Chicago 76, Atlanta 74: The Bulls outscored the Hawks 34-18 in the final quarter, capped by a Joakim Noah-to-Luol Deng layup with :03 left and Chicago improved to 5-1. What a masterful play call. Both Hawks defenders gravitated to Derrick Rose, and Deng slipped in for the easy game-winner. Rose led everyone with 30, but everyone he scored, former Oklahoma star Stacey King absolutely lost it in the booth. I guess if you’re a Bulls’ fan, he’s not bad to listen to.
Cleveland 115, Charlotte 101: Not ready to get excited about the Cavs’ 3-2 start, but Kyrie Irving? That I can get excited about. He scored 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting, had six assists and zero turnovers. He’s shooting 46 percent from three so far. He’s being compared to Gilbert Arenas. I’ll toss this out there as something to plant in your mind and monitor this season (and yes, I’m aware we’re five games into a 66-game march): Will Kyrie Irving end up being the more consummate pro than John Wall, who went first in 2010?
Oklahoma City 93, Portland 103: The Blazers improved to 4-1 with an impressive second half showing against the tired Thunder. Kevin Durant scored 19 points, and needed 26 shots to do it. Portland has a strong 7-man rotation. Can you imagine how much stronger they’ll be when Greg Oden returns from injury? The Blazers made more FTs (29) than the Thunder attempted (21).
LA Lakers 108, Houston 99: Kobe “Imma get mine” Bryant played perhaps his best game of the season, scoring 37 points, collecting eight rebounds, handing out six assists and dominating the game late. If you keep track of this kind of thing: Kobe took 29 shots; Gasol and Bynum combined took 26. I don’t know how Gasol can play 35 minutes and not get to the foul line once, but I bet you Kobe noticed that, too. Bynum: 21 points, 22 rebounds. Guy having an impressive season, though you may not have noticed: Kyle Lowery, the former Villanova point guard. He scored 22 points, took 10 rebounds, and had nine assists. He leads the NBA in assists per game (11), mostly because he had 18 on New Year’s Eve against the Hawks.
Memphis 113, Sacramento 96: Jimmer had his best game as a pro – 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting – but most came in garbage time as the Kings were pounded by the Grizzlies. Despite not having Zach Randolph (knee) six Grizzlies scored in double figures, led by Rudy Gay (23).
Utah 85, Milwaukee 73: Only because I found this funny – with Andrew Bogut out (personal matters), the Bucks decided to let Drew Gooden take 20 shots. Drew Gooden. I guess when Brandon Jennings (4-19) and Stephen Jackson (5-17) are misfiring, Drew Gooden is your guy.