Don’t get me wrong; Jeff Teague is a solid player, but his performance against the Boston Celtics on Thursday was shocking.
3Kevin Durant – 26 Points, 9 Rebounds, 7 Assists
The Golden State Warriors were sans Draymond Green and got quite the holiday scare by the Brooklyn Nets. At one point, the Dubs found themselves down by double-digits, but Durant wasn’t having any of it.
He shot very poorly from the perimeter, just 1-of-7, but the Nets’ lackluster defense allowed Durant to get into the lane on a number of occasions, and he’s really tough to defend when he’s dropping no-look dimes off of a crossover-Eurostep combination. Durant did more than his fair share of work and made up for sub-par performances by Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry.
He seems to be fitting in just fine with the Warriors, and he’s stolen the spotlight various times already.
2Justise Winslow – 23 Points, 13 Rebounds, 4 Steals
The transition from college to the NBA has been Winslow’s biggest issue. He doesn’t have much of an offensive game, and his defense hasn’t translated well, either. On Thursday, however, Winslow had his best game of the season.
He registered his first career double-double and was all over the place for a very resilient Miami Heat team. Winslow finished with ten makes on 16 attempts and carved his way into the teeth of the Los Angeles Lakers‘ defense more times than not — even more impressively, he displayed a willingness to shoot whatever shot the defense gave him.
His activity and peskiness on defense also helped the Heat’s comeback attempt, and it was the third time this year he tallied four steals.
1Jeff Teague – 31 Points, 8 Assists, 5 Rebounds
Although he’s in the midst of one of his best seasons, the Indiana Pacers aren’t going to win many games if Teague is playing better than Paul George. What this performance taught us, though, is that Teague is still a dynamic playmaker who can use in lightning-quick first step to spark the offense.
He got to the free throw line 11 times in addition to his nine made shots from the field, and the Pacers have the shooters around him to open the floor. Teague took full advantage. He found Thaddeus Young on multiple drive-and-kicks while also exploiting Isaiah Thomas’ mediocre defense.
Teague is now averaging 22.2 points and 9.6 assists a game over his last five contests, but Indiana has dropped three of those games.
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