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NBA Awards 3/22/13

76ers Snatch Defeat From Jaws of Victory, Hawes Continues to Play Like Another Spencer H.
      Philadelphia was 10 seconds and a 5 point lead away from a major upset in Denver, attempting to snap the Nuggets 13 game winning streak. But then Corey Brewer, a would-be Hollow Man Award winner (29 pts, 1 reb, 0 asst) except that he had 5 stls & a block, took over. He first hit a trey w/ 9 sec left, and then fouled Evan Turner 2 seconds later. Turner found a bone in his throat and missed both free throws…100-98 Philly, 7 sec left. Brewer then launches a trey, and, unbelievably, was fouled by journeyman Damien Wilkins (Gerald’s son, Dominique’s nephew). Corey hit all 3 free throws, and then Wilkins’ desperation shot at the buzzer was blocked by seldom-used but always talented Anthony Randolph to enable the Nuggets to steal the game, their 14th win in a row.
      As for Spencer Hawes, it’s probably a stretch to compare him to the other Spencer H., Spencer Haywood, the flamboyant hoops prodigy who dominated the ABA his rookie season (30.0/19.5 rebs) and had four 20/10 NBA seasons before cocaine derailed his career in the late 70’s. Their personalities are basically at opposite ends of the spectrum, and games quite different, but nonetheless, Hawes has continued his surprisingly dominant stretch of hoops, going off for 17/12/5 & 4 blks last night (8-11 shooting) and now averaging 15.0/10.6/5.2 asst, 3.4 blk while hitting 54.4% from the floor his last 5 games…14.9/9.7/4.2 & 2.3 blks his last 10 gms (54.0%). There were many other performances of note as well in the game – Wilkins going off for 24 pts, his second 20+ effort this month after going 280 straight games without hitting 20 pts (last time was 3/24/08). That has to be one of the longer stretches in NBA history between 20 pt games, I’m guessing. Jrue also exploded (more below) after his tragic effort vs. the Clips Wed night. For Denver, Andre The Giant again defied Father Time and showed why he might need Hall of Fame consideration when he’s finally done, starting in place of an injured Ty Lawson (heel) and posting 21 pts, 3 reb, & 8 asst while going 9-14 from the field. Finally, Anthony Randolph played over 20 minutes for just the 2nd time this year, and while the numbers weren’t fat (7 pts, 3 rebs, 3 stl, 1 blk), it’s nice to see George Karl trust him a bit – I’m still convinced he could be a legit, productive starter in the league someday, still only 23 yrs old though he’s wrapping up his 5th season now.
 
Other Thursday Games
Portland went into Chicago and took care of the wayward Bulls, 99-89 behind Aldridge’s 28/8 & 2 blks and Lillard’s 24/4/7 asst. Batum also did his ‘little bit of everything’ routine, grabbing 6 boards and dishing 6 dimes while also nabbing 3 stls and garnering 2 fly swats as well, though his shooting was quite off (3-12). For Chicago, Boozer led the way (16/11/3, 2 stl) while Taj Gibson had 14 & 9 rebs off the bench. The Bulls have now lost 6 of their last 8 games…..The Sacramento Kings have now won 4 of their last 6 after beating the Timberwolves 101-98 last night in Minnesota. Miny-Mite PG Isaiah Thomas had 24/6 asst, while hitting 8 of his 15 shots, Tyreke came thru as well (21/5/5), and Cousins grabbed 14 rebs to go with his 15 pts for the Kings. Patrick Patterson, a guy I first noticed and liked when I finally got around to checking out John Wall on TV in a January 2010 Kentucky game, had 11/4/2 asst, 2 stl/2 blk coming off the bench for Sacto. Nikola Pekovic (18/12) was the only T-Wolve with more than 12 pts, though Rubio had 7 rebs, 9 asst, and 3 stls in the game (but again, his horrific shooting: 4-13).
 
The Akeem Olajuwon Award —  Jrue Holiday  —  18 pts, 6 rebs, 15 asst, 3 FTM, 4 stl, 1 blk, 3 treys, and 6-12 shooting…Just for fun, let’s rank the league’s PGs, since there’s so many studly ones right now, and many have vastly differing styles:
#1) Westy
#2) Tony P
#3) CP III
#4) Curry
#5) Jrue
#6) Rondo
#7) D-Will
#8) Lawson
#9) Lillard
#10) Vasquez
#11) Br. Jennings
#12) Jeff Teague
#13) Mike Conley
#14) Goran Dragic
#15) Kemba Walker
 
The Rafael Araujo Award —  Luol Deng —  5 pts, 2 rebs, 2 asst, 0 FTM, 1 stl, 0 blk, 1 treys, and 2-7 shooting in 26 minutes…Deng is generally a slightly better than average player in my eyes, certainly not deserving of 2 All-Star game appearances the last two seasons, but he’s been particularly bad of late. In his last 10 games, he’s at 13.6/5.3/2.4 while shooting 39.3%. For the season (16.1/6.5/2.9), he’s shooting just 42.3%, his 2nd worst ever (last year was 41.2%…but he made his 1st All-Star game…?!!!?!!?!!?).
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