberwolves managed to hang with the Pacers as long as they could but eventually the better team won out in a matchup the Wolves are probably glad to get just twice a year. Rick Adelman shortened the rotation with just three guys but only 12 points on 19 shots will not get it done in Indiana.
D+They managed to grind out an overtime home win over a Chicago Bulls team that just lost Derrick Rose. They received 32 points from the duo of Richard Jefferson and Marvin Williams. Gordon Hayward distributed the ball with 12 assists. And they led the night in viewers' eyes bleeding.
D+Bulls received 50 points from Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer and 33 points from everybody else. The 2014-15 season is roughly 337 days away, Bulls fans.
D+This team just flat-out stinks. There isn't any way to sugar coat it. They should be throwing every scout they have at the college ranks and just grind out the rest of the season.
FYou can't lose by double digits at home to the Boston Celtics. These aren't the good Celtics at all. They're the mediocre Celtics that should be losing on the road. 48 points from the duo of Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson on 34 shots. Only Al Jefferson scored in double figures outside of him.
 
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