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NBA Awards Wed 12/12/12

Tues Night Headlines
1) Lakers Suck…Again – Another game, another loss, their 5th in the last 6 gms. Mostly the same story – unbalanced offense, major defensive lapses, and completely dominated at the PG position – this time by the returning Kyrie Irving, who missed the last 11 games (finger) but was eager to take the court against the Lakers fearsome twosome manning the point – Chris Duhon and Darius Morris. The Lakers got 42 from Kobe (but just 2 dimes), 19 from Dwight (along with 20 rebs, but 0 blks), and 13 from Artest. Only two other guys on the team had more than 2 pts – Jamison, playing like you’d expect a 36 yr old to – 9 pts, 1 reb, 3-10 shooting; and Jodi Meeks with 7. On the postgame show, analyst Dave Miller highlighted a great example of their pathetic defense when he noted that 4 of the 5 guys were standing up straight-legged, with only Duhon in a mild defensive crouch. On NBA TV, Greg Anthony (love him) put it simply – they look like a ‘bad’ team. And with Nash & Gasol out and the rest of the team floundering to find any sort of rhythm on offense and team effort & cohesiveness on defense…he’s right. How much pressure must Nash be feeling, knowing that when he does come back not will they be expecting a rapid turnaround, but at 9-13 now, they NEED a rapid turnaround!
2) Wizards Shoot 32.9%, But Win as Hornets Shoot Worse – John Wall is still out for Washington, now backup PG AJ Price has a fractured right hand, Ariza’s missed the last 2 gms, Nene comes off the bench for only 20+ minutes a night, and Okafor is playing like he’s 40, not 30 (6.6 pts, 5.5 rebs, 42% in 21 min/night). But they can still win ugly. Big play from Jordan Crawford (26/6/4 asst), now basically the team leader by default, and steady play from his 19 yr old rookie backcourt mate Bradley Beal (15/7/4 asst & 6-12 FG%) led the Wiz to a 77-70 win as New Orleans shot 32.5%. The good news for New Orleans, now 5-15? Anthony Davis finally returned, played 25 min off the bench, and came through with 13, 8 rebs, and 3 each in stls & blks. It was only Washington’s 3rd win of the season against 15 losses.
3) Knicks Win Battle of Big Apple – New York spotted Brooklyn a 26-9 early lead, cut it to a 4 pt deficit by halftime, then battled behind a massive scoring effort from Melo (45 pts, 5 treys, 15-24 shooting, 10-11 from the stripe) to win a tight one 100-97 as two Nets 3 point attempts in the final 10 seconds missed their mark. The Knicks 2nd leading scorer? The Old Man, Mr. Kidd (ironically), who had 18/6/6 asst, as all his points came from downtown, making 6-8 from distance (0-1 from 2 pt land). I’m pretty stunned at his level of play the last couple games…I’m sure it can’t continue, for two reasons: 1) Turns 40 this season…and 2) He’s on my team, and I’m starting him. But seriously, if NY can get 9/4/4 from him going forward with only about 10 more missed games, that’s a nice bonus for them. For Brooklyn, 4 guys topped 16 pts, led by Blatche with 23. Brook Lopez missed his 5th straight game after only playing in 5 total games all last season. Ironically, he missed ZERO games his first 3 yrs in the league…and is certainly not going to hurt himself flying through the air (hops reminiscent of Kurt Rambis).
 
Other Tues Games
Denver beat Detroit 101-94 as the Nuggets got stellar backcourt play from Lawson (26/5/7 asst, 4 stl) and Andre Miller (11 pts, 7 asst, 3 stl, 4-4 from the floor). Detroit got a nice effort from undersized PF Jason Maxiell (18/6 rebs, 6 blks), an exciting young name 5 or 6 yrs ago who never quite broke through, laid low a few years, and has semi re-emerged this season, playing surprisingly well at times….In Chicago, the Clips came to town, got a small early lead, led for most of the 2nd & 3rd quarters, and then never gave up the lead after going up by 4 pts heading into the 4th. Blake was Blake (22/10/3 asst, 10-19), and they got decent all-around play from Matt Barnes (14/4 rebs, 2 stl, 2 blk) and Jamal Crawford (10/3/5 asst) off the bench. The Booze Hound was large for the Bulls, coming through with 24/13 & 3 asst, but Deng missed 11 of his 14 attempts, sinking any chance the Bulls (11-9) had to win.
 
The Akeem Olajuwon Award —  Kyrie Irving  —  28 pts, 6 rebs, 11 asst, 2 FTM, 1 stl, 0 blk, 4 treys, and 9-18 shooting…The bright side of losing LeBron Summer 2010 was winning the lottery the next spring and taking a PG who looks to be the cornerstone of the franchise for the rest of the decade. Kyrie was hitting tough shots and making great plays all over the place last night, no shot tougher than a 16-17 foot turnaround bank shot high off the glass that was like, ‘Wow…he’s good…REALLY good!’. As long as he has his legs, his shooting stroke, and his hoops IQ, he’s gonna be playing in a lot of All-Star games and hopefully playoff games in his future. He’s at 23.4/3.9/6.1 asst while shooting 47.0% in the 11 games he’s played so far this year.
 
The Jerome Moiso Award —  Jerry Stackhouse —  0 pts, 1 rebs, 0 asst, 0 FTM, 0 stl, 0 blk, 0 treys, and 0-1 shooting in 21 basically invisible minutes…The Stack Man has had a strange winding down to his career that started back in 1995 when he was the 3rd overall pick of a strong draft class – KG 5th that year, McDyess 2nd, Rasheed Wallace 4th, Damon Stoudamire 7th. With #10 overall pick Kurt Thomas still playing (for the Knicks), that makes 4 of the top 10 picks that year still active,18 seasons later. Back to Stack’s strange odyssey the last few years, he was winding his career down in Dallas from 2004 to 2009, playing just 10 games in the 2008-09 season before being traded to Memphis & then immediately cut that summer. Career over? Not so fast…he signed with Milwaukee halfway through the next season and played 42 games, logging 20 minutes per. He then signed with the Heat late in training camp the next season (Oct 23rd), but was released a month later. Now career over? Not quite…he then signed with Atlanta 2 weeks before last season started, playing in only 30 games, just 9 min/night, while never seeing a minute of playing time in their 6-game playoff series with Boston. Ok, NOW, at 37 yrs old & barely seeing the floor, he’s gotta be done…right? Wrong again, as he signed with Brooklyn over the summer, and has seen 18 min a night of playing time in 14 of the Nets 20 games this year. He’s averaging a shade under 7 pts and a tad more than 1 reb & 1 asst, but shooting a semi-decent 42.9% from the field, and coincidentally & impressively, also 42.9% from distance, making 1.5/gm. Back in the day, Stack was a master at getting to the free throw line, never more often than in 2000-01 when he attempted over 10/gm while averaging 29.8 pts (2nd in the league to Iverson’s 31.1). He averaged over 20 pts/gm five times, over 4 dimes/gm another five times, and made two All-Star games in his career.
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