Post Up: Bulls Take Down Nugs
And Zach Randolph does work.
A Monday night six pack. I feel like I’m 19 all over again. Let’s get right to it.
With around 35 ticks to go and a 10 second difference between the shot clock and the game clock, Orlando had the ball amd the Hawks D’d up, trying to hold their own and hoping for the chance to tie or win the contest in the final 10 seconds. They had no such luck. Vince Carter barreled down the lane, drew a foul moving towards the basket, and floated a lay-up off the backboard that fell in and all but crushed ATL’s chance at a W. He missed the free throw, but the four-point deficit was too much to overcome in the final minute. This was a pretty sloppy game, and the Magic were able to take the victory despite shooting 43 percent from the field and 18 percent (!) from deep. Dwight Howard beasted for 27 points and 11 boards, while Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 23, including a turn-around three-pointer that kept his team close in the final minute.
The Spurs shot 42.4 percent from the field, and while the Cats kept things close, they didn’t shoot any better, going for 39.8 percent as a team. Hm, how do I put this? Well, like this: the basketball gods know how youse kids like ‘em, and they cooked ‘em up extra sloppy for ya last night. Manu Ginobili was anything but, though, and he finished with 28 points and 5 rebounds. Tyrus Thomas led Charlotte with 16, and someone’s gonna need to step up if these guys are gonna have a shot at post-season play—they currently sit at 1-6 in the back of the Southeast division.
Stephen Curry (34 points) and Monta Ellis (28 points) had their way with Toronto’s backcourt, and were able to do as they pleased en route to a Golden State victory. With a few minutes to go, Monta went down both hard and awkwardly in what looked to be a disturbing and potentially very serious injury. As I’m writing this there’s no word on just how serious, but hopefully he can get back on the court sooner than later. The Warriors are now a very solid 5-2 and visit the Knicks on Wednesday.
It’ll be interesting to see if the Grizz can do things like this consistently, but regardless, this we know for sure: with that much talent on one roster, they’ll be able to sneak up on great teams here and there. Last night the Suns were the victims, as Memphis held on behind Zach Randolph’s—wait for it—23 points and 20 rebounds. Steve Nash did some damage with 16 points and 11 dimes, but Phoenix couldn’t keep up with their opposition last night. Both of these teams are now right around .500, and, yeah, I don’t know. Juries still out on both of them. Let’s revisit these two in a few weeks.
Two great ones to cap off this Monday sixer. That cool? OK, go.
A couple of will-be-Playoff squads faced off in Chicago, and the home team pulled this one out behind a monster night from Joakim Noah (13 points, 19 boards, 4 blocks). Carmelo Anthony (32 points, 8 boards) did all he could, but it wasn’t enough. The Bulls had all these semi-interesting stats, too: all five starters finished in double figures; Taj Gibson recorded 5 blocks; the team only hit 64.5 percent (20-31) of its free throws; and only hit five threes—and still defeated a damn good Nuggets opponent.
With under 10 seconds to go, Rajon Rondo found himself wide open from behind the three-point line, and, hesitantly—too hesitantly—launched up a shot that hit nothing but rim. Kevin Garnett ended up with another look from the corner, but the attempt was very, very contested, and the C’s fell. Dirk Nowitzki (25 points) put the Mavs on his back in the final minutes, draining a go-ahead J with 17 seconds left on the clock. One of the questions of the summer was who’d be the team that’d step up and claim second in the competitive west behind L.A., and Dallas is certainly an early favorite to grab that spot.
Performance of the Night: Zach Randolph: 23 points, 20 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists.
Moment of the Night: I’m giving this to Rondo’s missed go-ahead three. It would’ve been a hell of a “respect my skillset” moment had it gone in, and the fact that he couldn’t drain a wide-open (as in, really, really, really open) jumper during a crucial moment in the game just wasn’t a good look. I’m still hoping Rajon can improve in that department, since it’s about all that’s keeping him behind CP3 in this “best point guard” convo that keeps popping up around this Internet thing nowadays.