What I Saw, where there were a couple of surprises

8 games on the schedule today, and not everything went as expected, let’s take a look:

Boston 99, Atlanta 76: This one was over early, with Boston holding a 26-point advantage after the first quarter and cruising to the victory. The Hawks were flat-out dominated, held to just 35% shooting and out-rebounded 50-30. Boston needed this game in a pretty bad way, after dropping contests to the Durant-less Thunder and the anyone-less Raptors, as there are some folks wondering about the Cs effort recently.

Indiana 93, Miami 77: This is about the biggest surprise I’ve had all year; the Pacers go into Miami and take this one big time. Indy out-rebounded Miami 48-39 and forced 22 Heat turnovers, while Dwyane Wade struggled mightily; he had just 3 points on 1-13 from the floor, missed all 4 three-point attempts and scored just 1-5 at the line.

The Heat learned today that Udonis Haslem will be out for the foreseeable future with a torn ligament in his left foot that will require surgery, which is terrible news. Haslem was always my favourite Heatman when I supported Miami, and although I’ve since stopped supporting the Heat, it’s never good to hear that one of the leagues good guys, one that does all the dirty work, has to sit out. Here’s hoping for his sake that he recovers quickly after surgery and is able to get back on the floor as soon as possible (still probably months away). Reports suggest that Miami will be signing Erick Dampier, not too sure about that move, they already have plenty of centers on the roster (Ilgauskas, Anthony, Magloire and the rookie Pittman; none of those guys are the rebounders nor defenders Haslem was, and neither is Dampier).

Danny Granger led the Pacers with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists, but he shot just 6-21 from the field. He did make 4-9 threes and 4-4 free-throws though.

Minnesota 107, Oklahoma City 117: The Thunder had this one well in hand halfway through the third, leading 82-65, but the Wolves made it a close one, going up 94-93 with 8 minutes remaining. However, the Thunder had enough guys to get it done, with Durant, Green and even Sefolosha calmly dropping in jumpers inside the final three minutes to hold off the Minnesota charge.

After all the hype I’ve been giving him, Beasley cooled off in this game, scoring just 15 while shooting 7-20, 0-3 and 1-3; Kevin Love had 24 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Wolves, however. Russell Westbrook did not disappoint, continuing his MVP-form with 20 points and 14 assists, while Durant had 28/8 and Green 24/6 in their returns to the line-up.

Phoenix 123, Houston 116: I still can’t believe the Rockets are this bad; they fall to 3-10 on the season after dropping this one to the Suns. Steve Nash returned and had 24 points and 9 assists, and it seems he was able to find Jason Richardson, who’d disappeared in Phoenix’s last three games, but was able to pour in 26 while shooting 7-11, 2-2 and 10-10 on the game. 54% shooting and 7 guys in double-figures for Phoenix, but they still can’t get any rebounds, tracking down just 33 to Houston’s 51. Kevin Martin once again led the Rockets, scoring 19 points.

Orlando 97, San Antonio 106: Dwight was huge for the Magic, 26 points and 18 rebounds, but the Spurs aging 3 were able to get it done, Ginobili led with 25, while TP added 24 and TD had himself 15 points. It seems no-one can stop the Spurs, who improve to 12-1 and are yet to receive any steady contribution from Tiago Splitter. Once they do, look out NBA.

Sacramento 83, Utah 94: The Kings are struggling mightily shooting the ball right now, I touched on it earlier, and they’re at just 36% for this game. The Jazz took care of business, enjoying a nice game off the bench from C.J. Miles, 20 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists while shooting 8-13 from the floor and making all 3 of his free-throws.

New Orleans 95, L.A. Clippers 99: This game, however, later became my biggest surprise of the year. My mate and I had this one down as a 50-point win for the Hornets, easy, but the Clippers managed somehow, someway to come out of this one victorious. Blake Griffin continued his phenomenal stretch with 24 points and 13 boards, while Eric Gordon continued his phenomenal season with 27/3/4. David West had 30 for the Bugs, but missed free-throws (Ariza) and bad passes (Chris Paul, if you can believe it) cost New Orleans dearly. With the W, the Clippers ‘improve’ to 2-13, while New Orleans falls to 11-2.

Denver 106, Golden State 89: Carmelo had a season-high 39, 10-24 from the floor, 2-4 from range and 17-17 at the line, while adding 9 rebounds and 5 assists; and when you’re hitting shots like this (click ‘Birdman is Back’), then it’s all good.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to everyone that’s given me feedback today, it’s all much appreciated.

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