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Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 at 8:35 am  |  131 responses

Post Up: Two Kings

LeBron scores 41, Kobe kills the Nets, 8 straight for the Spurs and the Grizz win again.

by Abe Schwadron | @abe_squad

With the college game over and done with (word to Brittney Griner and Baylor), the NBA is ready to take center stage for the mainstream crowd—NFL Draft notwithstanding. But for the loyal readers of this blog, we all know it’s been pro ball from the jump, delayed as it may have been. So let’s get right to everybody’s favorite argument: Kobe vs. LeBron. Both had big nights in very different ways on Monday, so have at it!

Raptors 92, Bobcats 87

When you’re a 7-win team that can’t buy a victory and you find yourself down 3 points with one final possession, you gotta give the ball to Byron Mullens. Wait, what? Mullens air-balled a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left, putting a comical final touch on what was actually a nice game by him (20 points, 14 rebounds, 2 blocks). I won’t bore you with any more from this battle of Eastern Conference bottom-feeders, but it’s worth noting that Andrea Bargnani scored 30 points while no Charlotte starter other than Mullens could manage more than 2 buckets.

Spurs 125, Cavaliers 90

Spurs guard Danny Green scored 19 points against the team that cut him prior to last season, Tony Parker matched his 19 and Patty Mills scored 20 off the bench as San Antonio won its 8th straight game in blowout fashion. Conversely, it was loss No. 8 in a row for the Cavaliers, who were outrebounded 46 to 27, outshot 59 percent to 42 percent and had only one player score more than 13 points—Antawn Jamison had 15. The days when Cleveland once looked like a sneaky Playoff team are long gone—they’ve lost 17 of their last 21, the last 7 losses by an average of 22.3 points. The Spurs, who are 37-14 and now just 2 games back of Oklahoma City for the top spot in the West, scored 58 points in the paint against the Cavs, needing only 7 points apiece from Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan to cruise to the win.

Pacers 112, Knicks 104

Just when Carmelo Anthony returns to superstar Melo status with a 39-point, 10-rebound game, the Knicks forget to play the fourth quarter and lose ground in the Playoff race. In the final period, the Pacers outscored New York 40 to 17, Danny Granger poured in 14 of his team-high 27 points and Paul George scored 12 of his 18, helping Indy close out the Knicks. Granger started raining three-pointers in the fourth, pulling the Pacers back in front after trailing for the entire third quarter—they trailed by 17 at one point in the second half. In a way, Indy’s win over the Knicks on the strength of hot shooting form beyond the arc was fitting, since one day earlier, legendary Knick-killer Reggie Miller was selected for the basketball Hall of Fame.

Heat 99, Sixers 93

Average players go months years careers without dropping a 30-spot in an NBA game. For LeBron James, a 10-game streak without scoring 30+ is cause for revolt. Right on cue, The Chosen One broke out for a season-high 41 points, breaking his longest such streak since the 2004-05 season and helping Miami beat Philadelphia for the 11th straight regular season matchup while Dwyane Wade looked on in street clothes. Bron shot 15-25 from the field (1-2 on threes), plus had 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals as the Heat improved to 38-14 and 22-2 at home. Miami’s 4-0 season sweep of the Sixers was just another chapter in their domination of Philly in recent history. Even when the Sixers got to within 4 on a Spencer Hawes bucket with just over 4 minutes to play, LeBron turned on the after-burners, scoring the next 10 points for the Heat to close out the game. Evan Turner led Philly with 26 points and Lou Williams added 18, 5 and 5, but that was about it for the 76ers, who had no answer for LBJ in attack mode. Adding injury to insult, Andre Iguodala left the game and did not return after suffering a left eye contusion. Be well, AI.

Pistons 102, Magic 95

With Dwight Howard healthy, you’d expect this game to go a certain way. Without Howard in the lineup—or Ryan Anderson or Jameer Nelson—it went unfolded a bit differently. Because they were missing this. Greg Monroe going for 22 points and 11 rebounds without DH patrolling the paint isn’t all that surprising, but it got worse—check these numbers: Detroit shot an insane 57 percent from the field as a team, outrebounded the Magic 45 to 30 and outscored Orlando 56 to 30 in the paint. Meanwhile, the Magic rolled out one of the ugliest starting lineups in recent memory (sorry, it’s true) in Duhon-Davis-Hedo-QRich-JRich. Ugh. Big Baby scored a career-high 31 points (!) and grabbed 10 rebounds, but Orlando lost its fourth straight game.

Grizzlies 98, Warriors 94

How fun are the Grizzlies? Facing a 12-point deficit early in the fourth quarter, Memphis ran off 13 unanswered points to regain the lead and pieced together a second straight near-perfect final period to beat the Warriors one night after downing OKC. Clearly delighted by seeing his selection as The Post Up’s cover boy yesterday, OJ Mayo came through with another nice performance for Memphis, scoring a team-high 19 points (including 4 threes) and making every big play down the stretch for the Grizz. After missing the previous game with an ankle injury, Mike Conley returned to heat up Memphis early on, and he finished with 18 points and 5 assists. Golden State fell to 20-32 despite a 22-13-4 line from David Lee and 18 points in just 25 minutes for Nate Robinson. And if you don’t like my recap, here’s Tony Allen’s:

Suns 109, Kings 100

We’ll get to the Phoenix win in a moment, but first thing’s first—to call DeMarcus Cousins anything but a certified beast is a crime at this point. DMC had his way with the Suns’ frontline, racking up a career-high 41 points on 16-25 shooting and 12 rebounds. He would have had more like 45 if not for 5 missed free throws. It’s a wonder the Kings didn’t win this game, considering that every time I flipped over Cousins was doing work down low with ease. Then again, he didn’t get much help. Isaiah Thomas had 25 points, but the 3 remaining Kings starters (yes, that includes Tyreke Evans) scored a combined 10 points on the night. As for Phoenix, Marcin Gortat doubled up with 20 points and 10 boards, Steve Nash dished out 12 assists to go with his 18 points as the Suns got to within 1.5 games of Houston for the 8-seed in the West.

Lakers 91, Nets 87

Los Angeles built a 17-point lead in what was never supposed to be a close game. I mean, come on, it’s the Nets! Improbably, New Jersey cut the Laker lead to 84-83 with just over 2 minutes to play on a Gerald Wallace driving lay-in after a 17-6 Nets run to open the fourth quarter. Impossibly, Deron Williams tied the game at 86 on a kick-out 3-pointer with 1:30 remaining. Predictably, Kobe Bryant did what Kobe Bryant does—he drilled a 3-pointer (courtesy of an unbelievable bounce) from damn near halfcourt with 6.8 ticks left on the clock to give the Lakers a 4-point cushion, enough to end the Nets’ 3-game win streak. The finger-gun worthy shot was part of Kobe’s game-high 24 points, barely besting Deron Williams, who scored 20 points and nearly ripped Matt Barnes’ ankles off his body with this double crossover.

Line of the Night: Melo, DMC and Big Baby had big nights but all came in losing efforts. The crown goes to The King on this night—LeBron hung 41 on the Sixers in DWade’s absence.

Moment of the Night: Kobe FTW.

Funny of the Night: McBob on some Harlem Globetrotters type ish. Sorry, Nets.

Dunks of the Night: Philly lost the game, but Iggy won the dunk contest.

Tonight: A dozen games, highlighted by a Thunder-Heat rematch on South Beach, plus Spurs-Celtics, Grizz-Mavs and the rubber match of Battle: Los Angeles at Staples Center.

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

    Go ahead two and killer three to seal the deal… what else is new?

  • http://slamonline.com raylan

    40 points in a quarter?
    there goes your defensive mindedness

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Has the uptempo collapse returned to New York, or was this just a random occurrence?

  • Billions

    Spurs are 37 wins and 14 losses. Not 19

  • T-Money

    major breakthrough for miami last night, spo finally realized what any heat fan has done been knowing for a minute: joel anthony can’t play. ronny turiaf in his first start had 6 pts, 6 boards and 2 blocks in 20 minutes. now that’s not spectular but when you frame it this way you understand how impactful that output is to miami: joel anthony had 6 pts and 8 boards… IN THE LAST 5 GAMES COMBINED.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Countdown to me swearing at the tv as the Mavs soft-as-charmin-2012-edition get thumped by the Grizzlies in 3…..2……1….

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Man, what a contest by Crash Wallace on that deep 3 by snakey.
    Incredible to watch on the replay.
    Btw, Lakerfolk, who was Mambino shooting there?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Cousins was in beast mode! Love that dude’s game.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Abe Schwadron

    @Darksaber, Kobe said post-game the finger gunz were for Jordan Farmar, who he had a “running dialogue” with all game long. Never been a big Kobe guy, but he’s winning me over this year with IDGAF hi-jinks.

  • http://nba.com GP23

    ^Either Matt Barnes for the long pass, or for Pau Gasol for setting a good pick for him to get open for the three.

  • http://nba.com GP23

    My bad, Abe was right.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Thank you Abe, i mean Squadron leader.

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

    I’m starting to wonder if Tyreke really has a place in the Kings’ current line-up. He’s being underused because they don’t really need him to do what he does best anymore. Isiah Thomas looks like the steal of the draft (he and Chandler Parsons I’d say) and the Kings would be stupid not to play through Demarcus Cousins. Thornton complements the two of them better than Reke, who looks a little out of place. A lot of teams could use Reke but the Kings need to work with a nucleus of Thomas/Thornton/Cousins… And they just got Terrence Williams.

  • http://www.twitter.com/hurstysyd Hursty

    Hope Iguodala is alright. Didn’t have the greatest statistical game, but was destroying the basket.
    Evan Turner – turn my game UP!

  • http://nba.com GP23

    Evan Turner for the MIP?.. or is it Jeremy Lin?

  • Heals

    @TeddytB, I hear ya. They’ve traded places with GS as my go-to WestCoast team for entertaining games. Hate to put most of the blame on Westphal, but the Kings not only look like a an improved team, they look like they enjoy playing together for the first time in a while…

  • riggs

    The knicks stopped playing team ball and team defense in the late 3rd and all of the 4th quarter, but HALF of the blame goes to the bad officiating that went on during that time period as well. Non-calls, bad calls and tossing jr smith for something that should have just been a technical foul should be said too.

  • http://slamonline Brion

    9-1 without Wade in line-up…hmm.

  • riggs

    also the kings should mold their team to look like the grizzlies.

  • http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/39910/knicks-will-miss-lin-during-playoff-push Paul H

    If I was OKC, The Lakers or ANY of the other western conference big dogs I would be very, very concerned with just how good that San Antonio team has looked since the trade deadline. Manu Is shooting the lights out and, provided Pop continues to keep his Mins low, should be rounding Into form by the playoffs, TP looks like the best point In the game most nights and TD Is In the best playing shape In a few years. Offensively and defensively they are chugging and they are DEEP. But since I have just put the hex on, It will probably be a Parker injury and first round exit now…..

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    GP23, it’s probably Ryan Anderson.

  • http://www.nbadraft.net Showtime

    i was thinking more kyle lowry 4 MIp

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    He’s only played 38 of the Rockets 54 games.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Awesome games and performances last night. Fantastic night of ball.
    -DMC is putting himself up there as the next big thing at Center. He will probably be better than Bynum next year unless Bynum progresses somehow. Dwight will have to watch his spot also if DMC starts playing any semblance of defense.
    -Ramon Sessions is a really good player. I don’t know why he wasn’t mentioned: 19-11-6 on 7 of 15 shooting. He has flaws, but has allot of assets he brings to the table.
    -Kobe and Pau kind of swapped shooting numbers for the night. KB:10-16 FG’s, PauG:11-20 FG’s.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    So anyone read the 5 on 5 today? Not so surprisingly, LeBron is back atop the ESPN MVP wheel of inconsistent wavy bipolarism. It changes from day to day.

  • Drig

    @nbk…………It’s funny to see that lol. Looks like the first half of the season doesn’t matter much ( back when LBJ actually took to the post with some initiative ). @ Lakeshow…………DMC still ain’t near Bynum. Bynum, despite his immaturity, can be just a hair beneath Dwight IF he can improve his stamina enough to not take plays off. ( Or take them off and still make the opposing team think twice about entering the paint). BTW, would LAL prefer Denver or Dallas in the first round??? LAL vs Dallas or Dallas vs SAS???

  • Drig

    GP23, I think it’s Lowry or Turner. Still think it’s Lowry even though he played only 38 games. Dude was straight up ballin’ and is the main reason Houston is still at #8 seed. Hell, if Lin can enter the discussion for being just about all-star level for a 8 game stretch, Lowry deserves it for being a stud on both ends and on par with the big 4 ( CP3, DWill, Rose, Rondo )for most of the season.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Lin isn’t in the conversation just because people mentioned his name. Honestly I think it is going to be Ryan Anderson, I don’t think anyone that has been healthy is really even in the conversation. (although i do agree that Lowry has literally been the most improved player, he just missed 25% of the season)

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    -Drig, Umm, neither of us know what next season will look like. I say DMC will be in the argument for being better than Bynum and competing with Dwight. Your also wrong about the MIP.
    -Ryan Anderson really should get it. Lowry hasn’t played enough and to be honest Turner hasn’t played all that well. I’m a big, big, fan of his, but Anderson turned himself into arguably the best three point shooter this season and rebounds well considering he is always around the perimeter and plays with the best rebounding center.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    I’ll call Turner getting MIP next year though. He just needs another summer to refine his NBA game and some more mins in the game which maybe will happen if they ship Iggy out or something.

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

    That’s ESPN in a nutshell for ya, at least when it comes to Basketball.

  • Otis

    The best thing about that Kobe shot is watching the faces of the fans behind the backboard as the ball bounces around

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

    So….because this conversation WILL happen here tomorrow, the MVP award is on the line tonight, according to BSPN and much to my surprise. In that case, why not just let KD and Lebron play one-on-one? On that note, I used to think KD wouldn’t stand a chance; nowadays I’m not so sure if Bron can score consistently over KD unless to win.

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

    My pick for MIP is Ryan Anderson.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Throat wont block as many shots as Anthony but he does every other basketball thing better. Every single one.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Turiaf. *
    Also I would rather have Cousins over Bynum.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    -Allen, naw, Turiaf will block as many also. He’s underrated as a shot blocker. Anthony is overrated. I use to think Joel A. was good at protecting the rim, but he really doesn’t protect it all that well. Turiaf is just all around better in every category.
    -It is funny, but tonight’s game might determine MVP.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    if Tonight’s game determines MVP for anyone outside of the media then, well, oh nevermind. smh

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Oh and Turiaf is better then joel at everything but running fast and not getting tired.

  • http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/39910/knicks-will-miss-lin-during-playoff-push Paul H

    Cosign AllenP, Cousins has been playing like a man possessed since the Allstar break. He Is progressing at a much faster rate than Bynum did, and while Cousins attitude may stink the place up too I can stomach It In a 21 year old more. I really like ‘Drew’s game. Just like Cousins game (and ceiling) a bit more.

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

    I wonder what the stat lines will look like for KD and LeBron after this game. This is the first time in a while the game that came on before my Lakers interested me just as much if not more.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Yeah Paul, but I don’t think you want Cousins on the Lakers over Bynum this year. He has the higher ceiling, but Bynum is the much more efficient scorer and better defender today. I know that everyone likes to hate on Bynum because he’s a douche that deserves it, but Bynum is better than him right now. It’s silly if you say you want Cousins today over Bynum. Going forward is the only way that Cousins should be over Bynum.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Allen, I know most the slamily isn’t a simmons fan but did you read his “handicapping the MVP race” column? You should, especially the part about Kobe Bryant. You’ll enjoy that much, i’m sure.

  • LA Huey

    Did Haslem lose his cornrows because he had the premonition that Turiaf was coming?

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    nbk, one of these days you’ll have to realize that MVP is not what you think it is. Your still basing this off of “nbk’s MVP criteria.” It’s not your criteria they are choosing MVP over. Don’t know how many times this needs to be said: MVP is something different to every person. It’s not Assists+Rebounds+Points+Blocks+Steals=MVP…
    -Good call on the ‘getting tired’ part of Turiaf’s game lol. He is only needed for max of 30 mins anyway though.

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    MIP award is a bit of a joke.
    Almost every year it goes to someone who’s getting more minutes and thus putting up better stats, as opposed to someone who’s actually improved on their games.
    Ryan Anderson’s per 36 minutes stats this year are almost identical to last year.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    BlackP: CoSign. I made sure that I recorded Thunder vs Heat because I won’t be home in time to see the first half. Maybe the best night of basketball so far this year for me tonight.

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    *swanton bombs back into Twitter*

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Lakeshow, who deserves MVP is obvious. I don’t know how many times this has to be said, I don’t give a sh*t about anyone else’s MVP criteria. Plus i have never argued those points are the sole reason anyone should ever win MVP. nice fallacy though.

  • http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/39910/knicks-will-miss-lin-during-playoff-push Paul H

    Today I would take Bynum. But the difference Is much more negligible than It would have been even 3 months ago. 25, 11, 1.5 blocks and 1.8 steals on 48% over his last ten. Drew’ Is still way more efficent on offense and Cousins Is to foul prone. The only real glaring differences.

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    nbk is an a********hole lmaoooooo

  • MaxIsNative

    Spurs are the deepest team in the NBA.

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    @cosign Enig on the MIP comment. In the end, I’m sure David Stern just looks at the final numbers (usually points) and picks them.
    On another note, what about previous MVP awards? Does it usually go to the team with the best record?

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    CoSign Enig about nbk. LOL, jk!

    -Paul: As you probably saw that I said, I would take DMC over Bynum possibly this next year if he continues this rate of improvement. I even say that he has the ability to de-throne Howard so I’m a fan of his game.

    -nbk, No. No it’s not.

    -I’m willing to admit that Durant is not the clear cut choice. Bron is deserving of an MVP award this year. So is Dwight Howard. So is Durant. You cannot admit that LBJ is not the clear cut choice. You have decided in your head that the better overall player is who deserves MVP this year. But it’s not that way. It rarely is that way. You pretty much have argued that stats=MVP. You argue that FG%, assists, and defense is why LBJ is MVP. I argue that Durants effortless all around scoring capability, be it in the 1st qtr or the 4th is more important than what LBJ is brings to his team. The fact that the Thunder are the top seed in their division, and conference, and are many wins ahead of the Heat while having the All World talent of Durant is more MVP worthy that where LBJ has the Heat. As the 2nd seed in the East and and 3rd or 4th overall.
    -Durant is my MVP today. Could change depending on how both of them finish out the year.
    -niQ: In general overall wins plays a big part in MVP discussions. In general.

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

    @niQ I think most of the time it does. Considering Steve Nash won two straight, and then Dirk, and then finally Kobe. If I’m not mistaken they were all(Suns, Mavs, Lakers) in the top 3 records of the West.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Most Valuable Player –

    .LeBron leads the HEAT his team in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals.
    .LeBron is third in scoring, 13th in assists per game, 26th in rebounding, ninth in field goal percentage and fourth in steals per game
    .LeBron will be top 3 in DPOY if he doesn’t win the award
    .Despite Durant scoring so “effortlessly” LeBron is scoring at the same clip per minute on less attempts, more efficiently….so more “effortlessly”
    .The Heat are 9-1 without Dwyane Wade – which effectively squashes any “but he plays with Dwyane Wade” argument.

    -

    Durant’s MVP candidacy hinges on
    .He Scores much better in the clutch.
    .His team has lost 1 less game then the Heat.

    -

    Pretty clear who the MVP is.

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

    soo, should the kings start building around cousins now?

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Maybe it’s pretty clear in your made up 3 months ago(or maybe 8 years ago) mind. For the rest us non clairvoyant creatures we will allow the players play on the court to dictate who MVP is for us. Right now it is a virtual tie between the two of them with my personal preferences that ‘I’ admit to, making Durant my choice.
    -Slic, they weren’t already? WTH is wrong with them. They better start if they haven’t yet. That team is young and talented so they have allot of options going forward.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Lakeshow that is a terrific response. It really highlights your ability to read. I mean, all of what I just said isn’t fact or anything, i just made it up, actually, i decided all those things 3 months errr 8 years ago.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Thank you good sir. Reason why I didn’t respond to your stats and such is that you ignored what I told you. I to admire your reading ability. Here’s what I said in case your reading comprehension lacks a bit some times.
    “MVP is something different to every person.”
    -Now what that means is that your criteria for MVP(read your 3:06 post to see your criteria) is not someone else’s criteria for MVP. Congrats to Bron on all of these stats and accomplishments. He sounds like a swell guy, but Durant will be winning MVP most likely.

  • LA Huey

    nbk, I don’t get why you’re so intent on convincing everyone that LeBron is the “obvious” choice. With the parameters I set for MVP, LeBron #1 and Durant a close enough to where you have to let the season play out to make a final decision.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I am not intent on convincing anyone of anything. I just responded to Lakeshow with both of my LeBron is the obvious MVP comments.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Two reasons Durant is in the discussion. Lebron and the Heat slumped. And people dislike Bron a lot. On offense Bron has an edge but it is close. On defense there is no comparison and it is ridiculous that people are comparing being an elite defender to being an average defender.
    If you like Durant as MVP it is likely because the recent slump emphasized all the things wrong with Bron as a player still and you undervalue defense. That is it.

  • bike

    Truth

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    How does LeBron have an edge offensively? His only edge would be in the post and he has pretty much abandoned that lately.

  • http://larrybrownsports.com/basketball/lebron-james-played-superb-defense-on-derrick-rose/70485 nbk

    He scoring the same amount of points per minute more efficiently and verges 3 more assists and less turnovers.

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

    @ nbk It shouldn’t be new to you that MVP criteria changes every year and isn’t based solely on stats alone. DRose wasn’t the best statistically last year. Nash’s 2 obviously weren’t won on stats alone. MJ should have won a few more based on stats if the voters weren’t tired of handing it to him so much. The obvious doesn’t always get it.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Thanks NBK.
    Bron scores, rebounds, assists and defends at an elite level. The only thing he doesn’t do at an elite level is closeout games.
    Durant rebounds and scores at an elite level. He also closes at that level. But he defends and assists at an average level.
    Basically people don’t like where Bron comes up short and don’t mind where Durant falls short. That is it. And it is fine. I disagree but Bron has brought this upon himself by refusing to dominate in recent weeks. If he had kept doing what he did early this discussion would ne laughable. It is on him.

  • http://slamonline Brion

    In my humble opinion, Lebron should get it. He’s been ballin all season long til recently. As ^ pointed out hes scoring more efficiantly. Plus is Durant being asked to guard the opposing teams best player every night be it 1 thru 5 ? Tonight should be awesome.

  • Heals

    As far as MVP goes is anyone on Mia having a season remotely comparable to Wussel Restbrook? Also surprised ESPN hasn’t started the “but he already won MVP” narrative against LBJ…

  • http://www.slamonline.com TADOne

    My MVP vote goes to David Stern for nixing the Paul to Lakers trade. LeBron is 2nd though.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    I agree….the only reason why there’s even a convo is because of LeBron’s recent struggles. It wasn’t even close a couple of weeks ago but now….I think KD’s right there with him.

  • http://larrybrownsports.com/basketball/lebron-james-played-superb-defense-on-derrick-rose/70485 nbk

    Nick, I had Howard and Rose as MVP (A) & (B) last year. This year the Heat are a top 4 team in the L and have the clear cut best player (for the entire season). If its most valuable to their team winning then MVP is Dwight. Either way I don’t see any realistic reason to put Durant over LeBron. Unless of course you Only value end of game scoring. Which is a pretty shallow reason. The what have you done lately argument that seems to be propping up Durant, to me, is ridiculous.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Brion, LeBron rarely guards the opponents best player unless that player is a Small Forward.
    Durant is starting to become an above average defender. He has been surprising me lately with some of his smart defensive choices. He is also so long that he blocks and steals the ball at a high rate too.
    I’ll take that LeBron has a edge overall offensively (when combining AST and post scoring), but when it comes to scoring I don’t go for that. Durant is the better scorer. LeBron gets easier buckets than Durant thus the higher percentage. I personally like the player who can score at any moment at a high clip as opposed to the player that shoots at a high clip throughout the flow of the game with layups and dunks upping the %. Durant can get a good shot off on anyone. LBJ can to a degree, but doesn’t, and that is a huge plus in my book for Durant.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Defense is what sets the two apart. LeBron is a top 3-5 perimeter defender in the league. Durant is nothing special.

  • http://jsklff.com Jukai

    People here REALLY don’t like Durant.
    If we’re gauging who is better, it’s Lebron, easy.
    If we’re gauging who is having more success, it’s Durant, without a doubt. Top to bottom, the Heat are better than the Thunder.
    Wade > Westbrook
    Bosh > Harden
    Haslem > Ibaka
    and own and down an down.
    Yes OKC has a better record: why?
    I know Lebron is better but Wade an Lebron haven’t played well together and it really, really, REALLY hurts Lebron in a lot of people’s (mine included) eyes. Lebron is playing with the second/third best player in the league and they don’t have a better record than the Thunder. I don’t care how you swing that fact, that is a MASSIVE AND UNDENIABLE DETAIL in deciding MVP.
    If Lebron picks up out of his slump and the Heat improve their record, it is Lebron’s.
    If Lebron continues in this slump (one game doesn’t mean you are out of a slump) and the Heat continue on their current “win at home, lose on the road” swing, I gotta give it to Durant.
    Right now, Lebron is in the lead but Lebron is dropping and Durant is rising.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    nbk, you just showed me allot of why you and I are always on different pages. You said it’s “shallow” to care allot about closing out games. That’s one of the biggest things to me that I need in a super star. I need the MVP to be a closer, unless they are not a scorer or they are a post player. Closing out games is one of the greatest traits legendary players have in general. Closing is what literally makes up for Durant’s lack of assists and stellar defense for me.

  • http://jsklff.com Jukai

    And I’d say Dwight would easily be up with Lebron and Durant if it wasn’t for the entire fiasco with Dwight wanting to leave and appearing to mentally take days off. Rightfully or wrongfully, it took him out of the race.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Offense is more.than scoring and defense is more than blocks and steals.
    Durant still averages more turnovers than assists. And while he is capable of being awesome on defense typically he is not.
    And Bron guards the best offensive player at crunch time in most games. And one of the best all game.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Wayno:
    -Toney Allen
    -Thabo
    -Battier
    -CP3
    -Iggy
    -Aaron Afflalo
    -Luol Deng
    -Luc Mbah a Moute
    -Rajon Rondo
    -Russel Westbrook
    -Nic Batum
    -D-Wade
    -Tayshaun Prince
    All these guys are as good or better defenders as LeBron on the perimeter. Where he separates is his ability to guard PF’s-PG’s, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that Bron is a top 3 perimeter defender. It’s not true. Maybe if he dedicated himself to defending he would be a top 3, but he has to many offensive responsibilities to be a top 3 defender right now.

  • http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/39910/knicks-will-miss-lin-during-playoff-push Paul H

    The season through untill March It was one of the most ridiculously lopsided races In history. Lebron was marching It. His numbers since then have come back down to earth (Fg% keeps coming down with all those threes….) and his team has been stuttering. That, plus OKC’s numerous big wins recently, are the only real reasons why Durant Is back In the conversation. Kevin’s numbers and team success have been much more consistent. I actually don’t have a problem with either being the MVP, I think the magnitude of the debate Is amplified beyond reason by a certain polarizing character who Is involved….

  • Heals

    @Jukai, whoa, whoa, whoa being in favor of LBJ for MVP doesn’t mean we don’t like Durant. Wussel is having a better season than DW3 this year (even if DW3′s year was on par with Wussel’s he’s missed many more games because of injury). KD may be my favorite individual hoopster, but LBJ has had a better season thus far, it’s close (not as close as the media would have us believe, but close). I also think OKC’s roster is better than Mia’s (Haslem > Ibaka, c’mon man) and don’t view DW3 as being 2nd/3rd best in the L. We just see it differently, but I’m sure there are a ton of folks who share your exact sentiments…

  • http://slamonline Brion

    Lake, so Bron didnt guard Rose or Gasol? every time someone starts lighting it up they switch Bron on them (despite the position). My point was I dont see Durant doing that. ( plus you know how I feel about OKC)!

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Jukai, are you kidding me? Haslem is better than Ibaka and MIA (top to bottom) are better than OKC? Is this the real Jukai or some kind of troll masquerading as Jukai?
    MIA’s probably the most top heavy team in the NBA and after that from 4-12, they are below average. OKC is deeper, better and more athletic from player 4-12 than MIA. Also, Westbrook has played better than Wade this season and Harden has been more consistent than Bosh this season.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    How many of Oklahoma City’s win came from Durant in crunch time? They have only won 2 more games then Miami and lost only 1 less (they’ve played 1 more total)….. How can how a player closes out games be the catalystic reason to them winning the MVP when the players aren’t even in anything else? If you value closing out games more than defense and production then sure, but that to me is stupid. I would rather win by 10 with the best player for 40 minutes then win by 3 with my best player closing out the game. Call me crazy
    .
    Jukai, plain and simply no. Haslem is in no way, shape or form better then Ibaka. Wade is definitely better then Westbrook, but he’s missed 10 games to Westbrook’s 0. And Westbrook ALWAYS plays hard, ALWAYS. Wade no so much. I would rather have Westbrook in the regular season than Dwyane Wade. And James Harden at 17 4 4 is giving the Thunder slightly less than what Bosh is giving the Heat. You can judge them by how good they are as players, but I would rather judge them by how good they are during this season, in this MVP race. And you not so surprisingly didn’t address the rest of the rosters, like Nick Collison being better then every big on the Heat except Bosh and Haslem. Or Kendrick Perkins being better then every big on the Heat except Bosh. The Thunder are at the very least, just as talented as the Heat as an overall regular season team, at the very least.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Lake, if you think Wade/CP/Battier (at his age)/Westbrook/Batum/TPrince are just as good or better perimeter defenders than LeBron, I don’t know what to say to you. You would think that holding your opponent to one of the lowest FG% and PER would be enough to convince some people but I guess not.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Lake doesn’t like LeBron at all. I mean, isn’t that obvious? He just said Aaron Afflalo and Tayshun Prince are better perimeter defenders. That should say all you need to know.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Aaron Afflalo is a much better perimeter defender than LeBron, is that better? I didn’t look at stats or PER. Those too often point to players that are not good at defense for me to trust in gauging defense. I stand by what I said of all those players being as good or better. Except Prince. I take that one back. He use to be, but not anymore. If you don’t agree with me that’s fine.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    It’s not just the stats, LeBron puts the kibosh on every opponent he faces on a consistent basis and even a guy like Melo (which everyone claims “dominates” LeBron) avgs. 3ppg less than his career avgs and shoots 43% from the field in head-to-head matchups vs LeBron. That’s just one example out of many guys that go up against LeBron and come out of the game with lesser numbers all across the board.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Aaron Afflalo? How much of him have you actually watched to come to that oh so uninformed opinion? Go ahead, ball park it? Cuz he’s been rather putrid this year. If you have watched him at all, you would know that.
    .
    How do I put this simply?
    .
    The Nuggets are worse with him on the court…
    Afflalo gets outscored at every position he plays.
    He gives up 111 points per 100 possessions which is bad.
    The Nuggets give up 3 more points per 48 minutes with Afflalo on the court.
    The Nuggets give up a higher % from the field with Afflalo on the court.
    Now other than actually watching Afflalo and the Nuggets those are the only ways for someone to highlight how he is an overrated defender.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Now to say he’s better then LeBron on the perimeter is just completely and unequivocally wrong. It is a completely ignorant assertion to make. Plain and Simple.

  • bigdoggchad

    Melo does dominate LeBron in the head to head W-L column.

  • http://jsklff.com Jukai

    Christ, OKC is the DEFINITION of top heavy. THE -DEFINITION- of top heavy, just like Miami. It’s Westbrook, Harden, Ibaka…. then you get a motley cast of Sefolosha, Perkins, then you have Cook? Freaking Collison?
    Miami has Wade (better than Westbrook), Bosh (Better than Harden), Haslem (better than Ibaka, if you disagree I’ll give it to you and you still wont be right0, Battier (Better than Sef), Turiaf (Perk is better but overrated), Mario Chalmers (WAYYYY better than Cook), and I haven’t even mentioned Miller and Cole. Miami is a better team.
    I don’t care if you give the BS argument that “Westbrook and Harden are trying harder than Wade and Bosh,” Bosh and Wade are still arguably inside the top-10 when on separate teams and Westbrook is top-20 at best, Harden isn’t in the top-50. You can place the blame solely on Wade and Bosh for underperforming but Lebron has to take some blame for this. That’s that.
    It was kind of common knowledge that Lebron had to perform otherworldly for him to win. And he started off the season performing OTHERWORDLY. But he hasn’t been this month: 24 – 6.6 – 5.6 – 2.3 with 3.4 turnovers on 49% shooting is great, great, great but he has to separate himself that much more to win MVP. And Durant has been super solid all season.
    It’s Lebron’s to lose so far, but he’s losing it.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Westbrook is top 20 at best? HAHAHAHAHAHA wow

  • http://jsklff.com Jukai

    Lemme rewrite one part:
    It was kind of common knowledge that AFTER TEAMING UP WITH WADE AND BOSH, Lebron had to perform otherworldly for him to win THE MVP AWARD. And he started off the season performing OTHERWORDLY. But he hasn’t been this month: 24 – 6.6 – 5.6 – 2.3 with 3.4 turnovers on 49% shooting is great, great, great but he has to separate himself that much more to win MVP. And Durant has been super solid all season.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    no one is going to entertain your argument if you say things that are just completely ridiculous.
    .
    And how in the world is Haslem better then Ibaka? Udonis Haslem shoots 42% from the floor! He blocks .3 shots per game. This is a POWER FORWARD we are talking about.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    You do know that there’s a difference between being a better player and having a better season, right? Wade and Bosh are better players but Westbrook and Harden are having better seasons, I don’t know how someone can argue differently.

  • http://jsklff.com Jukai

    Sorry, I don’t feel like another pissing contest with an unintelligent talk box. I got three basketball players and almost all of the media who say it’s a close two-man race by now. I’ll stick with them an ignore you, much like most of the world usually does, NBK.

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

    Fact: KD has been more consistent this season.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    So Jukai, what your saying is, LeBron has to have not just a top 20 all-time season (which is what this season is), but arguably the best season ever (which is what he was doing up until March started), to win MVP, because he has great teammates? that’s stupid.
    .
    This is like the 2005 season, LeBron is Shaq.

  • http://jsklff.com Jukai

    JTaylor: don’t you argue that you’d rather have Zbo than Love for the same logic?
    I gave y’all my opinion, I gotta go grab some food. Have fun with your circle jerk, guys.

  • http://jsklff.com Jukai

    In 2005 SHAQ DIDN’T WIN MVP!!!!! Having great teammates is a MAJOR MAJOR factor!
    Done. I’m done. Prying myself away.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    I was kinda going off of last year… lol. I don’t like watching the Nuggets that much. Haven’t seen him except a couple of times this year. He’s been injured. Unless he has forgotten how to play defense he will round back into form. Which is better than LeBron at guarding the perimeter. LeBron is better at allot of things defensively than AA, but he is not better at guarding the perimeter.
    -I got Westbrook as a top 12 player I think. Heat are still better from top to bottom from a talent/skill stand point. Thunder are just playing like a much better team which is probably Durant’s biggest edge for MVP more than anything. No team in basketball has played better all year than the Thunder. Bulls have an argument, but the Thunder have been pretty flawless.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    But Shaq should have won MVP. The media just brainwashed everyone, just like they are doing right now. Puddin Pop.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Last season? When he was equally bad? The dude is an overrated defender. It’s pretty simple.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    The Thunders win % is 75%, the Heat are at 73%. If The Heat win tonight and the Thunder lose they will be separated by 1 win & 0 losses. LOL, the Thunder for being so “great” aren’t much better then the Heat, who haven’t been “great” – Or maybe, the Thunder have played 4 more home games and the Heat have played 3 more road games? Wait, that can’t be? haha oh well, that stuff doesn’t matter, right?

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Jukai, what does that have to do with this convo? reaching I see
    How can people say that Westbrook is barely a top-20 player and according to Lake, a Top-12 player, with the way he’s been tearing up the L this season? Y’all sit here showering Love with praises all day long but can’t even give Westbrook his just due. The media and the BS they peddle really does have an effect on how people look at certain players.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    When did the media do this? I said Durant would win MVP this year, last year. Cosign JTaylor. Better season, different, than better player. LBJ is the best player in the L. Durant is having the better MVP like season right now.
    -Better team record.
    -Equally impressive Statistics.
    -Although, I am of the thought that tonight this could change if LBJ dominates Durant. I will give LBJ the edge. I don’t care if “2 games don’t determine….. blah blah blah.” Tonight’s game determines allot for me unless they play equal lol. MJ would take a game like tonight seriously and dominate his ‘supposed’ competition. Kobe would also. As would Magic. You think Durant and LBJ don’t know that the MVP race is between them? They do. Tonight’s game is important regarding this debate.
    Naw, nbk, I watched AA play fantastic defense on Kobe the last few years. Kobe usually burned him because that’s what he does, but AA got the better of him a couple times. I don’t care if dudes score on a guy. If he played good defense, he played good defense. Dudes a great defender.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    So because Afflalo played 1 guy good he’s a better defender? Do you not see the terrible logic in that? Afflalo plays “good” defense against some guys sometimes. He’s not a great defender though. He had a reputation that he was before he became a heavy minute player. Then he was exposed.

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

    Why are people pretending like 25 and 5 and 4 is chopped liver?
    When has Wade exceeded those numbers? We do realize he’s putting up worst stats than Westbrook and they are basically playing the same position since Westbrook isn’t playing like an actual point guard at all, right?
    We can all agree that Westbrook has been more consistent on both ends AND has had more outstanding games, right? If we can’t agree on that then we can’t agree on anything.
    Basically, Westbrook has looked better than Wade almost the entire season.
    And he plays with Durant. Who also plays with Harden, Perkins, Collison, Thabo, Cook and the rest of the motley crew.
    Miami and the Thunder are tied as far as overall talent. OKC is slightly deeper, Miami has slightly more talent.
    So if Bron is getting docked for not being otherworldly, why does Durant get a pass for having a standard season? I don’t understand how Bron gets penalized for having great teammates because he chose them, but Durant is cool because his teammates were drafted to his side or traded for? It’s an incredible bias.

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

    If it wasn’t clear, 25, 5 and 4 is what Westbrook is averaging. On a career best 47 percent from the field.
    He’s having a career year for a shooting guard. Ray Allen has never put up those numbers and he’s a hall of famer.
    He’s had multiple 40 point games. A few double digit assist games and been crazy clutch. I don’t think he’s playing the point particularly well, but when it comes to playing awesome basketball, he’s dominating.
    How can you just randomly give Wade a pass for putting up worse numbers this year than he put up last year? Chris Bosh is having a worse year too statistically.
    I just don’t understand some of the arguments. Stop reaching.
    You don’t like Lebron for a variety of reason. He’s not clutch, he made The Decision, he is lacking in offensive finesse. That’s fine. It’s all opinion. But that’s what it boils down to. It has nothing to do with stats, or performance, or teammates. It’s simply that people don’t like what LeBron brings to the table all that much and prefer Durant. Just own it. It’s fine. Hell, Steve Nash won two MVPs based partially on that sort of thinking.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    The Unintelligent Talk Box would say, we expect this out of LeBron. Living up to expectations isn’t special. Especially if our last most tangible memory of him is a failure. While Durant has only exceeded expectation in his career. Durant is almost viewed just like LeBron was before his failure against Boston.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Lake, when did 27.5/8.2/3.5/1.4/1.1/50/37/84 become equally impressive as 26.7/8.1/6.4/1.9/0.8/54/36/76? Not to mention, the latter’s team has one less loss and that’s with the team’s second best player being out 10gms.

  • http://slamonline Brion

    The Heat did hold some kind of record for continuous double digit victories earlier in the year. Everyone was saying they look unstopable at that time.

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

    Ehh, he’s a good-not great defender.

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

    Yall tripping right now, saying you rather have westbrook anytime than Wade is blasphemous right now. harden is not having a better season than Bosh, he’s just exceeding his expectations;thus, making this a great season FOR HIM. Lebron is definitely overrated defensively, but all those guys lakeshow mentioned are not better perimeter defenders than him. seeing that list, westbrook defense is mad overrated too.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    I concede on the AA as a great defender point. I was speaking more on a couple years ago and nbk put it perfectly when he said he was exposed with starter mins. Anyway… my point being that LeBron is a great defender. No need to act like he’s top 3. He isn’t. He is borderline top 10 as far as perimeter defenders are concerned.

    -JTaylor: Were you not saying to yourself as you wrote those stats “Wow these are actually remarkably similar stats? lol… They are incredibly similar. Assist being the only thing that separates. Do the Thunder struggle because of Durant’s lack of assists? No. So why do those assists matter for Durant. The only thing I don’t like is his TO number per his assists. FG% wise they are both equally impressive with Durant taking more difficult jumpers and 3 point shots.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Allen. Ray Allen has had equally impressive of seasons. Go look I think you forgot about the damage he did in his time with the Sonics. He was between a 23-26PPG guy with, 3.5-6 Assists and Rebounds for several years.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Lake, they matter when you’re comparing his #s to LeBron’s.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Yeah, but i’m not comparing numbers, i’m determining MVP. LeBron is a Point-Forward. Durant isn’t. It’s not a bad thing to not be a point forward. I personally think LBJ should not average so many assists. Sounds silly, but he is way to good at other things offensively to be passing as much as he does. His teams have been successful with him averaging a high number of assists though so I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Just as I don’t think Durant’s mediocre assist numbers are bad since his teams is successful. It’s apples and Oranges. I’m not defending my position any more. Durant is my MVP today. He may not be tomorrow. I’m calling it a day gentlemen. Long boarding awaits me on this beautiful sunny afternoon :) We shall discuss the tonights game tomorrow, i’m sure…

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

    I wish they would live blog this Thunder-Heat game…

  • http://jsklff.com Jukai

    Westbrook isn’t even a top-3 point guard.
    Wade is a top-2 shooting guard.
    Everyone of you argues that “Dirk is gonna turn it on, Pau is gonna turn it on, Kevin Love doesn’t deserve the top spot” and now you’re arguing Westbrook is better?
    Debating isn’t a buffet, you can’t just pick the argument you want to use.

  • http://jsklff.com Jukai

    But, all arguments aside—
    DAMN is this a game

  • http://larrybrownsports.com/basketball/lebron-james-played-superb-defense-on-derrick-rose/70485 nbk

    So you don’t understand the difference between a better player and a better season. Like I’ve said numerous times, Kevin Love is not better than Dirk, Pau, or Lamarcus, but he’s having a better season. Maybe “pry yourself away” some more.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Ray Allen put up numberbit not shooting 47 percent from the field or playing defense lime Westbrook although his defense is not as great as you think.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Jukai.
    25, 5 and 4 on 47 percent from the field. The numbers are elite. He is an elite guard.

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

    Allenp at 6 37pm summed up perfectly why i like Durant better then Lebron. As for MVP, to be honest im in way over my head so im not even gonna try and argue it with yall but i think LBJ is in front but i can see and accept the arguments for Durant, its just very hard to go past Lebron and the season he is putting together, how he finishes will be important obviously.

  • http://jsklff.com Jukai

    Allen: Yes. He is. But he’s not comparable to Wade.
    I mean, Monta Ellis also had a 25-4-5 season. I expect Westbrook to keep on chugging, but let’s see Westbrook over his career. He has the greenlight to do, well, whatever the hell he wants, unusual for a guy in his position.
    Amazing Heat vs OKC game. Lebron put a little more cushion on his MVP hunt.

  • Justin G.

    I think the whole “but Lebron plays with Wade” comment is one of the dumbest I’ve ever heard as a reason not to give someone MVP. I don’t remember ever hearing “but he plays with Pippen”,”but he plays with Kareem”, “but he plays with the best front court in history” or “but he plays with Stockton”. Also, just because there might be more talented players on paper doesn’t mean they’re going to play like they’re more talented as a team. You don’t have to look any further than the Knicks to figure that one out.

    nbk, it really is funny how stubborn you are. I’m not disagreeing with you as far as your rationale for Lebron being MVP but you really can’t help yourself when people do disagree don’t you, especially Lakeshow? So many times you’ll say you’re done with the discussion and then the next day, the same argument will start and you get involved all over again. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if guys like Lakeshow were just saying the things they are because they know they’ll get a rise out of you

  • http://larrybrownsports.com/basketball/lebron-james-played-superb-defense-on-derrick-rose/70485 nbk

    I am not saying I’m not stubborn but when I say I’m done I mean I’m done talking on that day on that page. There is no escaping rehashing old arguments until someone changes their opinion.

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

    Also, I gave Kevin Love the top spot weeks ago. What are you talking about?

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