Hayward Hits Career-High in Jazz Win: Thoughts on the NBA for 1/8/14

There were 12 games last night, so this will be a longer edition of this post because we have a lot to discuss. So stick with me.


  • First of all, there was the Duel on the Salt Lake (this is what it will be henceforth be known by) between Gordon Hayward and Kevin Durant. While both were incredible (Durant scored 48 points, again), Hayward and his career-high 37 points (13-16 shooting!) lead the the Jazz to an upset victory, 112-101. Hayward played well all night, but he really stepped up in the 4th quarter and hit multiple key shots as the Thunder were trying to make a comeback. Maybe this game will help Hayward – who has been struggling all year, shooting just 41 percent – get back on track.


  • The Wizards beat the Bobcats by 14, and… ya.


  • The Celtics got destroyed by the Nuggets last night in Denver, and look sure to go 0-5 on their West Coast road trip. Just a month ago, the Celtics slaughtered the Knicks at Madison Garden and were atop the Atlantic Division at 10-12. Even still, no one really expected them to make the playoffs, but it was fun to make jokes about it somehow happening. But since then they’re 3-10 and have three more losses coming up in the next few days. Assuming they lose all three (Clippers, Warriors, Trail Blazers), they’ll be 13-25. The #TankSafariForJabari (© @HebertofNH) is still alive, and it’s only gaining strength.


  • Also from the Celtics-Nuggets matchup, Jared Sullinger was ejected for two flagrant fouls that happened under 30 seconds apart. Sullinger, due to his accumulation of flagrant fouls over the season will now have to sit out a game if he commits another one.


  • C.J. Miles had 34 points and his 10 (!) three-pointers in Cleveland’s 111-93 win over Philadelphia. The 10 threes are a Cavaliers record, and the 34 points were just six short of his career-high 40, which he set back in 2011. It was awesome to see the bench get more and more excited as they realized what was happening. Congrats on the big night, C.J.


  • On a night of big performances and career-highs, Michael Carter-Williams made sure to get in on the action, putting up a new career-high, scoring 33 points in the Sixers’ loss to the Cavs. I’ve been really impressed by the rookie out of Syracuse.


  • I went to the Bucks-Warriors game last night and wrote a longer piece about it, but wanted to share some leftover thoughts. First, pay attention, rook! The NBA.com/stats guys nailed the description of this play.

  • Also, another big time night from David Lee, who had 22 points and 18 rebounds. I love watching him go to work around the basket. He’s so crafty and can score with either hand.


  • What a game in Memphis, and what a shot by James Johnson. Down three, he gets the steal and fires the game-tying three even though he had an open path to the basket and there were still 14 seconds left on the clock. Gutsy, gutsy shot, but he drilled it. (Skip to 45 second mark of this video.)


  • Then there was Manu’s potential game-winner that was thwarted when Mike Conley hit a driving layup at the buzzer to send the game to overtime. But eventually Ginobili got the job done, hitting a sweeping left-handed layup with just under two seconds left to get the Spurs a win. Just a crazy night in Memphis. (Watch the end of the video above for highlights of these shots.)


  • Finally, another insane game went on out West last night, as the Kings held off the Trail Blazers to pick up another win over top-tier competition. The Kings seem to be playing to their competition recently, picking up wins over the Heat, Rockets and now Trail Blazers in the recent weeks, but also losing to the Bobcats and Sixers in the same stretch. Damian Lillard had 41 (26 in the 4th quarter) but it wasn’t enough to pull the Blazers back. DeMarcus Cousins lead the way for the Kings, scoring 35 and grabbing 13 rebounds. If for some reason you aren’t on the DMC bandwagon, do yourself a favor and hop aboard.