• Back at it tonight after no games last Thursday and we only had a day of minor news hitting.  This Thursday is unusually busier than most with six games on the schedule.  Let’s dive in!

    Mavericks (87) @ Hornets (97)

    The Hornets got the job done tonight at home and were led by Kemba Walker again.  He chipped in 18 points (7-for-19 FG, 1-for-2 FT), five assists, three rebounds, three 3-pointers and one steal.  Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added 14 points, three rebounds, two assists and one block in an efficient night.  Nicolas Batum was his usual self with solid counting stats in an inefficient manner.  He added 12 points (4-for-12 FG, 3-for-4 FT), nine rebounds, six assists, one steal, one 3-pointer and three turnovers.  The Hornets have a mess of a big man situation right now with Cody Zeller (31 minutes) and Frank Kaminsky (22 minutes) getting the start tonight and neither looking great.  Spencer Hawes (13 minutes) and Roy Hibbert (17 minutes) came off the bench and actually posted better per-minute lines than the starters, but their limited minutes make them less appealing.

    For the Mavs, Deron Williams logged his first 30-minute game since returning from injury just shy of a week ago.  Williams contributed 14 points (6-for-14 FG, 1-for-1 FT), eight assists, three rebounds and one 3-pointer.  Harrison Barnes continues to be the man in Dallas with 17 points (8-for-20 FG), nine rebounds, two steals, one 3-pointer and one assist.  Wesley Matthews still couldn’t find his shooting stroke while scoring 14 points tonight (4-for-15 FG, 1-for-11 3PT, 5-for-5 FT).  He is shooting below 36% field goal percentage currently. Yikes!  Justin Anderson (15 points, three 3-pointers, three rebounds) and Dwight Powell (six points, eight rebounds, one steal, one block) added value of the bench, but it was pretty empty for the Mavs beyond that.

    Bucks (111) @ Nets (93)

    The Bucks took down the Nets on the road and look to be in the playoff mix in the early part of the season.  Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to post gaudy numbers and first round value with 23 points (7-for-14 FG, 7-for-9 FT), eight rebounds, eight assists, four steals, two 3-pointers, two steals and no turnovers tonight.  Jabari Parker essentially only scored tonight with 22 points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal.  John Henson is the big man to own for the Bucks and added 12 points, eight rebounds, five blocks and one assist in 25 minutes.  Greg Monroe continues to be a waste of a draft pick with two points, six rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block, but just 20 minutes of action tonight.

    There was some ok value from the Nets starters in a losing effort.  Trevor Booker added nine points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals.  Brook Lopez, while inefficient, scored 15 points, four rebounds, three 3-pointers, two assists and two blocks.  Bojan Bogdanovic chipped in 13 points, three rebounds, two 3-pointers and one assist.  Sean Kilpatrick posted a line of 14 points, six rebounds, four assists, two 3-pointers, one steal and six turnovers.  No one else really had a good night, but Rondae Hollis-Jefferson returned from a 3-game absence tonight with 17 minutes off the bench.

    Magic (94) @ Grizzlies (95)

    The Grizzlies pulled out a close home win with a couple of free throws by Marc Gasol and a late game turnover by the Magic.  Gasol led the way with 25 points, five blocks, three assists, two 3-pointers, two rebounds and a steal.  Fill-in starting point guard Andrew Harrison started and added 11 points, eight assists, four rebounds and one block.  Troy Daniels played 29 minutes off the bench and added 19 points, three 3-pointers, two rebounds and an assist.  The Grizzlies might be shaking up their backcourt rotation soon as they try to find a short term solution for the absence of Mike Conley.  Toney Douglas is said to be a possibility as an add, but Gasol should be bearing most of the weight for the foreseeable future.

    The Magic continue to search for answers and continue to lose.  Serge Ibaka posted 11 points, eight rebounds and four blocks.  Evan Fournier had a big scoring night with 28 points (11-for-14 FG, 3-for-4 FT), four assists and three 3-pointers.  Nikola Vucevic came off the bench for 18 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in 30 minutes.  Bismack Biyombo started and played 34 minutes, while adding 14 rebounds, three points and one block.

    Aaron Gordon (8 points, three rebounds, two assists) played 21 minutes as the starter, but lost minutes to Jeff Green (14 points, two rebounds, one assist, one steal)while he logged 27 minutes off the bench.  This is a tough situation for Gordon owners and the Magic are a team to avoid right now.

    Heat (111) @ Jazz (110)

    The Jazz came on late and tried to pull out the win, but Gordon Hayward failed to knock down two attempts to clinch it.

    The Heat relied on the scoring of Goran Dragic with 27 points (10-for-21 FG, 5-for-7 FT), six assists, four rebounds and two 3-pointers.  Hassan Whiteside finished with 10 boards and nine points in a twin-tower battle against Rudy Gobert (10 boards, six points, three blocks).  James Johnson had a big night off the Heat bench with 24 points, six rebounds, three assists, two 3-pointers, one steal and one block.

    The Jazz were without George Hill once again and Dante Exum got the start.  He didn’t do much with just 18 minutes of action, posting five points, two rebounds and two assists.  Gordon Hayward killed it again tonight (32 points, seven assists, three rebounds, three 3-pointers, two steals) and is posting third round value on the season.  Rodney Hill missed the game tonight with a hamstring injury and Joe Johnson posted 18 points, four assists, four 3-pointers, three rebounds and one steal starting in Hood’s place.  Shelvin Mack logged 33 minutes off the bench and contributed 11 points, five rebounds, five assists and one steal.  Joe Ingles (15 points) and Trey Lyles (14 points) added plenty of punch off the bench as well.

    Clippers (113) @ Cavaliers (94)

    The media has put a lot of pressure on the Clippers, saying this year is do-or-die for the current roster.  They have been great so far and really boosted their resume with a road win over the defending champion Cavaliers tonight.  Thanks to a big second and third quarter from the Clippers, their starters were able to play short minutes.

    Chris Paul led the way with a line of 16 points, nine assists, six rebounds, three 3-pointers and one steal.  Blake Griffin’s line was unique tonight with 13 points (4-for-14 FG), 11 assists and five rebounds.  Deandre Jordan got in on the action with 15 rebounds and nine points and J.J. Redick added 23 points, four 3-pointers, two rebounds and one assist.  Austin Rivers added 12 points, seven assists and four rebounds off the bench but is relatively unpredictable in this role.  Luc Mbah a Moute started and played 30 minutes but was merely a steals specialist, logging 5 of the team’s 7 steals and not much else.

    Kyrie Irving led the way in scoring with 28 points (8-for-19 FG, 11-for-12 FT), two rebounds, two assist and one 3-pointer.  Lebron James added 16 points (5-for-14 FG, 6-for-11 FT), five rebounds, five assists and two steals.  Kevin Love rounded out the Cavs Big 3 with 16 points (7-for-11 FG), four rebounds and two 3-pointers.  J.R. Smith started and logged 24 minutes, but didn’t produce much.  Tristan Thompson played his normal role and played 34 minutes while adding eight rebounds, three points, one steal and one block.

    Game of the Night

    Rockets @ Warriors

    Everyone was already jumping on the Rockets hype train and tonight’s showing only helped to grow that train even more.  The Rockets went in to Golden State and took the win in double overtime.

    James Harden was a monster again with a triple-double, dropping 29 points, 15 rebounds, 13 assists, two 3-pointers, two steals and one block.  Ryan Anderson backed him up with 29 points of his own, five 3-pointers and five rebounds.  Eric Gordon (23), Trevor Ariza (12), Montrezl Harrell (13), Sam Dekker (11) and Clint Capela (10) all scored in double digits and logged some heavy minutes with a back-to-back date with the Nuggets tomorrow night.

    For the Warriors, Kevin Durant dropped 39 points, 13 rebounds, three 3-pointers, three steals, three blocks and two assists.  The splash brothers were relatively cold tonight with Steph Curry adding 28 points (9-for-22 FG, 4-for-13 3PT), five assists, three steals, three rebounds and a block and Klay Thompson dropping 15 points (4-for-20 FG, 3-for-13 3PT), six rebounds and three assists.  Draymond Green had a good night with 20 points, 15 rebounds, nine assists, two steals and a block before fouling out when he lost control of his legs once again and kicked James Harden in the face.  Andre Iguodala logged 42 minutes off the bench tonight and added 10 points, five assists and four rebounds.

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