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Tuesday, December 27th, 2011 at 8:45 am  |  121 responses

Post Up: Chris Who?

Plus Jimmer, Kemba, Ricky, DWill and Kyrie make their NBA debuts.

by Abe Schwadron | Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

Christmas Day was fun, but there’s something special about tracking a half-dozen NBA games at once. That’s what we got Monday night, with a 12-pack of games on the schedule. And even if the early games looked like clunkers on paper, we got the first glimpses of rookies we’ll be talking about all year—from Kemba to Kyrie—and good finishes to boot. I won’t lie, I was locked in to Wizards-Nets for the first couple hours of the night (sad, I know) but after watching the Wiz blow a 20+ point lead, you may not have to worry about me being distracted much longer. Anyway, we’ve got a long list of games to run through, so let’s get to it.

Bobcats 96, Bucks 95

Brandon Jennings led all scorers in this one with 22 (and at one point, he was happy), but down the stretch Paul Silas put DJ Augustin and Kemba Walker on the court together, and the two-headed point guard monster “lineup” paid dividends. Augustin (19 points) put the Bobcats up one on a driving layup with just over 30 seconds to play, then Walker drained a pair of clutch free throws to ice the game. King Kemba shot just 3-of-10 in his NBA debut, but finished with 13 points and one highlight that even made Mike crack a smile. Peep what Coach Silas said about Walker in the post-game: “That’s one thing about Kemba Walker—he ain’t gonna give up at all. He stepped up and made two big free throws and it won the game. It was just phenomenal what he did for this ballclub at such a young age having never played professional basketball. He’s got it.”

Still, Charlotte snuck past Milwaukee despite a big man rotation of DJ White (who started, somehow), DeSagana Diop, Bismack Biyombo and Byron Mullens. Yeah, that ain’t gonna fly for long. As for the Bucks, Stephen Jackson had as many personal fouls as he did points, with 6, and fellow starter Ersan Ilyasova scored just 2 points in 27 minutes. In the feel-good department, Shaun Livingston went for 14 points and 6 assists, and even went backboard-slapping, which was nice to see, considering all that dude’s been through.

Magic 104, Rockets 95

Orlando is the early favorite for “most consistently boring game recap,” so here goes: Dwight Howard returned to Dwight Howard-like form after a disappointing outing on Christmas Day, going for 21 points (9-15 FG), 7 boards, 3 assists and 3 blocks, and the Magic shot 53 percent as a team, coasting to their first win of the season against Houston. Hedo Turkoglu had 23 and JJ Redick scored 20 (each had 3 threes), while the Rockets thought it was a good idea to go with Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill in the starting lineup. The only redeeming Rockets were Luis Scola, who scored 19, and Kyle Lowry, who made his fantasy owners happy with 20 points and 12 assists.

Raptors 104, Cavaliers 96

Tough night for Kyrie Irving. In his first professional game, the No. 1 pick shot 2-of-12 and had 6 points (3 came on a meaningless trey in the final minute of the game). He finished with 7 assists and just one turnover in 26 minutes, but didn’t look comfortable. The rest of the Cavs didn’t do much to help out the rook, shooting 6-20 from three-point range, while allowing the Raptors to shoot better than 53 percent from the field. Alonzo Gee took a scary spill, but he looked to be okay afterward. Seven Toronto players scored in double figures, led by 15 from DeMar Derozan and Jose Calderon, who also had 11 assists. Could this have been a matchup of the two worst teams in the East? Yes.

Pacers 91, Pistons 79

This was an ugly one. New Pacer David West shot just 3-12 in 31 minutes, but finished with a double-double (11 points, 12 rebounds), as did Roy Hibbert (16 and 14), and Indiana beat Detroit. The Pistons were led by 17 points apiece from Jonas Jerebko and Rodney Stuckey, and not much else. Detroit shot an atrocious 36 percent from the field (27-75). Then again, the Pacers shot 37 percent. More fun things from this game: Ben Wallace still gets booed in Indiana, George Hill (4 points, 4 assists) is already a hometown fan favorite and Frank Vogel won his first game without the word “interim” in front of his name.

Nets 90, Wizards 84

Oh boy. Heck of start for my Wiz, eh? The notes I jotted down for this game: “ft’s, hump, blatches tweet.” Let’s take those one at a time. First, the Wizards shot 21-34 from the charity stripe, good for 62 percent. John Wall missed 6 free throws on his own, which, you’ll notice, was literally the difference in the game. (Side note: maybe it’s my DC bias, but Wall doesn’t get nearly enough respect from the refs. He attacked the rim relentlessly last night, and shot just 13 free throws.) Kris Humphries put up 21 and 16. That’s worth repeating: Kris Humphries put up 21 and 16. And lastly, Andray Blatche. It won’t take long for anyone who reads this blog to figure out my feelings on Dray, and through one game, he’s done nothing to change those feelings. Especially after jacking up 13 shots, mostly from the outside, and then complaining via Twitter and to the local media that he played poorly for reasons outside his control.

The Wizards held a 21-point lead in the first half, and Nick Young scored 12 points in 8 minutes before halftime. But Young tweaked his ankle when Blatche (surprise) fell on his leg, and could only play 10 second-half minutes. He finished with 16, and was by far Washington’s most effective offensive option. Deron Williams scored 23 for New Jersey, plus 8 assists. And yes, the AP‘s lede went there: “Maybe Washington Wizards fans were keeping up with the Kardashians.” Expect that garbage to follow the Nets around until their play merits more serious attention. For his part, Avery Johnson doesn’t get it: “I’m trying to figure out: What did he do? I’m serious. It may be because I don’t follow reality TV—I don’t know all the ins and outs of it.”

Thunder 104, Timberwolves 100

Ricky Rubio is officially appointment television. I hate upstaging OKC, since Kevin Durant scored 33 and Russell Westbrook added 28 of his own en route to the Thunder’s second win. But Rubio was everything we’ve been hearing about, dropping dime passes left and right, first to Anthony Randolph, then to fellow rookie Derrick Williams. Okay, so six assists (and six points, five rebounds) in 26 minutes might not make him a Hall of Famer, but there’s no denying he was fun to watch, and Minnesota’s Rubio-Barea-Love-Beasley-Williams lineup is one of the most entertaining in the NBA right now. That is, if B-Easy can get a wee bit better in terms of shot selection—he heaved as many shots (27) as the rest of the T-Wolves starters did, combined. Kevin Love’s 22, 12 and 5 should be should be noted, too, before we get to the winners…

Oklahoma City leaned heavy on KD, Russ and James Harden (16 points in 30 minutes) and shot 29-31 from the free throw line as a team. Durant scored six straight points to end the third quarter, and Westbrook was aggressive in the fourth, taking it to Rubio and JJ Barea (and poor Luke Ridnour), who stood no chance on the defensive end. Kendrick Perkins came up big on a Beasley drive with less than 10 seconds to play, and the Thunder moved to 2-0. The T-Wolves might not even be a playoff team, but it was a gritty road win for OKC.

Nuggets 115, Mavericks 93

Is it panic time in Big D, or are Miami and Denver just really, really good? Nuggets guard Ty Lawson scored 21 points…in the first half. That’s more than he scored in any single game during his summer Euroleague stint, where his season-high was 14. Lawson finished with 27, to go with 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Denver went on a 20-0 run in the second quarter, and put this one away early.

It was so bad for Dallas, reserve big man Sean Williams blew chunks on the bench. No seriously, he did.

Spurs 95, Grizzlies 82

Last year, the Grizz took out the top-seeded Spurs in one of the more memorable first-round Playoff series. Last night, the Spurs exacted a hint of revenge, albeit it with much less at stake. Then again, with a condensed season that will surely hit veteran teams harder than young legs, it was big for San Antonio to look so strong out of the gate. Manu Ginobili scored 24 points and filled up the rest of the stat sheet with 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and a block as the Spurs controlled this one in the second half, despite being outshot 46 percent to 40 from the field.

Memphis’s starting lineup is as advertised—Mike Conley (11), Marc Gasol (13),  Rudy Gay (19) and Zach Randolph (10) scored in double figures, and Tony Allen did his thing on defense. But the Grizzlies are thin as can be. Lionel Hollins got only minimal contributions from OJ Mayo and Sam Young, and almost nothing from the four other guys he tried. Depth will be the end of the Grizzlies unless someone emerges or they can make a move. Simple as that.

Hornets 85, Suns 84

Happy Birthday, Eric Gordon. A day after EG turned 23 years old, he turned in an “eff you LA” performance against the Suns, capped off by a 20-footer with 4.2 seconds remaining to give the Hornets their first win in the post-Chris Paul era. Gordon scored 20 points for New Orleans, provided the clutch fireworks when called on, and did it all like he’d done it before. A Star is Born? Was he already? Does playing in New Orleans mean you can’t really be a star? Help! With Jarret Jack serving a suspension, Marco Belinelli got the start at the other guard spot, but Greivis Vasquez essentially played the PG minutes, and looked like a shrewd pick-up for the Hornets. New Orleans might be a fringe playoff team, but they’re versatile and have depth. Also, backup point guard Squeaky Johnson might have delivered the post-game tweet of the night.

Steve Nash delivered a classic 14-point, 12-assist night, while Phoenix got a huge boost off the bench from the less-heralded, more Sideshow Bob-looking Lopez twin, Robin, who put up 21 and 7 in 27 minutes. He outplayed new addition Shannon Brown, who shot just 1-8 (2 points) in 20 minutes.

Kings 100, Lakers 91

Laker haters, eat your heart out. L.A. sits at 0-2 after losing a seemingly impossible-to-lose game at Sacramento. The Lakers haven’t started 0-3 since 1978. They get Utah tonight. Think Kobe is angry? Well, he scored 29 in the loss to the Kings (plus 6 dimes and 5 boards), while the rest of the Lake Show didn’t show. Metta World Peace scored 19 and Pau Gasol had 15, but the Lakers shot 1-for-16 from 3-point land, and trailed basically the whole way in this one, as Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans teamed up for 47 from the Kings backcourt. The Sac-Town crowd delighted with “Beat L.A.” chants late in the second half, while The Jimmer played 26 minutes and scored 6 points, despite not attempting even one trey ball. And damn, those black Kings jerseys are fire. And Gavin Maloof is extra excited about these things.

Trail Blazers 107, Sixers 103

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 25 points, and Gerald Wallace had 21 and 9, as the Blazers held off a late surge for the Sixers. Portland went up 95-80 late before Lou Williams scored 10 straight points for Philly to help bring the Sixers within three with 16 seconds left. It was too little too late for Philadelphia, who opened the game missing 11 of its first 16 shots. Williams scored 25 off the bench, and Andre Iguodala put up 22 and 8 in 40 minutes. The performance of the game, though, came from an unlikely name, as Sixers center Spencer Hawes flirted with a triple-double (10/13/9).

Portland looked strong despite losing some key pieces, and got 29 minutes from the oft-injured Marcus Camby. Oh, and Jamal Crawford (12 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals in 22 minutes) is so perfect in Portland. Those fans will love him.

Warriors 99, Bulls 91

Stephen Curry’s ankle woes just won’t go away. He led Golden State to an impressive victory—and the first for Mark Jackson as an NBA head coach—but rolled his ankle yet again in the waning moments of the game. Good thing he got in his work early: 21 points, 7 boards, 10 assists, 6 steals in 37 minutes. Monta Ellis added 26 and David Lee chipped in 22 as the Warriors jumped out to a big early lead on the MVP and the Bulls, then hung on for dear life. Luol Deng led the way for Chicago with 22 points and 10 rebounds, but Derrick Rose struggled to a 13-8-5 line, and shot just 4-of-17 from the floor.

Line of the Night: Spencer Hawes’ 10 points, 14 rebounds, 9 assists. I’m sorry, but any time Spencer friggin’ Hawes is 1 assist shy of a triple-double, it’s worthy of this award. Can you imagine the reaction if he’d dropped that last dime? Might Twitter have exploded, along with Nate McMillan’s head?

Moment of the Night: Eric Gordon, FTW. It was against the Suns, but it was for the Clippers.

Tonight: TNT has Celtics-Heat and Jazz-Lakers for its first doubleheader of the season, and we get Rubio vs. Jennings in Milwaukee at 8:30. Plus, Hawks-Nets and the Kings in Rip City against the Blazers.

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  • RobbieJay

    really happy for eric gordon

  • shutup

    I just wanna state that i think this Rubio ish is outta hand he had 6 assists lets hold off on the Magic comparisons for a while please.

  • Mike From Spain

    I think Ricky Rubio had a decent showing for his debut. He took two shots, made them (the three pointer was a half-court heave at the end of quarter buzzer), made the free throws, gave a few highlight worthy assists (would have been more if his teammates had shot a bit better), rebounded OK, directed the fastbreak and the half court sets well, was not embarassed too badly by Russel Westbrook… all in 26 minutes. When he’s more comfortable playing more minutes, and if Beasley chucks less silly shots, he’ll post regularly 10- 14 point, 10+ assist, 5+ rebound, 1-2 steal nights on low turnovers and few missed shots. He’ll probably have no big stats but he’ll be efficient. If he ups his scoring a tiny little bit I see him as a double double machine.

  • izzo

    Trade Beasley now.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    Right now it’s subtraction by addition for Memphis with Gay back. Did y’all see Rudy Gay jacked off 18 shots last night, and only shot 3 free throws? That’s not the guy Memphis should be running their offense through. I’m going to say it now, the Grizzlies are not contenders in the West as long as Gay is shooting more than Zach and Marc.

  • Bruno

    I don’t think Rubio is the best PG or anything like that but 6 dimes and 0 TO, I’m fine with that

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Looks like another season of Orl chucking 25-30 3s while DHow barely gets up 15 shots in a game. When will the Hedgehog learn?
    I’m surprised teams stayed away from KHump this off-season because the boy is a double-double machine.
    Also, just when I think that CP has regained his point god status, DWill pulls gems like last night out of his a**.
    When you replace TChandler with Brendan Haywood, you look like DAL has the past 2gms.
    DCousins could be a perennial 22-12 guy if he ever gets his mind right and stays out of foul trouble.
    If CHI had to play at GS for the remaining 64gms, they might go 1-65.

  • Heals

    Lotsa the youngsters looked pretty good last night. Didn’t see enough of Kyrie and Jimmer looked a little bit out of it, but look who he’s playing with (not many assists for those Kings littles). I can already see Minny going Tebow for Rubio, crowd and announcers were just eating everything he did up…

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    As for Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, he’s in DENIAL…last night after another blowout loss he talkin bout the Nuggets record since the Melo trade…LMAO…They aren’t even the same Denver team from last year…Got Andre Miller instead of Raymond Felton. Will the Thrill’s in China. K-Mart and JR are both gone for good. In fact Dallas even gave Denver Rudy Fernandez and Corey Brewer, who both chipped in a combined 13 points 8 boards and 4 steals off the Nuggets bench last night in their route of the Mavs. LOL! Well, let me tell y’all something about the Mavs record since they subtracted Tyson Chandler, JJ Barea, Caron Butler, and DeShawn Stevenson: ZERO WINS and TWO BLOWOUT LOSSES. That’s a FACT Rick Carlisle! Me thinks Cuban killed the Mavs chemistry in his quest to make room for 2012 free agency, and there’s a very good chance Dwight Howard and Deron Williams end up somewhere else.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    BREAKING NEWS: Knicks claim Jeremy Lin. Just in time for Oaktown! :)

  • http://bulls.com airs

    Bulls looked horrible last nite, cept the fourth quarter.
    The defense was nonexisitant and the turnovers were ridiculous, I don’t blame thibs for sitting jo, booz AND rip almost the whole fourth quarter, they need to be better than that.
    Lu stays playing well and being underrated.
    Derrick needs to be more aggressive, period.
    Congrats to mark jackson for actually getting GS to play D

  • charliewinning

    Mike Brown will be a scapegoat is three months.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    If the team is around .500 he won’t be a scapegoat. He will be a mistake. Jim Buss’ second coaching hire screw-up in as many tries.

  • LA Huey

    “Did y’all see Rudy Gay jacked off” LOL

  • shutup

    I dont think Rubio avg double points in Spain, and Westbrook gave them like 28, I just think he’s a bit overhyped, and hes gonna get exploited when he faces teams with strong pg’s.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Rubio is built for the NBA. He will struggle like every young PG does, but he won’t be as mediocre as he was in Europe. There is way too much space in the L for him not too be successful.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    TChandler’s contract with the knicks: $58,000,000
    Courtside tickets for knick’s games: $5,000
    Orange gloating about the knicks picking up Jeremy Lin: Priceless

  • http://sdfjklf.com Jukai

    In my mind, Rubio will be a better Jason Williams. Maybe not perennial all-star but crazy flashy and entertaining. I mean, he scores a bit, rebounds a bit, passes a lot, and he didn’t even look that terrible on defense (in comparison to how Ridnour and Barea were getting it).
    He just LOOKED good. He’s built for the NBA show.

  • http://sdfjklf.com Jukai

    I know I wasn’t the only one on this board saying it, but I was working HARD to convince people that Eric Gordon was going to be better than OJ Mayo right from the get go.
    Now Gordon has the keys to his own team.
    and Mayo looks like a streaky reserve.
    Just patting my own back, no one else will do it.

  • http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/hamilri01.html Allenp

    Boozer is horrible. He is killing the Bulls right now. It’s sad.
    Philly is a tough little team.
    The Blazers appear to be playing a lot more uptempo, which suits their personnel more than that grind it out style. I like it.
    Steph Curry was giving Rose the business to a degree. His pull up game is just filthy. And, like I said, Monta is underrated as a complete basketball player. He should be an All-Star. David Lee is looking spry too.
    Those are all the games I managed to catch due to family obligations.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Rubio’s skill set from best too worst, Passing, On-The-Ball Defense, Off-the-Ball Defense, Rebounding, Scoring. He’s going to be a really good defender. He’s a pest, one of those guys that’s involved in every play.

  • Mike From Spain

    @ Jukai -> hindsight makes seeing these things easier… yes, you were right about EG

  • http://sdfjklf.com Jukai

    Allen: I think we’re both going to have to give Lee some props. I said he’d be a 10-8 player when he left New York.
    Monta NEEDS to be an all-star. I don’t think people realize how insane his offensive repertoire is. Maybe he can take Kobe’s old spot?

  • Mike From Spain

    I sometimes wonder why the Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry backcourt don’t accomplish more… they are really good and fun to watch.

  • izzo

    There’s no reason Taj Gibson shouldn’t be starting over Boozer at this point.

  • DeeDre

    I’m sorry, but did I read that Kris Humphries put up 21 and 16 and no one’s commenting on this? Lol that’s comedy if not surprising

  • charliewinning

    OJ Mayo was “better” than Rose and Gordon in high school because he was two years older than other kids in his grade. Same with Bill Walker. My lil bro was born in ’87 just like OJ, except he and every other kid that age graduated high school in ’05. Mayo graduated in ’07. He’s the product of a grassroots culture that purposely leaves kids back a grade to dominate younger comp. That Reebok Big Time AAU game proved that Rose & Gordon had more potential than Mayo.

  • http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/hamilri01.html Allenp

    There are like 16 million.
    And that’s the freaking problem!
    Gibson is better at everything than Boozer, but he’s not being paid to be the second best guy on the court, and you can’t have that sort of salary sitting on your bench uninvolved and uninterested. It cripples your team. Golden State is a team tailor made for Boozer to dominate. David Lee is not a good defender, they don’t have great rebounding, yet he looked like a complete bum.
    And Rose for all his greatness, is trying too hard to be a more traditional point and get his teammates involved. Yes, that is what the team will need when it is balanced, but right now, those bastards are still standing around waiting for Derrick to make something happen, at least outside Deng. Rose is just going to have to start jacking shots because that’s all his teammates seem to understand.
    Man, the Bulls slipped by not at least forcing Washington to match and offer on Nick Young. He would be so effective alongside Rose and Deng it’s not even funny.

  • http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/hamilri01.html Allenp

    I think OJ can hoop. He just needs the right environment and consistent minutes.
    Right now, I think he’s been placed into a role as a “shooter” and that’s not really his true game.
    Maybe I’m wrong, but I still like dude.

  • Kadavour

    @AllenP: How would Monte claim Kobe’s spot if Kobe’s getting 20+ shots and averaging 27+ points? i don’t see that happening.

    And did Steph ever light up AI-LITE. One of the two looked like a PG last night, i’ll let you guys tell me which.

  • http://www.twitter.com/nflem41 Nicolas Fleming

    Allen, think it was a defense thing? I was surprised Nick Young didn’t get any serious offers.

  • LA Huey

    Man, I’m almost feeling bad for Bulls fans at this point the way Boozer is killing his team.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    That’s what I’ve been saying. RIP does the exact same thing Deng does, as in catch and shoot. What the bulls really needed was a guy that could create a shot for himself at any given moment. They are going to experience similar problems scoring on MIA because the heat do a great job rotating and covering shooters on the perimeter.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    ^ Cosign.

  • LA Huey

    I think Young didn’t get any real offers because he’s seen as too much of a knucklehead.

  • http://ggfhh.com Jukai

    Family quote of the night,
    Father: “oh, lawrence frank is coaching the pistons?”
    Brother: “yeah, for a season or two.”

  • charliewinning

    Mayo would’ve fit better than Hamilton in that role. It’s not like he’ll be in Memphis after this season anyway.

  • http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/hamilri01.html Allenp

    I didn’t say Monta should claim Kobe’s spot, that was Jukai.
    I just said we need to find a spot for Monta on the team. Dude is not just a scorer, like some people think. He is a creator too. He makes good basketball plays on both ends. Like I said, dude is underrated.
    And I thought Rose looked like a point guard. He just didn’t shoot as much as Curry. He was more passive. He was running the offense, and passing up shots. Curry was taking shots whenever he got a chance, and then passing when it was the right play too. Rose can play the same way, I think he is just focusing too much on trying to get his teammates off. It won’t last.

  • http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/hamilri01.html Allenp

    Everybody complained that Rose was shooting too much last year, and so far this year he’s reduced his attempts a lot. But the Bulls don’t play like a team that needs strictly a passing point guard. They don’t run enough, they don’t have creators. They have mainly jumpshooters, defenders and rebounders. That’s a team built for a scoring point guard. Rose should always be score first, but realize you have to get your teammates involved.
    Only idiots think that there is only one way to play point guard. The team and system you have around you dictates the best way to play the position. All the great point guards understood that.

  • http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/hamilri01.html Allenp

    I just heard about David Thorpe noting that Blake should watch old Amare tapes to get his game right, and I couldn’t agree more. I was thinking the same thing watching the Clips on Christmas.
    Blake is basically Amare with better rebounding at this point in his career. But, he spends way too much time trying to score in isolation plays when his only real offensive move is a hard drive right.
    The Clips have to figure out how to run Blake pick and rolls, and how to use Jordan during those plays. They should consider some of what Golden State does when Biedrins is out their with Lee. Although Lee has a much better jumper than Blake, and can run pick and pop as well as pick and roll. It’s going to take some coaching.

  • http://itsahardwoodlife.blogspot.com omphalos

    Was anyone else impressed with Cousins last night? He was so energised going after boards that Gasol and Bynum had to foul him to keep him out, and the refs were picking up on it. Also, the charge he drew on Kobe was brilliant, as was his post-charge celebration. He seems committed to getting boards and not worrying about scoring a whole bunch of points. Also, Rubio’s stats weren’t great, but the impact he had when he was on the floor can’t be expressed in numbers, everything worked better when he was involved and he made some good plays defensively down the stretch as well. As far as Rubio’s rebounding is concerned he should have had more but the Wolves were literally fighting each other for defensive rebounds and the taller players were taking them out of Rubio’s hands.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    DWest’s more of a knucklehead than Young, yet more teams were interested in him.
    MEllis is an all-star worthy player but when will that translate to wins?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I was very impressed with Cousins. Basically if he makes it through a game without fouling everything that moves I get impressed though.

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    For whatever reason Rose’s Bulls have always struggled in Oakland so I wasn’t too surprised by last night but there’s no excuse for their defense being so lackluster the first 3 quarters and all the turnovers and everything else.
    They should really consider amnestying (is that a word?) Carlos Boozer after this season.
    It’s ridiculous that a guy you’re paying that much money to doesn’t have the coache’s trust enough to play him in crucial fourth quarters.
    I caught some of Minny/OKC. Rubio is nice as a passer. Great court vision. He’ll be good I think.
    Can’t wait for Heat/Celtics. If Heat are as dominant against them as they were against Dallas, the NBA has a problem.

  • http://bulls.com airs

    Cosign allenp’s comment @ 12:01
    Derrick is admittedly starting off slower offensively this season, trying to get his teammates involved.
    But the bulls need him to score.
    Also, ppl are still sleeping on lu. He’s been vital the past two games and hardly gets any credit.
    Say what you want about the bulls not having another guy able to score but lu’s been that.
    Though I still would have like OJ over rip, I believe rip will fit into their system nicely.
    And I’m completely off the korver bandwagon

  • http://ggfhh.com Jukai

    Don’t blame me for the crazy things you say allen!

  • http://legendofmrpalmer.tumblr.com DP

    OJ mayo reached his peak during his senior year of high school.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Look no further than Engimatic for lots of luol love.

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    Lu is averaging 21.5 and 8.5 on 50% shooting through first two games. He keeps that up, he deserves the MIP or at least a spot on an all-NBA team.
    He shoulda been All-Defense last year.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Matic, don’t get ahead of yourself. Deng is never going to have a season where he should receive MIP at this point.

  • ThaWindy

    If only Boozer can miss his flight to Sac-Town and catch another flight that flys him over the Bermuda Triangle…problem solved.

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    We all know the MIP goes to whoever’s stats go up, not to who really improved the most.
    Yeah, I know it won’t happen, but he does deserve more love from whoever votes for All-Defensive team.
    Was that coaches or writers? I’m guessing coaches since Kobe made 1st team again.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    (All)All-NBA Teams are voted on by coaches if i’m not mistaken.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I think MIP going to come down too, Demarcus Cousins, Spencer Hawes, & Terrence Williams (after 1 game lol)

  • T-Ray

    Don’t know rather to read too much into the Laker loss or not..like Drake said LORD KNOWS! but one thing is for sure Marcus Thornton is that dude! Bulls looked lazy and Boozer is making himself look more over paid than Rashard Lewis was. The Mavs well what can you say…OH and Humphries should be booed more if he puts those numbers up either the boos did it or that Kim K got that good good lol

  • Kadavour

    Boozer was plenty effective in the pick and roll when Deron was getting him the ball. Rose just doesn’t look comfortable creating for others. one can literally see him missing opportunities. He creates for himself, but this kid doesn’t have the point guard awareness to put his team mates in spots that make the game easier for them. with his penetration abilities the drive and kick game to dudes like Deng and Hamilton should be butter.

  • bashmo

    The title of this post up is disrespectful to the best point guard in the league since Steve Nash

  • chingy

    Lu is consistently the Bull’s second best player (and sometimes best). Boozer needs to find his place on the bench. Rubio’s bounce passes == Steve Nashty’s bounce passes. The Cavs are a joke; tho Tristan looked good. As much as I don’t want to say this, the Grizz MIGHT be a one hit wonder. And as we all type/comment on this board, Mamba has steam coming out of his head.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    and knees.

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    SLAM, If none of your writers submit or y’all don’t post a story on Mac Irvin’s passing, I swear I’ll type one up myself and email it to Ryne and Adam every day until it gets posted.
    But that story NEEDS to be told on here.

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    OK, I wouldn’t do that. But a story on the man would still be nice on here.

  • T-Money

    rubio played well yesterday, i like the court vision obviously but i’m going to lose it if i hear jason kidd one more time – just let him grow. i’m still worried about the scoring and the defense (russ westbrook and james harden beat him in straight lines in the last 2 mins, they didn’t even try to shake him off, just first step and go). / if minny is thinking about maxing out kevin love, shouldn’t they try to see if they can run the offense through him? 27 shots for beas, really?!

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    Sneakerheads need to read the homie O’s latest article on our blog. DOPE read. As always, click my name for NYILL.
    Someone on Twitter said last night that first round pick of Minny’s than NO has doesn’t look so valuable anymore.
    Really? I think they’re still a lottery team. That makes the pick pretty valuable still for a deep draft.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    It’s weird that Rick Adelman’s offense doesn’t run through Love. Or Darko for that matter. I wonder if that was just like a scratch on their offensive “cd” (system) that will get smoothed out. Or if Beasley was just trying out for other teams…..

  • http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/hamilri01.html Allenp

    Kadavour
    I disagree on Boozer and Deron. Boozer was effective in the offensive system that helped make Karl Malone an NBA superstar and got Millsap a monster contract. It wasn’t his point guard that made him better, although Deron helped.
    Boozer is the same player he always was. I have been down on him for years because I saw how he hurt Deron in the long run. You need to ease up on Rose. Dude is the third best point in the League, in my opinion.

  • http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/hamilri01.html Allenp

    And Beasley is a horrendous chucker. I watched some of that game and was so pissed at him for some of those shots he forced. It’s crazy.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Boozer is a good regular season player, if you can get him for what Utah got Millsap. Overpaying him just to get someone during the summer of 2010 was a huge mistake though (imo). If they didn’t do that, they would have been able to compete for all the other big names that have switched/or will switch teams since that summer.

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

    @ Orange: That’s dope! I want to see Lin get minutes before Baron comes back… I have a feeling he can play.

  • chingy

    But Beasley’s so good in 2k12!! He must be deserving of those 27(!) shots.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    How has none of you had a go at the name SQUEAKY Johnson yet?

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    The Bulls INSIST Boozer was their number one PF they targeted last summer all along.
    I disagree. They weren’t really interested in Amare or Lee, but they definitely wanted Bosh more than they wanted Boozer.
    After Bosh joined up with Wade in Miami, the Bulls quickly inked Boozer.
    Signing Boozer was a risk the Bulls took to try and entice LeBron James to sign with them. They knew he wouldn’t go over there by himself without another top free agent because, well, Rose Deng and Noah somehow just weren’t enough for old Bron Bron (or more likely, he planned to go to Miami with Wade and Bosh all along).
    So they signed Booz, who quickly became the player/recruiter that Rose was (and still is) reluctant to be. Boozer and James are friends and former teammates on the Cavs and the Olympics.
    They figured best case scenario Bron could get got, worst case scenario at least they’ve got a 20/10 guy signed and they’d still have money left over for quality role players.
    We all know how it turned out. Heat got James, Bulls got Korver, Brewer, Watson and some other cats.
    And are stuck with Boozer, who is wildly inconsistent and injury-prone.
    If they could trade him for an expiring contract that would be ideal but not possible because a team is not going to take on that huge contract of his, especially not for something as valuable as an expiring contract.
    I really do think if Boozer underachieves again this season, the Bulls have to amnesty him next offseason. Fact of the matter is, with Rose set to make a whole sh*tload of money (deservedly so), either Boozer, Noah or Deng is gonna have to go soon anyways. May as well amnesty Boozer.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Malone would have been a superstar in any offense.

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

    Rockets need to start Marcus Morris and Terrence Williams ahead of Chase Buddinger.

  • http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/hamilri01.html Allenp

    JTaylor
    I don’t know about that, to be honest. Dude wasn’t a great post player as far as scoring with his back to the basket. He hit the boards, he ran the floor, and he developed a jumper. Utah’s offense, with the cuts and screens, creates great touches in great spots for big men.
    It’s not just dump it into the post and go to work, which is what I see the Bulls doing a lot with Boozer.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Malone wasn’t really a great 1 on 1 scorer until he was in his 30′s. Before that he was basically the 80′s version of Amar’e Stoudemire. (less flashy, not as much range though)

  • LA Huey

    I agree with JTaylor. Mailman was an intelligent, hardworking player. He would have molded his skill set to excel any system. The stability of having Sloan coach him for all those years probably helped a bit but I don’t think he drops off enough to invalidate 1st ballot HOFer status.

  • http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/hamilri01.html Allenp

    Exactly NBK.
    Even when he was older he wasn’t “great” on the block. Against inferior bigs he knew how to use his bulk to bully them, and he had that quirky right-handed hook shot where you initiated contact with his left arm and tended to get the foul call.
    But, when do you remember Malone just unveiling crazy post moves? Never. He was a pick and roll guy early, a pick and pop guy late. always ran in transition, rebounded well, always knew how to find creases to find those nice passes from Stockton. That’s what he did, and he did it great.
    Boozer can do a lot of those things, just not as effectively. And he struggles to score on the block. He’s undersized, isn’t a great athlete, and tends to prefer to shoot jumpers.

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    Karl Malone is the greatest 4 of all time.

  • http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/hamilri01.html Allenp

    Duncan

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Well Malone was such a big guy in the paint. And he had terrific timing & hands. I think he would have been a 20 and 10 PF on any team in the league. But I don’t however think he was a shoe-in for the HOF in any system other than Utah’s. He really benefited from having Stockton (obviously). His efficiency was way higher than it would have been without him.

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    Nah.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Yes, Duncan is the best PF ever. I don’t feel like it’s even close.

  • http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/hamilri01.html Allenp

    Man, y’all are underestimating the impact location and teammates have on certain players.
    Take Steve Nash for instance. Nash is a Hall of Famer. One of the top ten point guards of all time. But, if he doesn’t go to Phoenix, and doesn’t meet D’Antoni and doesn’t hook up with Marion and Amare, that does not happen. That was not his career path at all.
    Malone coming out of college had some serious holes in his game. He deserves credit for putting in the work, but the reality is that who he played with, and the way they played helped him be incredible. If he was asked to play in a way that did not cater to his strengths, or he was surrounded by players who did know how to blend with him, things could have been very different for him.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    I see where y’all are coming from but Malone’s work ethic was legendary. The guy would have adapted and thrived in any system (the same way Amare thrived in NY after everyone said that Nash and PHX’s offense were the reasons for his monster numbers). I think most people sell Malone short because he played with Stock and JSloan for the majority of his career. Bird played in a system that revolved around a dominant frontline (probably the best ever) for the majority of his prime yet no one holds that against him, malone should be afforded the same luxury.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/845438-the-ultimate-goat-debate/page/13 nbk

    NBA Titles:
    Duncan: 3 nba championships
    Malone: 3 western conference titles

    finals mvps:
    Duncan: 3
    Malone: 0

    season mvp:
    Duncan: 2
    Malone: 2

    olympic medals:
    Duncan: 1 Bronze
    Malone: 2 Gold

    rookie success:
    Duncan: 1998 Rookie of the Year
    Malone: 1985 NBA All-Rookie Team

    all-star mvps:
    Duncan: 1
    Malone: 1

    career stats:
    Duncan: 21. 8 ppg, 11.9 rpg, 2.5 bpg, 3.2 apg, 50.9 fg%
    Malone: 25.0 ppg, 10.1 rpg, .70 bpg, 3.6 apg, 51. 6 fg%

    – Click my name for more reasons that Duncan >>>>>>>>>> Malone

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    I’ll give the edge to TD due to defense but it’s close. Malone’s legendary longevity and consistency makes it a close race.
    AllenP, so you’re saying that if Bron goes to DET instead of CLE and wasn’t handed the keys to the offense at such a young age, his career would have gone differently?

  • http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/hamilri01.html Allenp

    JTaylor
    Let me say that this is all speculation, so I don’t think you are crazy for believing what you believe.
    But you’re crazy. Lol.
    Only fools thought Amare was what he was because of Nash. They ignored that Amare was rookie of the year fresh out of high school with one of the rawest games in the League. Nash helped him play more efficiently, but that uptempo system and the fact that he played out of position were the biggest reasons for why he was incredibly dominant. Dude is one of the best pick and roll finishers of all-time, he added a great jumpshot. He is a natural scorer, and was a natural scorer before he met Steve Nash. Only fools didn’t notice that.
    Bird would have dominated no matter who he played for because when you look at his skillset, it was built for success. Same for Hakeem, same for Jordan. they might not have won championships in other situations, but individually, they would have still been incredibly dominant.

  • http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/hamilri01.html Allenp

    Nah, Bron was a super human talent. I’m not arguing that Malone was untalented, I’m arguing that he wasn’t a transcendent talent like Jordan or Bird or Magic or Hakeem or Bron. Those cats were so good, they could make any team better just be doing what they do. Malone made his team great, but his team also made him great. I think there are different types and levels of superstars.
    Also, defense is not close between Duncan and Malone. Duncan was an elite defender from the time he entered the league and for roughly the next dozen years. Not good, elite. Malone scored more buckets, but he never was the one-on-one scoring threat that Duncan was in his prime. Never.

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    I know I’m in the minority on this and y’all think I’m speaking reckless right now, but…while Duncan is an amazing, amazing player and his defense is head and shoulders what Malone’s used to be, I just think Malone not getting a ring is what in many people’s minds puts Duncan above him.
    Look at nbk’s 3:45 comment for proof.
    Soop, how many rings would Duncan have won if his career lasted from 1985 to 2004? Assuming he was 40 years old by ’04 like Malone was?
    And are you really gonna bring up their rookie season accomplishments?
    Malone was a rookie the same year as guys named Ewing, Mulling, Schrempf and Dumars.
    Duncan came in same year as Chauncey Billups, who barely played, Tracy McGrady, who barely played and um….that’s about it. He had no completion for ROY. Keith Van Horn maybe. Ron Mercer? Tony Battie?
    Plus Duncan was an uber-NBA ready four-year college player who landed on one of the best teams in the L that happened to have a down year.
    And I was gonna click your name until I saw it said “Bleacher Report”…no thanks.
    To be fair, I have Duncan and Malone neck and neck almost with Malone just BARELY coming out on top…but it’s mostly due to the huge amount of respect I have for dude battling my Bulls in those back to back finals.
    I have Malone 1 and Duncan 1A but I’m not mad at peeps who have Duncan 1st…although they get mighty upset when I say Malone’s 1st. LOL good cause I was bored today.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/845438-the-ultimate-goat-debate/page/13 nbk

    Duncan’s averages have gone down since they comparison was written. For the record. I was just showing accomplishments.

  • http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/hamilri01.html Allenp

    I don’t get upset, but I’m very surprised. You’re the only person I know who believes that.
    To me, Duncan could score as well as Malone, although never matched his sheer volume of points. He could also score in a variety of ways, which Malone did not truly match. He was an elite defender, he had a lot of clutch plays in clutch moments and he was the centerpiece of four championship teams, including one in his second year. I know his comp wasn’t on the same level as Malone’s but he did have to battle with Shaq and Kobe’s Lakers. He did beat the Pistons too.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/845438-the-ultimate-goat-debate/page/13 nbk

    idk if Duncan would have a ring or not if he was drafted sooner. But I definitely would bet on Duncan matching his production on any other team in the league way way way before I would bet Malone could duplicate his career somewhere else, specifically somewhere that John Stockton isn’t. Duncan made San Antonio a championship defense, next to Francisco Elson and Frabricio Oberto!!!! Every player on that team that played more than 15 minutes per game for the season other than Tony Parker & Manu Ginobili was over 30. That’s a pretty great accomplishment in any era (imo)

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/845438-the-ultimate-goat-debate/page/13 nbk

    Why don’t you like bleacherreport? because they release some stuff that is ridiculous? Cuz Slam does that too. And so does just about every other publication on earth.

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    Because they let anyone write an article about anything and I’m convinced they don’t even edit them first

  • http://slam.online house

    Well we all knew Boozer sucks but now Rip Hamilton as well? I seriously hope that the Bulls org realizes (yesterday) that Boozer’s play is a liability and ships his a** outta Chi-town. He gives the Bulls nothing but bad defence, scorers are a dime a dozen in the NBA…. I wonder if we can clone Luol Deng somehow…….sure we would give up some size but damn, the positives outweigh the negatives HUGELY in that regard.

  • LA Huey

    Duncan > Mailman. Malone held his own on defense but Duncan’s D had to be accounted for by an opposing teams gameplan. Someone that impacts more than just his assigned player defensively is equivalent to a 20ppg scorer.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    AllenP, I concede you’re probably right but I find it hard to believe that a man of Malone’s talent and work ethic wouldn’t put up HOF-caliber and record breaking numbers without the services of Stock and Sloan’s jazz. This was the same cat that came into the league as an average mid-range shooter and retired as one of the greatest mid-range shooter of all-time.

  • http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/hamilri01.html Allenp

    That is an interesting theory.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/845438-the-ultimate-goat-debate/page/13 nbk

    oh ok, was seriously asking, I don’t read it very often. Just get referenced there when I look for articles to compare guys all-time.

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    Pretty much anyone with any opinion about anything sports related can publish an article on there.
    So if I decide to write an article about how Matt Carroll is the best shooting guard in the NBA I’d just have to sign up and post it and some poor guy googling “who is the best shooting guard in the NBA” will be directed to my article.
    They have legit writers but most aren’t.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/845438-the-ultimate-goat-debate/page/13 nbk

    Well yeah, I read the articles before I post them lol. I am not “some poor guy googling” haha. I have run across a few, “wtf is this real” articles on there in the past. Never knew that’s why though.

  • http://www.nba.com/analysis/rules_history.html Allenp

    Click my name for an interesting look at all the rule changes in NBA history. It’s very interesting, at least to me.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    That clown in Phoenix using Bleacher Report says it all. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wrote for Bleacher Report and considered himself and the voices in his head a “source.” That obsessive kid will probably write an article if he hasn’t already about how Kenyon Martin shouldn’t want to play for the Knicks, but instead for the Mavs, because K-Mart and Cuban are tight according to his “sources.” ROFLMAO

  • http://www.nba.com/analysis/rules_history.html Allenp

    Check out this rule change in the 1997-1998 season:
    If two offensive players on the weak side are positioned above the top-of-the-circle extended, one of the two defenders may occupy any area on the weak side, except that he may not enter the inside lane other than to: aggressively double-team the ball, or defend an offensive player(s) who is open because of a double-team on the ball, or as a normal reaction to a “ball fake.” Following a “ball fake,” the defender must immediately return to a legal position or double-team on the ball.
    Previously, if two offensive players are positioned above either, the tip-of-circle extended on the strong side or weak side of the court, both defenders had to be positioned above the free throw line.

    Now think about how often Jordan’s Bulls had two offensive players or three players stationed in a position that would have basically made it impossible for their defenders to drop lower than the free throw line to provide weakside help. Think about how many driving lanes that opened up for Jordan in his prime. Basically, a prime Jordan couldn’t be double teamed creatively, and he almost always knew where the double team was going to come from when he made a move. That makes things a LOT easier, right?

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    lol

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

    You can write and post your own articles on a legit website pertaining to basketball? Dang, maybe I should try and write one (It’ll probably just be an anti-Mike Brown/Jim Buss’ decision-making will probably ruin the Lakers for years to come rant.)
    When it comes to Greatest PF of all-time, I understand why the majority of guys will pick Duncan, I’m just a little surprised Barkley or Garnett’s name hasn’t come up.

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    KG was a beast in Minny.
    All those seasons putting up 20, 10 and 5?
    Damn.
    I think he’s top 10 all time among Powee Forwards. Not sure where I’d rank him though.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    I got him 3rd. Barkley 4th. Idk after that though, maybe McHale 5? Not sure what I’d do off the top of my head.

  • LA Huey

    Barkley gets overlooked because he was a defensive sieve. Garnett though, I guess he’d have a legit case to make.

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    Sh*t Phantom, you could just write a Lakers season preview on my site.
    I was gonna do one but…they seem so damn boring this season, even with Dendroaspis Polylepis.
    Where would y’all rank George Mikan amongst centers all time? (DePaul stand up)

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Wilt, Russel, KAJ, Shaq, Hakeem, Moses, then prolly Mikan.

  • http://www.nba.com/analysis/rules_history.html Allenp

    KG had a problem with clutchness in Minnesota, this is really true.

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

    F’Real, Enig? You go your own site? What’s it called? I might try to write a preview tommorow.

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    It’s just a blog me and O put together.
    Nothing special…yet.
    Click my name. Send me what you got I’ll let you know if we’ll run it.

  • shutup

    Read through these comments and its an interesting debate, everyone wants to take Duncan and but him back in time, but do the opposite take Malone and put him in TD’s era, he would not have produced the same results as he did in his era, (he would have alot more suspensions because of his elbows plus the game is at a faster pace, plus the allowable zone defenses clog the lane for pick and rolls) and him being teamed up with stockton for his entire career was a blessing

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    Man I’m late..
    First I’m a little upset at Kyrie’s debut. But nah.. He’ll be fine. In fact, I think he’ll be great. I’ll just wait. So as Ricky man he can pass that rock as what Bron said. I like the kid’s game.
    Also Timmy is the best PF on my list. Why? Defense. I also agree with Allen on KG in Minny.. he isn’t that clutch in there. But he’s a BEAST.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gametimeweezy Gametimeweezy

    Duncan was the most fundamental. Malone was probably the most prototypical. Barkley was the most freakish for what he could do at his size. But there was something about Barkley snatching up a layup from midair and going coast to coast for a monster two-handed tomahawk. Honorable mention to Bob Petit the original, and Garnett the god. By the way you see all those dunks Lebron does when he goes to the rack, Shawn Kemp was doing all of that….

  • spicycurry30

    @Enigmatic of course KG is among the top 10 power forwards of all time- that’s like saying MJ ‘might’ be one of the 5 best players of all time

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

    Are we even sure that Malone > Garnett? I’d probably take KG, to be honest.

  • http://slamonline.com datkid

    yeah cosign teddy I appreciate duncan but garnett is FIERCE…. and garnett was a BEAST defensively.

  • Justin G.

    Yes we’re sure Malone>Garnett

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