Welcome to The Rundown! Today, we discuss the top stories from around the league, pick our Player of the Night and make our predictions for tonight’s action.
Kyrie’s big night
Nick Billion: Boston’s 15 game winning streak was put to the test last night as it took overtime for the Celtics to hold off the Mavericks and add another win to the streak. The win was led by Kyrie Irving, who had 47 points, shot over 70% from the field, including 5-7 from deep. Irving continues to have big game after big game for this team. These are MVP-like stats for Irving, and I think there is more to come.
Craig Brallier: Irving has been spectacular all season, and games like last night is why I put him in my top 3 for the MVP as of right now. In crunch time, Irving has been nothing short of awesome, scoring at a high rate, and not turning the ball over even once. Great defense and being able to close out games is how championships are won, and so far this team has been able to do both well.
Dwight Howard’s vintage night
NB: Last night, the Hornets were able to knock off the Timberwolves and a big part of that was seeing the old Dwight Howard-like games again. Howard finished with 25 points, 20 rebounds and 4 blocks. This type of performance is something the Hornets would like to see more. It shows that Howard still has it, doing it against the young star Karl-Anthony Towns.
CB: I love games like this from Howard. Watching him dominate back in 08-09 were some of my favorites. It was like he couldn’t be stopped, and all of a sudden, the way we play the game changed and he got left behind. This was fun to watch. No question he can bully Towns on the block all day, whether it’s in scoring or rebounding, so this was a rare mismatch for the back-to-the-basket style player. He’s had a few similar games this season, and I feel like he’s figured out a way to keep his style relevant with the Hornets this season.
What’s wrong with the Clippers?
NB: After losing last night, the Clippers extended their current losing streak to nine. What reasons does this team have for losing? Some, (including me) thought the loss of Chris Paul hurt the team, but I also think the answer falls back to coaching. Doc Rivers just doesn’t seem to be the right fit for this team anymore. There are some questionable calls from him, such as giving his son Austin more minutes when it isn’t always the best idea. This Clippers team is struggling and they need to figure something out soon.
CB: I have to put the blame on Doc. I never really felt like he was the right man to coach this team. It just LOOKED like it would make sense. Championship pedigree coach, young star in Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan on the rise and having a top 10 player like CP3 running the point, how could things go wrong? They’ve just never been able to get over that hump of being a good team to being a great team, and without Paul they obviously aren’t the same team, but they still have a pretty solid roster. Way too good of a roster to lose nine straight games after the great start they had. Aside from Doc, I want to put the blame on a lack of a leading scorer. Griffin is awesome and all, but he’s not going to threaten you from long range the way Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony do, so, if you keep Griffin away from the basket, you’ve neutralized him, and who is going to carry the load? The sad part is, I don’t see them getting out of this funk anytime soon.
LeBron’s weird night
NB: After dropping 16 in the first quarter, LeBron James only had 2 points the rest of the night. This isn’t normal for James, but I just chalk it up as an off night. James is capable of scoring as we’ve seen some big games this season already. Important to note, LeBron also had 8 assists, so he was also passing the ball around. I would’t look to much into this unless it continues to happen.
CB: I think this game was a good sign for Cleveland. Despite James not taking on the scoring load in the last three quarters, they come up with a blowout win. And look at the box score, Crowder, Love, Calderon, Fry and Green all scoring in double figures. It’s that kind of help that LeBron needs every night if they’re going to get back to the Finals. LeBron still shot 50% from the field, so I’m definitely not worried about his game, in fact, I think this is exactly what they need.
Player of the Night
Unanimous: Kyrie Irving – 47 PTS, 6 AST, 72.7 % shooting, 5 of 7 from 3 in team’s 16th straight win.
Predictions for tonight
That’ll do it for today’s Rundown! Come back tomorrow, where we’ll discuss the top stories from around The Association.