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Sunday, February 6th, 2011 at 9:00 am  |  24 responses

Post Up: Boom Boom Pau

As Cleveland goes L-streaking.

by Anton Kudriavtsev/ @TheDiesel

Hawks 99, Wizards 92

Josh Smith stepped in for the injured Al Horford and put up his own All-Star numbers with 29 points and 16 rebounds as the Hawks took down the Wizards. Atlanta led through halftime and sustained a Wizards comeback attempt as they answered back with a 12-4 run and never trailed in the 4th quarter. John Wall scored 18 points with 6 assists but was just 2-of-7 from the free throw line, contributing to Washington’s woes at the stripe (8-of-18 overall). The Hawks, on the other hand, converted 26 of 35 free throws on their way up the Eastern standings. Will they get the 3 seed over Chicago to face the guaranteed 2nd round buy-in otherwise known as the 6-8 seeds of the East?

Lakers 101, Hornets 95

The good news for the Hornets is that they played well and over-achieved as usual thanks to floor general Chris Paul. The bad news is that the Lakers are treating wins like lost jewellery – once you get it, you hold on to it for dear life. Despite CP3’s ultra-efficient 21 points (on just 11 shots) and 15 assists, Kobe poured in 32 points with 9 rebounds and 5 assists while Pau Gasol went into Black Swan mode with 34 points and 10 rebounds. An impressive 1-2 punch finally coming together in a key win? Sure, but I was disappointed that Kobe didn’t pay tribute to his latest SLAM cover by scoring 146 points. A close game down the stretch, Bryant’s 3-pointer with 3:20 left to play gave L.A. the lead for good as they look to take back the 2 seed from Dallas in the standings. The Hornets were undermanned (without Okafor and Ariza), yet they were still able to claw back into the game from being down 14. Paul’s ridiculous floater off the glass tied it at 92 apiece with 3:43 left, but the Hornets were limited to a single three-pointer for the remainder of the game. This is what happens when you’re taller and score 23 of 27 free throws versus New Orleans’ 4 attempts. I don’t mean to judge by appearance, but Aaron Gray looks like he’s been working on his XBox game more than his actual game. The Lakers looked sharper and they only turned the ball over a season-low 4 times as they look to get back on track.

Mavs 101, Bobcats 92

Led by Dirk Nowitzki’s 25 points, the Mavs extended their win streak to 8 games with a victory over the Bobcats. Instead of relying on Jason Kidd’s travel-triple to win games, Dallas built up a lead early and absorbed a late run by Charlotte. D.J. Augustin led the ‘Cats with 21 by the team shot just 37% from the field and still haven’t beaten the Mavs since moving to Charlotte (0-14, to be exact). Did anyone else’s League Pass go crazy in this game? In the 2nd quarter, all players’ faces turned an Avatar-like blue and jerseys of opposite colors for me.

Blazers 111, Cavs 105

Speaking of blue faces, the Cavaliers set the NBA all-time record in failure with their 24th straight loss, this time to the Blazers. The frustrating aspect is not necessarily the epic losing streak, but that the team lost in the exact same way over the last two dozen games. Cleveland stayed competitive for the first 3 quarters, even having a slight lead in the 4th before falling apart. Wes Matthews scored 31 for the Blazers but it was Andre Miller (7 points, 13 assists) who delivered the knockout blow. Looking at his stats you’d think he made as much impact as Taylor Griffin on the Suns, but ‘Dre’s shots all came in the 4th quarter, including a tough 12-foot fadeaway to put his Blazers over the top. Fittingly, Cleveland’s last possession was a mess that ended with the ball bouncing off of J.J. Hickon’s stone hands and eventually, a missed lay-up. I realize it’s a record, but is there really a need to put it on the NBA. com’s homepage with an amber alert labelled “breaking news”? I don’t think the Nets got that kind of treatment last year. Not depressed yet, Cavs fans? After viewing this “Not Top 10″ list, you will be.

Grizzlies 93, Rockets 95

Kevin Martin would like to thank his high school coaches from not forcing him to change his shot. Martin scored 31 points and went 15-of-15 at the free throw line as his Rockets overcame the Grizzlies in overtime. Zach Randolph contributed 22 points and 17 rebounds for Memphis whose 5-game win streak comes to an end. The Grizzlies seem to struggle with back-to-backs as their energy declined down the stretch, scoring just 22 points in the final quarter and overtime. Luis Scola scooped more than an ice cream shop to the tune of 17 points, 6 of which came in extra minutes after his Rockets rallied from a 14-point deficit earlier in the game. Houston have won the last 10 games if they held their opponent to less than 100 points while Memphis are now a half game behind Portland for the final playoff spot in the West.

Pistons 89, Bucks 78

Milwaukee’s offense has been about as steady this season as Egypt’s government, as the Bucks continued to struggle with a loss to the Pistons. Shooting just 39%, Andrew Bogut led the way with 18 points and 9 rebounds but the rest of the starters were a combined 14-of-41 as Detroit put the game away with a 12-2 third quarter run. T-Mac scored 20 while Rip Hamilton was brought out of semi-retirement and scored 15 points off the bench. “I thought it was a joke” Hamilton said. No, Rip. The joke is the fact that they still haven’t traded you yet despite you not playing the previous 13 games.

Nuggets 113, Wolves 100

Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points in three quarters before sitting out the rest of the way with a flared elbow/ego while J.R. Smith picked up the slack with 10 of his 14 points coming in the 4th to carry the Nuggets over Minnesota. The Wolves let everyone through the lane like a security guard close to retirement, giving up 50 points in the paint as Denver shot 54%from the field and 40% from long distance. Kevin Love held the rebounding portion of the evening down pat, with 19 boards in addition to 18 points while Mike Beasley got back on track with 23 points and 5 assists. Bottom line: no stops, no wins for the Wolves. I imagine Kurt Rambis’ whiteboard has a new motivational phrase: “At least we’re not as bad as the Cavs, right?”

Thunder 121, Jazz 105

Analyzing this game only affirms the notion that the Thunder are on their way up the elite totem pole while the Jazz seem to be stuck in 1st gear. Although the Thunder would shoot a blazing 56% from the field (with an unreal 61% from triple land), Utah started out 11-of-11 from the field, with Millsap (34 points, 10 rebounds) and Jefferson (21 points) doing the most damage inside. After getting a lift from their bench with Maynor scoring a quick 8 points in the 2nd quarter, the Thunder decided to drive and dish for the rest of the game, and it worked. OKC made a season-best 13-of-21 three-pointers, led by Russell Westbrook’s 33 points (4-of-4 from distance) and 10 assists while Durant added 21 points. Westbrook’s last 3-pointer came on a posssession where Jeff Green was motioning that Harden was wide open, but Russ let it fly and smiled with his “I got this” look. After starting out effective (check out the crossover on Harden and wraparound dish to Jefferson in the highlights), Deron Williams finished with just 14 points (on 15 shots) and 11 assists and his Jazz begin to look worn down in the 2nd half while the young Thunder penetrated and detonated from distance. The Thunder continue to grow and mature, showing a veteran poise in close games and an iron will against tough opponents. OKC are now 6-3 on the second night of back-to-back games.

Bulls 90, Warriors 101

Avenging a 30-point loss to the Bulls earlier in the year, the Warriors relied on their dynamic backcourt to get the win and snap Chicago’s 6-game win streak. Monta Ellis soared for 33 points and 5 assists while Steph Curry added 23 in a game that saw Golden State command the lead with a late 15-0 run into the 4th quarter. Derrick Rose was a quiet 14 points and 10 assists (inefficiency heads will have a field day against him) while Boozer led the Bulls with 21 points and 10 boards. The Bulls looked out of sync for most of the night and led for the last time with 11 minutes to play before failing to defend Golden State’s potent scoring down the stretch (Ellis and Curry scored 13 of the 15 critical points). Random stat of the night: tonight was the first time in 101 games that the Warriors attempted 10 or more free throws (23-13) more than their opponent.

Overtime

“Check My $tats” of the night: Pau Gasol – 34 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block. Sometimes being selfish is good.

Separated at Birth of the day: Rick Carlisle and Jim Carrey.

Breaking news on the trade front: a proposed 3-team trade that sends Melo to New York. Say it with me: “KHAN!”

I have an idea for the NBA’s new line of time-travelling “Encouragement” commercials: Greg Oden. “Hey, Greg. Five years from now…actually, you should probably enjoy your basketball life while you still can.”

While 600 million eyes will be on the Super Bowl today (go Packers!), don’t forget to check out the Heat/Clippers and Celtics/Magic games during your pre-Bowl celebrations.

I’m out like Rip’s emotions.

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  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    4 FT’s is ridiculous. At home too.
    CP is the best PG in the L hands down, if you don’t realise that now, your stupid. He had 21/15 on 8/11 shooting whilst getting major minutes from the motley crew of David Anderson, Mbenga, Aaron Gray, Pondexter, and as usual Bellinelli.
    Russ lit up Deron last night!!! He absolutely dominated him in the 2nd half.
    Rose almost had the bad kind of triple double, but as I didn’t watch a minute of that game, I can’t really comment.

  • Jer dawg

    Fickle Laker fan here. W/o Ariza & Okafor and barely win? Not saying those Hornet players were all stars, but at least they were starters that got consistent minutes. Second stringers starting doesn’t scream “no help here” by my standards. Not impressed. But Lakers pace is more methodical now so blowouts on road shouldn’t be surprising.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    Good game by my Lakers, and GO STEELERS, Anton. C’mon now

  • HAMMER

    Congrats to Prime Time and Marshall Faulk

  • HAMMER

    Man. My blazers had me nervous there 4 a bit. It would’ve been embarassing had we lost last night

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

    “Milwaukee’s offense has been about as steady this season as Egypt’s government” Made me choke on my cereal. Lol.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    AllBall, I’ll comment on that game for you – Rose played like sh*t.
    He played better when he was dealing with two ulcers.
    Nine effing turnovers against the Warriors, a team allergic to defense, or so I thought.
    I’ll take my hat off (even though I don’t wear hats) to Keith Smart, who lived up to his name and figured out a way to trap Rose in a manner Rose himself says he’d never seen before and just downright bothered the sh*t out of him to the point where he coughed the ball over 9 times.
    Monta Ellis was a beast, just cold-blooded.

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    @Jer dawg – That’s how good CP3 is, take away a few of his starters who aren’t even spectacular anyway and he still gives you a great chance to win the game.

  • Mike from Spain

    I have some doubts… I am a Lakers fan but CP3 is my favourite player now

  • http://sdfklf.com Jukai

    AllBall: Yer getting a bit overbearing, bro. I know you’re exciting your favorite player is killing it, but if Deron starts killing it again at the end of the season and CP3 goes back to being meek and not taking shots, you’d be upset if someone constantly was pointing it again. Don’t be that guy!

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    Jukai, i’ve been like this all year. CP3 has not been meek all season, he shot the same number of shots last night that he averages.
    Check his game log on basketball-reference.com, then check Deron Williams, and if you still think i’m being over bearing, let me know.
    CP has been out playing him all year!

  • The Fresh Prince of Nsam

    “U know what it iiissss – Black n Yellow – Black n Yellow -Black n Yellow – Aaahhh Ha!”

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    And Derons team have lost 7/8 with him playing, and in the middle of that he took a 4 games stretch off where Utah went 2-2. Did you watch last nights game? Westbrook torched him. Seriously, 2nd half, it was a massacre.
    Then go back the last two weeks, CP outplayed Westbrook twice, once on 1 leg (literally).
    I wasn’t always a huge CP fan, but when I started seeing that the guys basketball IQ is off the charts, he always plays hard, and he always makes the right play, I fell in love with guys game. I struggle to see how, if you watch CP consistently, you don’t feel the same.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    On that last statement, I don’t mean you specifically, people in general, I know your a fan of his.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    Enigmatic, thanks for that info. When I saw GSW on the calendar I expected a huge night from Rose.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    T-Mac is the best player on the Pistons roster… And their best point guard, to boot. We’ve seen Gordon light up other team’s defenses, so when Rip is traded a backcourt of McGrady and Gordon should start, with Stuckey as the sixth man, imo. Actually, Gordon would make a great sixth man too. I really want to see what Mac can do as a starter again–he’ll surprise a lot of folks.

  • bashmo

    By now if people arent realizing CP3 be the best PG in basketball then youre simply living in the 09-10 season…the most efficient guard in the league in just about every aspect has New Orleans a solid record after not making the playoffs last year…and the Hornets stayed competitive with L.A without 2 starters in Ariza and Okafor. Give CP3 the respect he deserves, he is the best PG in the NBA

  • http://sdfklf.com Jukai

    Allball: Well, since I’ve told you a million times I’ve thought CP was the best point in the league, I don’t even get the last blanket statement.
    I’m just saying that CP3 hasn’t “earned” anything, and I’m not accounting for record— when Utah had a better record than New Orleans, was Deron the better point than CP3 during that stretch?
    I think CP3 is getting better— if YOU don’t realize he’s been steadily progressing all year, then you perhaps have the problem.
    Deron Williams JUST came back from an injury: remember how you were saying we can’t blame Westbrook for running circles around Chris Paul last game cause of Paul’s leg? Yeah, there’s that.
    Look, I’m one of CP3′s biggest defenders on here. I think he’s the best. But he’s still in the same league as Deron Williams. CP3, by the end of the year, will probably separate the field a bit.
    But the bottom line is: Deron started off the season stronger, CP3 has healed and gotten better and is looking steadily better than Deron, and we still have almost half the season to go.
    So, once again, chill. Cause if you Utah overtakes New Orleans, which, knowing New Orleans roster, it may very well happen, you’ll be caught with your pants down on the whole “LOOK AT THE RECORD” talk.

  • http://sdfklf.com Jukai

    Ignore the blanket statement comment, just read your later post.

  • http://slamonline.com Caboose

    What Jukai said

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    When Utah had a better record, ofcourse I still thought CP was better. Westbrook wasn’t running circles around CP, CP outplayed him in that game, and playing on one leg/coming back from major surgery, is different to coming back from a sprained wrist.
    How did Deron start stronger? CP had his team at 11-1 and was number 1 in the MVP watch on both NBA and ESPN websites.
    If Utah finish with a better record with New Orleans, it won’t be down to Paul/Williams, Utah has a much more talented roster. For New Orleans to even be 5th in the West is a testament to how great Paul is.

  • tomtom

    I think it says a lot that kobe’s nickname is black mamba and pau’s new alter ego is black swan (great movie btw) but it would seem pau was just one step ahead of “robin” while stood waiting in the gay nicknames for sidekicks line.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    Juks, what do you mean by ‘runnin circles around CP’? Russ had 10 pts, 8 assists, 5 turnovers against CP. Against Deron he had 31 points, 10 assists, 3 turnovers.

  • http://slamonline.com rudy

    Are you saying Pau? What are you saying? PAU!

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