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NBA Awards – Thurs 12/6/12

Wednesday Night Headlines
 1) Clippers Shoot a Promo Video – The Clippers hosted the Mavericks Wed night, but it wasn’t a game or a contest, it was a promotional video for the Clippers and their brand of high-flying, athletic, exciting basketball. The Clips played the role of Harlem Globetrotters, the Mavs were the Washington Generals. Check the highlights and see if you agree. The Jamal Crawford drive to the basket & then lob to DeAndre Jordan is my favorite. Watched it live with my young boys and we rewinded it 3 times to savor the play. Bledsoe’s dunk, Butler’s dunk, and Griffin’s multiple dunks and big-time fly swat were also pretty nice. Oh…L.A. won by 22.
2) Knicks Squeak by Bobcats – New York won 100-98 on a JR Smith 18-foot fade-away as time expired. JR also had a sweet block shot on a Biyambo layup attempt with just 2 minutes left. Jason Kidd returned to action in this game after missing the last 4 contests due to back spasms, and while his box score looked like nothing special at a glance (7/2/1 asst), he did have 3 blks & 2 stls. In thinking about this, I marvel at Kidd’s hoops IQ and instincts. Here’s a 19 year vet who turns 40 late this season, his body slowly giving out on him, and yet because of his experience, his incredible hoops IQ and great basketball instincts, he’s able to utilize his size and timing to get 3 block shots. He’s definitely a first ballot Hall of Famer, as well as top 40 player all-time, but in ranking guys by hoops intelligence and basketball instincts, he’s gotta be top 10 all-time (Magic, Oscar, Bird, MJ…Kidd?). Also in this game, Bobcat PG Kemba Walker was quite nice (25/11 asst) with numerous highly athletic, explosive highlights. He has a chance to be special.
3) Kobe Joins 30,000 Club – First Wilt…then Kareem…then Malone…then MJ…and now Kobe. The 30,000 Point Club now has 5 members (if you see a list with Julius Erving on it, that’s including ABA #’s). He got the 30,000th point on a nice dribble drive, jumping, floating 4 footer over Robin Lopez – nice to see him get it on an athletic, youthful play, rather than one of his ‘forced’ jumpers that go in way more often than you’d think they would. The Lakers also won handily, as Kobe ended the game with 29/6/4/ & 3 stls, overcoming a very strong effort from Ryan Anderson (31, 9 rebs, & 5 treys).
Other Wednesday Night Games
The Hawks pulled off a tight win over Denver as Al Horford had a beautiful all-around game – 25/12/4 with 4 stls as well. Ty Lawson scored a season-high 32 for the Nuggets, to go with 7 dimes & 5 stls….The Bulls beat the Cavs by 10 (95-85) with Boozer & Noah double-doubling, but the story here was Varejao crashing the boards hard again, garnering his 10th straight game with at least 15 rebs (15 exactly), though he did miss 12 of his 16 shot attempts….The Spurs were down at home by 6 to the Bucks at halftime, tied by the end of the 3rd Q, but then won the 4th Q 34 to 23 to take a 110-99 victory. Tony Parker (22/10 asst) and Tim Duncan (17/10 rebs) double-doubled for San Antonio, while Milwaukee’s Larry Sanders finally got to start, but reverted to fouling (5 personals), Bad Larry, and only managed 1 block shot after rejecting 22 over the prior 3 gms….Utah took Orlando down 87-81 behind 31 & 15 from Al Jeff, while Golden St cruised to a 104-97 win in Detroit behind D Lee (20/11/4 asst), Curry (22/10 asst) and Klay Thompson (27 pts). The Piston’s top 2012 Draft pick, center Andre Drummond, got his 2nd career double-double (15/12 rebs) in the loss and has been showing very nice progress early in the season….Toronto’s Kyle Lowry went nuts in Sacto (details in Olajuwon writeup) but got very little help (favorite whipping boy Bargs went 3-14 with just 3 rebs) as the Kings won 107-100 behind 25 & 13 from Cousins, 13 & 10 from Jason Thompson, and 23 from Tyreke….The Pacers got another strong night from Paul George (22/8/5 asst) and a double-double from David West in defeating the Trailblazers 99-92. Port got nice efforts Aldridge, Lillard, Matthews, and Hickson, but got just 18 pts, 8 rebs, and 8-25 shooting from the rest of the roster….Minnesota’s old legndary PF Kevin Garnett went up against their current, developing legend Kevin Love (I guess you gotta be Kevin to be a PF in Minn…McHale also coached there and went to school at Univ of Minn). The battle was won by KG’s Celtics, 104-94 as the ageless KG had 18/10/4 asst to offset Love’s 19/13/4 asst.
The Akeem Olajuwon Award —  Kyle Lowry  —  34 pts, 5 rebs, 11 asst, 12 FTM, 1 stl, 0 blk, 4 treys, and 9-20 shooting…Lowry was the 24th pick of the 2006 Draft after playing just two seasons at Villanova. He had two things going against him, his height (just 6’0″) and lack of outside shooting, but he was an aggressive, fearless player, always hustling with solid quickness, so Memphis took a shot on him with the 24th selection. He broke his wrist 10 games into his rookie season though, and then saw the team take Mike Conley with the 4th overall pick of the 2007 Draft. Conley was their guy, but anytime Lowry got minutes, he was extremely productive. They finally traded for essentially nothing in the middle of his 3rd season to Houston, where he was again a backup, this time to Aaron Brooks. He finally got his big break in the 2010-11 season when he started 71 gms for the Rockets and came through with averages of 13.5/4.1/6.7 asst along with 1.4 stls and a new 7 improved shot from distance, making 1.7 treys a night on 37.6% shooting (42.6% overall). He produced almost identical stats a year later, before being traded to Toronto this past summer for a future 1st rounder. That future first rounder is now OKC’s after the Harden deal. Lowry’s numbers are better than ever this season at 18.0/5.7/6.0/1.6 stls and a surprising .7 blks/gm. 
The Jerome Moiso Award —  Randy Foye —  3 pts, 2 rebs, 0 asst, 0 FTM, 0 stl, 0 blk, 1 trey, and 1-7 shooting in 29 invisible minutes…Perfect example of how unpredictable the draft can be as Foye was the 7th pick of that 2006 Draft after playing alongside Lowry at Villanova as a 6’4″ SG. The pros thought he could maybe transition to PG, but that never really happened. His best year was his 3rd, in Minnesota, as he averaged 16.3, 3.1, and 4.3 asst but shot just 40.7%. He has since turned into a decent 6th/7th man who can provide offense firepower off the bench and/or a starter who’s the 4th option on offense. He has started half his games this year for the Jazz, including last night, and is at 11.4, 1.4, 1.8 asst on 41.7% shooting in 26.2 min/night.

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