LA Lakers 115, Washington 108: It’s nice to see Flip Saunders give Nick Young some burn. Young scored 30 and is having the best season of his young career (13.1 ppg). Loved his game out of USC, and if the Wiz can find a way to pair Arenas (23 points)-Wall (22 points, 14 assists)-Young, and then coax something out of two Blatche (who sat out injured) and McGee, they could still make a run at the final playoff spot in the East. JaVale McGee (nasty dunk after the jump) is like Blake Griffin, just skinnier and more raw, right?
Dallas 100, Golden State 95: The Mavs needed a 4th quarter rally, but still won their 10th in a row to improve to an NBA best 17-4. The French Connection – Ian Mahinmi and Alexis Ajinca – filled in admirably inside (15 points) for Dallas, which was without Chandler and Haywood. The Warriors’ hot start to the season ended when David Lee went down (1-7 without him) and they really haven’t recovered. They’re 8-13, and if they don’t get above .500 by mid-January, they can start thinking lottery again.
Charlotte 100, Denver 98: Mr. Big Shot’s triple from the corner missed, or the Nuggets would have pulled off an sweet comeback from down eight with 90 seconds left and extended their winning streak to eight. If you’re wondering how Carmelo Anthony is doing this season – at 22 ppg, he’d down six points a night from last year, when he was an MVP candidate through the first 60 games. He’s not getting to the foul line as often, not attempting as many shots as he used to, but he’s averaging a career-best 8 rebounds per game.
Phoenix 99, Portland 106: With Andre Miller suspended, former St. Mary’s gunner Patty Mills played 28 solid minutes at point guard (9 points, 7 assists). If anyone can figure out what’s going on with the Suns’ rotation, we’d love to know. How’s Josh Childress only playing six minutes, Dragic nine, and Hedo 18?
Philadelphia 117, Cleveland 97: I feel bad for Byron Scott. He is one of my five favorite Lakers of all-time (Magic, Worthy, Cooper, Shaq). This team is in a freefall, having lost five in a row and looking as interested as I was in Earth Science in 10th grade. For the 76ers, Thaddeus Young – who reminds me of a better shooting and less aggressive version of UK freshman Terrence Jones – made 11-of-12 for 26 points. Spencer Hawes had his first double-double of the season (10 points, 12 rebounds).