Post Up: A Shot of Red Bulls
While the Cavs go skydiving without parachutes.
by Anton Kudriavtsev/@TheDiesel
The Hornets made it 4 wins in a row with a victory over the Bobcats. Being the pillar of consistency, David West scored 26 points and grabbed 8 rebounds while Chris Paul finished with 19 points and 4 assists. New Orleans took advantage when Tyrus Thomas was ejected for being Tyrus Thomas with 2:38 left to play, as the Hornets hit four straight free throws to put the game on ice. Gerald Wallace scored 15 but he and his team had a cold shooting night as they shot 41% and committed 16 turnovers, partially due to the recent Wallace-to-Cleveland trade rumours. Kwame Brown had a solid game with 12 points and 14 rebounds, but am I the only one that he looks like he’s missing free throws on purpose? Attention all potential coaches looking at jobs with New Orleans: please note that the qualifications include “must dislike money”. Coach Silas recalled a contract extension offer of just $1.85 a year before his final season with the team.
Speaking of cold, hard cash – pay Aaron Brooks. What’s Houston waiting for? To throw some more money on Yao’s foot? Brooks put up 24 points and 10 assists in a Rockets win over the Hawks (bad day to play home games in Atlanta yesterday). Houston came back from a 9-point deficit in the third quarter to take the lead going into the fourth, where the lead was extended to 13 halfway through the quarter. Joe Johnson (30 points) hit a three to pull Atlanta within 7 with 11 seconds left but Brooks wrapped up the game with a pair of free throws.
As LeBron sat out with a ruptured ego, the Bulls took advantage with a close win over the Heat. Chicago was led by Derrick Rose’s 34 points and upset Dwyane Wade’s comeback effort. Rose had a ridiculous corkscrew drive with 1:40 to play but Wade answered with a three. The next possession, Rose pump-faked and converted an and-1 play, putting the Bulls up 5. Wade hit three straight three’s to take the air out of the building, putting the Heat up with 37 seconds to go. Who do the Bulls go to? Ashton Kutcher, of course. After Kyle Korver’s not exactly planned but still clutch shot, the Heat committed a broken play then Wade missed the potential game-tying shot. Wade finished the night with 33 points, 12 of them in the 4th quarter and Bosh went down with an ankle injury in the third after keeping Miami in the game with 11 points in the quarter, finishing with 17. Rose was perfect from the free-throw line (8-of-8) in addition to his 11 4th quarter points as he single headedly carried the Bulls to victory. Just to make sure, we’re all still excited that Mike Miller is back, right? He’s either still dealing with the hand injury from touching LeBron’s greatness or beginning to slowly fall off. Regardless, the Heat need him to step up and revert back to the Miller time of old if they are to get wins without their superstars. Despite color commentator’s proclamations, no barns were burned in the making of this basketball game.
Nick Young entered the Verizon Center to do two things: score the ball and chew bubble gum – and he was fresh out of bubble gum. Young and his afro scored 29 points, 18 of which came in the third quarter alone as his Wizards defeated the Raptors. The Wiz blew a 10-point fourth quarter lead and barely hung on for the win, apparently the only way that the team knows how to win. Jose Calderon had a great game with 21 points, 15 assists, and 9 rebounds but Young put the game away by hitting 5 of 6 free throws in the last 18 seconds of the game. John Wall, meet rookie wall. Though Wall is a bit banged up, he went 4-for-14 with 3 points, 9 assists, and 5 turnovers. Washington continues to search for its identity, as they are now 11-8 at home and 0-19 on the road.
The Pistons put another one in the win column with a win over the Kings, led by Tayshaun Prince’s 21 points and Rodney Stuckey’s 19. The Kings actually started out quite hot, scoring 70 points in the first half but cooled off late, adding just 36 the rest of the way. Detroit held Sac-town to just 10 points before leading in a fourth quarter that saw Will Bynumite seal the game with a clutch block. Tyreke Evans regained his Rookie of the Year form with 25 points, 11 assists, and 5 rebounds while the injured T-Mac (that’s an oxymoron, right?) put up some binary code numbers ( 0, 1, 0) before leaving the game with a shin injury.
The return of the Dirkmeister was short-lived as the Mavs fell to the Grizzlies. Walking contradiction Zach Randolph had 23 points and 20 rebounds while Nowitzki scored just 7 points in his return and was ejected in the third quarter. Ian Mahinmi (who?) led the Mavs with 17 points but 70 points marks a Dallas low in point total this season and they are now losers of five straight. Dirk was visibly rusty and the rest of the Mavs were about as cohesive as the last Cavalier time-out, shooting 5-for-20 in the third quarter as they handed the keys of the game to Memphis from there on.
The Magic ended their 2-game slide with a win over the Wolves, led by Jason Richardson’s 21 points. Trade throw-in Ryan Anderson had a productive night from the bench with 15 points and 11 boards while Corey Brewer led the Wolves with 23 points and 5 steals. Minnesota gave away their 15-point lead by committing 12 turnovers after half time as Stan Van Gundy put in Anderson to draw Kevin Love (11 points, 15 rebounds) away from the basket and out of “ridiculous rebounding numbers” range. Anderson responded with three 3-pointers in a critical 22-9 Orlando run and limited Love to just 9 rebounds over the last 44 minutes of play. The Magic are now 10-4 since their trade last month.
The pain of sharp losses, it burns deep. The Cavaliers are getting used to the feeling as they dropped their 13th straight game, this time getting dismantled by the Nuggets. Denver was led by Nene “life of the party” Hilario scoring 22 points and received production from players described as “a spark off the bench” to “I wonder when my last game will be?” I refuse to mention any Cleveland highlights, considering that’s like saying you’re the least-infected zombie in Resident Evil. Truth is, Cleveland only had 8 players to work with, but 80 points at halftime ties the Cavs’ opponent record in points allowed. This same time last year Cavs fans were likely to be planning 15-game win streaks and pretending which All-Star LeBron would vouch for, whereas these days they’re most likely looking forward to the lottery. I say take Kyrie Irving. What if he’s still injured, you ask? Then he’ll fit right in.
The Blazers got back on the winning side of things with a victory over the Nets. LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 27 points, whose dunk with 1:56 to play stretched his team’s lead for good. While it’s nice to see a win for the Blazers, they shouldn’t have allowed a team like the Nets to hang around for as long as they did. Brook Lopez led New Jersey with 32 points but his squad couldn’t hold off the late rally by the Blazers. After a pair of free throws by Portland, Wes Matthews’ fastbreak lay-up put his team up five and put the final nail in the Jersey coffin. Ever had the urge to stockpile Patty Mills jerseys in bulk? Now you have an excuse to, since half of the proceeds will go towards helping the victims of the floods in Australia.
“Check My $tats” of the night: Derrick Rose – 34 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks. Hot when he wants to be, ice cold when he needs to be.
Digging through some TerezOwens.com is always a great time killer for sports fans, especially when hoops-related pictures are the result. One of these kids in this picture from 1991 has five rings. Three kids from this picture do not.
I’m out like birds from Arkansas’ skyline.