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Monday, March 18th, 2013 at 9:00 am  |  69 responses

Post Up: What Else Is New?

The Heat won their 22nd straight game yesterday.

by Leo Sepkowitz | @LeoSepkowitz

Pete Walsh is too devastated about the season of Girls ending to work, so I’m picking up his shift. Yesterday the Heat tied the second-longest single-season win streak in NBA history, Monta Ellis went off and the Clippers handled a Knicks squad minus its three best players.

Heat (51-14) 108, Raptors (26-41) 91
With 11 minutes to play in Toronto, the Heat and Raptors were tied at 77. With 4:39 left, Miami led 105-81. That’s a 28-4 run, leading to the Heat’s 22nd straight win.

They’ve swept through more than a quarter of the season, and there’s no reason to think they’ll slow down any time soon. LeBron James was extremely efficient on Sunday, needing only 12 shots to pile up 22 points with 12 boards and 8 assists. Dwyane Wade added 24 and 9 dimes, Chris Bosh scored 18 and Ray Allen dropped 20 off the bench. The Heat shot 58 percent overall and 10-of-22 from downtown.

Toronto’s Rudy Gay made 11-of-20 shots for 27 points. He has now shot over 50 percent from the floor in two straight games—only the second such streak this season for him. He’s shooting below 40 percent since coming to Toronto.

In fairness to the volume shooter, teams need a guy who can put points on the board against anybody. Gay did that yesterday, and it kept the Raptors in the game for three and a half quarters.

Amir Johnson posted 18 points and 18 boards, and has 39 rebounds over his last two games. Jonas Valanciunas also scored 18, and rookie Terrance Ross chipped in 12 off the bench.

Kyle Lowry was terrible, as he missed all seven of his attempts from the field in the loss. In nine games this month, he’s failed to reach eight points five times and hasn’t eclipsed 15 points. In a move I loved at the time, Toronto gave up a lottery pick for Lowry this summer. The deal may turn out to be a bust.

Bucks (33-32) 115, Magic (18-49) 109
Orlando took an 83-70 lead into the fourth quarter before the Bucks went absolutely bonkers. Monta Ellis dropped 25 alone in the final period, and his team totaled 45 fourth-quarter points to pick up a come-from-behind win.

Ellis shot 13-of-22 overall, including 5-of-6 from deep, and finished with 39. He’s averaging over 26 points per game so far in March. Brandon Jennings (4/15, 15 points) wasn’t nearly as good, but he did rack up 14 dimes.

Larry Sanders and Ersan Ilyasova each snagged 11 rebounds and totaled 33 points. JJ Redick scored just 4 points against his former team.

Orlando got nice games from each of their starters. Arron Afflalo led the team with 26 points, Mo Harkless scored 23 with 9 boards, Nikola Vucevic kept rolling with 20 and 15, Jameer Nelson went for 16, 7 and 4 steals and Tobias Harris, who came over for Redick, scored 14 points with 8 rebounds.

Those five have been a very solid unit, but the bench has been unproductive. The Magic reserves combined for 12 points.

Clippers (46-21) 93, Knicks (38-26) 80
New York was shorthanded on Sunday and it showed. Their starting front line featured Chris Copeland (5/11), Kenyon Martin (2/6) and Kurt Thomas (1/5). JR Smith predictably tried to overcompensate for the absence of Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire, and shot 4-of-20 off the bench. The Knicks hit shy of 36 percent of their shots.

Chris Paul was in command of the game the whole way, and finished with 20 points (6/12), 8 dimes and just one turnover. Caron Butler knocked down 4 threes on his way to 14 points and Blake Griffin double-doubled.

The Knicks are slipping. They’ve lost their last four, and lead Brooklyn by two games in the loss column. The difference between the 3 and 4 seed is big, as the third seed wouldn’t see Miami until the Conference Finals, but the 4 seed would matchup with the Heat in the second round. New York is still tied for the 2-seed with Indiana (two straight losses), but I like the Pacers to get back on track and claim the spot.

Timberwolves (23-41) 97, Hornets (22-45) 95
New Orleans led by four with a minute left before the T-Wolves stormed back. Ricky Rubio converted an and-one, and Nikola Pekovic knocked down a pair from the line on the following possession. The Hornets had a couple of chances late, but couldn’t convert.

Derrick Williams broke out and led Minnesota witn 28 points. He hit 3 threes and grabbed 7 rebounds. Rubio went for 16 and 6, and Pek scored 13.

Greivis Vasquez scored 24 for the Hornets, and Robin Lopez added 20 and 11. Rookie Anthony Davis finished with 17 points, 9 boards, 3 steals and a block, and is really coming on over the last couple of weeks.

Both teams had trouble hanging onto the ball. New Orleans committed 20 turnovers and the T-Wolves coughed it up 18 times. Minnesota lost the rebounding battle by 14 (41-27), but shot 56 percent from the field and got to the line 27 times.

Warriors (38-30) 108, Rockets (36-31) 78
About a month ago, the Rockets dropped 140 on Golden State. Last night, they were held to about half that. James Harden played well (21 points, 10 boards, 8 assists, 3 steals), but the bench was brutal and Chandler Parsons (2/13) and Donatas Motiejunas (2/11) had bad nights. The Rockets shot under 33 percent overall.

Golden State got 29 points and 11 assists from Stephen Curry and 26 points from Klay Thompson. The two combined for 11 threes on 20 tries. Andrew Bogut double-doubled—welcome production from the oft-injured Aussie. David Lee also double-doubled.

It was a big win for the Warriors, who have been losing some ground over the last few weeks. They’re now a game ahead of the Rockets in the loss column in the race for the sixth seed in the West. Houston leads the Lakers and Jazz by one game. One of the four teams will miss the Playoffs.

Thunder (50-17) 107, Mavericks (31-35) 101
This game was close the whole way, but the Thunder pulled ahead with 9:27 left and never trailed again.

Russell Westbrook (35, 6, 6), Kevin Durant (31 & 9) and Serge Ibaka (18, 16 and 3 blocks) all played great for OKC. The Thunder made only 5-of-21 threes, but 24-of-30 free throws.

Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting. He connected on 3 threes and grabbed 7 rebounds. Vince Carter came off the bench for 18 points.

Hawks (37-29) 105, Nets (38-28) 93
The Nets led by two after three before getting blown out in the fourth.

Atlanta got 22 points, 11 boards and 4 steals from Al Horford. Josh Smith dropped 21, and Kyle Korver hit a couple of threes on his way to 12 points.

Reggie Evans scored 14 points and grabbed 22 boards for the Nets. It’s the second time he’s tallied at least 20 boards in the last 5 games. Deron Williams and Joe Johnson each scored 18 points. Brook Lopez shot 7-of-19 for 17 points.

It was a big game between these two teams, which are jockeying to avoid getting obliterated by Miami in the Playoffs for as long as possible. The Nets have a pretty nice record, but they tend to flop in big games. Still, they have some great talent. I frankly have no idea what they’ll do in the Playoffs. They’re probably capable of a lot, but they haven’t shown it. The Hawks are a first-round knockout waiting to happen.

Lakers (36-32) 113, Kings (23-44) 102
The Kings cut a big deficit down to two with 8:30 left, but the Lakers outplayed them from there. Antawn Jamison stepped up with Kobe Bryant out, scoring 27 points with 9 boards off the bench. It’s been a long year for Jamison, who was a 17 and 6 guy last year.

Only seven guys suited up for the Lakers, including Metta World Peace, who shot 10-of-13 for 22 points. Both Steve Nash (19 and 12) and Dwight Howard (12 and 17) double-doubled.

Isaiah Thomas led Sacramento with 26 points. Patrick Patterson scored 22 on just 12 shots, and Marcus Thornton came off the bench for 15. Sacramento hit 10 threes and committed only 6 turnovers. However, they let Yellow LA shoot 57 percent and outrebound them by 10.

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  • spit hot fiyah

    Lebron seems always bring out the best in Rudy gay. And derrick williams seems to finally be comfortable in the nba

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Monta Ellis come in here and read all the negative sh*t being said about him lately? Since the “he’s pretty sh*tty” debate, he’s done this, http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/e/ellismo01/gamelog/2013/#489-499-sum:pgl_basic, lol

  • RKJ92

    Why is Kyle Lowry playing SO bad lately.. like I honestly don’t even get it defensively, he’s still a great player but his offense burns my eyes lol

  • RKJ92

    It will be interesting to see where he gets traded because you can’t really keep Derrick Williams and Kevin Love, I mean you could but it wouldn’t make sense to see so much talent wasting on a bench :-/

  • Leo Sepkowitz

    Williams is a good trade chip, Love doesn’t want to be there anymore and Pekovic can walk after this season. I have no idea what Minnesota’s front line will look like a year from now.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    his offense always been a little overrated. the Houston system he thrived in was perfect for him, and that got overlooked this summer.

  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II

    You have always shortchanged Monta. I may have overrated him some too though.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i still think he is overrated. 11 games doesn’t change my opinion. it’s just sh*tty timing that he is going through his hot spell right after i was bashing him. – but he’s still nothing more than a slightly above average shooting guard, imo.

  • Slick Ric

    Slightly above average? You’re underrating him now.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    nope. he’s slightly above average. he shoots a ton of shots, so he gets points. WOOOHOOO. He also is a terrible defender. And frankly, not elite at anything.

  • MUBWAR

    above average SG? he has a 10 year career average of 20 4r 5a and 1.7s. outta of a possible 30 starting SG’s in the league, only Kobe Wade and Harden are better. elis and joe johnson have similar numbers and that’s it. a top 4 shooting guard in this league is better than above average

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    STATS!!!!!! yay!! per game numbers mean everything!
    .
    Wait? No they don’t. They mean jack sh*t if you are gonna avoid context, and the OTHER SIDE OF THE COURT.

  • MUBWAR

    4 some1 who’s tryin to complete a mathematical science degree majoring in statistics, yaa STATS mean everything in my world. it’s the way of the fact based world we live in bro. i’ll leave the eye test 2 u

  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II

    If you factor in the totality of him as a player, maybe you’re right. I think that offensively, he is well above average to be honest. Really he just needs to stick to what he’s good at more.

  • Leo Sepkowitz

    Defense is always overlooked when evaluating players. It’s half the game. Ellis can score at an elite level (though mediocre FGP), but can’t defend. That’s a big problem.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    then use stats that tell you things. not stats that ignore the fact that Ellis has been barely outperforming his opponent since 2007. Here, look.

    . http://www.82games.com/1213/12MIL2.HTM

    . http://www.82games.com/1112/11GSW4.HTM

    . http://www.82games.com/1011/10GSW4.HTM

    .

    That’s the last 3 years, Monta is outscoring all of his opponents (by shooting 4+ more shots than ALL of them, regardless of position) per 48 minutes while being much less efficient.
    .
    You can argue he’s been outperforming people on average, but you can’t try and argue he’s been doing it at anything close to a “top 4 SG” level. He’s been barely outplaying people. Supporting how i feel, that he’s barely above average.

  • RayJr

    The Knicks are aweful to watch. The only way I see them winning games now or even competing is to have JR Smith and Carmelo go off.

    Also, even though it was against the Kings, Dwight had a really good defensive game with 5 blocks. He’s starting to look healthier as the season goes on and moving a lot more on help defense.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    yeah, if we could just take him as an offensive player i wouldn’t have much to complain about. — except for the whole, before this 11 game stretch, Ellis was stringing together the worst 3pt shooting season in NBA HISTORY. but i do agree, he’s an elite offensive SG.

  • MUBWAR

    those stats were cool but im just saying he is not as bad as u make it seem. would you rather have joe johnson, klay thompson demar derozen? who? besides wade kobe harden, it has to be him and i know that irks you bro. agree or disagree

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i am genuinely worried the Suns are going to get desperate and give the guy a max deal this summer.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Are we talking about putting Ellis in a similar situation, where he’s playing SG next to an undersized PG? Cuz Johnson and Thompson are much better if that’s the case.

    .

    .Johnson. – Johnson is clearly the better player either way. Really, it’s not that close. Ellis is shooting 18 shots a game to score 20 points, while shooting 26%!!!!!!! from 3 on 3.6 attempts a game, all while providing literally nothing on the defensive end (yes, he gets 1.6 steals, but that is evidence of how much he gambles, not how good he is). If Ellis was even close to average defensively, this would be a different conversation. But he isn’t. He’s awful. And the whole he plays for Golden State excuse that I even used in the past, is long gone.

    .

    Klay Thompson i would take, but he’s not a better player today. Although he’s definitely better for Golden State, or any other team that has a better player than Ellis.

    .
    Derozan sucks.

  • MUBWAR

    loool. i watch a lot of golden state’s game and if klay couldn’t shoot like curry he would be the worst player in the league. absolutely no lateral movements what so ever and he can’t stay in front of anybody. Also if ain’t shooting the ball he is turning it over cause he can’t pass. JJ is not only too old but he started felling in love with his jump shots again instead of using his frame in the post. So far Elis is still top SG besides those 3 names i said earlier.

  • LakeShow

    Sh*t…. That would ruin the franchise for a long while.
    Like I said… He needs to be a 6th man lol.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    You realize Thompson is still a better defender than Ellis right? I mean, i am no proponent of Klay Thompson’s defense by any stretch, he’s bad. But he’s STILL better than Ellis. That’s how bad Ellis is on that end.
    .
    And Joe Johnson is still much more efficient than Ellis. Too in love with his jump shot or not. And his effect on his team is much much much more profound (Brooklyn’s offense is +14.4 points better with Johnson in the lineup over 48 minutes, compared to a whopping +5.2 points per 48 minutes for Milwuakee with Ellis). The Bucks are .2.7 points better per 48 minutes with Ellis, while the Nets are plus 13.7 points better per 48 minutes with Johnson.
    .
    For someone who is majoring in statistics, you’d think the whole, every advanced stat supports that Ellis is slightly above average thing, would resonate with you. But i assume, more than your beliefs and aspirations, you care more about defending your misguided opinion.

  • davidR

    i know right? ever since the all-star break, or the reddick trade, he has been BALLIN. this is the production he gave the dubs, and he’s finally giving it to the bucks

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    yeah he does. that’s just not gonna happen tho.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    he was not this good for the Warriors. not even close.

  • davidR

    how so?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Well, i should clarify, because that last year he was coming off the bench (2007-08), he was scoring like this.

    .

    He’s shooting 51% over this stretch. He’s scoring 26 points on 51% shooting. The best he did for Golden State was 25 points on 45% shooting. He’s averaging 7 assists over this stretch. The best he did for Golden State was 5APG. And he’s magically shooting 37% from 3. Which would also be a career high.

  • spit hot fiyah

    and kirilenko can opt out

  • davidR

    i get you. i do think those numbers will come down as he plays more games, but these outbursts were pretty typical for him. 25 pts on 45% shooting was still pretty good, and thats what i’m guessing he will eventually come down to

    wish i could catch more bucks games to see what changed. is it jennings focusing more on facilitating? is it reddick stretching the floor? has the offensed changed? is monta fully healthy all of a sudden? is he just more focused?

  • MUBWAR

    im sorry nbk i will always take some1 who attacks the hoop(elis) over a jump shooter any day. added with the fact that elis passes the ball (6 assist per game) better than those guys and gets 2 steals a game by gambling in the lanes. another cool little fact, klay and jj combine fta are lower than Elis. another 1 klay and jj combine assists are lower than Elis. common man get over your hate from Monte. you’ve been talking ish 4 a while

  • davidR

    i do see you’ve accounted for monta being in a similar role, leaving out the season he shot 53% with baron and jackson

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    yes, that’s why i put the first part about 2007-08. As that is the season you are talking about.

  • davidR

    my fault, had a rough st paddys day and totally didnt see that hah, any insight on what might’ve led to the change per my post below?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Since the Reddick trade, and Jim Boylan taking over, the team has really upped the tempo. It seems like an attempt at minimizing the disadvantages of having Jennings and Ellis on the court together. —- Ilyasova, Reddick, and Dunleavy have done a great job of enabling Boylan to space the floor and open things up for his guards in the process.
    .
    in regards to you saying it will eventually come down, ofcourse it will. the other 50 games this season are better evidence of Ellis as a player than the last 11.

  • LakeShow

    Since Kobe went down:

    Steve Blake: 17-8-6 2.5 stls, 1 block 64% 3 pointers.

    I hope he is able to keep up his intensity, because the Lakers need a semi decent PG defender(Westbrook, Parker=Nightmare). Who can also make them use energy on the other side too.

    Blake is a feisty, great competitor. He always goes hard at Chris Paul when he comes to town. People respect him who have been around him for his grittiness and team play.
    He may just flourish under D’Antoni.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Junior-Taylor/100003121138419 Junior Taylor

    Is there anyone in more delusion of their skillset than JR Smith?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    are you even making sure what you are saying makes sense?
    .
    Ellis is shooting 3.6 threes a game dude.
    .
    Ellis is shooting 4 threes a game, at 26 f*cking %. Let’s prefer him, while he is less efficient, shoots too many jump shots, but sometime’s drives the lane, becuase in your brain, you’ve concocted the theory that Ellis doesn’t shoot too many jump shots.
    .
    STOP TELLING ME PER GAME STATS.
    .
    they mean absolutely nothing if you are going to ignore the context they come in. YAY, Ellis gets good offensive per game stats, and 1.6 steals a game!!! YAY. What does that really tell you?
    .
    Since you clearly don’t know, i’ll enlighten you. Given just his per game stats you can pull a few things away. Ellis shoots too much. Ellis has the ball too much. Ellis gets some steals.
    .
    For instance, you are touting about Assists. While ignoring turnovers. 6 assists!!!! – 3 turnovers. — Joe Johnson get’s 4 assists, and 2 turnovers. Seems about even too me. Oh wait, shooting %! Johnson shoots a much better overall % (BECAUSE OF THE 3′s that you hate, and are somehow convinced Johnson shoots so many more of than Ellis). Hmm, dammit, Johnson is still, statistically, the better offensive player. Doesn’t that suck?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    1 block. lulz

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    lool no stress. and i did, just check down there.

  • LakeShow

    A block in each game for a PG… Pretty nice.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    no i know. it just stands out like a sore thumb that since Kobe went down, Steve Blake has turned into mini dwight.

  • LakeShow

    It should be noted that Dwight got 6 shot attempts with 2 PG’s playing 70 mins combined on his team…
    That dude needs to make him self a little more available on the offensive end.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i have been thinking about this for a few minutes lol, i have a small list, but i think the answer is no.

    .

    - Nick Young (not quite that delusional)

    - Mario Chalmers (more with his words, than in his actions)

    - Kobe (had to say it, the guy probably thinks he will never die)

    - Corey Maggette (LOL)

    - Drew Gooden* (how can i forget Drew Gooden?)

    - Jordan Crawford (this guy is the true contender).

  • LakeShow

    So disrespectful to have KB on a list with all those guys… but you do you dogg.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    hey….so, since Kobe went down, you still disappointed with Nash?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    it’s about being delusional. not even you can think Kobe has a realistic view on his abilities. That’s like 50% of what makes him so awesome.

  • MUBWAR

    6a – 3to = 3. 4a – 2to= 2. the ratio they turn the ball over is the same not the quantity of it dude. So 1 final question. what is the order of your top sg’s in the league

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    THANKS! that math was so hard to do, never would i have figured out that quantity was different than ratio.

    .

    You realize Ellis uses a 1/4th of his team possessions, while Johnson uses 1/5th right? of course not.

    .

    If i had to rank the SG’s right now?

    .

    Wade-Bryant-Harden-Iguodala-George(if you consider him a 2)-Johnson-Ginobili are the top of the heap.
    .
    Ellis is in the next group.

  • Conor

    Those who down-voted my comment re: the Lakers’ options for success without Kobe, last week, are unobservant morons.

  • LakeShow

    nope. lol.
    Still, I think their is a better medium they can find between both gents playing play maker.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    He’s averaging 17 and 10. Exactly what I was saying about Nash not getting enough time with the ball next to Kobe

  • RayJr

    The Lakers benefit more from Dwight dominating on defense anyways. Also, Nash and Blake had 20 assists and LA shot well so there weren’t many offensive oppurtunities for him through the offense or with put backs. I like Dwight getting 5 blocks and 17 boards. Shows he’s getting back to his old defense dominating form.

  • LakeShow

    I just know no matter how much more delusional he is, he is still more skilled than those guys per their delusions.

    Just look at your list.
    You have a bunch of 6th men. Chuckers. Nobodies. And Kobe. It just looks bad.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    It doesn’t have anything to do with basketball skill. Unwad your panties lol. Why are you getting defensive about a joke list anyway

  • LakeShow

    Yup. Not surprised at all. Nash is awesome.
    Hopefully they can mesh their talents better when Bean gets back.

  • LakeShow

    I’m not saying he should get more touches really. I like him getting more, but obviously him focusing on defense and just being high energy are the biggest keys to his success.
    I am mainly pointing out that some people blame Kobe for Dwight not getting the ball. That’s obviously not the case. The offense doesn’t want or need him taking many shots.

  • LakeShow

    “Is there anyone in more delusion of their skillset than JR Smith”

    That was the original question.
    You need to stop changing the original question in your mind.
    Yes, it was about delusion/skillset. You said KB is up there in how delusional he is about his skill set.
    Panties are fairly loose. I’m just commenting on a basketball forum like I always do.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    You can read inbetween the parenthesis on my comment about my opinion, that I typed, right? I didn’t change the question. I was just making a joke, there is no reason for this conversation.

  • MUBWAR

    1st of all iggy n george are 3′s. and 55 years old ginobli up against elis? that’s str8 up hating on Monte’s skills

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Iguodala is a 2. He starts at the 2. And plays over 60% of his minutes there. .
    George is a 3, but when Granger is playing, he’s a 2.
    .
    And look at what Ginobili does in the minutes he plays. He’s still just as good as ever, Popovich is just extremely cautious with him.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i am one guilty of this.

  • LakeShow

    What?
    Wanting Dwight to get more touches?
    Or blaming KB for Dwight not getting the touches?
    I still want Dwight to have over 10 FGA a game, every game, but his offense isn’t key to the Lakers winning I don’t think.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    well i think we all want Dwight to get more touches.
    .
    but blaming Kobe for Dwight’s lack of touches. i am very guilty of that.
    .
    oh and i agree, Dwight’s offense is not nearly as paramount to the Lakers success as his Defense and Energy are.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    by it doesn’t have to do with basketball skill, i meant, it isn’t about their skill in general, it’s about their skill relative to their confidence.
    .
    Kobe, while infinitely better than those guys, believe’s he can do the Space Jam dunk in all likelihood.

  • Sérgio

    Man, Nah is awesome. He is ultra consistent, almost never has a bad game. An amazing playmaker, and a very potent weapon for LA to pair with Kobe in the clutch.

  • LakeShow

    Yeah, They are too good and skilled to not do well together.
    I just know that there is another level that can be reached between the two. I hope they find it.

  • RayJr

    I got you

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