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NBA Awards Fri 12/7/12

Thursday Night Games
Just two, headlined by the Knicks at Miami…without Melo (cut on finger). Nonetheless, a halftime tie turned into a rout as New York outscored the Heat 59-39 in the 2nd half to win 112-92. LBJ was mui grande for Miami, but the other 2/3 of the Big 3 were awful, combining to shoot 6-25 from the floor and grab only 9 rebs & 2 asst. Felton was the star for New York, scoring a season-high 27 to go with 4 rebs, 7 asst, & 2 stls. I missed the game, but did watch the pregame show where Barkley was analyzing the slippage of Wade’s formerly world class athleticism and explosiveness, noting that after seeing him in person, it was clear he’d lost a significant amount, and that he was taking more fade-aways. It was a very fair, rational analysis of a guy who turns 31 this January and was famous for throwing his body all over the court while making plays in his prime. But Kenny Smith countered that it was the emergence of LeBron that had diminished Wade’s role and numbers, not Father Time slowly chipping away at his athleticism. Kudos to Barkley, and a failing grade to Smith, who as a former world class athlete, certainly ought to know about Father Time’s house call around the age of 30. By the time Smith was 30, he was no longer averaging double figures and by 31, was playing just 16 min/night.
       In the other contest, which had all the star power and fan interest of a girls high school volleyball game, the Mavs took down the Suns 97-94. The Dallas starting lineup featured 3 has-beens (Matrix, Brand, & D-Fish), a never was (Dahntay Jones), and OJ Mayo going against a Phx starting five featuring 2 Euros that might as well be Eastern European Olympic gymnasts to the casual hoops fan (Dragic, Gortat), the well-documented head-case Beasley (went 3-12, 0 rebs in 21 min), and then two borderline starters/bench players in Markieff Morris and Shannon Brown. Morris had his best game of the year (15, 17 rebs, 2 blks) but the other four combined to shoot 13-43 (30.2%). For the Dallas starting five, only Mayo (23/5/5 asst) played well while the others combined to score just 18 pts. But Kaman (15 & 7 rebs), Collison (16, 4 rebs, 10 FTM), and Brandan Wright (16, 2 stls, 2 blks, 8-12) came through big off the bench to give the mediocre Mavs (9-10) the win over Phx (7-13).
The Akeem Olajuwon Award —  Lebron James  —  31 pts, 10 rebs, 9 asst, 6 FTM, 3 stl, 0 blk, 3 treys, and 11-20 shooting…Just one dime away from his 2nd straight tri-double, and he probably would have gotten it if Bosh or Wade had shot a little better. The Heat have now lost two in a row after winning 6 straight prior.  
The Jerome Moiso Award —  Dwyane Wade  —  13 pts, 3 rebs, 1 asst, 6 FTM, 0 stl, 0 blk, 0 trey, and 3-13 shooting in 31 ugly minutes…And Barkley rests his case. Wade is an all-timer, but it looks like he’ll struggle to play at 90% of his top level (2005-2009) in his early 30’s. He shined as bright as anyone in his prime, especially 2008-09 when he became one of the few players in NBA history to average 30/5/5 for a season, and also one of the few to average 30/7 asst. He finished that season at 30.2/5.0/7.5 with 2.2 stl, 1.3 blks, 7.5 FTM/gm while hitting 49.1% from the floor – one of the great seasons in NBA history. He’s at 19.4/3.9/4.5 this season with just 1.2 stl and .6 blks. His career scoring average is still at 25.0 though, good for 13th all-time, right behind Karl Malone and above Dominique Wilkins. The aforementioned Beasley was also quite deserving of the Moiso, as his stinker gave him 3-game Dec averages of 8 pts, 2 rebs, 1.7 asst, and 28.6% shooting while attempting only 2 free throws in 72 minutes of playing time.

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