Starting 5: Stayin’ alive


Every morning, we will give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.

1: Closing time

Rocky Widner/Getty Images/Yahoo!The Warriors and Nuggets played a yo-yo battle that went for two overtimes that at times seemed like a comedy of errors. There was the Warriors allowing Danilo Gallinari, who had missed his first 10 shots of the game, waltz clear down the lane for a game-tying and second-overtime-forcing dunk with a foul to give. There was the Warriors taking a five-point lead in the second overtime only to see it quickly disintegrate.

The Nuggets won 107-101 in double overtime, but afforded the Warriors a valuable lesson in closing games. Golden State did not do its job to score the win and the team's young players had to bear those lessons.

That is not something the Warriors are too unfamiliar with. Already this season Golden State played tight games against Phoenix, Sacramento and the L.A. Clippers. Last year, the Warriors led the league in games decided by six or fewer points, according tot he Warriors broadcast. Obviously, Golden State lost a good portion of those last year — otherwise the team would have made the postseason.

These learning experiences will continue to weigh and add up for this Warriors team. Moreso for young guards like Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, whom Golden State is relying upon for its future. It also rests with second-year coach Mark Jackson who is still learning the finer points of late-game playcalling and execution.

This continues to be a growing experience for the Warriors as a whole. There was some of that in this game as Stephen Curry played the entire overtime period with five fouls and stayed in the game to score 19 points. Klay Thompson really stepped up playing more than 50 minutes in this game and scoring 23 points.

The Nuggets though never quit and fought back hard each time to win this game. Denver got 21 points from Danilo Gallinari, who shot 8 for 22 (after missing his first 10 in the game).

A very solid win from a still-hungry Nuggets team.

2: Neal before Batum

Spurs NationWhen the Spurs and the Trail Blazers battle you expect Tim Duncan and LaMarcus Aldridge to be the ones doing most of the scoring and finishing. If not them, then Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili. Ginobili and Duncan did their part in the thrilling 112-109 San Antonio victory at the Rose Garden. The two teams combined for 69 points in the final quarter.

The stars of the evening were some of the team's unsung heroes.

As San Antonio tried desperately to pull away, it was Nicolas Batum fighting to keep Portland alive. He scored 33 points and grabbed seven rebounds, hitting on 11-for-18 shooting and five for his seven 3-point attempts. Batum seems to be slowly unraveling his talent in an expanded role this year with Portland.

Not to be outdone, Gary Neal provided his sport for the Spurs, including a critical jumper late in the game. Neal scored 27 points on 11-for-16 shooting, out scoring Portland's bench all on his own — Portland got only four points from its reserves. 

This really appeared to be the kind of game that this new Spurs team is good at winning. The defense may not be what it once was, but the team still has the veteran chops to call on it when needed. The Spurs did that to secure this win.


DeMar DeRozan with the reverse

How is the air up there, Gerald?

MKG's no-shoes required tour

4: Line of the Night: Al Jefferson 27 points, 14 rebounds

Al Jefferson bounced back from a rough effort Friday night against Denver with a strong performance against Phoenix's solid front line. Jefferson made 12 of his 20 shots and paced Utah to a 94-81 win, helping pick up the slack with Mo Williams out with a strained right adductor. Jefferson always seems to have a big offensive game like this in his back pocket.

5:  You can quote me on that

Injuries suck, man. We need him.

Joakim Noah on losing Kirk Hinrich in the second quarter of the Bulls' win over the Timberwolves

We talked about this game going in that this was going to be a test of character, four games in five nights, back to back, the road trip hasn't gone real well, could we build on last night and we didn't.

Lawrence Frank on the Pistons' winless West Coast trip and 0-7 record

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily