Inside the Box (10/29)

Here are a few random thoughts as I peruse the box scores from last night’s NBA action:

– Al Horford was the high efficiency man on the night (+38), matching LeBron’s total from the night before. He posted 24 points, 16 rebounds, four assists and two blocks, and looks like a “go-to” post player instead of the complementary player he was last season. Josh Smith was also highly efficient (+29) with 18 points (on 7-10 shooting), eight assists, five steals, three rebounds and two blocks. The duo took advantage of the Pacers’ front line.

– Elton? Elton? Where are you? Elton Brand’s bounce-back season got off to a rough start (8p, 6r, 2a). Marreese Speights (26p, 5r) and Lou Williams (18p, 4a, 4r) were the two bright spots in the Sixers’ loss to the Magic.

– Two games…two losses for the Cavs. It’s early, but this is not how LeBron and Co. wanted to start the season. James had a triple-double (23p, 11r, 12a), but missed 12 shots. Mo Williams scored 16 points, but missed 10 shots. Shaq posted 12 points and seven rebounds. The Cavs shot 35% from the field.

– The Raptors look revitalized. Andrea Bargnani (28p, 5r) is starting to look like a young Dirk Nowitzki, though doesn’t rebound nearly as well. Chris Bosh (21p, 16r) might very well re-sign if Toronto can get back into the top four or five in the East.

– The Celtics held the Bobcats to a pathetic 59 points. Charlotte only had one player in double figures — Gerald Wallace (10p, 12r).

– Miami got a great game from Jermaine O’Neal (22p, 12r, 4a) and if he needs to stay healthy and play well if the Heat are going to threaten any of the East’s elite this season. Michael Beasley (21p, 3r) didn’t do much on the glass, but hit 9 of 14 shots.

– The Knicks were led by David Lee (22p, 9r) and Wilson Chandler (21p, 7r), while Danilo Gallinari (22p, 6r) had a nice game off the bench.

– Al Jefferson (9p, 4r) did play in the opener, but he only saw 25 minutes. Jonny Flynn (18p, 4r, 2a, 2s) got the start at point guard and played pretty well in the win.

– Brook Lopez (27p, 15r, 4a, 5b) looks primed for a monster season. Yi Jianlian (17p, 12r, 2b) was surprisingly effective as well.

– Chris Paul (26p, 9a) and David West (18p, 9r, 3a, 3s) need some help. The good news is that Emeka Okafor (18p, 10r) looked solid, but the Hornets have problems at the wing, where they’re starting Morris Peterson (7p, 0r) and Julian Wright (8p, 4r). Wright is a pretty good defender, but Peterson is better suited for bench duty. Steven Jackson or Rip Hamilton would be a great fit here.

– DeJuan Blair (14p, 11r, 3a) led the Spurs in efficiency (+22). Richard Jefferson (5p, 4r, 5a) was quiet in his San Antonio debut.

– Kevin Martin (27p, 4r, 4a) missed 14 shots, but doesn’t have much help. Tyreke Evans (10p, 4r, 2a) shot just 5-16 from the field.

– Thabo Sefolosha started at off guard and dominated James Harden in minutes 34 to 13. Russell Westbrook (14p, 13a, 7r), Kevin Durant (25p, 11r, 4a), Jeff Green (24p, 8r) and Nenad Krstic (20p, 7r) all looked good, but they were facing the Kings.

– Marc Gasol (21p, 15r, 3b) had a nice game for the Grizzlies even though they were blown out on their home court.

– Ty Lawson (17p, 6a, 4r) had a great game off the Nuggets’ bench. It will be interesting to see if he gets 20+ minutes when J.R. Smith comes back from suspension. Anthony Carter and Aaron Afflalo are George Karl’s other option at guard opposite Chauncey Billups.

– Luis Scola (21p, 11r) bounced back from a dreadful game the night before. He needs to play well this season for the Rockets to stay competitive. Trevor Ariza (25p, 5r, 5a) had a big night in the win over the Warriors, but turned the ball over six times.

– Stephen Curry (14p, 7a) got the start and played pretty well.

– Grant Hill (19p, 13r) still has some juice in those old legs. Amare Stoudemire (16p, 5r) posted a substandard line as he works his way back into shape.

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