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Nightly Grades: Kevin Durant lights up the Spurs

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
C

The Mavericks carried a lead into the fourth quarter on the road with Dirk Nowitzki as a healthy scratch. They wanted to give the big German a rest, and this was as good a game as any. They played as well as a team can without its best player and they really just ran out of offense, which is to be expected.

They do need a better perimeter defender, though. Asking Shawn Marion to do as much as they are at this point is really too much.

Monta Ellis scored 21 points on 18 shots.

Vince Carter did yam on DeMar DeRozan after the fans booed him, though. So they have that.

B

Speaking of DeMar DeRozan...

That seems good. 40 points for DeRozan who lead the comeback, but a lot of it was also Amir Johonson makng smart plays. They should never have been down by double digits, but locking down and taking care of business has to make them feel good, Dirk or no Dirk.

D-

Darren Collison got hurt, so that was their last functioning point guard. Hedo Turkoglu is getting minutes for this team. They had more points in the paint, they had more second-chance points, they just couldn't hit. They even defended reasonably well.

But this team still should have clocked the Bobcats if they're the kind of team they like to think they are.

B+

No Kemba Walker makes this win even better. It took them a few months, but they've started to rely on Al Jefferson and it's really worked out for them. He's been a force of nature since taking on a bigger role and is carrying the terrible Cats offense.

They do defend the perimeter exceptionally well even though they need a rim protector. Gerald Henderson wasn't good offensively but he made great closeouts.

A+

Sometimes, you have it. The Suns had it in on Wednesday. Their pick systems put the Pacers through the wringer whih is hard to do. They spread the floorand Goran Dragic was incredible.

Can we talk about Gerald Green for a minute? How awesome is it that he's not only in the NBA, but a major player for a good team. He's like Swaggy P if he were actually useful in a competitive environment!

F

And sometimes... you don't have it.

C

Atlanta had this thing, and then let it slip. They really should have controlled this thing. But the middle of their defense is tissue-paper thin.

It's nice they won but it wasn't convincing.

C

Battled back and made it a game. Most importantly, they got some more experience for Victor Oladipo. They need to look at trading Jameer Nelson to get him more time.

D-

Saw this one coming. The Cavaliers are the anti-Bulls. They have their full roster, the have talent, they have guys who can shoot, but they're not consistent.

The Bulls are super consistent. They win games like this. And that's why the Bulls are better despite not having that kind of talent. They're better.

Cleveland has to find a way to make shots. Kyrie Irving is being asked a lot at his age, but heavy is the crown. He's got to find a way to make more plays and create more open looks, because his guys can't shoot game to game. Bad loss.

B

You know this story. They outworked Cleveland, defended well, and were meaner and tougher. Tom Thibodeau is Patton on steroids.

B

Jeff .Green got hot and the Celtics were more prepared. They were ready to go out and compete and they hung on and fought back when they lost the lead to allow overtime.

Seriously, Jeff Green was nuts.

F-

...

Look, I'm not an expert, I'm really not. But there has to be a better option at coach. I think Randy Wittman seems like a really nice guy and has done some good things. But this team wasn't prepared to play, got completely away from everything it needs to, and ...

Twice in a tied game situation to win it in regulation, the Wizards, out of a timeout, drew up an 18 foot jumper for Nene.

This madness must end. This team is too talented to be this bad.

F

They weren't stopping Kevin Durant no matter what, he's in Terminator mode right now. But Kawhi Leonard was their best chance and when he was injured, that was it.

They tried going over the screen to distract Kevin Durant by bumping his hip, the Tony Allen strategy. But Cory Joseph isn't Tony Allen.

Meanwhile, the Spurs didn't go nearly enough to Tim Duncan late.

A

Kevin Durant is a god of fire sent to burn everything to ash and then blow that ash into the volcano of his game.

Meanwhile, the Thunder defense will again go overlooked. Their ability to lock down elite teams is rare and should be talked about more. Serge Ibaka was a monster.

Reggie Jackson's slicing and dicing gave the Spurs fits, too. They just can't match up with the Thunder's athleticism.

B

Evan Turner was awesome. They did what most teams do against the Knicks. They exploited their pick and roll switches, they found the corners and then outworked them.

MCW attacked at a crazy rate. Hawes and MCW combined for 14 assists. They shared the ball. It's easy vs. the Knicks.

F

This standard 2014 Knicks loss was brought to you by CAA and MSG Networks!

F-

May God have mercy on their souls.

B

Caron Butler had a root canal on Monday and apparently it was pretty rough. He was still in pain on Wednesday, but then he went out and lit up Detroit.

A dude with root canal pain took the worst team in the league and beat Detroit. We done here?

D+

Rudy Gay went down with an Achilles injury. DeMarcus Cousins went down with an ankle turn.

That was pretty much it.

B

Omri Casspi is going to need to shoot like this (20 points) for the Rockets to make a postseason run. Also 50 points for Howard and Harden is pretty much perfect.

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