For the winners…
Dwyane Wade- Hey! Someone found Dwyane Wade!
Not right away, but still.
On the heels of three losses in four games, two of which saw him shoot combined 7-of-34 from the field and 6-of-12 from the free throw line, D-Wade came out on Monday night proceeded to lay a first half egg, hitting just one of seven shots and scoring four points.
After that brutal first 24, Wade righted the ship, hitting seven of his 10 second half shots. By the time the Heat walked off the floor on Monday night, 105-94 winners against the Washington Wizards, Wade had made eight of 17 field goal attempts and hit all 10 of his free throws en route to 26 points. He added eight rebounds, six assists, four steals and a block as the Miami Heat answered their critics.
For one night, anyway.
Al Jefferson- Big Al enjoyed arguably his best game as a member of the Jazz in Monday night’s blowout win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
In 31 minutes of action in the 109-88 win, Jefferson scored 22 points on 11-of-14 from the field, grabbed 11 rebounds (3 offensive) and blocked a season-high four shots.
22-11 is a line we’re likely to see regularly from Jefferson, but it’s hard to imagine him getting there more efficiently.
Russell Westbrook- On a night when Kevin Durant scored 26 (7-22 FG) and grabbed 11 boards, Russell Westbrook led the Thunder to a big win over the New Orleans Hornets.
In 37 minutes on the floor, Westbrook scored 25 points (9-19 FG, 5-6 FT), grabbed five rebounds (3 offensive), handed out 11 assists and had five steals, all while matched up against Chris Paul.
He did commit eight turnovers, but he more than offset them by playing tough D against CP3, attacking the paint aggressively- posterizing Emeka Okafor after having a dunk attempt blocked- and making both of his 3-point attempts, including a back-breaking 25-footer with 1:38 left to seal the win.
In a losing cause…
Chris Paul- While the Hornets were handed their fifth loss of the season on Monday night in OKC and Russell Westbrook dropped 25-11, as usual, CP3 was arguably the best player on the floor.
In 35 minutes, Chris Paul, made six of 13 shots (one of two 3-pointers) and all four of his free throw attempts, for 17 points. To this he added a pair of rebounds, 14 assists (v. two turnovers), five steals and the man-up quote of the night: "When you lose close games, (people) say it's coach's fault. As a point guard, I say it's my fault..."
Andray Blatche – Had a choice of a pair Wizards, and it was a photo finish.
While teammate Gilbert Arenas racked up 23 points, five rebounds and handed out seven assists, Blatche was the Wizards’ best player Monday. In 38 minutes, he scored a “not inefficient” 26 points (8-19 FG, 10-14 FT), grabbed nine rebounds (three offensive) and had an assist, a block and a steal.
Brandon Jennings- While it may not have seemed like it to anyone watching the game (and I even had the Milwaukee announcers on!), Jennings actually turned in a very nice game. In 35 minutes he scored 27 points (8-20 FG), grabbed two rebounds, handed out four assists and swiped three steals.
Not the greatest performance he’ll ever turn in, but an admirable job for a shorthanded team getting thumped on the road.
There’s always tomorrow…
John Salmons- While he did contribute four rebounds, four assists and a steal, Salmons missed 10 of his 11 shots and managed just three points. While a bunch of guys on the Bucks turned in subpar performances in Monday’s 21-point loss to the Jazz, this was the most brutal showing of them all.
Jason Terry- Man, JET sure did pick a good night to put up a stinker! Outside of Dirk Nowitzki, no one’s been more central to the Mavs’ success in 2010-11. One would assume that on a night when Terry hit just two of seven shots in 21 minutes, the Mavs would have been trouble. Not so fast, my friend!
First off, it does help to have your worst game against a subpar defensive team full of role players. Second, it helps to have that game coincide with Caron Butler, Shawn Marion, J.J. Barea and DeShawn Stevenson combining for 53 points.
With all of that said, Terry’s 2-7, 6-points, 0-rebound, 0-assist, 0-block, 0-steal showing on Monday was pretty bad!
Shane Battier- Just one night after holding Kevin Durant to just 18 points and scoring a season-high 18 himself in a win over the Thunder, Battier turned in a far more pedestrian performance.
On offense he was essentially nonexistent, as he scored just three points in 22 minutes (1-5 FG, 1-3 3-pt), failed to reach the free throw line, committed a pair of turnovers and did not have an assist. On defense, while he did rack up a pair of blocks and a steal, he failed to grab a single rebound and was matched up against Caron Butler, who turned in one of his better performances of the young season (19 pts, 8-14 FG).
Shane ended the night with a line of 3, 0, 0, 2, 1, 2 (turnovers) and +/- of -17. Coulda been worse, but not by much.
Under the radar…
Earl Watson- With Deron Williams on the bench in Monday’s blowout win, Watson took the floor for 27 minutes, more than double his season average of 12. To say that he represented himself well in that time- albeit in garbage time- would be an understatement.
In those 27 minutes, Watson (+30 +/-) flirted with a triple-double, scoring an efficient 12 points (5-8 FG, 2-3 3-pt), grabbing six rebounds and dishing out seven assists (v. two turnovers). For good measure he added a pair of steals and a blocked shot.
That’s a pretty good job of stuffing the stat sheet!
JaVale McGee- McGee didn’t start in Miami on Monday, as he continues to deal with discomfort in his head and neck following last week’s flagrant foul by Elton Brand. With that said, that he was held to just 26 minutes on Monday has as much to do with the fact the he racked up six fouls in his limited burn as it does with his injuries. However, McGee did make good use of his time on the floor, hitting five of seven shots for 10 points, grabbing 10 rebounds (5 offensive!) and blocking a pair of shots.
His activity level doesn’t appear to have slipped much, and McGee should be back in the starting lineup before long. In the two games prior to the injury, he was emerging as a monster, averaging 22 ppg, 17 rpg, 9 orpg (that’s awesome!) and 3 bpg.
Juan Jose Barea- On a night where Jason Kidd was unable to deliver much in the way of scoring, J.J. Barea stepped in with an extremely efficient and effective showing off the bench. After a handful of brutal performances in recent weeks, Barea played one of his best games of the season in Monday’s 101-91 home win over the floundering Rockets. In 27 minutes Barea scored 10 points (5-8 FG), grabbed three rebounds, handed out six assists and had a steal, all while committing just one turnover.