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Blog Entry

Report Card: Anderson and Orlando work some magic

Posted on: January 16, 2012 5:39 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 12:11 am
 
Posted by Royce Young and Matt Moore



Your nightly report card gives you a big picture look at what happened each night in the NBA. Grades are granted based on team or individual performances, and are graded on a curve for each element. Leave your own grades in the comments.

Ryan Anderson and the Magic

Orlando might've picked up its best win of the season Monday in New York and the Magic did it behind Ryan Anderson's scoring barrage. Anderson has emerged as a legit option for the Magic and with Dwight Howard inside, Anderson, a finesse power forward, can afford to play on the perimeter. It's really a pretty perfect pairing, much in the way Rashard Lewis worked well playing alongside Howard. Anderson went for 30 against the Knicks and did it with seven 3-pointers. -- RY

Kyrie Irving

Irving closed out the Bobcats with a series of dervish inside moves and layups. His handle and confidence improves every game and he's now distributing as well. Ricky Rubio has all the hype but right now Irving needs to at least share the lead for ROY. The Cavaliers keep winning, surprisingly, and it looks more and more like they have a star to build around. He's got great control over his body in mid-air and his shooting is surprisingly on target for a rookie. He took the team on his back to get the win Monday, and that's exactly what the Cavs want to see. -- MM

Russell Westbrook and the Thunder

That's six straight for Oklahoma City, but how about Westbrook? He drilled back-to-back 3-pointers in crunchtime, scored 26 points and made plays all over the court in Boston for the Thunder. He was helped obviously by Kevin Durant (28 points) but the unusual suspect of Thabo Sefolosha stepped up with 19 points on 7-9 shooting. The Celtics were a desperate team Monday looking for a win to hang their hat on and OKC did what needed to be done. Impressive victory for the team now with the league's best record.

Memphis Grizzlies

The bad: the third quarter where the Grizzlies let a 25-point lead evaporate. But other than that, which was largely fueled by a free throw disparity and C.J. Watson stealing the spirit of Derrick Rose who missed the game with turf toe, the Grizzlies were brilliant. Rudy Gay scored 24 points, his third 20-plus points game. The offensive flow was working and they hustled defensively. Memphis has won three straight and is back to ball hawking in the passing lanes to force turnovers. Rose's absence was of course the difference. -- MM

John Wall

It's not his fault his team stinks. OK, maybe it's kind of his fault because as the de facto "star," he's supposedly to lift everyone else to a higher place. But still, against the Rockets Monday, he did what he could do. Wall went for 38 points, eight assists and six rebounds but didn't get much else from his fellow starters who scored a combined 30 points as the Wizards lost to Houston. -- RY

Zone

The Magic dropped into a zone, and much the same way the zone has jacked with the Heat's star-powered lineups, it clogged up the works. It makes sense if you think about it. Teams with star power that don't have competent shooters are going to struggle when the athleticism is compromised and more pressure is applied by angling the zone to the star players. Zone is seldom used in the NBA, but the playoffs could have a ton of it this year. -- MM

Sixers Distribution

Against a very good defensive team in Milwaukee, the Sixers had four players in double digits. The Sixers aren't beating teams with star power, they're beating teams with coaching, execution, and depth. It's really important to note now how good this Sixers team is because if they're playing this well in May, they're going to make a run and stun some teams. They have a great bench scorer, they have a solid all-around frontcourt, they have a do-it-all forward in Iguodala playing the best ball of his career. Fear the Sixers. -- MM

Boston Celtics

The Celtics were competitive and actually had a chance to beat one of the best, if not the best team in the league Monday, but were bitten by the unlikely barrage of 3-pointers from Thabo Sefolosha and Russell Westbrook. It has to be a tad encouraging that the Celtics were ready, played good defense and really pounded the glass. Still they lost their fifth straight and their four wins are against Washington (twice), New Jersey and Detroit. -- RY

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls without Rose reverted back to a largely inefficient team, but more concerning was their lack of defense as the Grizzlies relentlessly attacked the rim. Essentially, unless Omer Asik was in, the rim was vulnerable. The question has to be asked for the hundreth time, if the Bulls would be better off with Taj Gibson starting, and now Asik is angling for the job of Joakim Noah. Noah was particularly bad, getting outworked and outsmarted by Marc Gasol and dunked on by Rudy Gay in space, while missing layups. Rose is the reason they lost, but there was a lot not to like for Chicago. -- MM

Carmelo Anthony

He returned to the Knicks. He scored 33 points but did it in 9-27 shooting and New York lost to the Magic. So a pretty Melo day all around. (Get it? Melo... You get it.) -- RY


The Hornets

Here's the starting five the Hornets rolled out against Portland: Jarrett Jack, Marco Belinelli, Emeka Okafor, Jason Smith and DaJuan Summers. Does that strike you as a competitive NBA team? Jack led the Hornets in scoring with 21 points, but my goodness does that team need Eric Gordon back. A lot of teams are fun to watch even when they're bad because of young players or because it's comical, but the Hornets don't really even have interesting players right now. -- RY
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