Friday, January 7th, 2011 at 8:45 am  |  33 responses

Post Up: Thunder Overcome Mavs

While Tyreke Evans and the Kings do work.

by Adam Figman | @afigman

Oh, two-game nights. How easy you make Thursday Post Ups. The thing about two-game nights is that it’s impossible to mail them in. I mean, look: By writing this intro, I’ve already exceeded expectations. (See what I’m doing here? Slick, right?) Yup, just a pair of decent contests to take us into the weekend. Here’s how it all went down.

Oklahoma City 99, Dallas 95

As harmful as the Caron Butler injury may (or may not) potentially prove itself to be, at the moment, we have no idea how it’ll affect Dallas’ season. This we do know: Without Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavs are simply not the Mavs. And the Thunder took advantage, rallying behind Kevin Durant (28 points) and Russell Westbrook (15 points, 9 dimes) en route to the victory. Naturally, we’d all love to read deeply into this one—Maybe the Thunder are really improving!, The Mavs are screwed!, etc.—but really, let’s just take it for what it was: one hungry squad in need of a W taking down a shorthanded and injury-depleted opponent. Here’s to hoping Dirk can return by tomorrow night, when the Mavs host the fiery hot Orlando Magic.

Sacramento 122, Denver 102

Tyreke Evans hasn’t lived up to post-ROY expectations thus far, but it’s good to see he’s still got plenty to offer, despite rumors of impending foot surgery and off-the-court family issues. Evans dropped 27 points and dished 12 assists, as the Kings brought their A game (or rather, their A++++ game) for a rare nationally-televised contest and took down the unsuspecting Nuggets. Carmelo Anthony scored 26 for Denver, who actually shot 50.7 percent from the field, but they struggled on the defensive end and allowed 122 points off 56.4 percent shooting. The Nugs will look to rebound Sunday when they host the Hornets.

Actual Stats: Reke Evans: 27 points, 12 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals.

Moment of the Night: Like many others, I was skeptical when I heard Serge Ibaka was selected for the Slam Dunk Contest. But these two plays slightly eased that tension…

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  • Bruno

    I kind of tought the same thing about Ibaka after last night’s game

  • http://www.twitter.com/notebooknick NotebookNick

    Ibaka’s got springs, but I still don’t know what he’s going to do that’s contest worthy.

  • http://www.twitter.com/AllBall247 AllBall247

    This W doesn’t tell us nothing about OKC. They have been stomped twice by Dallas at home when Dirk/Caron played. They escaped lat night because know one could score in the 4th apart from the JET. KD tried to help DAL out with a few airballs & bad shots. He was hyped so much coming into this year that he has been massively over rated.

  • http://bluefont.com Hisham

    Ibaka’s got such terrible hands, that i predict a worse outing than Birdman’s

  • http://www.slamonline.com Jahmai

    OKC defense really picked it up in the 2nd half, last year their defense was very good, this year it’s only been good n a couple of games. KD and Westbrook scoring 50 point per game combined, that’s o.2 more than bron and wade. Ibaka got hops, he can dunk from FT so it’s not just the vert. jump with him. He’s really athletic. On more thing: GO EAGLES!!!

  • MattM

    Is dunking on someone a legitimate dunk contest move? Say Ibaka got a fellow big man who was a solid shot blocker who tried to block his dunk and he powered it down on him, what would that be worth?

  • http://slamonline.com AlbertBarr

    KINGS! You know they would bring it on C-Webb night! I don’t expect a lot of these performances from the Kings this season but it is nice to see that the young talent, when they put it together for 48 minutes, can play a great game. They even let their lead dwindle and it was all tied up and they had the fortitude of mind to get back into it and build another lead and blow it open in the 4th. And, I disagree with a lot of people on the issue of DeMarcus Cousins…I like his ridiculous persona…it may seem immature but if he can keep it from getting him techs and affecting his game (like last night) then it suits him IMO.

  • http://google c_cantrell

    reke sure is lookin good to be hurt and in need of surgery

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Yeah, Reke had a miraculous recovery for sure.
    I’ve always liked Cousins, and I defended him when everybody was down on him. I like his nasty streak. I like that about Griffin too. Way too many players these days don’t play angry enough for me. I like angry players.

  • http://www.twitter.com/AllBall247 AllBall247

    I’m not a big Cousins fan. In college his game looked polished, often times when i’ve watched him in the L he has looked raw. I don’t think he has that much of a nasty streak, more just an attitude. Blake is different, he is generally quite quiet, and doesn’t say much, he just has that grin if some one is constantly fouling or bumping him. I would be more worried about some one who is quiet but not affected by trash talk, bumping, dirty play etc. With Cousins you can see it affects him, and he doesn’t usually play well because of it.

  • http://Philosophervision@blogspot.com The Philosopher

    Hey, Allen:
    Way off topic, here.
    But, I remember you describing your physique to us. Kind of beefy, right?
    Well, are you one of those big dudes who can perform a perfect back – flip?

  • JTaylor21

    I think it’s time for the nuggets to trade Melo asap. What kind of ish was that last night? There’s no way a team with as mcuh talent as the nuggets have should lose to two sorry a** team. First they lost to the clippers by 20pts then they get spanked on national tv by the kings. Just send Melo packing all ready because even if they turn it around, Denver plateaued about 2 yrs ago.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    They gotta be waiting for teams to get desperate, some team might trade their future away for a chance at Melo. Especially if its some city like Charlotte, where the owner needs to start over anyway, they are low on attendance, and don’t really care if they lose melo this summer.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Nah, I could never flip. But, back in the day, I was considered nimble and shifty for my size.
    I think he was rushing early in the season and he didn’t understand how to get his points. When I watch him I see back to the basket game, I see face up moves, I see midrange jumpers, and I see soft hands. Those are everything you need to be an very good big man in the league.
    The only problem I see is with his balance. He is off balance way to much on his moves, which is why he often falls down and doesn’t get foul calls. But, I like how he uses his bulk to fend off defenders, and I like that he likes to mix it up in the paint. His attitude needs work, but so did Chris Webbers when he first got in the league. He improved dramatically.
    And of course he looked polished in college. It was college! the comp level is of no comparison.

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    When it comes to basketball players angry is mos def good.

  • http://www.twitter.com/AllBall247 AllBall247

    Thinking about it, I see all those things as well, but he shoots too many jumpers in relation to his %, I saw him attempt 3′s regularly early in the year.
    He is definitely off balance, but that may be due to the fact that he still rushes a lot of his moves.
    I haven’t noticed that he is overly strong, his strength would be about average (right now) for a good C in the L. I think I remember Mek Okafor, who is very strong, but still he was throwing him around a little bit on some plays. He definitely mixes it up, but i’ve seen him try and go at people and get out classed, most notably against Pau in SAC earlier in the year. C Webb was one of the more skilled 4′s that I have ever seen live in their prime, Cousins will never that skill, mental aptitude or ball i.q IMO.
    lol I know he was in the SEC playing against people ‘going pro in something other than sport’, but he looked real polished. Against some guys this year I have seen him look real raw.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    It’s too early to say what he’ll never do, don’t you think?
    He’s 20, at 20 people still thought Darko was a can’t miss prospect.
    Nah, I have seen Cousins muscling people. Okafor is freaking massive, if dude is not a lightweight at all. Not be able to outmuscle him is not a sign of weaknesses. True, Cousins rushes, and he sometimes gets caught up in doing to much. He also misses some gimmes at the rim. But I like his aggressivness and confidence. I like the variety in his game. The three pointers have pretty much ceased now that he understand better how to get his buckets.
    Did anybody notice how Charles was once again schlepping for Westphal on tv?

  • http://www.twitter.com/AllBall247 AllBall247

    Not in regards to being as skilled as C Webb. Basketball I.Q cannot be developed to a level like that, when you have a pretty poor I.Q to begin with.
    I don’t think Cousins is a strong C, but I don’t think he is weak. Confidence is the main thing I disagree on, right now I feel it is over confidence. I have seen him outplayed too many times for him to have that confidence level (Yeah I know he’s only a rook).

  • http://slamonline.com rudy

    They were hating on my Kings so hard last night on Inside the Nba. Most of it seemed in jest, but Barkley just would not quit. But the whole time i just kept remembering Allenp’s article calling him the “round mound of retardation” and it put me at ease.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Slick Ric

    Denver needs to blow it up, they dont believe anymore with all the trade rumors about melo.

  • Scott

    Nobody is trading away the future for Melo when he can and will sign with New York next year. If there is a next year.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Glad to be of help rudy.
    All Ball
    I don’t think his IQ is a poor as you think, but I’ll have to watch him more to be sure. I saw him make some smart plays, it’s his attitude that is still immature, not his ball IQ.

  • http://www.twitter.com/AllBall247 AllBall247

    You may be right there, I haven’t really distinguished between the two.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    He actually has a very high basketball IQ, and his instincts as a big are amazing. THere is a fastbreak play from last night that illustrates his intelligence, he got the ball off a steal i believe, pushed the break, fed the open man, and got position, boxed out the big trailing the play incase the layup was missed. That is not something you see a 6’11 center do, let alone a rookie center.

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

    Big cuz is nice. You see that over the shoullder pass he flipped? Threading the needle. That super tough j in nenes grill? Reke put it on display and looked great. What surgery? He dont need no stinking surgery. Many other guys plays well, especially garcia. ….. Kings have a nice squad and will improve, but a second yr guy and a rookie cant be your two best players.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    I remember a few years back, I think in Derrick Rose’s rookie year, the Bulls had a game on TNT and Kenny and Ernie did their thing and whenever it was Chuck’s turn to talk about the game all the kept saying was “the Bulls suck” or “the Bulls are horrible”. Then Kenny and Ernie would talk some more and bring up more valid point and it went back to Chuck: “the Bulls suck”.
    I was like, they pay the dude for this nonsense? That guy is by far the worst analyst or whatever they’re called in the busniness.
    Funny how now he’s saying how much he loves the Bulls. What a douche.

  • JTaylor21

    DCousins has no basketball IQ to think of and he constantly does stupid things to back up that claim. Dude is an overweight knuckle head who just happened to ride the kentucky wave into being a top-5 pick. I don’t think he will ever be a 20/10 guy, maybe he would be lucky to throw up 18/8 one day but if known morons like ABlatche taught us anything, is that you can’t expect immature overweight players to change their ways.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    I thought Derrick Coleman taught us that?
    And I think Cousins MIGHT be ok under the right coach.
    Imagine if Greg Poppovich or Jerry Sloan coached him?
    He has tremendous talent, I don’t think he rode any Kentucky wave. Fact of the matter is dude was top 5 in his high school class and probably would’ve been UK’s best player if it weren’t for foul trouble.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Cousins would have been top five no matter where he went. Did you see what dude was doing to college bigs? I don’t even watch college ball, and even I saw some of his mauling. If he hadn’t had all the off-court drama he would have challenged Wall for the top pick.
    And he ain’t that fat. Big Baby is fatter.
    I’m on Team Cousins until he proves me wrong.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Also, I know exactly the play NBK is talking about. Most bigs would have gotten a charge, or made horrible pass to the cutter. Instead, he slowed it up, then made a cross court pass to a wide open Pooh Jeter.
    Look at the way he attacks on the face up. How when he gets his shoulder pass the defender, he leans his body into them to make it harder for them to block his shot. The way he uses his hips to nudge leapers off balance so he can get shots up.
    Dudes hands are ridiculous! Plus he knows where to be on the court. Like I said, the big problems is that he gets off balance, he rushes and his mind isn’t completely right yet. But, he’s growing fast.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Demarcus Cousins should be a top 5 center in the league. He reminds me of Derrick Coleman with all that talent

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

    Jtaylor is looking dumb here. …… The sky is the limit for cuz. He has post moves, outside shot, good passing, rebounds ok not great, plays solid d but can improve there, and has quick hands. And he was going against a big c in nene who is also quick n nimble. The kings have got to get a top wing player.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Pretty slow commenting today…