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Friday, December 30th, 2011 at 8:35 am  |  57 responses

Post Up: Encore, Encore!

Kevin Durant cannot be serious.

by Abe Schwadron | @abe_squad

David Stern ought to kiss Kevin Durant smack on his forehead. KD is singlehandedly eliminating “the lockout effect.” And forcing everyone who chalked up his series of summer highlights as “streetball garbage” to eat their words. The Durantula is that dude right now, and Oklahoma City is must-see TV. What a way to end the first weekday stretch of NBA games, eh?

Magic 94, Nets 78

That’s more like it, Dwight. After a pair of sub-par games by his standards, Howard got back to what he does best, going for 24 rebounds and 16 points on 7-of-9 field goals (then again, he shot 2-7 on free throws), plus 3 steals, 3 assists and 3 blocks (1 into the third row, sorry Memo). Ryan Andersen led the team in scoring with 22, his second 20+ point performance of the year already, and JJ Redick chipped in 15 off the bench, as the Magic beat the Nets for the eighth straight time. Don’t look now, but after a blowout loss to Oklahoma City on Opening Day, Orlando is now 2-1, and get Charlotte, Toronto, Detroit and Washington over their next four.

As for New Jersey, the struggles continue. Rookie Marshon Brooks continues to look like a great late-first round find, scoring 17 points in 21 minutes off the bench. DeShawn Stevenson got 26 minutes of burn, and hit 3-4 three-point shots, but Anthony Morrow shot 2-10 and Deron Williams continued his slump, with just 10 points. Check out DWill’s first three games this season, in shooting percentages:

Yeah, not good. Think Dwight had a change of heart after seeing this Nets team up close and personal? Beyond Williams, New Jersey is home to the worst roster in the NBA. Feel free to nominate another team (Cleveland and Toronto seem obvious choices), but I’ll take the future Brooklyn club—Sundiata Gaines and Damion James were both in the starting lineup last night. And Kris Humphries, for all the hate, is frankly one of the most important pieces on the team.

Rockets 105, Spurs 85

Kevin Martin scored 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting and Kyle Lowry delivered with 16 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 steals (and hey, a highlight!) as Houston blew out San Antonio a night after the Spurs gave the Clippers a beating. Look for this to be a trend for San Antonio—as we’ve said all along, the veteran teams around the League will have trouble with the condensed schedule, and will drop games like this. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili played 36 minutes…combined. The Rockets jumped out to a 13-4 lead as the Spurs clanked nine of their first 10 shots. By halftime, Houston led 53-35. New pickup Samuel Dalembert scored 9 points and had 4 blocked shots less than a week after joining the Rockets, while DeJuan Blair led the Spurs with 22 points and 12 boards. If you’re bummed I didn’t say much about this game, this guy’s got you.

Thunder 104, Mavericks 102

WOW. Where to begin? Luckily for me, this one was on TNT, so most of you know what happened, sparing me the duty of dropping a 600-word play-by-play. But sheesh, that was a damn good basketball game. The Mavericks came in 0-2, and the Thunder 3-0, so when Dallas went up 17-5 in the first quarter, I was ready to roll with the “Mavs right the ship” and “OKC can’t win every night” narratives and talk a little about Delonte West’s nice contributions. But nah. Daequan Cook nailed a three to end the third quarter, then another jumper from almost the identical spot on the floor to open the fourth, and the Thunder held an 80-76 lead. Dirk Nowitzki kept the Mavs in the game thanks to 29 points and 10 rebounds, fighting off a ridiculous fourth quarter from Russell Westbrook—dude was hitting three-pointers, mid-range J’s, rebounding with a fiery passion—who looked like he was on a mission to prove last night was an aberration.

The last two minutes of the game were a blur: Dirk drilled a three-ball with 1:40 left to tie things up at 96, then was called for an illegal screen on the next possession, took exception and was nailed with a Tech. All of a sudden, a Westbrook bucket later and OKC was up 101-96 with 46 seconds left. That should have been your ballgame. Again, nah. Jason Terry hit a three-pointer off the dribble, Serge Ibaka missed two free throws (can’t happen), and then Vinsanity rose from the dead. That’s right, Vince Carter—yes, THAT Vince Carter—cashed a three with just over a second left to sink the Thunder. That is, until Kevin Durant made that old news with a 3 of his own: GAME, BLOUSES.

Things we will forget because of the final play include KD’s final line of 30 points (10-16), 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal, the fact the Thunder got their fourth W despite turning the ball over 26 times (Dallas had only 12 TOs), Westbrook’s big fourth quarter and the time when Ibaka almost ate Vince. And made a very angry face.

Trail Blazers 111, Nuggets 102

Portland finished the game on a 13-4 run and moved to 3-0 on the season, strengthening the growing belief that this team is going to be a you-know-what to deal with in the West, especially considering how good Denver’s looked so far. The Nuggets forced the Blazers into 25 turnovers (only 7 for Denver) but Portland shot 52 percent from the field and made 21 of 23 free throws. The teams headed to half tied at 53 after Portland squandered a double-digit lead—thanks to the pesky play of Ty Lawson (8 steals) and the passing of Andre Miller (8 assists)—and traded the lead throughout the second half. Portland finally seized control when Wesley Mathews swiped the ball from Lawson with less than two minutes to play and found Ray Felton for three, giving the Blazers a seven-point lead. Felton finished with 23 points, Mathews had 25 and Jamal Crawford scored 22 off the bench, while Lawson led the Nuggs with 25 on 10-of-16 shooting.

Bulls 108, Kings 98

The Kings are going to be in that category of fun teams that don’t win a lot this season, considering all the intriguing pieces on their roster, plus the fact that they are literally the youngest team in the NBA. The Bulls, on the other hand, are serious contenders. No way they were losing to the Warriors and Kings in two straight. Chicago ripped off 15 straight points early in this one and coasted to the win behind 19 points and 8 assists from Derrick Rose. CJ Watson had 9 assists, marking the first time two Bulls players had 8+ assists since 2006, and Chicago shot 54 percent from the field as a team. Carlos Boozer had himself a 16-point, 15-rebound night against DeMarcus Cousins, who scored 15 points and grabbed 12 boards—plus a pretty highlight against Joakim Noah. Unfortunately for Boogie, he ended the night with a better free throw percentage (7-8) than the rest of his team (59 percent). Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans combined for 39 points, but missed 9 free throws between them. Ouch.

Lakers 99, Knicks 82

L.A. is 2-2, having won their last two games by 42 points, and they get Andrew Bynum back on Saturday. Plus, their second unit—minus Lamar Odom—is starting to gel. Like when Steve Blake hit Josh McRoberts for what could have been the whitest alley-oop in NBA history. Kobe Bryant had an efficient night, scoring 28 points on 17 shots, plus handing out 6 assists (including this one), and making Renaldo Balkman look more stupid than usual on one particular play. Carmelo Anthony put up a 27/7/5 line, but the Knicks shot 32 percent as a team and 6-for-22 from three-point land as the Lakers took home the easy win. NYK opened the fourth quarter 0-for-3 with 5 turnovers in the first four minutes, and still were only down 11, but never came any closer. Reggie Miller tried his best to describe New York’s play on the offensive end, but couldn’t even finish his own sentence: “This Knicks offense, it’s one pass to Carmelo or Amar’e…” Stoudemire shot just 4-of-17 (15 points) and finished with a pitiful 2 rebounds. Two rebounds. In 30 minutes. The end.

Line of the Night: Howard’s 16 Pts, 24 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl, 3 Blk.

Moment of the Night: Relive the ridiculousness.

Blooper of the Night: Brendan Haywood scored 10 points last night. 8 for Dallas, 2 for OKC.

Tonight: That’s it for me this week, ladies and gents. Had a blast opening the season with you all, and looking forward to what’s to come the rest of this season. My guy Peter Walsh will be holding down The Post Up over the weekend—while I’ll be icing my wrists, Kobe-style—so try not to hurt him. He gets to recap what should be some exciting games tonight: Miami-Minnesota (!), Bulls-Clippers late-night, and my woeful Wizards in between. Since I won’t be back until 2012, Happy New Year everyone, and be safe. See you Monday morning.

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  • http://nba.com GP23

    Well, it’s good to be back.
    Lakers D was amazing last night, keeping the knicks to 10 points in the 4th !!
    And Kobe went off.. as usual.
    I think Knicks need a PG.. Quick!
    Durant’s game-winner was crazy!! (made up for bad D on vince)
    Luol Deng is getting resepct now AT LAST!! Great defense by him last night.
    Sidenote- I think Rubio should start ahead of ridnour tonight.
    PS. Loving these post-ups Abe.

  • http://www.blogspot.com LLC#12

    Cosign GP23, especially on the Deng point. Knicks do need a PG (What will BD be like?) but the Lakers situation at the 1 isn’t much better, worst PG rotation, defensively, in the league?…I found it funny how vince hit what could have been the game winner, and his reward was being benched to watch Durant rule out his effort!

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    Great shot by KD, that block from Dwight on Memo was just sick.
    Mavs really need to get a W..

  • T-Money

    serious question: if melo is really offended that espn had him outside of the top 10 and that his team has a bad rep on defense, at what point do you DEMAND to guard kobe? he seemed a bit too content defending eldebarnes and watching balkman get destroyed.

  • birdy

    was watching that Dallas v OKC game on NBATV, literally jumped out of my seat when VC made that big shot, I thought Dallas had it!

    ….until my jaw dropped when KD made that ridiculous fadeaway.

  • http://www.gil1906.com Pve_2

    That Vince Carter three had me staring in disbelief…but the KD jumper was so sweet and ridiculous.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4J1xRFfh1zU&feature=youtube_gdata_player nbk

    Vince Carter is actually one of the best clutch shooters in the L, % wise.

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Game, Blouses.

  • http://slamonline.com AlbertBarr

    There was a tweet last night about Vince “For 6 minutes every game he gets to go back in time and play like year 2000 Vince”

    Sums it up nicely

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    1st caption here says it all: http://docfunk.tumblr.com/
    Excellent shot.
    (Damn you, Kevinnnnn!)

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    So Lakers sent Lamar to Dallas as an advanced form of sabotage, right?
    Clever.
    (wake up, man)

  • http://SLAMONLINE.COM LakeShow

    KB, KD. My two favorites and they straight balled last night. Kobe looks to be in the same athletic form he was in a couple years ago. Durantula, showing he’s clutch. I think that shot by KD is one we will see several times before his career is over-

  • http://slamonline.com The Philosopher

    Durant still has those “killer tendencies”.
    Shout out @Eboy.

  • http://slamonline.com The Philosopher

    I’m calling it early.
    Durant wins M.V.P. this season.

  • T-Ray

    Great game between the Mavs and the Thunder. The Mavs looked pretty good out there unfortunately Durant was on the other team lol what a great shot! The Lakers look fine as Lakeshow and I have being saying they are and the Knicks well they looked pretty bad. Too much one on one ball for them but when Baron comes back I think that will eliminate that problem.

  • MUBWAR

    that superman theme song after the block was great.

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

    Durant’s game winner was simply amazing. And great job LA playing a great game against NY, I’m glad we’re finally getting Bynum back now.

  • http://slamonline.com datkid

    LA did play good defense but new york also has terrible TERRIBLE offense… just awful. seriously.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Philo, I’m 100% with you. Durant WILL win 2012 MVP. Right now it’s clearly Durant leading MVP(were 4 games in mind you) Kobe and LBJ. Only 3 that have shown MVP quality thus far.

  • http://www.nbadraft.net showtime

    Where is orange??? & amare what happen to Hunting Season???Knicks need D badly, Tyson is looking more , and more the tyson of bobcats form without a pg to feed him.

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

    @showtime I really wouldn’t blame orange if he don’t show up on this post, NY looked pretty bad.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    There’s no reason a Mike D’Antoni team should suck as much on offense as the Knicks do. They look friggin terrible. I thought that they were going to light it up on offense and then just suck on defense. They suck at both ends though. Thanks for making me feel great about this Laker squad though NY :)

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    THEY DON’T HAVE A POINT GUARD. Mike D’Antoni’s offense doesn’t work without one. The idea that Melo could take care of playmaking duties in THAT offense is completely ridiculous. You can’t have a ball-stopper run D’Antoni’s offense, that’s a contradictory idea. As much as he didn’t fit, Chauncey Billups would still have made that offense more effective then Chandler makes the defense. Because they HAVE TO HAVE a Point Guard in that offense. And it honestly makes them more effective when Amar’e has more space and is playing against centers. With Chandler you are clogging the lane and forcing Amar’e to beat guys he is not necessarily faster than. In Phoenix (as the 1st option) he was paired with Shawn Marion, Kurt Thomas, or Boris Diaw, players that provided him space to work off the pick & roll. You get none of that with Chandler in New York. So now Amar’e has to be used to space out the court (which is why he has already shot three, 3′s in as many games), which isn’t what he should be used to do, ever.

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

    Boy, it was idiotic for the Knicks to cut Billups.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Co-sign the hell out of T-Money’s first comment. I was expect Melo to take up the challenge and guard Kobe after watching him shred Balkman but I was sadly disappointed.
    Also, Amare ran a couple PnR with Melo last night and Melo totally ignored him on the roll. I don’t know if it’s a lack of playmaking skills or a case of tunnel vision but knicks fans and management are fooling themselves if they think Melo can excel in a point-forward role.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    THE LAKERS DON’T HAVE A POINT GUARD. Toney Douglas, Mike Bibby > Fisher, Blake. Obviously the Knicks need one, but is Mikey D’s offense so limited that if he doesn’t have a play making guard he’s got nothing? I’ll answer. Yes. I just don’t know why though. They have two elite scorers. Lakers only have 1 and a half. I don’t mind Amare’ shooting the 3 though. He looks to be quite decent at it. Obviously they need a PG. That’s no excuse for that crapshoot we witnessed last night though.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    The knicks would be more than happy to have Fish/Blake as their PGs after the kind of performance Douglas/Bibby’s corpse put up last night.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    With out a doubt, but Douglas is still light years better than any of the 3 right now.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7OLaNA16cA nbk

    The Lakers don’t run Mike D’s offense. The Lakers are a defensive team. The Knicks are 100% reliant on their offense. Tyson Chandler didn’t improve anything at all if their offense isn’t any better. it’s not like he’s Dwight Howard and he automatically makes their defense respectable. He would be the difference for the Knicks in close games, he’d block or change a few shots that may decide the game. He doesn’t grab 15+ rebounds and control the opposing teams basket, he’s not THAT good. The Knicks will not accomplish anything if they aren’t one of the best offensive teams in the league, they just aren’t built that way. And (imo) the only way for them to get to that level offensively is to have a PG that atleast knows how to set up the pace. Which Baron Davis can do. But that’s hoping he’s healthy enough to do it for 30+ minutes a night more than 3 times a week.

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

    Hopefully BD can be healthy enough to make NY’s offense look better than that consistently

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Right, but I was told the Lakers would not have an offense. Mike Brown was suppose to be the worse offensive coach this side of Vinny Del Negro. Just saying, you got one of the best offensive minds in basketball on a team with Amare and Melo with some good role players, Tyson, Douglas, Bibby, Fields, are some decent role players. I don’t even know what we are arguing about though. We can all agree though that if your hopes are reliant on 2012 B-Diddy…. You got issues.

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

    @LakeShow, Whomever told you LA wasn’t supposed to have an offense while players like Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol are still on the roster were probably just hating(even though it seems Mike Brown is just letting the players/assistant coaches dictate the offense.)

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4J1xRFfh1zU&feature=youtube_gdata_player nbk

    The Lakers offense will struggle in the playoffs. That’s what I’ve been saying. I think it’s clear they will be a good regular season team.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    I think the other way around. Mediocre regular season, great post season. Black Phantom, Whats the huge difference between, Melo and Amare and KB, Gasol? An offense should be good with either duo’s teams imo. The Lakers defense should be as good as ever if not better than ever in the post season. Combine that with a growing offense and they will be pretty decent in the post season.

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

    @Lakeshow The dfference isn’t really huge when it comes to the players. But it is when it comes to the Coach. (Mike D’s O tactics/strategies are soooo much better than Mike’s. Does Mike even draw up offensive schemes or does Kobe and the players wing it? It’s hard to tell. Hopefully an assistant just handles the O)

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

    Thanks abe, funny spurs rockets recap video. Demarcus is a very good player and can be great. PLEASE don’t do ‘x and y combined for x points’! Totally pointless. Kobe looked healthy, melo played well, amare didn’t. Knicks need help, maybe that’s baron. Call me crazy, but I think bron will win mvp.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Exactly Black Phantom, no excuse for the Knicks. They have comparable talent to most of the good teams. They just looked awful. I honestly hope they pull it together because they ‘should’ be fun to watch. They were boring and terrible looking last night.

  • chingy

    I think KD will win MVP. It’s not that I think KD will have a better season than Bron but voters will go with the fresher pick. Cosign everyone who said the Knicks are in trouble if they are relying on BDiddy to be THE difference maker.

  • chingy

    nbk, I totally agree. Though Amare is really a PF, he does a lot better offensively against Centers because he relies on his speed. Same with (to a lesser degree) Bosh. Bargnani also comes to mind.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4J1xRFfh1zU&feature=youtube_gdata_player nbk

    That’s what I’m saying. Although he’s a PF, he’s more effective offensively, as a center.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    The lakers don’t have the foot speed or athleticism on the perimeter to be a great defensive team. Remember this is not the 90s with great big men on most contending teams, most of the top teams have one or two elite perimeter players (OKC, MIA, CHI, LAC). Even teams like with good frontlines like DAL, MEM, NYK and SAS, are good enough on the perimeter to give LA problems.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    What amare needs is someone that can run the PnR ala Nash or Felton, he’s not the kind of guy you can just give the ball and say get me a bucket on a consistent basis. That’s why he numbers went down after the felton trade and Melo acquisition. Douglas isn’t that guy and I doubt a broken down BDiddy is.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Bahhh, they’ll be real good. Guaranteed top 5 defense. Yeah their weak point is perimeter defense, but they are much better than most teams at post D. Bynum when he’s back will clog the lane better than anyone not named Howard or Bogut. Kobe’s better on D by quite a bit this year also. No one can defend great players that’s why I always laugh when people say something to the likes of “oh they will get eaten up by Durant and LbJ.” DUH. Everyone will. Clogging the lane is more important. Especially with LbJ moving to the post a little bit. I bet World Peace will still play better D than anyone else on KD.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Guaranteed? You’re that confident in Bynum’s and Kobe’s ability to stay healthy for rest of the season, fisher/blake’s ability to keep PG’s out of the paint and World War’s ability to shut-down an improved KD?

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Kobe, yes. Bynum, no. Yes I guarantee it. KD is much, much better, but what i’m saying is MWP will still guard him as effectively as anyone else. PG is the biggest weakness obviously, but I still think they will be top 5 despite that.

  • http://slamonline Brion

    Ok so i know I should get over it, but when K.D. hit that shot last night, all I could think was I should be at Key Arena w/ my green and gold jersey on jumping for joy, instead of being on my couch pissed that my old team is the future of the N.B.A

  • http://www.t-mac.com/tmac/index unf*ckwitable

    KD is looking real good this season so far and that was a sweet shot.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    ^I have mine up on the wall right next to the HDTV. So much cooler looking than those dumb OKC jerseys…

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    @Brion.

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

    Kobe isn’t much of a perimeter defender anyway these days, he’s more of the type of defender that gives his opponent some cushion so Kobe can have room to prevent him from driving to the basket.Kinda like how a conerback in football would play zone to prevent the big play.

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

    Whelp, Kevin McHale totally threw in the towel today after the third quarter. WTF.

  • Zane

    People will say this is premature but the signing of Tyson Chandler for THAT much money was simply a horrible decision. Guy is getting Lebron money and is basically a liability on offence. He’s not an all star. That is an immovable contract in a years time. Also having Melo and Amare on the same team doesnt really fit when they are both liabilities on defence and need the ball to be effective. Trade Chandler now while he has value, couple him with Carmelo or Amare (preferably) to get Dwight Howard. Now Donnie Walsh is gone its back to tying up all cap room on role players or former stars. Knicks arent in Toronto… They don’t need to overpay

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

    Kyle Lowry is on the verge of a breakout season, but his stats are getting ruined by McHale’s refusal to leave him in the game. Why pull your starters when you’re trailing by only 16 with a full quarter to play? WTF?! Lowry had 15 and 8 in 24 minutes… Even if the Rockets lost, he deserves the chance to up his numbers to 20 and 10, which he would have had no trouble doing.

  • Justin G.

    Teddy, maybe McHale is thinking along the lines that Popovich is when resting his main players? OBviously the age isn’t the same but it’s probably the same idea? I don’t know

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    In my opinion, Lowry’s breakout season was last season. Now he leads the Rockets in points, assists, rebounds and steals? Yikes, looks like an all-nba placement to me.

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

    Kyle lowry has been an excellent player for a long time now, still can’t believe grizz kept conley over him. I’m glad lowry is starting.

  • http://www.realgm.com Nate James

    No talk about the Blazers. As usual. Even though they are 3-0.

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