I let myself down last night, failing to keep my eyes open after the Boston/San Antonio game tipped off. Apparently you shouldn’t go for late-afternoon/early-evening drinks with co-workers when you haven’t slept properly in weeks. After waking up on my couch at 12:00 AM with freaking hockey on the TV, lesson learned. I’m not going to compound this failure with a failure to complete the third BfB, though, so bear with me as I sort through last night’s action despite missing the majority of it live.
The All-OTN Team
No one in my fab five played last night, unfortunately. The small forward on the team did bring a smile to my face, though:
DaJuan Blair: 18 Pts (9-11 FG, 0-1 FT), 11 Reb (5 Off), 2 Blk, 1 TO, 2 PF in 21 mins.
What a beast. The point total is a career high and his inspired play will make everyone forget about the embarrassing moment where he tipped the ball into his own basket to give the Celtics 2 points. In the last two games, he’s totalled 29 points and 21 rebounds (12 offensive). Care to guess how many minutes he played in those games, total? 38. Utterly mind-boggling. Love that he had a huge game on national TV, although it kind of sucks that it was in a losing effort. Despite grabbing 23 more rebounds than the Celtics, the Spurs’ inferior shooting and higher turnover total resulted in a 90-83 loss. Oh, and here’s something from the Sports Guy, who recently made his glorious return to Twitter:
Ty Lawson: 6 Pts (2-4 FG, 2-2 FT), 1 Ast, 1 TO, 1 PF in 21 mins.
Quiet night in this 114-96 blowout victory against the Heat, but it’s worth noting that both of his field goals came on floaters. This is such an essential shot for smaller players in the NBA. As I mentioned with Brandon Jennings yesterday, if you can get to the hoop, hit open jumpers, AND hit contested floaters, you’re almost unstoppable. And just like with Blair, he’s making other teams and their fans jealous:
Stephen Curry: 11 Pts (4-8 FG, 1-3 3PT, 2-2 FT), 5 Reb (1 Off), 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk, 4 TO, 3 PF in 32 mins.
2 assists and 4 turnovers? Damn. I still believe in you, Steph. I remember your 14-point, 7-assist debut against Houston and you better believe everyone in that opposing locker room did, too. Just make some adjustments and forget about this tough 111-109 loss. Oh, and stay aggressive.
Fun With Stats
Monta Ellis: 24 Pts (9-27 FG, 0-2 3PT, 6-8 FT), 6 Reb (1 Off), 8 Ast, 2 Stl, 9 TO, 5 PF, 7 BA (Blocked Attempts) in 47 minutes.
What a weird, weird line. Steph’s 2 assists to 4 turnovers have nothing on Monta’s 8 to 9. I guess when you play all but 32 seconds of a 106-posession game, you’ve got plenty of opportunities to rack up field goal attempts, assists, and turnovers if you’ve got the ball in your hands most of the time, but… damn. That’s crazy. A bit of a rough night, efficiency-wise, to say the least. It would have been nice if he had capped it off with a game-winner, but unfortunately that 9th turnover came on a frustrating travel with 2.1 seconds left in the game, as he slipped when he caught the inbounds pass.
Rajon Rondo: 12 Pts (6-11 FG, 0-1 3PT), 6 Reb, 12 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk, 3 TO, 4 PF in 36 mins.
I don’t know if this really means anything but he was +19 on the night, as well. Easily the game’s leader in that stat. You should be used to these kinds of stat lines for Rondo, though, and since I only saw highlights of the game I don’t have much in the form of analysis for ya. I do have a rant, though: Last night, I made a quick list of guys who I root for harder because other people hate them. Rondo inspired this list. It’s odd that I root for him – I’m a Raptors fan and kind of hate the Celtics. The attitude on that team pisses me off. Believe me, I respect the hell out of them, but I was screaming at the TV when they were playing the Bulls in that amazing first round series last season. Especially when KG was mouthing off from the bench. I know I’m not alone – they’re a team that’s eminently hateable, but everyone generally respects Garnett, Pierce, and Allen’s play. My problem is that there are STILL people who hate on Rondo’s game, not just his attitude. It might just be a vocal, ignorant minority but it’s a piss-off. I fail to see how anyone who has watched the Celtics since last season began can discredit his talent. He’s not just good because he’s playing with good players. He’s not hurting his team with his sub-par outside shot. Yes, he has a sub-par outside shot, but the fact that he’s playing like an All-Star despite this is a testament to how great he is at almost every other aspect of the game: look at his defense, his rebounding, his passing, his efficiency, and his ability to penetrate. He gives you absolutely amazing production from what is arguably the most important position on the floor. So don’t hate his game, thanks.
I want to close out the stats section with a quick mention of something the great Dave D’Alessandro uncovered yesterday (check the link for the Keyon Dooling quote about Lawrence Frank at the bottom, which jives with just about everything I’ve read about Frank lately):
Through 18 games, Jason Kidd is 37-for-78 (.474) from downtown.
Through 17 games, Rafer Alston, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Devin Harris, and Courtney Lee are a combined 30-for-106 (.283) from downtown.
Again, we’d like to call this the worst 3-point team of the last two decades, but we can’t. That’s because their .270 norm from international waters is actually better than Minnesota’s .260.
That is ugly. Crap. Let’s move on to the opposite of that…
These four guys impressed me last night during the Rockets/Warriors game because they showcased all-around games that weren’t always there.
Carl Landry: 22 Pts (8-10 FG, 6-6 FT), 9 Reb (2 Off), 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 3 Blk, 3 TO, 4 PF in 26 mins.
You really can’t ask for more than that production in 26 minutes. That’s incredible. I know the Warriors’ interior D is very, very, veryveryvery weak, but you have to give Landry props here. What I love about his play is that he’s improved as the year has gone on. I knew he was going to be an efficient scorer on the block, but have been pleasantly surprised with his defense and his rebounding. And by defense, I don’t just mean the blocks and the steals – he’s really working on that end, which wasn’t always the case before. It’s a bit funny that Adelman is still bringing Carl off the bench, as he’s developing into their go-to guy in key situations. I linked to this awesome article on him the other day – if you missed it, you should give it a read now.
Aaron Brooks: 25 Pts (8-15 FG, 5-8 3PT, 4-4 FT), 2 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 Stl, 4 TO, 5 PF in 35 mins.
Ooooh, an undersized scoring point guard. Of course I’m into it. 14 of those points came in the 3rd quarter alone, by the way. Brooks has improved his three-point percentage by 3.4 this year, whilst averaging more attempts than ever before. His efficiency in the last 3 games has been phenomenal (21 pts on 15 shots, 22 on 11, and now 25 on 15). What catches my eye, though, is the assists. 7 of them. If he can keep that up or improve it, it would really help this Rockets team. We all know you can score, Aaron – finding easy looks for your teammates is the next step. (Update: Somehow when I wrote this I forgot to mention that Brooks scored the game-winning free throws last night. Well, he did. Now you know.)
Anthony Morrow: 21 Pts (8-13 FG, 4-8 3PT, 1-1 FT), 3 Reb (1 Off), 5 Ast (!), 4 PF in 40 mins.
Morrow matched Brooks’s 14 points in the third and was a major part of the Warriors’ offense last night. What’s great about this is he’s showing he has the potential to be more than just the sweetest-shooting three-point threat in the league. The five assists are a sign that his team would be served to use him as more than just a spot-up guy and his biggest basket was not a three: down by 2, when he had the ball in his hands and Shane Battier (obviously) made the proper decision to take away his three-point shot, Morrow performed a nice crossover, got to the basket, and converted a difficult lay-in off the glass to tie the game. Shame about the 13.3 seconds that followed.
Vladimir Radmanovic: 20 Pts (8-13 FG, 4-7 3PT), 8 Reb (3 Off), 6 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 TO, 0 PF in 35 mins.
First, he dunks on Nene, and now this. I am having trouble comprehending what I’m seeing. What an all-around game! Look at those rebounds, assists, and steals. So nice. What’s wild is that his last basket came with 6:09 left in the third quarter. After that, he went scoreless for the remainder of the period and Don Nelson didn’t insert him back into the lineup until there was 2:55 left in the fourth. He checked into the game as Carl Landry hit two free throws to score Houston’s 9th and 10th consecutive points. The lineup that allowed this? Curry, Watson, Ellis, Morrow, and Maggette. You’re crazy, Nellie.
“Yeah I can win it. I don’t care if (Michael) Jordan was in it.” – DeMar DeRozan, after being asked if he could win the dunk contest if LeBron James was competing.
“I just get the feeling now that this team really wants to be great. Every day that we’re in the gym we’re going hard and doing what we can to get better. This team wants nothing but to be great. We’re improving in a lot of different areas and if we keep that up I think we have a chance to be really good again.” – Dwight Howard, on his fantastic Magic team, from his blog.
“If you go to a team that’s not really winning, like the New Jersey Nets, they haven’t won a game yet. I might go crazy if I haven’t won a game. I’m a competitive person. I’m glad I’m on a team that’s winning like we are right now.” – Ty Lawson, from a great piece comparing the drastically different situations Lawson and Steph Curry are in right now.
“Someone has to take those shots. That’s just the way the NBA game goes. You’re not going to be able to get a high-quality, open 3-point look at the basket or a layup every time down.” – Shane Battier, of course referencing the two most efficient shots in basketball from an excellent article about Trevor Ariza.
@YUNGBUCK3: Oh yea forgot to till yall I was at the white house, chillin with Obama. He actually know who I am. That’s crazy.
@gswscribe: Monta Ellis didn’t talk after the game. He was the first one out of the locker room, whisking past media after we exited Nellie’s postgame
@gswscribe: I caught up w/ him for one question. “How do you feel?” He shook his head no. Wasn’t sure if he meant not good or not talking.
@BothTeamsPlayed: Wait? Vlad Rad scored 20 points? Is it 2004 already? (Moments after this, I saw Jamaal Magloire get a layup and I was convinced it was actually 2004.)
@TheJetOnTNT: Hey shout out Charles ! Pray for his fam. Cuz granny passed! Will be missed
@TurnerSportsEJ: if ya’ll didn’t catch pre-game , charles lost his grandmother today…83.. a great lady. If you’re the praying type, toss one up. Thanks
Allen Iverson’s emotional press conference back home in Philly:
Rad Man’s backcourt alley-oop to Monta:
Kyle Lowry’s huge block on C.J. Watson:
I think the Blazers do have the personnel to improve on D if they would just play smarter/harder on that end, but it’s got to be a bit worrying that they’ve gotten worse as the season has gone on.
KneeJerk backs up the “Damon Stoudamire on steroids” Brandon Jennings assessment that I made, except he leaves the steroids bit. He also talks about the Blazers’ D, AI, and Ron-Ron.
A great, but depressing look at the state of the 0-18 Nets. Before reading this, I felt worse for CDR than anyone else in the league. Now, T-Will is right there with him, followed by Courtney Lee and Rafer Alston, then the rest of the team. They’ve got the Bobcats and Knicks coming up – they’ve gotta win one, right? Right? I hope so.
The selected quotes make me happy but the way they’re applied to this year’s Toronto Raptors makes me sad. Or angry. A bit of both, really. What’s worst is that I can’t argue with a damn thing Carefoot said.
Terrific look at one of the cooler things I’ve seen an NBA player do. I’ve always wondered where the college-like chanting was coming from at Bucks home games. Now I know.