Ball Don't Lie - NBA

Denver 118, Dallas 105

I cannot think of any team that comes close to this one - you give up 70 points to an outfit on the road missing its best player, and you somehow come up with the effort enough in the second half to keep the same team to half of its first half total? Long way of saying, yeah, it don't make no sense.

The 2007-08 Denver Nuggets, it's working, to a point, but it don't make no sense.

Understand that, in a fast-paced game that featured an inspired Mavericks team trying to make an offensive dent and run at all costs, it's quite the accomplishment for a Denver team (or, any team) to hold the Mavs to 35 points in 24 minutes.

It's as good as a defensive performance as I've seen all year, somehow countered by the 70 points Denver allowed in the first half: as bad a defensive performance as you'll ever see.

The goofiest thing that keeps hitting and slapping and left-elbowing me in my right cheekbone and leaving a mark: Denver is the rare veteran team that gets worse as the season moves along.

The Nuggets defense has gotten consistently worse since February (at best), and even though George "It Don't Make No Sense!" Karl wants everyone to be as bemused as he; Karl's team is blowing an easy (last) chance at the postseason mainly because he can barely coax 27 minutes of good defense out of a team that has proven it can play 40 minutes of great defense.

Jason Kidd made nationally televised waves by hitting for 19 points on 11 shots, but he also turned the ball over six times. Take it home, right away, our guy had 15 assists and five steals of his own; but a gold-plated door to his temporary Dallas condo won't do much to help us to believe any more.

A pair of veteran teams who can't help but muss things up, it's worth pointing out one final stat: Dallas turned the ball over on 18.3 percent of its possessions (mark that would rank last in the NBA), and Denver only coughed 9.7 percent of the time (a mark that would rank tops in the league).

Orthodox game, involving some strange teams. So odd that each are full of veterans.

Detroit 85, Miami 69

Earlier this year, Daequan Cook was my little, "check this guy out" cat.

Put the ball in the basket, relatively efficiently, and did it on a team full of stars and semi-stars. He was a diamond in the rough.

He turned into a role player.

Then a stagnant rotation magnet.

Then a go-to guy.

Then a guy you sit on the bench in order to grab ping-pong balls.

Then I swear I heard Charles Barkley, on Thursday night, say something about "Michael Beasley, rollin' over in his grave."

That's just me, though.

Aaron Afflalo, he's had a bad go of things recently, but the A-A was able to stay on the floor against Miami, and contribute 15 points and a healthy +29 in 33 minutes of action.

The Heat?

Mark Strickland is rolling over in his grave.

Golden State 111, Portland 85

The Trail Blazers just won't let it fall off of their bones, this team tries to pull wins out regardless of circumstance, and coach Nate McMillan deserves a statue at this point.

But the Warriors have it, and hopefully they'll get it again this year. Golden State wants another postseason app., it needs that flow, it wants an excuse for that crowd to lose it again, and any NBA fan with half a chin would want the same thing:

For years the Warriors had the most disparate/loudest/most endearing fans, and it was nice to see that lot get a bit of what was coming to them - if only as a reaction to Golden State's quadraphonic power forward offense. This batch of fandom is due quite a bit.

It's only his second year, but Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge has already gotten the stank of someone who refuses to take to the jump hook, especially when it towers over the turnaround jumper. Throw in Brandon Roy's absence, and you have a Golden State win that really should have gone a bit further than what we saw on Thursday night.

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