Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics) played a game-high 43 minutes on Friday and put up 30 points, seven rebounds and five assists as the Celtics held on to beat the New York Knicks, 91-89. Most of Pierce’s points came from the free-throw (10 of 12) and the three-point (4 of 10) lines. The Knicks led 55-49 at the half and pushed their lead to 12 points in the second half before the Celtics stormed back on top in the last five minutes. With the Celtics holding a one-point advantage with 16 seconds left, Pierce heaved up an off-balance three-pointer as the clock expired. The shot went in, but it was overturned after replay showed it didn’t quite make it out of Pierce’s hands in time (video here, at :52) . Pierce then added a key rebound and one of two free throws in the final six seconds (full stats here).
Mario Chalmers (Miami Heat) continued to knock down the long-ball on Friday, as he hit 3 of 4 triples on his way to 13 points and seven rebounds in a 99-79 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Chalmers dealt with a bum knee during the game and added just one assist, a steal and two turnovers in 29 minutes (full stats here). Chalmers’ season averages through 23 games are as impressive as ever: 50.3 percent shooting overall, 45.9 percent from three and 81 percent from the free-throw line. In his last three games, he’s hit 10 of 16 shots from beyond the arc.
Drew Gooden (Milwaukee Bucks) couldn’t get his shot to fall in an 88-80 loss to the Detroit Pistons Friday. Gooden hit just one of his eight attempts, which included two three-point tries, and finished with four points, four rebounds, two assists and a block in 22 minutes (full stats here). In the four games coming into Friday, Gooden had averaged 19.8 points and 9.3 rebounds.
Better lucky than Gooden. Drew Gooden was abysmal: often out of control (OK, not unusual), inaccurate (1/8 fg), ineffective on the boards (4 rebs) and mostly overwhelmed by Greg Monroe (19 pts, 11 rebs). We've been a bit spoiled by Gooden's strong play since Bogut went down, but tonight offered an unfortunate reminder of how harmful Gooden can be when he doesn't find a way to contribute offensively.
Nick Collison (Oklahoma City Thunder) didn’t score until the fourth quarter on Friday and finished with just one point off of two free throws and zero shot attempts. The Thunder came back to beat the Memphis Grizzlies after a massive 32-17 fourth-quarter rally. Collison added five rebounds, an assist and three steals in 20 minutes (full stats here). Thunder coach Scott Brooks credited Collison for his defense on Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, who scored just once in the fourth quarter after pouring in 22 points in the first three.
Josh Selby (Memphis Grizzlies) did not play (coach’s decision) after playing just two and four minutes in the previous two games. Grizzlies shooting guard OJ Mayo once again handled the backup point guard duties as Memphis choked away an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter and lost, 101-94 (full stats here).
Cole Aldrich (Oklahoma City Thunder) did not play (coach’s decision) on Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Both Markieff and Marcus Morris played on Friday night, but the Twin Throwdown wasn’t meant to be, as Marcus played for the D-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers while Markieff faced off against Marcus’ NBA team, the Houston Rockets.
After missing three weeks with an ankle injury, Marcus didn’t look like his normal self and had just 10 points and five rebounds in 22 minutes. Marcus missed all four of his three-point attempts and picked up five fouls in his return (full stats here).
Before the game, Rahat Huq of Rockets blog Red94.net implored everyone to “chill out” about the rookie’s slow NBA start:
Making the move from power forward to small forward is no joke. It takes a lot of adjustment and a lot of skill development. If Marcus Morris isn’t ready to be an NBA small forward, throwing him out there and asking him to be one would only crush his confidence. This isn’t the same as letting Hasheem Thabeet or Jordan Hill beat up on the D-Leaguers and try out post moves. You’re asking a guy to learn a completely new position.
The Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen wrote something similar:
Of course he was sent to the D-League. He was not in the Rockets rotation when he was hurt. And he was in the D-League at the time. The Rockets did not send him there thinking his game lacked a sprained ankle and now that he has one, he’s ready to move into the rotation. He’d have played sooner if he just had more experience spraining his ankle.
For that matter, he has played one day of basketball in the past three weeks. A good way to get ready for the NBA is by playing basketball. They do that in the D-League.
If the Rockets thought nothing of him, then they could keep him around, let him sit at the end of the bench and waste his time. They have high hopes for him. They invest in the D-League team because they want to use it to make their players into better players, as they had for Aaron Brooks and Patrick Patterson. It’s not because they think it important to have the team in McAllen wear red.
6 p.m., Kirk Hinrich and the Atlanta Hawks vs. the Philadelphia 76ers
6:30 p.m., Xavier Henry and the New Orleans Hornets vs. the Detroit Pistons
7:30 p.m., Drew Gooden and the Milwaukee Bucks vs. the Chicago Bulls
7:30 p.m., Nick Collison, Cole Aldrich and the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. the San Antonio Spurs
8 p.m., Markieff Morris and the Phoenix Suns vs. the Charlotte Bobcats
9 p.m., Brandon Rush and the Golden State vs. the Sacramento Kings