Nightly Grades: Blazers make another statement

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 The Cleveland Cavaliers desperately needed this kind of win, and not only did they take down a good Denver Nuggets team, they did it convincingly. Kyrie Irving was great (23 points) and Tristan Thompson beasted inside (21 rebounds). Could it be the kind of win that propels them forward to being the kind of team we thought they might be?
A Score another one for the East! The Los Angeles Clippers fancy themselves one of the West's best, and the Atlanta Hawks handled them with authority tonight as Paul Millsap did his "I'm way stronger than you are" thing. The Hawks still appear to be an enigma, but they're a Tim Duncan game-winner away from back-to-back wins over two of the West's top contenders.
A The Portland Trail Blazers would like you to recognize them, please. That's now wins over the Indiana Pacers and Oklahoma City Thunder this week. And LaMarcus Aldridge was unstoppable against OKC with 38 on 17-28 shooting.
A It's more about the Houston Rockets losing than the Phoenix Suns winning, but kudos to Phoenix who continues to impress with their loose, confident style of basketball. The led the Rockets basically wire to wire tonight, dominating the game in most every way.
B Beating the Miami Heat on Monday doesn't mean much if you follow it up with an egg against the Milwaukee Bucks . But the Detroit Pistons took care of their business and got within a game of .500. 
C They beat the Utah Jazz . And moving on.
D+ Second night of a back-to-back on the road against a team that wanted a win far more badly, and the Thunder had a chance as Kevin Durant missed on a wide open go-ahead 3 with 1:13 left. The Thunder did a lot of the things that makes you wonder if they're really as good as we think they are, but regardless, they really should've probably won this game anyway. That is how good they are, infuriating as it may be.  
F That's now consecutive losses to the Jazz and the Suns, the latest coming at home. Not that the Suns are some horrible team, but if you want to be taken as seriously as the Rockets do, you can't be losing back-to-back games like this. 
I Embarassing night for the league in Mexico City as the San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves got smoked out. We'll be kind and call it an "I" for incomplete. 
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