Nightly Grades 10.30.13: Sixers stun the Heat
Nightly grades covering the action in the NBA, featuring the Sixers stunning Miami, a monster debut for Dwight Howard and a disappointing night for Memphis.
What an opening. Michael Carter-Williams set an NBA record for steals in a debut (nine) and nearly had a quadruple-double (24 points, seven rebounds, 12 assists). WHILE BEATING THE HEAT. What a performance. He has a bright, bright future, but has any player ever had the best game of their career on their debut? Because can it get much better than that?
|A||Just an all around solid win for the Cavaliers against the Nets, a team most are expecting good things from. The Cavs appear to be a solid team and the way you prove that is by beating good teams on your home floor. Tristan Thompson was excellent (18 and nine boards) while their defense was especially stingy, especially in the fourth quarter.|
|A||What a performance. The caught the Lakers a night after an emotional win over the Clippers, but sheesh, that was something. Klay Thompson had a new career high before the end of the third quarter (he finished with 38, on 15-19 shooting!), and defensively they just suffocated the Lakers to win 125-94. The Warriors are good.|
|A||Kudos to Sacramento. Not only did the Kings kick things off with a 90-88 win over the Nuggets (30-14 for DeMarcus Cousins), but the arena was hopping like Arco in the C-Webb days. It's a new day for the Sacramento Kings, and you could just tell from the energy in the building.|
|B+||Forty-two points on 24 shots is pretty salty, but Kevin Durant needed to go 22-24 from the free throw line to get it done, and only had a single assist as the Thunder stalled out late but held on against the Jazz.|
|B||A pretty methodical win for the Pistons, something that we have been used to saying the past few years about the Pistons. Greg Monroe was dominant (24-16), Josh Smith efficient (19 points on 8-12 shooting) and Will Bynum controlled the game nicely. It's a win over the Wizards which isn't exactly a massive statement, but this is certainly an improved Pistons squad.|
|C||For a half, the Knicks looked fantastic. For the one that followed it, they looked like a complete mess. First half, the Knicks led the Bucks 54-31. Second half, the Bucks outscored the Knicks 52-34. It resulted in a win for New York, but it was ugly, sloppy and disjointed. But hey, 1-0.|
|D+||The Spurs jumped all over the Grizzlies early and it appeared it was going to just be a continuation of the Western Conference finals. But the Grizzlies battled back to make things respectable, falling 101-94. But they were doomed by a seven-point second quarter and trailed 48-27 at the half. The Spurs always had control and while Memphis cut it to six in the fourth, there just wasn't enough offense for the Grizzlies. An opportunity to exorcise a few demons, but really, it might've just done more damage.|
Hey Sixers, you're doing it wrong. But man, totally worth it. Obviously a tongue-in-cheek F here because of the tanking expectations, but they roared to a 19-0 first quarter lead over the Heat, then incredibly held on to close out LeBron in crunch time, 114-110. They went on a 13-1 run over the last couple minutes to get it done and hit free throws, got stops and grabbed rebounds, to do it. It's like they totally knew what they were doing. They could go 0-81 the rest of the way for all I care.
OK, let's just give tanking an F. With "Riggin' For Wiggins" being a major theme to this season, the Sixers beat the Heat, the Suns beat the Trail Blazers, the Jazz pushed the Thunder to the brink, the Magic took the Timberwolves to overtime and the Raptors beat Boston. Soak it in, because come February, it's going to be far less subtle.
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