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Nightly Grades: Bucks win? Knicks streaking? Gadzooks!

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.

TeamGradeAnalysis
B+

... Where in God's name did this come from?

Brandon Knight scores 20 points, six rebounds, and six assists? Khris Middleton scores 27 points? They blow a lead, and then finish off the Wizards, on the road, strong?

What in the world? All this without Larry Sanders, Caron Butler, Ekpe Udoh, or Zaza Pachulia.

Shine on, you crazy diamonds.

F

Just didn't have it tonight. One of those nights when the legs aren't there and the shots aren't falling and they finally really missed Bradley Beal.

They had no choice when Okafor was injured, but they really need a better rim protector than Marcin Gortat and Nene.

Their bench is also pitifiul. Losing Martell Webster to an ankle injury was really devastating to them.

A

Three times in the mid-fourth, the Bobcats grabbed an offensive rebound and instead of just going back up, they reset the offense, ground clock, and worked for a high quality possession.

They stayed disciplined on defense, they worked to create good looks, and they ground the Sixers to dirt. Really good performance for Charlotte.

F

Shrug. They're not good. They knew they wouldn't be good. If they don't get explosive offensive performances, they struggle. It's time to liquidate the veterans in trade.

A+

All cylinders.

The Hawks have figured out how much of their offense should go through Horford and Paul Millsap, and the result is a devastating combination orchestrated by Jeff Teague. They were one step quicker on every move, every pass, every rotation. They were outsized by Cleveland and instead just made the Cavs slow.

An extremely impressive blowout.

Kyle Korver set the record for consecutive games with a made three-pointer with 90.

F-

Kyrie Irving is starting to have some fingers pointed at him. No one on his team showed up, he went 0-9. Dion Waiters played well.

The Cavaliers looked like they had some momentum. This was a big step backwards.

F

They're on a long road trip, but they should have clocked this team. Once they settled down, they played well enough to get the win, but they were shellshocked from tipoff and let a poor offensive team throttle them. Step backwards for them as well. A promising road trip now has two blowout losses.

A-

Sure. Why not. Brad Stevens can coach, that much is clear. Jordan Crawford looks like a real NBA player.

A+

THE KNICKS ARE BACK, BABY.

New York got the three-ball flying and when they do that, that's their best strategy for victory. They have to shoot well. They did, and now they're on a winning streak.

D-

Bad loss. They were in this thing and just fell apart. They went away from the spacing that helped on offense and their defense melted down in the second quarter on, letting New York get loose from outside. Their veterans try to improvise for themselves too much.

They could have used Tobias Harris a lot in this game.

B

They have Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. There was some context to this game, but mostly, they have Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Game over.

D-

Their defensive frontcourt dept is so bad. It's so awful. They can't get any traction without Anthony Davis because the reserve bigs are just a nightmare. Can't rotate, attack at the rim, anything.

Which means they have to shoot exceptionally well every night, which they didn't.

A

Sliced and diced and diced and sliced. No perimeter containment by Golden State meant James Harden, who looked great for one of the few time this season, and Chandler Parsons, really controlled the flow.

But the big story was their defense. They threw a blanked over the Warriors and didn't let them get loose from the outside.

One of their best wins of the season.

F-

Such poor perimeter defense. Such terrible shot selection even when they're not falling. This was the bad side of the Warriors. They need Iguodala back, now.

D

They were playing well early, then they got back into their bad habits. They just have a remarkably flawed team concept and need something better. They also came apart defensively in big moments, giving up momentum killer threes and surrendering too many points off drives.

B+

Wait a minute, could this team make the playoffs?!

Attacked the glass, their Goran Dragic - Eric Bledsoe combo is starting to work itself out, and their role players are just phenomenal. Markieff Morris needs more attention for what he's doing this season.

B

Just more Portland Blazing. Shot the three well, shared the ball, made the right play, got the win.

F-

Totally came apart in the third quarter after a good second frame. They had played a little better, and this was a regression.

F-

Had this thing locked up in the fourth quarter. Mike Malone doesn't play Isaiah Thomas, though that may have been due to injury. DeMarcus Cousins is blocked or turns it over on five different possessions and the defense gives up dagger shot after dagger shot.

I really liked what I'd seen from this team the past two games coming in. This was a monster step backwards. (It's a theme tonight.)

A-

SWAGTIME FOREVER. SWAGTIME IS DEAD, LONG LIVE SWAGTIME.

(Kobe returns Sunday.)

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