The NBA: Snapping Streaks

Josh Smith broke out in a big way as the Hawks
handed the Bulls only their 2nd loss of the season.

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

The Bulls and the Nuggets were the two hottest teams in the league going into yesterday’s schedule, but both teams were left with their streaks snapped. Chicago bowed to the Atlanta Hawks, who got a measure of vengeance on the team that pulled the rug from under them in the fourth period a few days prior. Josh Smith was awesome on both ends of the floor, easily outplaying his forward counterparts in helping ATL climb to just 2 games behind the East-leading Heat. The Nuggets, meanwhile, got ambushed by the San Antonio Spurs, who got a big lift from youngster Danny Green, who hit 3 treys on his way to 24 points. Denver’s erstwhile West-leading 4-game run was stopped as San Antonio locked #2 behind OKC. In the meantime, two other teams extended their own winning streaks. The Sixers reign atop the Atlantic Division with a 5-2 card, riding high on four straight wins, while the Jazz have strung 4 straight of their own after going 1-3. They’re now 5-3, good for 6th out West and still immaculate at home.

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

ATL over CHI, 109-94 – Hawks avenge a sorry loss to the Bulls a few days earlier by blowing them out of the water.
IND over CHA, 99-77– Roy Hibbert was the big guy in town, and he was really impressive against the Cats.
NYK over DET, 103-80 – Melo and the Knicks string two straight wins to tie the Celtics at .500.
MIA over NJN, 101-90 – King James returns and fills the stat-sheet anew.
OKC over HOU, 98-95 – This time the Rockets made it interesting, but they still came out with the short end of the stick.
PHI over TOR, 97-62 – Sixers are tops in the Northeast Division and handed the Raps their second loss in a row.
SAS over DEN, 121-117 – Gallo was awesome in this one, but little-known Daniel Green did his best Manu impersonation and it worked wonders for the Spurs.
DAL over NOH, 96-81 – Hornets receive their sixth straight beating at the hands of the champs. Ian Mahinmi was solid at the slot.
UTA over GSW, 88-87 – Jazz win fourth in a row by the skin of their teeth, surviving Monta’s 32-point explosion.
LAC over MIL, 92-86 – Blake played big down the stretch as the Clips top the Pacific with their 3-game winning streak.

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
LeBron James (MIA) & Monta Ellis (GSW) – 32
Danilo Gallinari (DEN) – 31
Luis Scola (HOU) – 28
Kevin Durant (OKC) – 27

LeBron James continued his high-flying play, dropping
32  against the hapless Nets.

Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
David Lee (GSW) – 15
Blake Griffin (LAC) & Amir Johnson (TOR) – 14
Drew Gooden (MIL), Omer Asik (CHI) & Shelden Williams (NJN) – 13

With 15 rebounds, David Lee showed why he was
such a coveted free agent a couple of season ago.

Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
Ty Lawson (DEN) & Deron Williams (NJN) – 10
LeBron James (MIA) – 9
Goran Dragic (HOU), Jeff Teague (ATL) & Devin Harris (UTA) – 8

As expected, Ty Lawson has seen an increase in
his role as Denver's primary playmaker.
(image by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
Jeff Teague (ATL) – 5
Josh Smith (ATL), Al-Farouq Aminu (NOH) & Chris Paul (LAC) – 4

Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
Josh Smith (ATL) – 6
Roy Hibbert (IND), Carmelo Anthony (NYK), James Johnson (TOR), Ben Wallace (DET) & DeAndre Jordan (LAC) – 3

Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
Branon Knight (DET), Richard Jefferson (SAS) & Vladimir Radmanovic (ATL) – 5
Mike Bibby (NYK) & Brandon Rush (SAC) – 4

Jan. 7, 2012 First Five
C – Roy Hibbert (IND) – 20pts, 8rebs, 3blks, 1ast
F – Danilo Gallinari (DEN) – 31pts, 5rebs, 3 triples, 2asts, 2stls
F – Josh Smith (ATL) – 25pts, 6blks, 5rebs, 5asts, 4stls
G – LeBron James (MIA) – 32pts, 9asts, 7rebs, 2stls, 1blk
G – Danny Green (SAS) – 24pts, 7rebs, 3 triples, 2asts, 2stls, 2blks

Honorable Mention:
Goran Dragic (HOU) – 20pts, 8asts, 4rebs, 1stl
Ty Lawson (DEN) – 20pts, 10asts, 3rebs, 1blk
Monta Ellis (GSW) – 32pts, 6asts, 3rebs

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

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