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Smack / Nov 7, 2012 / 12:00 am

The NBA’s Most Surprising Team Finally Loses; Toronto Suffers A Major Injury Scare

Joakim Noah

Joakim Noah (photo. Monte Isom)

On the day that Chicago’s most famous face took center stage in the presidential election, the Bulls beat down the undefeated Magic, 99-93. Over the final five minutes, the Bulls closed the door with some ferocious interior defense, forcing guys like Big Baby into impossible shots, and on the other end, Joakim Noah (20 points, nine boards, five blocks) and Taj Gibson (playing over Carlos Boozer to end the game) provided some offensive highlights. Luol Deng led everyone in white with 23, and Nate Robinson came off the bench, didn’t play out of control, and made a couple of big shots down the stretch. The whole Robinson-Tom Thibodeau marriage still confuses us. That has to be the most unlikely partnership in the entire league. Robinson plays professionally like we do on the Xbox, and Thibs is one of the most no-nonsense, defense-first coaches you’ll find at any level. Perhaps that’s exactly why it’s worked out? … Serious Orlando question: which cat has been more surprising this year: Big Baby (16 points, 10 boards, 7-for-22 shooting last night) or J.J. Redick (10 points, seven assists)? We knew coming in that Arron Afflalo (28 points) was going to earn more fans outside of just Kendrick Lamar. But besides him, Redick has long been an underrated all-around player. He’s not just a shooter. He can play a little defense as well, yet the only time anyone ever noticed was when he matched up with Jesus in the 2009 Playoffs. Also, Davis is near the top of the entire league in usage rate, and he’s pumping in points at record levels for someone who can’t jump and has T-Rex arms. Both struggled last night – Davis against Chicago’s length, Redick because he kept forcing quick shots – but they’re two of the biggest surprises in the league this year, right up there with Wilson Chandler still owning a counterfeit game from China … Denver had no real problems with the Pistons, winning 109-97 as JaVale McGee (16 points) provided the second-half highlights. The Nuggets were rocking their new secondary jerseys, and they are so nice even Andre Miller looks hip in them. Those joints helped offset Detroit’s mess. Halfway through the first quarter, Denver was already leaking out on 3-on-0 fast breaks as everyone in a Detroit uniform stood around wondering where they’d be getting dinner from. Seriously if you get blown out by basically 30 one night, and then come out the next night and immediately fall behind by 10, you’re mailing it in. It’s just that simple. But hey, at least Rodney Stuckey (5-for-17, an improvement for him) made a few shots for the first time this season … For the second-straight game, it was left to the bench to provide a little life. We challenge anyone to watch a full Pistons game this year and not catch at least one Will Bynum/Andre Drummond lob. We have no idea how they built that chemistry but luckily for anyone watching Detroit, it’s happening night after night … And the NBA handed out their first two flopping warnings this year to J.J. Barea and Donald Sloan. Barea’s long been regarded as one of the most original floppers out there, deciphering all different sorts of ways to draw a foul. But the flop in question from Sloan was way beyond anything Minnesota’s point guard developed. He looked like a figure skater … Keep reading to hear which coach could come back to coach the Lakers …

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