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NBA Awards Thurs 11/29/12

Wizards Win!!
 It was tight – 84-82 over Portland, and it took some cold shooting from the Blazers (34.9%), but after 12 straight losses, Washington finally got in the win column, just before December. Much like the Lakers Tues night, the Portland bench was invisible, going 2-13 from the floor in contributing just 4 pts and 1 assist. Looking at the Wizards’ box score, it’s hard to find a hero, as their starting back-court went 3-13, but they did get 19 pts off the bench from Jordan Crawford and a double-double from PF Kevin Seraphin (10 & 10).  
Other Tues Night Games
The Clippers welcomed back Chauncey Billups and their winning ways, taking down a pesky T-Wolves squad that just wouldn’t go away, 101-95. CP III paced the Clips with 23 & 11 asst, but Jamal Crawford’s struggles continued after his red-hot start to the season, as he went 2-10 from the floor. He is now averaging 12.8 pts on 33.3% shooting in his last 6 gms…The Knicks beat the Bucks 102-88 behind Melo’s 29 & 8 rebs, as Milwaukee seems to have no clue which of their many bigs to play. John Henson (Mr. 18 Rebs) started but played only 15 min, grabbing 3 rebs and failing to score. Dalembert, Sanders, Ilyasova, and Udoh all played at least 13 min but none played more than 23 min, and none of them turned in a decent performance, either…The Nets handled the Celtics rather easily, 95-83, as Andray Blatche was huge off the bench with 17, 13, and 2 thefts. The big news in this game was a brawl at the end of the 2nd Q that got Rondo, Humphries, and Gerald Wallace ejected, ending Rondo’s double digit dimes streak at 37 games, tied w/ John Stockton for 2nd longest in history (Magic 1st, 46 gms)…San Antonio opened up an 11 pt 1st Q lead and never looked back against Orlando, cruising to a 110-89 victory as Manu Ginobili had his best game of the year – 20, 4, 5 asst. He was 6-9 from the floor – all threes…The Bobcats played the Hawks tight in Atlanta, but couldn’t quite pull off the upset as The Joshua Tree (Josh Smith) and Al Horford had big games. Ben Gordon exploded for 26 off the Bobcat bench, and Sessions had 18 & 8 dimes also off the pine, but Charlotte’s starters were 14-40 from the floor…The Thunder had no problem taking care of their old teammate James Harden as Houston came to town, walloping the Rockets 120-98 behind yet another large KD effort – 37, 7, 4 asst. Ibaka was also big as he went 11-13 from the field in scoring 23 pts to go with 9 rebs and 6 blks. Harden couldn’t shoot straight (3-16) or do much else (just 2 rebs, 3 dimes) in the contest, though teammate Patrick Patterson did score a career high 27…The Bulls dismantled Dallas 101-78 as only Shawn Marion (18) was able to score more than 10 pts for the Mavs. Chicago was led by Deng’s 22 and Noah’s stat-stuffing 13, 10, 5 asst, 3 blk performance…The Jazz handled the Hornets with ease, 96-84 as Paul Millsap broke out of a mini-funk with 16, 8, 4 asst, and 10 FTM. A. Davis missed his 6th straight game for N.O. as his ankle injury is being called a ‘stress reaction’ and he hasn’t yet started running or shooting in practice – Big Bummer in the Big Easy…The Pistons at 4-11 and hosting Phx, completely destroyed the Suns 117-77 with a balanced attack as no one on Det had 20 pts. The Suns shot 34.1% for the game as Marcin Gortat continued his slide, playing only 20 min and garnering just 6 pts, 4 rebs, and no blks…Finally, the Grizzlies, boasting the best record in the league at 11-2, had no problems with the Raptors, boasting the 2nd worst record in the league at 3-13. Memphis won 103-82 as Zach Randolph had 17, 13, and 6 dimes while Marreese Speights came off the bench for 18 & 12. 
The Akeem Olajuwon Award —   Josh Smith  —  17 pts, 13 rebs, 6 asst, 3 FTM, 3 stl, 5 blk, 0 treys, and 7-15 shooting…The Joshua Tree has had a slow start, as he’s at 15.3 & 7.6 while shooting just 45.9% from the stripe after achieving career highs in scoring (18.8) and rebounding (9.6) last year. Always one of the better passing big-men in the league, he’s at 3.8 asst/gm this season. Smith burst upon the scene in December of his rookie year as a 19 year old straight out of high school (17th pick of 2004 Draft). The Hawks were awful,losing 13 of their first 14 games that season, and decided ‘what the heck, play the kid’. Smith responded with two double-doubles that month, and another game where he had 10 blocks. Fly swatting has always been Josh’s specialty, and in his early years, his high-flying blocks were a treat to watch, especially where he’d chase a guy down on the fast break. Also a great dunker, the only major missing ingredient to his game has been a consistent 17-20 foot jump shot. 
The Steve Stipanovich Award —   JR Smith  —  2 pts, 2 rebs, 0 asst, 0 FTM, 1 stl, 0 blk, 0 treys, and 1-5 shooting in 18 minutes…he also had 5 fouls. JR has been very solid the first month of the season, posting averages of 13.8, 5.4 rebs, 2.5 asst, and 1.4 stls while shooting 42.1%. This Mr. Smith went one pick behind the Olajuwon-winning Smith in the 2004 Draft, 18th overall to New Orleans. He didn’t stay there long, just two seasons, before being traded to Chicago alongside PJ Brown for Tyson Chandler. Chicago held onto him for a week before flipping him to Denver for basically nothing (Howard Eisley, an ’07 2nd rounder who became JamesOn Curry, and Aaron Gray). So basically the Bulls gave Tyson away for nothing. JR thrived in Denver’s up-and-down style, garnering plenty of chances to show off his beautiful shooting stroke and ridiculous hops. A free agent after the 2010-11 season, Smith played in China during the lockout and basically pissed off the entire Chinese league with his immaturity and poor attitude before coming back to the states and signing w/ New York. His shot selection and hoops IQ have often come into question throughout his career, but you won’t find a better looking shooting stroke, and his athleticism is top notch. 

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