The NBA: The Best Players and Teams of November 2013

The new NBA season has opened again and with it comes renewed excitement. Will Miami end up with its third straight title? Will Indiana continue its rise as one of the league’s elite squads? Can the Spurs buck their aging core anew and make a deep Playoff run? Will the retooled lineups of both the Clippers and the Nets be enough to make them title contenders? And will the Bulls return to glory behind Derrick Rose’s comeback (oops, wait, that’s answered already – insert sad face now)?

This is the first in a series of “Best of the Month” citations based on the Efficiency Recap ratings on Team citations will be based on Efficiency Recap Difference (Team Efficiency – Opponents’ Efficiency), while Player citations will be based on Player Efficiency. You can check out the Stats Glossary here.

Roy Hibbert and the Pacers are smiling from atop the Association.
(image by Brian Spurlock/USA Today)

Team Citations:

Best Backcourt: LA Clippers - 51.1ppg, 10.9rpg, 17.8apg, 4.1spg, .446 FG%, .867 FT%, 18.5 DEFF
Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford have been putting the pain on the Clippers’ opponents, and there looks to be no signs of letting up.

Best Frontcourt: Indiana Pacers - 62.3ppg, 31.5rpg, 8.8apg, 4.7spg, 5.6bpg, .463 FG%, 20.0 DEFF
Roy Hibbert, David West, and Luis Scola have all been clicking, and coach Frank Vogel cannot be any more satisfied. Well, a Larry O’Brien trophy in June 2014 wouldn’t hurt, of course.

Best Bench: Denver Nuggets - 43.8ppg, 19.4rpg, 8.1apg, 2.8spg, 2.6bpg, .440 FG%, .448 3pt%, 18.6 DEFF
Wilson Chandler and Nate Robinson have been great off the pine for the Nuggets. Jordan Hamilton, Timofey Mozgov, Andre Miller, and even Darrell Arthur have helped out big time, too.

Best Starting Five: Indiana Pacers - 72.1ppg, 32.1rpg, 16.3apg, 5.5spg, 5.4bpg, .450 FG%, 25.8 DEFF
All five Indiana starters are norming double-figures in scoring, which means every single one of them is a threat. Also, Paul George, Roy Hibbert, and Lance Stephenson are all putting better efficiency ratings than last season. Anybody still wondering why they’re 16-1?

East: Indiana Pacers (13-1 in November) - 97.2ppg, 46.1rpg, 20.8apg, 7.7spg, 6.5bpg, .449 FG%, .361 3pt%, 29.6 DEFF
Best starting unit in the entire planet. Great coaching. Paul George. There you go.

West: San Antonio Spurs (13-3 in November) - 102.0ppg, 42.6rpg, 24.7apg, 8.7spg, 4.6bpg, .486 FG%, .383 3pt%, 23.6 DEFF
They ran through the month and had an awesome 11-game streak before losing 2 of their last 3 games. Still, it looks like the Spurs are out to prove, once again, that they are the league’s version of U2 (you know, they defy their collective age? Right?).

Player Citations:

Best Point Guard: Chris Paul (LAC) - 17.6ppg, 5.1rpg, 12.1apg, 1.9spg, .892 FT%, 26.3 EFF
It’s a pity he got injured, but when CP3 comes back, don’t expect his numbers to dip anywhere below terrific.

Chris Paul was the league's best point guard in November.
(image by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images)

Best Shooting Guard: James Harden (HOU) - 23.8ppg, 4.8rpg, 5.6apg, 1.7spg, .450 FG%, 22.6 EFF
Harden was the best SG for most of last season, and he looks to be the best SG throughout the entirety of this one. Watch out!

Best Small Forward: LeBron James (MIA) - 26.9ppg, 6.0rpg, 5.9apg, 1.1spg, .610 FG%, .488 3pt%, 29.0 EFF
Yeah. This guy. Who doesn’t know anything about this guy?

Best Power Forward: Kevin Love (MIN) - 23.7ppg, 13.5rpg, 4.2apg, 28.8 EFF
After getting riddled with injuries last year, the California native is out to prove that he has made the jump from great to elite.

Best Center: Spencer Hawes (PHI) - 15.9ppg, 10.3rpg, 3.1apg, 1.8bpg, .512 FG%, .474 3pt%, 22.7 EFF
Yes, this is not a typo. Not Dwight. Not Joakim. Not Boogie (for now). A three-point shooting, double-double machine – that’s Spencer Hawes.

Best East Rookie: Michael Carter-Williams (PHI) - 16.8ppg, 5.2rpg, 6.8apg, 2.4spg, 17.1 EFF
Penny 2.0? I think so. I just hope he won’t get bitten by the injury bug too often.

Best West Rookie: Trey Burke (UTA) - 11.2ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.0apg, 9.5 EFF
Well what do you know? The Utah neophyte is actually the Best in the West!

Best East Player: LeBron James (MIA) - 26.9ppg, 6.0rpg, 5.9apg, 1.1spg, .610 FG%, .488 3pt%, 29.0 EFF
Yada yada yada.

Best West Player: Kevin Love (MIN) - 23.7ppg, 13.5rpg, 4.2apg, 28.8 EFF
Minnesota is loving’ Love. I just hope his game translates to more wins. His T-Wolves are 9-10 right now. Yikes.

Game Recaps:
December 1, 2013
SAN ANTONIO (AP) James Harden scored 31 points, Chandler Parsons had 25, and the Houston Rockets overcame a furious second-half rally to beat San Antonio 112-106 on Saturday night, handing the Spurs their first home defeat. Dwight Howard had 13 points and 11 rebounds, Terrence Jones added 10 points and 16 boards, and Patrick Beverly had 11 points for Houston (13-5). Tony Parker had 27 points, Tim Duncan added 20 and Marco Belinelli scored 18 for San Antonio (14-3), which has lost two of three. San Antonio outscored Houston 39-26 to open the second half, with Belinelli scoring 13 points after halftime to set up a furious finish.

DALLAS (AP) Kevin Martin had 27 points with some key baskets late, Kevin Love had his usual double-double and the Timberwolves snapped a three-game losing streak with a victory at Dallas. Martin made two free throws with just under 6 minutes left to put Minnesota up 94-90. Ricky Rubio then had a steal that led to a long fast-break jumper by Martin, who later beat the shot clock with a jumper and then added a 3-pointer. That stretched the lead to 103-92, matching its largest, with 3:12 left. Love finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds. All five starters scored in double figures for Minnesota, which had lost five of its previous six games. Monta Ellis scored 26 points and Dirk Nowitzki had 23 for Dallas.

WASHINGTON (AP) John Wall had 26 points and 12 assists, Trevor Ariza scored 24 points and made five 3-pointers, and the Wizards beat the Hawks. The Wizards have won six of their last eight, and have won eight games in November for the first time since 1984. Martell Webster added 19 points for Washington and also had five 3-pointers. Nene, who returned after missing Friday's game at Indiana with a right Achilles tendon injury, had 13 points and 12 rebounds. Paul Millsap had 23 points and 10 rebounds for Atlanta, which cut an 18-point, third-quarter deficit to 81-79 with 9:42 left, but could not get closer.

CLEVELAND (AP) Andrew Bynum and Dion Waiters each scored 20 points, and the Cavaliers held off a late rally by the Bulls. Cleveland, which had lost five straight and eight of nine, built a 12-point lead in fourth quarter, but the Bulls rallied for an 88-87 edge on Tony Snell's basket with 3:59 remaining. Bynum's jumper put Cleveland ahead again with 3:35 left, and Kyrie Irving scored after stealing the ball from Kirk Hinrich. Waiters converted another turnover into a layup to put the Cavaliers ahead 93-88 with 2:09 to play. Luol Deng scored 27 points for the Bulls, who finished 1-5 on their road trip in which they lost point guard Derrick Rose for the season with a knee injury. Irving added 19 points for Cleveland.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Joe Johnson scored 26 points, Brook Lopez added 12 of his 20 in the fourth quarter, and the Nets beat the Grizzlies. Andray Blatche scored 21 off the Nets bench, making all three shots from beyond the arc. Blatche entered the game 1 for 7 from 3-point range this season. The Nets snapped a two-game losing streak and handed Memphis its fourth straight home loss. Quincy Pondexter, who had not played in the Grizzlies' two previous games, scored a career-high 22 points. Mike Conley had 16 points and 10 assists, while Tony Allen had 13 points. The Nets led by as many as 16 and withstood a fourth-quarter rally led by Pondexter that pulled Memphis within one.

JAZZ 112, SUNS 104
PHOENIX (AP) Rookie Trey Burke had the biggest game of his young NBA career, scoring 20 points to lead seven Utah players in double figures and the Jazz to their first road victory of the season. Richard Jefferson added 15 for the Jazz, who were 0-9 on the road entering the contest and lost 112-101 at home to Phoenix on Friday night. Marvin Williams and Derrick Favors added 14 apiece. Goran Dragic had 24 points and nine assists for the Suns. Channing Frye added 17 points for Phoenix. Utah has won two of three but has just three victories in 18 games this season. Burke's previous high was 14 in the Jazz's overtime win over Chicago two games ago.

MILWAUKEE (AP) O.J. Mayo rebounded from a subpar game with 22 points and Milwaukee snapped an 11-game losing streak with a victory over Boston. Two of Milwaukee's three victories this season have come against Boston. The Bucks beat the Celtics, 105-98, on Nov. 1 in Boston. Jared Sullinger scored 21 points and had 14 rebounds, while Jeff Green and Jordan Crawford added 18 points apiece for the Celtics. Milwaukee's Brandon Knight had his second consecutive solid game, scoring 20 points with nine rebounds and eight assists after scoring 17 points against Charlotte.

December 2, 2013
Final Score: Denver 112, Toronto 98
Toronto, ON ( - Nate Robinson led the Nuggets' vaunted bench with 23 points and Denver pulled away for a 112-98 decision over the Toronto Raptors to earn their sixth straight victory. Denver's reserves outscored Toronto's by a wide 72-16 margin, with Timofey Mozgov and Darrell Arthur donating 16 and 14 points, respectively, in the win. Mozgov also grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds while Kenneth Faried finished with a 12-point, 12- rebound double-double for the Nuggets, who shot 51 percent from the field and made 10 3-pointers. Rudy Gay netted a team-high 23 points, Jonas Valanciunas tallied 18 points and 11 boards, and DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry added 17 points apiece as Toronto finished its disappointing four-game homestand with three straight losses.

Final Score: Detroit 115, Philadelphia 100
Auburn Hills, MI ( - Andre Drummond had 31 points, 19 rebounds and six steals -- all career-highs -- and the Detroit Pistons never trailed in a 115-100 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday. Brandon Jennings added 20 points and 12 assists and Josh Smith also scored 20 for the Pistons, who snapped a two-game losing streak to finish a homestand 2-2. Rodney Stuckey chipped in 17 points off the bench. Thaddeus Young had 24 points and Evan Turner scored 20 for the Sixers, who have lost four in a row overall and seven straight on the road. Michael Carter-Williams added 15 points, six rebounds, six assists and six steals in the loss, which dropped Philadelphia to 2-10 in its last 12 games since a surprising 4-2 start to the season.

Final Score: Indiana 105, LA Clippers 100
Los Angeles, CA ( - Paul George poured in 27 points and David West added 24 points with 12 rebounds as the Indiana Pacers bested the Los Angeles Clippers, 105-100, at Staples Center. Roy Hibbert netted 19 points, while George Hill scored 11 for Indiana, which handed the Clippers just their second home loss of the season. Jamal Crawford led six LA players in double-figures with 20 points off the bench and Chris Paul finished with 17 points and 10 assists in the setback.

Final Score: Miami 99, Charlotte 98
Miami, FL ( - Chris Bosh suddenly became scorching hot and the Miami Heat extended their winning streak to double figures. Bosh nailed a trio of 3-pointers in a 79-second span late in the fourth to help the Heat rally past the Charlotte Bobcats 99-98 for their 10th straight win on Sunday night. Miami trailed 87-80 with 3:59 left prior to Bosh's personal onslaught where he netted 13 straight Heat points. His final 3-pointer capped a 13-4 run and gave Miami a 93-91 advantage with 1:20 remaining. Kemba Walker then turned the ball over at the other end before Bosh finally missed a triple with 48.9 ticks to go. Mario Chalmers and Walker then traded buckets, but LeBron James nailed all four of his foul shots in the waning seconds to seal the outcome. Bosh finished with 22 points, while James scored a team-best 26 points for Miami, which has beaten the Bobcats 14 consecutive times.

Final Score: Oklahoma City 113, Minnesota 103
Oklahoma City, OK ( - Kevin Durant had his worst offensive outing in 175 games the last time the Thunder played the Timberwolves. The star forward's response in their latest meeting? Only his fourth career triple-double. Durant had 32 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high 12 assists Sunday and Oklahoma City beat Minnesota 113-103 for its seventh straight win. On the road Nov. 1, Durant was held to 13 points and the Thunder shot under 35 percent in a 100-81 loss to the Timberwolves, who led by as many as 34 and won for just the third time in the last 17 meetings between the teams. The Thunder shot 56.3 percent in this one, finished a 6-0 homestand and moved to 8-0 at home this season. Russell Westbrook, who missed the first meeting with Minnesota, scored 19 points two days after hitting a game-winning 3 to beat Golden State, and Reggie Jackson had 18 off the bench.

Final Score: New Orleans 103, New York 99
New York, NY ( - Ryan Anderson poured in a game-high 31 points on 7-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc to lead the New Orleans Pelicans to a 103-99 win over the New York Knicks. Although the Pelicans came away with a win, they lost one of their top performers as center Anthony Davis suffered a non-displaced fracture in his left hand. Davis suffered the injury in the first quarter. The former No. 1 pick went to the Pelicans' bench before heading back to the locker room for further evaluation. A timetable for his return has not been determined. Davis was off to a terrific start in his second season, leading the Pelicans with 19.6 points, 10.6 rebounds and a 3.9 blocks per contest. Tyreke Evans added 24 points and seven assists and Jrue Holiday finished with 11 points and nine assists for New Orleans, which has won five of its last seven games. Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points to go with 10 rebounds and Tim Hardaway Jr. poured in a career-high 21 points for the Knicks, losers in nine straight.

Final Score: Portland 114, LA Lakers 108
Los Angeles, CA ( - LaMarcus Aldridge scored 27 points and pulled down nine rebounds to help the Portland Trail Blazers hold off the Los Angeles Lakers for a 114-108 win on Sunday. Damian Lillard added 26 points, nine rebounds and five assists and Wesley Matthews scored 17 for the Trail Blazers, winners in 12 of their last 13 games. Xavier Henry scored 27 points, Jodie Meeks netted 20 and Nick Young finished with 17 points for the Lakers, who had won five of six entering the contest.

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