With most of the NBA's premier teams playing on the NBA's version of Thanksgiving Day, Martin Luther King Day, it left us with the most uneventful Tuesday night of the season.No Lakers, no Cavs. No Celtics, no Hornets. What's an NBA fan to do?
- Celtics put clamps on Magic
- Bynum again leads way in Lakers' win
- Rosen: Beasley has far to go
- Hill: Is fatigue affecting Olympians?
- Rosen: East midterm grades
- Galinsky: NBA Power Rankings
- Randy Hill's midseason MVP
- Marques: Showtime shows off D
- Marques: LeBron needs support
Rose and Gordon seemed to develop a feel for each other while Hinrich was away. Now that Hinrich is back he cuts into both Rose and Gordon's roles. Hinrich can create opportunities for his teammates like Rose, and knock down perimeter shots like Gordon.
The Bulls would be best off moving Hinrich before next season, but he would be difficult to lose because he is one of their better players. There is also the option of moving Gordon, but either way someone needs to go.
The Bulls have a lot of pieces on the table but they aren't all to the same puzzle, and no matter how hard they press their current pieces won't fit.
Coach Vinny Del Negro needs fewer players who deserve 25 minutes per game and one more who deserves 35 minutes per game so he can solidify his rotations and develop roles for his players.
San Antonio Spurs 99, Indiana Pacers 81
No team knows how to put away a lesser opponent better than the Spurs. Indiana is a team that has been giving the entire NBA fits with its up-tempo style, but the Pacers were no match for the defensive-minded Spurs.
Ah yes, the Spurs. As we're introducing ourselves to some of the NBA's lesser-known players, let's not forget about Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker's dominance over the decade.
San Antonio stumbled into the season losing its first three games, but now it sits on top of the Southwest Division at 28-13. Along with the Orlando Magic, the Spurs are the least talked about, best team in the NBA.
They are riding a streak of winning a championship, then not winning one, then winning one again that dates back to the 2002-03 season. This season, it's their turn to win again.
Against Indiana the Spurs clearly had one focus, shut down Danny Granger. You have seen Gregg Popovich use this tactic against potent offensive weapons in the past, and it worked once again as Granger was held to 17 points on 5-15 shooting.
Most impressively, Granger was held without a three-point attempt. Why is that so impressive? Granger is averaging 6.9 three-point attempts per game and is capitalizing at 39.7 percent on the season.
Granger is one of the top young stars in the NBA. Averaging 26.4 points on the season, he is no doubt deserving of an All-Star bid, but he can not do it all against a focused team of veterans.
Denver Nuggets 118, Sacramento Kings 99
Without Carmelo Anthony, the Nuggets have found an identity as a team, and Chauncey Billups is their leader. Billups finished with 22 points, eight assists, and three steals, while knocking down 10 of 11 free throws.
The leader of the Lithuanian National Team, Linas Kleiza, came off the bench to score 27 points in 31 minutes. Kleiza gives the Nuggets the inside-out game that they usually count on from Anthony. He rarely shines when 'Melo is healthy, but has been stupendous as his replacement.
Nene, Chris Anderson, Anthony Carter and J.R. Smith all filled their roles and the Kings were left in the dust.
Utah Jazz 112, Minnesota Timberwolves 107
Even without Carlos Boozer, Utah's big men killed Minnesota. Mehmet Okur poured in a casual 22 points, while Paul Millsap has been making Jazz fans forget Boozer ever graced the lineup.
Millsap has posted 20 double-doubles in 23 starts since Boozer's injury, including 28 points and 15 rebounds Tuesday.
The former Louisiana Tech rebounding champ gone from over-achiever to an up-and-coming star in a few months. That's right, the 6-8, 250-pound forward is from the same Louisiana Tech as Jazz great Karl Malone, and he is doing him proud.
Of course there is a Stockton to Millsap's Malone, as Deron Williams dished out 11 assists in the victory.
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