By Aris Barkas/ email@example.com
It was a good week for Pau Gasol personally, but not so much for the Lakers. In the win over Houston (119-108) the Spanish star had 17 points and became the tenth foreign-born player who have scored more than 15.000 points in the NBA.
The other nine members of this exclusive club are Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria), Dominique Wilkins (France), Patrick Ewing (Jamaica), Dirk Nowitzki (Germany), Tim Duncan (U.S. Virgin Islands), Rolando Blackman (Panama), Steve Nash (South Africa), Kiki Vandeweghe (Germany) and Detlef Schrempf (West Germany). Gasol also had a good game in the 114-102 win over Phoenix (16 p., 10 r., 3 as., 2 bl.), while for the loosing side Slovenian Goran Dragic did his best (22 p., 7 as.), but Polish big man Marcin Gortat had a mediocre night (6 p. 8 r., 2 bl.). It happens to everyone, even to Gasol himself who registered only 8 points and 9 rebounds in the defeat of the Lakers at Sacramento (113-97).
The Lakers have a 6-6 record, while Marc Gasol‘s Memphis shares the best record (8-2) in the league with the Nicks after beating them (105-95). The Spaniard dominated the middle with 24 points and 7 rebounds. Gasol flirted with the triple double (12 p., 9 r., 7 as.) in the road win of Memphis over Charlotte (94-87), but couldn’t help the Grizzlies avoid the home defeat by Denver (97-92) despite having an efficient night (16 p., 6 r., 5 as., 2 st.). For the winners Italian Danilo Gallinari was sizzling (26 p., 5 r., 3 as.) and Greek American Kostas Koufos held his ground (8 p., 9 r., 2 as.).
Less than half a win behind Memphis are Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs with a 9-3 record. OKC registered three wins over New Orleans (110-95), Golden State (119-109) and the Clippers (117-111) with Spanish big man Serge Ibaka and Swiss Thabo Sefolosha having their usual more than decent numbers and Ibaka finishing the game against LA with a double double (15 p., 12 r.). San Antonio on the other hand lost to the Clippers (92-87) with Tony Parker having a mediocre – for his standards – game (11 p., 6 as.) against his good friend Ronny Turiaf (4 p., 3 r.).
Parker bounced back in the big win against Boston (112-110) having 23 points and 6 assists, while Boris Diaw helped all around (6 p., 7 r., 5 as.). The Spurs got also the win in the Euro-derby against Denver (126-100). It was a french affair not only because of Parker (14 p., 5 r., 6 as.), Diaw (9 p., 3 r., 5 as.) and Nando De Colo (5 p., 3 as., 1 r.), but also because rookie Evan Fournier had 10 points and two assist for Denver.
The Nuggets have a 6-6 record after their win in an other Euro-derby against Minnesota (101-94). The story of the game was the return of Kevin Love from injury, but Gallinari (19 p., 6 r.) and Koufos (6 p., 8 r., 3 bl.) had the last laugh. Montenegrin Nikola Pekovic also returned from injury for the Timperwolves and did ok (10 p., 7 r.), as also did the Russian duo of Andrei Kirilenko (7 p., 8 r., 2 as., 3 st.) and Alexey Shved (8 p., 2 r., 3 as.). Minnesota has a 5-5 record after being defeated by Golden State (106-98) of Latvian Andris Biendrins (3 r., 3 as., 1 bl.) with Shved having his best game yet in the NBA (22 p., 3 r. 7 as., 1 bl.) and Kirilenko being his usual self (18 p., 6 r., 4 bl.). The Warriors are in good shape with a 7-5 record, but Biendrins is diminished to a role player.
That’s not the case for Nicola Batum who had a career high 35 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assist and 5 blocks in the overtime win of Portland over Houston (119-117) of Omer Asik (16 p., 16 r., 1 as., 1 bl.). The new French star of the league had 21 points in the 102-94 over Chicago against a monster night by his compatriot Yoakim Noah (16 p., 15 r., 8 as.) and the good effort of Englishman Luol Deng (14 p., 7 r., 4 as.). Still, Portland has just a 5-6 record after dropping the game against Phoenix (114-87). For the Suns (5-7) Gortat (22 p., 7 r.) and Dragic (15 p., 8 as.) were once again the leaders, while Batum was mediocre (13 p., 5 r., 4 as.) and Montenegrin Sasha Pavlovic, Spaniard Victor Claver and Englishman Joel Freeland got some minutes without any noteworthy result. Phoenix was defeated at home by Miami (97-88) with Dragic (12 p., 5 r., 8 as., 4 st.) giving a fight.
There was also a match up of Turkish centers with Utah (6-6) beating Houston (5-7) 102-91 and Enes Kanter (6 p., 8 r., 3 as.) winning the battle against Asik (2 p., 7 r.). Rockets won Chicago (93-89) with Asik having a bad night against his old team (4 p., 6 r.), while Deng (19 p., 10 r.) and Noah (11 p., 7 r., 4 as., 4 bl.) couldn’t save the Bulls (5-6). The same happened against the Clippers who got the 101-80 win over Chicago (Belinelli 3 p., Deng 14 p., 8 r., Noah 4 p., 7 r., 4 as.).
Magic’s (4-7) Montenegrin Nicola Vucevic is starting to putting big numbers as he did with a double double (11 p., 13 r., 3 as.) in the 110-106 road win over Detroit (Jerebko 2 p., 2 r.). The two teams played also at Orlando with the final result being the same (90-74) and Vucevic was good enough (5 p., 13 r., 2 as.) in the duel with veteran Georgian Zaza Pachulia (8 p., 11 r.) in the 81-72 win of Atlanta vs Orlando. Pachulia’s Hawks have a 6-4 record after a 112-96 road win over Sacramento and prevailing by a point (101-100) against Washington (0-10) which had a break out game by French center Kevin Seraphin (21 p., 10 r.).
Atlanta shares the shame record with the Nets – where Bosnian Mirza Teletovic is still struggling in order to find minutes – Charlotte and Milwaukee which also have two important rotation players from Europe, Turk Ersan Ilyasova and Slovenian Beno Udrih. The Bucks lost at Charlotte (102-98) and at Miami (113-106), but won against the Hornets (117-113) in the only game that one of its Euros, Ilyasova, had one double digit number in his stat line with 10 points. In Cleveland (3-8) Israely Omri Casspi is trying to find its role and had 5 ppg in the win over Philadelphia (92-83) and in the defeats by Dallas (103-95) and also at Philadelphia (86-79).
Toronto (3-9) is also having a bad start, despite a win over Orlando in a game where Spaniard Jose Manuel Calderon dished 18 assist, Italian Andrea Bargnani had 17 points and Lithuanian Linas Kleiza 12, as also did Montenegrin Vucevic for the losing side. The Raptors lost 106-98 at Philadelphia despite the 22 points of Bargnani and double doubles by Calderon (13 p., 12 as.) and Lithuanian rookie Jonas Valanciunas (11 p., 11 r.), also lost at Charlotte (98-97) with Valanciunas registering 16 points and 10 rebounds while Bargnani had 25 points and also lost at Boston (107-89). It was one of the last games of Serbian Darko Milicic in a Celtics uniform as he asked to be waived in order to return to Europe and attend to his ill mother and his wish was granted.