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NBA Awards 12/3/12

Friday Night Madness
1) Lakers Explode Out of Their Funk – Los Angeles crushed Denver 122-103 as they shot 54%, hit 17 of 33 from distance, and got 20/20 vision from Dwight Howard (his 41st career 20/20 game – 28 pts, 20 rebs, 12-16 from the floor). They also saw 36 yr old Antawn Jamison have yet another flashback 2006 effort – 33 & 12 rebs, and finally got some decent PG play out of 4th stringer Chris Duhon – 8 dimes, 3 stls, and just 1 T/O in 31 min off the bench. — Postscript — Complete meltdown Sunday night at home vs. the woeful Magic – a 10 point loss as Antawn Jamison reverted to 36 yr old status (10 pts, 5 reb, 0 asst in 28 min) and they got a total of 5 pts (2-7 FG%, 0 FTA) and 6 asst from the PG position (Darius & Duhon). Orlando scored 40 4th Q points to the Lakers’ 26. 40 pts for a team averaging just 92.5 pts/gm, 27th in the league.
2) Mil PF/C Carousel Spins Sanders’ Way…Gets 1st Career Tri-Double – Larry Sanders had the finest game of his young career as he played 32 min and ended up with his first career triple double – 10 pts, 12 rebs, and 10 blks – though the Bucks lost to Minn 95-85. He had 5 blks alone in the 1st Q, and his 10 total tied Kareem’s 39 year old team record. He also had only 2 personal fouls. — Postscript — Mil spots the Celtics a 17-0 1st Q lead Sat night, then comes roaring back to win behind Sanders’ 18/16/5 blks…and again, only 2 fouls. Maintaining aggressive nature in rebounding and blocking efforts, but under control. Watch out for him!!
3) Varejao Gets 18 Rebs…Again! – Varejao had 20 & 18 Tues night…then exactly 20 & 18 Fri night in a 113-11 win over the Hawks. He’s now at 15.1 rebs/gm on the year after 15 games, and is leading the league by a wide margin over 2nd place Zach Randolph (12.6). — Postscript — 1 point, 1 reb short Sat night – 19 & 17…what a slouch!
4) Westy Goes Richter vs. Jazz – In a comfortable 106-94 win over Utah, Russell went off for the Thunder, scoring 23 pts, grabbing 13 rebs, dishing out 8 asst, nabbing 7 steals, and sinking 3 long bombs. He can do it all…though he did shoot 6-18 from the floor. — Postscript — 18, 5, 10 asst, 3 stl Sat night…the beat goes on.
5) David West Continues Strong Play – After going off for 31 pts, 11 rebs, and 2 blks in Indy’s 97-92 win over the Kings, West brought his averages in his last 5 games to 23/8.8/4.2 dimes, and 2 blks while shooting 57.7%. — Postscript — 23/8/4 dimes, 3 stl, & 10-16 Sat night which lead team in pts, rebs, tied w/ asst, though they lost, as Paul George struggled mightily again (0-7, zero trips to the stripe…just 1.9 FT attempts/gm this yr; 38.5% FGs this yr, 28.9% last 4 gms). 
 
Other Selected Saturday Night Stories
Duncan (27/15/11-17) & Parker (30/4/6 asst) dominate in Spurs (14-4) OT win vs. Mem (12-3)….Wade gets season high 34, along with 7 dimes, 14-20 shooting in Mia (12-3) win over Nets (11-5)….Noah (12/13/7 asst) & Deng (25/7/7 asst) lead Bulls over 76ers….The Mangy Mutt (D-Fish) returns to the league w/ Dallas (his 5th team), goes 1-8 w/ 3 asst, 3 T/Os. Note to Mr. Fisher – If the Lakers are starting Darius Morris and still won’t call you, you’re probably done. 
 
Sunday Activity
Besides the Laker game, there was only one other contest. The Knicks (12-4) jumped out to a 17 pt halftime lead over the Suns (7-11) and never looked back, winning 106-99 as Melo (34 pts), Tyson (15/13/2 blks & 6-8 shooting), and Felton (23/7 asst, 10-17 FG%) led the way. Beasley remains radically inconsistent and unpredictable (9 pts, 4 rebs, 2 asst), though Gortat had his first double-digit rebounding game since Nov 12th (9 straight single-digit efforts). 
 
The Akeem Olajuwon Award — Arron Afflalo —  30 pts, 5 rebs, 5 asst, 4 FTM, 1 stl, 0 blk, 4 treys, and 11-18 shooting…It was tight between Afflalo & Kobe (34, 7, 5 asst), but Afflalo’s better shooting (Kobe 12-27) and 3’s (4 to zero) gave him the edge. Afflalo was originally drafted in 2007 by Detroit (27th overall) out of UCLA where he was part an above average backcourt alongside another future NBA’er, Jordan Farmar. After 2 years in the league, it didn’t look like Arron was ever going to be fantasy relevant, as he was a solid role player, defender, and ‘team chemistry’ guy. But after being traded from Det to Denver (for basically nothing – 2011 2nd rounder Vernon Macklin), he showed some signs of life his 3rd year (12 games of 15 or more pts), and then averaged 12.6, 3.7, and 2.4 asst his 4th season. He was part of the Dwight Howard/Andrew Bynum Andre Iguodala trade this past summer, giving him a chance to shine even brighter as one of the bigger ‘name players’ on a poor, rebuilding Magic squad. But last night’s homecoming heroics notwithstanding, he’s struggled as one of the Magic’s main offensive weapons, averaging 14.7 pts on 42.2% shooting going into the game last night, compared to last year’s 15.2 and 47.1% at Denver. After this season-high 30 though (just two pts away from his career high), he’s at 15.6 and leading the team by .3 over Glen Davis. 
 
The Steve Stipanovich Award —  No One  —  With only 2 games last night, there weren’t any performances bad enough to deserve a Stipanovich, but Darius Morris (1-5, 2 pts, 2 reb, 3 asst in 18 min) and JR Smith (1-11, but did have 5 rebs, 4 dimes) were pretty weak.
 
Sat Football Notes
 We had a 128 yard TD run (yes…Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez vs. Wisc. – 52 yds of scrambling/faking out guys behind the line of scrimmage, then 76 yds of straight-line running to paydirt – one of the best college runs I’ve ever seen). We had a very gnarly, dark event in pro football, reminding us of the dark side that always exits out there. Finally, we saw an epic conference championship game between Georgia & Alabama w/ a BCS Championship gm appearance on the line, GA falling 4 yds short, 15 seconds short. Bama loses Trent Richardson to the NFL after winning the title last year, then replaces him with two more stud RBs, Eddie Lacy & T.J. Yeldon – they looked awesome Saturday.
 
NFL All-Time Stats Alert
Two legendary seasons in the making, and both players, taken 2nd and 7th in the 2007 NFL Draft, kept the strong pace going on Sunday. Calvin Johnson (2nd pick) had 13 rec for 171 yds and a TD, giving him 86 rec for 1,428 yds after 12 gms. The 1,428 yds is already the 48th most rec yds in a season, and puts him on pace for 1,904 for the year, which would set a new NFL record, beating Jerry Rice’s 1,848 yds in 1995. Meanwhile Adrian Peterson, the 7th overall pick of that draft, has 1,446 yds so far, tied for the 104th best yardage season by a RB (with Jim Brown in 1964), and puts him on pace for 1,928 yds, which would be the 8th best rushing season of all-time, right behind Earl Campbell’s 1,934 in 1980 and well above Barry Sanders in 1994 & Ahman Green in 2003 – 1,883 yds. Also noteworthy/impressive regarding AP’s monster year: he’s coming off major knee surgery less than a year ago, and at 6.2 yds/carry so far, he’s trying to become just the 4th RB in NFL history to run for over 1,500 yds at over 6 yds/carry (Jim Brown 1,863 in 1963 at 6.4, OJ Simpson 2,003 in 1973 at 6.0, and Barry Sanders 2,053 in 1997 at 6.1).
 
And for you Raider fans out there, yes, 2007 was the Jamarcus Draft – woops!! And just to show they still have the magic touch when it comes to blowing high draft picks, their #8 overall selection of the 2010 Draft, LB Rolando McClain, was first demoted this year, then suspended 2 gms w/ the GM saying it’s likely he’s played his last game with the team. And they’re headed to their 10th straight sub .500 season. 
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