John Wall may get most of the accolades, but on Tuesday it was Jrue Holiday who got the win. Holiday scored all but two of his 24 points after halftime -- including 15 in the final quarter -- to help the Philadelphia 76ers to a 101-94 victory over the Washington Wizards.
Holiday was the complete package, scoring inside and out, getting to the line (where he shot 7-of-8) and scoring from long distance (3-of-5). If he can put up numbers like that on a consistent basis, he'll force people to mention his name in the same breath as Wall as one of the top young point guards in the game.
"I have a lot more confidence,'' he said, according to the Philly Daily News. "I think my teammates have a lot more confidence in me. I think the coaching staff has a lot more confidence in me. [I have to improve on] decision-making. I know there are still some dumb turnovers that I still make. They say it's because I'm young, or whatever."
Ah, yes, the turnovers. He had five of those on Tuesday, but at least he helped mitigate the damage with six assists. But like he said, he is young -- despite entering his third year in the league, he's still just 21 years old, a few months younger than Wall, who's entering his sophomore season.
Comparatively speaking, Wall had a quiet game in his head-to-head matchup with Holiday, scoring 17 points on 5-of-14 shooting with four turnovers and three assists. The bad shooting night wasn't just a matter of poor shot selection -- even the gimmies were hitting the back of the rim:
That's embarrassing, but if there's any dunk from this game folks will remember, it's this gem from JaVale McGee:
McGee led the Wizards with 20 points and nine boards, adding three steals and a pair of blocks for good measure. Jordan Crawford added 18 points, but he turned up the volume to get there, shooting just 6-of-21 on the night.
In Cleveland, a pair of free throws by Austin Daye in the final seconds helped the Pistons win 90-89, avenging their loss to Cavaliers in the preseason opener. Daye finished with a game-high 19 points. Rookie Brandon Knight started for Detroit, showing flashes of potential one minute while committing rookie mistakes the next; he finished with seven points on 2-of-9 shooting (including 1-of-6 from beyond the arc) with six assits and six turnovers in 29 minutes.
Kyrie Irving came off the bench for the Cavs, scoring 11 on 5-of-12 shooting. Unlike the first meeting when Irving got to the charity 15 times, he managed just one free throw on Tuesday. Fellow rookie Tristan Thompson added eight points and five boards in 21 minutes off the bench, while Omri Casspi led the team with 18 points.
Tyler Hansbrough led everybody with 24 points and 13 boards for the Pacers, but Chicago's balanced attack was too much. The Bulls won 93-86. Derrick Rose, who agreed to a five-year, $94 million extension earlier in the day, finished with 12 points and nine assists, while his partner in the backcourt Rip Hamilton added 12 and six. Carlos Boozer led Chicago with 24 points and seven rebounds.
The Thunder closed out the preseason with an 87-83 win over the defending champion Dallas Mavericks. These two teams are destined to play some epic games this year -- in the regular season for sure, and perhaps in the playoffs. But don't read too much into this one: only three of the 10 starters in this game cracked double digits, and none of them scored more than 12. Jerome Randle led all scorers with 17 points in 18 minutes off the bench for the Mavs. Who? Exactly. At this time last year, Randle was playing in Turkey. Moving on ...
While the Thunder and Mavs were lulling viewers to sleep, the Nuggets and Suns were lighting the nets on fire. Denver won this one 127-110, with sparkplug Ty Lawson leading all scorers with 21 points in just 25 minutes, while Andre Miller dished 12 assists in 29 minutes. Rookie Kenneth Faried scored 14 off the bench while grabbing six boards, including five on the offensive glass, in 15 minutes. In addition to all of Phoenix's usual suspects filling up the boxscore, rookie Markieff Morris scored 10 points with eight boards in 27 minutes off the bench.
The Sacramento Kings topped the Golden State Warriors 95-91 in the battle of NorCal, led by Marcus Thornton's 21 points. Jimmer Fredette came off the bench but still played 32 minutes, scoring 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting.
Known mostly for his jumper, Fredette also showed off a crossover -- and while it may not have broken Stephen Curry's ankle, it certainly sprained it. (Fredette shouldn't be too proud -- he lost control of the ball on the move.) Curry crawled off the court in pain, a disheartening sight considering it's the same ankle Curry had surgically repaired last May after spraining it multiple times last season. It's too early to say how much time, if any, Curry will miss, but it's a disappointing finish to the preseason.