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Nightly Grades: An instant classic in the Tank Bowl

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.

DThe Magic held tough in this one, but their pick and roll defense is just too much of a mess. They need one of their bigs to develop in that part of the game, because Michael Carter-Williams just got to the middle way too much. Maybe Nikola Vucevic, who didn't play with an ankle sprain, is that guy. Still, they hung without Vucevic, Nelson, and Tobias Harris. Not a bad loss, despite it being Philly. Arron Afflalo's trade value has to be through the atmosphere right now. Also, Oladipo is good.
B+That MCW kid can play, huh? ... Fantastic effort from Philly who put together a complete effort on both ends. It took two overtimes, but for a young team like this, you want the opportunity to learn. Could have caved when the Magic staged the comeback but stuck with it and outlasted them. They're bad, but they're gritty.
A-They just outplayed the champs. Josh Smith was bad offensively, but he manned up on defense, and that was the real key to their success. They just stonewalled Miami with effective rotations, smart swipes and good contests. Their best performance, and win, of the season, even with Wade out.
D-Wade was out, and it showed. Made a fourth-quarter run but couldn't get the stops they needed or the shots to fall to keep trading punches. Needed more from their three-point attack.
D-Just couldn't land any defensive punches, again. Gary Neal shoots too much. But then, who would you rather have shooting? They desperately need a point guard upgrade on Brandon Knight, who just doesn't look like an NBA starter with this group.
BReally solid performance, with Jared Sullinger staying active and Jordan Crawford continuing his rennaisance. Still doesn't feel sustainable, but until it falls apart, let it ride.
D+Had their usual combinations working and played terrific defense for 3.5 quarters. But they just ran out of gas once Michael Kidd-Gilchrist went down with a broken hand. They really need one wing who can create his own shot and boost them offensively, just a little bit. Disappointing loss after a good effort.
BYou blink and the Mavericks will make a run. Charlotte had a blanket over them for most of the game, but once one player gets loose, they all get loose. It's like Gremlins. Fiery, fiery Gremlins.

Also, Dirk was good.
A+Timofey Mozgov is the center Brian Shaw was looking for, and that's allowed him to play multiple guards at once. The Nuggets just embarrassed the Nets by being faster, stronger, better. Really strong game from Denver, off to a hot start on their road trip. .
F-Don't pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living (in Brooklyn).
D-Got out-muscled. It's a bad matchup for them, honestly. The Grizzlies' length and defensive toughness wears them down and switches their motor off. Not a bad effort but not good enough.
ANeeded this one. Having guys step up with Marc Gasol out, as Jon Leuer, Kosta Koufos, and others just came to play and out worked them. They were bigger, badder, better.
B-Decent win. Missed everything early, had some struggles defensively late, but made the plays they needed to. Still have too much quarter-to-quarter inconsistency.
AGreat effort without DeMarcus Cousins, great effort by Isaiah Thomas who was a bird of fire in the fourth quarter. Could have used just one more perimeter defender again. Good loss, though.
AThe Warriors have become the leading cause of global warming. .
D+Well, I mean, it was a West Coast late-night road game in one of the toughest arenas in the league. And they only lost by single-digits, and played really well for most of the game, I mean you really have to keep perspective and ...

Oh, what am I saying?
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