LA Clippers 102, Memphis 106: Just like in the playoffs, Randolph (26-15) and Gasol (23-8) were better than their frontcourt counterparts, and Mike Conley got the better of Chris Paul late in the 4th quarter.
Portland 108, Brooklyn 98: The Blazers, at 9-2, are the biggest surprise in the NBA. They’ve won seven in a row. Philadelphia fans who dismissed LaMarcus Alridge as a star – he had 27-8 and he’s averaging 22.6 ppg and 9.2 rpg. But forget Portland – I’m getting popcorn ready to enjoy the Nets implosion. At 3-7, they’re a massive letdown so far. Deron Williams sat out with a sprained ankle and Shaun Livingston (!) led them in scoring with 23 points.
Chicago 86, Charlotte 81: Remember when Gerald Henderson was a real nice player at Duke? He’s ended up stuck in Charlotte, so you never hear from him anymore, but here’s a newsflash – he can still jump! The Bulls won, though. Interesting Derrick Rose (4-of-13, 12 points) stat: He took four free throws, ending a 2-game streak of attempting none.
Denver 113, Oklahoma City 115: The Thunder were bailed out by this smooth move to the hoop late by Russell Westbrook, and won a free throw shooting contest to hold off the Nuggets. The lack of a consistent 3rd scorer is going to catch up with the Thunder, either later this season or in the playoffs. Durant: 38 on 27 shots; Westbrook 30 on 25 shots.
Philadelphia 94, Dallas 97: The 76ers remain competitive without rookie PG Michael Carter-Williams (foot), but couldn’t contain Monta Ellis (24 points, 13 in the third quarter) and fell to 5-7. Neat: Shane Larkin finally made his NBA debut for the Mavericks, making three steals in just nine minutes. Injured during summer league, Larkin could be the heir apparent to Jose Calderon at point.
Golden State 98, Utah 87: Is there a more fun team to watch than the Warriors? I’ll say no. My NBA Finals team from the West is now 8-3 and they’re not going to lose many games when hitting 12 three-pointers. They’re definitely not losing games in which they take a 28-point lead. Utah, at 1-11, has got to be the worst team in the NBA.