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Thursday, February 9th, 2012 at 8:33 am  |  78 responses

Post Up: 20-20 Vision

Dwight bullies the Magic past Miami, Cleveland tops Lob City and the Knicks keep Linning.

by Abe Schwadron | @abe_squad

It’s no days off right now for NBA fans—to miss a night’s worth of action is to miss a lot. 11 games going on last night, so here’s what you missed if you had a hot date, or had to “work,” or just went to bed early (I’m jealous). 3, 2, 1…

Bucks 105, Raptors 99

Despite another cold shooting night from Brandon Jennings, who made just 3 of his 12 shot attempts (1-7 on threes and 4-8 at the FT line) and scored 11 points, the Bucks snapped a three-game losing streak, thanks to huge games from Carlos Delfino and Drew Gooden. Delfino finished with 25 points, 9 rebounds and 4 steals and Gooden 20 points and 14 rebounds—and for what it’s worth, 8 of BJ’s 11 came in the fourth quarter. Toronto countered with 25 points from DeMar Derozan and 15 assists from Jose Calderon, but it’s still a struggle on the offensive end for the Raptors without Andrea Bargnani’s 23.5 ppg. Milwaukee bumped its record to 11-14, and we even had a Mike Dunleavy sighting! He put up 16 of his 18 points in the second quarter alone. And while the Raps lost the game, they won the highlight battle, with nods to James Johnson and Derozan.

Spurs 100, Sixers 90

Why does it seem like every time a young team starts getting all the hype and all the love, the Spurs take it personal and take them out? The latest team to suffer San Antonio’s wrath was Philadelphia, who took the L last night as Tony Parker went for 37 points (on 24 shots) and 7 assists, while Tim Duncan chipped in a casual 16×11 double-double. The Spurs, now 18-9, survived a late push from the Sixers, who pulled to within 5 on a Lou Williams three-pointer with 1:46 left, but Philly didn’t score again in the game. LouWill finished with 22 points, Andre Iguodala went 17/7/4 and Elton Brand had 13 rebounds, but San Antonio outscored the Sixers in every single quarter, and protected the basketball—the Spurs turned it over just 6 times. Gary Neal scored 18 points, including 4-4 from three-point range and 12 of those in the first quarter. The Sixers’ (18-8) cap off a brutal 7-game stretch against the Clippers on Friday—a win would get them to 5-2 against a murderer’s row of Orlando, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, LA Lakers, Spurs, LA Clippers.

Knicks 107, Wizards 93

This is getting Linsane. Sure, it’s against the Nets, Jazz and Wizards, but wow! Jeremy freakin’ Lin delivers another monster night in a Knicks win. That’s 3 in a row, ladies and gents. Lin scored 23 points (9-14), and had 10 assists (only 2 TOs) and 4 rebounds, while working the pick-and-roll to perfection all night long. He even slammed home his first dunk as an NBA player. I’m only not excited about that because it came against my Weeeezards. The biggest benefactor of JLin’s playmaking was Tyson Chandler, who seemingly caught lob after lob on his way to 25 points and 11 boards. And Landry Fields also thanked his new PG properly after slamming home a put-back finish off a Lin miss. The most frustrating part from a Wizards angle was that, as swingman Mo Evans later pointed out, the Knicks basically ran the same exact thing on every possession, and it was the oldest “play” in the book—pick-and-roll. John Wall did his best to get Washington (5-21) going, going for 29 points and 6 dimes, but his teammates—surprise here—couldn’t deliver. Nick Young shot 3-11, Jordan Crawford 2-10, and the only other Wiz player to score in double figures was Trevor Booker, who muscled his way to 17 points despite rarely having a play called his way. The next test for Lin and the 11-15 Knicks looms on Friday when they host Kobe and the Lakers at MSG. You don’t think many people will be interested in that game, do ya?

Magic 102, Heat 89

The term “making it rain” is severely overused, but the Magic hit 17 threes, helping them run up the score on Florida rivals the Heat. Orlando led from start to finish (by as many as 19) and grabbed 17 offensive rebounds, improving to 16-10 on the year. Dwight Howard scored 25 points and grabbed 24 rebounds for his sixth 20-20 game of the season, shot 7-10 from the free throw line, and most importantly, drew enough attention from Heat defenders to continually set up outside shooters. Ryan Anderson used his open looks to the tune of 27 points (5 first-half threes), and also had 11 rebounds. As for Miami, LeBron’s 17/6/10 night would be monstrous for anyone else, but for The King, it was the Magic holding him in check. Meanwhile, Dwyane Wade went off for 33 points, but the Heat got little from the reserves and couldn’t cool down Orlando’s deep shooting. Norris Cole played 31 minutes and had 9 points and 4 assists in his first career start.

Cavaliers 99, Clippers 92

This game was billed as a showdown between the latest and greatest point guards in Kyrie Irving and Chris Paul, but Irving was held out after being diagnosed with a concussion from Tuesday’s game against Miami, and Ramon Sessions stepped into the starting lineup. Normally, that wouldn’t be more than a footnote, but Sessions decided to ball out, scoring a season-high 24 points and dropping 13 dimes in a team-high 39 minutes, besting Chris Paul’s 16 points and 12 assists to lead the Cavs past the Clippers. Cleveland, now 10-14 and back to .500 at home, shot 51 percent from the field and held the Lob City boys to just 2 fast break points on the night. And yet even after trailing by 15 in the fourth quarter, the Lobsters came all the way back to tie things up with 2:10 to play. But Boobie Gibson (17 points) nailed a big 3-pointer, then ex-Cav Mo Williams botched a wide open layup and Cleveland held off the Clips (15-8 on the year). Blake Griffin finished with 25 and 15, and Caron Butler added 21 points.

Pistons 99, Nets 92

Is this real life? Don’t look now, but the Pistons beat the Nets last night for their third straight W, and are now 7-20 on the season. Greg Monroe dominated inside, with 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Detroit shot a season-high 53 percent from the field as a team to beat New Jersey (8-19). The Pistons used a Monroe-Prince-Jerebko-Stuckey-Knight lineup for the majority of the game, and each scored in double figures, as they held off a late push from Deron Williams and the Nets. DWill scored 17 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter (10-21 shooting), but it wasn’t enough, as the Nets lost their fourth straight. A Williams four-point play brought NJ to within one at 78-77, but that was as close as it got. Jordan Farmar had 22 off the bench in the loss and Kris Humphries had a game-high 16 rebounds, but he also got a face full of Jason Maxiell. These two will go at it again on Friday in Detroit.

Hawks 97, Pacers 87

Atlanta jumped out to a 59-41 lead by halftime and weathered the storm in the second half as the Pacers attempted multiple comebacks. The Hawks (17-9) were led by 28 points, 12 boards, 5 steals, 3 assists and 3 blocked shots from Josh Smith and 20 points from Joe Johnson. Atlanta outrebounded Indiana 45-33 and scored 28 fast break points, plus got bench contributions from Kirk Hinrich (17 points) and Tracy McGrady (13 points) to extend their winning streak against the Pacers in Atlanta to nine games. The Pacers were led by 21 points from Danny Granger, 15 points each from Tyler Hansbrough and David West, and 13 rebounds and 10 points from Roy Hibbert. But even with Indiana’s frontline playing well, it was JSmoove who outclassed the bigs on the court. This game got nasty, too, with multiple skirmishes breaking out, including a heated exchange between McGrady and Louis Amundson. Also worth noting: sick pass from Zaza Pachulia here.

Grizzlies 85, Timberwolves 80

The Grizzlies overcame 37 percent field goal shooting and 16 turnovers to beat the Kevin Love-less Timberwolves behind 19 points and 9 rebounds from Rudy Gay and 17 points from Quincy Pondexter in his second career start. Pondexter went scoreless in his first start against San Antonio on Monday. His emergence, though, and Memphis’ ability to work the ball inside in the first half—30 of the Grizz’s 44 points before the break were scored in the paint—helped get its record back to even at 13-13, same as Minnesota’s. Mareese Speights grabbed 15 rebounds and OJ Mayo (10) and Dante Cunningham (12) scored in double figures off the bench for Memphis. The Wolves’ backcourt of Ricky Rubio and Luke Ridnour had a sub-par game to say the least, combining for 2-14 shooting, 6 points, 4 assists. Yes, that’s combined. Rubio also had 4 turnovers. JJ Barea was among the only Minny players to turn in a noteworthy performance, with 17 points off the pine, while Mike Beasley and Derrick Williams added 13 points apiece.

Bulls 90, Hornets 67

Let’s Bully! This game was a joke—and I’m not just referring to Will Ferrell’s pre-game player introductions (see below), which apparently even had Coach Thibs in stitches. New Orleans shot just 37 percent from the floor, turned the ball over 18 times, and were outrebounded 49-39. The Hornets’ most productive starter was Marco Belinelli, who scored 13 points, and NOLA was led in scoring by none other than the unwanted Chris Kaman (17 points, 9 boards). Meanwhile the Bulls only needed 22 minutes from a still-sore Derrick Rose (6/5/6 line despite dealing with lingering back spasms) and got 18 points from Carlos Boozer and 13 and 10 from Joakim Noah, beating up on the reeling Hornets. The Bulls now have as many wins (22) as the Hornets have losses, and they face the lowly Bobcats on Friday.

Mavericks 105, Nuggets 95

Dirk Nowtizki scored 25 points and the Mavs stopped a three-game losing streak by beating a banged up Nuggets team last night. Dallas had 30 assists on 44 field goals, including 8 from Vince Carter, who also scored 17 points. Each team hit 9 three-pointers, and Denver lost despite outscoring the Mavericks 20-8 form the charity stripe and having six players finish with double-digit scoring nights. One reason may have been the lack of defense, as the Mavs scored 64 points in the first half—most by a Nuggs opponent this season. Al Harrington and Rudy Fernandez each scored 17 points a pop off the bench for Denver, and Ty Lawson and Nene had matching double-doubles, with 16 points apiece and 10 each of the assisting and rebounding variety for the point guard and center. But the Champs took advantage of a tired, shallow Nuggets roster and took home the win, matching these two teams’ records at 15-11.

Rockets 103, Trail Blazers 96

Uh-oh. The Rockets got a big win, but not before Kyle Lowry exited the game in the third quarter with an apparent right arm injury. He did not return to the game. Yikes. Dude has been absolutely balling this year, so hopefully by the time you’re reading this we have more (and good) news. In his absence, Houston’s bench went to work on the Blazers, as Chase Budinger led all scorers with 22 points, Courtney Lee had 16 and they helped the rest of the Rockets bench combine for 66 points. Houston led by as many as 19, but let Portland get back in the game and tie it at 77 on a LaMarcus Aldridge dunk in the fourth. LMA scored 13 points, while Jamal Crawford (21) and Gerald Wallace (20) shouldered the scoring load for the Blazers. But the Rockets finished with a 53 percent field goal percentage and won the rebounding battle 39-29. Praying for Lowry…

Line of the Night: Dwight Howard — 25 Pts, 24 Reb, 4 Ast to lead the Magic past Miami.

Moment of the Night: I don’t care that it’s a college game. And I don’t care that he doesn’t have a clear-cut position at the next level. I just have a feeling Austin Rivers is going to be a problem in the L one day, superstar or not. Onions!

Dunks of the Night: John Wall and Jeremy Lin trade shots.

Funny of the Night: Will Ferrell introducing the starting lineups for Bulls-Hornets. Yes, it’s awesome.

Tonight: The NBA takes a quick breather on Thursday night, with only 4 games on the schedule, starting with a classic Lakers-Celtics clash on TNT (are there any records left for Kobe and Pierce to break?), followed by Thunder at Kings. Your non-national TV games are Warriors-Nuggets and Rockets-Suns. Catch you all back here same time tomorrow.

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  • Mike From Spain

    The T-Wolves played the Grizz on the road, without their best players, got an off night from their arguably second best (Rubio), shot horribly and got severely outrebounded. And the Grizzlies won by just 5… the grizzlies are not out of reach for the T-wolves.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Jeremy Lin is a beast against horrible defenses!!!!

  • frommyfloorseat

    Here’s a blog on the Lin-Wall matchup from last night

    http://frommyfloorseats.tumblr.com/post/17320034059/the-championship-bout-lin-vs-wall

  • Myung

    That Will Ferrell thing was pretty funny. Not a huge fan of his, but it was pretty hilarious. He should do the same thing at the ASG… Good win for the Hawks. Nice to see them finally 1. Beat a real team and 2. Stop their 3 game home skid… Nice win for the Magic, but honestly, they would beat any team shooting the way they did. The Heat should’ve just let Dwight get his instead of double and triple teaming him and letting him kick it out to wide open shooters, but we’ve seen this before. You live by the three; you die by the three. On nights like last night, the Magic are world beaters. When the three’s not falling, they’re a very average team. Good win though… Cavs winning without Kyrie was a big surprise.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Abe Schwadron

    Sorry for the late posting, fellas. I was as surprised as anyone to wake up and see The Post Up missing. The one day I try to get some extra sleep, technology fails me! Anyway, great night of games, plus the bonus of Austin Rivers—wow…

  • Myung

    The Wizards defense on that Lin dunk was just ridiculous. That was Pats defense vs. Ahmad Bradshaw-esque. Any of us who posts comments here at SLAMonline could’ve scored a lay up (in my case) or dunked it (I’m sure some of you on here can dunk?) with that kind of sorry defense. Sorry, Abe, because I know they’re your team, but what on earth is going on in Washington?

  • http://slamonline.com/ Abe Schwadron

    The Knicks, as Mo Evans alluded to, basically ran pick and roll on every single play. The WIzards play the worst PnR defense in the NBA. It’s SO bad. Which is why anyone who comes on here today talking about how Lin chopped up John Wall is going to be incorrect — it’s the Wizards bigs that were getting killed. They don’t hedge, they don’t follow, they don’t recover, they don’t rotate. And McGee might be the worst of all. He’s indecisive and makes horrible decisions near the rim (someone should look up the record for most goaltends in a season, because Javale is going to SMASH it)

  • Myung

    Friday’s game vs. the Lakers will be fun. Up until a week ago, it was a match up of the two teams in the NBA who somehow didn’t have legit starting PG’s in a League where there are about 35 good to great PG’s collecting NBA checks… oh, what a difference a week makes. BTW, I’m a BIG fan of his, but even I admit I underestimated Lin. I felt like he wasn’t good enough to be a consistent starter in this League, but I might be wrong. I thought his first two games were flukes, and I felt like he would come back to earth hard. I felt like he was 10 and 5 guy at best. After doing this for 3 straight games, Jeremy is proving to me that I probably set his ceiling too low. I still don’t think he’s a 20 and 10 dude, but he’s still better than I thought he could be at the pro level. And I’m glad to be wrong. (and his upcoming match up Saturday night vs. Rubio is going to get as much hype as a Heat-Lakers game)

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Ugh, if the Pistons keep winning, they’re still going to Miss the playoffs AND they won’t have a good draft spot…They need a top 3 pick BADLY. Davis, Drummond, or Barnes please…

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    That Melo and Amare less Knicks team is actually fun to watch.
    Lin and Novak have both been balling.
    Too bad when Melo and STAT come back Lin will get like 5 shot attempts, and his assists will probably go down too despite playing with two elite scorers because Melo likes holding on to the ball so damn much.
    Why the hell did Rose even play last night? He shoulda sat that out.
    It’s the Hornets. Without CP. And no EJ either so there’s no one he should’ve been looking to prove himself against like he does from time to time.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Also, Greg Monroe is for real kids…I love his game more and more lately.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    Sessions lit Paul up, but it was Williams who cost LA that game. He cannot guard any one, and on Gibsons go ahead three he didn’t even no which player he was supposed to be guarding, giving him an open shot, then missing an open lay-up the next play. Kenyon Martin was great considering it was his first game as a Clipper.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    The 3 teams the knicks beat are terrible at defending the PnR. The entire basketball world sees that expect for NYK fans, who swear that when Melo/Amare return, they will become a dominant team. What is Melo going to turn into a spot-up shooter overnight and allow Lin to handle the rock the majority of the time? Hells no! He will revert back to his ball-stopping routine of taking 20+ shots while his teammates stand around watching.
    The Knicks aren’t a threat to any of the East’s top teams (PHI/IND included) and even a healthy celtic team is better.

  • Myung

    ^ the Hawks are better too.

  • Myung

    I almost posted as Wayno. C’mon, SLAMonline. Still haven’t fixed that?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    30, 21, 25. Thats the defensive ranking of the Nets, Jazz, Wizards.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Myung, may bad. Forgot about the Hawks there. Looks like I forgot about the Hawks the same way Hawks fans forget there’s a game at the arena. *pow*

  • JoeMaMa

    To those making light of Lin’s play: get over yourself, and enjoy it. It’s fun. His story is great, he’s bringing excitement to the games. The last thing people want to see/hear is “I told you so” when he stops putting up 20/10s. It’s really fun, RIGHT NOW. And that’s why we watch the game.

  • http://Www.slamonline.com TADOne

    No worries Wayno, the Pistons will get back to their losing ways shortly. And yes, Greg Monroe is a lot better than I thought he would be. Glad I was wrong. Him and Knight (who has been playing well too) will be a formidable duo. The Pistons desperately need an athletic big man.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Nick Tha Quick

    You know Orange will be here soon enough. I can hardly wait. First the Cuse then the Knicks. Brace thyselves.

  • Myung

    I wish I had a come back, JTaylor, but I can’t argue against the truth. Sigh.

  • http://slamonline.com. datkid

    This post up has me going enraged for several reasons (1) if any commenter here tries to argue that Lin is better than john wall I swear to god I will pull your arms off and beat you to death. and (2) THE POST UP IS THE ONE PLACE I’M SAFE FROM COLLEGE BASKETBALL WHY IS THERE A LINK TO WHAT AUSTIN RIVERS AND THE BLUE DEVILS DID TO MY TAR HEELS LAST NIGH WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY ALKDLKDXKDKKDKLSKDKKKMURDERMURDERMURDER

  • http://slamonline.com. datkid

    for the record the pull your arms off thing is a joke… maybe. also cosign nick tha quick. the only bright side to jeremy lin maybe/eventually being exposed is that orange will shut up forever.

  • Myung

    I want to see Spike Lee in a Lin jersey tomorrow night.

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    I expected a big scoring game from Lebron, because he likes to sh*t all over the Magic.
    And Dwight is just playing a monster season right now.

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    And Monroe is really really really nice.

  • Saami

    If you watched the Austin Rivers clip without the scoreboard, it could quite easily have been any random play in the middle of the first half… Least intense game ending play I have ever seen! Defence?! Nah!

  • Saami

    I just watched it again; in the last four seconds of the game, the person that moves the most on the whole court is the ref on the baseline!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    @ Myung – I’ve been almost posting as you a couple times on this thread too…Also, when are they going to have a mobile version of this site or an app?

  • davidR

    wayno, don’t remind me about monroe. not a warrior game goes by that i get mad we drafted udoh instead of monroe.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    @ TAD – I’d just take a superstar calibur player period at this point regardless of position. Knight and Monroe are nice pieces, but they need a bonafide superstar type player. I don’t think thier previous model of getting a bunch of pretty good players to overacheive is a model that can be consistently relied upon to build a contender. That being said, an athletic big would certainly be ideal.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    lol, I feel you davidR…Darko Milicic ring a bell? (yes I’m still bitter)

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    I all fairness to the Darko pick, Carmello Anthony, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh are all scrubs too…smh. I’m done now, I still get mad about that at least once or twice per month.

  • http://bulls.com airs

    “He still lives with his mother, Carlos Boozer!”
    Bulls keep rolling although I’m kinda concerned about the minutes thibs is giving his guys. Especially since they’re the deepest team in the L.
    Oh and good sh*t, j.lin!
    I’m not sure what’s more fun to read, the overly dramatic fans of jeremy or the overly dramatic pessimists.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/tray24 T-Ray

    @datkid
    LOL good ol rivarly glad we came away with the W in dramatic fashion. You guys dominated for a while then I don’t know what happened. Oh and I’ll be the first Duke fan to admit Curry took a vacation on that three pointer.

  • Myung

    Obviously, any Piston fan would take Melo, Wade, or Bosh over Darko, but could any of those three been a complete bench rider during his rookie season? Darko did nothing that year, but Chauncey, Rip, Ben, Sheed, and Tayshaun carried the squad. Could a super talent like MElo, Wade, or Bosh accept 10 mpg or less that season? All those guys had stellar rookie years, and I wonder if they could’ve swallowed their pride for a year or two to allow the vets to get their shine. Darko was a terrible bust (even worse than Marvin over CP3), BUT the silver lining was a 2004 title. That makes the Marvin over CP3 and Deron pick 10 times worse than Darko over Wade, Melo, and Bosh.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    That’s a great question. Maybe Melo or Bron would have started over TPrince but you have to remember that Larry Brown (a notorious rookie hater) was the coach of that team. I doubt even with all the talent they have, Melo, Bron, Wade and Bosh start on that team. Either one of those cats would have been uber-subs coming off the bench.

  • http://slamonline.com. datkid

    lol yo T-Ray he took a world tour smh. I don’t know what happened either… we were doing so well and then, duke just crept back in and austin rivers……… it’s still to painful.

  • http://Www.slamonline.com TADOne

    Bosh would have sat on the bench without question. Wade would have started on the bench but would not have stayed there long behind Rip. I’m quite sure Melo would have forced Prince into a 6th man role from the start.

  • Myung

    Well, no reason to include Bron there, since the Pistons had the 2nd pick. But all I know is this: wouldn’t you say 1 to 3 franchise players come out (on average) per draft? How many rings do the following franchise players have? Chuck. Ewing. Malone. Stockton. Nique. Iverson. Bron. Bosh. Melo. Dwight. CP3. Deron. Sure, some of them are on the cusp (Bron and Bosh), and several of them are still young enough where winning at least 1 ring is really do-able. But the ultimate goal of a sports franchise isn’t to employ a really good player who puts up HOF numbers and sells lots of jerseys and tickets. Its goal should be, above all else, to win a ring. And the fact is, as of today, Darko has more rings than all those guys combined. So I’d say, in hindsight, the Pistons made the right move that day (by getting Darko) because the end result (2004 title) can’t be argued. If you want to criticize them for their move (picking Darko ahead of three guys who will probably be in the HOF one day, as well as several other very decent players in the 2003 draft), I’d say their biggest flub was simply not trading that pick to a team that really wanted it. In essence, the Pistons made a non move by picking Darko and stashing him deep on their bench. It’s dumb that a #2 pick in a loaded draft ended up doing nothing for them that season (or really ever), but sometimes, a lateral move or a non move is the best sort of move to make if you’re a championship contender. So in hindsight, the move the Pistons should have made would be to trade that 2nd pick to another team. Hypothetically, let’s say they traded it to Orlando in 2003. Orlando then takes Darko, and the Pistons get the Magic’s #1 pick in 2004. Darko was a bust so the Magic still probably don’t do much better than 21-61 (their record in 2004). The Magic still probably get the #1 pick, and that gives the Pistons Dwight Howard to add to a defending championship team. Now THAT would’ve been scary.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/tray24 T-Ray

    You can thank Zeller for transfering to Duke mid season at least for the last minute of the game lol you would of thought he was point shaving.

  • http://Www.slamonline.com TADOne

    I understand your logic Myung, but Bosh or Melo would have had a ring themselves if the Pistons drafted them. Darko did absolutely nothing in a Pistons uniform ( or really any uniform ).

  • davidR

    haha wayno, darko has to hurt. but it prompted you guys to go after sheed, and eventually win a title. weird how that worked out

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    My comment still won’t show up. If this does, I am not surprised. Joe Dumars is a terrible GM. The 04 title, was like chasing an inside straight and getting bailed out on the river (Rasheed at the Deadline). Other then that he’s been horrible.

  • Myung

    You don’t KNOW that, though, Tim. That’s my point. We can only assume they would’ve won a ring, but the only we DO know is that Darko won a ring in 2003. Everything else is conjecture. Can’t we assume that Chuck should’ve won some rings himself? Either with those veteran laden 76ers teams (similar to a Bosh or Melo hypothetically joining that 2003 Pistons squad) or as the alpha dog in Philly in the late 80′s (like Bron in Cleveland or Dwight in Orlando) or as a key cog in a stacked roster with Phoenix in 1993 (like the 2011 Heat)? Titles aren’t won on paper. I 10000000% agree that Bosh or Melo would’ve been stars for Detroit for years, which is way more than Darko could ever say. And I also THINK Melo and Bosh might have won in 2004, but we don’t KNOW that. Kind of reminds me of the 1992 (I believe) Tar Heels. They just won a ring. They were bringing back the core of that championship team, AND they were adding Stackhouse, Sheed, and I believe Ed Cota… on paper, that should’ve been one of the best teams in NCAA history… yet they got knocked out of the tournament by Boston College. You just never know. The only thing we DO know is that the Pistons won a ring in 2004, and you guys will always be able to claim that.

  • Myung

    btw, you all can thank Billy Knight for giving you Sheed after his brilliant one game career with the Hawks. :)

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

    I gotta agree with chuck man, too many teams with putrid play, got damn!

  • http://www.blogspot.com LLC#12

    Being #1 pick can be a curse, Darko’s had a good NBA career in terms of longevity, and he’s found a nice niche with the wolves, but he’ll always have the “bust” tag attached to him, I wonder how different things would of been for him if he’d been drafted later, with less pressure and lower expectations…

  • D12FSU

    wow, john wall is so fast in that highlight

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    I’m living rent free in a lot of your heads. YOU KNOW THIS, BALL-LIN!!! LOL

  • http://slamonline.com. datkid

    NO…. god you’re corny.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    I get the whole “Detroit won in 04 so everything worked out” argument, but I don’t really buy it. It’s hard to argue against them possibly being a dynasty had they drafted Bosh or Melo. Obviously it all hypothetical, but they very well could have won 2-4 championships. Whatever…we’ve always got that 04 title to hang on to…I loved that team.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    The team would have clearly been in a better situation going forward if they drafted anyone in the top 5 not named Darko. To argue otherwise is pretty ridiculous. A Championship team would only be better with better players. The question is, would they have made the trade at the deadline had they picked Melo, like they should have.

  • davidR

    if the pistons took melo that year, who would’ve played PF?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Mehmet Okur.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    @ nbk – If they drafted Bosh, probably not. Melo, Maybe.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Still a starting lineup of Billups, RIP, Melo, Okur(just entering his prime), and B Wallace would still be very menacing.

  • davidR

    damn, i forgot okur was on that squad.
    regarding being in a better position, we’ll never know. that pistons squad made it to the finals a second time, and to the conference finals a bunch of times. had a few things gone their way, they could’ve won more than just 1 ring.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Yeah, like, had they had a scorer coming off the bench? lol, there is not a single doubt in my mind they would have been better had they picked anyone else.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Would they have traded for Sheed if they already had one of those guys?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    that’s what I asked @ 4:20.

  • Myung

    nbk, I’m definitely not saying the Pistons wouldn’t be in a better position GOING FORWARD. I even said they would’ve been better off taking one of those other guys. The point I was making was, just because we THINK something in sports doesn’t make it REALITY. Do I think MJ would’ve won 8 rings had he not played baseball? Sure. Do I think Kobe and Shaq would’ve won several more rings had they stuck together? Yes. Would the Hawks have won a ring sometime in the last 6 seasons had we drafted Chris Paul in 2005 (the same summer we brought in Joe Johnson, hence creating the best young backcourt in the NBA for the next half decade)? Yes. But we’ll never know. It’s fun to argue about “what if’s,” but we deal with reality. The reality is, the Pistons won the ring in 2004 WITHOUT Melo, Wade, or Bosh. Everything else is conjecture. We THINK they would’ve won a ring with one of those guys. Maybe they would’ve even more than one. But we don’t KNOW that. What if Bosh gets drafted, but what if he suffers a career ending injury in his 2nd month? What if Wade gets drafted, clashes with Billups and Rip, and they ship both of them out? What if Melo becomes a ball hog and doesn’t mesh well with the vets?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I never said they would have won a title for sure. I just said they would have definitely been a better team. I also said, if they drafted someone other then Darko the real question is, would they have traded for Rasheed?

  • davidR

    i doubt they would’ve traded for sheed

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Yeah, without Sheed, they still might not have won a ring. No inside scoring at all. Even if Sheed didn’t love the post, he could still give cats the business, and he and Wallace gave them one of the best defensive tandems in the league, if not the best.

  • Myung

    I doubt they would’ve traded for Sheed either. And we all know the BEST team doesn’t always win titles. Ask the Packers this year. Or the Yankees almost every year. Or the Heat this past June. And while you and I both AGREE that a team, on paper, with Billups, Rip, Ben, Tay, and insert stud here (Wade, Melo, Bosh) would’ve been a better core for the next 5 to 10 years than the squad that had Sheed and Darko, it’s a complete butterfly effect. The clear 2nd pick that year was Melo, right? If not Melo, it was Bosh (and considering they traded for a PF with range, he probably made the most sense). Either of those shows up, and I highly doubt they get Sheed. Would Larry Brown have played either Bosh or Melo? Either way, I get the feeling the 04 Pistons sans Sheed would’ve lost to the Lakers (yay for the Mailman). And then the Pistons would’ve been set up for long term success, building around their young stud and surrounding him with vets like Chauncey, Rip, etc… but would they have beaten Cleveland, San Antonio, LA, Phoenix (oh, there’s a team that we could play the “what if” game with), Orlando, or Boston? We’ll never know. My main point is, they got a ring in 2004. You can say it’s JUST ONE RING (rather than 3 or 4), but if winning one ring were so easy, why don’t all the great players have one? I’d trade Dominique Wilkins and all his highlights in a heartbeat if I could’ve witnessed a championship season during the past 25 years that I’ve been rooting for the Hawks. Sigh.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    SMH, if I’m so “corny” as you say, datkideboy, then why you always obsessing about me so much like a female dog in heat? You know I speak teh TRUTH about YOU! BTW, while I’m in your head, there is such an echo. LOL

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

    People are still chalking up his success to “bad team defenses”? Really?! He’s killing it in his first 3 career starts–I mean, I can’t even remember a player having a better first 3 games as a starter–but of course it’s because of the DEFENSE and not him. lol… It’s kind of funny, actually. Is John Wall not a solid defender?
    If John Wall put up these numbers his first 3 career starts would people credit his success to the OPPOSING teams?

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

    Also I don’t think you people realize how sh!tty the Knicks’ roster is without Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. Remember, they gutted the team to get those two. Yet Jeremy Lin has already won 3 games pretty much single-handedly–that’s almost the number of wins than John Wall has in Washington, but in about 23 fewer games played. His best teammate has been Steve Novak during that stretch. Take from that whatever you will.

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

    that’s almost the number of wins John Wall has in Washington******

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddDVWXNsV9U IAMORANGE4EVER

    Teddy-the-Bear, what Jeremy Lin has done in the past 3 games is DEFINITELY IMPRESSIVE . . . It is LEGENDARY, but take what I say with a grain of salt, because I AM LINSANE in the MEMBRANE! Cause I’m LOCO!

  • AdamD

    I find this run that Lin is having enjoyable and find the hawks confusing, but i’m very much used to that by now. How Josh Smith isn’t an all star is beyond me. I know he has a rep for a dodgy attitude but he is one of the better rounded players in the league (Don’t mention his shooting).

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

    Cosign Teddy, Lin is flat out playing well. His wont stay at this level(atleast i doubt he will) but the kid can play.Some of you are letting your IAMORANGE hate blind you, you gotta look through the mist.

  • http://www.leaguelineup.com/welcome.asp?url=pawtucketymca Gametimeweezy

    Jeremy Lin is an upgrade over Felton. And like I said the Knicks will be fine without Melo for now with what Lin is bringing to the table. Great ball movement offensively and gritty defense up top. What other Knick pg’s have we had in the last 10 years that consistently put up those kinds of numbers guys? none…..
    Teddy.. Steve Novak best teammate during stretch? bro how you gonna play Tyson Chandler and Landry Fields like that lol

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    @unwitable SERIOUSLY, somebody needs to reevaluate their life if they hate Jeremy Lin based on any of my comments on SLAM. Not once have I been over the top regarding Jeremy Lin. In fact I’ve tempered my expectations of Lin since day one, and all I’ve been expecting (as well as excited by) is solid point guard play which allows the rest of the Knicks to play their natural positions. The truth is, mose of those that comment here who have a problem with me are like the SLAM twitter lollypop KIDS. I don’t need to mention any names…Keep up the good “work.” ROFL

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    *most of those

  • Justin G.

    Uhhh ORANGE? Not once have you been over the top regarding Jeremy Lin huh? How about your comment right before that one? “what Jeremy Lin has done in the past 3 games is DEFINITELY IMPRESSIVE . . . It is LEGENDARY”. I’d say that’s just a tad over the top wouldn’t you?

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    If what Jeremy Lin does is LEGENDARY….. what do LBJ, Kobe, Durant do every night?…

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