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Sunday, December 04, 2005

NBA Trak, 12/3

It'll have to be a short one today.

Yesterday's scores (w/ prediction)
Nuggets 101, Heat 99 (Nuggets by 3)
* The underachieving Nuggets get a home win - barely. The Heat stay close behind a retro performance from Gary Payton (17 points, 5 assists, 6-7 from the field in 31 minutes; 22 EFF... nice). Dwyane Wade missed five free throws (he was 14-19). That's 74% - not terrible. But a great perimeter player needs to knock down 80-85%, particulary when your best teammate is Shaq. Miami will lose more close game than they should because of this reason.

Spurs 100, 76ers 91 (Spurs by 8)
* So who did Bruce Bowen shut down this time? No one, really. According to the AP story, he guarded Allen Iverson in the third quarter but A.I. still put up 37 points, albeit with a tepid 24 EFF in 43 minutes. The Spurs played without Manu Ginobli. Michael Finley started in his place. Finley put up a 4 EFF in 23 minutes. An aberration? Finley averages only 14 EFF per 48 minutes on the season and has a -2.52 TPR. Finley still has defensive value and might have some nice shooting nights playing against other teams' second units but he is no longer an all-star caliber player. Still, you have to be happy that he found a great team for which to play out the roll-filler part of his career as opposed to going to, say, the Hawks and laboring through 35 minutes a night.

Bucks 104, Magic 84 (Magic by 4)
* The Bucks have won three straight and are now 9-6. NBA Trak hasn't caught up with their resurgence just yet but I have a feeling last night's performance will give a much-needed jolt to their trend rating. Here's something I bet you didn't know: The Bucks have the toughest strength of schedule in the league so far this season.

Mavericks 97, Hornets 88 (Mavericks by 6)
* Dirk snaps out of his shooting funk. Chris Paul has another nice game for the NOOC Hornets. In the next day or two, I'll have to take an early-season look at the rookie-of-the-year race.

Pistons 92, Bulls 79 (Pistons by 3)
* I give up trying to figure out the Bulls. Capable of such beauty, and such ugliness. Tyson Chandler has been just brutal this season. Luol Deng is coming on, though. At some point, Scott Skiles has to figure out a way to get him on the court substantially more often than Andres Nocioni.

Grizzlies 90, Rockets 75 (Rockets by 2)
* These aren't the Hubie Brown Grizzlies that we all loved so much. These are the Mike Fratello Grizzlies, which stirs nightmarish flashbacks of the Mike Fratello/Sean Kemp Cavaliers. You can't score on the Griz and Shane Battier is going to get some serious play for first-team all defense. And they're winning. But I'll always have a soft spot for the Hubie/J-Will days.

Raptors 95, Nets 82 (Nets by 11)
* Blech. Cough. Spit. Yech.

Clippers 102, Cavaliers 90 (Clippers by 4)
* Clips get even for the overtime loss earlier this week. Best game of the night. The star? Chris-freaking-Kaman: 32 EFF in 40 minutes (12 points, 19 rebounds). This is how you know the Clippers are for real, when Kaman is putting up Rodmanesque board totals. LeBron shoots 8-25 for the Cavs. Quintin Ross plays his most minutes in two weeks. Coincidence? I think not. Ross is a stud defender.

Note: I'll try to post some updated rankings later today.

SUNDAY'S VIEWER'S GUIDE

MinnesotaT-wolves

SacramentoKings

8_p.m.

4

SacramentoKings

by

1

AtlantaHawks

PhoenixSuns

7_p.m.

3

PhoenixSuns

by

11

IndianaPacers

SeattleSupersonics

7_p.m.

(5)

IndianaPacers

by

3

BostonCeltics

NYKnicks

12_p.m._(NBATV)

(7)

NYKnicks

by

pick'em

CharlotteBobcats

LALakers

8:30_p.m.

(8)

CharlotteBobcats

by

2

UtahJazz

PortlandTrailBlazers

8_p.m.

(21)

UtahJazz

by

pick'em


* Not the prettiest slate of games. NBA Trak still overrates the Bobcats but they really could beat the Lakers. The Lakers suck.

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