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Thursday, April 5th, 2012 at 8:35 am  |  87 responses

Post Up: Playoff Flavor

Huge wins for Miami over OKC and the Lakers over the Clippers, plus a Nash game-winner.

by Abe Schwadron | @abe_squad

12 games to get to on a wild night in the L, so no time to waste. Here we go

Raptors 99, Sixers 78

If ever there were a game that defined the term “tale of two halves,” it was this one. In the first half, the Sixers 58 percent from the floor and scored 56 points—Jrue Holiday scored 17 by himself on 8-8 shooting, plus 4 steals and 4 dimes with zero turnovers. In the second half, Philly scored a grand total of 22 points, at one point missing 13 straight shots in the fourth quarter, when they could manage just 7 points. Holiday shot 1-6 after halftime and finished his night with 20 points. Toronto, on the other hand, shot 52 percent from the field on the night, got a game-high 24 points from Andrea Bargnani and 13 assists from Jose Calderon, who also chipped in 12 points.

Pacers 109, Wizards 96

I was tempted to simply write the phrase “Brian Cook played 29 minutes for Washington,” italicize it and not give this game any more ink than it deserves. But you guys deserve better, so here’s the painful truth: the Wizards, playing once again without Nene and Trevor Booker (notable only because they are 2 of the team’s 3 or 4 competent players at this point), allowed the Pacers to shoot 58 percent from the field on the night, Danny Granger scored 20 points and Brian Cook—well, you get the idea. Indy’s starters shot 71 percent from the field (no, that’s not a typo) and Darren Collison blew John Wall out of the water in the PG matchup, posting 17 points on 7-8 shooting and 11 assists (1 turnover) to Wall’s 13 points on 4-15 shooting and 3 dimes to 5 turnovers.

Spurs 87, Celtics 86

After an ugly second half (the teams combined for 25 points total in the third quarter), the Celtics and Spurs gave us an exciting finish. Boston’s 83-81 lead with 2 minutes to go in the fourth quarter quickly evaporated, as Matt Bonner capped off a 6-0 Spurs run on a short jumper to beat the shot clock with 47 seconds remaining. San Antonio then made the cardinal sin of losing Ray Allen on a set play out of a timeout, and the ageless wonder knocked down a corner three to cut the Cs deficit to just one. Then, with 7.9 seconds left and the score 87-86, everyone in the arena knew Paul Pierce (15 points, 10 rebounds) would get the last shot. But Tim Duncan—switched off on Pierce on a screen—bothered PP’s signature step-back and his jumper clanked off iron. It was win No. 9 in a row for the Spurs, who had 8 players score at least 8 points, but none more than Green’s 14. Rajon Rondo had 17 points and 11 dimes for Boston, but the Celtics were badly outrebounded, 53-39.

Hawks 120, Bobcats 93

By now you know 2 things: the Bobcats are horrible and struggling teams love playing against them. So it should come as no surprise that Atlanta—loser of 3 out of its previous 4 games—enjoyed seeing Charlotte on the schedule last night. Josh Smith racked up 24 points on 11-17 shooting, 9 rebounds and 4 assists in just three quarters of action. JSmoove watched the Hawks’ bench close out the win as he sipped Gatorade and had himself a chill session for the entire fourth quarter. Atlanta simply bullied the ‘Cats in this one, scoring 60 points in the paint and shooting 57 percent from the field. The only silver lining for Charlotte (other than the fact that there are only 14 games left this year) was Kemba Walker’s team-highs of 21 points and 5 assists off the bench.

Heat 98, Thunder 93

Finals preview or not, this was perhaps the best regular season NBA game we’ve seen this year. Dunks, more dunks, chippy play and drama. What more do you want? LeBron James (34 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds) stroked a jumper from the top of the key to beat the halftime horn, giving the Heat a 50-49 lead at the break. The third quarter was a back and forth battle and Miami started the fourth quarter with 7 straight misses, but back-to-back Shane Battier 3-pointers put the Heat on top 88-83 midway through the final period. With OKC refusing to go away quietly, Chris Bosh (12 points, 6 boards) drilled a jumper from his favorite mid-range wing area with 1 minute to play, putting Miami up by 3. The Thunder got the rock back with 19.5 ticks to go and the score 96-93, but Kevin Durant (30 points, 9 turnovers) bricked a quick three and the Heat escaped with the win. For those of you counting, that’s 1-1 this season between these two teams—who now have nearly identical records with just 14 losses each—and Miami’s 17th straight home victory. Russell Westbrook scored 28 points, while Dwyane Wade finished with 19.

Bucks 107, Cavaliers 98

Cue throngs of Milwaukee fans exclaiming “That’s what we’ve been looking for!” Monta Ellis finally delivered the kind of scoring night the Bucks expected to get when they traded for the points machine, as the newcomer hung 30 on the Kyrie Irving-less Cavaliers en route to a win. Ellis scored 16 of his 30 in the final 5 minutes—all of which were needed as Milwaukee began to let their once-19-point lead slip away—and added 8 assists on the evening. His backcourt buddy, Brandon Jennings, added 19 points and the Bucks shot 57 percent from the floor as a team. Meanwhile, the Cavs’ point guard minutes were handled by such names as Donald Sloan and Lester Hudson. Cleveland’s lost 9 straight and 12 of its last 13 games.

Hornets 94, Nuggets 92

Eric Gordon returned to the Hornets after a 3-month absence. You’ll remember, he played all of 2 games to start the year before needing the dreaded arthroscopic surgery on his knee. His last game was January 4, so perhaps we can forgive him for shooting 3-11 from the field. Scratch that, we definitely can forgive him, since even on a bad shooting night he was by far New Orleans’ best player. Gordon had 15 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and with the game tied at 92 with 10 seconds to play, he drew a foul, went to the line and sank 2 free throws to lift the Hornets to just their 14th win on the season. Ty Lawson scored 22 points to lead the Nuggets, who are now tied with Houston for the 7-seed out West at 29-25, and looking over their shoulders at Phoenix, which sits only 1 game back.

Warriors 97, Timberwolves 94

I can’t lie, I was unaware that David Lee is averaging 20 ppg and 10 rpg this season. Kevin Love, on the other hand, I think we’re all very much aware of. Last night, the two tangled tango’d in Minneapolis and played to a draw. Lee had 31 points, 8 boards and 3 assists, while KLove had 29, 12 and 5. Love’s Wolves built a 20-point lead, only to see it become a 10-point deficit, as Lee’s Warriors used a 38-point third quarter to take the lead. But Minny still had some punch left, coming back to tie the game with 90 seconds remaining. Charles Jenkins played Robin to Lee’s Batman, though, scoring 6 of Golden State’s final 9 points, including a driving lay-in with 20.4 seconds to go that ended up being the game-winner (JJ Barea’s jumpshot attempt at a tie was no good). Jenkins finished with 19 points and 7 assists on the night.

Mavericks 95, Grizzlies 85

Memphis’ crazy good recent stretch couldn’t last forever. And facing the defending champions on the third night of a back-to-back-to-back is no easy task. The Grizzlies gave it all they had, but the Mavs delivered a crushing 21-4 run during the fourth quarter that put them in control. Shawn Marion scored 10 of his 16 points in the final period, as the Mavs moved back into a virtual tie with Memphis for the No. 5 seed in the West. Dallas (31-24) got a game-high 23 points from Dirk Nowitzki, who added 10 rebounds for good measure. The Grizz (30-23) was led in scoring yet again by OJ Mayo, who scored 17 points in 23 minutes off the bench. Unfortunately, OJ also accidentally popped teammate Tony Allen in the mouth, leading to a couple gruesome post-game Twitter posts from the notorious tweeter. Seriously, don’t click that if you’re squeamish!

Suns 107, Jazz 105

You know what, forget David Lee—Steve Nash has to be the most under-appreciated player in the L right now, right? His 13 points and 9 dimes might not be anything to write home about, but at 38 years old, Nash’s imprint was all over last night’s win against the Jazz. And by “all over” I mean he hit a game-winner off one foot with 1 second left on the clock after splitting a pair of Utah defenders to get a clean look. It was his second monster bucket of the final 14 seconds, helping the Suns jump the Jazz by a half-game in the Western Conference Playoff race (PHX is 9th as of today). Seven Phoenix players scored in double figures, including a team-high 19 for Michael Redd, another ageless wonder. Paul Millsap had 25 points and Gordon Hayward had a double-double (20 and 10) for the Jazz, who lost despite winning nearly every team statistical category. And Millsap missed sending the game to overtime with a tip-in by a split second.

Trail Blazers 101, Nets 88

Deron Williams took the night off with a “stomach virus.” I wish I was funny enough to make a joke about the relationship between his “illness” and the Nets’ ineptitude, but I’m not. (Help me out in the comments section, maybe?) But hey, no DWill, no problem—Sundiata Gaines and Johan Petro in the staring lineup! Needless to say, New Jersey lacked even more punch than normal, and the Blazers finished the game on a 19-3 run to beat former Portland forward Gerald Wallace and his new team. LaMarcus Aldridge took advantage of being unquestionably the best player on the floor at all times, finishing with 24 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocked shots to lead the Blazers. Kris Humphries had 21 and 11 for the Nets, while “Crash” Wallace put up 8 points and 9 boards against his former squad.

Lakers 113, Clippers 108

Kobe Bryant scored 16 of his 31 points in the first quarter, Andrew Bynum got big for 36 points, 8 boards and 4 blocks and the Lakers held off their in-city rivals to win the last installment of Battle: Los Angeles (Regular Season Edition). The Clippers made things interesting down the stretch, as Chris Paul found DeAndre Jordan for a short jump-hook shot to give the Clippers a late 104-103 lead—their first since the opening minutes of the game—but Kobe and company were too much in the clutch. The Lakers shot 52 percent on the night, controlled the tempo to their liking and “held” Blake Griffin to 15 points and 14 rebounds after he threw down a pair of monster dunks on Pau Gasol. CP3 got his 22 points and 16 assists but the Lakers were simply too big up front and, oh yeah, have this one fella who goes by the nickname Black Mamba. He aight.

Line of the Night: I thought for sure the David Lee-Kevin Love matchup would produce the LON winner, since they went for 31×8 and 29×12 respectively, but LeBron has been getting greedy with this award of late, and he did it again last night—34 Pts, 10 Ast, 7 Reb to beat OKC. Honorable mention to Andrew Bynum for his 36 points. No threes, though, Drew?!?

Moment of the Night: Steve Nash is still that dude. The last 30 seconds of Jazz-Suns is worth your time.

Dunk of the Night: Blake Griffin does something not very nice to Pau Gasol’s life.

Honorable Mention Dunk: Paul Millsap is a man’s man.

Tonight: TNT has Knicks-Magic and Celtics-Bulls, plus the Kings host the Lakers Clippers and the Wizards are in Detroit to play for ping-pong balls. I can already smell the weekend!

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  • ALD

    what is fisher jumping at lol?

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    Monty Williams > The Diva

  • Noah O

    just for the record the kings are hosting the clippers not the lakers tonight

  • T-Money

    spo needs a talk with shane battier, he should be allowed to take two types of shots only: the corner three and the baby hook going toward the middle from the left block. that’s it, anything else is extra. i also liked that spo is phasing out joel anthony and norris cole from the playoffs rotation. i really like this kid terrell harris, never watched him in college.

  • T-Money

    and i see that kd is back to his 30-footer hail mary’s with the game on the line like in the playoffs. he’s got to get a better look than that.

  • brill86

    This was a classic Lebron game. Durant is better than i thought he was esp his handles, which is crazy considering his length. But Lebron is just different type of species. the speed he transitions with from a defensive steal to a offensive fast break is breathtaking. only cause for concern is D Wade just doesnt pass my eye test anymore. I can put my finger on exactly what it is but i detect some slippage. maybe its this grueling season, but something seems off

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    I kinda feel bad for Pau…at least his team won.

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

    LeBron shouldn’t be questioned as MVP at this point period.

  • Heals

    Forgot who commented about the season being essentially meaningless from here on out, but they couldn’t have been more wrong. Last night tested my LP abilities. Lakeshow how many of the games you get in?

  • Heals

    Toronto could be an Eastern spoiler now that Andrea is balling again. Matt Bonner was huge for SAS last night, props to SA for a good win on a b2b, glad my C’s hung in there though. DWest doin it for Dal. Good win for them over a gritty Mem squad after losing key match-ups with other contenders. I only caught the lat few mins of GS v Min, but wow ReggieJenkins now? Minny looks like they may have run out of gas. Couldn’t squeeze in Atl or Mil, but they keep on winning quietly. Pissed I missed out the Phx and Uth game as well, but one can only watch so many games…

  • kh

    Nash is that dude!

  • http://slamonline.com/ Abe Schwadron

    @Heals Totally agree, my brain was on overload – 8 early games all happening at once, some great matchups and damn good basketball. It’s one of those nights that makes The Post Up simultaneously enjoyable and impossible.

  • Heals

    As for the 2 games everybody saw, how about thanks. Just awesome watching Mia v Okc, then LAL v LAC. Felt like a little kid again, crazy-gifted athletes doing what they do best, head-to-head in games nobody wanted to lose. Ahhhhh, gotta love it as the stakes are getting higher…

  • Heals

    Enjoy that power nap this afternoon Abe, good work (can we still call it that on a night like last?) man…

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Had the morning off so i could prepare a presentation and got caught up in multiple NBA games on 2 TV channels and 1 on the Net. Kinda felt like my Nba viewing marathons in the 90′s.
    It.was.glorious.
    A few quick observations:
    - Twitter is an incredible source of amusement during important games (i.e.the hyped up ones), Eboy had me rolling on the ground as he sneered at KD’s hail mary shot ,denouncing his clutchness vehemently. Hilarious
    - Thank the lord for back to back to backs, Dallas needed that win badly. I also luv Delonte’s production out there. Welcome back, red.
    - Tim Duncan won that game for the Spurs. Last R Spurs posessions he either had offensive boards, poked loose balls away or kept the ball in play so others could hit big shots (Neal, Red Rocket.) Fantastic to behold.
    - Rajon Rondo’s decision making was questionable last night. Costly turnover by KG was due to him rolling the ball across the floor to save time then not creating space on the pickup. Worse, C’s had the ball with 14s to go and he sped off, wasted 7s THEN proceeded to call a timeout. Very, very odd. He also picks up the ball too early in transition, but at times his teammates are just too slow to keep up..
    - Mambiatch was amazing on offense. Hesitation dribble drives in traffic? Low post spin to pumpfake and1 jumper? Heatcheck 3′s with a hand in his face? Faaaack that guy is ridiculous when he’s feeling it. He also was very enthusiastic on D and very vocal/supportive of his teammates. Shocked me, i like sullen me-first Kobester.
    A Kobe who enjoys playing with his team and applauds Barnes for a good closeout: me no likey.

  • http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/miamiheat/post/_/id/13215/charting-the-heat-five-problems-for-miami Allenp

    No League Pass and still had a good night.
    I agree on the LeBron speed thing. He goes from a standstill to top speed in like three strides. And it’s crazy because his top speed is really fast and he’s a large man. Other players have the same burst, but none of them are moving that sort of bulk.
    Blake does the same thing when it comes to going from standing flat footed to being incredibly airborne. It’s uncanny. He desperately needs a jump hook and a better mid range. Desperately. And Vinny Del Negro is a dream killer. Eric Bledsoe also has some bunnies, but he needs more playing time to improve his decision making. And a better coach.
    Anybody still praising George Karl?

  • http://www.yahoo.com The Fury

    Lakers vs Spurs for the WCF…make it happen basketball gods..

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Paul Pierce was too hyped for the game. Screaming on easy dunks/layups in the 1st qtr. U could just see Duncan, TP & co. mentally go “oh really, you’re gonna show us up? Nooope” as the proceeded to kill the C’s mid 1st half.
    He also had some dumb as hell fouls (his 4th, mid 3rd qtr was particularly loco, screening with his ass THEN grabbing an arm as Green eluded his ‘screen’).
    Took him out of the game during a big stretch and he came back out of rhythm.

  • http://www.yahoo.com The Fury

    …so wait, does this means Lebron is the MVP now?? :)

  • Heals

    Mos def Allen, especially when the 2 nat’l games are that good/intense. Is your local team also the Wizards? They been much more competitive/entertaining lately. Ditto on Saber’s analysis of C’s and SAS. @Dark I think Bos is still stick on 50pts…

  • LA Huey

    Durant was SO clutch last night with his TO, brick off the top of the backboard, and brick from 30 feet. But nobody remembers when non-LeBrons fail in late game situations.

  • http://slamonline.com datkid

    did anyone else see KD do a lebron style chasedown block on LEBRON?? lebron is extraordinarily fast for a man his size. we know this. Maybe it’s just KD’s super long legs but he seems remarkably fast as well. oh and cosign LA huey….lmao

  • http://slamonline.com datkid

    and I hear whoever said wade was slipping… he’s making more bad decisions than ever smh. for stretches he’ll look like the 2nd/3rd best player in the league and then he’ll like look the 15th smh. Also at this point Russell Westbrook is a young, perpetually enraged Dwyane Wade. Do not argue with me about this.

  • eyal

    I couldn’t catch the game, but that one dunk by lebron where he makes the steal and runs cross-court without dribbling was ridiculous. Has he always moved that fast? I don’t remember him ever doing something THAT explosive before. insane.

  • LA Huey

    Russbrook and KD’s alley-oop was nicely done. LBJ got caught turning his head for just a moment… LBJ-KD is such a fun match-up to watch because of their skillsets and unique physique.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    That was a great night for my eyes.

  • http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/miamiheat/post/_/id/13215/charting-the-heat-five-problems-for-miami Allenp

    I agree Huey.
    LeBron really can’t contain Durant one-on-one because he has no obvious weaknesses in his skill set. LeBron feasts on cats who struggle at one aspect of the game because he identifies that shortcoming and then forces them to do that all the time. That’s his best defensive trait along with his physical gifts.
    But, against players with no glaring weaknesses, he’s just a good defender, not great. Durant has a wicked handle, silky jumper and understands how to get buckets everywhere on the floor. So LeBron can’t just force him to do stuff and instead has to react a lot. And since LeBron doesn’t like getting fouls, he rarely crowds Durant and bodies him like say an Artest or Tony Allen. Plus he can only expend so much energy on defense considering the load he carries on offense.
    On the other hand, Durant is not very good on defense most of the time. He has moments, but he consistently makes bad reads and doesn’t understand how to stop players all the time. Consider the fact that LeBron’s handle is no where near Durant’s in a breakdown situation, but LeBron was still going past Durant despite their equal quickness. That really shouldn’t happen.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Heals, I got in 3. Impossible to do more lol. Both the Espn games and then watched Minny lose to GSW.
    -For starters how bout we all give a round of collective applause for last nights double header. Amazing basketball for the most part. Some of the best of the season.
    -LeBron is officially ahead in my MVP book now. That can change, but after last nights game that changed him from being -1 to +1. over Durant.
    -Okay so do you guys see why Pau Gasol frustrates us Lakers fans? Do you see why, or not? Cause your blind if you don’t. He is a wimp. It pisses me off. I seriously love the dude. Great person. Skilled ball player, but just so weak, mentally and physically.

  • LA Huey

    Yeah, Allen. LeBron was at his best toward the end of the game where he just waved off the screen and took Durant one-on-one. Durant has the potential to be a better defender than LeBron with his length and quickness. And I think that’s the step to the final evolution in his game.
    Seems to me like Durant is a willing passer but not a very good one and makes poor reads. Outside of cutting down on turnovers, I think the only feasible improvement to Durant’s game might just be defense. And since that seems to be the case with Russbrook too, Harden might have to evolve into a Point 2Guard the Thunder want to create a dynasty.

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

    Blake looks like he’s regressed from last season, but those two dunks against man slaughter.

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

    Gasol definitely looks extremely weak and ever since the middle of last season, he just does not look like the same player that helped the lakers win two championship

  • Kadavour

    @Slick Ric: Griffin didn’t regress, he just didn’t improve. It seems like he’s regressed because his ceiling was a bit misjudged.

  • http://slamonline Brion

    OKC pushing players in mid air…not a good look. Also, does anyone remember the Gasol the first year he became a Laker? not the same dude.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    LeBron played absolutely stellar defense last night. Just want to say that because it was memorable. He really stole the show last night. Offensively and defensively. All hail the King! Shout out to Philo. That’s right I said that. lol.

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

    @Slick Ric Blake hasn’t regressed as a player, it just looks like he’s regressed because his post game has yet to show any progress.

    And Gasol is softer than the comforter I sleep on at night. Amazing ball-player, but he wouldn’t have made it in the 80s NBA.

  • LA Huey

    LakeShow, you’re right about Pau. He’s best suited to be a 2nd fiddle. Bynum’s even better suited to carry the load of top banana than Gasol.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Yeah, I legitimately think the Bynum should be 2nd, that’s a close 2nd to Kobe. I want Bynum with 17 shots a game minimum in the post season. KB can stay around 20-22. Pau needs to stop shooting jumpers for every other FG(literally) and get his butt in the low post and put those skills he developed to work. He can be third banana until he shows he can handle 2nd. Injured, clumsy, a$$hole, Bynum is much more dominant than Pau right now.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    What was Vinny Del Ni**er thinking putting Randy Foye on Kobe for extended periods, has that clown lost his damn mind?
    AllenP, I see why you hype up Nick Young so much. The man can score with the best of them and makes probably the toughest shots in the L (next to Kobe) but he’s equally bad at creating shots for his teammates and at times suffers from extreme tunnel vision.
    I still wish to see more post-ups from LeBron down the stretch of close games because he tends to drift back to where he’s the most comfortable at (attacking from the perimeter) whenever the game gets tight. He had a possession last night when Westbrook was on him after a switch with KD and he bailed him out by taking a tough fadeway that he’s capable of making but I much rather see him keep his dribble alive a few seconds more and attempted a shot closer to the basket.

  • LA Huey

    Anyone else agree that Ibaka is the worst matchup for Bosh out of potential playoff opponents?

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Well….anyone that plays physical defense is a bad matchup for Bosh.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Agreed LA Huey. Some people don’t think I’block’a is a good defender, but that’s absurd. He isn’t phenomenal 1 on 1. He is solid, but his blocking prowess is not equaled in the L today and that puts him towards the top of PF defenders. He can dominate a game defensively with his rim protection.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Abe Schwadron

    So….no one clicked on the Tony Allen link???????

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

    Ibaka would probably come close to making Bosh sh*t his pants in the Finals.

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

    Lakeshow
    Whoever said he isn’t should be crucified like Gasol was last night.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Abe Schwadron

    Wait — he took the pics down??? NOoo0o0o0o0oo0o0o0

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Taylor, honestly, who should have been guarding Kobe? I mean Caron is the more naturally obvious choice, but then you have Foye on Artest….. Caron was getting schooled by Kobe all night also. I mean he’s not a great coach, but I don’t really know what options he had.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Abe I saw those pics last night. His lip was open like a filet o fish.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    I no the options are limited but KMart was a better choice than Randy Foye. His length alone would have made it tougher on Kobe since he’s in love with taking contested Js at this point in his career.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    No K-Mart wouldn’t have worked, I mean I see what your saying, it was probably worth a try, but K-Mart doesn’t start. Unless your saying start him at SG or Blake at SF or something. I don’t think that would have been a bad choice, and yes Kobe is in love with his J, but K-Mart would have gotten torn up. We know this. It would have been negating height with less foot speed. Really Kobe is just a nightmare for any team that doesn’t have a legit sized SG and even then… I know your not exactly Bean’s #1 fan, but you do realize there’s only one guy in the L who can guard Kobe right? That’s himself. His brain is the only thing that keeps him from dominating every game.

  • Kadavour

    there really wasn’t any option for Kobe last night. when he’s hitting those jumpers its best to just keep him away from the cup. Vinny needs to get Chris to be more aggressive. I don’t how many botched possessions we have to see with Blake going one on one before Chris and VDN decide it’s not a good idea. I’ll take Tough Juice and Nick Young one-on-one ANYDAY before i go with Blake griffin.

  • http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/miamiheat/post/_/id/13215/charting-the-heat-five-problems-for-miami Allenp

    Harden is a full fledged beast on the pick and rolls. Just wanted to say that.

  • http://jsklff.com Jukai

    Just want to say to all those people who say Steve Nash couldn’t help any team right now: F*ck y’all.

  • http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/miamiheat/post/_/id/13215/charting-the-heat-five-problems-for-miami Allenp

    Blake didn’t regress. And he did improve actually. The problem is he looks worse because they keep posting him up. He doesn’t have a consistent move ont he block, so posting him up is setting him up to fail a lot of the times. Just run pick and roll over and over again. Phoenix did it with Amare and it worked great.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    His brain has nothing to do with it, it’s his desire to lead the L in scoring and that unreachable thirst to be the GOAT.

  • LA Huey

    Ibaka is an OK individual defender from what I’ve seen but an great help and weakside defender. Wade and Chalmers put up some awkward shots due to Ibaka’s lurking presence last night. He’s a tough match up for Bosh because he negates his quickness and doesn’t go for pump fakes on 18 footers. That play he challenged Wade, Wade dropped it off for Bosh, Ibaka recovered and still almost cleanly blocked him. It was amazing.

  • T-Money

    wow, allen i strongly disagree with two of your assessments:
    1- lebron plays very good defense on kd, he gets him to shoot long fadeaways 2s aka the most inefficient shot in basketball. you can never stop a scorer from taking that particular shot but most likely he won’t shoot a good percentage. kd rarely gets to the rim in iso situations against bron.
    2- bron’s handles are way better than kd’s, that’s not even questionable in my mind. kd gets routinely cookied when trying to cross.

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

    Just imagine how dominant Blake would become if he would develop a post game…

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    His brain has everything to do with it. If you can’t see that, take off the goggles. What you don’t think he’s skilled enough to dominate every game? lol. You don’t think he has enough heart? Not clutch? I mean common man. That’s pretty basic KB right there. Brain tells him he can shoot over and make every shot when he should realize that’s impossible and drive to the rack more and play make more. Common man.
    -BP: Still without a post game Blake is pretty effective down there. He is the only post player in the L who can just spin and jump and create a good look on a 1 on 1 post play using his insane hops. He just needs to work on footwork. That’s it.

  • http://juan.garcia@computershare.com Knowledge

    I didn’t know JTaylor was a racist… Wow!

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Jukai, are you hallucinating again? Who said that Nash couldn’t help any team?

  • LA Huey

    T-Money just reminded me how Lebron snatch it from him when Durant tried to cross him last night. Then KD returned the favor LBJ style with the chase-down block.

  • http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/shotchart?gameId=320404014 Allenp

    T-Money click my name.
    The link goes to a shot charge for Durant. From that chart it’s obvious Durant was in the lane and shooting jumpers. Basically his typical game from what I saw. LeBron didn’t make Durant particularly uncomfortable when it came to getting quality shots. I’ve seen Tony Allen and Artest do much better.
    What Bron did well was using his teammates to be certain that all Durant could do was score for himself. And he forced him into a lot of turnovers on traps and by the team playing smart defense and taking away the most obvious pass and forcing Durant to think more and make bad decisions. But Durant was getting by Bron. He always gets by Bron. He doesn’t have much trouble getting good shots. Not GREAT shots, but good shots for a someone of his caliber. It’s not like he was forcing deep fadeways after three pump fakes.
    On the handle, we’ve disagreed on this before. When I watch Durant he just feels more shifty off the bounce than LeBron. He has better breakdown moves, a much better crossover and hesitation. His whole game is just more fluid while Bron is pure explosion and herky jerky. That’s my opinion on it.

  • http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/shotchart?gameId=320404014 Allenp

    Durant was shifting Bron almost every time he crossed. Bron had a nice rip because of poor spacing. When they spread the floor with Durant up top and said get a good look, he was shifting Bron. His handle is nice man. Bron just has that basic handle. He doesn’t break cats down off the bounce. The first step is what gets you with him.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Durant might have better moves, but Bron takes care of the ball better. Both off the bounce, and in terms of passing and decision making. Kind of depends what you think constitutes a better handle.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    His brain has nothing to do with it because he’s one of the smartest players in the game. It’s a desire to chase every scoring record that at times leads to bad shooting nights and a refusal to play the game the right way.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    As far as street ball style handles go… Durant. But Bron is the more solid, smart, ball handler. You want KD to crossover guys and use his handles to get around opponents. With Bron you just want him to keep tempo and and play like a PG, like Nash. Nash isn’t going to school you with ball handling skills, he is just going to securely dribble around you.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Yeah, that desire, Taylor… Comes from the brain.

  • http://slamonline.com datkid

    T-money you really think Lebron has better handles than KD? KD’s handles terrify me… those long arms… that quickness.. there’s nothing worse than checking someone who’s bigger than you, with better handles. and when you factor in that jumpshot….. Lebron’s had some nice/decent crossovers, but not consistently, IMO his handle isn’t really one of his greatest strengths. also allen, I was kinda wondering why lebron didn’t body up on Durant more.

  • LA Huey

    I like LakeShow’s breakdown of the KD and LBJ’s handles.

  • T-Money

    allen – most of those baskets in the lane were in transition. i watched the whole game. forcing durant into traps IS good defense, the vast majority of defenders can never get him to go east-west instead of north-south so that the trap can form.
    as i’ve said, the one or two dribble pull up fade away with a hand in your face is always there for scorers like kd, bron, pierce, wade and kobe. but if that’s all you’re giving up in iso situations, that’s good defense.
    on the handles, we’ll just have to disagree. kd has a couple of signature, pre-programmed moves but i’ve seen him time and time again get stripped or just have to eat the ball when crowded. his escape dribble is weak. when bron’s path gets blocked, he usually just takes a couple of escape dribbles and re-attacks the defense. kd doesn’t do that, i have vivid memories of battier and t. allen crowding him 35 feet away from the hoop and making him eat the ball in the playoffs last year. kd doesn’t even have the kind of handle that would allow him to bring the ball up for an extended period of time.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Knowing that Harden excels going to his left because he’s freaking left handed, why don’t more teams force him towards his right? I was screaming at the TV whenever JHarden had the ball for MIA to force him to his right but every single time they let him go left and he feasted on MIA’s bigs.
    Lake, let’s just agree to disagree because I think both of us are right to a certain extent. Also….Kobe can not dominate every game if he wanted to, sorry. No one can…not even MJ or Kareem. There are too many games, injuries and factors at play.

  • http://slamonline.com datkid

    lebron did lock Durant up in the last 5 min tho. and cosign NBK and Lakeshow, although I have seen nash do some pretty nifty crossovers. Lebron’s pace control and decision making with the ball> Durant’s. Durant’s handle>> lebron’s

  • T-Money

    datkid: as lakeshow said, lebron doesn’t rely on cross overs to get to the rim, he plays with speed shifts to get the defender off balance and then attacks as effectively with his right or left hand. it seems counter intuitive to say because their game has nothing in common but lebron handles the ball like john stockton did: nothing flashy but you can’t take it from him and he goes wherever he wants to go with a live dribble.

  • T-Money

    jtaylor – harden is really good going right too. he’s no odom.

  • http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/shotchart?gameId=320404014 Allenp

    You know what, we don’t disagree. I agree with you and Lakeshow.
    Bron is better equipped with a fundamental handle that allows him to run a team and avoid getting ripped.
    Durant has the better scoring handle, if that’s a real term. Durant has the shifty body and handle that makes it easier for him to score in isolation situation on the perimeter. Plus, his collection of shots is larger than Bron’s.
    So I can see the merit in what y’all are saying, but when I was thinking handle I was thinking iso situation, get by your man and get a good look.
    Bron does not give up good looks to Pierce. He crowds Pierce and makes him make tough jumpers. Durant was hitting jumpers where Bron’s contest wasn’t even a factor. Some of that is his body type, but some of it isn’t. And all of those lane shots were transition, but even if they were mostly transition, Bron was guarding him then too. I saw several instances where Durant faced up, and got to the rack. Or got a high quality jumper. Either outcome is a good outcome.

  • http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/shotchart?gameId=320404014 Allenp

    *not all of those lane shots

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    I know he’s good going to his right but he’s an absolute nigtmare on elm street going to his left.

  • LA Huey

    datkid, Durant didn’t get locked up. It was pure coincidence, the “Law of Averages”, if you will. *sarcasm*

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    HAHAHAAHAHA

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

    Was it just me or did the Heat/Thunder game have an unusually high number of potentional three point plays(didn’t really pay attention if the free throw was converted). For a stretch there, that’s all that was happening.

  • http://jsklff.com Jukai

    Nick: Yeah, well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

  • http://slamonline.com Datkid

    lmaoooooooooooooo @ LA huey… shots fired!! hahahah…. any moment now he’s gonna come out the woodwork w/ some bullish*t most likely about trannys or somebody’s unborn baby

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF30WneDtQc Datkid

    T-money. I hear you and generally I think your right. however, every now and then……. like remember this from Sixers vs Heat? click my name

  • T-Money

    datkid – oh bron can get busy off the bounce from time to time but that’s just not how he attacks the basket usually. he goes with power, angles and speed shifts. / unrelated, it’s almost comical how much drew doesn’t give a sh– about mike brown. took another 3 yesterday and no outrage this time.

  • http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/shotchart?gameId=320404014 Allenp

    Not only did he take the shot, in the post game interview he mentioned it and said he’s going to do what he wants.
    It took him way less time than Bron to disrespect Brown.

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

    Amazing game last night, how good was it seeing all those stars going HAM.

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

    Also i dunno if yall heard last night but the commentators where saying Russ did not miss a game in highschool and college and still has not missed an nba game in his career, thats an athlete.

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