Monthly Archives: November 2010

Things I’ve Noticed, like that BG should be an All-Star

As it’s been the weekend and there’s been 22 games since I last posted, I’m gunna go with an abbreviated What I Saw tonight. Here’s the link to Saturday’s schedule:

Scores and Schedule, November 26

And here are Sunday’s scores:

Scores and Schedule, November 27

Thoughts:

– Dwight Howard still needs to make more free-throws. I mentioned it the other day, but he went 13-24 from the line against Cleveland and 8-14 against Washington. Sure, he scored 23 and 32 points in those games, but still. I don’t think that his form is terrible; you can tell he’s put work into his free-throw shooting over the years. I think that it’s probably mental, and as a mate said to me today, it can’t be easy listening to everyone (TV guys, writers and even fans) mention how poorly you perform at the foul line.

– What’s up with Milwaukee? Losing to Detroit’s generally not a good sign. They bounced back nicely to grab a win over the Bobcats, sans Bogut, with Jennings dropping 32 points, 6-13 from deep.

– What do you call a power forward that averages 7 rebounds a game? A small forward. Ok, then, what do you call a center that averages 5 rebounds a game?

– Amir Johnson could be a beast if he could just stay on the damn court. His per-36 minute averages: 16 points, 10 boards and 2 blocks, which are nice. Not-so-nice? His 6.5 fouls per-36. He’s averaging nearly 4 fouls per game this season.

– Russell Westbrook, you are ridiculous. 43/8/8, 3 steals, 13-24 from the floor, 17-18 from the line. Stop being so good. Actually, don’t. It’s too much fun to watch you.

– C.J. Watson had 33 of the 95 points he’s scored this season on Saturday, filling in for Derrick Rose; he’s definitely capable of putting points on the board, scoring 40 a couple times since he’s been in the league, but he crazy streaky.

– Blake Griffin should be an All-Star this season. I don’t care that he’s (technically) a rookie, I don’t care that his team is rubbish, he’s tailor-made for it. Oh, and he’s averaging 19 points and 11 rebounds, with only Dwight, Pau and Love managing those numbers.

– Brandon Roy scored 27 on Saturday, which is great to see. I’d heard that his left knee was bone-on-bone, and I’ve also heard some people mentioning the word ‘retirement’, which would be horrible for Roy, the Blazers and fans of the NBA alike. Fortunately, he’s back and contributing. Unfortunately, the Hornets happen to be really really good this season.

– Throwback game from Agent 0 (or Agent 9 now, I guess), 31/5/5, 9-23, 1-6 and 12-14 FT in Washington’s loss to Orlando Sunday. How quickly people forget, but Arenas is pretty good, when he doesn’t have wrecked knees, or isn’t fooling around with guns.

– Golden State at Minnesota, the game of the night for me; former Heat-men Dorell Wright and Michael Beasley were facing one-another with their new clubs. The match-up didn’t disappoint, Beasley with 28 points, 9 rebounds and this block; Wright responding with 30 points, 9 threes (a Warriors record, no less) and the win. Kevin Love continued his incredible season with 21 points and 22 rebounds, his fourth 20-20 game this season (everyone else, combined, have 5), taking his season averages to 19 and 15. That’s just silly.

– Dallas defeated Miami in Sunday; they improve to 12-4 while the Heat falls to 9-8 for the season. The Super-Friends scored 67, with the rest of the team contributing 28, while the Mavericks had 6 guys score in double-digits, along with Tyson Chandler beating up on the Heat’s non-existent big-man brigade to the tune of 17 rebounds. And yes, that was a 39-word sentence. After the game, the Heat players stayed back to hold a players-only meeting to sort out some frustrations. I wonder what LeBron had to say about Coach Spoelstra?

– Wow, Sacramento really collapsed in the fourth quarter; they were outscored by the Bulls 27-9 as Chicago went on to win it 96-85. D-Rose went for 30/7/7, and was also really mean to Tyreke Evans. Why you gotta be like that, Derrick? He bad-mouth your moms or something?

Love the YouTube comment, though. I quote: ‘And People say Wall will be better. Come On Son.

D-Rose is the quickest und most Athletic Point Guard Ever. Straight Monster!’

Um, Wall is already better than Rose, and he’s only played 10 games. He already passes the ball way better, averaging 9 assists; Rose, in his third season, is averaging a career-best 8. Furthermore, Wall can actually shoot the 3-ball without it being absolutely detrimental to his team. Also, I believe some guy named Russell Westbrook might have something to say about quickness and athleticism from the point guard position. He even does it efficiently!

That’s all from me guys, thanks for reading.

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What I Saw, where the Heat are on a 3-game losing streak

11 games today, let’s get at it:

New York 99, Charlotte 95: Raymond Felton seemed to have a great time playing against his former team, going for 23 points and 13 assists, after having 16/9 on the front end of the home-and-home series against Charlotte. Wilson Chandler was effective off the bench for New York, 21 points (8-12, 4-5 and 1-2 FT) to go with 8 rebounds and a block, while Stoudemire had 20 points and sent back 6 shots in the win.

Tyrus Thomas got his first start of the season, at center, and responded with 26 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 blocks, while D.J. Augustin again had a good game against his former team-mate with 14/8/7.

Milwaukee 81, Cleveland 83: Not too much to say about this game. The teams combined for 40% shooting and it was fairly close throughout. Milwaukee played without Andrew Bogut, who sat out; Mo Williams hit a 20-foot jumper as time ran out to lift the Cavs to the win. 25/4/5 for Mo on 11-22, 2-6 and 1-1 FT.

Philadelphia 90, Toronto 106: The 6ers fall to 3-12 on the season, and that’s nearly Clippers bad. It’s really tough to look for any positives for Philly; number 2 overall draft pick Evan Turner is still struggling, just 9ppg on 43% from the field; Iguodala is at just 14ppg on 42%; and Jrue Holiday, while improved, certainly hasn’t taken the step some (read: me) thought he might have, he’s at 14 points and 7 assists per game but he’s at just 42% shooting also.

There were positives for Toronto, however. Reggie Evans hauled in 22 rebounds to go with his 12 points, he’s averaging 12.6 for the season; while Jerryd Bayless (13 points, 4-7, 3-3, 2-2 FT) and Peja (7 points, 2-3, 1-2, 2-2 FT) were effective in their debuts with Toronto. Andrea Bargnani had 24, right around his 22ppg average on the season.

New Jersey 83, Boston 89: The Nets scrapped and fought to stay in this one, but Boston just had too much, especially with Shaq winding back the clock to toss in 25 points and grab 11 rebounds, shooting 9-10 from the floor and 7-13 from the foul line. Ray-Ray helped out for the Cs with 15, including 3-5 from the great beyond.

Miami 95, Orlando 104: Dwight was a beast in the game, 24 points and 18 rebounds while just taking full advantage of the Heat’s small frontline; 8-13 from the floor and 8-16 at the line. 22 points and 12 rebounds per game on the season for Superman II, but I couldn’t help thinking that if Dwight makes just 70% of his free throws, up from the current 54%, his scoring would be 24ppg, good for 7th in the league. Currently his 22 points per are good for 14th. Still, he’s 5th in the league in blocks and I don’t think there’s anyone in the league that can match his work defensively (a healthy Andrew Bogut, maybe).

Back to the game at hand, and Orlando pretty much dominated the Heat, shooting 51% from the floor while holding Miami to 42%. J.J. Redick got the start for the injured Vince Carter and had easily his best game of the season, 20/4/5 on 5-12, 3-8 and 7-7 FT, while Jameer Nelson had 17 points and 14 assists (Jameer also had some words to say to Eddie House and the Miami bench with 38 seconds remaining and earned himself two techs and an ejection, not the smartest move).

Chris Bosh struggled with back spasms throughout but ended up with 21 points and 6 rebounds, while LeBron added 25.

Dallas 111, Oklahoma City 103: This one was the KD-Dirk show, with Tyson Chandler the supporting act. 32 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists for KD, 12-20, 2-7 and 6-6 FT; but it was Dirk coming out on top with 34/4/4 on 9-15, 2-5 and 14-15 FT, along with the W. Tyson Chandler had a huge game for the Mavs also, 17 points and 18 rebounds along with a block.

Detroit 84, Memphis 105: The Pistons are a mess, at this point. Their top-6 scorers play at shooting guard or small forward, Tayshaun’s not happy with the coaching, Rip’s been ejected from two of their last four games and Austin Daye went from opening night starter to DNP-CD in just 11 games. Meanwhile, the 2 guys that are playing the most positive ball are the two guys that Joe D gets all the criticism for signing – BG and Charlie-V.

Just 40% shooting for the Pistons, as the Grizzlies rack up 9 steals and all sorts of transition buckets on their way to 52% shooting; Z-Bo led the way with 21/14 with a nice soft touch inside on those hook shots, while the Memphis bench contributed 39 of their 105 points, which is a decent return.

San Antonio 113, Minnesota 109 OT: Wow, can anyone stop Kevin Love? 32 points and 22 rebounds on the game, but it wasn’t enough – the Spurs come back from a 21-point deficit to win their 12th straight game. Darko Milicic continued his surprising play with 22/8/4 with 5 blocks, while Beasley managed just 11 on this night. Team effort by the Spurs to grab the victory, Manu had 26 while RJ added 19. Timmy added 9 points and 13 rebounds as he continues what may become his worst season ever, statistically at least.

Golden State 101, Houston 111: The Rockets snap a 4-game losing streak and improve to 4-10 on the game, with Kevin Martin and Luis Scola leading the way. Martin had 25 on just 4-12 from the floor, but 3-6 from deep and 14-15 free throws were nice. Scola had 24 to go along with 12 rebounds, and there’re probably not too many people that realise that he’s averaging 22 points, nearly 10 rebounds and 2 assists per contest.

Dorell Wright led the Dubs with 24 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists, and that’s a decent night out. Steph Curry added 21 and Monta 18, but he shot just 7-21 from the field.

New Orleans 87, Utah 105: With the win, Deron Williams’ Jazz improve to 15-4 against Chris Paul’s Hornets since both entered the league back in 2005. While Williams was superb in this game, 26 points, 11 assists, 5 steals, 9-18, 4-5 and 4-4 FT, Paul was no slouch either, 17 points, 9 assists, 5 steals, 4-8, 1-3 and 8-8 FT. However, D-Will had ample support from his frontline (Jefferson had 23/10) while West and Okafor struggled. Hot shooting from the Jazz too, 49-43-100 in the victory.

Chicago 123, Phoenix 115 2OT: Oh my, the Suns really should have won this game. If not just because they were holders of 23-point lead in the first half, or because Jason Richardson missed the second of two free-throws with 5 seconds to go that would have put them up 112-109 and the Bulls needing a 3 to force a second overtime; it was costly turnovers in the second OT, like Nash having his pass picked off by Noah with under a minute remaining.

Derrick Rose dominated the highlights, which is course will lead fans to conclude that ‘OmGzzz Rose is lyke da bestest’, but he needed 33 shots for his 35 points, shot just 1-5 from range and dropped only 7 dimes; meanwhile, on the other end Nash had 16 assists with his 14 points (to be fair, he needed 15 shots and went 0-5 from deep, so maybe it was just not a good shooting night for either point man).

Pretty much a fair few guys had big numbers in the game, so you may as well check out the box-score. I don’t even know whether it’s worth pointing out that the Suns were out-rebounded, it happens every game anyway.

***

I was thinking earlier whether we might see a big trade happen at some point, and who the particulars may be, when this idea came to me:

Memphis receives: Josh Smith, Jamaal Crawford

Atlanta receives: Zach Randolph, O.J. Mayo

The way I see it, Memphis gets a young, athletic forward that fits in well with their young core (Gay, Conley, Gasol and Henry), while seeing what Jamaal can give them as an experienced sixth man off the bench. If he excels, cool, offer him the contract extension he’s been seeking. If not, it’s an $11 million expiring, freeing up a bit more cap space to ensure Gasol Jnr. sticks around.

The deal for Atlanta, they get two very talented players. Provided Randolph keeps up the team-first attitude he’s had in Memphis, he could form a pretty nice high-low combo with Horford in the frontcourt. The real prize in the deal for the Hawks, however, is O.J. Mayo. You can start him next to JJ and either free him up to score while Joe handles the ball, or trust in his playmaking and try him as a PG. Atlanta is going to need some sort of replacement for Bibby at some point, and Jeff Teague hasn’t exactly made a splash yet this season. Additionally, it appears that the Hawks have already drafted a ‘gunner off the bench’ guy to replace J. Crawford, and it’s another J. Crawford.

So yeah, another deal that I think could be pretty interesting for both teams. Of course, both Memphis and Atlanta insist that neither is available, but you never know. What would you guys do?

***

Thanks for reading.

What I Saw, where Philly blew it

Maybe better late then never, here’s your quick look at yesterday’s 6 games:

Cleveland 89, Indiana 100: Maybe we ought to pay more attention to Danny Granger as one of the guys stepping up after being a part of the World Championship team? We’ve already seen Westbrook, Love and Gordon playing at a superb level, and being recognised for that, but here’s Granger averaging 21.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists as his Pacers sit at 7-6 for the season.

As for the game, the Pacers went to halftime up big, 62-37, and held on for the victory. Nice back-to-back wins over LeBron’s current and former teams.

Philadelphia 114, Washington 116 OT: The 6ers really blew this game; they had plenty of chances to win but Evan Turner’s missed free-throws (0-2 at the line, with Philly up 106-103), then just a careless foul on John Wall’s three-point attempt, sending the rookie to the line where he made all three – just poor basketball from Philadelphia. Even with 3 seconds left in the overtime period, Iguodala got a real nice look, getting rid of Nick Young with the crossover and then trying a step-through 14-foot jump shot, but that wouldn’t go either. Just poor execution from the 6ers, and a nice win for the Wiz.

Also, Elton Brand shoved JaVale McGee to the floor late in the fourth and earned himself a ‘Flagrant 2’ foul and automatic ejection, and today was suspended by the NBA for one game.

And also, that same JaVale McGee had 24 points and 18 rebounds on the night, while not only did John Wall hit the three clutch free-throws late, he scored all of his 25 points in the second half. It’s almost as if he and Blake Griffin are playing a game of ‘Whatever you can do, I can do better’.

Atlanta 101, New Jersey 107 OT: Something’s not right with Atlanta right now, and Coach is not too happy about it. Going to New Jersey and coming away empty-handed is not the worst thing ever, I’ll tell anybody that’ll listen that I like NJ’s guys and that they’re much improved this year; still, if you have ambitions of being top-4 in the East, then you have to beat New Jersey. Harris was effective, 27 points while dominating the overtime, and Brook Lopez had the sort of game I’d been expecting him to have all year, with 32 points and 9 rebounds. Lastly, Josh Smith takes too many threes, but more on that later.

Charlotte 107, New York 110: So the Bobcats earned a heap of extra shots but getting on the offensive glass, 15 offensive boards to just 5 for New York, but the Knicks shot 50-40-90 as a team as they get the win. 6 guys went for double-figures, led by Toney Douglas’ 22 off the bench, including 5-7 from range. Douglas certainly has talent, but he needs to find ways to be effective when he’s not hot from distance. In his two best games of the season, the 30 against Chicago and these 22, he’s hit 5 threes in both. He must stop living and dying by the three ball.

It seems some of the Bobcats guys were absolutely thrilled to catch up with Raymond Felton, but his replacement in Charlotte D.J. Augustin did a fine job on the night, 24/5/7 with 4 steals on 10-18, 2-5 and 2-3 FT.

Detroit 84, Dallas 88: Dirk (42 points, 12 rebounds, 13-23, 3-3, 13-16 FT) is amazing. That is all.

Chicago 91, L.A. Lakers 98: Derrick Rose certainly does a lot of things that look really cool, but he still takes a lot of shots get his points. 30 points, but as Yahoo!’s KD said, he needed 25 shots. Jo Noah and Taj Gibson came through with really nice games for the Bulls, Noah with 19 points, 13 rebounds (and 3 assists, 4 steals and 3 blocks) while Taj had 16 points, 12 rebounds (with 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks). And that would be why people think Chicago can be a very good team; Gibson’s headed to the bench once Boozer’s healthy.

Although the Bulls tried hard, the Lakers still have too many weapons. Pau dropped off a bit on the night, just 12 points, but he still had 11 boards, 4 assists, 2 steals and 5 blocks; Kobe, Lamar and Shannon [Brown] all had 20 in the win.

***

I’ve talked about it before, but I think it’s something that bears repeating: Josh Smith is taking too many threes this season. Last season, he finally seemed to understand, that that’s not his range. He only attempted 7, in 81 games. It was a startling, and certainly welcome, drop from the sheer volume of attempts he’d had in years past.

In his rookie season, he played 74 games and made 4-23 threes, just 17.4%. However, it’s not a staggering amount, and rookies can sometimes struggle to adjust to the extended three-point line, so we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. However, in the following season, his attempts jumped to 110, making just 34; next season, 38 of 152; then 25-99; and finally, 26-87, before last season just 7 attempts from range. Given his career average on threes is just 27%, I’m sure that just 7 attempts were welcomed by the Hawks and fans alike.

Then just when we think that he finally gets it, he comes out this season with 20 attempts in 15 games, 8 makes, for 40%. Now, I’m not going to believe that he continues to shoot 40% from three all season, it’s far more likely that this figure slides closer to the 27% we’re used to. This is why I don’t understand why someone so athletically talented would settle for jump shots rather than getting to the foul line.

***

Lastly, I want to talk about my favourite player right now, Mike Beasley. He’s always been one of my favourites, I followed him in college when it became obvious that Miami were going to ‘earn’ a high draft-pick, and he was always the guy I liked best on those Heat teams. Since I’m now totally sick of Miami and hearing about everything they do, it’s been a joy to watch Beasley blossom in Minnesota. Here are 5 reasons why I love B-Easy right now:

1. He has his confidence back: every time he shoots a jumper at the moment, it feels like it’s going in. I’m sure Mike feels that way too. It’s funny, but being told by team-mates that they need you for something can have a huge effect on your game. I feel like I’m playing at a real high level in my local league right now since I was told ‘We need you to get rebounds’; when I go out there, I feel like I can grab every rebounds. In the same way, on a much much higher level, I love seeing Beasley playing so well since his team-mates have told him that they need him to score; when he goes out there, he feels like he can’t miss;

2. He’s comfortable at small forward: a couple of years back, Beasley’s good friend Kevin Durant spent a fair amount of time at shooting guard, a position that former coach P.J. Carlesimo thought he was best suited to. However, once Carlesimo was fired after a 1-12 start to the 2008-2009 season, Scott Brooks stepped in and immediately shifted KD to the 3 spot, and he has become one of the league’s brightest stars. Similarly, the Heat had Beasley playing power forward for all of the two seasons he was in Miami, but the Wolves have shifted him to small forward and he looks comfortable out-muscling smaller 3s and out-quicking bigger 4s;

3. He’s validating my anger: well, not so much anger as…I’m not sure. Whatever it was, I knew I was unhappy with the Heat giving Beasley away, because I knew he had this kind of talent. Since then however, I’ve grown to massively dislike the Heat and the media’s obsession with everything they do, and I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a part of me that enjoyed them being done by Memphis and then Indiana;

4. This story: partly because it pretty much sums up how I feel, and partly because it means that Beasley is being recognised by the media as being generally B-Eastly;

5. And finally, this photo.

***

That’s all from me for now, thanks for reading.

What I Saw, where there were a couple of surprises

8 games on the schedule today, and not everything went as expected, let’s take a look:

Boston 99, Atlanta 76: This one was over early, with Boston holding a 26-point advantage after the first quarter and cruising to the victory. The Hawks were flat-out dominated, held to just 35% shooting and out-rebounded 50-30. Boston needed this game in a pretty bad way, after dropping contests to the Durant-less Thunder and the anyone-less Raptors, as there are some folks wondering about the Cs effort recently.

Indiana 93, Miami 77: This is about the biggest surprise I’ve had all year; the Pacers go into Miami and take this one big time. Indy out-rebounded Miami 48-39 and forced 22 Heat turnovers, while Dwyane Wade struggled mightily; he had just 3 points on 1-13 from the floor, missed all 4 three-point attempts and scored just 1-5 at the line.

The Heat learned today that Udonis Haslem will be out for the foreseeable future with a torn ligament in his left foot that will require surgery, which is terrible news. Haslem was always my favourite Heatman when I supported Miami, and although I’ve since stopped supporting the Heat, it’s never good to hear that one of the leagues good guys, one that does all the dirty work, has to sit out. Here’s hoping for his sake that he recovers quickly after surgery and is able to get back on the floor as soon as possible (still probably months away). Reports suggest that Miami will be signing Erick Dampier, not too sure about that move, they already have plenty of centers on the roster (Ilgauskas, Anthony, Magloire and the rookie Pittman; none of those guys are the rebounders nor defenders Haslem was, and neither is Dampier).

Danny Granger led the Pacers with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists, but he shot just 6-21 from the field. He did make 4-9 threes and 4-4 free-throws though.

Minnesota 107, Oklahoma City 117: The Thunder had this one well in hand halfway through the third, leading 82-65, but the Wolves made it a close one, going up 94-93 with 8 minutes remaining. However, the Thunder had enough guys to get it done, with Durant, Green and even Sefolosha calmly dropping in jumpers inside the final three minutes to hold off the Minnesota charge.

After all the hype I’ve been giving him, Beasley cooled off in this game, scoring just 15 while shooting 7-20, 0-3 and 1-3; Kevin Love had 24 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Wolves, however. Russell Westbrook did not disappoint, continuing his MVP-form with 20 points and 14 assists, while Durant had 28/8 and Green 24/6 in their returns to the line-up.

Phoenix 123, Houston 116: I still can’t believe the Rockets are this bad; they fall to 3-10 on the season after dropping this one to the Suns. Steve Nash returned and had 24 points and 9 assists, and it seems he was able to find Jason Richardson, who’d disappeared in Phoenix’s last three games, but was able to pour in 26 while shooting 7-11, 2-2 and 10-10 on the game. 54% shooting and 7 guys in double-figures for Phoenix, but they still can’t get any rebounds, tracking down just 33 to Houston’s 51. Kevin Martin once again led the Rockets, scoring 19 points.

Orlando 97, San Antonio 106: Dwight was huge for the Magic, 26 points and 18 rebounds, but the Spurs aging 3 were able to get it done, Ginobili led with 25, while TP added 24 and TD had himself 15 points. It seems no-one can stop the Spurs, who improve to 12-1 and are yet to receive any steady contribution from Tiago Splitter. Once they do, look out NBA.

Sacramento 83, Utah 94: The Kings are struggling mightily shooting the ball right now, I touched on it earlier, and they’re at just 36% for this game. The Jazz took care of business, enjoying a nice game off the bench from C.J. Miles, 20 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists while shooting 8-13 from the floor and making all 3 of his free-throws.

New Orleans 95, L.A. Clippers 99: This game, however, later became my biggest surprise of the year. My mate and I had this one down as a 50-point win for the Hornets, easy, but the Clippers managed somehow, someway to come out of this one victorious. Blake Griffin continued his phenomenal stretch with 24 points and 13 boards, while Eric Gordon continued his phenomenal season with 27/3/4. David West had 30 for the Bugs, but missed free-throws (Ariza) and bad passes (Chris Paul, if you can believe it) cost New Orleans dearly. With the W, the Clippers ‘improve’ to 2-13, while New Orleans falls to 11-2.

Denver 106, Golden State 89: Carmelo had a season-high 39, 10-24 from the floor, 2-4 from range and 17-17 at the line, while adding 9 rebounds and 5 assists; and when you’re hitting shots like this (click ‘Birdman is Back’), then it’s all good.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to everyone that’s given me feedback today, it’s all much appreciated.

3-Ball, Corner Pocket: 23 November

3-Ball, Corner Pocket is your weekly look at the league’s leading MVP candidates, most outstanding rookies and best and worst performing teams.

We’re just about a month into the NBA season at this point, and there’re a few things starting to get sorted out. Who’s established themselves as a legit MVP-level player, and which teams have shown that they’re the ones to beat? Let’s see:

MVP Watch

1. Chris Paul, 16.8ppg, 4.9rpg, 10.5apg: Just as I said last week, his stats don’t leap off the page, but how can I drop him down the list when he’s the guy that led his team to a 3-0 week, and a record of 11-1 for the season? He’s still flirting with 50-40-90 shooting numbers and is second in the league in PER, at 26.4.

2. Russell Westbrook, 23.5ppg, 5.2rpg, 7.8apg: With Kevin Durant injured, all Westbrook did was lead his Thunder to a victory against the Celtics, at Boston, with Jeff Green also missing the game. In fact, the Thunder haven’t lost since he snuck into the MVP watch last week, and he just continues to climb. He was rewarded for his tremendous efforts with Player of the Week honours.

3. Pau Gasol, 22.8ppg, 12.1rpg, 4.1apg: Fresh off his perfect 10-10, 8-8 28-point performance against Golden State, he’s playing fantastic and making folks wonder whether he’s the best player in basketball right now.

4. Dwight Howard, 21.4ppg, 11.1rpg, 1.3apg: Returns after dropping out of the rankings last week, his Magic went 2-0 last week while he averaged 22 points and 12 boards, along with 2 blocks. He’s looking much more comfortable on offence, showing off more than just dunking (even a 15-foot bank shot), but he must improve at the line (just 54% so far this season).

5. Deron Williams, 21.6ppg, 4.4rpg, 9.8apg: His Jazz cooled off a bit after their historic Eastern road trip, but they still went 2-1, dropping a game to the white-hot Spurs. He had consecutive 23-point efforts before shooting just 3-13 his last time out. Still, he’s done nothing that suggests he drops out of the top-5.

On the bubble: Al Horford, Michael Beasley, Serge Ibaka (Ok, maybe they’re some of my favourites right now…)

Eye on ROY

1. Blake Griffin, 18.5ppg, 10.9rpg, 2.1apg: There’s no rookie even close to BG right now, as he bounced back from a rough week (he averaged just 12.5 and 8.75 from November 9-15) to average 27.3 points, 13.3 rebounds and 3 assists in the week since the last post. Not only that, he erupted for 44 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists in the Clippers loss to New York, a game where he had a series of spirit-crushing dunks and had long-time Clippers play-by-play man gushing that it was the best performance ever by a Clipper. I’m trying not to get ahead of myself, especially after everyone said Brandon Jennings had ROY locked up after dropping 55 on the Warriors in November last season, but it’s hard not to get excited about Blake Griffin.

2. John Wall, 18.1ppg, 4rpg, 9.8apg: Wall hasn’t gotten on the court since last week’s post, so he loses the top spot to BG, but it doesn’t change the fact that he’s been phenomenal in the 8 NBA games he was able to participate in. It also doesn’t change the fact that there’re no rookies that are even close to John and Blake at this point.

Power Rankings – who’s hot

1. San Antonio, 12-1: They’ve won 11 straight, and have the best record in the NBA. Tim Duncan is averaging just 13.7 points and 9.6 rebounds, but Richard Jefferson is much improved this season, his scoring is up from 12.3 to 16.3 points per game.

2. New Orleans, 11-1: Still one of the class teams of the league, and one that nobody saw coming.

3. Oklahoma City, 10-4: The Thunder makes their debut in the Power Rankings top-5 for this season, thanks to winning games on the road without their superstar and leading scorer Kevin Durant.

4. L.A. Lakers, 12-2: Andrew Bynum still hasn’t returned to full practice, but is anyone really too worried about the Lakers right now? Pau is playing like the league’s standout big and Kobe doesn’t look too troubled by his myriad of injuries so far. They definitely look primed to three-peat, even early in the season.

5. Utah Jazz, 10-5: Wrapping up our all-West top-5, with the Utah Jazz, who just keep on keeping on, and despite a middling stretch where they lost to OKC and SAS, they’ve earned the right to remain top-5 with that ridiculous road trip and those comeback victories.

Power Rankings – who’s not

30. L.A. Clippers, 1-13: Not even BG’s career night can hide the fact that they’ve lost 9 straight (well, maybe a little).

29. Houston, 3-10: This is not where I expected to be ranking the Rockets just one month in, but without Yao and Brooks they’ve struggled, dropping their last 3 straight and are relying heavily on Kevin Martin (averaging around 23/3/3).

28. Philadelphia, 3-10: They’ve been without Andre Iguodala for the past week, but actually managed to snap a 5-game losing streak against Milwaukee their last time out. Thad Young has stepped up while ‘Dre has been out, he’s still coming off the bench but has averaged 17 points and 6 boards over the past week.

27. Sacramento, 4-8:  The Kings just completed a 2-1 week against the ‘New’ teams, dropping games to York and Orleans while managing a victory over Jersey. No King that’s averaging more than 10 minutes per game is shooting over 50% from the floor (Carl Landry is leading at 47.4%).

26. Minnesota, 4-10: The Wolves split a pair of games in a lean week of hoops, defeating the Clips before losing to the Lake Show. It’s not all doom and gloom for Minny though, as Beasley and Love have formed a potent forward combo that’s averaging 39.5 points, 20 boards and 4 assists. I love this story about Mike Beasley’s crazy scoring binge that stemmed from Jonny Flynn telling him ‘you got to be that Mike Beasley that I remember growing up’. It’s a good story, go check it out.

That’s all for this week, cheers for reading.

What I Saw, where Pau was perfect

Only 4 games today, here’s a quick look at what happened:

Boston 101, Toronto 102: The Raptors escape with a win over the Celtics, with Bargnani leading the way, 29 points on 9-20, 2-6 and 9-13 shooting – although he had just 2 rebounds. Toronto edged Boston out on the boards though thanks to Reggie Evans’ 16, and Amir Johnson’s 11 off the bench (along with 17 points). Rajon Rondo missed the game with an injured hamstring and Nate Robinson got the start; he played well and finished with 22 on 8-14, 3-6 and 3-4.

Washington 110, Detroit 115 OT: Detroit eventually takes this one, they were more aggressive than the Wizards and made more free throws than Washington attempted (18-28 for DET, 9-15 for WAS). They also took care of the ball, just 9 turnovers while forcing Washington to commit 15. Rip Hamilton scored 27, tying his season-high (12 of those 27 came in the overtime period), but he’s averaging just 13.5 points and shooting 42% this season. Charlie-V came off the bench with a double-double, 25 points and 11 rebounds while making 4 of 6 threes.

JaVale McGee had a monstrous game for the Wiz, 20 points and 16 rebounds to go with 2 blocks, while Gilbert Arenas had 19 points and 16 assists playing the point in the absence of the injured John Wall.

New Orleans 75, Sacramento 71: Just a horrible-shooting, sloppy game of basketball for both teams. Sub-40 FG% for the game, with the Hornets winning despite shooting just 32%, courtesy of 15 offensive rebounds (12 for Sacto) and forcing 21 Kings turnovers (‘just’ 15 for the Hornets). CP had 14 assists and 5 steals, but only 9 points as he shot 2-12 from the floor. Donte Greene managed 15/10 for the Kings, but he needed 15 shots.

Golden State 89, L.A. Lakers 117: Pau Gasol was perfect in the game, 28 points on 10-10 from the floor and 8-8 at the foul line, and he added 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks as L.A. was too much to handle for the Dubs in this one. Kobe added 20, Lamar 15/10 and Shannon Brown 17 off the bench as the Lakers shoot 56% while holding the Warriors to just 35%. 32 assists on 44 field goals, and that’ll work too for the Lakers.

Thanks guys.

What I Saw, where Blake Griffin has no regard for human life

9 games today, and some stuff happened. Here’s what:

Phoenix 105, Charlotte 123: Captain Jack messed around and got a triple-double in this game, 24/10/10, as the Bobcats shoot 58% on their way to blowing out the Suns. Charlotte’s big forwards were good also, with Boris Diaw getting 26 on 11-17 from the floor and 4-8 triples and Tyrus Thomas chipping in 22/6 (9-13 and 4-4) off the bench. 37 assists on their 50 field goals for the Bobcats, which likely contributed to the healthy FG%. Phoenix aren’t making shots right now, and they need to find wherever J-Rich has disappeared to (he’s averaging just 10.3ppg in the last 3, all Suns losses, down from 18.7 for the season so far).

Orlando 90, Indiana 86: Sub-40% shooting for Indy as Orlando comes away with the win. Dwight Howard led the way with 25/12, but Rashard Lewis was the story, 21 points on 8-11, 5-7 from three, coming through with the sort of game the Magic needs on the reg. Roy Hibbert battled Dwight admirably for the Pacers, 19/10 to go with a block.

Miami 95, Memphis 97: With Chris Bosh playing the role of ‘Antawn Jamison’, the Miami Cavaliers lose this one (Wade sat out with sore wrist). Additionally, Udonis Haslem (as ‘Anderson Varejao’) exited the game in the third with an apparent leg injury. However, despite being out-rebounded 47-32; the Miami Cavs shot 46% from deep, 10-22, to keep this one close. LeBron had 29 and 11 assists and Bosh 20 and 10 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough as Rudy Gay hits the J at the buzzer to give Memphis the win.

Dallas 98, Atlanta 93: Al Horford was amazing in this game, 20 points, 20 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks while shooting 10-12 from the floor; Josh Smith added 21/5/6 and 5 steals on 10-19 from the floor, 0-3  from three (shouldn’t be taking those) and 1-2 from the line. However, Dallas just found a way to win, they got themselves to the foul line more than Atlanta and capitalised, 14-16 compared to Atlanta’s 8-10.

Cleveland 92, San Antonio 116: 6 guys in double-figures, 32 assists on 43 field goals and 53/48/82 shooting says it all, the Spurs simply took care of business. In the process, they improved to an NBA-best 11-1 and extended their winning streak to 10. Tiago Splitter showed what he’s capable of, 18/5/2/2/2 on 7-10, 4-6 off the bench.

Oklahoma City 82, Milwaukee 81: James Harden filled in the scoring-void nicely for OKC on this day, with KD still sitting out he got the start again and had 23 points and 9 rebounds, shooting 6-13, 6-8 from deep and 5-6 at the foul line. Westbrook struggled a little bit, 18 shots for his 18 points, but he still managed to dish 6 assists. The Bucks bigs took advantage of an undersized Thunder frontline, with Bogut grabbing 12 rebounds and Gooden 16. Brandon Jennings had 25 points but shot 8-24 to get ‘em.

New Jersey 103, Denver 107: This was a tight one, but even with 7 Nets scoring double-figures, the Nuggets had enough firepower, ‘Melo dropped 28 while Nene added 22.

Utah 103, Portland 94: The Blazers absolutely smash the Jazz on the boards, 48-38, including grabbing a whopping 24 offensive rebounds; however, they would not capitalise on all the extra looks, shooting 38% to Utah’s 48%. LMA led Portland with 24 points and 11 rebounds, but he would also turn the ball over 8 times. For Utah, Jefferson had 20 points and 14 rebounds, while C.J. Miles came off the bench for a fairly efficient 25 (8-13, 7-10, 2-2).

New York 124, L.A. Clippers 115: Blake Griffin, the rookie Blake Griffin, had 44 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists in this game, shooting 14-24 from the floor and 16-23 at the free-throw line; sure, Amar’e put up 39/11 at the other end, but BG had 44 points! Incredible. The Clippers shot 54% and out-rebounded NYK 38-32, but they sent the Knicks to the line too much, with New York making 43-51 free-throws for the game. Gallinari was good again with 31 points, these came on just 11 field goal attempts (7-11, 4-6 from deep, 13-13 at the line). Check out BG’s insane dunks here, they’re well worth your time.

That’s all from me, thanks as always.

What I Saw, where Westbrook led the Thunder

11 games yesterday, here’s your catch-up in case you missed any of the action:

Memphis 86, Washington 89: Memphis lost to Washington? Dammit. The Grizz have lost 5 straight, and while I can see how they lost to Dallas and Boston, and Orlando…and Portland, they really should be defeating the Wizards. Rudy didn’t have a great game, but he’s having a quality season (22.5/7/3), while Z-Bo’s a double-double machine (16.7/11.3/1.8). The trouble is O.J. Mayo, who’s struggling quite a bit, his scoring has dropped 3ppg to just 14.5ppg and he’s shooting sub-40%. Once he comes around, hopefully Memphis does too.

Nothing Washington did to get the W was outstanding; they were aggressive going to the rim and made 30-35 at the line, compared to just 10-18 for the Grizz. Also, they got a very Gilberty-game from Gilbert (24 points, 7-15, 2-6 and 8-10, 3 boards, 4 assists).

Oklahoma City 89, Boston 84: No Kevin Durant, no problem, as Russell Westbrook leads them into Boston and comes away with the victory. 31 points and 6 assists, 9-21 from the floor, 2-3 threes (although he’s extended his range to the three point line, they were taken with the shot clock running down. He was doing a really good job looking to create) and 11-13 at the foul line. It is just so much fun to watch this young fella play ball right now, he’s playing at an unbelievable level.

It’s worth talking about Serge Ibaka, too. In the 6 games he’s started at power forward, filling in for the injured Jeff Green, OKC are 5-1. The Thunder should probably think about bringing Jeff Green off the bench once he returns, he can probably play three positions off the bench and would give the second unit a nice scoring punch (and it would be a pretty nice second team, Maynor, Harden, Collison and D.J. White joining him to go 10-deep).

Boston couldn’t buy a three in the game, finishing 1-8 from distance despite some good looks, and they had a chance to tie in the final seconds, but Delonte West couldn’t knock down a clear look from the corner. Still, good win for the Thunder. How the heck did they lose to the Clippers?

Milwaukee 79, Philadelphia 90: In the continued absence of Andre Iguodala, and with Elton Brand in foul trouble, Thad Young stepped up off the bench, contributing 23 points and 6 rebounds, 8-13 from the floor, and 7-8 at the foul line, while Lou Williams added 19 (5-13, 3-8, 6-6). Philly won for the first time in 6 tries, capitalising on the Bucks’ 34% shooting for the game.

Houston 96, Toronto 106: The Raps were able to overcome Kevin Martin’s 31 points (8-16, 4-7 and 11-11) to come away with the win, with 6 guys scoring in double-figures. Andrea led the way with 26, and he even had 6 rebounds, while Kleiza came off the bench with 17. 49% shooting for Toronto, and they actually out-rebounded an opponent (44-37)!

Charlotte 87, Miami 95: So the Heat get the win, not before the Bobcats make them sweat a little, going up 82-80 with just under 5 to go. LeBron would respond however, on his way to 32 points (12-25, 2-5, 6-7), while Captain Jack led the way for Charlotte with 30 (12-24, 4-9, 2-2). Gerald Wallace managed to have more fouls than points, 6 personal fouls while picking up 2 techs along the way against just 6 points off 9 field goal attempts (2-9, 0-1, 2-2).

Cleveland 101, New Orleans 108: 65 bench points for the Cavs in this one, and they would’ve had a much better chance if they could’ve done anything to stop David West – a season-high 34 points, along with 11 rebounds and 3 blocks, on 14-20 from the floor and 6-7 at the line. CP had a double-double and his backcourt mate Belinelli chipped in with 20 points (5-11, 3-8, 7-7). 46% shooting for New Orleans, while they held the Cavaliers to 35% shooting; however, for the first time this season they allowed 100 points in a game. The Hornets D ranks 4th in the league right now, 101.1 points allowed per 100 possessions.

L.A. Lakers 112, Minnesota 95: Kobe needed 27 shots for his 23 points (8-27, 1-4, 6-7), but no matter: Matt Barnes came off the bench to score 24 off of just 7 shots (7-7, 5-5, 5-5), all while adding 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Pau continued his nice season with 16 points, 14 rebounds and 6 assists. Speaking of having nice seasons, Mike Beasley continued to fill it up on the night, 25 points and 10 rebounds, while Darko had the sort of game that you figure, if he could do semi-regularly, he’d justify second-overall draft-pick status – 23 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists, 6 blocks, 10-18 from the floor and 3-3 at the foul line.

San Antonio 94, Utah 82: The Spurs crushed the Jazz on the boards on their way to an easy victory, while Timmy did overtake David Robinson to become the Spurs all-time leading scorer (not counting the points George Gervin scored in the ABA – if we did, he’d hold that honour).

Chicago 88, Dallas 83: Dirk scores 36, 15-26, 3-5 and 3-6 (!) in the game, but it wasn’t enough as Derrick Rose leads the Bulls with 22. Jo Noah had 17 rebounds, while Taj Gibson chipped in with 17 points and 18 rebounds (and this is the guy heading to the bench when Carlos Boozer eventually makes his Bulls debut). Speaking of Taj; how would you feel, as a Maverick, when Taj buries the deep 3 with 1 second left on the shot-clock, to put Chicago up 79-77, with under 3 minutes to go? Not only that, it was the first three-pointer he’s ever made. That’s gotta sting.

New Jersey 81, Sacramento 86: Tyreke needed 21 shots for 20 points, but the Kings come away with the win regardless. Kris Humphries was pretty decent for the Nets, 18/10 on 9-12.

New York 125, Golden State 119: Raymond Felton was clownin’ in this game, 35/5/11 on 13-17, 4-7 and 5-6 shooting, but he got some help. Amar’e came through with 26/11 (10-12 and 6-7), while Gallinari added 23 on 7-15, 3-5 and 6-6 shooting (although he didn’t grab a single board in 33 minutes of action). Monta was equally stupid for the Warriors, 40 points on 17-30, 4-7 from deep and 2-4 from the line, and while Steph Curry added 29, it wasn’t enough for the W.

Cheers.

What I Saw, where Portland hung in there

3 games, here’s a quick look-see:

L.A. Clippers 80, Indiana 107: Loaded up the boxscore for this one earlier today and the first thing I saw was: Aminu Dunk Shot: Missed, with the score 73-96 in favour of the Pacers. That pretty much sums it up.

Indiana shot 51% for the game, and shot 14-26 (54%) from deep, and the Clippers never really had a chance. The other L.A. team has lost 8 straight now, they’re just 1-12 for the season.

Phoenix 89, Orlando 105: I’m amazed at how well the Suns managed to hang with the Magic on the boards, only being out-rebounded by 3 (37-34). This was a pretty sloppy game; the teams combined for 35 turnovers and settled for plenty of (missed) jumpers in the early going. The teams looked to get inside more eventually, however, the Suns benefiting somewhat from their 24-33 effort from the foul line. Grant Hill looked like a young man in the game, 21 points on just 9 field goal attempts (8-9 from the floor and 5-6 at the line), while Dwight is a young man and had 20 points and 12 rebounds.

Denver 83, Portland 86: Portland just manhandled Denver on the glass, 48-35, and shot better from the floor, 40% to 39%. However, the Nuggets made more free-throws than the Blazers attempted (23-28 from Denver; 11-22 for Portland), and this thing becomes a close one. LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 24/10, while Wes Matthews added 20 points and 10 rebounds filling in for the injured Brandon Roy. Carmelo had 18 before fouling out for Denver, and Afflalo added 16 points and 11 rebounds (he missed a potential game-tying 3 at the buzzer, but replays indicated that he may have been fouled on the play). Regardless, the Blazers escape with a win, but you have to wonder how long they can keep it up with so many injuries.

Links:

Just a stupid nasty dunk from some guy who apparently is pretty friendly with LeBron;

Want to play a game?;

And I don’t mean to pile on Andray Blatche, but after saying that he always has good shot selection, he goes out and plays some of the worst defence I’ve ever seen in the NBA. Not cool, ‘Dray.

Yep, that’s about it. Nice and short. ‘Til next time.

What I Saw, where Beasley’s hot like fire

A big day today, 10 games all up, here’s what you need to know:

Toronto 94, Philadelphia 86: Well, that’s rather embarrassing. The day after I slammed on him for struggling against Washington with 12 points on 13 shots, Bargnani bounces back nicely with 30 points; 12-18 from the floor, 1-3 from range and 5-6 at the stripe, along with 7 boards, making me look somewhat foolish. Oh well.

Sonny Weems continues to impress also, after I said that no team would be winning games with him leading the scoring. True, he didn’t lead the Raptors, but he did have a career-high 25 on 10-18 shooting, 1-3 from deep and 4-6 at the line, which are nice numbers. Toronto gave up 16 offensive rebounds in the game, but Philly couldn’t convert, just 37% shooting for the 6ers, while the Raps shot a much better 47%. Elton Brand had 27/8 as he continues to have an impressive season after two injury-interrupted years in Philadelphia so far.

Phoenix 96, Miami 123: Not much to analyse in this one, the Heat were just way better than the Suns (they are way better than the Suns). Miami went to Bosh early and often, and he responded; 22 points in the first half on his way to 35 for the game, 12-17 from the floor and 11-11 at the line, adding 6 rebounds and 4 assists. CB did a nice job of getting inside for a couple of easy buckets before stepping out for that mid-range J he’s so adept at. His super friends were no slouches either; LeBron finished up just shy of a triple-double, 20/8/9, while Wade added 17/6/6. Miami shot 55% from the floor while holding Phoenix to just 44%. Nash led the Suns with 17 points, but his 2 assists were his lowest total in 141 games.

Washington 83, Boston 114: The Cs shoot 66% from the floor and 62% from three, and the Wizards aren’t a very good team. This’ll probably happen a fair bit this season for Washington, especially when they don’t have John Wall to lean on (and what does it say about a team that loses it’s direction so badly when their leader’s out, but that leader is a 20 year-old who’s played 8 NBA games?)

L.A. Lakers 103, Detroit 90: 33 for Kobe, 25/12 for Pau, 15/14 for Lamar, and Detroit (like Washington going against Boston) are just not equipped to hang with a championship contender at this point.

Dallas 97, New Orleans 99: Lazy TV analysis, again. I watched the highlight package from the game, and right at the end, one of the guys (pretty sure it’s Kenny Smith, too, who’s normally pretty spot-on) says:

‘But you see, the problem for these teams, to beat the elites, is that they don’t have shot-blockers, when it comes to the playoff time’

Um, ok. But in 422 career games, Emeka Okafor is averaging 1.8 blocks per game, and has at least one season where he’s sent back over 2 shots per contest (2006-2007 season); additionally, he’s on track for another 2+ block season, averaging 2.3 in this season thus far. Then Dallas has Brendan Haywood, who for the past 3 seasons has averaged 2.5, 2.1 and 2 blocks per game. These are elite numbers, and both of these men are superior shot-blockers. Kenny needs to stop sippin’ that Kool-Aid, like right now.

As for the game, it was close throughout, CP led with 20 points and 11 assists, while all 5 New Orleans started reached double-figures. Dirk was a beast for Dallas, 29 and 9 boards, with just 2 turnovers. I don’t know if you know this, but for the amount of possessions that get run through him, Dirk hardly ever turns it over. He’s phenomenal.

Houston 99, Oklahoma City 116: The Thunder got plenty of easy opportunities in the game, with the Rockets turning the ball over 17 times for the game. OKC also recorded 26 assists on 43 field goals, which is a decent return for the team who’s last in the league in assists (and odd considering the high offensive rating so far). KD rolled his ankle early in the game, but returned, and finished with 24 points (11-21, 1-5, 1-1); while Russ Westbrook had 21/6/12 along with 2 steals. Luis Scola finished up with 26/8 on 12-19 from the floor and 2-4 from the stripe for Houston.

L.A. Clippers 111, Minnesota 113: The Wolves shot 53% for the game, but despite Love grabbing 14 boards, Minnesota was actually out-rebounded by the Clippers 43-33, with L.A. grabbing 15 offensive rebounds to the Wolves 5, making this a close game. Kevin Love added 24 points to his 14 rebounds, 7-11, 2-3 and 8-8 shooting, while Mike Beasley was superb with 33 points on 14-23, 2-3 and 3-3 shooting (he also hit the game-winning bucket, a pull-up J from the elbow extended, breaking the 111-111 tie). B-Easy’s averaging 32.6 point per over his last 5, and this is the sort of talent that made me mad that he was traded for a pair of second-rounders.

There was one pretty big reason that the Clippers out-rebounded a team that employs the services of Kevin Love – his name is Blake Griffin. 26 points and 17 rebounds for the rookie, and he’s just putting up crazy numbers in his debut campaign. He wasn’t alone, EG came through with 30 points and 7 assists, on 9-19 from the floor, 2-6 from deep and 10-13 from the line; Eric Gordon is another one of these Team USA guys that is absolutely dominating right now, averaging 23.5/3.5/5 for the season.

New Jersey 88, Utah 98: The Jazz turned the Nets over 14 times, while only committing 5 themselves, and earned 37 trips to the line compared to just 25 for NJ. All 5 Utah starters reached double-figures, with D-Will scoring 23; Paul Millsap added 19 points and 15 rebounds. Anthony Morrow led the Nets with 24; Travis Outlaw managed just 3 points from his 12 shot attempts.

Chicago 94, San Antonio 103: Derrick Rose’s 33 points weren’t enough to get the W, with Timmy going for 16/18/5 on the night he tied David Robinson for games played in a Spurs uni. He also needed 29 points to overtake The Admiral for second on the Spurs all-time scoring list, but didn’t need to put points on the board as TP scored 21 and Manu 20. Matt Bonner played 20 minutes off the pine and scored 8 on 3-5 shooting, 2-2 threes; what’s impressive is he was a +29 for the game.

New York 113, Sacramento 106: Now this is the Danilo Gallinari that the Knicks would have been hoping for with the 6th pick in the draft: 27 points for Gallo on just 8 field goal attempts. He was 4-8 from the floor, 3-5 from behind the arc and 16-17 from the free-throw line, and I can imagine that his coaches have been urging him to play like a young man and be aggressive. He was on this night, and it payed off. Stoudemire added 27 of his own, along with 10 rebounds for the double-double. Tyreke had 23 points, but needed 22 shots, and so far this season he’s taken 17.5 shots to get his 20 points. He hasn’t been getting to the line as often this season; 4.5 attempts compared to 6.5 last season. Have defences adjusted to him somewhat? Perhaps.

***

I have been hearing a lot about whether the Suns should try and trade Steve Nash to a contender, the reasons being that they can do right by him and give him the best shot they can to win a chip, and get the best package they can while his value is still quite high. After I heard Stan Van Gundy say that his team still lacks a true playmaker, and read one blogger suggest the Magic should chase Nash at the expense of Jameer Nelson, here’s a deal that could work for both teams:

Orlando receives: Steve Nash, Earl Clark

Phoenix receives: Jameer Nelson, Brandon Bass

In this deal, the Magic get one of the best playmakers the game has ever seen, a guy that can transform Dwight into an offensive beast, can revitalise Rashard Lewis and allow Vince Carter to play off the ball; plus, he can still shoot the 3, he’s one of the most underrated shooters we have in the league. Also, they get a young forward in Earl Clark, who may benefit from a change of scenery. The Suns have declined to pick up the option on his rookie deal and he’s heading for free agency; a new team may help him find a role in the league.

For Phoenix, they fill two needs. First, if you’re trading Nash, you need to get a pretty darn good point-man in return, and Jameer is pretty darn good. He can also shoot the 3, which is a plus if you’re playing for the Suns. Also, this would allow Hedo to handle the ball, which makes him tremendously better; he excels at making plays at 6’10. Second, the Suns have a ridiculously glaring need for rebounding, especially now that Robin Lopez is on the shelf with a sprained knee. Bass is a ferocious rebounder and can also hit the J, which helps when you’re playing the Phoenix system. SVG had trouble playing him because his defence was not up to scratch, but he’s much improved on that end of the floor so far this season. Not that defence has ever been much of a concern out there in the desert.

So there’s why I think the trade could work for both teams. There’s probably a 99% chance that it won’t happen, but still…what do you guys think?

***

I came across this post today, which asks the NBA.com writers who they think, out of the best players in the league, who has the biggest flaw in their game? There were some interesting answers, if not entirely unsurprising; I’d like to know what you guys think. Personally, though I’m hardly one to talk, it has to be Dwight Howard’s free-throws. He needs to start hitting them at least 70% to allow Orlando to go to their best player with time ticking down and needing a score.

***

Finally, a couple of links:

Greg Oden is having microfracture surgery again, this time on his left knee, and is going to miss the rest of the season. This is just terrible, terrible news for both the Blazers and NBA fans alike;

Eva Longoria has filed for a divorce from Tony Parker, which I was quite surprised by;

And lastly, on a lighter note, Andray Blatche says Andray Blatche always has good shot selection. Interesting. The first reader comment is spot on.

***

That’ll do it for now, thanks for reading.