Dirk Nowitzki left the Dallas Mavericks' visit to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second quarter, but the Mavs were able to pull out a 103-93 victory, their 17th win in the last 18 games. Nowitzki tweaked his right knee when coming on off a jump shot in the second. Serge Ibaka fouled Dirk on the play, but the play looked clean. Nowitzki didn't return to the game.
But Shawn Marion had a big night off the bench, scoring 20 points and adding nine rebounds. Jason Kidd had a near triple-double with 10 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds. But in the time you'd think Dallas would miss Dirk the most, it was Jason Terry who stepped up.
The Mavs entered the fourth trailing by two. Terry immediately tied it up with a jumper. A few minutes later, after the Thunder had taken a one-point lead, Terry ripped off seven straight points. Dallas never trailed again. For the quarter, JET had 11 points on 5-7 shooting and two assists.
Serge Ibaka! From every angle!
- Mavs Moneyball credits continued hot shooting from behind the arc.
The Bobcats won Paul Silas' debut game as the team's new head coach, with Charlotte running out a 23-point lead that didn't last very long. Detroit charged hard and got to within a point in the last minute of the game. But a Tyrus Thomas putback of a missed D.J. Augustin runner gave Charlotte enough cushion to survive. Augustin, who was said to be Larry Brown's lament this season, scored 27 points on 10-15 shooting.
Strangely enough, the Bobcats began to fall apart with a November home loss to the Pistons, giving Detroit its first win of the season. The Bobcats had crumbled in that game, and really never seemed to regain any confidence. Whether Monday's win over the same Pistons slays those ghouls remains to be seen. Either way, it's a good start.
- Rufus On Fire notes that Silas has not yet fixed the Bobcats' rampant turnover problems. Detroit Bad Boys' Kevin Sawyer explains what's wrong with the Pistons:
Here's the difference between the Pistons and other bad defensive teams. Other teams mount furious comebacks to win the game. The Pistons mount furious comebacks to lose at the last moment.
Ahh ... fandom.
In other action:
Magic 104, Nets 88: Orlando's starting five killed that of New Jersey, which is hardly a surprise. Hedo Turkoglu had a throwback game with 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists. The Magic hit more threes (12) than New Jersey attempted (11). (Though Gilbert Arenas' near-full court shot was not one of them.)
Hawks 95, Bucks 80: With a star center in Andrew Bogut on the court, Hawks coach Larry Drew opted for his large line-up, inserting Jason Collins at center and moving Marvin Williams to the bench. It worked. Bogut shot just 7-19 for 14 points and Collins had 12 rebounds as the Hawks kept Milwaukee off the offensive glass. While the Bucks had an awful shooting night (37 percent), it looks like Keyon Dooling can handle the point alright. He had nine assists and just one turnover.
Timberwolves 113, Hornets 98: These are the mystifying losses for New Orleans. All year, the Hornets have relied on defense to carry them through vast spells of offensive ineptitude. (Those spells typically coincide with the opposing defense sends constant traps and doubles at Chris Paul.) But the juggernautical Minnesota offense just bludgeoned New Orleans, shooting 53 percent. Trevor Ariza, in particular, got scorched, as rookie Wesley Johnson hit six of eight threes. Strong win for Minnesota, a team that is definitely not the worst in the NBA.
Grizzlies 96, Raptors 85: Xavier Henry sat with a sore knee, but Lionel Hollins stuck to his rotation in keeping O.J. Mayo in a sixth man role. So Sam Young, who plays fewer than 11 minutes a game, got the start. He didn't last long, making way for Mayo and Tony Allen. And it ended up not mattering one bit, as Toronto imploded all over the place -- the Raptors had 25 turnovers in a 94-possession game, and hit 5-14 free throws. Five. Of 14. Joey Dorsey missed all five of his attempts, DeMar DeRozan hit just 4-8 and only one Raptor even visited the stripe.
Rockets 100, Wizards 93: The Washington Wizards are 0-15 on the road. The Rockets, who started the season 0-6, are at .500. Not one Wizard shot so much as 50 percent in this game. Not even a "1-2" or "2-4" in there. Andray Blatche fared better than JaVale McGee in each's return from suspension, as Blatche had 17 and 14.
Blazers 96, Jazz 91: Portland pulled together a strong road win over the Jazz, with LaMarcus Aldridge leading the way with 26 points, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter. Andre Miller had 17 points and six assists as Brandon Roy sat. Deron Williams' 31 points on 11-16 shooting wasn't enough. Neither was Paul Millsap's killer baseline reverse dunk.
Warriors 110, 76ers 95: Philadelphia's defense had a rare rough night, with Golden State killing from behind the arc (15-23). It's difficult to beat a team shooting like that, and with Andre Iguodala sitting on the bench with a flare-up of the tendinitis that bothered him earlier this season, a win looked something like impossible.
Clippers 100, Kings 99: The Kings almost won! Tyreke Evans had a break-out game, scoring 32 points on a string of long jumpers and effective drives to the rim. He goaded Ryan Gomes into a bad shooting foul with just seconds left, earning Evans three free throws with the Kings down three. Evans hit the first two. The third rimmed out, and putback attempts by DeMarcus Cousins and Evans refused to fall in. After the game, Evans spread cyanide on Kings fans' toast by claiming he may have season-ending foot surgery. Why Kings fans are eating toast at 10 PM, I have no idea.