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Monday, January 23rd, 2012 at 8:35 am  |  29 responses

Post Up: Milwaukee’s Best

The Lakers and Heat lose, while the C’s and Lobsters cruise.

by Abe Schwadron | @abe_squad

Oh, god. The Giants are going to the Super Bowl. What a nightmare. I can always go with the “at least the Redskins went 2-0 against y’all this season” line, but still, this is disastrous. If the G-Men win it all, I might have to go into hiding for a while. Anyone have a timeshare in the Caribbean where I can crash for a few weeks? I refuse to be in NYC for a parade, and I’m not sure how much I can take from the New Yorkers on the SLAM staff. Honestly, after the exciting start to the NBA season, it’s nice to know we’ll be saying goodbye to the NFL soon, and the rest of the sports media and fans can join us in breaking down hoops on a nightly basis. Five games to talk about from last night, so let’s get to it.

Celtics 100, Wizards 94

Rajon Rondo sat out a second straight game with a sprained wrist and Ray Allen missed most of the game after suffering an ankle injury in the second quarter, but the Celtics still managed to get past the 2-14 Wizards, mostly because Paul Pierce turned back the clock and Washington had no one capable of guarding him. Pierce finished with 34 points, 10 assists and 8 boards, all season-highs for The Truth. The Wiz played hard for a third time in a row, but were once again unable to close out the game, playing terrible D down the stretch and searching unsuccessfully for a go-to guy on offense when it mattered. Washington tied the game up with 9+ minutes to play, but couldn’t execute in crunch time. John Wall continued his hot streak (27 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists) and Andray Blatche admittedly had one monster jam, but Boston made it look easy (51 percent shooting) even with Avery Bradley logging 41 minutes at the starting point guard spot, and improved to 6-9 on the year.

Clippers 103, Raptors 91

Mo Williams led all scorers with 26 points, and had 19 in the fourth quarter—including the first 17 for the Clips in the period—to lead Lob City to 9-5 on the season. DeAndre Jordan had 16 points and 16 rebounds, Blake Griffin had 18 and 9, and Chauncey Billups dished out 14 assists en route to the easy W for L.A. The Raptors shot 36 percent from the field for the game, and have yet to score 100+ points since their opening night win over the Cavaliers. For all the collective emphasis on what they do at the offensive end (like this), the Clippers are now a perfect 9-0 when holding opponents to fewer than 100 points, and winless (0-5) when they give up more than 100. Toronto (4-13, 8 straight Ls) continues to struggle without Andrea Bargnani; the Raps were led in scoring by Leandro Barbosa, with 19 points, but got almost nothing from the starting lineup, as you can see from this painful piece of the box score:

Nets 97, Bobcats 87

New Jersey “improved” to 5-12 on the season behind a near-triple double from Deron Williams, who racked up 19 points, 10 assists and 9 rebounds. DWill led the Nets to the win at home a day after he said he hates the team’s arena. Stay classy, Deron. Without DJ Augustin, who left in the first half with an injury to his big toe that sounds pretty painful, Charlotte couldn’t get any offense going until late, when the game was out of hand. MarShon Brooks scored 20 and Anthony Morrow had 19 off the bench for the Nets, who led by as many as 19. Kemba Walker had one of his best games since being inserted into the starting lineup 5 games ago, with 16 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists, and there was even a Bismack Biyombo sighting—11 points, 7 rebounds in 18 reserve minutes. As bad as the Nets are, or seem to be, they now have only 1 fewer win than the crosstown New York Knicks. That may say more about Melo and friends, but still, worth mentioning. Luckily for the struggling ‘Cats, they get to play Washington in two of their next 5 games (and those Knicks tomorrow night).

Bucks 91, Heat 82

First of all, ew. Credit to Milwaukee for going into Miami and handing the Heat just their second home loss, but this game was sloppy joe from the start. The Bucks shot 35 percent from the field and a disgusting 5-of-30 from three-point range, while the Heat shot 37 percent, turned the ball over 22 times (leading to 22 Milwaukee points) and tied the NBA season-low with 9 assists. That’s 9 assists for the entire team—Chauncey Billups had 14 himself for LAC earlier in the day. Also from the “ew” department, we have the Miami throwback unis, which look like they belong in a Paul Wall music video or that Will Ferrell ABA movie, not on an NBA court in 2012. Is there anyone out there that likes those jerseys? If so, please speak up. I’d love to hear why. Back to basketball, it looks like we can finally dismiss the crazy talk about Dwyane Wade, since the Heat finally lost a game without him (6-1 with Wade out). LeBron James had 28 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists (and one ridiculous reverse jam) and Chris Bosh scored 23 points, but Brandon Jennings followed up his 36-point performance in New York with a 23/6/6 line against Miami, and Andrew Bogut dominated inside with 13 points, 8 boards and 3 blocks. The Heat got to within 3 points with 2:15 to play after Bogut fouled out, but failed to convert on consecutive possessions, then allowed Jennings to sneak in for an offensive rebound and reverse lay-in to make it 87-80 with under 40 seconds left. The Bucks closed things out from there, and they’ll get another big test tonight as they host Atlanta.

Pacers 98, Lakers 96

Both teams came in with 10 wins, and the Lakers looked to be in control, but Pau Gasol, Matt Barnes, Derek Fisher and Kobe Bryant all missed shots in the final two minutes—Kobe’s a prayer three-pointer that would have tied things up with less than 10 seconds left—and the Pacers won just their second game at the Staples center…ever (they won there last year for the first time). Six Indiana players scored in double figures (including the entire starting five), led by 18 points from Roy Hibbert, who played with a broken nose and scored 8 in the fourth, and 16 from Danny Granger (4-of-14 shooting). The Pacers have won five of their last six games, and are now 11-4, which includes a 6-4 record on the road. The road warriors have a brutal schedule coming up, too—their next four: home for Orlando, at Chicago, at Boston, at Orlando. The Lakers, meanwhile, only turned the ball over 8 times, and scored 50 points in the paint, to just 36 from Indiana, but the Pacers won the rebounding battle 50-43. Kobe scored 33 points, but needed 30 field goal attempts to get there, while Andrew Bynum scored 16 and Pau Gasol had 8 points and 10 assists. It’s Los Angeles’ third straight L, and 11th straight game scoring less than 100 points. The Lakers’ next game is Wednesday against the Clippers.

Line of the Night: Classic Paul Pierce — 34 points (10-15 FG), 10 assists, 8 rebounds, 3 steals.

Moment of the Night: Brandon Jennings and the Bucks beat the Heat.

Dunks of the Night: A double triple dose of DeAndre Jordan.

Bonus Video of the Night: The White Mamba, as narrated by Stacey King, who is very excited.

Tonight: NBATV has a double-dip starting with Magic-Celtics and wrapping up with Grizzlies-Warriors, part of a 10-game schedule in all. One to watch: the red-hot Rockets are in Minnesota to take on the Wolves. Of course, I’ll be keeping an eye on Wizards-Sixers, so pray for me.

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  • Myung

    Abe, I just wanted to write you a bit of encouraging news this morning: your WWizards are closer to the 7th spot in the East (just 4.5 games behind Boston) than Boston is to the 1st seed (7.5 games behind Chicago). So there’s that.

  • http://www.crossfitlondonuk.com/blog Si

    Heads up, you got the Lakers/Pacers score the wrong way round.

  • http://www.yahoo.com The Fury

    I like Kobe but the number of shots he takes every game is disturbing..I didn’t see the game but If Gasol is matched up against DWest or Hansbrough I think he could score at least 20.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Abe Schwadron

    Thank you Myung. And we ought to be able to beat Charlotte at least once (play em twice over next 5)

  • http://www.slamonline.com Bowen’s Bowtie Collection

    Is anybody playing better than m o (fu*king autocorrects m o to month) williams?

  • 23

    I love those heat uniforms! Very clean! Something different. I miss the data when nba teams rocked old school uniforms. I hope the heat wear those floridians uniforms in black too!

  • http://fklfs.com Jukai

    Didn’t know whether to record the Heat/Bucks game and watch the Giants/49ers game, or record the Giants/49ers game and watch the Heat/Bucks game. I eventually choose the former. Glad I did, what sh*t basketball. The Heat looked tired, they have a bad habit of simply not caring about some weak games they should be winning.
    The Lakers just look… wow… I mean, this is exactly what I predicted. Lakers with the lead slowly chipping away. Ample time outs. Ample play calls and stall tactics Brown can use to score some easy points.
    And he stands there with his mouth open.
    Perhaps one of the worst in-game coaches of all time, a perhaps the only thing worse than his offensive schemes is his backbone. Damn. And to think, this guy got Coach of the Year. Shammockery.
    Anyway, forget all that, GIANTS V PATS BABY! Can’t be more excited about this game.

  • http://slamonline.com AlbertBarr

    @Bowen’s Bowtie: No? But he also is in a great position for his skilld: first guard off the bench behind two HOF’s. He doesn’t have to stress, all the pressure is on Chris.

  • Heals

    Can a C’s fan just enjoy an effing W once this year. Get well RayRay…

  • charliewinning

    The Giants making the SuperBowl makes the Knick losses meaningless for the next couple of weeks

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    Finally we get to see the pass of the year!

  • http://www.slamonline.com megatron

    I actually like the floridian uniforms too. They are vibrant and better represent the culture of miami. No miami team should wear black.

  • http://www.slamonline.com megatron

    and chalmers played horrible last night

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Chalmers should get the most inconsistent player in the league award this year. It’s between him & lamar odom

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Wizards need to figure out how to dump Blatche. He and Rashard Lewis are just sucking up cap space at this point.
    Wall has figured out that all those wild forays to the rim that resulted in dunks during summer league games don’t work when teams actually employ help defense. If he got a little more respect from the refs on his drives, he’s be even more dangerous. Plus, Flip needs to use him more in pick and rolls with Javale and allow Blatche and their other shooters to space the floor. Jordan Crawford and Nick Young can do that, and McGee is great as a roller and diver into the post. Not so much on straight post ups.
    KG almost never drives to the rim these days. And the crazy thing is that it’s not because he’s so much quickness that he can’t around guys. He’s still fairly quick for a big. He just doesn’t do it. It’s frustrating. Pietrus was a great pick up for them. His energy and bounce are great.
    I can’t believe Deron Williams has never had a triple double. That’s kind of crazy for someone with his talent.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Flip Saunders offense is a total mess. I have never seen one of his teams be this terrible and unorganized on that end of the court.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Abe Schwadron

    AllenP, you nailed it man. Except for this piece, which made me laugh: “Blatche and their other shooters” haha. And I’d argue that McGee is at least improving his post game a bit, and it’d be helpful for him to get a few more touches in the low post, just for the offense to breathe. That said, he should also know he’s allowed to pass once he catches it deep. Seems to decide as soon as he touches the ball he’s going to shoot it. And for as bad as the Wiz are on offense, its the defensive end that’s shockingly bad. I’m definitely on the Fire Flip bandwagon.

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    I’m calling a beast game from Dight for tomorrow, he’ll have at least 25 and 25.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Well Flip has always been bad on defense. So that’s not a shocker.
    Blatche can still hit open shots, right? That used to be his game.
    I like some of the wizards pieces, but Flip doesn’t help them enough. His players don’t respect him, he’s capricious, and his teams don’t know how to conduct themselves. Young teams make mistakes, but his team makes too many.
    Remember, when he took over in Detroit that Piston team pretty much became ridiculous in how they dealt with the refs. Flip can’t convince his players to control their emotions.

  • don the GSW fan

    that indiana team is lacking the superstar but is damn effective as a team. i’d like to see them match up to the heat or the bulls for the ECF.. all those shooters on the perimeter (granger, hill, paul george, and even collison)… wow.. they can erase a 9point lead in 3 possesions.. (read: george hill’s consecutive 3-pointers in 3rd Q)

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Didn’t Andray Blatche complain about not getting the ball in the post? yet every time I watch the Wiz, dude is standing around on the perimeter like he’s Ray Allen or something. Dude is a f*cking bum and one of the most useless players in the L. I don’t know why the Wiz haven’t traded him already.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    ^cause no one wants him. I repeat, NO ONE wants him. He’s the human version of cancer.

  • Nets fan

    nbadraft.net!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I think the Knicks should trade Melo for Deron.
    Anybody have any thoughts?

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

    come on DJ, how the hell you let scalabrine out-run you?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Notice how the announcers let that potential travel by Scal pass unnoticed.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    AllenP, I agree but I doubt NY’s front office does even thought it makes them a better team. A DWill/Amare PnR would be devastating.

  • Justin G.

    I think it would be hilarious, after all that happened last year for Melo to come home to New York, if they go ahead and trade him less than halfway into the season. It would mak the Knicks a better team but it won’t happen. They’d probably trade Amare before Melo

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