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Nightly Grades: Durant, Curry go off on stacked Friday night

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-Since Chris Paul went down with his shoulder injury, the Los Angeles Clippers are 5-1 after Friday night's win over the New York Knicks. Their schedule has been pretty soft during this time but staying ahead of the learning curve without CP3 has kept them from missing a beat so far. Blake Griffin dominated the game, DeAndre Jordan dominated the boards, and Jamal Crawford dropped 29 points in 29 minutes off the bench.
CCarmelo Anthony had a horrendous game when it came to making shots but he made up for it at the free throw line and on the boards. J.R. Smith had a great game off the bench with 24 points, and Tyson Chandler did his best to try to match Jordan's rebounding effort. It still didn't matter, thanks to 20 turnovers and 42 Clippers' free throw attempts.
B+With Nikola Vucevic not playing due to a concussion, Al Jefferson had his way against the Orlando Magic defense. His 30 points and 16 rebounds were simply too much tonight. Kemba Walker managed the game beautifully with 19 points and 10 assists and the Charlotte Bobcats played one of their most complete offensive games of the season.
C+The Magic just couldn't get a stop when they needed it and their defensive effort was inconsistent all night. They had a nice game offensively, but if you can't stop anybody, does it even matter?
ARemember that game early in the season when the Philadelphia 76ers shocked the world and beat the Miami Heat? So does Miami, apparently. They put the clamps down on the Sixers Friday night and just shut down their offense. Chris Bosh led the way with 25 points and LeBron James' passing was on point.
CIt might have been the 2-of-20 from 3-point range or the under 40.0 percent from the field or the 15 missed free throws. It also could have been the 23 turnovers. I just can't seem to put my finger on what went wrong.
B-The Toronto Raptors bullied the Minnesota Timberwolves in Canada Friday night. That doesn't mean they got away with fouls either; they just played strong defense, were more physical than the Wolves, and out worked them. Kyle Lowry continued his post-Rudy Gay trade attack with 24 points.
DThey almost always lose in Toronto. They're 3-16 there now and haven't won in Canada since 2004, which coincidentally is the last time they made the playoffs. Wolves look lost as a team right now and the effort against the Raptors showed as much.
BJohn Wall was absolutely stunning against the Chicago Bulls Friday. The Washington Wizards point guard had 23 points and 11 assists. You'd never know Nene went just 3-of-15 from the field! Martell Webster and Trevor Booker gave the Wizards huge minutes off the bench.
C+The Bulls are really trying but they simply didn't have enough fire power against the Wizards in this game. They needed someone that could force the issue and they just couldn't get to the free throw line (neither team could). Kirk Hinrich and DJ Augustin led them offensively and they only lost by three.
BRyan Kelly scored 20 points in the Lakers' victory. I don't know what else you need to know.
C+Kelly Olynyk had 25 points and Rajon Rondo had eight points and four assists in his first game back from the ACL injury. I don't know what else you need to know.
ADuring the second and third quarters, the Utah Jazz obliterated the Detroit Pistons 62-40. That was your game right there.
DIt's possible the Pistons have been watching Andrew Wiggins lately. Brandon Jennings, Greg Monroe, and Josh Smith combined to make 6-of-26 from the field for 19 points. Smith and Monroe had just one make each.
B-Tis the season for making your All-Star selection cases. Tonight, it was Mike Conley's turn. His 25 points and clutch play led the Memphis Grizzlies past the Sacramento Kings with a one-point win.
C+The fact that the Kings came into Memphis and nearly stole a game shows you just how much growth this roster has had over the course of this season. DeMarcus Cousins had an awful night shooting the ball but grabbed 17 rebounds.
B+If you want to beat the Portland Trail Blazers then you have to stop helping off of Wesley Matthews. He had nine fourth quarter points on three made 3-pointers and 24 points with six made 3-pointers for the game. LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard both cracked 20 points as well.
B-Manu Ginobili had a huge third quarter with 18 points on just seven shots. Tim Duncan struggled against LaMarcus Aldridge as the San Antonio Spurs dropped a tough one at home.
A-Cleveland Cavaliers finished above .500 on this road trip (3-2) for the first time in four years. They're not fixed and they still have plenty of issues, but this team is playing so much better right now. Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson both had great efforts.
C-If you're the Denver Nuggets in the playoff hunt and playing the Cleveland Cavaliers on your home floor, you can't give up 117 points unless Kyrie Irving goes for 50. He had 23 of them.
BShane Larkin had 18 points off the bench as the Dallas Maverick continue to win these big games against playoff hopefuls. Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki also had very good games but getting that kind of random effort from the rookie point guard was huge on the road.
B-The Phoenix Suns keep fighting back in games that look to be over headed into the final minutes. I'm not sure if they're going to end up making the playoffs as constructed this season, but they're learning great lessons in games and Goran Dragic is playing out of his mind.
AKevin Durant had 54 points. Fifty-four. He did it by hitting 19-of-28 shots from the field. This MVP race is all his as of late and that's with LeBron James playing unreal basketball.
BStephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 63 points, which seems impressive until you remember this total beats Durant's total by just nine points.
 
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