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.

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