Good Morning, SLAM-fam. Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I know I did. Between basketball and spending a whole lot of time getting back into that beautiful thing called reading (about things other than basketball), I am a happy girl this morning.
Before we get into NBA, I feel like I need to share this because it made my Sunday. I’m sitting in a Starbucks that is on the second floor of a bookstore. The atmosphere is great, I’m doing some research for a piece before I crack open one of the five (!), books I bought the night before and a little girl comes over and taps my leg. Before I know what is happening, she tells me her name is Allie and she says, “youtube. Volcano, youtube.” Her father came over and apologized, telling me they watched Madagascar that morning and he took her to the store to find a book about volcanoes and then promised he would show her a movie clip when they got home.
She may have been four at the very oldest. I say no problem, search youtube and find a couple of volcano clips as Allie decides we are best friends and gives me a hug. When the first two videos are over, she points to one of the related videos and says, “click.” Of course, this one ends up being 4:07 seconds of lava glowing and crackling.
While the video is playing her father says, “Allie, look! That volcano is in Hawaii. Why did we go to Hawaii?” And then, the little girl looks up at her dad, eyes shining and says deliberately, “O-Bam-A”.” Best moment of my day, by far.
And while I was watching volcanoes erupt, Chris Bosh was erupting for 30 and 15 to get the Raptors the win in Charlotte.
One more non-NBA related note: Congratulations to Western on winning the Yates Cup. One more week, one more game. Leave nothing.
Have I mentioned yet that I have fallen in love with football? I’ve even been doing some youtubing of my own, watching old Nike football commercials. Yes, I know this is a little over the top. Blame it on Hard Knocks. Or Sam and the Giants.
Can we just talk about the Hawks for a moment. Congrats, Lang and crew. Your guys look great. Crazy, isn’t it?
Now, can we just talk about the Lakers for two moments. Holy Mother of God, they look good. Scary, good. To be down 16 points to the Rockets and then just as easily, just as swiftly, defeat them by 29… How does that even happen? How are these boys diving, racing, sprinting down the floor with two minutes remaining and the lead at 30? I am in love with this team, this bench, this franchise. I still cannot get over how young a freshly shaven Phil looks.
Wow. The Lakers are officially scary. And TMac? 1-11 for three points? Yeesh.
Seeing Allen Iverson so hyped up for his first game in Detroit was amazing. 13 years in and he is still jumping and smiling and “whoooing” himself all over the place. Too bad Celtics had to come in and ruin his “chillbumps”.
I was pretty rattled seeing Stuckey leave the game after motioning towards his chest to his trainer last night. Sending thoughts his way as I pray it was nothing serious.
I’m pulling with all of my might for these young’ns in Golden State. Last night Jax was the only guy on the court who was over 25. With Harrington’s “ailing back”, my heart is ailing as the guys are trying their best to figure it out. Wright, Randolph, Morrow. Nelson, Watson, Williams. They’ve got a mishmash of guys and they certainly have heart.
To echo everyone else of late, Jason Thompson is very nice.
Houston’s defense looks very, very, very good. Just wait until they get Battier back. Still, I don’ think it would have helped them against this Laker squad last night.
Ohhh, yes. Bron, 41 over Chicago. Devin Harris spoiling the Pistons night in New Jersey with a career-high 38. Dwight Howard continuing to be a beast. How sweet it is, seeing Dwyane flirt with the trple-double. Phoenix giving Shaq the “game off” and the Suns getting blown out in Chicago. It was a busy weekend.
Also, Chris Paul is so good at basketball it isn’t fair, but it’s beautiful.
Okay, game notes, you’ve got a lot of them coming and some to catch up on from the weekend. Be sure to check them out so you get all of the pre and postgame stuff and behind the scenes info.
LA Lakers 111 Houston 82
There really isn’t a lot to say about this game other than the fact that the Rockets came out strong and were up by as many as 16 points in the first half before the Lakers became the Lakers again and shot nearly 66% in the second half of the game on their way to a 45-point turnaround as they absolutely annihilated the Rockets. The strangest part of the game was that Houston didn’t appear to be playing that badly, LA was just playing effortless basketball. The Lakers ourscored the Rockets 39-17 in the final quarter as their guys ran full out on ever possession, even when up by 30. Kobe Bryant finished with 23 points, Pau Gasol had 20 points and 15 rebounds, Jordan Farmar added 16 points and 6 assists and Andrew Bynum scored 13. Aaron Brooks led the way for the Rockets as he had 20 points off of the bench while Luis Scola and Yao Ming each added 12 and the Lakers held McGrady to only 3 points on 1-11 shooting.
Atlanta 89 Oklahoma City 85
Even without Josh Smith, the Atlanta Hawks were able to hold on and hold off the Thunder in order to stay undefeated and move to 5-0 on the season. While the Hawks led early, it was Oklahoma who took control for much of the fourth quarter, going ahead by as many as seven points, matching their largest lead of the game, before Atlanta began their comeback. Keyed by tough defense to shut down the Oklahoma offense, the Hawks went on a 12-2 run as the Thunder did not score for over five minutes. After going scoreless for half of the final period, the Hawks were in control and were able to grind out the win, joining the Lakers as the only other unbeaten team in the league. Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 25 points as Marvin Williams scored 16, Flip Murray added 14 and Al Horford had 8 points to go along with 12 rebounds and 5 blocked shots. Kevin Durant scored 20 points for the Thunder who also had 15 points from rookie Russell Westbrook and 14 points and 9 rebounds from Joe Smith in the loss.
Toronto 89 Charlotte 79
This was a game that was close throughout. While the Raptors were able to create space and run away late, it was the Bobcats who were in control early and led at the half by five, 45-40. Things started to open up for the Raptors in the second half when they started moving the ball around and finding their open guy, who, more often than not, was Chris Bosh. When the Bobcats opened up their largest lead of the game, going up 11 late in the third quarter, the Raptors knew they needed to get the game under control and finished the period on a 16-9 run that took them into the fourth trailing only 67-64. In the final period, Charlotte tried to keep the game close, but the play of Bosh and Andrea Bargnani who came off of the bench made it difficult, and the Raptors went up by as many as 15 in the period before holding off the Bobcats for the victory as they outscored Charlotte 26-12 in the fourth. Bosh led the way with 30 points and 15 rebounds as Bargnani added 18 off of the bench and Jose Calderon scored 13 points to go with 7 assists. Rookie DJ Augustin led the Bobcats with 14 points off of the bench as Jason Richardson and Raymond Felton each added 12 in the loss.
LA Clippers 103 Dallas 92
After starting their season 0-6, the Los Angeles Clippers have shaken that pressure off of the backs and grabbed a win. Coming against the Dallas Mavericks, Baron Davis and Al Thornton combined to put in games that resulted in a victory and a boost for their fans who have hopes of seeing more of the duo outdoing their opponents as the season presses on. The game last night was not an easy win for LA, and it was a close battle until the fourth where they used a 13-0 run to shake off the Mavericks and go on to win. The run started after a time out when the Mavericks had tied the game up at 79 all and finished with the Clippers grabbing that first W. Davis had 22 points and 10 assists for LA, as Thornton scored 17 and both Cuttino Mobley and rookie Eric Gordon each added 11. Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavs with 33 points as Gerald Green had 13 points and 12 rebounds starting for the injured Josh Howard and Jerry Stackhouse added 10 points off of the bench.
Sacramento 115 Golden State 98
Golden State’s youth movement was on fully display last night as the Warriors went down big, watching a six-point halftime deficit balloon into a 20-point blowout midway through the third quarter After fighting through the first half, the Golden State offense went stale in the third as they were outscored 27-17 and went into the fourth down by 16. It was here that Coach Nelson decided to give the young guys some burn, mostly keeping his starters on the bench the rest of the way through. The final quarter was a good learning experience for the Warriors, in a game that they just were not able to take control of. It was a good victory for the Kings, who had been winless on the road to open the season. Kevin Martin went down for Sacramento in the third with an ankle sprain and will be day-to-day. He had 27 points when he went down as Brad Miller contributed 14 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists. John Salmons scored 16 points and Spencer Hawes added 13 points and 10 rebounds off of the bench. Andris Biedrins had 16 points, 18 rebounds and 5 blocked shots for the Warriors, Stephen Jackson scored 15 points and Kelenna Azubuike added 12.