For a night that didn't really offer too many marquee matchups on paper, Wednesday night proved to have some pretty exciting finishes. Four games went down to the wire and the visiting team won each and every one of them. So far, the 2008-09 season is shaping up to be one of the oddest in recent memory. When the day started, 10 of the league's 30 teams had better winning percentages on the road than at home. By comparison, the Orlando Magic were the only team at the end of last season to have a better record on the road than at home (27-14 vs. 25-16).
Thursday, We Pass Turkey. Wednesday, Turkey Did the Passing
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One of the many bright spots for the Cavs this season has been the play of rookie J.J. Hickson. In 31 minutes, Hickson scored 14 points, had six rebounds and swatted four shots against the Thunder.
The emergence of Hickson is big for two reasons. The first is that he could provide the Cavs with the piece they need to acquire a big name in a trade this season. Of course there are teams that will be interested in Wally Szczerbiak's expiring contract. But Hickson gives them the type of young stud that could be the difference between getting a Chris Wilcox and getting an Andrei Kirilenko.
The second reason why Hickson is a big deal in Cleveland is because, with the exception of James, the Cavs haven't drafted an impact player in the first round since Andre Miller back in 1999. The rest of the list includes names like Chris Mihm, DeSagana Diop, DaJuan Wagner, Luke Jackson and Shannon Brown.
New Player, Same Result
Zach Randolph finally made his debut for the Clippers against the Nuggets. Chalk this one up to opening night jitters because Randolph definitely looked like a guy playing with his team for the very first time. Randolph shot so poorly I couldn't help but think he was missing on purpose. He finished the game with seven points on 3-of-11 shooting but the Clippers still had a chance to win it at the buzzer.
Marcus Camby missed the potential game-winning three against his former mates and the Nuggets hung on for the 106-105 victory. Carmelo Anthony led five Nuggets in double figures with 30 points.
The Clippers are now 2-13 with one of the NBA's softest early-season schedules. Ten of the Clips' first 15 games were at home and they managed to win just one of them.
Mardy Collins, also playing in his first game in Los Angeles, didn't score a point and missed the only shot he took in the game. Rookie Eric Gordon led the Clippers with 24 points, a direct result of increased playing time in the wake of Cuttino Mobley's departure.
Not to make light of Mobley's health, but I'm curious if his heart issues have anything to do with the Steve Francis trade that separated them back in 2006. Neither player has been the same since. Who knew it was a broken heart?
Those Aren't Seat Warmers, Reggie
Reggie Theus might be the next coach to get fired in the wake of the Kings' 116-114 overtime loss to the Nets on Wednesday night. It isn't often that a team has a six-point lead with 34.7 seconds left in the game and loses, but that's exactly what happened.
With the Nets trying to inbound the ball out of a timeout, Bobby Jackson was called for a dead-ball foul for grabbing onto Devin Harris' jersey (a move that should be referred to as "The Sam Cassell"). Vince Carter knocked down the technical free throw and the Nets retained possession. Bobby Simmons then baited Spencer Hawes into fouling him on a three-point shot and Simmons knocked down two of the three to cut the Kings' lead to three with 26 seconds left.
The next 20 seconds consisted of a Devin Harris layup and another missed free throw by Salmons. With seven seconds remaining and the Nets down by three, Harris knocked down the game-tying 3-pointer over the outstretched arms of Bobby Jackson.
For the second time in three nights the Kings failed to execute a potential game-winning drive in regulation.
The Nets lost Vince Carter in overtime with what looked like a pretty bad hamstring injury. Carter led the Nets in scoring with 25 points. Salmons led the Kings with a career-high 38.
Troy Murphy may have led the way with 21 points and 14 boards but it was Danny Granger's tip-in off his own missed shot that provided the winning bucket in the Pacers' 91-90 win over the Rockets in Houston.
Granger is really breaking out in this, his fourth year in the league. In addition to scoring 16 points, he also tallied six rebounds, six blocked shots and five assists.
The Rockets were playing without Tracy McGrady, who was resting his sore knee. The team did welcome back Shane Battier for the first time after he missed the first 15 games with an inflamed foot.
Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 27, 2008