The Daily Dribble is a somtimes-daily feature here at Hickory-High. Matt Cianfrone offers his thoughts on a handful of the previous night’s NBA games, and then turns to Twitter to fill in the gaps.
This turned out to be the the second straight night of fun, fun basketball.
Cavaliers 100 – Lakers 94
The NBA is better when Kyrie Irving is healthy. The second-year point guard was terrific in his return from a finger injury and his shootout with Kobe Bryant in this game was a joy to watch.
There may not be a better ball handler in traffic than Kyrie, though arguments can certainly be made for some other, more established guys like CP3 and Steve Nash. Irving made some terrific plays late that started with his dribbling through the Laker defense. It was incredible.
As great as Kobe was offensively, and he was absolutely terrific, he had some really bad moments on defense late in this one. First on the play where Anderson Varejao slipped a screen and got a wide open dunk , Kobe watched from about three steps away as Varejao ran right past him into a wide open lane where Irving found him with a great bounce pass. I know Dwight yelled at Jordan Hill for blowing a rotation but Kobe could, and should, have at least reacted, even it was just to foul Varejao and not allow a layup.
The second was way worse though. After a great defensive possession by the Lakers, Bryant fell asleep off the ball on none other than Irving. Irving made him pay by making a great cut to the middle of the floor and was by Bryant before Kobe realized it. The play led to a foul and helped the Cavs keep their lead.
But man was Kobe a joy to watch offensively. 42 points on 28 shots is always good, scoring that many points on 57 percent shooting is incredible. Kobe had everything going – drives, the mid-range game and even some threes. While he only had 2 assists, some of that was open teammates missing wide open shots after Kobe made the right pass. All in all it was just a brilliant offensive game for a guy having a brilliant offensive season.
Knicks 100 – Nets 97:
The Nets’ last possession was all kinds of ugly. A whole lot of dribbling that went nowhere since the Knicks knew they needed a 3. The only decent look was off the great rebound and pass from Joe Johnson to Deron Williams who shot a really ugly 3. Just a bad possession for a group that should be able to run a decent play with the group of guys they have.
The Melo fall-away late in the fourth was really pretty but the Knicks played most of the possession 5 on 4 because of Gerald Wallace being hurt and that was still the best shot they got. It was kind of stunning that the offense broke down like that when they normally are so good at making the extra pass.
Nuggets 101 – Pistons 94
I kept flipping back and forth to this game from the Lakers/Cavs game but I saw some things I really liked from the Nuggets.
First of all Ty Lawson played really well, especially in the second half. He made some really tough shots which helped a lot but he really attacked the basket hard and gave the Pistons problems when he did so. It was a good night for a guy who has struggled all year to consistently play well.
Andre Miller also played well and from what I read he really changed the game. He threw a great alley-oop to JaVale McGee and had another really nice pass to Cory Brewer that were just typical Andre plays.
JaVale was good JaVale tonight, 6-9 from the field for 12 points with 4 blocks in 19 minutes. But the single rebound is a problem, at his size and with his skills he needs to hit the glass harder than that.
It was ugly, and it took them some time to get going but the win was important for the Nuggets just because they got it. In the end they are doing what the Lakers aren’t right now, beating teams they should beat even if it is ugly, and to stay afloat until they can figure things out.
Clippers 94 – Bulls 89
Hubbie Brown is amazing. He made some great points, like normal, had some great lines, like normal and at one point got particularly mad at Nate Robinson. It led to Hubie angrily declaring “he’s gotta pass the ball,” as Nate Rob dribbled for a second or two more.
I wonder if anyone in the league gets as many dunks after offensive rebounds than DeAndre Jordan. There are like three or four times a game at least it seems that he cleans up a miss with a monster jam. The one he dunked over Blake Griffin in this game was pretty nasty.
Lamar Odom played pretty ok in this game. He had a nice sequence in the fourth when he stepped in and took a charge on a Carlos Boozer floater then a bit later in he threw a great lob to Blake. Yet there were still too many possessions that Odom just didn’t feel like playing and it showed.
The Chris Paul dagger with 27 seconds left was just unfair. Stopped on a complete dime and let Kirk Hinrich fly by him. Just a joy to watch, especially in the clutch.