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Nightly Grades: Dirk with another dagger over the Knicks

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
D-

The Pelicans don't really get outclassed much, but they were outclassed in this one. They just didn't have the firepower to keep pace with the Clippers, and it showed. For like the 700th time, I found myself wondering how good they could be at this point if Jrue Holiday was back. His absence hurts way more than most people talk about.

Eric Gordon's level of disengagement is a real problem.

But hey, Alexis Ajinca had 19 points!

A

The good teams? I mean the really good teams? They win like this. No drama. No messing around. Take the team that's worse than you out back and end it. It was a clinic.

DeAndre Jordan and Jamal Crawford were way bigger impacts than Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. Fantastic games from those guys, who are having their strongest parts of their seasons at the right time.

A

Well, they won. So they lost? I'm not sure how this tanking thing goes but this must have been fun.

Jeff Adrien getting minutes and rebounds is fun to watch.

F-

Fantastic tanking performance. Just really did a wonderful job of turning the ball over and letting the Bucks do whatever they wanted. Terrific work. This team is going places in the lottery. Strong lack of effort.

B

The messed around for a while, and honestly, the Pistons ate them up inside for most of the game. But like they're going to find in the first round, if it's close in the 4th, Steph Curry can get them distance. Great work just to close out a team that was game tonight and prey on their worser instincts.

Oh, and this happened.

D+

They had ahold of the rope for a while, and I loved how Greg Monroe played and Kyle Singler was pretty decent other than getting dunked on.

Josh Smith shot 24 times and made nine of them.

C+

They played really well. They really did. They got good movement offensively, J.R. Smith was dishing dimes and making smart decisions (for real). Carmelo Anthony was really great, no kidding.

They played some defense. It wasn't great, but it was enough to tie the game late. Yes, it was maddening that Raymond Felton kept getting switched onto Dirk Nowitzki and the Knicks were cool with it, but Nowitzki didn't do all that much damage until the game winner.

They played well... for them. And that's the problem. It just wasn't enough to beat a good team.

B-

Dirk knows he needed the roll. But sometimes you do. They worked to create good shots. Once again, their defense was atrocious, and their rebounding is a nightmare. But they hit shots and that's what they're good at.

B

They still have so much athleticism. They really should be better than they have been. Derrick Favors in particular was really good. Nice win, but cost them in the tankings.

D-

Without Jared Sullinger, they just didn't have enough inside. They needed a much better game from the perimeter and....

Look, you know what the deal is.

 
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