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Tuesday, December 29th, 2009 at 9:01 am  |  47 responses

Post Up: Holiday Hangover

Still feeling cloudy and a step slow.

by Holly MacKenzie / @stackmack

Hello, hello, hello!

Been a minute, right?

I hope your holidays were lovely and everyone had lots of time with the people they love.

I was talking to someone yesterday about how weird the week between Christmas and New Years is. Doesn’t it sort of feel like everyone is still in a fog, functioning at half speed, working to get to New Years Eve, celebration and another day off. I’m still not in real work mode. Luckily, my work is basketball and even when I’m tired and in another state, there’s always room for ball.

It’s past the fact now, but how lame was the reaction of the Los Angeles crowd when they were getting killed by Cleveland? I was so disgusted with the foam fingers and water bottles being flung into the crowd. Sure, I was annoyed L.A. didn’t seem to be able to match the energy of the Cavs, sure, I wanted a Christmas battle, but disrespecting the game like that?

Not cool.

Props to the Cavs for coming out on the road on the holiday and getting it done.

My favorite game of the break has been the Lakers/Kings 2OT contest from Saturday night. The Lakers are really struggling without Ron Artest and seem to be going through some ups and downs as their bench production has been less than stellar. Still, Kobe Bryant continues to be insane, through broken fingers, illness, knee-scares and funny bone numbness.

I was just happy I got to see Tyreke Evans’ mother sitting courtside watching her son for the first time. Also, by the end of that game, I was pulling for the Kings. How couldn’t I? Underdogs, no more. Love Donte Greene continuing to find his way. When he blocked Kobe down the stretch, the clenched fists, flex and scream as he poured emotion all over the Arco Arena court was awesome. This is a team that loves playing basketball together. I dont recall that kind of “togetherness” in recent history with the team. I’m enjoying it.

L.A. Clippers over Boston as Rondo bricks some big free throws. Yuck. I missed the game though, wish I had seen Boom’s game-winner live.

Want efficiency? Check Kevin Durant’s line from the Thunder’s game against the Nets last night: 40 points on 15-for-22 shooting from the floor in a Thunder victory (yes, poor Nets are now 2-29).

Take THAT +/- gurus.

In a positive for the Nets, Yi looked great, scoring 29 points on 11-for-20 shooting.

And…. Of course I missed all of an OT victory for the Grizzlies except for the overtime itself. My last night at home meant family time, even though there was finally a game on tv that I got here at my mothers. Zach Randolph is crazy in Memphis. He’s always been a solid double-double guy but seriously? 9-for-9 from the line and 23 points to go with 19 rebounds.

A few days later and I’m still not sure what to think of the Tracy McGrady mess. I hope they work out a trade or something, soon. I also hope the NBA player’s association figures out a way to get rid of this fine Nate Robinson has to pay for his agent’s comments. The thing that annoys me the most about the whole fiasco is, it takes you ten days to decide to fine a player? They were slow on the fines for Brandon Jennings and the Twitter thing, too. If you’re fining guys, be time-sensitive, please.

Looking at the standings, a team that has quietly been doing their thing and has also been unnoticed by me is Dallas. They are currently 22-9 and second in the West. I thought Denver would be owning that spot, but they’ve shown some weaknesses that their opponents have been able to exploit. The Richard Jefferson move to San Antonio has probably been the most disappointing in my eyes, although I still feel like they’ll figure it out because that’s what I’m used to them doing.

Man. A lot has happened NBA wise, but I feel a step slow trying to recap it in 600 words (ish) or less. If I missed your team/player/moment, I’m sorry.

Did you notice Scott Skiles benching Andrew Bogut and Michael Redd in the second half of the Bucks loss to the Bobcats? Trailing by 22 at the break, Skiles was not happy with the two and their 1-for-10 performance from the floor. Yikes.

ps… I was upset when I realized that Raja Bell was no longer with the Bobcats who are coming through on Wednesday because Raja’s one of my faves. I then realized Stephen Jackson was the guy to replace him. What better way to finish off 2009 than with my guy Stack Jack. You guys know how much I love his game. He and Gerald Wallace are awesome together.

pps… before you say I’m not talking about the Lakers losing… I’m going to bed and they are currently down 16 points to the Suns.. Could they comeback, yes. Wil they? I don’t think so. Damn, Lakers.

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  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Kobe Bryant continues to be amazing… but is shooting like 35% from the floor. Wasn’t he like 9/30+ in the Cavaliers game? (Not disrespecting his 8 assists, 7 rebounds though).

    I really like the way Jonas Jerebko is playing, solid offensive game, scraps hard and goes to both ends of the glass.

    I will be shocked if T-Mac gets traded for Prince/Hamilton. Sure, it’s great for Detroit, but for Houston? Nah, pass. We (the Rockets duh) have already got Lowry, Battier, Ariza, Buddinger, Jermaine Taylor, Mike Harris capable of playing the 2 and 3 spots. We don’t NEED those two guys. They don’t fulfill a NEED.
    We have a Tay clone in Ariza already (he’s younger too). And Hamilton, although a great mid-range scorer, doesn’t (to me) seem like he’d work in the Houston offense, and he’s not the greatest defensive player either.
    Besides, why would Houston want to build around two guys aged 30(ish)+ …
    HOWEVA, I don’t mind the CP3 for Tmac, Scola/Brooks rumours at all, that’d suit me fine.

    The Laker fans were kinda funny actually, BUT – imagine if New York fans did that every time the Knicks were playing poorly.
    What would’ve happened in that 50 point blowout the Celtics put on them in 2008? (Score was like 125-75 or something stupid)

    The Celtics guarding the G State inbounds at the end of the game was amusing, seeing KG and Perk doing star jumps, trying to stop 23 inbounding (Azuibuike?). Don Nelson looked desperate for his hidden brandy inside his jacket, pulling his hair out lol. Eventually Vlad Rad got it in *pause*. Monta played the WHOLE game, after playing basically the whole game vs. Phoenix, and now they have the Lakers coming in. Dude needs to protect against blisters.

  • zabba

    First. Lakers suck. Kobe’s over-rated.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Oh, and shoutout to Baron Davis for that game-winner vs. the Celtics, dude has definitely still got lift. He faked Perkins out of his … spine? too.

    Jamaal Tinsley with the between-the-defenders-legs move, with the lay-in finish. I remember him doing that stuff consistently back in Indiana 4 or 5 years back (and further).

    If anyone has Twitter, I’m ‘HurstySYD’ – Darksaber, wherever you are, I know you have one.

    The consecutive back-to-back’s on Houston over the last week+ has been taking it’s toll. We struggled badly to beat New Jersey, and got flayed by the Cavaliers. Trevor Ariza still can’t hit the side of a barn, and his defense has regressed. No more gritty Battier D, more gambling for steals. *Dislike*.

    Richard Jefferson – you suck. Play within the team offense, no more failed ISO’s or dribble drives. Catch, look, pass and cut. Or, (G0d forbid) catch and shoot. Same as Tony, or Manu. Even Matt Bonner understands this concept!
    Do that or get out. You’re screwing up my fantasy team, making you untradeable and Manu (also on my squad) is trying to get healthy and PT, and you sir, are standing in the way of him.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    @zabba – no, you sir, are the one who sucks. More than Richard Jefferson. Not only because you’ll likely write a singularly stupid comment and not add anything of substance, but because you wrote ‘first’ when in fact, you weren’t.
    If I came and broke your fingers by tearing the ligaments from the bone, then crushing the knuckle in my hand as hard as I could and pulling it sideways afterwards, you too would probably be thought to be over-rated by your peers. Good luck to you if you’re trying to write with that hand, much less play sport with it, competitively or otherwise… sucker.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    Hursty: The ‘official’ blogger of the Rockets on Truehoop made an interesting comment about Ariza. The reg season helps players progress in certain areas by virtue of repititions. However, taking people off the dribble and being creative is NOT one of those areas. He’s been given the freedom of a creator but his game is just not there yet.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    Kobe is not overrated. The finger injury is. David Thorpe mentioned that he’s shooting numbers have been better this season post-injury. I mean, it’s a finger. Anyone that has played organized ball went through numerous games with fingers taped up. Vince might have taken time off because of the pain but Kobe is a warrior. All I’m saying is that he’s taking the same shots with the exact same motion.

  • http://www.digitalthread.com AlbertBarr

    The Kings took down the Nuggets last night without Tyreke, Martin or cisco. After taking the cavs to OT and the lakeshow to 2OT it was nice to close out a game against a conference powerhouse. The Kings are stepping it up. Donte Green is getting better every game and Beno is playing like he wants to be worth his contract. Evans is a beast and Martin should be back soon. Its gonna be a good second half to the season.

  • http://www.digitalthread.com AlbertBarr

    and Kobe looks fine…he droppped what…40 on the kings. That is some broken finger.

  • LeoneL

    Holly and Hursty should team up for the Post Up.. :D Nice work you two.

  • http://dsjfhklf.com Jukai

    How can the Suns lose to G-State and then beat the Lakers? Why are the Suns DOING this to me?

  • http://dsjfhklf.com Jukai

    Oh, and the most creative and awe inspiring play of the last decade for me DEFINITELY came on the jump ball between Andrew Bynum and Jared Dudley. Dudley knew he had zero chance against Bynum… so he stayed on his feet, waited for Bynum to tape the ball, than raced past Bynum and grabbed the tip. I couldn’t believe it, the commentators couldn’t, and the refs couldn’t: They had to converge when the play stopped to even figure out if that was legal. There apparently was no rule against it, and he stayed inside the circle, so it was all good.
    Jared Dudley is the freaking man.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Z- Regarding your first comment – true. But that’s the problem with the Rockets this year, they lack the creator type players. Brooks can do it due to his speed, but he’s not a guy like CP or Nash or Calderon who’ll just “find” you consistently for open looks. Ariza’s been forced into that role unfortunately, and this comes at the expense of the team offense. Remember though, he’s only earning the mid-level exception, aged 24 (ish) and has never been asked to do this before, so it’s new to him. The Rockets sans Ariza are also more familiar to the system than he is. That’s why when you see Brooks, Lowry, Battier, Landry, Scola on the floor, the team flows better. It’s a matter of them being more comfortable with the reads off baseline curl cuts, mid-post flashes and pick n rolls than Ariza is, they’ve been doing it for longer.
    Remember when Houston’s offense was fu*king HOPELESS at stages early last year (or was it the year before?) with Adelman’s system?
    Even Ron Artest struggled at points, despite being with Adelman in Sacramento.
    It’ll take time for Ariza to learn, or re-learn parts of his game that haven’t been required of him since he left HS and got drafted by… the Knicks.

    Regarding Z’s second comment – that shooting % wouldn’t have anything to do with Pau Gasol playing like an absolute fiend offensively would it? Dude was averaging like 20 and 15 for almost 2 weeks straight. That takes pressure off of Bryant to shoot, and gives him better looks because he has more room to operate.
    Ron Artest has also improved his play, as he gets familiar with the Laker system.
    And there is a BIG difference between having a broken finger and one that is jarred heavily, needing strapping. I doubt many of the commenters here have played with broken anything on a court.
    I tried to play with a broken finger once… didn’t turn out too well, couldn’t dribble or lay-up for sh*t.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    http://themovieblog.com/2009/12/if-star-wars-had-facebook
    Read this when it gets through moderation. Very funny.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    Odom, Bynum, Pau, And Fisher need to step up. Fisher is playing terrible D… well actually. They all are. They are playing like they are suppose to win. They are acting like Lebron does. They will be fine but right now… they aren’t playing right and Kobe is being forced to shoot a sh1t load of shots!!!

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    Hursty, are you writting a book and releasing excerpts of it in the comment sections as a publicity stunt? God dammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Welcome back Holly. Happy Holidays to you and your family.
    Hursty- So, what do YOU think the Rockets should do with Tracy?

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Yes BET. Yes I am. I have a vague suspicion that I should reference the blog (click my name!) but can’t think of anything witty… sigh.

    @TAD – HI! Happy birthday as well! (Facebook says it is anyways, apologies if it’s actually tomorrow, time difference and all).

    I think firstly, the Rockets don’t have to be pushed into making a deal, they have until the trade deadline in mid/late February to make a move.
    If a star/superstar player is on offer, obviously we should look at it closely, but not if that player comprimises the overlaying structure of the team. E.g. Zach Randolph who can’t guard anyone.
    Regarding needs, we need a good scorer at the 2 or3 spot, and a back-up centre. That’s why Houston tried hard for Gortat.
    I’d like a guy such as Caron Butler, who fits into the gritty mould of the team.. Tough Juice.. and can score 20+ any given night, whenever he wants. His defense is above average too, so he works.
    It’d suit the Wizards too, because they get another swingman coming off the books because obviously this big 3 isn’t cutting it.
    Randy Foye and Mike Miller are starting calibre guards too…
    if a 3 way trade went down and we got Butler and a back-up C e.g. Brad Miller or Nazr Mohammed in exchange for Chase (who I really like) or someone, I’d be extra pleased.

    If the Hornets are THAT desperate to alleviate $ pressure on themselves and give up CP3, then I’d trade pretty much anyone.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Thanks man. Yeah, my birthday is actually tomorrow, the 30th.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    Holly, thank you for mentioning my team! To quote Biz Markie: “you, you got what i need.”

  • ClydeSays

    Celts need to get their full bench back. Pierce AND his backup Daniels being out def. doesn’t help. Baby going back out with a sprain doesn’t help either.

    Ainge needs to find a vet backup for Rondo at the deadline. When he goes out of the game, the offense stagnates. You see Sheed & House waiting around for someone to throw them the ball until they realize that they HAVE the ball, by then, they’re forced to jack up a contested shot.

    Plus having Tony “Crash” Allen in the game for more than 5 minutes is scary. Yeah, he’s been playing ‘well’, but that never seems to last.

    Speaking of Biz: “But the best part about it’s catchin’ Kane out there. Especially we’re out playin’ ball in the gym. I put boogers on the basketball and pass it to him”

  • http://myspace.com/brandnew Bryan

    Well I joined facebook find me if you want. Also the lakers really miss artest since no one else on that team has any b*lls.

  • Reflex

    Kobe’s actually playing some of his best basketball of the last 2/3 years, the problems that the Lakers have is that literally everyone else is playing garbage or below par. People talk about him jacking but if you watch the games he feeds Gasol a lot, when Gasol is iso it’s fine and he usually gets his shot off, however, teams are wisening up to this and double team him hard he often loses possessions or makes an outlet pass to Odom/Fisher/Farmar who are a bit lost. Odom’s lost some of that spark he has with his game, i.e the offensive rebounding, the drives into the lane & the consistent shooting when open. Bynum is playing like he’s made it but he’s not even at Shaq’s rookie year level as yet, Fisher needs to call it a day and Artest needs to improve his 3pt% shooting. Finally, everyone talks about how deep the Lakers are but I genuinely believe they have one of the worst benches in the NBA (assuming Odom isn’t a bench player), against the Cavs & PHX they got WORKED, like 5 points to 1. Kobe has been playing Monta minutes lately as a consequence as their offence goes stale without him. Vujacic, Morrison, Farmar, Fisher, Powell & Mbenga are all garbage. If a repeat has any chance of happening, Kupchak needs to get his Brown—>Gasol on proto. The Playoffs are gonna be amazing this year, I can feel it!

  • http://realcavsfans.com Anton

    LeBron is averaging a league-high 10.1 yards per carry.

  • http://Egotastic.com Michael

    Do the Lakers have the worst bench for a great team ever. They get nothing from them on a consistent basese. They basically have 5 really good players and a bunch of crap.

  • http://dsjfhklf.com Jukai

    Oh you’re so stupid he’s going to go to THIS team

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    Why the hell aren’t the Lakers getting the ball into the post for Andrew Bynum? They do realize that he was outplaying every center in league besides maybe Dwight for the first 2 months of the season. I knew his numbers would go down once Pau came back, I didn’t know they’d forget he was on the team.

  • ciroqobama

    Chauncey Please get healthy soon… If I have to see Anthony Carter run the 2nd team any longer I’m gonna vom. Hursty, your posts are painfully long…

  • LA Huey

    @Hursty, Mamba had a nice stat line but he also had like 6 turnovers in the Cavs game. But props to a 2-guard grabbing 8 boards considering how many 7-footers were on the prowl.

  • http://Egotastic.com Michael

    @Brad Long. The Lakers back up pgs don’t ever look in the post. Jordan’s only concern is geting to the basket whenever he has the ball.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    For such a good team, the Lakers really have terrible point guards. This is proportional to their team. Im not saying their point guards suck, im saying they suck compared to every other postion on that team. I have no idea why the Lakers dont go out and get somebody better than the rotting corpse of derick fisher.

  • http://dsjfhklf.com Jukai

    Brad: I mean, I know you’re a smart guy, but you are so awfully wrong when it comes to Bynum it’s painful. The dude was throwing airballs when he was being guarded by the awesome defense of CHANNING FREAKING FRYE!
    Bynum has been an utter disappointment. His hands are bad (meaning he can’t grab fasts passes too close to him), his post moves are awful (if he isn’t close enough to back someone down, better get in a position for the rebound) and quite honestly, as a garbage bucket man, he is pretty lacking.
    Honest to god man, he’s one of the lesser starting centers in the league. I don’t get your crush on him. I’d take Howard, Perkins, Lopez, Bogut, Noah, Bargs, Horford, Okafor, Nene, Kaman, Randolph, Jefferson, Lee, Oden, and f it, maybe even Shaq before I take Bynum. He’s been playing that bad.

  • Sporting-Lisbon-Blazers

    hursty is a hopeless fool…AND TO ALL YOU TYREKE LOVERS & SAC TOWN FANS: the guy is for real BUT CHECK THIS $TAT- la vs kings first OT 2min and change remainig kings up by 7, evans was benched after a bad last possession in regulation, so tyreke gets in and the kings dont score 1more point and let LA score 7 in a row..2nd OT, Reke was there and could not help for sure..yesterday they beat Denver without him…SO LETS NOT GET OVER OURSELVES WITH ALL STAR SH!T AND THE BEST ROOKIE SINCE TIM DUNCAN RIDICULOUS TALK.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    The Lakers should not downplay their recent struggles and attribute them to mental lapses. They have the best starting 5 in the L but also have two MAJOR flaws that can be exploited. 1- They have no bench. None. The one guy that’s decent is having a terrible year so far and the other guys are just garbage. 2- Fisher/Farmar is the worst defensive combo at the 1 in the NBA. PGs are ALWAYS balling against LA and it’s not a coincidence. Can they overcome those flaws? Sure, they’re the world champs. But make no mistake, they did try on the Xmas game, their bench and their pgs just got torched.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    ZACH RANDOLPH FOR ALL STAR!!!

  • Sporting-Lisbon-Blazers

    I agree with juk about Bynum, he got some skils but I think his effort is not there many nights. hes overpaid and seems he got nothing to fight for! hate these kind of players…hope LaMarcus Aldridge doesnt turn out like that.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Why am I getting shouted at here? F*ck you guys, Sporting Lisbon plays soccer.. fool.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Aaron Brooks and Kyle Lowry two-headed monster = top 10 point guard in the league. The Rockets don’t need more point guards.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Also, ball movement is not a problem for the Rockets. Brooks is a great scorer but he DOES get his teammates involved. Make no mistake.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    What the Rockets need more than anything is Yao Ming back and healthy. And maybe a shooting guard, although Ariza (when not cold) is getting pretty good.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    @Z: Good last point, Z. I actually think that “talent”-wise, the Lakers bench is decent. But this year’s Laker team utilizes their bench a lot less than last year’s, because guys like Bynum and Artest are getting a lot of the bench’s would-be minutes. Outside of Lamar, the rest of the bench seems to just be stand-ins, so they’ll never be utilized and in a reliable state. This could definitely mean the difference against the other top teams like Cleveland, Orlando and Boston (plus Denver, Dallas…) which actually have much more involved bench squads.

  • Sporting-Lisbon-Blazers

    @hursty: Obviously SPORTING LISBON is a “soccer”(like you guys call it)team. Its my football team. I really got no beef with you other than you downplaying Portland injuries and saying stupid sh!t about it…you, as a rockets fan, shoud know better than that…you got 2 stars injured, I GOT 5 OF MY TOP 8 PLAYERS DONE FOR THE YEAR or close.I said before the seasonhouston plays great team ball and fools like barkley should know better before they say idiotic sh!t about that team. So I respect the team you represent, you should do the same.

  • http://realcavsfans.com Anton

    DELONTE WEST OVER JOSH SMITH!!!

  • ASTEK

    LAKERS!!! suck

    Phoenix SUNS!!!

  • http://Www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    *ahem, cough, cough* how about them Mavs, eh? Thought i’d jump in from my vacation spot in the south china sea and add my 2 cents. 1st, to the Hurstness, great comments, mayyyne. Does seem like you are gunning for Hollystic’s spot on this post up, but i’ve read your tweets, you obviously have a lot to share. I heard your 1st twitter request last week, rest assured, i’ll hit you up asap. As for hell-a’s recent struggles, i’ma pull a Nelson Munz here and state “ha haaa!”

  • Sporting-Lisbon-Blazers

    WEST JUST KILLED JSMOOVE!!!!!!!!!!! OH MY!!!!!DELONTE WEST IS A LIKEBLE GUY REALLY, AND DUDE CAN PLAY!IN PHOENIX GETS AN AND1 AND ON THE FLOOR TO THE CAMERA..”I LOVE THIS GAME”

  • J

    ^west is a great baller. period. as for L.A. as i look artest he’s still trying to fit in, but no single complain from him. that’s good. and bynum has been the odd man, he slides into a 4th option in O with the team. and seriously, ever since he’s rookie year(let alone injuries) he’s not been tested the way Howard, Lopez, Perkins is. sure the championship is the greatest test, but he’s not been a pivotal player, clutch or a major difference maker. 5 FREAKIN’ YEARS. i’m not hating on the guy but he’s somehow overrated. i want him to really get the BURN. that scars that would drastically improve your game. hell yeah he’s still young, but hes been accustomed to being a “center for the future” for 5 years. it’s time to be the NOW. Pau & Kobe will be superb for the next 3-4 years but he has to cement that being #3 on that L.A. trio.. or else he’d be stuck with a “developing bigman” tag on his name.

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    ANDERSON VAREJAO WITH THE CLUTCH 3!
    MVP!

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