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Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 at 8:35 am  |  162 responses

Post Up: Mile High Miracle

The Wolves take down Lob City, OKC outlasts the Mavs and total craziness in Denver.

by Abe Schwadron | @abe_squad

Last night was just one big, never-ending #LeaguePassAlert. Let’s get it.

Magic 92, Raptors 88

Dwight Howard missed 8 of his 9 fourth quarter free throw attempts and the Raptors pulled within 2 points twice in the last 31 seconds, but JJ Redick drilled a corner 3-pointer with 9.7 seconds left and sank a pair of free throws with 5 seconds left as Orlando escaped Toronto to improve to 25-14 on the year. It was a slow-paced affair, as the teams combined for just 15 fast break points, and Howard finished with 36 points (16-20 FGs) and 13 rebounds but missed a total of 10 free throws. Ryan Anderson put up 19 points and 13 boards and Redick had 13 points for the Magic, winners of 9 of their last 12 games. The Raptors made a 9-0 run in the third quarter that briefly gave them a 2-point lead, before Howard ripped off 11 points—including one thunderous alley-oop finish via Redick—over the next 5 and a half minutes to put Orlando back in charge. DeMar Derozan scored 23 points to lead the Raps, Jerryd Bayless had 15 off the bench (plus 5 assists and 6 rebounds), James Johnson delivered a solid 13-7-7 line and even Aaron Gray deserves a mention, with his 11×11 double-double.

Warriors 120, Wizards 100

Poor John Wall. It’s nights like these I get really worked up about the kid—about him getting overlooked because his teammates are so awful, about him looking incredible but no one noticing, instead opting for the jokes about the team’s ineptitude and unfairly lumping him in with them. Wall racked up 20 points (on 7-10 shooting), 14 assists and 6 rebounds and only 2 turnovers, and he probably could have had a half-dozen more dimes if not for some horrific shooting nights from other Wizards, like Chris Singleton (1-7, 2 points), Jordan Crawford (2-13, 5 points) and Andray Blatche (2-6, 4 points). Nick Young’s 25 points came mostly on isolations, and Washington shot 56 percent from the free throw line, missing 16 freebies. As for Golden State, what better way to get back on track on a poor road trip than to play the Wiz? Over the first four games of their trip, the Warriors shot 18 percent from the 3-point line and scored about 78 points per game—last night they made 15 of 23 threes (65 percent) and scored 120 points. Monta Ellis scored 25 points (3 of which were assisted by Javale McGee) and sat out the fourth quarter, Klay Thompson added 18, and Stephen Curry made a surprise appearance off the bench to score 12 points in 9 minutes on 5-7 shooting, including one ridiculous 3-pointer with time running out in the third quarter.

Jazz 109, Cavaliers 100

Al Jefferson: 23 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 blocks, 0 turnovers? Aight, I see you. The Jazz shot 50 percent from the field as a team, and fed Big Al the rock all night, and got a season-high 23 from Gordon Hayward, as they improved to 18-19 on the year and got just their 4th road win. Jefferson and the boys inside won the battle on the glass 46-30 (a season-low for the Cavs), and had 13 offensive rebounds. Cleveland’s leading scorers were Antawn Jamison and Kyrie Irving, with 22 apiece, but Jamison had more assists (6) than Irving (4) and the Cavs shot9-23 from 3-point range as they dropped their sixth straight and fourth in a row at home. Utah led by as many as 17, using a 22-8 run to end the first half to take a 15-point lead into the break. In that second quarter, the Cavs shot just 3-16 from the field. The Jazz bench outscored Cleveland’s 46-33, helping to snap a six-game road losing streak.

Bulls 92, Pacers 72

Think the Bulls wanted this one? Last time these two hooked up, Chicago took exception to the Pacers’ celebratory reaction to beating the MVP and company. This time, there would be no celebration for Indiana. The Bulls won their seventh straight game and snapped Indy’s 6-game winning streak behind 20 points from Luol Deng (despite 1-7 shooting in the first half), 13 points and 9 dimes from Derrick Rose and 17 rebounds from Joakim Noah. Chicago’s bigs dominated all night long, outrebounding the Pacers 60-32 and holding All-Star center Roy Hibbert to just 2 points. Paul George scored 21 points to lead Indiana, but the Pacers managed to score only 72 points, a season-low. The Bulls are still the NBA’s best at 32-8, and are now an incredible 11-2 on the second night of back-to-backs this year. The only shred of bad news for Chi-town was that Rip Hamilton left in the first quarter, citing his right shoulder.

Bucks 97, Sixers 93

Brandon Jennings scored 14 of the Bucks’ first 19 points and had 19 points in the first quarter, but Philly jumped out to a 10-point first-half lead. The Bucks slowly got back into the game, and then used a 15-0 run in the fourth quarter to take an 8-point lead late. In this back and forth affair, that wasn’t nearly enough to feel comfortable, as the Sixers stormed back behind 26 points from Lou Williams. Williams tied the game at 93 after Jennings fouled him on a 3-point attempt with one minute remaining, but Beno Udrih responded with a short jumper, and LouWill missed a runner with less than 10 seconds left that would have sent this one to overtime. The Bucks (15-23) scored 21 fast break points, to just 6 for Philadelphia, and were buoyed by Jennings’ monster 33-point, 7-assist game, plus big games from the frontcourt duo of Ersan Ilyasova (11 points, 18 rebounds) and Drew Gooden (25 and 10). The Sixers fall to 22-17, and have quietly been pretty bad lately—2-8 over their last 10, 0-7 in games decided by 4 points or less and now only 1.5 games up on Boston in the Atlantic division.

Thunder 95, Mavericks 91

Dirk Nowitzki hit a 3-pointer to give the Mavericks an 88-85 lead with 4 minutes left to play, but from there on in, the Thunder controlled the game in its clutch moments, getting a huge answer 3 from Russell Westbrook, forcing Dirk into a bad turnover with 1:20 to play, and then locking down on defense to take out the Champs and slide to 30-8 on the year. Dallas couldn’t get a shot off while down 92-91 with under 40 seconds to play, then looked totally confused on the game’s last possession (Jason Kidd and Jason Terry ran into each other on the baseline, and Dirk never got a touch). The already short-handed Mavs lost Brendan Hawyood seconds into the game, and looked out of sync outside of Nowitzki, who scored 27 points. Westbrook led the Thunder in scoring with 24 points, Kevin Durant added 22, Kendrick Perkins hauled down 16 rebounds and Serge Ibaka had another weirdly awesome Serge Ibaka line, with 8 points, 7 rebounds and 6 blocked shots. Ibaka also hit a pair of clutch free throws with under a minute left to help stave off the Mavs. OKC won despite shooting 38 percent from the field, aided in part by a 19-point advantage at the free throw line.

Timberwolves 95, Clippers 94

Chris Paul had a clean look at a 3-pointer with under a minute to play and the Clippers down 5, but it hit back iron. Luckily, he immediately redeemed himself with a steal at the other end, after which he was immediately fouled. With Lob Angeles trailing by just 3 with 29.1 to play after CP3′s free tosses, JJ Barea clanked a runner and the Clips took over. Somehow, unbelievably, Derrick Williams made the rookie mistake of fouling Paul on a three-point attempt with 2.7 seconds left in regulation, and the veteran PG stepped to the line with an opportunity to tie the game. One, cash. Two, cash. Three…short. And L.A. fell that one point short of sending this one to overtime, instead allowing Minnesota to win game No. 20 on the season. Kevin Love can take most of the credit for building the Timberwolves’ lead—he dropped a crazy 39-point, 17-board performance in his game-high 43 minutes.  But he got help in the form of 15 points and 9 rebounds from Williams and 13 points for Darko Milicic (who started in place of an injured Nikola Pekovic). Michael Beasley only had 9 points, but they all came in the fourth quarter, as the Wolves held off the Clippers (22-14) despite 26 points and 12 boards from Blake Griffin and an 18-5-4 line out of Paul.

Nuggets 119, Kings 116 (OT)

When Tyreke Evans hit a pair of free throws to give the Kings a 5-point lead with 28 seconds left in the fourth quarter, some Nuggets fans probably headed for the exits. When they found out what happened next, those fans have probably never regretted something so much in their lives. Arron Afflalo scored the final 8 points for Denver in regulation, including a 3-pointer with 9.7 seconds left to cut the deficit to 1, and then 3 clutch free throws with 0.6 seconds left to send the game to overtime after a boneheaded foul by Marcus Thornton. In overtime, his backcourt mate, Ty Lawson, had his own clutch moment, drilling a 3-pointer to break a 116-116 tie with 4 seconds left, lifting the Nuggs to the impossible win. Afflalo finished with a career-high 32 points, Lawson had 16 points and 13 assists, and don’t look now, but Denver is now 4-0 after the All-Star break. Plus, last night marked the returns of Danilo Gallinari and Nene, each of whom played less than 20 minutes and looked sluggish, but combined for 10 points and most importantly are back out there. Thornton and Evans each had 27 for Sacramento, who over and over again looked to have this game in the bag. But Lawson, Afflalo and the energy of rookie Kenneth Faried (career-high 20 points, game-high 12 rebounds) were too much for the Kings—er, so was basic basketball IQ, too. Just an insane basketball game. Totally freaking insane.

Trail Blazers 86, Hornets 74

Ahh, the classic late-night blowout. New Orleans had been frisky lately, but Portland held the Hornets to just 10 points in the third quarter en route to earning their first win post-All-Star break. Nicolas Batum led the Blazers in scoring with 19, while Ray Felton had 11 points and 10 assists and LaMarcus Aldridge chipped in 10 points and 11 boards. Portland shot just 6-22 from the three-point line, but locked down the Hornets at the other end—Jarrett Jack and Trevor Ariza shot a combined 2-10, Chris Kaman was 4-13 and only 3 NOLA players scored in double figures, led by Marco Belinelli’s 18. The Blazers’ win snapped a 3-game skid, as they led by as many as 26. Also, word to Marcus Camby, who had 16 rebounds. Does this dude age?

Line of the Night: Kevin Love — 39 points and 17 rebounds. Minnesota is now 3-0 vs. the Clippers this year.

Moment of the Night: Ty Lawson sinks the Kings in OT.

Dunk of the Night: Blake should have been a gymnast. Dwight don’t hurt ‘em.

Funny of the Night: Just read the title.

Tonight: A Tuesday night 6-pack with some intriguing matchups on deck, including Hawks-Pacers, Rockets-Celtics and Knicks-Mavericks. Plus, the Heat and Lakers are in action. See you back here in 24.

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  • http://www.slamonline.com Jahmai

    How can a guy who attempts 10 three-pointers in a game get 7 offensive rebounds, KLove is simply amazing, following his 42,10 performance with 39 and 17, those are insane numbers. He really should be in the MVP conversation especially now that his wolves are over .500.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Jahmai

    And with MVP conversation, I don’t just mean somewhere lost in the shuffle. Scoop Jackson recently wrote an article about KLOVE 4 MVP on ESPN, but seriously besides LeBron, who is outplaying Love? Sure, you could make a great case for KD, especially with the record the Thunder have but RW is playing some amazing ball this season as well so you might as well split those votes. Kobe is balling but still, better than KLove? With Bynum and Gasol his team is still underperforming. Drose, obviously my favorite is not outplaying him. CP3 not. Dirk is a little late to the party. All I know is that Love probably is 2nd on my non-existing MVP ballot.

  • http://www.blogspot.com LLC#12

    I don’t know about 2nd but I’d have Love in at least the top 5 candidates for MVP. Not many players can do the things he does! On the topic of the timberwolves, Rubio is in a horrible shooting funk of late, just horrible! He initially came in shooting better than a lot of people expected, but now, jesus! I’ve been thinking the same thing about the Wizards all year as the article mentioned..free John Wall!!!

  • https://plus.google.com/photos/106403650426394352312/albums/posts davidR

    yo abe, you switched the warriors/wizards score.

  • http://www.slamonline.com TADOne

    Overlooked in the Billups for Iverson trade was a so called “throw in” player named Aaron Afflalo. My how I wish Detroit would not have given up on him.

  • https://plus.google.com/photos/106403650426394352312/albums/posts davidR

    damn, for some reason i forgot iverson was once a piston

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    MVP rankings Bron, Durant, Rose, Love, Paul in that order. Paul had one of those games last night where he looked like he lost every bit of explosiveness he was ever blessed with. The thing about Love’s performance is that it seemed all in the flow of the game, and the ease with which he scored made it look like a routine night.
    The Bulls are tough, I just cant see them beating Miami over 7 games. Barring injury, I cant see how anyone besides OKC and the Heat end up playing in the finals.

  • T-Money

    i’m very, very close to eating crow and admitting that klove is the best PF in the game. i still have my reservations about running an offense through him and the ovious defensive shortcomings but what klove is doing right now is truly remarkable. “if not him, then who else?” is an increasingly tougher question to answer. i just need him to get his averages in the playoffs, even if they get swept. i just want to see the 25-15 in a playoffs context and i’ll be good.

  • http://www.slamonline.com megatron

    TAD, i don’t think afflalo was part of that trade, i think he was traded for a second round pick or something. Still, I agree with your point.

  • Justin G.

    I’m with you T-Money. It’s getting really, REALLY hard to not call him the best PF in the game in with some of the shortcomings you pointed out. Damn, his numbers are crazy!

  • http://www.slamonline.com TADOne

    Mega, you are absolutely correct. I need more sleep. He was traded with Walter Sharpe to Denver for a 2nd round pick. A 2nd rounder!! Not Joe Dumars greatest moment. Ugh.

  • startown

    Kevin Love is just incredible, the shots he made down the stretch last night, unreal! The Wolves have won 7 of their last 10. Rubio is stuggling with his shot, but he still is passing great, good defense, we do not need him to score. He set Love up for 3 threes off great behind the back passes, they really play together, D Williams is getting better and better!

  • http://slamonline.com/ Abe Schwadron

    Thanks davidR, that game had me so discombobulated…

  • http://www.yahoo.com The Fury

    Denver, starting to get sneaky again…

  • T-Money

    startown: 1- rubio is not struggling with his shot, this is what his shot has looked like since he turned pro at 15. barça practices twice a day throughout the week and usually only play 1 game on the weekend. he’s had ample time to fix it and it’s still crooked. some people just can’t shoot. 2- it’s silly to say that the wolves don’t need him to score. minnesota is 14th in the league in offensive rating so it’s not like he’s such a wizard with the basketball that his putrid shooting is meaningless.

  • Heals

    KLo was after it from the tip cause Blake KILLED him the last time they played (18 in 1st quarter), so it’s cool to see this budding rivalry get better. Not much more I can say to slight the man, the team’s winning (my old excuse) no longer applies and he’s outplaying his contemporaries head-to-head (my other excuse)…

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

    Thought it was funny watching the OKC game last night. Durant made a skip past to a rolling Ibaka when the game was on the line and Ibaka got fouled. The announcer was pretty confident in saying it was the “smart play” instead of taking a contested double teamed shot. Found it funny cuz it seems like a lot of commenters on here bash Bron when he does it.

  • Heals

    Wait til’ they’re healthy Fury, just a nasty 6,7 or 8th seed. Dal v OKC just another awesome game between the 2, LouWill v BJenn was entertaining in the 4th, lookout Philly NY and Bos aren’t too far behind ya (objects in rearview mirror are closer than they appear). Good to see Steph back and producing and lastly shame on the NBA for having those 4 games all start at 5pm, c’mon now, but thankfully Chi ran away from Indy so it was easier to take in the 4th quarters of the other 3…

  • Heals

    @T-money, Clips announcers talking about how they were surprised to watch Rubio during warm-ups. He was only hitting 3 or 4 out of 10 shots from routine spots during pre-game. Spots players usually hit 8 or 9 in their sleep…

  • Paul H

    Man K-Loves consistency Is astounding. In the T-wolves wins he Is averaging 25.3 points and 13.7 boards, and In their losses 25.5 and 13.6. the only real variable from wins to losses? His field goal%, 47% In their wins and 42% In losses. Imagine If he could start shooting the ball consistently closer to 50%…..

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    that’s the second time in as many games Paul has made some questionable choices at the end of a game. just noting it.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    If we’re handing out MVPs to players with teams hovering around .500, then Allen Iverson and Kobe would like a word with past voters.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    I’m not willing to concede that he’s the best PF in the league, but there certainly aren’t any that are playing as well as KLove this season….straight up beast.

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

    Allen
    If they make the playoffs he should be in the conversation but he is definitely not getting the MVP.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Didn’t we have this discussion on Love a while back when I made the same proclamation as T-MOney?
    Nobody is more consistent or putting up better numbers, and none of his contemporaries have flawless games.
    He’s the best. Everybody else has gaping flaws in their games, just like him, and none of them are even approaching his numbers. You might prefer another player because you like their strengths better than his strengths (Like I do with Bosh, Dirk and ZBo) but you can’t honestly say they’ve been “better.”
    Dude is a monster.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    T-Ray
    What does “in the conversation mean”?
    If it means people say “Man, Love is putting up MVP numbers but his team just doesn’t win enough” then I’m cool with that. That’s what Kobe and Iverson got back in the day.
    If people actually start giving this dude first place votes and he pushes for the actual award despite his team squeaking into the playoffs, then I’m going to have a problem.
    More importantly, I thought the popular contention was that a player’s success had to be integral to his team’s success. When you consider the fact that Love put up similar numbers last year on a team that was putrid, it makes you wonder if the signing of Adelman and Rubio are not much more of a factor than Love.

  • Paul H

    I agree he should definitely be top 5 In the MVP conversation. It was scandalous how little pub he was getting, considering how he has played this season. I seen a few MVP countdowns on ESPN were he was not even TO{ TEN.

  • startown

    T-Money: MN is 14th in the league in offense, and you think that is a bad thing. LOL…I am from MN, we absolutely stunk since we traded Garnett, for us to be 14th in the league in offense is a miracle. If you haven’t watched the games, then you wouldn’t know. I have watched every game… Rubio is helping them win (nothing else matters). 10 assists in the first quarter against Portland. He’ll get his shot back, every time he drives to the hoop they bang on him (that is the strategy) he just has to dish it to Love and Williams and we’ll win games!!

    As far as I am concerned he should take 3-4 shots a game, and have 10+ assists and play good defense and we will be just fine.
    LOVE is AWESOME

  • http://caseyvaughn.com AlbertBarr

    Sacramento showed their potential last night…and their youth and lack of maturity as a team. Jimmer is not very good right now. I think he needs to get way stronger and faster and then he may have a chance. The moment where the Kings bball IQ failed them was that foul on Afflalo…had Thorton fouled just a second earlier and before Afflalo was close to shooting motion it would have been only 2 free throws. SMDH

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    AlbertBarr
    Isn’t it interesting that Westphal was intent on giving Jimmer so many minutes early in the year? I mean, Jimmer was getting huge burn, but DMC and Isaiah Thomas were locked to the bench.
    Westphal, and his apologists like Charles Barkley tried to make it seem like the Kings were just a horrible mess with very little redeemable value, but it is becoming more and more clear that Westphal was hurting this squad a lot. I said early in the season that I liked their talent, I don’t know if Smart will maximize it, but I think they have some solid pieces. They just need more structure, and somebody needs to convince Marcus Thornton that passing is not illegal.

  • T-Money

    you know what, i’m getting caught up in the moment right now. i was watchign dallas yesterday and dirk was doing unspeakable things to ibaka in the 4th until jason terry foolishly decided that he was going to shoot regardless (still can’t believe dirk didn’t touch the ball on the last play of the game). the big german is the best 4 in the game and i believe any team would have more success with dirk than with kevin.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    Allen, which decisions are you talking about? I’m not disagreeing, i’m curios. I saw mental and physical errors rather than bad decisions. They are too different things imo.

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

    Allen
    I by saying “in the conversation” I mean exactly what you pointed out. That he is putting up MVP like numbers. Yet I think the addition of Rubio, Williams, Adelman and the outburst of Pekovic are bigger reasons why they are close to a playoff berth.

  • T-Money

    i’m starting to come around on this – david thorpe keeps saying that coaching is critical in the nba, contrary to popular belief. he made a good point in his chat last week sayign that dwight for brook lopez is not a good deal at face value but considering what svg would do with brook, it could be the best deal available for orlando (that’s keeping in mind that dwight doesn’t want to go to the lakers). putting tyreke at the 3 instead of the 1 was a brilliant move by keith smart. now, his lack of outside shooting and tunnel vision are not as much of an issue and he can do what he does best (attack the rim with his live dribble) without hurting the offense.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    T-Money
    But Dirk doesn’t rebound regularly and he doesn’t defend too well either. He’s clearly and obviously the superior scorer to Love, particular in isolation, and that’s why I would rather have him. But, is that enough to make him “better”?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    ALLBALL
    I see a mental error as a bad decision.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    So when Paul didn’t get the shot off in time to end regulation you class that as a bad decision?

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    Now I know that it is a bad decision, but its not like he chose to not get it off in time.

  • Heals

    LBJ, Rose, CP3, Durant, Kobe, Dwight, TonyP – definitely top-5, not so fast…

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    I have no clue where to put Kobe in the rankings.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Good point on Parker.
    I knew he was having a good year, didn’t realize how good it was by the numbers. I think his candidacy will be unfairly hurt by the fact that media folks don’t view his as a leader, and they don’t believe in the Spurs’ success.

  • ripslam

    Are the Clippers for real? They were decent before the All-Star break, but they’ve been pretty pedestrian since Chauncey went down. They’re now 0-3 against a fringe-playoff Minnesota squad, and they barely managed to squeak by the Rockets.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    The Clippers are not for real. You can’t rely on CP3 in the 4th quarter every night to win you games, and you are never going to be a contender with VDN as the head coach.

  • ripslam

    Also, a lot of really close, down-to-the-wire games the past few days. I’m loving it.
    -
    Love is putting up some nice numbers, but I don’t think anyone outside of Bron and KD could realistically win the MVP. Also, Derrick Williams needs to get more PT. For a number two pick he rides pine for too long.

  • http://www.blogspot.com LLC#12

    I’ll agree Rubio is not a great shooter by any stretch of the imagination, but earlier in the season he shot a lot better than he has shot of late. I don’t think his shot is as terrible as it has been recently. His fg% has plummeted to around 35% (I think) which is just awful, earlier in the season he was at least around 45%

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    The Clippers are for real until the second round of the playoffs.

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

    “This time, there would be no celebration for Indiana.”

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Rubio’s shot is what it is. 35% is right what I expected from him. But since February, kid is shooting like 31%. smh

  • http://www.slamonline.com TADOne

    The Clippers are contenders. As soon as they whack VDN and bring back Larry Brown.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    The Clippers need a 2 guard.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Ray Allen will be a free agent this summer, right?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    And so will Nick Young and J.R. Smith. Clips need to make it happen.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Abe, does Javale McGee do something embarrassing every game now?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Ray Allen’s contract expires. I think he’s getting traded.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    I read that Boston are recieving calls for Allen. nbk, you normally seperate the rumours from the truth, chances clips get a 2 guard are?

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

    Who do the Clippers have that the Celtics want? Unless you through in some draft picks.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    like 85% AllBall. Which one I have no idea. And I would say 100% if it weren’t the Clippers.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    T-Ray, well depends on the Celtics plans for Rondo. Eric Bledsoe is a nice piece.

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

    Yea you’re right or maybe Mo Williams. Bledsoe is a nice piece though. These 9 days leading to the deadline shoudl be interesting.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    My thing is, Danny Ainge is so about his cap space, as i’ve been saying for a couple weeks, I don’t think he’d take back Mo Williams and his $8.5M Player Option for next season. I could be completely wrong, I haven’t talked to the guy since I was 8 years old, and at that point I had no grasp of any of this so….

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

    The way I see it is why not ride the season out and sign KG and Ray to smaller contracts possibly go after Howard. Honestly the core of that team has so much experience they could upset Chicago or Miami so I wouldn’t blow up the team.

  • Mike From Spain

    I am a huge Rubio fan, but his shooting is putrid and there is no real excuse. Do you think that he’d shoot better if the schedule was not so compressed? Will he shoot better as a sophomore? Will he attack the rim better if he gains some strength and quickness with the right conditioning in the off-season? Can he fix his shooting and hit at least 40%? Will he ever be considered an elite PG with this shooting? These are questions that pop in my mind.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I like Mike from Spain more ever time he comments.

  • Mike From Spain

    OTOH the Wolves also need a 2 guard. But I cannot see any trades happening. I read in Canis Hoopus some crazy talk about Ray Allen to the Wolves, is it even possible?

  • Mike From Spain

    Thanks Allenp, I have learned from yall… and also from League pass and some sleepless nights :)

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    KLove is putting up by far the best numbers for a PF this season but I still need to see a little bit more isolation/post-game scoring and effort on the defensive end before I crown him the best PF in the game.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    He just isn’t a very good shooter to be honest. His shot is flat, and he pushes his release more horizontal then forward. It’s fixable, but not going to happen during the season. He needs to lock himself in a gym for a couple weeks with a shooting gun and a shooting coach..

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    then vertical*

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Mike, Ray Allen to the Wolves is possible. But David Kahn is their GM, so it’s almost impossible to say what the wolves would be willing to give up. Ainge would have to consider say, Mike Beasley & Wes Johnson for Allen & Marquis Daniels, right?

  • Mike From Spain

    Beasley & Wes johnson for Ray Allen & Marquis Daniels is OK… Beasley’s contract is expiring too, and Wes Johnson… well, dunno if the Celtics want him, I think the Wolves sure don’t

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    The Celtics are hard to analyze. Danny Ainge is like Joe Dumars, in that you don’t really know what he is going to do, or even what direction he’s headed.

  • T-Money

    Marc (Phillly)
    Offensive sets at end of games are horribly primitive across the league. Rather than running plays, one guy dribbles and takes on the entire defense. LeBron is the one guy willing to pass in this situation and he gets grilled for it.
    David Thorpe (12:22 PM)
    I’m honestly a little sad for how the media handles Bron’s late game passing. And that’s all I have to say about that.

    It’s kinda crazy when you look at it like that. How many times does an NBA team get a clean, open look to win the game? And that’s supposed to be the wrong play?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Thank you for copying and pasting Thorpedo T-Money. that guy is so spot on with most his analyses imo.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Abe Schwadron

    Yeah nbk, I’m done with Javale. Let him walk in FA, Young, too. Amnesty/cut/buyout Lewis and Blatche however necessary. Add Top 5 pick and some middle tier FAs. It’s the only way. Then again, with Ernie as GM, none of that will happen. Probably match a ridiculous McGee RFA contract, keep Blatche and tell the fans Rashard is starting again. SMH….

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I feel for you man. You should just start watching Kentucky and pretend their jerseys say Wizards. I hope to goodness y’all get Anthony Davis.

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

    T-Money that’s what I’ve been saying to people at my school who bash him for doing it. One must ask has the media changed the perception of what is clutch and what is making the right play? Has sports media been so blinded by clutch plays/players that they are oblivious to the “right play”?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    T-Ray, see Jordan, Michael.

  • T-Money

    what is messed up is the basketball environment today’s hs players are growing into. we’re telling them: if you’re the best player on your team, you should take every single shot in the last minute of a close game regardless of schemes and circumstances. that’s wild.

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

    True nbk but what I don’t understand is Jordan hit Steve Kerr for a game winner in the finals and Bron hit Bosh for a game winner in game 3 of the finals. Therefore I think Bron shouldn’t get bashed for it if the guy misses.

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

    On the other hand you have a guy like Kobe who will without a doubt take the last shot no matter how difficult it is(i.e Christmas day against the Bulls) but you don’t see ESPN having two segments dedicated to analyzing his stats in crunch time. I know he’s made a lot but that doesn’t deflect the issue that he takes questionable shots in crunch time.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Michael Jordan did that for his 5th title. LeBron did that in an inevitable loss. Once he wins one, he’ll get the Kobe treatment from people. There will still be those that hate him, but the love for him will be over whelming, everything he does will be defensible ONCE he wins. Honestly he should get some criticism for being passive at the end of games, but he shouldn’t get criticized every damn time.

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

    I agree that at times he should take the shot. I would live with a miss if he at least shot the damn ball.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    T-Money you read that chat I assume, you see that Thorpe said Love is making a case as the second best PLAYER in the whole league? See that’s where I really disagree with the guy.

  • http://nba.com GP23

    Anyone actually think LeBron will start to get better treatment from the media/fans once he wins a ring?? Or will the hate be piled on even more??

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Everyone is loved after they win.

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

    If you really think about it, a serious case can be made for Carlos Boozer as MVP.

  • T-Money

    nbk – i missed that! that’s laughable.

  • http://www.nesn.com/2012/02/kobe-bryant-says-hes-better-than-michael-jordan-second-to-wilt-chamberlain-as-best-nba-player-ever-v.html shutup

    Its gonna take at least two rings for people to respect it, look at Kobe without Shaq the first one was really proof but once he won that second one theres nothing to do but respect it. Look at Dirk he got one it really hasnt changed anyone’s mindset about him. @Heals I’m a little biased as a spurs fan but Tony P should be higher I see it as Lebron, Durant Parker, Kobe, Rose (Rose and Kobe can be interchangeable, but I gave Kobe the nod because The Bulls won without Rose for a stretch)

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    what are you talking, how has people perception of Dirk not changed? Who still calls Dirk soft? Who says you can’t win a championship with a team built around him anymore?

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    K-Love is the best PF, but on any given night he can have another 5 PF’s showing why they should be #1. Dirk is probably still better. Pau is still more skilled. Bosh is still a better defender and mid range jump shooter. Randolf is still a beast on the block. Griffin can still jump over anything, but with all that said K-Love still is outplaying every PF over the course of this year. Oh and as far as Ring=Respect goes… People still give Kobe ish for having Pau after Shaq and negate his 5 titles as being a coat tail rider. Haters gunna hate. LBJ will be more respected by me once he wins a ring in dominant fashion, but not all people will give him the respect he will deserve.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Dirk took 5 games off for “conditioning” reasons and no one questioned or criticized him. Come on now, everyone knows that once you win a ring, you get a free pass for the rest of your career.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Nobody gives Kobe ish.
    They just say that he didn’t win alone, or without great help.
    Which for some reason Kobe fans can’t stand.
    Those first three rings Kobe was not the alpha dog.
    The last two he was.
    Those are just facts.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    The majority of people do.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    T-money did Thorpe work with Love? he tends to value the guys he’s worked with over everyone else. That might be the explanation for such an off-base comment.

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

    @ nbk Sorry for the change of topic. Was thinking about this the other day. Why are offensively challenged prospects labelled as “raw”, yet defensively challenged prospects evade it. For instance, Biyombo gets the label. I don’t dispute his meagre contributions on the offensive end but his defense is excellent for a rookie. Likewise with Serge when he came into the L. Jimmer is a horrible defender, Mccain could get drive past him, but he gets all the other superlatives even though his offense hasn’t really had an impact on the Kings season. Random thoughts.

  • http://www.nesn.com/2012/02/kobe-bryant-says-hes-better-than-michael-jordan-second-to-wilt-chamberlain-as-best-nba-player-ever-v.html shutup

    There have been so many negative comments about Dirk on this sight alone since the start of the season, many people consider that chip a fluke, a one-hit-wonder, he was lucky enough to win that one, and when they get bounced early from the playoffs this year all that soft ish will shows its ugly face even more so. Many people believe Lebron lost that championship not necessarily that Dirk won it. Check the media coverage after the Finals were done, the talk about the Mavs winning was minimal compared to the talk about the Heat’s failure. Pau has 2 rings and is still referred to as Gasoft .

  • http://caseyvaughn.com AlbertBarr

    @AllenP: I agree wholeheartedly, Paul Westphal was hurting this team. Maybe he was TRYING to get fired with all that he did to start the season. Keith Smart has been unexpectedly good and I think as he continues to learn how to use his players the way he wants we will see even more improvement. I was even shut up last night when he put in John Salmons after we had momentum going. I screamed “NO, not Salmons! He always kills our leads through chucking” and then he went out and gave us buckets whenever we had nothing going. So, great substitutions by Smart. And, yeah, THorton is a chucker and he needs to pass more but he is cold hearted and just plays with such a nastiness that I love. I think Isaiah THomas struggled last night because Lawson negated his speed advantage a bit. That hurt us a little. YOu know who is really shining under smart is Jason Thompson…I had given up on him sometime last year but he is making me think differently under the reign of Smart. Damn, does the LP preview end today? Well, I guess no more Kings games for a while then:(

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Gasol is labeled as soft because he let his off-the-court drama effect his play. And he admitted as much. Plus, he was not the best player on a championship team, Dirk was.
    .
    Reading random haters (or people like you who enjoy stirring the pot) complaining about Dirk doesn’t reflect popular opinion, at all. Most everyone’s perception of Dirk has changed. No person that actually pays attention thinks that was a fluke, or that Dallas didn’t earn that title.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    No they don’t say that. They say that Kobe is lucky. They say his numbers are inflated by playing in the triangle. They say his numbers are inflated by playing with a dominant post player. They say he is a bad team mate. They say he doesn’t pass the ball. He’s a ball hog. He wasn’t a good defender. He isn’t as clutch as people think. He hasn’t gone against the good defenses. His play is a result of the no hand checking rule……… Point being, people are going to downplay anyone they don’t personally like even if the accomplishments add up to one of the greatest players to ever play the game. LeBron will get his due from non-biased basketball minds, but some people will always have a asterisk next to everything he does because he “didn’t do it for his home town team” … “He hooked up with 2 of the best players in the L for a title.” “He didn’t have a killer mentality.” All these types of arguments will be brought up for eternity when speaking about the greats. People look to diminish as much as the prop up some players.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Nick, imo it’s because of how people view defense to offense. typically offensive ability is considered a skill-set, while defensive ability is routinely considered an effort thing. I like you, don’t feel that is the case. Typically guys like Jimmer are just labeled as bad defenders their whole career and that part of their game is never really addressed again.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Lakeshow, name 1 person who has ever said Kobe isn’t one of the greatest to ever play. Just 1 person.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    John Doe.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Kobe fans specifically, think saying something negative about him is calling him overrated. So y’all lump every negative comment together, and then draw a completely false conclusion from it. That’s the problem.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Kobe is a ball hog.
    He is a good but not elite defender.
    He is a bad teammate. (Seriously, who would enjoy hooping with Kobe?)
    He did benefit from playing with multiple good post players.
    He does make horrible decisions way too often.
    He’s also the most skilled player possibly in League history.
    He’s one of the most intelligent.
    One of the most committed.
    One of the hardest working.
    One of the most confident.
    He is all of those things. I find that people who are Kobe fans are ultra sensitive to the bad stuff and people who dislike Kobe are ultra-sensitive to the good stuff.
    The only problems I have with Kobe at this point are his insistence on randomly dropping profanity during interviews, and his recent attempts to try to revise history about his motivations and the general landscape of the League.
    Other than that, I know exactly who dude was as a player.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    No. No. Just fans. Not Kobe fans. Fans of players in general feel like your slighting “their guy” by bringing up the negatives when you bring up anything other than putting them in a perfectly positive light. People go at Kobe more because of his style of play and brash demeanor though.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I guess. I don’t really relate to that, I don’t see anything wrong with analyzing any player’s faults. Every single one has a myriad of them.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Exactly NBK.
    But Kobe fans are particularly strident because quite a few of them believe their guy belongs in the discussion of greatest player of all-time.
    You don’t get that with Iverson, or Duncan or Shaq fans. Even LeBron fans don’t say that yet.
    Way too many Kobe fans believe that if people would just stop hating on him, they could see he’s better than Mike.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Your blanketing way to many people AP. I am as “strident” a fan as there is of Mr. Bean, but I would not argue him as being in the top 5 let alone top spot. Kobe has his stans as many players do. But I don’t even think they believe what they are saying. They are probably saying he is the best ever to counter the people that say that he isn’t even in discussion with being one of the all time talents. Who on here is a legitimate basketball fan who thinks KB is really better than Jordan? I don’t think we have any regulars that feel that way. It’s fringe fans and trolls that pull out the “KOBES THE GREATEST EVER!!!!!!!” quotes and then bail and we don’t see them for 5 months.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    And that’s where I get annoyed as can be. He is one of the ten best players ever, but there is an astronomical difference between that conversation and the best ever conversation. He shouldn’t even be compareed to Mike in any way other then, Style of Play. Honestly, because it does a disservice to Kobe. As you can tell, his fans take that as offensive, when really it isn’t. Nobody wants to talk about a comparison that always ends up with one guy being better in just about every way, while the other is consistently worse it’s not really a discussion and it always ends with one group getting emotional and arguing with fallacy after fallacy.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Lake, I guess you haven’t been on laker forums and other sports sites not named Slamonline.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Lakeshow, there is that Maniac kid, who claims to be a basketball historian while saying Kobe is only marginally worse then Jordan. You used to love the Kobe & Michael comparisons. It’s not fringe fans and trolls that bring up those conversations, its the fringe fans and trolls who are at the extreme ends of the spectrum. There are still reasonable Kobe fans whose bias gets in the way a little too often.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Maniac is a bigger fan than most, but he isn’t just tossing out “Kobe can score 81!” and bailing. He has a very legitimate case he makes for why he thinks Kobe is top 5. I don’t agree with him, but you think he is off base by a long shot where as I think he is misplacing a couple facts to make his opinion justifiable. JTalyor I see those forums and stuff, but I honestly think most of those “people” are 11-19 year old boys and are just complete homers that don’t take anything into consideration other than their “feelings” on the matter. I mean Kobe has more of those type of fans than most, but every player has a following that thinks they are better than they actually are. I still very much so believe that Kobe and Money are “comparable” from the dictionary definition of the word. nbk, you know this convo, we have ha it a couple times before, The elephant compared to a small house argument. Completely different, but none they less comparable. Money is better in nearly every category, but Kobe isn’t that far behind on most, thus comparable.

  • http://dsjfkl.com Jukai

    You know, there is a level inbetween “good” and “elite” which Kobe falls in offensively. Kobe is a great isolation defender. He really, really is. Now, he’s thirty three and got bum knees, so yeah, he doesn’t look that great anymore. But during the majority of his career, he was great at going one-on-one defensively with peeps.
    The issues come in during help-defense situations. Jordan could play that type of D while blocking weakside shots and stealing the ball in the passing lane. Kobe can’t. And that is what separates Kobe from the “elite” defender status.
    But he really was a great defender.

  • T-Money

    haha, that’s so true. kobe goes out of his to drop f-bombs during interviews. it’s so weird.

  • http://dsjfkl.com Jukai

    And Kobe does have a case for top-5 of all time, guys. It’s not a GOOD case, but there is still a case to be made. Number 1? No, no case to be made. Number 5? In my opinion, he’s on the outside looking in.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Actually, I went down my list of top ten players and, um, Kobe might have been on the outside looking in. In no order:
    Magic
    Bird
    Jordan
    Wilt
    Kareem
    Hakeem
    Shaq
    Duncan
    Russell
    Oscar
    Then
    Isiah
    Kobe
    West
    would be on deck

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    They are comparable in a way that wastes a bunch of time. Typically, when we compare two like basketball players it’s because we are trying to decide which is superior to the other. Not to compare how inferior one is. Why don’t we compare Kobe to Jerry West? Or Larry Bird? Or Dr J? Why does he have to be compared to Michael Jordan? That’s not a good comparison. Again, unless you are strictly talking style of play.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    And I too have Kobe right around #10, personally at #11
    .Jordan
    .Russel
    .Wilt
    .KAJ
    .Magic
    .Bird
    .Shaq
    .Hakeem (personal preference)
    .Oscar
    .Duncan
    .Moses (personal preference)
    .Bryant
    So I have Kobe at #12. But completely understand those that have him over Hakeem and Moses.
    .
    I cannot logically see an argument that he is top 5. I don’t see longevity making him better then any of those guys except maybe Oscar Robertson.

  • http://dsjfkl.com Jukai

    Allen: I just can’t see any argument that Isiah is better. No argument at all. I’ll give Isiah the “he makes his teammates better” mark. Isiah is a point guard. Kobe is a shooting guard. Yahoo.
    Skill wise? I would highly, highly disagree. Championships? The last two championship teams Kobe won with was on par with that Detroit squad, but Kobe won three other championships (the last one with Shaq I believe he was pulling his weight enough to be given equal credit for that one).
    Now MVPs, accolades, MVP invites, defensive nods, playoff appearances, longevity, record book marks, impact on the league, marketability, any other tangible or untangible marker you want to compare them to, Kobe wins. No way Isiah can be considered better than Kobe. I don’t see it.
    There is an argument for the rest, of course…. but I don’t agree. My list is (in order):
    Jordan, Kareem, Johnson, Chamberlain, Russell, Bird, Kobe, Duncan, Hakeem, Robertson. My views on Shaq are quite low and I’m sure will stir up some feathers, but even if people say Shaq is as great as he is, he’d still go behind Kobe and probably Duncan. (next top 10, in a more rough order because I don’t think about it as much: Shaq, West, Dr. J, Isiah, Karl Malone, Havlicek, Garnett, Moses Malone, Barry, Stockton).

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Jukai, why do you feel that way about Shaq exactly?

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    How can Kobe be head of Duncan and Hakeem when those cats are better defensively, carried lesser talented teams than the ones Kobe had to championships and were dominant players from the day they stepped onto an NBA court. I don’t see how anyone can make a case for Kobe to be ahead of both guys expect for on the longevity aspect.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    From 1994 until 2006 Shaq had homecourt in the 1st round of the playoffs every single year.
    .
    That’s a pretty crazy stat considering he was on 3 teams in that stretch.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    And the best player on all of them.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I’ve said this before.
    Isiah had a championship contender when the League was loaded, and battled the best to get his ring. He built his squad from the lottery to the ring, and he adapted and changed his game along the way to make things happen. He went toe to toe with the best and won.
    I think he’s smarter than Kobe. I think he’s just as capable as a scorer and better as an assist man. Just as good on defense.
    Basically, I think he did what Kobe could not do, which was make his teammates better, and sacrifice his game to do so.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    And I should say, he made those sacrifices in his prime. Kobe sacrificed somewhat early in his career. But once he felt like his game was straight, he refused to do it anymore.
    Hence 2004.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    AllenP, it seems like you’re a big fan of both AI and Zeke. Do you think that AI would have been able to do what Zeke accomplished with those Pistons squad, which was adapt his game to complement those around him while leading them to 2 straight championships vs stiff competition?

  • Sergio

    Allenp, nbk and JTaylor21,
    I’m sorry, but there is no way in hell Hakeem, Duncan and Robertson can be above Kobe in the all-time list.
    Oscar had great stats, for sure, but has only 1 (one) ring. That’s not enough to be top 10 all time. Or else you should put cats like Malone, Stockton and KG in the conversation.
    Hakeem was a hell of a player, but has 3 less rings than Kobe, and 4 less Finals appearances. As good as he was, his dominance didn’t lead to that many championships.
    And the extra ring and 3 finals trips, to me, are enough to put KB ahead of Duncan in this discussion.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Allen Iverson and Adapt don’t go together.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I honestly don’t know.
    Which is why, at the end of the day, I have Isiah over Iverson as the best little man the game has ever seen.
    I like to believe that he would have seen the light, as a fan that’s what I like to believe. But, that’s just a hope. Dude was a scorer, and every team he’s played on needed him to score. He was never the passer Isiah was. He was never the shooter Isiah was. I always felt like dude didn’t put in enough work to improve early in his career. If he would have had Kobe’s work ethic, he wouldn’t be where he is now.

  • http://dsjfkl.com Jukai

    @JTaylor: Personally I think Hakeem is better than Kobe overall, but Kobe had a better career. Duncan had as much talent as Kobe did though, he played with David Robinson, the first championship when David Robinson still had it… the 2002-2003 championship was easily the most impressive, since D-Rob was on his way down and Manu/Parker hadn’t developed yet. In fairness, you’re talking to a Phoenix Suns fan, and in my opinion, that last championship was handed to them thanks to the mob (game 3) and David Stern’s inept rulings (game 5) which didn’t hold true the next year (rondo).

    @NBK: Well, first off, I think Kobe gets a hit for always playing with talented post players but Shaq doesn’t get the same hit. He played with Penny in Orlando (when Penny was looking like he was going to be a top-5 all-time point guard, when Penny was annihilating people), then played with Kobe (and only started winning championships in LA when Kobe began reaching his apex) and then went to play with freaking Wade in Miami (and only won a championship when Wade took over the team). Not to mention also playing with Nash, James, Allen/Pierce… Shaq has never played on a team without a superstar wing. Ever. Don’t you think that’s awfully helpful when you don’t have any range and defenses can simply close in on you?
    Going from that point, he has always played in great, great teams. That is why they have always had home court advantage. And they were also often swept. He was swept out of the playoffs five times before he won a championship. For such a tremendous force, that is quite a feat. He’s been swept more times than anyone else in the top-10. His dominance happened when all the great centers were growing old and leaving the league– sure, he was tearing it up when Ewing, Hakeem, Robinson and healthy Mourning played, but he was viewed as their contemporary. When they were all gone and Shaq was killing it, Mutombo was the only guy who could try and man-up with Shaq. Everyone always showered Duncan with compliments because he was the only person to be able to slow Shaq, but maybe it was just that the great isolation defenders were out of the league by then.
    Shaq’s dominance was great but his offense is usually overrated. Never averaged over 30 points and his legendary Finals performances came against undersized teams that couldn’t hope to contain him. Remember how good Shaq did against undersized New Jersey? Tim Duncan did even better the next year.

    @Allenp: You’re letting your bias show here. Isiah isn’t anywhere near Kobe’s equal as a scorer. Not even close. His shooting averages are actually worse than Kobes, you can even use that “he didn’t shoot as much” excuse. And he was an underrated defender but he wasn’t on Kobe’s level, man. Gah, I really think you’re wrong on this one.
    I hear that “he won in a loaded era” talk a lot, but I kind of think he won during a changing in the guard era. The Celtics were injury hobbled and Bird could barely walk due to his back, and Jordan’s team wasn’t there yet. The Magic realized immortal Kareem could no longer do it and they were in the process of changing their personnel. Isiah beat some great people and should get all the credit in the world for it, but he didn’t beat the ’86 Celtics, ’87 Magic or ’95 Bulls. He was beating lesser teams with his team that is massively underrated.
    I like him man, I put him as thirteen on my list, but I don’t think he’s on Kobe’s level. We gotta disagree on this, too far apart to convince each other.

  • http://dsjfkl.com Jukai

    *Changing of the guard
    *the Lakers realized (not the Magic)
    I really should proof-read long posts.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Jukai, I mean I understand your point of view on Shaq but I don’t agree at all. The reason he was always on great teams is because he was on them.
    .
    Orlando went from a 60 win team with Shaq to a 45 win team without him. (The Bulls went from a 57 win team with Jordan to a 55 win team without for example of how big Shaq’s impact was).
    .
    The Lakers traded Shaq and went from 56 wins to 34 (i realize how big of a change there was too the team, but for a team losing one player and gaining two all star caliber replacements to be that much worse has to say something)
    .
    The heat went from 52 wins and a title with a healthy Shaq playing 58 games, to a 44 win team with an injury riddled Shaq who played injured in 40 games.
    .
    Shaq made teams great, he opened doors for his wing players to thrive, which is why Kobe’s real best season happened in 2003 when he was 24 and not in 06 when he was a one man scoring spectacle.
    .
    And his teammates loved him. They all felt he made them better, and they all preferred to play with him over almost anyone else in their career.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Jukai, fair enought but I have to disagree with you on the “kobe had a better career” tip. The guy won back-2-back DPoy awards, back-2-back Final MVP trophies, and he’s the only player in history to rank Top-10 in nine different (career) categories. That sounds like a better career to me.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    He lost to the Celtics on the steal. Then came back and beat them.
    He lost to the Lakers on the bad ankle, then came back and smashed them.
    then won again.
    He had like a five year window where his team was a legit contender, maybe a six year window.
    Isiah was a scoring machine. He never shot more than 18 times a game because he played the point and had to run his team and get other people involved. Remember, since 2000, Kobe has only shot fewer than 20 shots per game once.
    I feel like Isiah was the best scoring option on his team, the best passing option, the team leader, the clear best player and he carried his team to championships from nothing. while his team had tons of quality players, it did not have the top end talent that the Lakers and Celtics enjoyed.
    I mean, nah, he didn’t beat those teams when they were at their apex, but he battled them and came within a hair of beating both of them aside from some bad breaks and a key mistake. He was drafted only two years ahead of Jordan, and dominated Mike and the Buils for years.
    Two years after being drafted as the second pick he had his squad in the playoffs and was having epic performances. I don’t everybody has to agree with me on Isiah, but I feel strongly about him and Hakeem.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    And him winning a title with Dwyane Wade, somehow he’s not given credit as the best player on that team…..people were talking about Kobe as the best player in the world at the time (probably rightly so) but Shaq managed to take an inferior player then Kobe to a championship. Proving too me, just how pivotal Shaq was too those title teams over Kobe or Dwyane or any other player that was a great individual talent. Shaq made whole teams great. Kobe and Wade are great individuals that depend on great teammates for success.
    .
    I mean sh*t, the Magic jumped 20 wins in Shaq’s rookie year, and they had basically the same team. Then they added Penny who as a rookie put up 16 7 5 (far from elite numbers) and managed to add 8 more wins. Then they added Horace Grant and Penny became an All-Star and the Magic were the top team in the conference.
    .
    All of this and we haven’t talked about how Shaq changed the whole game on BOTH ends of the court. Something you can never say many of the other guys in *most* top 10′s ever did.

  • http://dsjfkl.com Jukai

    A “healthy” Shaq playing 58 games? Eesh… another issue with Shaq right there.
    Look, I know that I have a bit of a minority opinion on Shaq, but hey, I watched him and I formed these opinions.
    Plus, I’m not exactly going to agree that 2003 was Kobe’s best year. His rebounding numbers spiked but not sure why you’re going to credit Shaq for that. His percentages were the same as his 35ppg explosion and he had more assists the year prior when Shaq wasn’t there. It was just a year of Kobe forcing himself to be more of the man. Shaq had little to do with it. It hurt the team, actually.

  • http://dsjfkl.com Jukai

    Oops, lots of new posts…
    @JTaylor: Kobe has more championships, more all-star births, and just as many MVPs and Finals MVPs. I love Hakeem and on a “best” list I’d put him over Kobe, but on a “greatest” list where you gotta take into consideration championships and accolades, I gotta put Kobe above Hakeem. Just how I look at things.

    @Allen: That Celtics team was hobbling, the fact that Isiah lost to them in my opinion is actually a negative. His most impressive feat was beating the Magic, but remember, the year afterwards, the Magic didn’t even make the finals. These were all still fantastic teams, but they weren’t as dominant as they were, ya know?
    I know Isiah only took 18 shots a game, and his passing was fantastic, but he still shot worse than Kobe. Would Isiah taking 25 shots a game increase his percentages? Usually for wings, it works the other way. Isiah had lots of legendary performances, he’s fantastic, I just don’t see him as an overall better player than Kobe. Those Detroit teams were stacked.
    We all have opinions, I just don’t see it. I agree with everything you say about Hakeem though.
    ….
    @NBK: Shaq, in my mind, is the 11th greatest player of all time. Of course, he’s gonna get you wins!!!
    What’s up with this defensive talk though? I know all-defensive teams aren’t a great indicator of things (as we established), but he only got the second team nod three times. He blocked a LOT of shots, and lots of wings were afraid to take it in, but he wasn’t exactly an imposing post defender and he sure as hell wasn’t switching on anybody. You know?

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

    Wilt
    Jordan
    Kareem
    Russell
    Magic
    Bird
    Robertson
    Olajuwon
    Duncan
    Kobe
    West
    Shaq
    Isiah
    Moses
    Baylor

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

    Anyone have Shaq not in their top 10? lol.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    First of all: I’m not trying to change your opinion. I know you well (as a commenter) and know that you watched the games and formed your opinion rationally. Just like discussing this stuff with you, no emotion involved, best way to go about it.
    .
    2003 is Kobe’s best year (imo) because that was his best all around season. He scored at one of his highest, most efficient clips. And that was one of the few years he had big time defensive responsibility while still putting up big time offensive numbers. And he was killer in the playoffs. I just think that’s the year he kind of put it all together, it’s just too bad he realized he had a case as the best player in the league that same year.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Jukai, you really need me to tell you why he didn’t get much defensive recognition? He played Center first of all, so there are only 2 all defensive spots for that position ever year, (4 for the other ones, yearly), he came into the league WITH Alonzo Mourning and right after Dikembe Mutombo, not too mention that guy, Hakeem was in the league. Then a the end of Shaq’s prime there was that one guy, Ben Wallace – Oh and also, lets not forget, Theo Ratliff had a run as a very dominant defensive Center.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    There’s that Marcus Camby dude too. Honestly, there were still many defensive stand outs at Center in the NBA after that 90′s group, just not good offensive ones.

  • http://dsjfkl.com Jukai

    NBK: Good points on the defensive nods. He was a great anchor. But he did have his defensive deficiencies.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    KAJ
    MJ
    Wilt
    Hakeem
    Magic
    Oscar
    TD
    Bird
    Russell
    Shaq
    Isiah
    Kobe
    West
    Teddy, I do.
    Jukai, if that’s the case why do you have Wilt ahead of Russell despite Russell winning 9 more rings and 1 more RS MVP trophy.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Oh definitely he had issues on that end, but he still changed entire games, that should not be overlooked.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    JTaylor, (don’t mind if you don’t answer) but what makes you put KAJ at #1? A lot of my pops friends and uncles (guys in their 40′s and 50′s) have KAJ as the GOAT too, they always just say, you have to have seen Jabar and felt his impact to understand.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Damn…where do I start? The guy won RS MVP trophies 19yrs apart and Final MVP trophies 15yrs apart, so that means the guy was a dominant force for the major parts of 2 different eras (70s/80s). Ranks 1st in career offensive win shares and 2nd in defensive win shares (ultimate two-way player). Also, he possessed the most unstoppable weapon (hook shot) in the history of sports. A lot of cats have come close to matching the effectiveness of MJ’s fadeaway (see Kobe) but no one has come remotely close to perfecting Kareem’s hook shot.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Honestly Taylor… Great points. Still going with Money lol.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Makes sense too me. Why don’t you value Kobe higher considering how highly you value longevity? Is it his lack of being a dominant two-way guy? Or more about his inability to make his teammates better?

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    I doubt we will ever see anyone in the near future use the hook shot with the same deadly accuracy as Kareem because it’s such a diffcult shot to master and it isn’t seen as “flasy” by today’s standards.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    All of those play a role but lack of efficiency on the offensive end is the biggest factor as to why Kobe is outside of my Top-10. Everyone in my Top-10 (apart from Russell) were supremely efficient throught their careers. That’s why every now and then I make a case for West over Kobe.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    West only had one season over 50% and he is a career 2% better shooter than Kobe. Is that really being more efficient to make a case for that? He did it an an era where defense was an after thought also. I don’t know why the sky hook has still not been used let alone perfected by these young big’s. Bynum, Hibbert, and Cousins should all be schooling cats with a sky hook. It must be harder than it seems to use in game play because the shot itself is not that hard to learn.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Lake, that’s a big difference in shooting percentages than the number will lead you to believe but that’s a different convo. I have Kobe over West in my rankings, so…..I don’t know why your pantloons are in a bunch.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Oh… haha.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Who was a dominant two way guard in history? I’m curious. I see Michael… and then a drop to…. Kobe. Is there any other great two way players that were guards?

  • http://dsjfkl.com Jukai

    JTaylor: I judge the ‘greatest’ players on a (I know, I thought about this way too much) five-factor system, with each factor weighted less than the previous one.
    The first factor is “skill.” This takes into account how effective the player is, how much he brings to a game and how he gels with his other teammates in any type of scenario. This is all I look at when I look at the -BEST- player. It’s obviously very subjective (Think of this as a five-point factor).
    The second factor is NBA success. How many championships, how many finals appearances, how many playoff appearances, and how well one did in the playoffs. Heavily dependent on luck but easy to quantify (think of this as a four-point factor).
    Third thing I look at is accolades and awards. All-star awards, defense awards (merited or not), points per game and career, etc. etc. So, even though Artis Gilmore really didn’t have much offense, he gets some points here because he had such a fantastic field goal percentage. It also helps guys who have long careers because they build up those career numbers (think of this as a three-point factor).
    Fourth thing I consider is dominance in an era. Sure, Bob Pettit couldn’t come in now and drop 31-18 on 45% shooting… but he did then, and he should get credit for it. Also award points here for ‘innovators’ e.g. Cousy is so damn overrated, but he developed the flashiness of the point guard spot so he gets points (two points for this factor).
    The final thing I consider is outside impact to the NBA and achievements outside of the NBA. Olympic medals, Euro championships, NCAA titles, and how a player popularized the NBA or became a household name. I usually just do this to justify one player over another if they are close (one point factor).
    So, even though Russell has a helluva lot more championships than Wilt, his skill level was so much lower, he doesn’t cut it. Hell, Russell wouldn’t make my top-15 ‘best’ players. But he skyrockets on the list because of everything else.

  • http://dsjfkl.com Jukai

    LakeShow: Gary Payton, Jerry West, Walt Frazier, even arguably Sidney Moncrief, all better two way players than Kobe. Their defense was immensely lockdown. Kobe just had a lot better offense.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Jerry West!

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    OMG how did I forget about my dude GP. It’s been a long day. I haven’t seen West, Frazier, Moncrief enough to really make the judgement. But can’t believe I forgot about Payton for a minute lol.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    I understand your POV a lot better after today JT

  • http://www.slamonline.com TADOne

    Great debate. Enjoyed reading all these posts. I don’t think there is a bigger Pistons fan or Isiah fan than myself, but even I don’t think I could put him over Kobe. And I HATE Kobe. I think I’m gonna go drown out those sorrows at the gym.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    You are a traitor TAD ONE

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