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NBA Awards – Tues 11/13/12

Monday Night Activity
Milwaukee (4-2) took down the 76ers 105-96 in Philly behind a stellar Brandon Jennings performance as the Philly front line (L. Allen, Th. Young, S. Hawes) was quite mediocre…Detroit (0-8) almost got their 1st win of the season in an improbable manner as they took an 11 point lead into the 4th Q vs. OKC, but another monster Westbrook effort (33 pts, 10 rebs, 11 FTM, 3 stl) prevented the upset, OKC squeaking by 92-90…Bos took the Bulls down 101-95 behind Rajon Rondo’s 31st straight 10+ assist game (as well as 20 pts, 9 rebs, & 5 stls), a streak only bettered by John Stockton (37 gms) and Magic Johnson (46 gms)…Utah won a triple OT thriller north of the border, taking the Raptors out 140-133. Millsap (34, 9 rebs, 11-16), Al-Jeff (24 & 17), and Mo-Will (17, 14 asst, 4 stls) starred for the Jazz while DeRozen continued his red-hot play with 37, 8, 6 dimes, and 2 thefts…Meanwhile in Texas, the Heat came from behind in the 4th Q to ground the Rockets 113-110 as LeBron exploded for 38, 10, 6 dimes, & 5 treys. Harden remained cool after his opening two-game fireworks show, coming up with 22 on 6-17 shooting, 3 rebs, 5 dimes, and 1 stl. Two underrated/overlooked Rockets had fine nights – Omer Asik (19, 14 rebs, 11 FTM) & Chandler Parsons (25 pts, 5 long bombs, 3 dimes, and 2 thefts)…Minn went into Dal and left with a 90-82 win as Luke Ridnour went off for 15, 8 reb, 7 asst, and 4 stls…Den went into Phx and took a 110-100 loss, bringing both teams to 4-4 on the year – a pleasant surprise for Phx, a disappointment for the Nuggets – as the explosive Shannon Brown poured in 19 off the bench, his 3rd 19+ performance in his last 4 games…Finally, a balanced Atlanta attack took out the home team Trail Blazers 95-87 despite heroic efforts from JJ Hickson (19, 18 rebs) to keep Portland in the game.
 
The Akeem Olajuwon Award — Brandon Jennings  —  33 pts, 5 rebs, 8 asst, 5 FTM, 4 stl, 2 blk, 4 treys, and 12-21 shooting…Jennings owed this to the Bucks and his fantasy owners as he had gone a combined 12-40 (30%) with just 4 total treys in his prior 4 games. The 33 pts blew away his prior season high (21 in game #1), but fell well short of his legendary career high, the amazing 55 point performance in the 7th game of his rookie season. He has been diming consistently this year (8.5 on the year), as well as leading the league in stls with 3.5 a contest. The 10th pick of the 2009 Draft, many New Yorkers were bummed when the team took Jordan Hill over him at #8 (though he’s from Sunny So Cal, his game is very New York playground – cat-quick with plenty of flair). His route to the NBA was quite unique and as far as I know, not since duplicated – blowing off the ‘one and done’ college routine for 17 minutes of action a night in Italy instead. When you think about it, no good for college hoops but a way more honest route to the NBA. What are all these John Walls, Anthony Davis’, Derrick Roses and other prep stars doing on campus anyway – studying for an undergrad degree or honing their hoops skills to boost their draft stock? 
 
The Steve Stipanovich Award —  Rashard Lewis  —  2 pts, 0 rebs, 0 asst, 0 FTM, 0 stl, 0 blk, 0 treys, and 1-4 shooting in 9 nasty minutes…he also had 3 fouls. The ugly decline of Rashard Lewis’ relatively decent but yet underachieving career continues. Some of his worst career traits (lack of boards/blocks/trips to the line) have been magnified in this young season, as he is still searching for his 1st block of November after 107 minutes of court time this month, while he has gone without a single rebound in exactly half of the Heat’s 8 games this season. As for free throws? He’s attempted 6 and made 4 in 8 games. For his career, he’s attempted 1,341 more 3-pointers than free throws (20 to 6 this season), never averaged a block a game (despite his 6’10” size and solid athleticism), and only once averaged 7+ rebs/gm (2001-02…7.1/gm). He did notch three 20+ scoring seasons, 2004-05 thru 2006-07 (his last year in Seattle), and gained some initial notoriety as one of the early ‘prep-to-pros’ guys of the 90’s…the 32nd pick of the 1998 Draft – one spot behind University of Cincinnati delinquent Reuben Patterson and one pick ahead of UCLA big-man head case Jelani McCoy. So at least his career certainly out-shined those two guys.
 
Trivia Time: How many 26 point/6 assist seasons have there been in NBA history? How many players have done it? Who has the most 26/6 asst seasons? How many active players have accomplished the feat? Answers tomorrow…
 
P.S. For all you tennis fans out there, Djoker wrapped up the 2nd best year of his career yesterday with a straight set win over Federer in the Tour Finals. He closed the year with 6 titles and 5 R-ups in 18 events, including 1 slam and 2 slam R-ups. He now has 34 career titles, 2 straight years finishing #1, and now 6 straight years finishing Top 3.
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