Ball Don't Lie - NBA



Los Angeles Clippers 98, Charlotte 94

An awful, awful, insulting basketball game. Both teams played great defense, I guess, but otherwise this was a sloppy, nasty affair. It was sort of the Drew Gooden(notes) of basketball games.

31 combined turnovers for both teams, and it felt like more. Stephen Jackson(notes) missed 15 of 16 shots but was still offering up 27-footers in the final minutes before Larry Brown benched him, the Clippers refused to guard Boris Diaw(notes) at the elbow-extended all night (20, nine boards, nine assists, five turnovers) and somehow it didn't come back to haunt them.

Los Angeles owned Charlotte on the glass, as new additions Tyrus Thomas(notes) and Theo Ratliff(notes) pulled in just six rebounds in 55 combined minutes of play. The Bobcats took away Los Angeles' attempts at running, but the Clippers still managed 28 assists on 36 field goals, a statistic clearly trumped up by the home scoring staff.

My eyes.

My eyes.

***

Washington 101, Chicago 95

Not the prettiest example of pro basketball. Either side had huge defensive flaws that often went unpunished, but a relatively competitive one that saw Randy Foye(notes) do what he does best. Namely, go right.

Go right, get a screen, and either roll all the way toward the right side of the rim for a lay-in, or pull up for the jumper. Monday was all about the jumper, usually you'd call them bad looks, but with the Bulls bigs not closing out and Derrick Rose(notes) remaining a pitiful defender, this is what resulted.

16 points and nine assists for Foye. Andray Blatche(notes) continued to fill in the open spaces, finishing with 25 and 11, while Rose managed 22 and six assists. Hakim Warrick(notes) is a terrible, terrible defender.

***

Milwaukee 83, New York 67

A terrible basketball game. Milwaukee's ability to defend and close out was matched by New York's ability to make idiotic choices with the ball offensively, and the result was New York tossing in 75 points per 100 possessions. I don't think I've seen a team in the 70s this year.

I hope to never see it again. New York looked like the JV crew on an early Friday evening out there, as Milwaukee's Andrew Bogut(notes) managed 24 points, 20 rebounds (he should have had 20 rebounds), and five blocks.  34 percent shooting for New York, more turnovers (14) than assists (10), and the Knicks were nearly doubled-up on the boards. All on a night where New York was honoring the 1969-70 Knicks team that won the NBA championship.

What's the opposite of "gestalt?"

***

Dallas 91, Indiana 82

A miserable excuse for a night out. Indiana could not hit the broad side of a barn for the first three quarters, and that makes no sense. I live in Indiana. There are so, so many barns to practice on. At the very least, hone your craft on the broad side of a Ford F-150.

Only a late surge helped the Pacers avoid the dreaded 70 points per 100 possessions barrier. The squad missed 20 of 23 three-pointers, it managed only four offensive rebound despite 59 combined misses from the field and free throw line, and it somehow looked worse than the words I'm using to describe what I saw.

New Maverick Brendan Haywood(notes) not only contributed 13 points and 20 rebounds, but he made Pacer center Roy Hibbert(notes) look like a kid out there. This was one of Dallas' worst games of the season, and somehow they still managed to win in a walk.

***

Atlanta 105, Utah 100

Fantastic game. Utah may have fallen short in the end, a tough block/charge call turned the tide for the Jazz late and they never recovered once this became a two-possession game, but for it to hang in there against a great Hawks team at home on the second night of a tough back-to-back, without Deron Williams(notes) and Andrei Kirilenko(notes)? Quite impressive.

As were the Hawks. Don't kill them for not destroying Utah without two starters, because Utah would not fold. Joe Johnson(notes) hit a series of tough, tough shots late; not bad shots, and the team kept concentration without getting frustrated at a Utah team that would not roll over.

Al Horford(notes) was fantastic to watch, using proper footwork and keeping Carlos Boozer(notes) (6-11, no free throws) somewhat mitigated without having to push him around. Johnson finished with 28 points on 19 shots, Josh Smith(notes) (18 points, nine rebounds, five assists, two blocks, a steal) was everywhere, and the bench helpers — Jamal Crawford(notes) and Maurice Evans(notes) — played big. The whole team turned it over just eight times in what was a pretty chaotic environment.

Utah worked. Wesley Matthews(notes) played great defense despite Johnson's 28, the team had 24 assists in Williams' absence, and Boozer made up for Horford beating him to the spot by dishing eight assists of his own. Sleep tight, Jazzies.

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