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NBA Awards – 2/6/13

Tuesday Action…Lakers: Even Amid Wins, Drama Continues
The Lakers went into Brooklyn and got their 3rd straight road win 92-83, matching their best road streak of the season, but of course, it’s the Lakers, so there’s plenty of backstory and drama to go with the win. Artest was suspended for this game, Dwight sat out his 3rd straight, and Pau – who a day earlier had plenty to say in the LA Times about the team, the coach, and his usage – hurt his foot at the end of the game. Additionally, Kobe Johnson is morphing back into Kobe Bryant, taking 24 shots while sinking only 9, while his dimes dropped to just 4, one less than his turnover total of 5. On the bright side, the Duke of Earl continues to be a revelation, garnering his 3rd straight double-double (14/12, 6 of 9 shooting), a streak in which he’s also had at least 1 stl & 1 blk in every game as well. For the Nets, Brook Lopez (30/11/3 blk) was big in the middle, but the very expensive backcourt of D-Will & Joe J went 9-28 from the floor.
Other Games
The Houston Rockets tied the NBA record for long bombs in a game with 23 in 40 attempts at home against the Warriors, winning the game 140-109. They had 14 treys and 77 points in the first half alone. Amazingly, only one Rocket hit the 20 point mark, Lin with 28 (and 9 dimes). But 4 other Rockets hit the teens, and another 3 hit double-figures, giving them a well-balanced 140 on the night. Stephen Curry went just 3-12 in his 2nd game back from his ankle injury, though he did have 9 assists…..The Pacers beat the Hawks 114-103 as Paul George scored 22 of his 29 points in the 2nd half to lead the Pacers. David West also continued his great play this year with 15/7/4 asst, 5 stl, and 3 blks. Jeff Teague led the Hawks with 24/8 asst, 9-17 shooting…..In Denver, Gallo & Lawson each scored 22 to lead the Nuggets to a 112-104 win over Milwaukee, despite one of the more amazingly random 30+ nights ever from Samuel Dalembert (more below). The Jennings/Ellis backcourt had trouble all night honing in on the basket, hitting just 11 of 36 shots for the game…..Finally, Memphis (30-17) hosted Phoenix but couldn’t lock down a victory against the 17-32 Suns (after their win), losing 96-90 as Marc Gasol (more below) and Mike Conley (3-11, 5 dimes, 1 reb, 9 pts) were rather putrid. The Suns got decent efforts from Dragic (17/3/4 asst, 2 stl) and Gortat (20/7 rebs), as well as a surprisingly productive 25 minutes off the bench from Jermaine O’Neal (14/4/3, 5-7, 2 stl).
The Akeem Olajuwon Award —  Samuel Dalembert  —  35 pts, 12 rebs, 0 asst, 1 FTM, 0 stl, 1 blk, 0 treys, and 17-21 shooting…Dalembert did all this in just 27 minutes, the most minutes he’s played all year. It’s a career-high in points, and the first time he’s hit 20 points since January of last season. After playing in very few games in December & most of January, Sammy D did show some signs of life at the end of last month, garnering two double-doubles with a combined 7 blocks in the last two games of the month, but still – no one expected anything like this, in his 12th season. For his career, he’s an 8.0 pts/night guy, and only twice in his career has he averaged double-figures for a season – 2006-07 (10.7) and 2007-08 (10.5). Quite simply, one of the more shocking 30+ games of the last 10 years. Quick aside, a friend mentioned to me the other day how Dalembert would be a nice fit in Miami, to solidify their middle. Makes a world of sense to me…but who knows now what the Bucks’ plans are.
The Mark Randall Award —  Black n Tan’s   Marc Gasol  —  6 pts, 3 rebs, 1 asst, 2 FTM, 0 stl, 0 blk, 0 treys, and 2-8 shooting in 23 minutes of pain…he also fouled out and had 4 turnovers. Rough night for the Gasol Bros, Marc turning in this stinker of a night while his brother felt a ‘pop’ in the bottom of his foot with just under 5 minutes left in the Laker game. 
P.S. Regarding LeBron’s 13-14 yesterday, I found a partial list of all-time greats’ best FG% games, and while Magic (10-11), Kobe (10-12), and Bird (12-13) were impressive, it was MJ’s that stood out the most: 29 attempts, 24 makes. He also had a 15-18 performance vs. the Lakers in the 1991 NBA Finals. 

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