Fine me, if you think I'm pointing out irregular brush patterns on the Mona Lisa, but it bugs the hell out of me that Derek Fisher(notes) and Kobe Bryant(notes) are continually lauded for their basketball savvy whilst launching some terrible, terrible shots. Or, at least, being in the presence of some terrible, terrible shots. The Lakers are ninth in offensive efficiency this year, and it seems due to this perimeter-heavy attack that usually leaves Pau Gasol(notes) and Andrew Bynum(notes) as bystanders. There's no reason a team this brilliant should be ninth.
Ron Artest(notes) is a part of that problem, I submit, but he's a nutter. Kobe and Fisher? They know better. Not only that, they know the offense. And you know that I know that you know that they know that Gasol and Bynum are fantastic. Really, the Lakers should have won this game by 15 points. The C's are reeling, the Lakers are rolling, despite the crazy schedule. Despite being away from the Staples Center. Despite Lady Hammer to Fall, or whatever her name is.
Kobe nailed another game-winner down the stretch, Doc Rivers deserves huge heaps of blame for not covering Dr. Bryant with Tony Allen(notes), and the C's are really going to have to circle the wagons just to make it to May.
It wasn't really the absence of Tony Parker(notes). George Hill(notes) continues to be overrated, but he played ... like George Hill. 17 points on 16 shots, four assists. It was Roger Mason(notes) Jr. and Manu Ginobili(notes), combining for 4-17 shooting, that allowed the Spurs to only manage 89 points in an afternoon that saw the Nuggies turn it over on a fifth of their possessions.
Perhaps my least-favorite game of the year. The refs didn't call a thing, as cutters were bumped and post-up moves were denied due to more and more bumping, and the pace was ultra-slow. The game competitive, after the first quarter, but made terrible by the snail's pace and the 1999-level style of refereeing.
Ben Gordon(notes) had a missed shot (wide open, but didn't set his feet) and a turnover in the final minute, and Detroit lost. This was BG's MO in Chicago, despite the hype about him being some clutch standout, so beware, Pistons fans.
To watch the game and then to look at the stats, you'd think that the Raptors won by 25. Really, 15 points doesn't do this difference justice.
The Pacers can't stop anybody, and they often struggle to put consecutive hoops together. The Raps were without Hedo Turkoglu(notes), but Jose Calderon(notes) was pushing the ball incessantly, and Chris Bosh(notes) (26, 15 points, seven assists, two blocks) should be starting the All-Star game.
The Nets shot 10 free throws, all game. 10. They got to the rim only when the Sixers essentially cleared the lane, and Rod Thorn's band of inefficient scorers acted as such.
I might be pulling the same nonsense I tried with the Lakers, but I worry about the Cavs. I worry about them while watching Cleveland drop 46 points in 12 minutes of action, even.
It's mostly with three-pointers, and while Cleveland shoots a high percentage this year, I think you'll be with me when I point out that the long bomb, perhaps, isn't LeBron James'(notes) best option at times. He's not a good shooter, but he shoots a lot, and this is not a habit worth embracing. Especially at his age. Good god, I sound like a guidance counselor.
The Cavs walked all over the Clippers, Los Angeles made a good show and actually made this an 11-point game in the fourth quarter, but the hole was too deep.
Maybe it's expectations gone wild — when you think of a team full of overachieving scrappers, you tend to think they're pulling it off in a defensive-heavy style — but these Rockets just seem to continually disappoint defensively.
They held the Suns, who are first in the NBA in offensive efficiency at 114 points per 100 possessions, to about 110 per 100, but the Rox still seemed to be lacking. Houston is 15th in the NBA defensively, and perhaps it's time I grow up and start to except this batch of 6-7 types for what it is.
Amar'e Stoudemire(notes) had 36 points and 11 rebounds, five turnovers and six fouls, but it didn't feel as if Phoenix was making an effort to assuage his fears and feed him the ball. He just sort of worked his way to 36. Steve Nash(notes) had 16 assists to zero turnovers, and there's a reason your girlfriend and her friend call him "hot." Maybe that's just my girlfriend. Am I supposed to be upset at that? It's kind of hard to be, considering the 16 assists and zero turnovers.
Props to the Suns for actually fouling while up three, and in the final seconds. They decided not to do it in regulation, which led to Houston forcing overtime, but Phoenix learned its lesson by the extra frame.
There was a point in this game, after Corey Maggette(notes) declined to make an entry pass, that I was sure Ronny Turiaf(notes) was going to strangle CM with a Warriors warm-up. This team is so, so dysfunctional, and not in an endearing way. I won't be chuckling when I spin tales about the Golden State Warriors years from now. They're just a heap of wasted talent, plus Coby Karl(notes).
That was a lame joke, Karl can play, and while he seemed a little hesitant at times in this game (make that extra pass, young man), he should be a sound addition to this team.
The Thunder? They did what they were supposed to do. Kevin Durant(notes) managed 45 points on 21 shots, which has to be some sort of record, but it didn't seem out of place. He just filled it up. Russell Westbrook(notes) (28 points) was continually afforded looks in the paint, and even Thabo Sefolosha(notes) had his way at times.
Golden State made a game of this after OKC broke it open late in the third, but the Warriors couldn't get enough stops to tie things or take the lead.
The Knicks love to run, but they're a terrible offensive team. 95 points per 100 possessions, mainly because New York missed 19 of 28 three-pointers. They got out to the requisite hot start against Minnesota, the Timberwolves are cool like that, but couldn't hold onto it because Mike D'Antoni's team cannot shot to save it's life.
- The Lakers