by Anton Kudriavtsev/@TheDiesel
I know what you’re thinking. “How come Anton’s here off the bench, where’s the starter?!” Adam’s out sick so I was taken off the DNP (Did Not Post) list to take over for a weekday appearance. Get well soon, Adam! I was busy last night but got texts throughout various games on my cellular device (oh you fancy huh?) and was thinking I did not envy the guy that has to re-cap all the action. Several hours later I was that guy. So you’ll have to excuse me if I keep it brief, add some extra apostrophes in Am’ar’e’’’’, and claim that Brook Lopez dropped 52 points and not 25. Speaking of which, who do you think will have the first 50-point game of the season? My money’s on Monta Ellis – the best scorer living or dead hands down, huh? Less talk, more games right now huh?
The Raptors did their best Suns impression as they drowned the Wizards, led by DeMar DeRozan’s 20 points. The rest of the squad was hotter than Spoelstra’s bench seat right now, shooting 54% from distance and 58% overall. I haven’t exactly done stringent research on this, but I believe the last time Toronto scored over 120 points the fans were in rabid discussion about who would be Batman and Robin in the Vince/T-Mac chronicles. Human stick bug JaVale McGee contributed 21 for the Wizz in what Flip Saunders called “embarrassing effort” for the team as a whole. Is Flip the worst coach in the league with an overall positive reputation? Against Miami the other night I recall him running the same play (unsuccessfully) close to five consecutive times. John Wall had 19 points off the bench. Would someone enlighten me why Wall came off the bench?
The Hawks held off a rally by the Grizzlies to win their 4th straight game. Al Horford finished with 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists while Mike Conley scored 22 and dished 9 for the Grizz. Very few will listen, but I keep saying that Conley is slowly (very slowly) starting to earn his $40 M contract, after getting his clutch on against the Lakers the other night. Quotes you wouldn’t expect to hear in the 2010 NBA season: “Man, we didn’t get stops in time to stop Mike Bibby” – Zachory Randolph (19 points, 19 boards).
Texts I would never expect: “You have to watch that Nets game!” While Durant was out with a sprained ankle, who do you think stepped up for the Thunder? My heart said Nenad Krstic but my head said Westbrook. Russ drove his way to 38 points and 15 assists in a triple overtime thriller victory over New Jersey. Jeff Green hit some clutch shots of his own en route to a 37-point night. Wait, did I just see Joe Smith on the Nets’ bench? I expect to see him in the Guiness Book of World Records for most teams played for…ever. Anthony Morrow tied the game up with a bit of a 3-point heave, sending it to OT. Some free throws and seemingly clutch shooting from Jordan Farmar (career-high 28 points, 9 assists) later, double OT wasn’t enough. In triple overtime, Russ hit 5 of his last 7 shots in the last 5 minutes of the game, icing it with a three-point play. Your move, Rose.
The calm before the storm was in the form of a Pistons beating on behalf of the Heat. Walking foul Greg Monroe managed 15 points and 8 rebounds while Bosh Spice had a well-rounded 16 points, 7 boards, and 4 assists. Of course the story of the night is not this game, but a certain match-up the Heat will be up against tonight. More on that below.
Paul Pierce led his Celtics with 28 points but it was Ray Allen’s 3-pointer which saved Boston from a late-game rally by the Blazers. Underrated 4th quarter performer Andre Miller netted 20 points, 6 assists, and 3 rebounds while orchestrating the rally with his excellent decision making skills and even better back-to-the-basket game. Ray Ray missed his first five three-point attempts before succumbing to memory loss and trying for one more, hitting the game-winning basket. I just wanted to say what a joy it is watching Shaqtus in his 2-year farewell tour. I realize Doc has no choice with Perkins out, but Doc is nonetheless doing a terrific job in using Shaq to his strengths and minimizing his weaknesses (or hiding them in team defense). If he keeps this up, Boston may be the one franchise that Diesel doesn’t burn bridges with. Also, get well soon Delonte.
After being in the league’s top rebounders for this young season, Noah (16 points, 4 assists) was held to none as his Bulls got decimated against the Magic. While Boozer’s under-whelming (5 points) debut was the main story, Jameer Nelson had a solid game for Orlando with 24 points, 4 rebounds, and 9 assists. By the way – “Orlando” is a spelling error in Word, so ironically the Magic don’t exist in top document programs.
The Hornets leaned on David West (22 points) and some key contributions from the bench to beat the Bobcats. Gerald Wallace had 18 points and 5 rebounds while Chris Paul opted for a Rondo-like box score of 9 points, 5 rebounds, and 14 assists. Anything for the win, CP3.
The Rockets continue to climb out of their early-season hole as they beat the Lakers, making it 4 straight losses for LA. I now see why Kobe has no problem with the Heat – they take the media pressure off his own team, good and bad. On this night it was mostly bad for the defending champs, besides Lamar Odom’s 25 points and 11 rebounds. Bryant (27 points) hit a pair of three throws before Battier broke the camel’s back with a jumper. Shane decided to try what this whole clutch thing was about, scoring 11 of his 17 points in the last 3 minutes of the game. Basically, Battier was today’s Post Up – brief but effective. So are folks in LA worried? I’ll go out on a limp and say that Phil Jackson is about as worried as he is about his ranking in the top coaches debate. Kobe had a more venomous response: “How do you know how good we think we are? We’re fine. Are we going to win a three-peat today? Probably not, but the (expletive) is not played today.”
Tyson Chanlder is stunting like his daddy, if his daddy was good at rebounding. Chanlder had 9 points and 18 big rebounds (14 in the 3rd quarter alone) as his Mavericks ran over the Wolves. Full-time glass cleaner Kevin Love had 12 points and 15 rebounds in the loss.
It seems like every time I cover a Bucks game it’s the same story – lack of offensive firepower and cohesion, and that broken record continued as Milwaukee fell to the Nuggets. Nene held his squad down with 24 points and 9 rebounds since Carmelo was ejected in the 3rd quarter. John Salmons scored 21 and Maggette started to get back on his shooting touch with 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting.
There is nothing Deron Williams will not do to help the Jazz win. Key shots, with varying degrees of difficulty? Check. Same play, but finding teammates for excellent shots? Check. Turning a traditionally pick-and-roll deficient player into an All Star? Working on it. Williams had 24 points and 16 assists to help Utah over the Pacers. The Jazz got out to an early lead and uncharacteristically sustained it for most of the game. Roy Hibbert finished with 15 points and 5 rebounds for Indiana.
It only takes one incredible rookie to show that the best team (record-wise) has some pretty dunk-able deficiencies. Clippers and their terrible record beat the best-record Spurs, spurred (terrible pun sponsored by 3:00 AM posts) by Blake Griffin’s 31 points and 1 rebounds. Richard Jefferson led the Spurs with 17 points. Are we even talking about Rookie of the Year contenders? Blakezilla will see you at the finish line.
Overtime (sponsored by Russell Westbrook)
“Check My $tats” of the night: Russell Westbrook – 38 points, 15 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 steals, one rising star.
Runner-up: Blake Griffin – 31 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assits, 2 steals, 1 block.
Of course the biggest story today is the return of Zydrunas Ilgauskas (and LeBron James) to Cleveland. Beat writers are exploding with anticipation, kids are being evacuated to nuclear shelters, and Craig Seger has equated the situation to his own failed marriage in the past. First of all, why is the TNT online streaming of the game sponsored by Bacardi? Why not go ahead and sponsor a quit smoking support group by Marlboro while you’re at it. I’ve talked to a lot of Akronites and Clevelanders and all signs point to a messy evening. I’m not saying it will get out of hand, I’m just saying if you plan to attend the game you should probably wear full body armor. Though Delonte won’t even be in the building, RealCavsFans.com has urged attendees to print their own Delonte face mask. There have been ample stories of fans organizing certain rated-R chants and now it seems as though the front office is having fun by allegedly using Comic Sans on the scoreboard. An ESPN poll has America supporing the Cavs by a 57% – to 24% margin. So what do you think will happen tonight? The loudest display of negativity towards a former hero? Will Daniel Gibson score 50? Will the constant boo-ing and negative signs cause LeBron to spontaneously combust into a cloud of chalk? Will James come begging for his job back, and will Dan Gilbert sign him for the mid-level exception? Will Nenad Krstic deliver a chair shot to Ilgauskas to take over the “villain” role? Will Stone Cold Steve Austin stunner all the players and drink beer on the scorer’s table? Whatever happens, LeBron – prepare to be humbled.
I’m not sure if the embed Gods have allowed the video to be seen, but you should click here regardless to get yourself ready for tonight’s game.
I’m out like sanity tonight.