Al Jefferson -- the big guy had the necessary bounce back game from the previous night where he went 2-16 from the floor. Last night Al put on his big boy pants and went 8-14, and dropped 19 points on the Nuggets. Of course Nene scored 25 and went 10-13, but we can’t expect Al to play both side of the ball. He had 5 rebounds, pretty low, but added 4 assists, and a steal and a block each. More impressive was that he finished two And-One’s. If nothing else, we’re going to have to hitch our team to this ox in the short term, and ride him as far as he can take us. He didn’t have his best game ever, but he played good enough to be called a star, when we’re getting beat down again.
Gordon Hayward -- this guy almost had a double double last night. I was particularly interested in how he and Jefferson bounced back from poor shooting nights, and thankfully they both did. Hayward went for 50% fg shooting, making almost all of his FTs, and nailing one of his threes. He still doesn’t shoot it that often, but he did quite a bit on offense for us – he had 7 assists (tops on the team). Those dimes look even better when you notice that he only had one turn over as well. The rest of the team had 21. The Precious didn’t get one of his surprise blocks, that we’re getting accustomed to, but he did his share – and somewhat mitigated our current problems at point guard.
Alec Burks -- there really isn’t much to say here except #FreeAlecBurks. This kid is, as I’ve stated here before, a serious talent – a ROY type of talent. There’s really only so much he can learn from watching Raja Bell get burned on backdoor cuts. He needs to see the floor. Last night was a sight for sore eyes in his case. In 10 minutes (rounding up) of action, albeit garbage time, he changed the game. He was getting steals and electrifying the crowd – a road crowd, with his athleticism. Most importantly for me, he got to the line. In 20 less minutes he got to the free throw line 1 less time than our back to the basket bigman who gets touches all day long. He was super efficient and finished with 15 points, second most on the team – and he only played nine minutes and change. Perhaps we wouldn’t have been in another blowout if we had played him a bit earlier? After two games he has a PER in the 40.0s. Small sample size, but Raja’s PER is 2.1 right now.