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Nightly Grades: Heat top Pacers and what did Bargnani do

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

Managed to stay within range despite excellent offensive play from the Pacers. Miami's defense wasn't terrific until the second half, but when it clamped down it clamped down hard. They hit the Pacers with roundhouse after roundhouse in the fourth and buried them.

Still, the Pacers led for most of the game and kept Miami at arm's length for much of it at home. Miami's not where it wants to be, but this is still a tremendous win, even for the champs.

Oh, yeah, and LeBron James is amazing.

B

Paul George was incredible and the Pacers' defense lived up to its building until the fourth quarter. Yes, they lost, but you didn't walk away feeling Miami was the better team, but that Miami happened to have the shots go their way in this game. These two teams are as evenly matched as it gets. Hopefully we get another nine meetings between these two this year.

PS: To hang with Miami in Miami with Roy Hibbert in foul trouble takes a lot, but they could have won this if their bench had given them anything.

B

A Bobcats-kind-of-win. Hung around, hung around, hung around, then took it home behind a Kemba Walker winner. This team has nails in its guts. Or something.

Anyway, a tough, fun win on a back to back.

D-Had control of the game and let the Bobcats storm back. It's hard to judge them after the trade, and there were some good signs offensively with Greivis Vasquez and DeMar DeRozan. But the defensive meltdown against a terrible offense is troubling.
B+Hey, look who got a road win! This team is starting to shake off the early horrible start and settle into quiet mediocrity. They're not the worst team in the league. Just the West.
FThey lost at home to the Jazz. Viva la tank!
A-

It is unbelievable the difference Bradley Beal makes for this team. Just stunning. He brings such a difference to the team's flow. You have that and Nene actually working the post and this team really has something going.

All of a sudden, the Wizards don't look awful.

Which means they'll look awful in their next game. A good win, though.

D-They got healthy, the offense improved. But the defense hasn't. Letting the Wizards bomb from the outside was not a sound strategy. Kind of a step back for a team that had shown some good things.
AWait, now this team is finding a way to win in tough games on the road? Where did this come from?
FBlew a double-digit lead against a team not known for its wise decision making and prolific consistency. But hey, they were probably distracted by the tra... whatever it was that was bothering them.
FYour standard Kings loss. DeMarcus Cousins was good, though. The score tells the tale. Great offensively (Rudy Gay 8-of-13!) but their defense was atrocious and when the Hawks get loose, you're not going to win with offense.
B+When they share the ball, they can be devastating offensively. Jeff Teague continues to show real progress as a point guard.
F

That's right. They won and got a worse grade. They were in Milwaukee facing a team that is horrible to begin with, dressing only nine players and needed double overtime. J.R. Smith took 17 threes. He hit five. Carmelo Anthony couldn't shoot. Tyson Chandler was back.

And lest we forget:

Yeah, that wraps it up.

DThe Knicks gift-wrapped this one, set it under the tree and helped them unwrap it and they still couldn't win. But then, they dressed nine players for a bad team. Kind of hard to judge them too harshly. Then again, they were responsible for one half of the worst game in modern history. So there's that.
ARicky Rubio was dazzling, the Wolves got their offense loose and looked like the team they were early in the season. Opponent on a back to back or not, this was a great win and they put the boots to them from the start. Great win.
D+

Shell-shocked out of the gate on the back to back, but climbed back into it. The fact that they managed to make this a game showed a lot of resiliency for them. Then again, they put themselves in that hole.

Damian Lillard is a stone cold killer.

A-Did their thing at home against an opponent with no fight. But these are the games they need to win and they took care of business and looked great.
FThis is the way the Grind ends. This is the way the Grind ends. This is the way the Grind ends. Not with a bang but with a DNP-Injury.
A+

Terrific win, maybe their best of the season, honestly. Tough opponent on the road who hung with them the entire game. And they just put the boot to the throat late in the game and finished them, vintage Spurs style.

Manu Ginobili absolutely destroyed everything in his path late, so apparently 2006 is back.

C+

Hung in there at home and made the Spurs have to push all the way to the end. Made huge plays but couldn't get the stops or find buckets late. They were stymied by a playoff-level defense and exposed as the youngsters they are.

Learning moment for the kids, but a great one.

D

There's just nothing left. Sometimes there's only a shell of what once was.

Imagine what could have been.

B-

Good win to take care of business against a team that can give teams trouble.

Huh, that's weird. Omer Asik didn't play. Odd.

F+Tyreke Evans came back and played well. Anthony Davis came back and was a monster .And they lost by 13. It's a tough win to get, but still, you would have hoped more of a fight from a team that needs to start finding some bright spots before things get out of hand.
A-Took care of business. They built a lead and let the other team hang. Then Chris Paul did his thing and broke it open. Strong game from DeAndre Jordan vs. Anthony Davis.
 
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