Before I delve into my version of The Post Up, I want to pay homage to Adam Figman. He’s done some great things in this space so far this season, and I look forward to seeing what he has in store for TPU after All-Star. Penning this Post Up, which entailed watching three games at once on my computer (check the above screen grab), gave me a new respect for how hard Adam’s nightly job is. Props on holding it down, kid.
To cleanse your palate after that sappy intro, here are links (what’s good, Lang!) to some of the more interesting things I read yesterday.
– Carmelo Anthony’s January Diet: “From Jan. 9-30, Anthony followed what`s known as the “Daniel fast,” abstaining from all meats, fish, breads, sweets and soda. His diet was limited to protein shakes, raw juices, fruits and vegetables. He said he still abstains from soda and most meats.” (via Kelly Dwyer)
– The Spectrum’s now a step closer to death: “At midafternoon a drill mounted on a hydraulic arm delivered strategically placed love taps to one of the supports. It started slowly. A crack was followed by a puff of concrete dust. As if in slow motion, the pillar yielded. The roof groaned, crumpled leisurely, gathered momentum, then caved in suddenly unleasing a tsunami of grey powder that enveloped the structure in a cloud. Seconds later, the roof was on ground level. The Spectrum was one step closer to being erased from South Philadelphia.“
– Coach D’Antoni drops by to observe his son’s high school practice: “For the coach of the Knicks, the clamor of a high school gymnasium was a welcome diversion from the daily chorus of inquiry that comes with the territory. Here, there were no demands to explain away on-court misfortune or need to deal with the Carmelo Anthony distraction. Here, the responsibility of prepping the team for the next day’s must-win game was somebody else’s responsibility.“
– Kevin Garnett respects those who came before him: “‘I respect a lot of the OG’s just because [of what] they went through in order for us to be here today. Bill Russell is everything and I just want to say congratulations.’”
OK, everyone probably just wants what they come to TPU for by now. So here’s what happened around the L last night.
This game began with a bang and ended with one (a LeBron James self-oop off the backboard; sorry I couldn’t find a video). In between the two, Dwyane Wade managed to score 31 points in a topsy-turvy first half that saw the Heat take the first quarter, 41-19, and the Pacers take the second, 35-17. The second half played out more regularly, with the Pacers and Heat trading the lead numerous times. Ultimately, Wade (41 points), LeBron (27) and Chris Bosh (22) brought just enough game to hold off a struggling Darren Collison (1-11 shooting night) and his streaking Pacers. These two teams could easily end up meeting in the First Round of the Playoffs, so if this was a preview, we may be in for an exciting if not competitive series.
If Coach Paul Silas is correct and Michael Jordan could still chip in 15 a night, the Bobcats sure could have used him in a uniform on the floor and not in a suit courtside in this one. Closer for most of the contest than the final tally indicates, the Bulls got the usual goodness from Derrick Rose (18 and 13 albeit with 6 turnovers) and Carlos Boozer (16 and 9), but they also saw Kyle Korver go for 15 on a perfect 5-5 shooting. On the other side, role player Gerald Henderson, he of a 6.7 ppg average, dropped in 22, but that wasn’t enough to overcome three starters scoring six points or less. Oh, and this may just be me, but the Bulls seem better equipped to throw a scare into Miami or Boston than Orlando does—at least as of today.
Both of these teams are brimming with talented young players. Only one of them, though, is making good use of that talent. A few days after playing a tight, bell ringing game in Sacramento, Oklahoma took it to the Kings from the opening tap, building up a 37-24 first quarter lead. From there, they didn’t relent, scoring and, seemingly, dunking at will. A few days after reportedly engaging in some good ol’ fashion swinging (of the fists variety, people), from his newly relegated positon on the bench DeMarcus Cousins deposited 21 and 13. His fightmate/teammate Donte Greene added 10 and 7 of his own. For the Thunder, eight players scored more than 9 points. Oh, did I mention Tyreke Evans didn’t play in this one due to an ailing foot? Yeah, things are bad in Sacto right now. Real bad.
When Tony Allen shoots the ball 13 times, you’re not supposed to win. That didn’t stop the Grizzlies from W’ing up on the Sixers in a game that marked OJ Mayo’s return to action. Of course the victory may have cost Memphis more than it was worth. On a hard drive to the basket, Rudy Gay was hacked across the arm by Evan Turner. Gay would stay in and take the two freebies—one-handed! He ultimately left the game with what’s being called a strained shoulder. Memphis, 31-26, are currently the owners of a four-game winning streak heading into the All-Star break. Down 27-10 early, Philly got as close as 77-75 in Gay’s absence, but never managed to take the lead. They have one more game, tomorrow night against Houston, before their break begins.
If it was 2001—or even 2007—this game would’ve been a must-watch. The Jazz and the Suns. Steve Nash and Vince Carter. Hell, it probably would’ve been nationally televised. I guess times really have changed, though. I could barely get myself to sit through the first half. But I’m glad I did. On a night that saw VC and Deron Williams struggle, Channing Frye and Al Jefferson picked up their games, each eclipsing the 30-point mark. Even with Big Al’s fine effort, with only nine players dressed, the Jazz fought hard but were unable to earn Ty Corbin his first win as an NBA head coach. Nash pretty much put the Suns on his back, collecting 20 and 14, draining two clutch free throws in the last seconds to seal the deal.
Last night’s theme? Building big leads and throwing them away. Miami did it; Memphis did it; and New Orleans did it. The only difference: the first two held on to win the game; NOLA managed to take a 15-point lead and turn it into a 13-point defeat. Another difference? The first two teams are headed in the right direction; the Hornets are teetering on the brink of playing themselves out of the Playoff picture. In case you couldn’t tell by now, New Orleans’ hot start to the season was a mirage. Without Chris Paul, this team would struggle against the Kansas Jayhawks. With him, they may squeak into the Playoffs, but won’t do a lick of damage there. Golden State, on the other hand, is now sniffing .500 (25-29) after a 9-18 start to the year. With one of the most exciting players in the League on their roster (Monta Ellis) and one of the best shooters (Stephen Curry) and one of the best pay-versus-production free agent signees (Dorrell Wright), the Warriors are, if nothing else, always fun to watch. Last night served as a reminder of that.
Thanks for having me, TPU regulars. You could’ve been anywhere, and you’re here with me. I appreciate that.