Friday, March 23rd, 2012 at 8:35 am  |  25 responses

Post Up: Trouble In Paradise

A new low for Lob City, the Jazz beat Sacramento at the buzzer and more from Thursday.

by Abe Schwadron | @abe_squad

What a wild week in sports, huh? With the NFL stealing headlines mid-week and the NCAA Tournament back for the weekend, it’s hard for the NBA to get a minute it edge-wise. But the games continue to be salaciously entertaining on a nightly basis, including a select sampling of the six from last night. Read and react.

Pacers 85, Wizards 83

I’d really prefer to skip over this game, but hey, this is my job. When I flipped over to check out some of the college action last night, the Wizards were up by 20 at halftime. By the time I realized Washington had let Indiana come all the way back in the second half, it was over. The Pacers overcame what was a 22-point deficit in the first half, grabbing their first lead of the game at 84-83 with 1:01 remaining on a Paul George three-pointer after 3 consecutive late offensive rebounds from David West. On the game’s final possession, John Wall dribbled too long, putting up a floater (that went in) well after the buzzer sounded, and the Wiz suffered a crushing defeat. Indy won the second-half rebounding battle 26-11 and Roy Hibbert had 19 points and 9 boards to lead the Pacers.

Celtics 100, Bucks 91

Paul Pierce scored 25 points, Kevin Garnett finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks and the Celtics held Milwaukee to just 33 second-half points in Monta Ellis’ home debut for the Bucks. Ellis shot just 6-18 and scored 13 points and fellow backcourt mate Brandon Jennings shot 6-14 with 19 points on the first night of a dreaded back-to-back-to-back for Milwaukee, which now sits in the No. 9 spot in the East, trailing the Knicks by 1.5 games. The Celtics are currently the 7-seed at 25-21 after last night’s win, which included 5 Greg Stiemsma blocked shots, 13 points off the bench for Mickael Pietrus and 30 team assists.

Hornets 97, Clippers 90

Chris Paul’s return to New Orleans didn’t go as planned. CP3 finished with 16 points and 9 assists, but shot 5-14 and his Clippers shot 4-23 in the fourth quarter, when they scored just 11 points, leading to a loss in front of his former home crowd. What’s wrong with Lob City? The big dunks are still there on a nightly basis, but the wins aren’t. New Orleans opened the fourth quarter on an 11-2 run, Chris Kaman had 20 points and 10 rebounds and Jarrett Jack and Jason Smith each chipped in 17 points for the Hornets, who shot an insane 58 percent from the field. Los Angeles, meanwhile, shot just 39 percent on field goals and 19 percent from 3-point range, and despite getting 21 and 11 from Blake Griffin (7-19 shooting), they were outscored on the fast break and had zero blocked shots, to 8 for NOLA. The Clips are 26-21 but starting to fade on Vinny Del Negro.

Rockets 109, Warriors 83

Golden State’s frontcourt was used to getting dominated even before losing Ekpe Udoh to Milwaukee. Now, it’s almost too easy. Chandler Parsons racked up 20 points and a career-high 11 rebounds, Samuel Dalembert went for 15 points and 10 boards, Luis Scola had 18 points and 7 assists and the Rockets outscored the Warriors 58 to 38 in the paint, plus outrebounded the Dubs 48-31 en route to another big win for H-Town. GSW has lost 5 of 6 games (tank, cough, tank) and are suddenly plummeting in the wake of the Monta Ellis trade and the whole booing-the-owner-at-Chris-Mullin’s-jersey-retirement thing.

Jazz 103, Kings 102

The Kings frontline of DeMarcus Cousins (22 points, 18 boards) and Jason Thompson (19 and 15) played huge again, but Al Jefferson racked up 26 points, 7 rebounds and 4 blocked shots and tipped in the game-winner with 0.9 seconds to go, lifting Utah to 25-22 on the year. Sacramento outscored the Jazz 70-54 in points in the paint and made a 14-point Utah lead evaporate in the second haf, but Jefferson provided the theatrics in what was an ugly game for the most part. For what it’s worth, Devin Harris claimed this was a pass. I’m skeptical, but hey, whatever works!

Trail Blazers 97, Grizzlies 93

Gilbert Arenas is back! Okay, the exclamation was probably not the appropriate reaction, but Agent Zero is technically back as an NBA player—last night he scored 2 points on 1-4 shooting off the bench in a Grizzlies L. Portland got 24 points from Nicolas Batum and 18 points and 9 boards from Wes Matthews as the revamped (read: gutted) Blazers got a bounce-back win. PDX shot 25-25 from the free throw line (10-10 from Jamal Crawford alone, including 4 clutch ones down the stretch), besting Memphis’ 16-23 from the charity stripe and the Blazers made 10 threes.

Lines of the Night: Chandler Parsons with 20, 11 and 4 or Chris Kaman’s 20×10 to beat his former team.

Dunk of the Night: Trevor Booker with the drive and finish—when things were still going good for the Wiz.

Tonight: Pete’s back to hold you down Friday night with 11 games. I’ll catch you guys on Sunday morning, after what’s sure to be a thrilling night in Newark for Bobcats at Nets. Be easy.

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  • ripslam

    What if the Clippers and Knicks both miss the postseason? I mean, it’s possible.

  • Ali

    Man the way I look at it the Clippers and The Knicks are a loooooong way off from making serious a championship run…looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo way off!

  • Paul H

    Considering how they have played of late I would have more faith on the Bucks (and the realative stability they have shown all season) sustaining the pace till the seasons end. They were on a 6 game win streak of there own, which pretty much went unnoticed by the masses, but hey they play In Milwaukee. But then If Amare can continue to play like he gives a sh*t again (I’m with AllenP I think It’s disgusting how a 100 million dollar player would suddenly switch It on like that)I could be wrong. In the west my gut feeling says that the Clips are a sinking ship. Unless Young can really become acclimatised and start filling that Chauncey shaped void…. The Jazz have been playing very well of late, that frontcourt of Jefferson and Millsap could be the most underated In the league. I have the Jazz making the playoffs with either the Clips or the Rockets being the sacrificial lambs to let them do It. Given there precipitous decline post allstar break my money Is on Lob city.

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

    I’ve been saying all along as have many reasonable people that the Clippers aren’t as good as advertized. Don’t let ESPN hype you up just because they hop on the Lob City bandwagon. They have major flaws in their offense and they lack a good bench. Cosign Paul H that frontcourt for the Jazz with Kanter off the bench is dangerous. They are a threat on the glass every night.

  • Paul H

    @T-Ray, I thought the exact same thing mate. Stephen A. Smith had them going to the finals before Paul had even touched a basketball for gods sake! They have the capacity to do something great but I just don’t believe In a frontcourt that has NO ability to shoot the basketball.

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

    It’s funny you mention that because he was on ESPN when I was getting ready for work this morning and he was just ripping the team and the coach. Even Chris Broussard had them making it out of the west! Smh and as long as you push Griffin off the block he’s neutralized. DJ gives no low post scoring. They pretty much rely off of on ball screens in the half court and if CP3 isn’t attacking and is passive it’s easier for teams to play them.

  • salty

    Utah Jazz: 2012 NBA Champs.

  • salty

    Or a 2012 lottery pick team.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    The Clippers look like Miami from last year. I said that at the beginning of the year. All the same problems.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Paul H
    I don’t have a problem with Amare. My problem was with Melo. I always thought Amare was doing what Amare does. He hasn’t rebounded in years, never defended and always liked to score best out of the pick and roll. The Knicks weren’t allowing him to run the pick and roll and then were acting shocked when he played horribly.
    I have issues with Melo and of course some blame goes to D’Antoni. They were the cause of the horrible play.

  • Paul H

    I love Chauncey, but It speaks volumes about a teams lack of depth and cohesion when the absence of a 35 year old, 6’3 guard can have this type of impact. I think all those problems were there, but once he went down, and teams figured out how to exploit their limitations both In terms of poor defensive co-ordination and lack of offensive imagination , It’s just gone from bad to worse. Hell as bad as Portland have tanked It this season they are still just 4 games adrift of L.A now.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Vinny Del Negro is horrible. They run the most basic isos and have poor spacing and player movement on their pick and rolls. There is no reason why Blake and CP3 should not be dominating teams in the pick and roll or pick and pop. None.

  • http://theillustrationboard.tumblr.com/ Stepfan

    “What’s wrong with Lob City?” Three words Vinny Del Negro. This cat can’t coach. Period. Billups was the real coach of that team. Clippers don’t stand a chance if CP3 isn’t shooting the ball well. He can put so much pressure on the defense by penetrating and looking for his shot. His teammates would then feed off him. Kind of like what Derrick Rose did to them early when the season started. Jason Smith with the dirty foul but Blake is not the type of player to get mad and ball out. Dare I say he’s SOFT!!!? I love how my Wizards are competing now since the trade. We could have been doing this all season. S/O to that bum of a coach Flip Saunders. Got to close out games. We’ll learn how to win…..someday.

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

    You’d be wrong to call Blake soft. He’s a flopper no doubt but not soft. But I get your point. As far as the Wizards playing with more fire I think you can credit the veteran leadership Nene gives them.

  • Paul H

    @AllenP sorry mate I could have swore I read a comment by you saying something to the effect of Amare only playing hard now. Which I tended to agree with. Must have been someone else. Nevertheless It does bother me this renewed vigor the guys just seemed unwilling to bring for Mike. Anyway, say a coach does come In and institutes an effective Pick and roll system would you not agree that the teams weaknesses and frailties run much deeper than the offensive execution of those two guys? I just don’t know If I believe In this team as presently constituted. And I really want to!

  • AD

    cp3 needs to score more

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Paul H
    I said the Knicks as a team are giving more effort, Amare included, and it’s a shame that they all quit on D’Antoni. But, I saved most of my ire for Melo because I felt like D’Antoni was using Amare incorrectly.

  • Paul H

    And ‘Melo Is still stinking It up In the post-mike era. A sub 40 fg% Is unacceptable for a 6 ’8 forward under ANY circumstances, let alone when you where once touted as the best scorer In the game by many folk.

  • http://theillustrationboard.tumblr.com/ Stepfan

    Coach of Year; Doug Collins or Tom Thibado?

  • http://theillustrationboard.tumblr.com/ Stepfan

    @T-Ray well Blake need to stop all that crying when he gets fouled. I can’t figure out who cries more Blake or DeMarcus Cousins?


    L City

  • http://www.slamonline.com Jahmai

    Tom Thibodeau

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

    I definitely agree that he cries waaaay too much. I admire CP3 and backing up his player but he needs to sit his a$$ down. What’s the point of getting in someones face and you don’t hit them? I’m sure we all can say truthfully that where you’re from if someone steps up to you that you know immediately that you should guard your grill cuz sh*ts about to go down.

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

    I don’t think the clippers getting young was a good move, they should of been looking for defensive help instead of scoring.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Considering the way the Knicks have bounced back after D’Antoni was sent packing… It’s gotta be Mike.