Nightly Grades: The Lakers are a joke and Rockets get last laugh

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.


Really strong bounceback from the Wizards after a bummer loss to Toronto Tuesday. They really got engaged in the fourth quarter and out-talented Atlanta. They've hit that point.

Trevor Ariza was huge and not just on this shot:

Bradley Beal was also huge. He just made plays which is becoming more common with him. This dunk was a big momentum swing for the Wizards:


They were without Horford, Antic, Ayon and DeMarre Carroll. They had a strong third quarter but just didn't have the guns to protect the rim well enough, leading to collapses and open threes. It's going to take a trade or a superhuman effort from Paul Millsap for them not to tumble.

Jeff Teague has got to play better. He just has to.


You have to play smart against the Bulls and the Raptors didn't. They get caught up in their own momentum too much, trying to force rushes to boost themselves.

And still they had a chance to win, but Jimmy Butler swallowed up DeMar DeRozan on a way-too-predictable isolation sequence. They could have taken this game, but they just didn't play smart enough. Their turnovers were low, their shot selection was bad.

Jonas Valanciunas got destroyed.


Joakim Noah is the monster that makes Godzilla go back in the water. He was just everywhere.

And can we talk about D.J. Augustin for a second? Averaging 13.8 points and 5.5 assists per game for Chicago. What is Thibs capable of?


Back to back and all, but at home this probably should have been easier. They let the Celtics drag them into their kind of game but the Suns, and this is still weird to say, just out-executed them.

Gerald Green being this good is really fun.


Honestly, hanging in like this was impressive. Rondo's clearly still trying to get his legs under him and it shows. Brandon Bass and Jeff Green had strong trade showcase games and they fought all the way to the end. At this point in the season, that should count for something. Their late-game execution was poor, though, and their effort doesn't translate to plays a lot of the time.

They just kind of do things.


Oh, I'm sorry, I can't give them a grade. I'm too distracted (duck) trying to (duck) duck the passes they're still (duck) somehow (duck) turning the ball over.

Seriously, Indiana was insanely sloppy in this game. They just didn't have any semblance over control of their game. It was a vomitfest.

Oh, and they didn't defend well, either.

So yeah, they were not good.


Kevin Love torched the best defense in the land like it was marshmallow on a mushroom cloud.

Ricky Rubio was great, too. The Wolves pretty much made this their kind of game. They got a lead when the Pacers started out sluggish, capitalized on mistakes, and then just exchanged baskets the rest of their time.

The Timberwolves were supposed to be sunk because the schedule was going to get harder. But maybe this is the start of their resurgence.


They don't know how to lose. I don't know how else to put it. Even when the Magic made a terrific run in the third quarter, the Cavs responded with the hammer. Luol Deng made plays. Anthony Bennett is doing things. Unicorns! Puppies! Cleveland rocks!


I know this sounds weird, but the young guys played pretty well and they had a chance to take this thing, and the veterans screwed it up. It's time to cut bait, Magic. Let the kids out of the play pen.


Smoked the Pistons. Just absolutely crushed them. Al Jefferson is just this all-devouring maw that gnashes everything in his way.

This was a matchup of a team that punishes their opponents' bad habits against a team with a million bad habits.

Kemba Walker really isn't getting the credit he deserves.


You can't even blow this team up because it was designed with too many failsafes.

Their interior defense was almost as bad as their perimeter defense which was almost as bad as their perimeter offense which was almost as bad as everything. Bad.


It's Paty Mills' world and we're all just living in it.

Meanwhile, your standard "Spurs without the Big 3" win. I can't break this down any more. You know what happened.


I gave them this more based on the fact that without LaMarcus Aldridge, they didn't have a great alernate plan and they really lost this game on the defensive end. It's not a bad loss because LMA was gone, but it's still a problem.

Damian Lillard was great offensively, but getting killed by Patty Mills is stil an issue no matter how many teams he does it to. They should have out-talented this team Portland needs to get right in a hurry.


First the Jazz were like "Yeah! Take this!" and the Nets were all "Oh, no, we're in trouble!"

But then the Nets were all "Haha, just kidding, we're totally better than you" and the Jazz were like "Totally."


First the Jazz were like "Yeah! Take this!" and the Nets were all "Oh, no, we're in trouble!"

But then the Nets were all "Haha, just kidding, we're totally better than you" and the Jazz were like "Totally."


Really wonderful game by Carmelo Anthony who dragged this one to the win column. He was a force of nature, and it showed the really good parts of his game. His shot selection was even pretty good.

Meanwhile, the Knicks' defense was surprisingly solid. If this is it for this team, it gave everyone a nice memory.


Anthony Davis had a great game but got cooked by Melo late after a block. Luke Babbitt gave them a nice boost, but the Pelicans need someone to steady the team. That would be Jrue Holiday, but he's hurt.

The end.


Isaiah Thomas was great in the third, but then they fell apart again. It just seems to take so much for them to play well possession to possession, quarter to quarter.

Then again, their entire team could be different tomorrow.


Struggled more than they needed to, but Draymond Green made some big plays and David Lee came through. They're the kind of team that wins games like this now.


They're a joke.


It was kind of cool to see a Dwight Howard who was actually mad enough and engaged enough to do this:

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