Starting 5: Problems in Big D?


Every morning, we will give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.

1: Brand, Collison come off the bench, fails to jump start Dallas

Matt Slocum/AP/Yahoo!Dallas does not have Dirk Nowitzki, and so any thoughts of making final statements or analysis of the team is likely incomplete. O.J. Mayo has been thrust into a starring role for the Mavericks and has generally done a good job. Tuesday night was not one of those nights where Mayo fit into his new role. Mayo scored only 11 points on 4-for-10 shooting, missing a 3-pointer to win the game at the buzzer.

More importantly for Dallas was what happened at the end of the game. Coach Rick Carlisle elected to go with Darren Collison and Elton Brand on the bench to start the game, hoping to jump start the two veteran players.

Brand scored 17 points and Collison had 12 points and six assists. So maybe it did serve to boost those two. But Dallas also got off to an extremely slow start before taking over in the first quarter when Brand and Collison checked in.

That did not last though as Phialdelphia was able to pull out the victory in the end. The 76ers got 22 points from Evan Turner, 20 points from Thaddeus Young and 18 points from Jrue Holiday.

Philadelphia continues to play well with Andrew Bynum on the shelf. Dallas meanwhile continues its up and down play. The Mavericks got blown out against the Lakers during the weekend and are still figuring out how to prevent that from happening again. There is still disappointment running wild in Dallas. And still waiting to do until Dirk Nowitzki returns.

2: The Love Returns

Rocky Widner/Getty Images/CBS SacramentoKevin Love was not feeling himself while wearing the hand wrap protecting his broken hand in the short time he has been back. Removing it has made everything right.

Love recorded his first 20/20 game of the year, scoring 23 points and grabbing 24 rebounds in Minnesota's 97-89 win over Sacramento. Love hit 8 of his 17 shots and made 2 of 8 3-pointers, so Love is still working his way back. But Minnesota got what it needed from Love in this game.

Love has not missed a beat for the Wolves in returning. And Minnesota is slowly bringing him back into the fold and getting comfortable with the All-Star forward in the lineup.

All five Minnesota starters scored in double figures with Luke Ridnour scoring 18 points and Nikola Pekovic adding 16 points at center.

Sacramento, for its part, fought hard to stay in the game late. The Kings got 20 points each from Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins. Sacramento kept fighting but could not get much closer than the final margin in threatening Minnesota.

The Kings continue to struggle.


George Hill wins it in L.A.

Philadelphia patience

Dion Waiters between Scola's legs

4: Line of the Night: James Harden — 24 points, 12 assists

Harden continues his torrid pace in Houston with another double double and another surprise display of his playmaking ability. Harden also had six rebounds as Houston scored 99 points through three quarters and won 117-101 over the Raptors, ruining Kyle Lowry's return to Houston.

5:  You can quote me on that

I can't remember the last time I asked to come out of a game. In the fourth quarter, I waved at Coach and said, 'You've got to get me a couple minute break.' I'm still a ways away [from being himself]. I came back and played three games in four nights with no practice. I had one practice yesterday and then right into another back-to-back. I kind of threw myself into the gauntlet a little bit.

Wolves forward Kevin Love

It was a great feeling. It’s something you dream about all the time, hitting the game winner.

Pacers guard George Hill on hitting the game-winning shot

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily