For a relatively quiet Monday night, there is plenty to talk about this morning.
Before we get any further:
OJ MAYO WILL BE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR.
He also absolutely thrills me. I adore watching this guy. Love it. Love watching the Grizzlies (even if it hurts when they beat the Warriors, twice), love seeing him show the basketball world and all of the haters that are in it that he doesn’t just belong, he leads.
Dropping in 19 fourth quarter points last night, putting in 33 for the game and doing everything in his power to try and get those baby Grizzlies over the Suns was amazing. He was brilliant.
Iavaroni was not. Can anyone tell me why Marko Jaric was not in the game at all? Or, why Quinton Ross was? Also, where is Javaris Crittenton? Please tell me that he is still on this team. I’d like to have a JCritt sighting soon.
For all intents and purposes, I am pretending the Grizzlies won last night. Seriously, the refs screwed them around in the final minute, Iavaroni confused me and O.J. Mayo further captured my heart and vote for rookie of the mf’in year. Leandro Barbosa was great in the fourth for the Suns. It was nice to see him play well.
It was even nicer to see Amare and Mayo find each other after the game and take their jerseys off to trade them. Yes, trade them. Can anyone tell me how I can get in on this?
I was told by Myles that I needed to mention FreeDarko’s Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac. In his words, it is 225 pages of beautiful. If Mr. Brown speaks, well, you should be listening, so you go grab your copy asap, as well.
Before we get to the games, I wanted to leave you with this. Kobe is on the cover of the new issue of HOOP magazine, and while the article on him was great, this is my favorite part of the entire issue:
“See? That’s what we did with Boston last year.” Fisher puts his shoes a couple of inches short of the line and makes his point.
Every Laker touches the lines and beyond from that moment on.
This is why: a) Fish is a glue guy and is so damn important to this team and b) Why my boys were busting ass with two minutes to go and a 30-point lead the other night. Let’s keep it rolling, Lakeshow.
And, onto the games we go. I don’t want to talk about Toronto. At all. That being said, it is, what, game six or seven and the intensity shown by both KG and Calderon is exactly why I love them both. KG clapping his hands in Calderon’s face (which should have been taunting, regardless of how much I love him), then Calderon getting right back up in his face? It was fun, even if the rest of the game was not so fun for a Raps viewer.
Phoenix 107 Memphis 102
In a game that ended up stealing the thunder from the Boston/Toronto matchup, the Suns managed to prevail against the Memphis Grizzlies, but it wasn’t an easy victory. Despite going up by as many as 17 points in the third quarter to break away from what was a close first half, the Suns were helpless at trying to fend off the Grizzlies and in particular, OJ Mayo. Mayo was sensational, playing like a vet, dropping in a 19-point fourth quarter that came up just short of giving his team the victory. A call going the other way and the outcome of the game could have gone their way, but a three by Leandro Barbosa and then four foul shots down the stretch from Steve Nash and the victory went to the Suns. Barbosa finished with a team-high 27 while Amare Stoudemire had 18 points and Steve Nash added 12. Mayo had a game-high 33 points while Rudy Gay scored 20 and Marc Gasol added 15.
Indiana 107 Oklahoma City 99
Even a 37-point effort from Kevin Durant was not enough to get the Thunder over the Pacers last night. In a game that saw the Thunder up by as many as 15 points early, the Pacers were clinging to a one point lead in the fourth, up 96-95 before point guard TJ Ford made the decision to take over and ensure the game was theirs. Ford rang off 11-points in the period, making a three and a layup in the final minute to stave off Oklahoma City and the push Durant was trying to make. The Thunder shot 52% in the first quarter when they took their lead, but finished the game at only 38.7% for the game. Ford led the way for Indiana with 24 points, 10 assists and 7 rebounds as Danny Granger added 20 points and Jeff Foster scored 15 while Durant’s 37 were tops in the game. Jeff Green scored 14 points and Joe Smith added 12 off of the bench for the Thunder.
Portland 106 Orlando 99
Huge first and fourth quarters helped the young Blazers to their first road win last night as they took down a dominant Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic, 106-99. After the Magic trailed 36-28 at the end of the first quarter, they bounced back to go into the fourth up one, 73-72, but the Blazers were coming and they were hungry for that road win. After opening the quarter on an 11-0 run, they remained up by 11 until the final minutes of the game as Hedo Turoglu went nuts, leading an Orlando run that came up short thanks to Portland making their free throws down the stretch. The Blazers bench outscored the Magic’s 40-12 in the contest and the Blazers scored 34 in the final period while holding the Magic to 26. Brandon Roy again led the way for Portland as he scored 27 points while Rudy Fernandez and LaMarcus Aldridge each added 16 points and 11 rebounds as Steve Blake and Travis Outlaw scored 20 points apiece. Howard led Orlando with 29 points and 19 rebounds, shooting 8-11 from the floor but only 13-20 from the free throw line. Hedo Turkoglu exploded for 35 points to take some of the burden off of Dwight, but it wasn’t enough.
Miami 99 New Jersey 94
It was one ugly game in Miami last night, but Dwyane Wade found the beauty in it, as his Heat grabbed a 99-94 victory and have now gone 3-0 at home to start the season. It was a contest that had the Nets up by as many as 14 early, and then again by 10 midway through the fourth, but the Heat continued to fight and their persistence paid off. After the Heat saw the score and realized they were in position to drop the game at home, they rang off a 26-11 run to finish out the game, including a 6-6 effort by Chris Quinn from the free throw line to seal the victory in the final 12.9 seconds of the game. While the Heat were up only one with under a minute left to play, Wade hit a jumper. Then, Vince Carter was called for traveling and the free throws for Quinn began. Wade finished with 33 points to lead the way as Michael Beasley scored 19 and Daequan Cook added 15 off of the bench. Yi Jianlian led New Jersey with 24 points and 10 rebounds while Carter scored 22 and Keyon Dooling.
Boston 94 Toronto 87
After coming out blazing and leading by as many as 16 points in the first half, the Raptors were helpless against Boston in the third as the Celtics started to whittle down the lead and did so, from 15 down to start the quarter to only trail by six entering the fourth. With the energy up, the crowd on it’s feet and Paul Pierce on their side, Boston felt confident, especially after Pierce got started. Cutting the lead in the opening minutes of the period, the Celtics pushed and pushed at the Raptors until finally Toronto was unable to push back. While the Raptors finished with 22 points in the quarter, so did Pierce. In the final minutes when the Raptors needed a score, they had back to back to back turnovers while the Celtics had a basket from Pierce again and again. Pierce finished with 36 points and 9 rebounds as Kevin Garnett had 21 and 10 and Ray Allen added 19. Jermaine O’Neal led Toronto with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists as Jose Calderon had 7 points and 10 assists and Anthony Parker added 15 points while Chris Bosh only attempted 8 shots for the game and finished with only 9 points.