Thursday, December 31st, 2009 at 9:01 am  |  33 responses

The Post Up: Birthday Bron

And a three for Varejao.

by Holly MacKenzie / @stackmack

One day back in Toronto and I feel like I’m back into the swing of things. Kinda.

I knew New Years Eve/Day will mess it all up again for the weekend. Not complaining, though.

It was Bron’s 25th Birthday yesterday, so a belated happy day goes out to him. Also, a belated happy Birthday to DJ Mbenga and Kenyon Martin, since it’s not only LeBron’s day.

Weird little piece of info relating to birthdays: I can tell you that today –New Years Eve– is Javaris Crittenton’s birthday because I accidentally texted him a happy birthday text two years ago, when I had meant to text a friend of mine, who had the same birthday. Javaris texted me back to thank me and tell me the birthday was great and I was left thinking about how odd of a coincidence that was.

Seems like a lot, a lot went down last night, but most of my focus was on the Raptors/Bobcats game here in Toronto. It was a pretty wild one. First of all, the Raptors won their fifth straight and are now just a game below .500, which in the East, is a very good thing. Second, the game was I-N-T-E-N-S-E with the Raps looking to avenge a blowout loss to the Bobcats in Charlotte earlier this season. The crowd was into it, the game was close and the officials were letting the players play.

There were technicals (Larry Brown, Stephen Graham, Marcus Banks), double-fouls, missed calls and controversial ones as well. There were also turnovers a-plenty on Charlotte’s side as they finished with 23.

The Raptors pulled out the 107-103 victory and head to Boston on Saturday. Oh, how I’d like them to come back with that victory.

If I haven’t said it a million times already: Gerald Wallace is amazing. He’s fearless, he’s all over the place, he’s averaging 11.9 rebounds per game as a 6-7 everything man and he makes me wonder what the point of having a mouth guard is if it’s never in your mouth. He’s a hustler, he loves the game, he gives up his body and he gives his all every single possession.

He is a joy to watch battling on the basketball court.

LeBron had 48 on his birthday in a Cavs win over the Hawks as Anderson Varejao hit his first career 3-pointer to beat the shot clock buzzer to put the Cavs up three. Didn’t see this one, but sounds exciting and appropriate for the King’s birthday. The 48 points scored by LBJ were the most he’s scored at home. I thought that was interesting.

Also, found this quote from the AP report kind of insane:

He has already been a Sports Illustrated cover subject as a high schooler, a No. 1 overall draft pick, NBA Rookie of the Year, five-time All-Star, Olympic gold medalist, league MVP, multimillionaire and one of the most recognizable sports figures on the planet.

Ridiculous. Happy Birthday, LeBron. Thanks to your mama for giving you the gift of life and us the gift of a phenom. I feel blessed to watch your career and game shape and develop season by season.

sidenote: Apparently there was a little problem with the shot clocks for the Hawks on a crucial possession down the stretch. Hawks-fam, let us know what happened. What is with the Hawks and the shot clock, game clock and statistician issues, even on the road?!

The Magic took down the Bucks, 117-92 as they dominated the fourth quarter, scoring 38 points to Milwaukee’s 18. That hurts. Especially after getting outscored 38-25 in the third. The Bucks fell apart in the second half.

28 points and 13 rebounds for Zach Randolph and the Grizz continue to roll along with him, taking down Indiana, 121-110. Rudy Gay was huge in this one with 31 points, nine rebounds and four assists.

Nets win! Nets win! Nets win!

Okay, it was over the Knicks, but still, it’s a W. Their third of the season. Brook Lopez was solid with 21 and 14, D. Harris had 17/7/8 (but also five turnovers) and my fave Net, Chris Douglas-Roberts added 17. Nets Are Scorching reminded me that six of the eight players who logged time for New Jersey reached double figures.

18/5/9 from Chris Paul was enough for the Hornets to hold off the Heat, 95-91. David West added 21 and 10 and Emeka Okafor scored 15 points to go with 14 rebounds (seven of them offensive), as the Hornets continue to try to inch closer to .500.

Without Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the Suns rolled over the Celtics, 116-98. Big week for Phoenix, taking down the Lakers handily and now taking advantage of the depleted C’s. Amar’e Stoudemire and Channing Frye scored 26 points apiece and the Suns shot 51 percent for the game.

20 points, Allen Iverson. + 19 points, seven rebounds, nine assists, Andre Iguodala. = 116-106 victory for the Sixers over the Sacramento Kings. Lou Williams scored 22 for the Sixers as well, but the two AI’s made me so happy as they worked together to grab the W against the Kings who were without Tyreke Evans.

Also: 14 points and eight assists for Jerrd Bayless off of the bench in a 103-99 Portland win over the Clippers makes me happy. LaMarcus Aldridge spraining his ankle does not. Seriously, karma police, basketball Gods, lets have Portland get healthy in 2010, k?

Everyone, enjoy your New Years Eve. I hope you’re surrounded by people you love and that you all stay safe. Let’s make 2010 a great bball one. Happy New Year!

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  • http://www.mynameinblue.blogspot.com Hisham

    The Blazers need to Oden visit a witchdoctor. Somebody put a hex on him so bad that he’s taking down the whole team with him. I think that same curse is what ages him 4 times as fast as regular human beings.

  • http://www.mynameinblue.blogspot.com Hisham

    Or maybe it’s slowly turning him into a tree. The Phoenix Suns are the no1 suspect to me. They robbed Oden of his youth and his health and gave it all to Nash and Grant Hill.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Happy New Years Eve, everyone. I haven’t posted here in a minute, sorry about that (or maybe you’re happy about that, depends on your point of view). Hope everything’s going better with your teams than it is with mine at this immediate moment.

  • http://slamonline.com/ niQ

    I have Aldridge and Hedo in my fantasy team, both injured last night. I also had Oden, Artest, and probably someone else who got injured. My team has been plagued by the Oden curse as well. Boo-urns. Get well soon people!! really..

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    What’s wrong with D-Wade? He’s taking L’s without going down swinging now? 13 shots ain’t getting it done.

  • Atrain

    Yesterday was also the birthday of…..drumroll……..TIGER WOODS

  • http://slamonline.com/ niQ

    No love for Yi JianLian?

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Hey Atrain, what’s the difference between Tiger Woods and Santa Claus?

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Santa stops at three hos. AIGHT done with the Tiger bashing.

  • nicko

    i dun been to da gamez ware the shot clok jawnt dont do no workin durin da gamez lyke at da kingz hawkz game da shi* aint even do work durin da game. im boutta go bananaz

  • http://myspace.com/brandnew Bryan

    Wow holly , the knicks haven’t been a roll over lately that was harsh for my dudes. I know the brass disrespects the game and the fans every day but David Lee and Gallo deserve some credit at this point.

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

    Where is my Happy Belated Birthday wish, Holly? I know i’m not Bron but help me out!

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

    Tad- You already got mine on facebook… that should be good enough. Greedy bastard!!
    I have to upload some shit on my computer. I just wanted to say that Kobe and Bron each had a great game. It’s nice to have the two best players in basketball playing cray good basketball.
    Oh, and Kobe is way older, and injured, and still putting up crazy numbers. Just saying!!!

  • LA Huey

    Before you get all sour about the shot clock Hawks fans, just know that if Varejao is hitting a clutch three you weren’t going to win no matter what.

  • http://Www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    It’s 2010 in S’Pore!!!! Happy new Year to the Slam Fam, Linkstigators, editors, writers/contributors, Kobaholics, Bronaddicts, Melomaniacs etc. Have great year, and may Slam continue to be the gold standard in B-Ball storytelling. Oh and Holly, a special happy New one to ya… Whoops, my girl’s pulling me back into the partycrowd, see y……..

  • Jacqueline Mitchell

    So happy the Nets finally got a win ( sorry Knicks )and what has happened to the Celtics? they were rollin’ right along and now the wheels are falling off.Get well soon Paul,Kevin, and Glen your team needs you!!! Oh, by the way Happy New Year to everyone and to the Slam staff!!!

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    I love David (and hope he’s on a winning team sometime soon) and Gallo’s pretty fun, but the Knicks are still 12-20. If the Nets get a W, the Knicks are one team I’m not shocked to see it happen against.

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    Tadddddddd. HAPPY Belated!

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

    Thanks Ms. MacKenzie. Happy New Years to you as well.

  • Myung

    We need to dump those red jerseys. They’re like UGA’s black football jerseys. We lose when we wear them.

  • Myung

    Holly, since you wanted someone in the Hawks fam to explain what happened, this is what I saw. The Hawks led the whole game. We were up by 17 at one point in the 3rd. No excuses, we choked the lead completely away. But when that crucial clock error took place, we were crossing half court. Josh Smith had the ball in his hands. We’re clinging to a 1 point lead. And we had ELEVEN SECONDS remaining on the shot clock when he crossed halfcourt (instead of the 21 we should have had). That was with under 2 minutes left in the game. In addition, when Varejao hit that 3 (which was an awesome shot, I’ll admit), the refs ruled it a 2. Coach drew up a play thinking we were down by 2. After about 1 minute, the refs changed it to a 3. That also had a big impact on the ending. I hope the appeal goes through and that they allow us to re-play the last 2 minutes. If we lose, we lose. I can accept that. But at least let us have a fair shake at it by letting us re-play the last 2 minutes, up by 1, with a full 24.

  • http://myspace.com/brandnew Bryan

    Well that’s ok we’re only like 1 game out and better than most people thought.

  • http://myspace.com/brandnew Bryan

    Allen Iverson doesn’t exactly look like Allen Iverson yet but he sure as f*ck doesn’t look like a backup to Mike Conley.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Bryan he didn’t participate in training camp. he was coming off of a hamstring injury, doctors didn’t even know if it was ok for him to play. why would you start someone under those circumstances. Vinny Del Negro has assistants with more coaching experience then himself but you don’t hear anyone complaining about their resumes

  • http://myspace.com/brandnew Bryan

    How about Kevin Love and his poor man’s Larry Bird impersonation last night. 17 11 9 dimes and a couple of clutch threes. Even though they fell short. That kid is a monster I was higher on him than anyone not named Ryan Jones, but even I didn’t think he’d be putting up 15 and 13 in his second season.

  • http://myspace.com/brandnew Bryan

    Its not about the resume dude, he’s obviously playing better basketball than Mike Conley even with an arthritic knee. Even if its only slightly better its still better. He deserved to start based on the fact that he’s a better basketball player period. Damn the resume.

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

    Yeah, I missed the boat on Kevin Love. When I saw him play live when he was at UCLA, they literally had to take him out of the game like every 4 minutes to catch his breath. I certainly didn’t see much that screamed ‘NBA player’ to me.

  • http://myspace.com/brandnew Bryan

    I thought he was better than say… Tyler Hansbrough. But marginally. I figured him for a 16 and 9 guy in his prime. But he’s what 21? His prime he may be on dwight howard sh*t stat wise. Like 20 and 15 but with a pile of assists and 3 pointers too. Imagine a guy putting up 20 and 15 with 6 assists and hitting 40% of his threes? Monster.

  • http://realcavsfans.com Anton

    Anderson Varejao = All Star.

  • Vince5

    I saw the Raptors game on TV, it was real good.

  • Dirtybird

    Up 17 feels like 9 or 10 vs James, they weren’t going away anyway.

  • JuicePig15

    they forgot to reset the freakin shot clock so we had to rush our possesion and i think we turn oveer the ball and then they got a transition bucket to give them momentum we should replay that game like the heat a few years ago

  • http://www.cracked.com litetitan

    The thing I like about the Suns as they warm up (it seems to come in spurts for them) is they stand out as timely “giant killers” again —– Varej will probably add the ‘timely three ball’ to his already outrageous stock of shot options —– What are the chances that the Nets will experience the greatest win-loss turn around after the allstar weekend? Miami dropped a game against CP3 and look to get crushed by the Spurs right now – WADE DOESN’T LOOK LIKE HE EVEN WANTS TO BE PLAYING TODAY??? Wade, to me is the ONE superstar FA that will most likely walk after this season.