What I Saw, where John Wall’s pretty amazing

There ended up being 6 games today, let’s take a look and see how thing’s went:

Atlanta 100, Cleveland 88: The Hawks got out in transition often in this game, forcing the Cavs into 14 turnovers compared to just 7 miscues of their own. Marvin Williams had it going, 22 points on 8-12 from the floor, 1-3 triples and 5-6 from the stripe. AL Horford, coming off his freshly inked extension, had a double-double with 16 points and 12 boards. The positive for the Cavs was J.J. Hickson, a career-high 31 on 11-17 from the floor, 9-11 from the line to go along with 5 boards.

Philadelphia 115, Washington 116 OT: This game was the John Wall Show. 29 points, 13 assists and 9 steals on 9-16 from the floor and 11-14 from the line, while the 9 steals ties the franchise record in his first ever home game! He had some help, Blatche chipping in with 23 and Nick Young hitting 20 off the bench (3-5 from deep). Not to be outdone, however, was Lou Williams – 30 points, just 6-16 from the field but hit 3-7 from distance and made 15-17 from the foul line. Still, Coach Doug Collins couldn’t find a way to have his high scorer in the game for the final possession, for some reason. The 6ers were hurt in this one with Washington’s aggressiveness – the Wiz shot 43 free throws to 29 for Philly.

Boston 109, Detroit 86: The Celtics shoot 52% and assist on 33 of 42 made field goals, with Rajon Rondo dropping 17 of those dimes. KG scores 22, Paul Pierce 21, and they hold Detroit to just 45% from the field.  The Pistons were led by Charlie-V, 17 off the pine on 7-13, 1-3 and 2-2 shooting. Austin Daye also had a pretty nice night, 16/5 on 7-14, 1-4 and 1-2.

Minnesota 97, Miami 129: The Heat shoot 58% while holding the Wolves to just 37%, they assist on 31 of 46 field goals while forcing 18 Minnesota turnovers. Wade gets 26, 12-17 and 2-2, while LeBron has 20 points and 12 assists, on 7-12 from the floor and 6-8 from the line, but fails to grab a rebound in his 32 minutes of action. Kevin Love led the Wolves, 20 points, while Beasley had to leave during the second quarter after falling hard while on the drive.

Portland 90, Milwaukee 76: I watched this game, and it was a good first half, with the Blazers coming back to lead it by 2, 47-45. Then Milwaukee went ice-cold in the third quarter, with Portland outscoring them 26-17 to run away with it. 6 Blazers scored in double-figures, led by Wes Matthews’ 18 off the bench. Maggette was the leading man for the Bucks, with 16, but Milwaukee only shot 38% from the floor, compared to 48% for Portland.

Memphis 105, L.A. Lakers 124: Pau Gasol continued his remarkable start to the season, 21 points, 13 boards and 5 assists on 9-16 from the floor and 3-3 from the line against younger brother Marc. Kobe added 23 and Matt Barnes had a monster double-double off the bench, 16 points and 14 rebounds. The Lakers shot 51% from the field and a blistering 61% from range, while holding Memphis to just 41% shooting. They also crushed the Grizz on the glass, 59-36. Rudy led Memphis with 30 points on 12-18 shooting, while hitting 3-3 triples and 3-3 freebies; newly extended Mike Conley (more on that later) had 16/5/8 on 6-11, 3-4, 1-3.

The big news from today, though, was the extensions for the members of the ’07 draft class. Obviously the Thunder locked up KD back in July, and the Bulls came through for Jo Noah. Then Horford got locked up by the Hawks early yesterday, followed by what was believed to be the final extension, Phoenix’s 4-year, $17m deal for Dudley. Well, it turns out Memphis got an extremely last-second deal done with Mike Conley, keeping the point-man in town for the next 5 years, for $45 million. You can read about the deal (and each authors thoughts) here and here at NBA.com, here at Yahoo! Sports, here at CBS Sports (which has a particularly scathing take) and here, which is basically a Twitter rant about the whole situation.

Now, call me crazy, but I don’t see what all the fuss is about over this move by my newly adopted favourite team. There’re basically a couple of reasons for this. First of all, owners bidding against nobody to extend their own guys are nothing new. Andrea Bargnani got 5-years, $50 million from the Raptors despite only averaging 13.8ppg for his career; LaMarcus Aldridge got 5-years, $65 million from the Blazers – once they locked up Brandon Roy for the max – and he’s averaged just 16.1ppg in his career; the Hawks gave Marvin Williams 5-years, $38 million, with a career scoring average of 11.9ppg; and finally, despite basically never being healthy while being the full-time starter, Bynum managed to get 4-years and $58 million from the Lakers, and he’s only averaged 10.3ppg for his career, along with the knee troubles. Keep in mind that all of these owners/managers did exactly what the Memphis owner is getting slammed for right now – they bid against no-one to hang onto their own guys.

There’s another thing, too. People are saying that this deal for Conley (career 11ppg scorer) makes it impossible for the Grizzlies to keep Marc Gasol and O.J. Mayo around. Are those people forgetting that Memphis has a $17 million expiring contract with Zach Randolph? And I wouldn’t expect the Grizzlies are seriously contemplating keeping Z-Bo around, especially with the commitment to youth they’ve made over the last few years. Plus, Darrell Arthur has been playing very well in Randolph’s absence and there’re always plenty of quality big guys in the draft.

So basically, I think it’s quite a reasonable deal. Yes, Conley would have been the perfect restricted free-agent, but this isn’t exactly the Burn-it-down-because-it’s-a-horrible-franchise-that-makes-terrible-decisions move that people are making it out to be. Sit down, take a sip of Cool-Aide, and relax. It’s not your millions of dollars, after all.

Finally, I’ll leave you guys with a couple of cool links. This one is to Kevin Love’s blog, where the big fella wants us to get a sense of what it’s like to play in the NBA; this one ranks the greatest uniform numbers in NBA history, according to total win-shares posted by players wearing that number. Have a look and see where yours ranks.

Thanks for reading.

Edit: Before I go, I forgot to mention: the reason there ‘ended up’ being 6 games today was because the seventh game, Orlando at New York, was postponed. Here’s a link to the story, basically debris fell into the arena overnight due to maintenance work and there was concerns about safety. The game has not yet been re-scheduled.

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