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Tuesday, November 30th, 2010 at 8:45 am  |  43 responses

Post Up: Westbrook’s Hour

While Miami gets back on track. Sort of.

by Adam Figman | @afigman

Miami 105, Washington 94

It’s a little too soon to start the “Here they come!” campaign, but credit where it’s due: the new-look Heat outplayed the Wizards (sans John Wall) last night. Each member of The Three put up numbers: LeBron James scored 30, Dwyane Wade came alive after a rough first half to put in 26, and Chris Bosh dropped a mild 20 to go along with 7 boards. Washington is no Boston, but this was a much-needed W after a series of disappointing performances. Expect the “They still can’t beat a good team” talk to continue until, well, they beat a good team.

Oklahoma City 95, New Orleans 89

A quick moment of truth: The NBA hasn’t blown me off my feet thus far. A lot of the League’s best storylines will take the entirety of the season/postseason to develop (the Lakers quest for three, the Celtics trying to hold up, etc.), and this whole Miami thing isn’t dull, but is getting such an overwhelming amount of coverage (not complaining, just saying) that an alternative is needed. And you know what’s been really helpful in that department these past few weeks? The consistently awesome battles between Western Conference contenders.

They’ve been so damn exciting. And this one was a great example: the resurgent Chris Paul-led Hornets against Kevin Durant and Co.—though we might need to start calling them Russell Westbrook and Co., because it was Russ who put the team on his back and gunned straight for CP3′s neck in the last few minutes, scoring 12 of his 25 in the final last six minutes and earning his squad the W. The former Bruin stormed into the “Top Point Guard” conversation, draining clutch jumpers and taking it to the rim time after time with the hunger of an up-and-coming battle emcee. Westbrook also had 11 dimes, while KD dropped in 26. For the Bees, Paul had 17 points and 14 assists, while Emeka Okafor scored 13, grabbed 11, and swatted 4. New Orleans has now lost four out of five, but will look to turn that bad fortune around when they host Charlotte tomorrow night.

Dallas 101, Houston 91

Via Daryl Morey himself: Our performance very tough to take-entire Rockets nation(fans/players/coaches/mngmt)is in pain.Working to turn around.Brad was a bright spot

I’ll admit I thought about leaving it at that and moving on to the next game, but I’ll do a little more recapping for you fine readers (see how much we love you?). These two were separated by only seven at half, but a Dallas/Caron Butler third-quarter run (Butler scored 13 of his 19 in the quarter) all but sealed it up. Dirk Nowitzki also continued to make fantasy owners happy with 20 points, 10 boards and 3 blocks. As noted by Morey above, the Rockets ain’t looking too hot, but the Mavs are: They’ve now won six in a row, and have taken down some top-notch rosters in the process. They’ll go for a seventh at home against Minnesota tomorrow.

Utah 109, Milwaukee 88

Against the banged-up Bucks (who played without Andrew Bogut, Drew Gooden, Corey Maggette and Carlos Delfino), the Jazz pretty much had their way, inching ahead quarter after quarter until a fourth-quarter explosion wrapped it up. Deron Williams went for 22 to go along with 10 dimes, while Al Jefferson and Andrei Kirilenko each had 4 blocks (I don’t know—seems noteworthy). Brandon Jennings scored 27 on 8-20 from the field, but didn’t do much distributing (4 assists), and Milwaukee’s 34.7 percent shooting from the floor didn’t cut it against a solid Jazz squad. Like the Mavs, Utah is now on a six-game winning streak, and they’ll also be trying to keep that flowing tomorrow night when they take on the Pacers.

Performance of the Night: Russ Westbrook: 25 points, 11 assists, 5 rebounds, 5 steals.
Moment of the Night
: Not seeing any great video out yet, so I’ll let Mr. Westbrook continue to dominate this space and provide him with another MOTN award. Previously I had Russ right behind CP3, Deron, DRose, Rondo and Steve Nash on my Best PG list, but as of late he’s made a hell of a case to move up. Where would you rank him?

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  • RobbieJay

    Heat showed a little fire last night (no pun intended) maybe they can play like this every night. & is it me or is Dwayne always hurting something my god.

  • Jahmai

    The Thunder are not playing well, but they’re winning. KD has not played at the level of the WC this season. Maybe my expectations were WAY too high. I bought into to the: ‘KD is now a playmaker! He’s gonna be MVP! He’s going to lead to the Thunder to the WCF Finals!’ hype. So far, Westbrook has been doing all the heavy lifting, and he’s been doing it well, so kudos to him. I do hope ‘the real KD’ will stand up.

  • http://twitter.com/ShadiestBen ShadiestBen

    Didn’t know we would be giving the Heat credit for a home win against a sub .500 team minus there best (arguably) player.
    Westbrook is right up there, i’ve still got CP top of my list until someone else shows they can carry a roster like that the way he has the last 4 years when healthy.
    If you traded any PG for CP would NO be as good as they are now? (Answer is no)

  • Jahmai

    As good as they are NOW? well they’ve lost 4 of their last 5 games, so I don’t know about that:p But Drose can carry a large part of your team’s offense. He can’t make other players better like CP3, but he can get you 30 a night.

  • http://twitter.com/ShadiestBen ShadiestBen

    There 12-5, coming off a brutal part of there schedule. D Rose can get 30 but he’s nowhere near as efficient as Paul is. No starting PG in the L is as efficient as Paul.

  • Jahmai

    I don’t think Drose is the best PG in the L, although he is my favorite player. My top 3 PG’s.
    1. Dwill
    2. Drose
    3. CP3

  • Jahmai

    Paul might be the most effecient, that doesn’t neccesarily makes him the best. I do think he’s the best leader of all the PG’s. But Dwill and Drose just bring something special to the table.

  • http://Www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Know what i find astonishing about CP? How he can still dash and dish in that damn knee brace. That thing can be seen from space, that’s how large it is.
    I just came back from losing the S’pore championship game (7 months after tearing my achilles, i feel blessed) and i am just slowly getting my speed back. I have no clue how he can still be a blur (in spurts) while wearing that thing.
    Very impressive.

  • http://Www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Oh and go Mavs!

  • http://twitter.com/ShadiestBen ShadiestBen

    Agree to disagree then buddy. I know this won’t sway you but just posting it up anyway;
    CP3 D Will Rose
    16.5 PPG 21.9 26.6
    4.7 RPG 4.2 4.6
    10.3 APG 9.9 8.2
    2.9 SPG 1.3 1.0
    2.5 TO 3.6 3.7
    49 %FG 46 46
    47% 3PT 36 32
    90% FT 85 77
    34 MIN 38 39

    Well looking at that D Rose looks pretty impressive. I still think though that if you put CP on any team in the league in a PG 4 PG trade the team he lands on will become better.

  • http://twitter.com/ShadiestBen ShadiestBen

    Thats doesn’t look how I thought it would, you can understand what it says though.

  • http://blog.mysanantonio.com/spursnation/ Anthony

    I dont know where i put Westbrook on my list but i know Parker has to be in the conversation after he outplayed D-Williams, and Westbrook and played equal with D-Rose all in the same week. He’s probably not better but he hold is own pretty well.

  • jahmai

    @ShadiestBen, lol, Drose’s stats look pretty good huh? But Drose is a scoring PG unlike CP3 and Dwill, who are more traditional PG’s. So as PG, Yes CP3 is better, no doubt about it. As franchise player, give me Drose

  • jahmai

    @Anthony, you just said it yourself, he’s not better but he holds his own. So now he doesn’t belong in the top 5. Parker’s a very good player though.

  • http://twitter.com/ShadiestBen ShadiestBen

    The only thing IMO that the other PG’s have is that they can go off. Like one of the broadcasters said last night CP3 is not a volume shooter or scorer, where as D Rose can and has been going off on everyone, and yea his stats look good lol.

  • T-Money

    D-Rose leads the league in shot attempts per game. Call me old school, a traditionalist or whatever but no point guard should ever lead the league in FGA. / I think more than anything, the meeting between Spo and Bron was the most important development for Miami. They ran plays!! On several occasions, they had Bron setting screens for D-Wade (!) and catching the ball at the FT line or on the block. Props to Spo for realizing that plays need to be called even though you have gifted players.

  • jahmai

    It’s the league’s fault. Drose’s height pretty much forces him to play the PG spot, since he’s too small to guard opposing SG’s all game long. Derrick’s actually more a SG with good vision.

  • T-Money

    Now, he just needs to figure out substitions. It’s EVIDENT that Dampier is helping this team. He had 5 rebounds and 1 block in about 6 minutes in the 2nd quarter alone and was just straight up eating space. That’s what I meant when I said the injury to UD was a blessing in disguise. CB is not and will never be a 5. Now, because Spo only trusts empirical data, he’ll need at least 5 more games to garner enough evidence that Damp is his best option at center. Ditto for Chalmers at the 1.

  • T-Money

    Oh, and I’ll pat myself on the back for calling that KD jumping from 29-30 ppg to 32-33+ ppg would be WAY HARDER than people thought. 1) Great teams do not need someone to score that much. 2) You just don’t keep improving your stats past a certain point. There are only so many shots to take in a game. You become more efficient, versatile. But you just don’t keep getting buckets randomly if your team is a contender.

  • http://twitter.com/ShadiestBen ShadiestBen

    He’s not becoming more efficient,but he did look versatile matching up with D West down the stretch last night.

  • T-Money

    ShadiestBen: good point, his defense is getting much, much better. he’ll never be big but he’s finding a way to not get pushed around and hold his ground à la tayshaun prince.

  • http://slamonline.com Nella

    T-Money:

    Do you even watch the Bulls games? Who else would you want taking more shots? Bogans? Brewer? I’m pretty sure once Boozer is back and warmed up D-Rose’s assists will go up even more, and he’ll need less shots. Last note – he does what the team needs to win at this point, shots or passes.

  • http://twitter.com/BeezKneezy LA Huey

    Just wanted to mention that, last night on twitter, Holly Mackenzie brought up the resemblance between Russ Westbrook and Bodie from the Wire.

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    Westbrook looks like Daniel Orton of the Orlando Magics twin.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Brandon Jennings is clearly not on the same tier right now as Rose and Westbrook.
    And while Russ benefits from playing with Durant, he also benefits from being money from mid range and absolutely filty going to the rack. For a little dude, he bullies the hell out of other point guards. Rose still has him by a hair though.

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

    Deron is clearly the best pg in the league, chris is right behind him tho. Then russ, then rose. … All these bulls fans need to realize a mediocre record and 4 seed will not get you mvp, or else mac would have got one in orl. Dwight looks like mvp so far.

  • http://dodgers.com Joey E.

    I agree Allenp. Rose has Russ by a hair. I love Westbrook, but I just have ahard time believeing he wouldbe putting up these numbers without KD. not saying he wouldnt still be really good, because he would

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Tarzan
    Good point on Dwight. He’s looking a lot more comfortable on offense. Still not dominant, but comfortable. Now, if half man half broad would stop punking out, the Magic might be dangerous.

  • Brandon

    Tarzan, you do realize the Bulls have paid one of the hardest S.O.S this year so far without there second best offensive player correct? You state they will have a mediocre record. I don’t believe winning over 50 games is being mediocre whatsoever, Rose has been balling out his mind right now. If he can keep this pace up he does have a legitimate shot at being the MVP especially because they have a shot at getting one of those top 3 seed in the east. I’m pretty sure his points will go down when Boozer gets back, but I definitely know his assists will go up and he will be more efficient because he does not have to take as many tough shots with Boozer opening up more space for him.

  • JTaylor21

    What happened to all the KD is MVP and the 2nd best player talk we all heard at premium in the off-season? Dude is not even the best player on his own team so-far and hasn’t even come up big in the clutch in any of their close games. RWestbrook has been the one doing the heavy lifting and making big plays in crunch-time while KD has been doing his best second-bananna routine. At people saying that Russ would have a hard-time putting up great numbers without KD, look at the BOS game. He wouldn’t be putting up 27ppg like Rose is but he will be putting up 24/9 with ease if he was the “main” guy on team.

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    @JTaylor…That KD talk for MVP went away just about as fast as Miami winning a ‘ship or 70 games.

  • JTaylor21

    Kap, what does it have to do with what I said? They are different because I don’t remember any Heat fan on this site saying they were going to win 70 gms, it was the media and Jeff Van Gundy especially who were saying that crap. On the other hand, most people on here were waving the KD is mvp flag.

  • http://twitter.com/ShadiestBen ShadiestBen

    Tarzan – Deron is not clearly the best 1 in the league. Efficiency and managing the game are 2 of the most important aspects of being a PG, and CP is the best at both.

  • http://twitter.com/ShadiestBen ShadiestBen

    Jtaylor – Spot on with the Westbrook/Durant talk. I’m wondering how every1 has decided Rose ‘has him by a hair’. Its pretty much even.

  • http://google c_cantrell

    kd still has a legit shot in the mvp run guys i believe is off to a slow start.. one hell of slow start might i say.. but westbrook is dominating jus like i have said all summer he would.. kd has somewhat let me down tho i never expected his assists to rise much but i figured he would go for a nice 33 8 and 4 with a block and a steal a game.. jus give him time.. hopefully he can bounce out of whatever funk he is in and pick up where he left off this summer

  • T-Money

    Kap: for the record, I’ve not heard one guy from Miami mention 70. As far the ‘chip, you must be a psychic.

  • Kadavour

    Rose and Westbrook are tweeners. Their style of play is geared toward scoring more than creating shots for others a la CP3 and DWill. I can’t wait until Boozer comes back so the stark difference in playmaking ability can be illustrated for the stream of thought that considers Rose a candidate for best PG in the league #effouttahere

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    Both Chris Paul and Deron Williams are amazing point guards. Offensively I consider it a push when comparing the two, but I prefer Deron Williams, due to the fact Deron gives you more options at the defensive end due to his size. Chris Paul at the defensive end is a lot like Allen Iverson – presents matchup problems against teams with bigger backcourts, however CP3 a la prime AI can steal the heck out of the ball, but a lot of suicide steals is bad when the steal isn’t there, and the opposing guard is penetrating causing the defense to help out.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Clyde

    CP3 and Nash are my fave, followed closely by Rose and Westbrook.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I have an opinion that Rose is better. Just how he runs his team feels better to me, and I like his handle better than Westbrook’s. Westbrook is the better defender, they are about equal as shooters and Rose has a slight advantage as a passer. So, I have Rose as better. That’s my rationale. Neither of them is terribly efficient.
    Chris Paul is still getting warm. I think that by next year he’ll be fully ready to take the crown back from Deron, but right now, you can’t deny what Deron is doing to cats. But, it’s still close.

  • Dana

    Russell Westbrook is my favorite PG and I would say he’s definitely in the top 3 with D Will. His first game against Chicago, he outplayed Rose, and last night’s game against CP3, he showed that he too was the better player. Westbrook is underrated because he’s on KD’s team…but it’s really been Westbrook’s team this season.

  • Anon E Mouse

    Damn, was there even one Rondo mention in the comments???? If he’s a Slam reader he’ll be sitting there stroking a white cat looking out over a mountain in the Carribean saying “Come play off time, Ve shall see who ist ze best point guard…”.

  • L

    My ultimate PG list:

    DWILL
    CP
    DROSE
    RONDO
    NASH
    WESTBROOK
    JWALL
    TP
    NELSON
    STEPH CURRY
    KIDD
    BILLUPS
    FELTON
    DEV HARRIS
    JENNINGS
    AARON BROOKS
    HOLIDAY
    DAREN COLLISON
    MO WILLIAMS
    DRE MILLER
    FISHER
    STUCKEY
    CALDERON
    CONLEY
    BIBBY
    DJ AUGUSTIN
    BLEDSOE
    UDRIH
    RIDNOUR
    ARROYO

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