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NBA Awards 1/29/13

Monday Action
The Nets had no trouble at all handling Orlando from the outset, up 10 at the end of the 1st Q, 16 at hafltime, and eventually cruising to a 97-77 win. D-Will led Brooklyn with 20/9 asst on 8-12 shooting, 4-7 from distance. Vucevic put up a nice line going against Brook Lopez – 18/9/2 blks – but JJ Reddick hit only 2 of 13 from the floor while Jameer Nelson was almost just as bad, hitting 3 of 12…..The recently hot Wizards hosted the Kings, looking to notch their 8th win in the last 11 gms, but Sacramento pulled out a tight one 96-94 behind 22/4/7 asst from pint-sized PG Isaiah Thomas. Okafor remained very productive for Washington (23/15) but rookie Bradley Beal (6/1/3 asst, 2-6) continued his funk as he’s now at 8.0/1.8/1.4 & 35.6% in his last 5 gms…..Chicagotook care of Charlotte 93-85 as Noah continues to impress in the rebounding (18) and diming (7) departments. He also blocked 5 shots and had 13 pts. For the Bobcats, another 19 yr old rookie continued his struggles as MKG, the #2 overall pick of the 2012 Draft, went 2-9 while grabbing 5 rebounds in 29 minutes. He’s at 5.8/3.0/0.8 asst, under 1/2 a stl, under 1/2 a blk and shooting 39.3% in his last 5 gms…..The Rockets absolutely annihilated the Jazz 125-80, giving Utah its worst home loss ever. They never let up, winning the 4th Q 32-21 to close strong. Houston center Omer Asik dominated the boards, grabbing 19 rebounds in just 26 minutes. The Rockets starters shot 61.9% compared to the Jazz starters’ 36.2%. Houston also had just 5 turnovers in the game…..Golden St. finally got Andrew Bogut back, and he came through nicely with 12/8/4 blks on the night as the Warriors defeated the Raptors 114-102. David Lee led Golden St.’s effort with 21/12/7 asst while Toronto got two rather surprising performances in the loss – 22/10 from reserve center Aaron Gray and 9 assists from DeMar DeRozen (to go with his 21 pts)…..The Pacerslost a thriller in Colorado as Denver squeaked out a 102-101 victory on Andre Iguodala’s free throw with .4 seconds (D-Fish, 2004 playoffs vs. S.A.) on the clock. The Pacers were down 14 with under 7 minutes left before embarking upon a furious comeback. Paul George was close to being the hero, blocking a Gallo jumper w/ 26 seconds left, but then had the ball stolen by Iggy, who he then fouled, giving Denver the win. Gallo (27 pts), Lawson (18/4/7, 5 stl), and Iggy (13/10/7 asst) were all big for the Nuggets, while George (more below) and Lance Stephenson (20/8/4 asst) led the Pacers. Stephenson scored 7 of his 20 pts in the first two minutes of that final 7 minute run…..Memphis barely beat the 76ers at Philly 103-100, needing a Rudy Gay jumper followed by a Thaddeus Young miss in the game’s final 15 seconds to lock down the win. Marc Gasol (more below) and Jerrod Bayless (21/5/9 asst) led the Grizzlies, Bayless starting place of injured PG Mike Conley. Young (23/7 rebs, 4 stl), Turner (27/7 asst), and Holiday (18/10 asst) led the Sixers, who got very little at all from their bench – 11 pts, 8 rebs, 4 asst.
The Akeem Olajuwon Award — Tie between  Paul George  —  23 pts, 10 rebs, 5 asst, 1 FTM, 4 stl, 1 blk, 4 treys, and 9-17 shooting…and… Marc Gasol  —  27 pts, 7 rebs, 7 asst, 6 FTM, 2 stl, 2 blk, 1 trey, and 10-15 shooting…George continues to validate his 1st All-Star appearance while Gasol, who played in last year’s game, had one of his best games of the season, surprisingly his first game over 20 pts since December 1st! Gasol is at 13.7/7.5/3.6 asst (career-high) and 1.8 blks while shooting 48.8% on the season. George is at 17.5/7.8/3.8, 1.8 stls and 42.8%.
The Mark Randall Award —   John Salmons  —  0 pts, 0 rebs, 0 asst, 0 FTM, 0 stl, 0 blk, 0 treys, and 0-4 shooting in 12 invisible minutes…A very rough night for Salmons as his career slowly fades, though he does have a surprising two games this month of 20+ pts. But he’s closing the month rather meekly, averaging just 4.8/2.4/1.8 asst on 40% shooting his last 5 games. Rip Hamilton, another fading shooting guard over 30, also stunk last night, going 1-5 with 1 reb, 0 asst in 14 minutes. Watch out for Jimmy Butler in Chicago, a 2nd year G/F who filled in for the injured Luol Deng very nicely this past week and now looks poised to steal some of Rip’s minutes.
Addendum to Djoker’s resume: Yesterday I forgot to mention he has the 2nd longest Grand Slam semifinal streak in history – 11 slams, 12 behind Fed’s incredible 23 in a row from 2004 Wimbledon through the 2010 Aussie. Djoker would be 28 yrs old if he ties the record in 3 years. I give him a 10% chance of accomplishing the feat. Matches like his 4th rounder at the Aussie (beat Wawrinka 12-10 in 5th) are always lurking to trip up the greats, and guys like Berdych, Tsonga, & Del Potro are always capable of zoning for long stretches and crushing winners left & right. As a matter of fact, Tsonga held 3 match points against Djoker in the French QFs a year ago before Djoker crawled out of that grave and eventually won the match and made the finals. 

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