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NBA Awards 12/18/12

Monday Night Action
DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings (7-17) was supposed to be a breakout star this year after averaging 18.1 & 10.9 last year, just his 2nd in the league. But instead, he’s missed 3 games due to his knucklehead nature (Going after Sean Elliot – 2 gms; Hitting OJ Mayo in ‘the junk’ – 1 gm), and his shooting percentage has dropped to 41.3% after last night’s 1-10 stinker in a 101-90 loss to the extremely mediocre Phoenix Suns (10-15). His averages have also dropped this year, to 16.6 & 9.8, while he’s blocking well under 1 shot a game (.6), after fly swatting at double that rate a year ago – 1.2/gm. He’s only had four 20/10 games all season, and this is a guy who should be doing that with ease. Shannon Brown and Jared Dudley led Phx in scoring with 22 & 20 respectively, while PF Luis Scola had 14 & 10 dimes, and Marcin Gortat notched his 2nd straight double-double after going 5 games w/o one – 14/13 & 6 blocks….The Thunder (league-leading 20-4) dominated the Spurs 29-16 in the 3rd Q to turn a 5 pt halftime lead into a comfortable 107-93 victory in OKC. Serge was monstrous (more below) and Westy rock solid, outside of poor shooting (22/6/9 asst & 3 stl, but 6-18 from the floor). Durant had a rare sub 20 pt effort (19/6/4 asst) but did block 3 shots while no Spur was able to score more than 14 pts….Memphis was down 20-11 to the Bulls after an ugly 1st Q at home, but that was as many pts as Chicago would score in a quarter Mon night, as they followed that up with just 14, 19, & 18 the rest of the game. Both teams shot just a shade over 37% for the game, an ugly affair won by the Grizzlies 80-71….The Rockets went into NY to take on the Melo-less Knicks and won handily 109-96 behind a fat night from The Beard (again, more below) and his backcourt mate Jeremy Lin, who once again wowed his former hometown fans with 22 & 8 asst on 9-15 shooting. Melo’s replacement, a relatively unknown 28 yr old rookie named Chris Copeland, scored a career-high 29 pts in the loss….The Magic used a double-double from Nikola Vucevic (14/11), 28 from Glen Davis, and 18 & 7 dimes from JJ Reddick to take down Minn 102-93. Love (23/15) & Pekovic (19/12) were big for the T-Wolves….The Clippers outscored the Pistons exactly 21-20 in each of the first three quarters, before putting them away in the 4th 25-16 to rack up their 10th straight win, 88-76 in Detroit. Lamar Odom had 11 rebs & 2 blks off the bench while CP III had a quietly effective 14/4/7 asst, 3 stl performance for the Clips.
The Akeem Olajuwon Award — Tie between  James Harden  —  28 pts, 10 rebs, 3 asst, 8 FTM, 2 stl, 0 blk, 2 treys, and 9-18 shooting…and…Serge Ibaka  —  25 pts, 17 rebs, 1 asst, 5 FTM, 0 stl, 3 blk, 0 treys, and 10-16 shooting…Harden’s big play this year (25.1/4.7/5.2 asst, 1.8 stl and 43.1% shooting) has the Rockets at .500 on the season (12-12), a mark they’d likely be nowhere near without him. He’s 5th in the league in scoring, and tied for 9th with his teammate Lin in thefts. As for Ibaka, nice to see this rare, extremely explosive big-man still improving at the young age of 23. Now in his 4th season, he’s shooting an impressive 58.4% from the floor, 84.2% from the line, both career highs. He’s also averaging career highs in pts (14.6) & rebs (8.0) while still posting elite rejection numbers (3.0, down from last year’s 3.7). Despite being born in the Congo, unlike Akeem ‘The Dream’, Ibaka played hoops from a very young age since both his mother and father played on the national team. He moved to Spain as a young teenager and was eventually discovered by the NBA, drafted 24th overall in 2008, though he stayed in Europe one more year before joining the Association. Keep in mind that he, Durant, and Westbrook are all still under 25 yrs old. 

The Jerome Moiso Award — Steve Novak —  3 pts, 1 rebs, 1 asst, 0 FTM, 1 stl, 0 blk, 1 trey, and 1-5 shooting in 33 very poor minutes…this 29 yr old is in the league for one reason: to shoot, preferably from distance. He’s actually shooting better from 3-Land (43.8) than overall this season (42.0), and for his career, he’s barely better overall (44.9) than from downtown (43.7). He doesn’t rebound, as he’s only grabbing 2.1/gm in over 25 min/gm despite being 6’10”, and he only passes when guarded well, not to make a play (.7/gm, career .3). On a night without Melo, the Knicks could have used a far better performance than this rotten egg from Mr. Novak. 

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