by Anton Kudriavtsev/@TheDiesel
Happy New Year everyone! As you spend the day recovering, take a glance at some NBA players doing work yesterday.
Chase Budinger (22 pts) and the Rockets spoiled DeMar Derozan’s career-high 37 points as they beat the Raptors. D-Rex scored 29 points in the second half and single-handedly kept Toronto in the game, especially in the third quarter. After walking overpaid foul trouble Amir Johnson fouled out, the Rockets quickly extender their lead to 15 points and never looked back.
The ancient Celtics lost their third straight game since their 14-game win streak, this time at the hands of the Hornets. While Chris Paul had 20 points and 11 assists, Trevor Ariza made himself useful by hitting a 3-pointer with 1:34 to play to lead the Hornets to victory. A Ray Allen(18 points) missed hail-mary three pointer made it official: the Celtics need more veterans. Reggie Miller, Greg Oden, and Patrick Ewing – come on down! Hey Pierce – you do realize the water you stole from a fan is not MJ’s secret juice, right? Although you can still try sprinkling it on KG’s leg and see if anything happens. The Celtics will need all the remedies they can get if they want to stay on top of the Eastern conference. Along those lines, I finally figured out a use for Jermaine O’Neal in the playoffs – throw him out in Game 1 against the Lakers and tell him to bite Bynum’s knee. Sure, J.O. would get ejected and suspended, but you can’t tell me he would have a bigger impact on the series than that.
Holding off a late rally, the Warriors pulled off the win against the Bobcats and kept me furious as I thought both teams would be battling for a seventh or sixth seed this season. The most exciting backcourt in the NBA (the Curry/Ellis law-firm) combined for 49 points and Monta Ellis is the only player in the league averaging at least 25 points, 5 assists and 2 steals – All Star game, please. Stephen Jackson had 22 for the ‘Cats but missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer with two seconds remaining.
The Pacers started their New Year’s Eve celebrations early as they cruised past the Wizards, led by Granger and Collison’s 18 points. John Wall had 25 points but Indiana took over early with a 20-4 run in the second quarter while the Wiz shot a Kobe-esque 2 of 14 in the same quarter. While the rebuilding project slowly takes form, Washington is still without a road win this season. Rashard Lewis scored 15 points in the game, the same amount as he scored in the entire series against the Celtics in the playoffs. How much did he get paid for that playoff series, you ask? Over $18M.
With a win over the Nets, the Bulls have won 12 of their last 14 games. Carlos Boozer scored 20 points and grabbed 15 rebounds as his team broke out of an early shooting slump to hit key shots late in the game. Brook Lopez led the Nets with 19 points but New Jersey was so offended at LeBron’s comments that they purposely lost 4 straight games. Tom Thibodeau celebrated by putting his hands in the air like he just doesn’t care.
The Thunder beat the Hawks with their Batman and Robin two punch. Kevin Durant nailed five 3-pointers en route to 33 points while Russell Westbrook triple-doubled with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, the last one coming with 6.9 seconds to go in the game to increase the Thunder’s lead and increase Westbrook’s swagger. Jamal Crawford led the Hawks with 26 off the bench but the Hawks succumbed to a 16-6 fourth quarter run. Coach Larry Drew didn’t appreciate Russ not dribbling out thclock : “The game is over with. You’ve got the ball, you run the clock out. Just that plain and simple”. Hey Larry – tell me how Westbrook’s pass taste.
The Pistons broke their New Year’s resolution to win basketball games by being shut down defensively at the hands of the Suns. Jared Dudley and the debut of Vince Carter both scored 19 points to lead the Suns while Ben Gordon had 19 for the Pistons. After Alvin Gentry ran tough defense-minded practices, the results showed as the Suns held Detroit to 41% shooting while they took away the offensive flow and contested three-point shooters at the same time. Considering Phoenix has allowed over 100 points in their last 10 of 11 games, 75 isn’t a bad number to aim for as the team searches for more wins.
The Mamba’s demise has been greatly exaggerated, as Kobe stuck some jumpers to carry his Lakers over the Sixers in the last game of 2010. Bryant had 33 points including a jumper that put the Lakers up with 1:15 to play, out-dueling Jrue Holiday’s 19 points and 11 assists. Philedelphia battled to the end until they missed five shots in the last minute of the game as Kobe iced the game with some free throws.
“Check My $tats” of the night: DeMar DeRozan – 37 points, 3 rebounds, 1 rising Raptor.
I’m out like 2010.