December 22, 2010
In probably as poor a performance as we've seen this year, Philadelphia absolutely fell apart before our very eyes against the undermanned Bulls on Tuesday, playing miserable basketball and deserving to be beaten by much worse than the 45-point final tally.
Give Chicago credit. It came out playing with intensity on both ends and taking advantage of what the Sixers gave them. But, yeah. Burn the 76ers. Make them go away.
Because they just wanted no part of competing in this game. No rotations, lazy passes, lazy moves, terrible shots, no transition D, no communication, no spirit. This was an awful, miserable performance that should have Sixer fans demanding (and I mean this) a complete and utter roster overhaul. I don't care how much you like (insert potential-laden youngster's name here), it's just not happening.
Chicago just plays on. I don't care about the Clipper loss -- this is a team with focus.
A shocking collapse from the Kings in this one. A torrent of stupid, stupid basketball that allowed a Warriors team that should have been beaten by double digits to come back and tie this as the regulation buzzer sounded.
It was a pitiful display. The Kings kept going to rookie DeMarcus Cousins(notes) over and over again; and I don't know if you've seen Erick Dampier(notes) play this year, but he sort of looks like that. With the ball and an isolation setting. Cousins shouldn't be immune to criticism because he took terrible shot after terrible shot down the stretch. Shocking, again, is the word; 3-13 shooting, four turnovers. Five turnovers for Tyreke Evans(notes).
And the Warriors just never gave up. It wasn't the perfect comeback, because they missed some good looks and free throws along the way, but the Kings had the Keystone Cops routine working on Tuesday, and the result was just a crushing affair. Sacramento had no chance in overtime, and you have to wonder if the approaching holidays are the only thing that will save Paul Westphal's job until Jan. 3 or so.
Thirty-six points and seven assists for Monta Ellis(notes), 24 for Reggie Williams(notes) (who hit 3-7 from long range and actually lowered his percentage from there to 43 percent), but the story here is a Kings team that just kicked every paying customer in the gut with this loss.
There were definite swoons, but a strong start and good play from Brook Lopez(notes) allowed the Nets to hang on. Sasha Vujacic(notes) was an active presence throughout, and the Grizzlies just couldn't overcome its 40 percent shooting in the loss.
New Jersey showed good effort in defending Rudy Gay(notes), but it was clear that the Memphis forward was really pressing, struggling (4-16 shooting) through a terrible night regardless of who was defending him. The Nets stayed tight on perimeter players and forced Mike Conley(notes) to try and win things by himself, and though Mike did well to not turn the ball over and pick up eight assists even with those passing lanes cut off, it just wasn't happening.
The perfect storm for the Lakers in this loss. Bad decisions offensively, an inspired opponent, and a scoring point guard (in Earl Boykins(notes), who finished with 22 points) with quickness to try and defend. Toss in, because we'd like to note this a second time, bad decisions offensively? And then some more bad decisions on offense? And the Lakers took in a deserved crushing.
Those Bucks got after it. Everyone was working on penetrating, Andrew Bogut(notes) was dominating defensively in the post (though bad decisions offensively allowed Bogut to play through what could have been foul trouble because the Lakers made some bad decisions offensively and refused to pass into Andrew Bynum(notes) and/or Pau Gasol(notes)). And because everything is topsy-turvy right now (it is raining in Los Angeles, after all), the Bucks actually doubled up the Los Angeles Lakers in free throws made.
Great penetration from Milwaukee, all night. A stellar win, taken in while playing in those red unis that I think are fantastic.
For the Lakers? They know it was a stupid 48 minutes, and they'll recover.
Charlotte tried, it really did. The effort was there, the ball movement was there, and even if I didn't really like a lot of the shot selection in the first three quarters, this team was working.
But it's also not that good, and the Thunder are very good, so it is fair to suggest that Oklahoma City is 18 points better than Charlotte right now. But for the difference to come in just one quarter? That was a meltdown that was hard to watch.
Charlotte led 69-68 entering the fourth, but the Bobcats just could not buy a shot in the final frame, and the Thunder took full advantage. A 31-12 run to end it, as Charlotte's not-that-great offensive players just pressed and either took poor shots or made overreached and made bad decisions.
In a Pyrrhic victory, Charlotte only had 15 turnovers.
The Orlando Magic clearly need time, space, maybe fewer back-to-backs, and a chance at not playing two pretty good teams before they can get things right again. Is it a little worrying the way the Mavericks shut Orlando down when it needed to, even when both teams were dragging? Sure, but Dallas is playing out of its mind right now, so I wouldn't be too upset.
The Mavs didn't dominate defensively, Orlando still came through with a very good 109 points per 100 possession mark, but all the hallmarks (great hedging, fine work on screen and roll, good transition D) were there. Orlando had no cohesion on the other end along those lines. Bad screen and roll defense, little chemistry, and you'll be hard-pressed to pull out a win against the Mavs this year when Tyson Chandler(notes) and DeShawn Stevenson(notes) combine to make 11 of 12 shots.
Gilbert Arenas(notes) played well without scoring in the first half, but overall he continues to struggle. Hedo Turkoglu(notes) tried defensively, but the starting big forward only picked up one rebound (Orlando beat the Mavs on the glass overall, thanks to Dwight Howard's(notes) 23 caroms) and missed nine of 11 shots. Dirk Nowitzki(notes) is in a five-quarter shooting slump, but he hit a few when things got tight, and Jason Kidd(notes) managed just one turnover to 12 assists; fine work on what was a very tired team.
I'm not freaking out, yet. But even considering the trade issues, the Magic are better than this.
Dallas? I could watch this team play for hours, even when Dirk isn't hitting. Love those guys.