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NBA Awards – 3/19/13

Heat Squeak By ‘Leprechaun Team’ to Record 23rd Straight 
Yes, according to my 5 yr old, the Celtics are the ‘Leprechaun Team’ as he, his older brother, and myself watched the final 4 minutes of action last night (the little guy & I rooting for #23, older bro hoping for the Boston upset). LeBron went off for 37, 7 rebs, & 12 dimes, including the game-winner with 10 sec left, and D-Wade (16/7/6, 3 stl) grabbed Miami’s last 3 defensive rebounds to seal the come-from-behind, 105-103 victory for the Heat, who trailed by 13 with 8 minutes left in the game. Jeff Green careered for Boston (more below), but missed his final 3 shot attempts as 2 of them were rejected (Battier’s a great defensive play and block!) in the final 3 minutes. Douple P came through with a fat 17/8/8 line but had 7 turnovers for the Celts as no one else on the roster had more than 13 pts. Super Mario Chalmers came through at PG for Miami with 21 pts, hitting 4 of 5 from downtown.
Other Monday Games
The Lakers took it on the chin in Phoenix as the Suns took advantage of no Kobe and walloped them 99-76, outscoring them 28-10 in the 4th. It was very much a team effort from Phx as no one scored more than 14 pts (Scola & Wes Johnson, who each also grabbed 9 rebs), and only Dragic double-doubled (12 & 10 dimes, but 5 turnovers). Dwight made only 6 of 18 shots in the game, his FG% matching the team’s perfectly – 33.3%. Ron Artest had 5 steals, but made only 5 of 17 shots, while Nash made 6 of 17, with only 4 assists. Incidentally, Scola scored all of his pts in the 4th Q, and grabbed 8 of his 9 rebs in the final stanza as well….Disastrous Bynum Trade Update: Just confirmed yesterday – out for the season, surgery to be had on both knees. Folks, this could be the worst trade in NBA history, unless they can lose him in a sign & trade deal this summer and get a couple nice pieces. He’s a free agent with massive potential as a dominant big man but held back tremendously by brittle knees, immaturity, a lack of heart, and a questionable head…one of the more intriguing NBA offseason stories to follow. As for Bynum’s 76ers teammates, they edged Portland 101-100 as Spencer Hawes again impressed, this time with 18/13/4 & 2 blks. Jrue was his usual studly self as well, contributing 27/8/6 dimes, while Thaddeus Young had 4 thefts and 2 fly swats to go with his 19 pts & 5 assists. The Blazers were led by huge performances from Aldridge (32/14) and Lillard (27/7/7 — runaway rookie of the year) but no one else hit double digits…..Charlotte improved to 2-2 since their recent 10 game losing streak, beating the Wizards 119-114 as Gerald Henderson continued his great play of late (23.4/gm last 5 contests) with 27 & 8 dimes. If you haven’t seen this guy play, he’s a big-time jumper, as evidenced here. Kemba Walker (18/7 asst, 3 stl) and ex-Laker legend Josh McRoberts (17/7/3, 2 stl) also helped the Bobcats cause, while Nene (21/7/7) & Wall (25/5 asst, 2 stl…but 6 T/Os) led Washington…..The Pacers had no troubles at all with the Irving-less Cavaliers, thumping them 111-90 as only two Cavs scored over 8 pts (Tristan with 20/11/2 blks, and CJ Miles with 21). Speaking of jumpers, Gerald Green came off the bench to lead Indy with 20 pts & 6 rebs, while Tyler Hansbrough, starting in place of the injured David West, had 18 & 11…..Atlanta’s terrible March (4 wins, 7 losses so far) continued with a 127-113 defeat at the hands of the very mediocre Dallas Mavericks (32-35, but 7-3 in March). Dirk (22/6/5) and Darren Collison (24/5 asst) led Dallas while the Hawks got 19/7 asst from Jeff Teague and 16/11 from Horford…..Brooklyn sprinted out to 36 pts in the 1st Q in Detroit before cruising to a laughable 119-82 win over the hapless Pistons. D-Will paced the Nets effort with 31 & 5 dimes while Andray Blatche came off the bench to record a sweet all-around effort of 15/8/4, 2 blks and 7-12 shooting in just 22 minutes. Will Bynum (18/5/6) and Greg Monroe (17/7/3, 2 blks, 8-10 shooting) led Detroit…..Denver got an Andre Iguodala 26 foot 3-pointer with 7 seconds left in OT to give the Nuggets a 119-118 win in Chicago as Little Nate Robinson’s big 34 pts/7 asst, 13-22 effort (6 of 8 from downtown) went in vain. Joakim Noah was also large for the Bulls (14/12/6, 7 blks), but Luol Deng (an All-star this year, in case you forgot) went just 9-23 from the floor while grabbing only 2 rebs in 50 minutes of playing time. Wilson Chandler, aka The Human Tattoo, was massive off the bench for the Nuggets with 35/9/4 and 2 steals…..Minnesota went ‘Tiiiiimmmberrrrrrr’ and fell hard in Memphis, 92-77 as they shot just 33.7% in the contest. Ricky Rubio, who triple-doubled last week (21/13/12) was tragic (more below) as he tries to play through a groin injury. Mike Conley paced the Grizzlies effort with 20/6 asst, 2 stl while Tayshaun Prince pulled down a season-high 14 boards, just two off his career best. Marc Gasol was his usual steady all-around self for Memphis as well with 16/8/5 & 4 blks. No Timberwolve had more than 12 pts…..It was the usual suspects leading the Warriors to victory last night, 93-72 over the Hornets as Stephen Curry (30/7 asst) and David Lee (20/11/4, 7-9 FGs) did their thing. Ryan Anderson led N.O. with 21 but made only 7 of 19 shots…..In a forgettable game at Utah, the Knicks walked out with a 90-83 victory as JR Smith led the team with 20 pts (but just 5-13 shooting). Raymond Felton had 19 & 3 steals, and Chris Copeland was the only other Knick in double figures – 14/6 rebs – as Stoudamire, Melo, and Tyson were all out for NY. Utah shot just 38.2%, but did get a career-high 4 blocks from Gordon Hayward.
The Akeem Olajuwon Award —  Jeff Green  —  43 pts, 7 rebs, 2  asst, 10 FTM, 2 stl, 4 blk, 5 treys, and 14-21 shooting…A career-high for the 6th year forward out of Georgetown, who played alongside Durant his first 3 & a half years in the league, before OKC realized they needed to start Ibaka alongside KD – better complement to Durant’s skill set, as he and Green are too similar (and Ibaka was too good to play just 20 min/night). Amazingly, this might not be Green’s best game this season, as he went off for 31/7/4, 2 stl/5 blk and shot 11-14 in a late February win over Phoenix. This was Green’s 4th 20+ game since Feb 19, after having none this season up to that point.
The Rafael Araujo Award —  Ricky Rubio —  2 pts, 2 rebs, 2 asst, 0 FTM, 1 stl, 0 blk, 0 treys, and 1-6 shooting in 21 minutes…If this guy learns how to shoot, watch out. He’s only at 36.0% this year after shooting 35.7% his rookie year, but he has ball handling and passing skills reminiscent of Pete Maravich…and the same hairstyle, too.

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