|The Bulls did some celebrating of their own in a beatdown of the Pacers. (Getty Images)|
By Matt Moore
Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.
|Bulls second-half defense||The Bulls' win over the Pacers in a "revenge" game for celebration-gate earlier in the month was close in the first half. In fact, the Pacers lead. It was going well. The pace was how the Pacers want it, and the Bulls offense had resorted back to "Rose dribbles around and then passes to Noah in the pinch post who holds it for too long until passing it to someone for a mid-range jumper which misses. Then the third quarter happened, a 33-13 cannibalistic raid which started with the Bulls attacking the Pacers dribble furiously to create turnovers then running out for dunks and transition threes. It was like Chokeholds in Seven Seconds or Less and it turned a great battle into a rout before the Pacers could figure out they were hit.|
|OKC defense||The Thunder won the free throw differential, again. The Thunder had some bizarre offensive possessions again. But when the Thunder absolutely needed to shut down the Mavericks, they did. The defense for OKC has come miles in the last three weeks. They blanketed Dirk and disrupted Dallas' playsets enough to completely block out any chance of a miracle tying bucket. They allowed too many Dirk Nowitzki threes early in the fourth, but their recovery down the stretch was championship level.|
|Orlando Magic/Toronto Raptors||The Raptors have no center, no real power forward, and are playing Jamal Magloire and a series of tweeners. And yet outside of Dwight Howard's dominant 36 points, the Raptors hung with the Magic. That says a lot about both teams. The Magic needed a clutch J.J. Redick three to finish them off and this team simply had no frontcourt to defend Orlando with. That's a problem loss.|
|Sacramento Kings||Essentially, twice against the Nuggets, all the Kings had to do was avoid the exact thing they wound up doing. Don't foul Arron Afflalo on a desperation three-pointer at the end of regulation. Don't miss free throws. Don't let Lawson go ISO with space. And yet they did all these things, twice blowing leads that seemed safe and tossing away a game they had every chance to win.|
|Clippers composure||Kenyon Martin gets T'd up needlessly inside the final three minutes. Blake Griffin gets a technical for a bad fall into Luke Ridnour, then missed both of his free throws for the fouls which started it. Chris Paul misses a tying free throw. For whatever reason, the Timberwolves turn the Clippers into toddlers with buckets on their heads, running into walls and down stairs.
|E FOR EFFORT|
|Dwight Howard (36 points on 20 shots, 13 rebounds, 2 blocks in 26 minutes)|
|Al Jefferson (25 points on 16 shots, 13 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 blocks)|
|Kevin Love (39 points, 17 rebounds, huge shot after huge shot in the win)|