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Friday, March 8th, 2013 at 9:00 am  |  57 responses

Post Up: Road Warriors

KD and the Thunder hang on for a tough win in New York.

by Peter Walsh

Thunder 95 (45-16), Knicks 94 (37-22)

With Carmelo Anthony sidelined due to a nagging knee injury, the Knicks took the Thunder to the brink, but the Kevin Durant-led Thunder held on for the win. J.R. Smith led New York with 36 points and kept his team in the game by hitting six 3-pointers but had a tough fourth quarter. KD, on the other hand, elevated his play over the final 12 minutes to carry his team to the finish. Smith hit a 3-pointer to give the Knicks a 90 -89 lead with under four minutes to go but Durant came right back and hit a tough step-back jumper over Jason Kidd to give OKC the lead right back. Durant scored 12 of his 34 in the fourth quarter as New York had no answer for him after Kenyon Martin fouled out. OKC led 95-94 when the Knicks got a defensive stop to give themselves a chance to win with time winding down. After a timeout, Smith caught the rock with time winding down and was forced into a tough turnaround jumper–thanks to solid D from Russell Westbrook–that drew iron as the buzzer sounded. Westbrok finished with 21 points, 6 boards and 5 dimes and Kevin Martin scored 16 off the bench. STAT and Raymond Felton each scored 16 for New York.

 

Nuggets 107 (41-22), Clippers 92 (44-20)

The Nuggets are playing their best basketball and peaking at the right time and took it to a Clippers team playing the second game of a back-to-back last night. Denver will most likely by the “it” team next month when writers / pundits / bloggers, etc… are making their Playoff picks but their poor road record is worrisome. Ty Lawson led the way with 21 points, 11 dimes and 0 turnovers and gave Chris Paul headaches all night. Danilo Gallinari chipped in with 20 and Kenneth Faried scored 1, grabbed 10 boards and blocked 4 shots in the win. CP3 finished with 16 and 10 dimes and Blake Griffin scored 17 in the loss.

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  • Max

    Nuggets – Clippers would be an awesome series.

  • http://twitter.com/stepfdelaghetto Stepfan Raiford

    Nuggets have improved their half court offense by leaps and bounds.

  • The Fury

    Can’t believe Blake got only 2 boards.

  • http://twitter.com/stepfdelaghetto Stepfan Raiford

    Believe it. Blake is easily punked

  • spit hot fiyah

    yeah that would be dope, Memphis vs LA rematch would also be nice

  • http://twitter.com/thursti_tyht Thurstian Tsui

    Wait till you have Lamarcus Aldridge on your fantasy team and watch him average 6 a game. It’s annoying as hell

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

    Durant’s handle for a nearly seven foot tall dude doesn’t get discussed nearly enough in my opinion. that’s unfair.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i don’t see why people think the Clippers actually have a shot at winning the West. Their big man rotation is pretty sh*tty, honestly.

  • http://twitter.com/stepfdelaghetto Stepfan Raiford

    Lamar Odom at the center position.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    oh he’s 7’0″

  • http://twitter.com/stepfdelaghetto Stepfan Raiford

    Reggie Jackson is starting to impress me. He’s playing with a lot of confidence.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    is that supposed to be a good thing?

  • http://twitter.com/stepfdelaghetto Stepfan Raiford

    God no. I was agreeing with you about their big man rotations. lol

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    lmao, just wanted to make sure

  • Max

    It’s their D I’m worried about.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Andre Iguodala, as of today, has my vote for DPOY.

  • Max

    Yeszir. I want payback for last year.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    they are relentless. a lot less settling for bad jumpers.

  • http://twitter.com/stepfdelaghetto Stepfan Raiford

    But the question that comes up every year when referring to Denver, is can they run that style of offense in the playoffs? Because of Ty Lawson improved play I think they can. Second round at least.

  • Caboose

    That’s a REALLY tough question. There’s lots of solid guys…Paul George, Marc, Duncan, Iggy, Joakim, Hibbert. Honestly, I’ll take Paul George. Look at the Pacers’ opponents’ stats: lowest FG% (by a good margin), lowest points per weighted shot, lowest 3pt%, and holding opponents to under 90(!) points per game. A lot of that has to do with how much George has progressed as a defender (with 2nd best defensive rating in the L)

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    DAMMIT, my reply got deleted, so i’ma need you to use your brain to figure this stuff out. I’m just going to provide links, and a summary.

    .

    Look at Denver’s defense without Iguodala —> http://www.82games.com/1213/12DEN5.HTM

    .Look at Indiana’s defense without George —> http://www.82games.com/1213/12IND7.HTM

    .Look at Indiana’s defense without Roy Hibbert –> http://www.82games.com/1213/12IND16.HTM

    .
    Look at the opponent PER of Iguodala compared to George (roughly even, Iguodala slight edge).
    .
    Basically, Iguodala is the only elite defender on his team. He doesn’t have a Roy Hibbert. ANd his team relies on him more than Indiana does George.
    .
    Not to say George isn’t on my 1st team all defense.

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

    What’s really horrible is their defense. OKC was getting nothing but uncontested layups the other night. DeAndre provides a crappy shotblocking presence for huge chunks of the game and his rotations are terrible. And then he gives you nothing but putbacks on offense.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    exactly. Chris Paul covers up soooooo much people tend to just forget what these player’s are. I mean, this is the first season in Jordan’s entire career he’s posted a 100 or lower defensive rating (he’s sitting at 100 right now). Which is just average.
    .
    For the anchor of your defense, that is not a good thing. Unless you are just trying to make the playoffs, and not actually accomplish anything there.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i think the question is more or less, can they score in the close games where everything slows to a halt. winning late in 4th quarters of tight games has been their playoff issue for a while. and they still don’t have an isolation scorer, so, no i don’t think they are a real threat for more than possibly one series win.

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

    I have to agree with you. I think they would give any team a fit in a series but when the game slows down they tend to look lost and I think it’s due to them being so accustomed to that run and gun offense.

  • Caboose

    Completely fair. Both are legit. Also, an argument can be made for Timmy, though his absences are a strong case against him.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Duncan’s just not playing enough minutes for me to call him the best defender. I mean, per minute he’s probably the top, but he’s sitting out more than a third of every game.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    here is the real question, Mike Conley, or Chris Paul defensively this season?

  • Caboose

    Agreed.

  • danpowers

    could anybody tell knicks fans how we should feel about jr smith after such a game?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    since the Knicks hot start. They have been a .500 team. Frankly, since 2013 started, they’ve been worse than the Lakers. That’s how overrated their season has been.

  • The Fury

    lol…good thing I don’t have a fantasy team.

  • LakeShow

    Paul.
    He doesn’t struggle with bigger guards like Conley does.

  • LakeShow

    I’m sure the advance stats aren’t behind me, but i’m sticking with Noah.
    His versatility, energy, and all the intangibles I feel are unequaled right now.

  • LakeShow

    Nuggets don’t know how to slow it down. That will work to their favor against certain teams, but others SHOULD expose them in the playoffs. I see Memphis, San An, and OKC, taking them for sure in a series. They could beat the Warriors, Clippers, and Rockets though.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk
  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    they are behind you. i have Noah 2nd in my imaginary ballot.

  • LakeShow

    No, he is better at guarding big guards than Conley.

    Is 10 assists with 8 turnovers good?

    Is Jeff Teague a big guard?

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

    How come no one brings up Mike Woodson when talking about terrible coaches at the helm of good teams? The entire Knicks offense is an orgy of iso and PnR ball.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    on 8-13 shooting? and a win, as the Hornets, over the Clippers? — uhm yes, 10 assists with 8 turnovers is fine. I mean, Grievas’ offensive rating in that game was 120……you really wanna try and argue Chris Paul did a good job knowing that?

    .

    And yes, Teague is a big guard. He doesn’t really get credit as such, but he’s a good height 6’2″ with a very big wingspan (6’7.5″) and he’s very strong. He’s not the biggest point guard, but he’s one of the bigger ones.

    .

    Conley against those same guards,

    - http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/201301310OKC.html

    - http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/201211140OKC.html

    - http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/201302060ATL.html

    - http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/201301310OKC.html

    - http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/201301270MEM.html

    - http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/201212070NOH.html

    .
    Infact, you could make the case that Conley is superior than Paul against bigger guards.

  • Caboose

    Oooh. My knee jerk is Chris Paul, but yeah, I’m taking Conley. I think at their best, Paul is better, but Conley has been MUCH more consistent this year.

  • LakeShow

    I’m going off what I’ve watched.

    I know you don’t trust my eyes, but I do.

    Paul always fights harder against bigger guards or even forwards if he’s in the predicament of guarding them. More than I have ‘seen’ Conley do anyway. Paul is more aggressive on defense at deciding moments too. He defensively more clutch if you will. Conley is better in the lanes but Paul is better at thieving the ball 1 on 1. Paul is the best defender in the back court on his team while Conley has TA next to him, which helps towards Conleys favor. And the Grizz are a better defensive squad. If I had a choice of a defender i’d choose Paul from what I’ve watched.

    BTW guys like Russel Westbrook, they are just going to get their stats sometimes. They can have big games and someone could have still played great defense against them. Kobe, LeBron, Carmelo, KD. They can get theirs against anyone. Thabo is a great defender, but KB takes it to him on the regular.

  • Caboose

    I definitely have Noah up there. It’s tough though, if I was making an All-Defensive First Team (2 guards, 2 forwards, 1 center)….
    Tony Allen
    Andre Iguodala
    Paul George
    Tim Duncan
    Joakim Noah (Roy Hibbert, maybe?)

  • LakeShow

    Imagine that being a real team.
    Would that be fun to watch or no? lol… So much defense, so little offense.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Agreed. It took me a minute to really grasp how great Conley has been. I think Paul is the better defender, but THIS season? I think it’s been Conley

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    My 1st team as of today is,

    1- Conley

    2- Iguodala

    3- George

    4- James

    5- Noah

    - 2nd Team –

    1- Paul

    2- Allen

    3- Marion

    4- Garnett

    5- Duncan

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Chris Paul coasts. That’s my main issue. Conley is more consistent. He’s not really a “better defender” but he’s been better in terms of overall output and consistency THIS season. that’s why i prefer him, slightly.
    .
    Everything else you said is true, and i agree. — and i understand guys are gonna get their numbers, but there is a difference between getting your numbers and exceeding them. if every big PG i looked out, outperformed his normal performance against Chris Paul more times then they didn’t, that’s pretty good evidence that it’s not just a time when the guy is just “getting his”.

  • LakeShow

    You got to take the good with the bad man.

  • LakeShow

    I agree with the consistency factor for sure.
    When someone says who’s the best, I think of who’s the best, not who’s consistently been the best. You have a very valid point with Conley. I guess I need to take my blinders off to the kid, he’s never impressed me offensively, but he does work on the other end.
    Good points.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    honestly, going into this season i found Conley a little overrated. idk what changed, but he seems to be on a different level just in terms of being in position, playing the correct angles, forcing his man to help. Basically the mental aspect of basketball is where Conley has seemed to drastically improve.

  • LakeShow

    Glad your watching them, cause I haven’t kept up with the Grizz as much as I would have liked to this season. I assumed it was the same old Conley we were talking about. He has always been good on defense, but sounds like he stepped it up this year even more. I’m sure Paul will be given that 1st team top spot nod though..

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i try and keep up with every playoff team as closely as possible. Then focus on everyone else when i get the opportunity.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    the Knicks offense is Mike D’Antoni’s offense. Actually, it’s the shell of it that he left behind.
    .
    in Woodson’s defense tho, with Carmelo, there isn’t an offensive system you can run outside of isolations and pick and rolls. He doesn’t make ANY quick decisions with the ball, ever. Can’t run any plays that don’t end with him.

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    That team has more than enough offense. LeBron got it.

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    I have been saying this but if Conley ever developed a consistent off the bounce jumper he would be a too five point. He is that good at everything else.

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    He makes up his mind too early and is poor at changing it. It is why Durant is already better than him

  • kwamepooh

    no kyrie? lol

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