A quick recap this morning, due to time constraints. First, though, I should mention Saturday night. I skipped out on BfB yesterday because I didn’t want to talk about the horrible thing that happened in Portland. I feel like I should acknowledge the other stuff that took place that night, though: DeMar DeRozan kicked ass and made me happy, Jarrett Jack tied his shoe while holding onto the ball and made Bulls fans angry, Steve Nash and Vince Carter owned their respective 4th quarters to secure wins, Joe Johnson helped his Hawks win ugly, Kevin Love put in his second straight double-double in a win against the Jazz, and the Spurs are apparently not to be feared anymore. Okay, we good? Onto Sunday…
The All-OTN Team
Will Bynum: 16 Pts (3-12 FG, 1-1 3PT, 9-14 FT), 2 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 TO, 2 PF in 28 mins.
Bynum continued his poor field goal shooting but also continued to make up for it by getting to the foul line. In the interest of fairness, I’ll mention that some of those free throws came at the end of the game on intentional fouls, but it’s an impressive number nonetheless. His team took care of the struggling Wizards, 98-94.
Shannon Brown: 12 Pts (4-10 FT, 2-4 3PT, 2-2 FT), 2 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 TO, 0 PF in 19 mins.
No dunks for Shannon last night. Bummer. He came up big in the 4th, though, hitting back-to-back threes (!) when the Suns were trying to make a game of it. Another Lakers blowout, 108-88.
Jared Dudley: 9 Pts (3-7 FG, 2-3 3PT, 1-2 FT), 5 Reb (3 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 TO, 1 PF in 24 mins.
Jared knocked some down threes and worked his ass off. If you didn’t know, that’s what he does. He drew the unenviable (not a strong enough word) task of guarding Kobe Bryant for long stretches and kept the intensity up even when the point differential was enormous. Hated to see the Suns fall behind like that, but still loved watching Dudley play. Oh, another thing: HoopsHype named him the NBA’s MVT. And… one more thing. I came across this fantastic picture of him:
J.G. of Daily Thunder wrote a great piece on Ibaka yesterday. While I’m incredibly biased and want to see him get all the minutes he can get, the distribution of playing time in Oklahoma City is becoming quite a tricky puzzle to solve.
Brandon Jennings: 24 Pts (9-22 FG, 0-2 FT, 6-6 FT), 4 Reb, 4 Ast, 3 TO, 1 PF in 40 mins.
Yeah, he only shot 41% from the field, but that represents a better shooting percentage than the vast majority of his teammates could muster yesterday. After a stunning 11-0 Milwaukee run to start the game, the Cavs’ picked up their defense when Shaquille O’Neal moved to the bench. The Bucks were scoring at will on high pick-and-rolls early, but these dried up when the Cavs ratcheted up their defensive intensity and the Bucks’ offense degenerated into “give Bogut the ball and hope for the best”. Cleveland ended up going on an unfathomable 29-0 run that spanned some of the 1st and 2nd quarters, fueled largely by the great play of Delonte West off the bench. In the second half, Jennings put a lot of pressure on Cleveland’s D and found ways to score, but it was way, way too late. I loved his play and I love his team, but damn. That was a beating. The final score, 101-86, doesn’t really tell the story.
Austin Daye: 11 Pts (5-5 FG, 1-1 3PT), 2 Reb, 2 PF in 12 mins.
In the second half, creative Pistons coach John Kuester put the 6’11 Daye at 2-guard. It worked mighty well, as, um, he didn’t miss a shot. His 7 points in the third quarter were huge and he added a couple of key baskets in the 4th. Only 12 minutes, but those were 12 BIG minutes. This kid really has the potential to be a dangerous offensive player. He might need to put some weight on, though – I think he’s the only NBA’er skinnier than Kevin Durant.
Jonas Jebreko: 10 Pts (3-8 FG, 1-3 3PT, 3-4 FT), 11 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 TO, 3 PF in 38 mins.
Look at that – 38 minutes! That’s more than any other Piston in this game and it allowed the rook to get his second career double-double. I continue to really dig this kid’s game. I like him for the same reasons I like Omri Casspi – he’s tough, skilled, and plays both ends of the floor. I’m really interested in how Kuester will distribute the minutes when Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince come back. The Pistons might not be loaded with elite-level guys, but they have as many rotation-worthy players as any team in the league, save for the Magic.
Omri Casspi: 14 Pts (5-8 FG, 4-4 3PT, 0-2 FT), 3 Reb (1 Off), 1 TO, 5 PF in 19 mins.
And speaking of Casspi… These are some nice numbers. I’d have more than stats for you, but I didn’t catch much of the game. Going to give it a close look later today, as I recorded it with my brand new PVR last night. Anyway, 4-4 from downtown? Great to see. He continues to confuse me with his free-throw shooting, though – by all accounts his stroke looks fine, but something’s going wrong when he lets the damn ball fly. He’s at 50% on the year, whilst shooting 51.2% from behind the arc! That’s messed up.
Tyreke Evans: 30 Pts (10-19 FG, 0-3 3PT, 10-12 FT), 4 Rebs (3 Off), 4 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 TO, 5 PF in 39 mins.
‘Reke continues to make his case for ROY… You have to love him doing his D-Wade impression against the real Wade (who bested the rookie with 34 points on 16 field goals with 10 assists to boot). It’s obvious that Evans is extremely gifted at getting to the basket. Looks like a special player. He couldn’t lead his team to a victory last night, though, as the Kings dropped their second in a row after winning four straight, falling 115-102 to Wade’s Heat.
Alright, here’s where the time constraints are kicking in. No “Fun With Stats” today, and I’m going to be quick with who impressed me yesterday and stick with just the Cleveland/Milwaukee game. For the Cavs, Delonte West and Anderson Varejao were phenomenal off the bench. Delonte played a very, very efficient game, somehow managing 21 points on 9 shots in just 24 minutes. He was simply brilliant on offense, dominating Milwaukee’s usually-stellar D and getting numerous and-1s around the basket. You have to think he rejoins the starting lineup at some point soon. Just hope he has his head straight. Varejao was almost as dominant as Delonte, but it won’t show up in the stats. He did his work on the defensive end, effectively protecting the paint and stopping penetration at the same time. In his first 16 minutes on the floor, he was +31. Crazy. Before I move on, I have to mention the Bucks’ Luc Richard Mbah A Moute. I expect amazing defense from him because that’s what he does, but he surprised even me yesterday with how well he defended LeBron James. No one on this planet can stop LeBron, but LRMAM can at least make life more difficult for him. I think he’s the best in the world at guarding the MVP, and with his ability to guard 1-4, he might be the best defensive player in the league overall.
“It’s very tough to be a superstar in this league, but right now he’s doing an unbelievable job for this team, for this franchise and he’s only going to get better.” – LeBron James, on Brandon Jennings.
“The biggest thing I was saying to the guys was we can’t lose to the Nets. No disrespect to them, but if we want to start taking steps forward and going in the right direction, we have to win games vs. teams like the Nets.” – Al Harrington, after his Knicks took down the Nets 106-97 in the afternoon. No disrespect, really? Because to me, that is very disrespectful to the Nets. Not that they haven’t earned this, but still.
“He pretty much came in and changed the complexion of the game. We needed something, so it was great for a young guy to come in and make that kind of contribution.” – Ben Gordon, who was limited in action yesterday because of his lingering ankle issue, on Austin Daye.
@cdouglasroberts: I’m late, but respectt to my big dog AI. Glad he’s back in the “A”. Cuz retired for 13 hours. Haaaaa. #1 hardest player I’ve EVER guarded. If I was to give out my own MVT, I’d have to give serious consideration to CDR.
@KDonhoops: Also, I just clicked over to the Y! NBA page, I didn’t know, and I’m … no other way to put this, crying. This just isn’t fair. Well, I know I wasn’t alone.
Rockets broadcaster Matt Bullard hilariously castigating referees:
Raptors broadcaster Jack Armstrong hilariously enjoying some in-game entertainment:
LeBron James ruining a nice Brandon Jennings play:
The third instalment of the “One Rookie” series starring my boy DeMar DeRozan: