The NBA: Six Straight

Derrick Rose and the Bulls currently own the season's
longest win streak of 6 games.

*Unless otherwise specified, all images are by the Associated Press.  

The Bulls didn’t exactly begin the season on the brightest of notes. They struggled against the Lakers before Derrick Rose’s heroics and then they tanked against the Warriors for a not-so-impressive 1-1 start. But now they’re atop the East with a 7-1 slate, riding high on six straight wins. That run has cemented their status as a top-seed favorite in their conference, right next to the malevolent Miami Heat. This time nobody’s really surprised at how well the Bulls have played, especially since Rip has gelled quite faster than many had projected. What has surprised a lot of people is how well Portland and Denver have been playing. The post-Brandon Roy Blazers have done much better than expected, and their loss today against the unheralded Phoenix Suns shouldn’t dampen that too much. The Nuggets, too, have gathered some momentum, quietly stringing four straight victories to share the best record out West with the Thunder, who checked their 2-game skid by beating the Rockets at home.

After the JUMP, key stat-stuffers for today’s games:

ATL over CHA, 102-96 – DJ Augustin is putting up career numbers, but his team ain’t going nowhere.
PHI over DET, 96-73 – Spencer Hawes has been a revelation so far, and the Sixers winning record is the outcome.
NYK over WAS, 99-96 – After a hot first quarter, the Wizards faded until Melo and the Knicks stole it and kept them as the only winless club thru two weeks.
NJN over TOR, 97-85 – Nets surprise the Raptors as D-Will shows the reason why Dwight should move northeast.
IND over BOS, 87-74 – Pacers look good at 5-2, but they haven’t faced any team from the stronger Western Conference.
CHI over ORL, 97-83 – Rose was 2 boards away from a triple-double as the Bulls show the Magic who’s more likely to top the East.
OKC over HOU, 109-94 – Durant and his crew didn’t leave any doubt as OKC regains the West’s top spot.
CLE over MIN, 98-87 – Kyrie Irving got the better of Ricky Rubio even as Kevin Love logs another double-double.
DEN over NOH, 96-88 – Nuggets withstand a slow start to sustain the longest current win streak in the West at four games.
UTA over MEM, 94-85 – Marc Gasol was the best big man on the floor, but the Jazz were the better team overall.
PHX over POR, 102-77 – Blazers cool off against a most improbable tormentor.
LAL over GSW, 97-90 – Kobe shrugs off his painful hand as the Lakers move above .500.

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
Kobe Bryant (LAL) – 39
Carmelo Anthony (DEN) – 37
Kevin Love (MIN) – 29
Dwight Howard (ORL) – 28
Kevin Durant (OKC) - 26

Kobe Bryant clutches his hurting hand as the Lakers
manage to survive the visiting Warriors.

Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
Kris Humphries (NJN) – 16
Dwight Howard (ORL) & Tyson Chandler (NYK) – 15
Kevin Love (MIN) & Spencer Hawes (PHI) – 14

Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
DJ Augustin (CHA) – 12
Goran Dragic (HOU) – 11
Deron Williams (NJN), John Wall (WAS), Rajon Rondo (BOS), Jrue Holiday (PHI) & Jeff Teague (ATL) – 9

Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
Monta Ellis (GSW) & Iman Shumpert (NYK) – 5
Anderson Varejao (CLE) & Andre Iguodala (PHI) – 4

Monta Ellis was the night's top thief, but his Warriors
were far from the night's top team.
(image by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
Marc Gasol (MEM) – 6
Javale McGee (WAS), Emeka Okafor (NOH) & Jermaine O’Neal (BOS) – 4

Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
Anthony Morrow (NJN) – 6
Kyle Korver (CHI) & DeShawn Stevenson (NJN) – 5
Grievis Vasquez (NOH), Nick Young (WAS), Jodie Meeks (PHI) & Ray Allen (BOS) – 4

Jan. 6, 2012 First Five
C – Dwight Howard (ORL) – 28pts, 15rebs, 2asts, 2stls & 2blks
F – Marc Gasol (MEM) – 21pts, 11rebs, 6blks & 2asts
F – Josh Smith (ATL) – 23pts, 13rebs, 3stls, 2asts & 2blks
G – Carmelo Anthony (NYK) – 37pts, 7rebs, 4asts & 1stl
G – Kobe Bryant (LAL) – 39pts, 7asts & 4rebs

Marc Gasol continued to impress even as the
Grizzlies struggled getting wins.

Honorable Mention:
Derrick Rose (CHI) – 21pts, 10asts, 8rebs, 2stls & 1blk
DJ Augustin (CHA) – 21pts, 12asts, 2rebs & 1stl
Kevin Durant (OKC) – 26pts, 7rebs, 3asts & 1stl

For a full summary of the day, here’s today’s NBA Daily Zap:

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