Don’t look now but the Hawks are the only unbeaten team in the East. Jamal Crawford scored a season-high 22 points off the bench while Beasley and Love both netted 18 for the Wolves. With 24 fast-break points the Hawks ran early an often, with Josh Smith (20 points, 8 boards, 6 assists, 5 blocks) running the floor and cramming the rock like a freshman for a final. J-Smoove is pretty much the only player that has the potential to win Defensive Player of the Year, assuming Dwight goes on a 6-month vacation.
Chris Paul is the best point guard in the NBA? Déjà vu anyone? The undefeated (!) Hornets edged the Heat as Paul put up 13 points, 19 assists, and 5 steals. Every time I watch him play, I can’t help but think that others try to be point guards, Chris was born to be one. Splitting the defense with his sweet handle and hesitation dribble, finding Okafor(26 points, 13 boards) for alley-oops, this man epitomizes what it means to make your teammates better. Miami’s Big 3 of James, Wade, and Ilgauskas combined for 78 of the team’s 93 points. The refs tried to make it interesting with an offensive foul called on Paul, eventually giving the Heat their first lead of the game. Ariza and Bosh (seriously, dude – 1 rebound? One?!) traded some 3’s before the Hornets walked away with a win after an Eddie House miss. With Wade at the top of the key in crunchtime and LeBron apparently unable to move on 3-point corner island, which one is Batman and which one is Robin? Wade finished with 28 points and 10 rebounds while LeBron flirted with, but ultimately decided against a triple double (20 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds). Since it’s now flu season, anyone else having trouble finding cough syrup in the supermarket isles? Wait, Wayne’s out? Never mind.
Mike Conley. But seriously, the Grizzlies suffered a tough double overtime loss to the Suns despite finding enough basketballs for Rudy Gay(26 pts), Marc Gasol(26pts), and OJ Mayo(23 pts) to score above 20 points. Jason Richardson had himself a monster game with 38 points, 8 boards, and 3 assists and led his Suns to the win despite turning the ball over more than a temp agency (hitting 14 three-pointers really helps). With the Grizzlies up 99-97, Gay channelled his inner Nick Anderson, giving Richardson the chance for a buzzer-beating tip-in to send it to extra minutes. The under-sized Suns out-rebounded the Grizzlies 55-48, despite Gasol going 12 of 13 shots (Lopez and Frye only had 1 point through 55 minutes).
In case you haven’t figured out the theme for Blake Griffin this season, it’s put up impressive numbers, get more dunks than a donut shop, and ultimately, lose. Blake had 26 points and 10 rebounds while rookie and human mahogany statue Eric Bledsoe had a break-out game with 12 points, 13 assists, and 2 steals. The Clippers couldn’t stop Melo going 14 of 20 from the field, with 30 points and key plays down the stretch. Al Harrington scored 9 of his 18 points in the 4th quarter to secure the lead for the Nuggets.
The new-look Warriors beat the “meh”- look Jazz, led by Monta Ellis (23 points, 7 steals) and Stephen Curry (20 points, 6 assists). Despite shooting 14% from deep, the Warriors out-rebounded and out-scored the Jazz in the paint 46-32, helped by retired Bond villain Andris Biedrins (20 boards). Deron Williams (23 points, 6 assists) couldn’t help his new All-Star in training as Jefferson went 6 of 14 from the field, finishing with 16 points and 15 rebounds. The Warriors took advantage of Utah’s 21 turnovers, scoring 27 points and limiting the Jazz to 39% shooting in an impressive team-defense outing. With the game tied at 72, Curry took over with a butter soft jumper, a steal followed by a three-point play to wrap up the win for the 4-1 Warriors.
Now I’m not saying the Lakers play down to their opponents (and get away with it), but I heard Pau Gasol rapping “This Raps game, this Raps game/I ain’t sellin my soul for this Raps game/I ain’t shavin my beard for this Raps game/ Man, I’m tellin you, no it ain’t happening” through his pre-game pump-up tracks. The game was fairly close throughout as the Raptors sprinkled in a little 2-3 zone like Bargnani’s pasta recipe. Unlike his pasta, the results didn’t yield satisfaction for the T-Dot. Barbosa sliced and diced through the lane en route to a 17 point night but his efforts might have resulted in a win if the Raptors could play some resemblance of defense. Pretty sure a little girl walked around Toronto’s frontcourt and got an easy lay-up on her way to the popcorn vendor. Pau Gasol led the Lakers with 30 points, Kobe added to his Jordan infatuation by scoring exactly 23 points, and Steve Blake added 14 off the bench.
“Check My $tats” of the night: Jason Richardson – 38 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, one clutch baller. J Rich or die trying.
Not sure if you heard this story, but a LeBron fan in Cleveland who was escorted by police out of a game when he wore a Heat jersey has been offered an all-expense paid trip to see the Heat play live in Miami. And then…not. You stay classy, Miami.
As the Onion Sports Network reports, “the Blazers are headed in right direction after making a number of off-season pickups to help Greg Oden, including 10,000 yards of gauze, a defibrillator, and a kidney dialysis machine.”
I don’t know about you guys, but I never get tired of good LeBron-inspired videos.
I’m out like Miami’s marketing department.