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Report Card: Heat, Mavs, Lakers roll on Sunday

Posted on: January 30, 2012 12:40 am
Edited on: January 30, 2012 1:35 am
Posted by Ben Golliver and Matt Moore

LeBron James topped Derrick Rose in their first head-to-head match-up of the season. (Getty Images)

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.

LeBron James jumps over John Lucas III to dunk

Words can't really express how ridiculous this dunk is from James. If you haven't seen it at least 10 times by the start of work on Monday all of your co-workers will hate you. Watch it over and over again. There's not enough plusses to add at the end of this "A." This deserves to be in the "all-time greatest dunks" conversation. -- BG

Miami Heat

The Heat have to feel pretty, pretty, pret-tay good with how Sunday's smackdown with the Chicago Bulls played out. Looking dominant for long stretches even with Dwyane Wade struggle and Derrick Rose going for 34 points, the Heat escaped after two late misses at the charity stripe from James. Chris Bosh was a crucial X-factor, contributing 24 points (on just 14 shots) while grabbing 12 rebounds and hitting all eight of his free throw attempts. James was a monster and he torched the Bulls, who were down Luol Deng due to injury. -- BG

Los Angeles Lakers

L.A.'s road struggles run so deep this season that it's no exaggeration at all to say they exited the Target Center with a big win on Sunday night. Hot shooting from deep was an obvious key -- 8-for-19 as a team, including five bombs from Bryant -- but the Andrew Bynum / Pau Gasol combination combined for a ridiculous 49 points and 13 rebounds, including 12 points in the game's final five minutes. Minnesota committed just four turnovers on the night, out-rebounded L.A. 52-41 and took 25 more attempts from the field, yet still wound up on the losing end of this one. You don't see that every day. The Lakers' shooting (40-for-79 as a team) had everything to do with that.  -- BG

Jason Terry

There will come a time when Jason Terry is not in this league and that will be sad. Too often Terry gets overlooked for the understandable idolization of Nowitzki. But Terry's ability to find, create, and deliver huge shot after huge shot should be remembered for a long time by fans in Dallas and across the league. He has an uncanny ability to make the right decision of whether to continue to the basket for a layup or pull-up, and just when you think there's no way he delivers a score, he nails it with nothing but nylon in the ball's trajectory. The bench mob won the battle for a while, but it was Terry who helped the Mavs win the war. You limit Dirk Nowitzi to ten points and this happens. Jason Terry, the itch that you can never scratch. -- MM

Vince Carter

Carter went Vinsanity for much of the first half, nailing pull-up jumpers, getting to the rim, and when the game needed a rebound and a stop for the Mavericks, Carter delivered both down the stretch. Carter providing that kind of performance for the Mavs makes them an entirely different team in the backcourt and it shows the value of his free agent signing for Dallas. Off a steal late in the game instead of pushing for a layup against two defenders, he wisely slowed the game down and set up Jason Terry for a huge shot to close the gap in the fourth quarter.  -- MM

San Antonio Bench Bombardment, LLC

Gary Neal played point guard, ran an offense and sliced and diced his way to 19 points. Danny Green and James Anderson, who have both spent time in Austin with the Spurs' Developmen team (along with Neal) hit big shot after big shot against the champs. Tiago Splitter brought 8 points and 7 rebounds in 26 minutes to help fuel the comeback. Matt Bonner played terrific defense, for crying out loud. It was simply insane, how well the Spurs' bench played, particularly in the fourth quarter, scoring on 8 of 9 possessions at one point. It was an inspiring performance that was nearly enough, had a buzzer beater with .5 left in regulation from Danny Green not been a fraction of a slice of a piece of a hair follicle too late. B+. -- MM

Gregg Popovich

How many coaches have the guts to keep their bench in that long and let them ride it out, even in overtime, to trust those young players to deliver? Two? Maybe? Popovich didn't get the win but rested his starters, nearly pulled it out, gave his young guys valuable experience, and sent a message to the first team. The fact it almost worked is pretty insane all by itself. -- MM 

Derrick Rose

This might seem like an incredibly harsh grade, but ask yourself whether if Rose would give himself anything better than an "F" after he bricked two late free throws that had major endgame implications? Rose had some "holy crap" moments against the Heat, feathering in pull-up jumpers and runners and finshing after contact time and time again. But while he put up 34 points and got all four of his teammates into double figures, he came up empty at the end and shot just 11-for-28 from the field. He protected the ball well, his teammates left some assists on the table for him by missing open shots and he was missing Deng, who would have been huge. He had Chicago in it until the very end. But he goes home with frustration, just like after the 2011 East Finals. That's got to feel below average. -- BG
Spurs' Starters

Spurs' Starters: Listless, uninspired, sloppy. If they were scoring (Tim Duncan), they weren't defending. If they were defending (Kawhi Leonard), they were shooting poorly. The bench mob redeemed the Spurs' effort, but San Antonio largely just "didn't have it." -- MM

Tony Parker

9 points on 11 shots. 4 assists, 2 turnovers, and a benching for Gary Neal, who's not a point guard, to run point. And he was outplayed by Roddy Beaubois a fellow Frenchman much younger. So yeah, a poor night for TP. D-. -- MM

Carlos Boozer's Family

Poor Boozer got punked hard by his family on national television. Of course this would happen to him. -- BG


Since: Jan 30, 2012
Posted on: January 30, 2012 6:01 pm

Report Card: Heat, Mavs, Lakers roll on Sunday

Right on with your comment about Terry.  He's a big reason why the Mavs were able to win it all last year.  Don't know how he retains his quickness at 34, when so many others lose a step.

Since: Jan 30, 2012
Posted on: January 30, 2012 5:52 pm

Report Card: Heat, Mavs, Lakers roll on Sunday

Great comment on Jason Terry.  He's a difference maker when he is right on and big reason they won it all last year.  Must be in amazing shape to still the quickness, etc. at 34.

Since: Nov 3, 2006
Posted on: January 30, 2012 3:18 pm

Report Card: Heat, Mavs, Lakers roll on Sunday

The ones I disagree with I will regrade. 

LeBron James' dunk: A-, It was a nice dunk, but John Lucas III is under six feet tall and LeBron didn't even clear him cleanly. If a 6' 5" player can do this to a player of the same size as Lucas
atch?v=bx_9tebAD-c then LeBron should have been able to do a better job of clearing him if we're going to act like this is an all time great dunk. A flop by Lucas may have drawn a charge. 

Miami Heat: B, Miami damn near choked this game away at the end. LeBron missed two crucial free throws and several shots late. Rose just returned the favor. Still has to feel good to not actually blow another game in the 4th.

Lakers: B+, getting outrebounded like that isn't good, but they needed this win and got it.

San Antonio bench bombardment: A-, they came very close to pulling it out. This would be an A+ had they pulled it out.

Gregg Popovich: A, this is a case of sacrificing a battle to win a war, and he almost won the battle anyway. He is sending a much stronger message to his starters by leaving them on the bench in crunch time against a rival. Having it end in a loss should put some fire into the starters, and they'll be fresher with those minutes off. The loss stings, but Popovich did an excellent job and this will benefit them in the long run.

Since: Nov 30, 2007
Posted on: January 30, 2012 2:00 am

Report Card: Heat, Mavs, Lakers roll on Sunday

One of the things I LOVED about this blog last year was that it would actually take the time to comment and analyze small market teams instead of just throwing all their focus on big market, superstar laden teams.  If I want coverage of just the Heat, Bulls, Lakers, Clippers and Knicks (with maybe a bit of Dallas, San Antonio, and Boston thrown in for good measure), I'll just go to ESPN, that's all they ever cover anyways.  What CBS has the chance to do is carve themselve out as a niche for fans of the ENTIRE NBA.  Rather than ESPN who focuses so intently on major markets (to the point they now have seperate offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Boston, etc), CBS can offer content on every team in the would be a thing of beauty for fans of the game

Since: Nov 30, 2007
Posted on: January 30, 2012 1:52 am

Report Card: Heat, Mavs, Lakers roll on Sunday

pacers never seem to make the report cards after a big win

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