Monthly Archives: October 2008

Go For Launch: Rockets Off To A Good Start

Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way. Unless everything stays the exact same for the entire season, tonight isn’t indicative of anything. Furthermore the Rockets always start strong. We’ve been here before, at least in terms of a whole two (TWO!) wins. It’s a long damn season.

That said.

Every great team has to start somewhere, and it’s better to start early than late.

If this is the identity that the Rockets adapt, I love, love, love this team. Weapons, everywhere. Versatility. Defense. Focus. Energy. And Aldeman has taken full reins on offense, and you can tell.

This team has dabbled with focus in its incantations. But before it was always built out of a desperation. “We need to be good enough with Yao and T-Mac.” There was a sense of desperation that led to mental breakdowns. But Morey let the team simmer, added elements from the D-League in young players, let them bond, and then added Artest.

What you have now is a unit that’s more evenly centered and believes in itself. Instead of relying on McGrady and Ming to carry them, the team is surging, letting Yao and McGrady excel in situations that put them in the advantage. They can drive, then work the post, they can hit from the perimeter, they can run, they can pass, and man can they defend. The Mavs played well tonight, the Rockets just played better.

Adding Brent Barry was another stroke of genius. Last night when Luther Head was detonating, Barry took the ball from him to control the damage. Tonight, when Brooks started rushing things, Barry did it again. I kept thinking, though, “Barry, you have to let him grow into it, or you’re just avoiding the problem.” Then when Brooks started to rush it again, Barry caught him, took the ball, then told him to set the offense and gave it back. The Rockets scored on that possession. Brooks’ speed on the pick and roll is devastating and a change of pace that caught the Mavs off guard. They didn’t know how to react to that kind of speed. Letting him handle it in crunch time before putting in Rafer to close was another nice touch.

Alston’s stat line looks terrible, and his shot wasn’t falling tonight. But he ended up having 6 hockey assists that I counted, and kept up what he showed last season and has especially worked on going into this season. He understands the offense and knew how to manage it tonight.

You can tell McGrady loved having people to distribute it to tonight. Maybe it’s the injuries. Maybe it’s the family gene. But he made some killer drive and kicks on the way to 7 assists, relishing not having to force the issue.

For a majority of the fourth, Aldeman held out Yao and McGrady. The Rockets built and held a lead behind Ron Artest. That’s what Artest does. He provides the second unit a guy who can produce when he needs to and then shift to an auxiliary role when the two top guys come back in. In one sequence, Artest guarded Brandon Bass, Josh Howard, and Dirk Nowitzki in back to back possessions. On top of this he nailed a huge three of a screen. Rob messaged me as Artest unleashed an awesome tribal dance, “When did Ron Artest turn into Jason Kapono?” Artest working the perimeter gets back to a level of offensive potency with the inside-outside game that made them very hard to stop tonight.

We’ll have to see if Artest can keep his head and if McGrady will work through the injuries or if they’ll bog him down, but getting nights where Yao has 30 and Artest 29, that’s a pretty good start even without McGrady.

Now they just have to, you know, do it for more than a month.

Also, I want to watch the Crazy Pills dance a hundred times.

15 Footer 10.31.08: Boo Edition

Let’s Just Enjoy Saying This While We Can… “THE UNDEFEATED NEW YORK KNICKS!” (Matt):

Knicks at Sixers.

The Knicks toppled a shaky Miami team in their opener, behind Mr. “Oh, I Don’t Fit In, Do I?” Jamal Crawford and the D’Antoni offense firing in high gear. Tonight they face a considerably more daunting task. The Sixers opened flat, with no one playing terrific an a few players playing terribly. Now they’re at home, and will probably be looking to make a statement. Throw in the fact that the Knicks aren’t nearly as tough down low and I’d expect an Elton Brand diorama of pain. No, really, he makes dioramas of pain. Sells them for nickels on the corner. Pack of ten for for a dollar. He’s not good with math.

The Knicks are going to have to attack … um… everywhere. The best option may be to try and use the bench to run in spurts. The problem is the Sixers are considerably loaded in key positions. Meanwhile, the Sixers need to wake up. They no longer have the opportunity to sing Kumbaya and find themselves. They have an identity, they need to express it, refine it, and get in gear. Expect Thad Young.

Gametime: 7PM EST League Pass

Get It? The Fire is a Metaphor For Their Unexpectedly Competitive Spirit! (Rob):

Warriors at Raptors

The Dubs shocked the world by well, not getting punked by the Hornets. Now they’ll have their shot at…something. But that something is real and substantial, despite the fact that Nellie refuses to bring anyone under the age of 28 along for the ride. So ice those knees, Jax, and get ready for another 40 minute night of playing point guard. Times are hard in the bay.

Meanwhile, our Canadian friends are fresh off their victory against the upstart Sixers. Jermaine O’Neal just paged me, and he’d like me to tell you all to quote “go screw yourselves for doubting me.” I don’t even know what that means, but he sounded pissed. What I do know is if the Raps play the same way they played against Philly tonight, Cap’n Jax and co. will need to dig deep in that bag full of tricks if they want to even make this a cute little game. O’Neal was fantastic and Bosh was even better, and when you combine that duo with Calderon you’ve got a bonafide force on your hands.

Gametime: 7PM EST League Pass

2.0 Will Score, Score, Score, and Kevin Martin Can Only Respond With “Please Sir, May I Have Another?” (Rob):

Kings at Heat

If the Heat showed anything in their game against the Knicks, it’s that this team has a blatant disregard for defense. Luckily for them, they may have met their match in the even more defensively inept Kings.

Martin v. Wade could potentially go down as one of those epic 1 on 1 scoring match-ups, especially because I don’t think they can really guard each other. Martin pump faking Wade out of his kicks while he steps in and buries one, Wade posting up Martin and burying a turnaround from midrange…both only able to match each other in terms of pure point production and pure, unadulterated awesome. You hear me guys? I want 40 out of both of you slackers!

Meanwhile, B-Easy will do his best to not be unexpectedly pedestrian. The Kings frontcourt will do their best to help. They have a tendency of doing that.

Gametime: 7:30PM EST League Pass

What Better Way to Teach a Rookie a Lesson Than to Put Him in a Rondo-Hold And Have KG Bark At Him (Rob):


Bulls at Celtics

Derrick Rose, you’re so awesome! You looked so great against the Bucks while you were making Ridnour look like…Ridnour! You know what? You were so great that we’re going to give you a special treat. You get to match up against one of the most annoying, pestering defensive point guards in the league, the best defense in recent NBA history, and probably come face to face with a man that would surely eat you alive if it meant winning another title.

Baston was Baston in Game 1/82, but it took them a half to get things rolling. I’d love to say “Well, they don’t have that luxury against the Bulls!” But yeah, they kinda do. The Bulls don’t have the defense or the LeBron that the Cavs have, meaning that the C’s should have plenty of wiggle room. But, here’s hoping for another entertaining one on national TV, mostly to entertain poor souls who can’t reach their cable guy because he’s a complete tool shed meaning they don’t even get the fricking League Pass games. So keep this one close, eh KG?

Gametime: 8PM EST ESPN

There Will Be Wrath, And It’s Name Will Be Big Baby Jesus (Matt/Rob):

Magic at Grizzlies

Marc Gasol + Darko Milicic + Darrell Arthur < Dwight Howard. But what this game really comes down to is the Magic actually hitting the shots they usually make (y'know, the ones they didn't make against the Hawks) and the Grizz being the Grizz. Memphis netted moral victory #1 by keeping pace with the Rockets, but a win over the Magic could cause the minds of every Grizz fan in the area to simultaneously explode. The wings are going to have to be otherworldly (not just good, but good enough to completely counteract Rashard and Hedo) if the Magic are to drop their second straight. Mike Conley is an essential piece to the puzzle, providing access to the running game that Memphis so desperately hopes to tap into and also playing the role of the willing distributor who can set up his teammates in the half-court. It's time to be what you were born to be, Mike. And of course, a shout out to Marc and Darrell, who posted incredible lines in their first NBA game, and against the Rox no less!

Mayo is a big city kid in a small town. They said he couldn’t do it. He knew he had to.

Gametime: 8PM EST League Pass

No One Can Stop Us Now, Even Though We Wish They Would (Matt):

Denver at LA Clippers

Wow. Talk about two teams with worlds of talent and no idea what to do with it. The Clippers got drug outside, curb checked, thrown through a wall and then tattooed by the Lakers. Offense? Fine. The Lakers are damn good and you had a bad night. But the porous defense for the Clippers is way worse than I thought. I keep thinking that Dunleavy’s hard-ass style will make an impact but all it seems to do is hurt the confidence of young guys. On the other hand, the Nuggets have weapons but have failing leadership, inconsistency, and oh yeah, can’t defend. The Nuggets should win this one based on talent, but if the Clippers get a bigger game from Thornton and Kaman, the Clippers could hang. Of course, we always say the Clippers could hang and then they don’t. Thornton absolutely must start showing he can do something else besides score or he’s going to be a Ricky Davis clone. Speaking of, guess who’ll be ruining any rhythm the Clippers create tomorrow? Finally, Mike Taylor needs to get more burn to let Davis get some rest or you’re going to increase the risk of further running down Davis.

In other news, Dunleavy and Karl will get drunk together the next day.

Gametime: 10:30PM EST League Pass

GAME OF THE SEASON! A MATCH-UP MADE IN HEAVEN: DUNCAN VS. PRYZBILLA! (Rob):


Spurs at Blazers

Tim Duncan against Greg Oden’s backup? Hot damn!

Those rascally Spurs, up to their old antics again. It’s the same game with a few new faces, and those faces just happen to be Red Rocket Bonner and the newly adopted son, Roger Mason. Yet these Ginobili-less senior citizens haven’t missed a beat and still pushed the Suns to the limit. I’ve come to accept it: as long as there is breath in Tim Duncan’s body this will be a dangerous team. Let’s just move on.

But the real question is if the Blazers can rebound from their embarassment against the Lakers. Someone (Nate?) needs to remind this team that they didn’t have The Big Chill last year, and yet they were still competitive and interesting. Right now all they’ve got is a boatfull of errant jumpers, a lifetime supply of leg and foot related injuries, a curse, and a SEASON ON THE BRINK. So Blazers, pretend you’re not a buncha yellowbellies for just one second. Don’t blow the big one on national TV like you did on Tuesday. It’s up to you, Vanilla Gorilla Pryzbilla, to lead this team. Except without actually leading them, becuase Roy’s going to do that. But it’s up to you to hold down the fort and battle with Timmy Dooscan. All of Portland depends on it. Please, for all of our sakes: WIN THIS ONE FOR ODENNNNN!

Gametime: 10:30PM EST ESPN

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Nocturnal Editions: 10.30.08: Devil’s Night

Allright cats and kittens, we’re going to a straight blogger comments format. We think the Cover It Live is a little wonky. If your comments don’t immediately show up, it’s because we haven’t approved them, but they’ll be there soon, pinky-swear. We’ll update this thread with your comments as the night goes on.

TNT Doubleheader! W00t!

Bright Side of The Sun said…

Amare Stoudemire is the MVP leader so far this season…

Brett said…

I wish they would have shown a replay of Ammo’s foul on Bron. I’m not saying he didn’t foul him, but there was a chance it was a clean block. Not a matchup I want to see often.

Brett said…

Maybe Morrison should have cut his hair sooner. He is looking solid.

Matt said…
Tracy McGrady on Ron Artest’s “other side”: “I don’t see it!” That’s because you won’t see it until it’s crawling up your spine, Mac.

Barkley just made a comparison to how people say serial killers are such nice guys and how that’s crap, there’s a pattern. So Ron Artest has been compared to a mass murderer.

Matt said…

Artest has no fluidity of movement. It’s as if each part works independtly of one another.

Matt said…
Josh Howard came to bring the pain.

Matt said….
We have our first player to go Nova of 08-09. Say hello to Josh Howard.

Matt said…

=

I look a lot at potential for teams. This Rockets team? Their potential is a championship. Artest gives them just enough breathing room to let them do what they want.

Rob Mahoney said…

Annnnnd the Bobcats promptly make me look like an idiot by predicting them to be reasonably decent this season. Is it too late for takesies backsies?

Rob Mahoney said…

Josh Howard is the definition of apeshit right now.

goathair said…

I just finished my application to Cornell. Basketball time.

Pradamaster said…

Ron Artest is way too excited about beating the Mavs.

Brett said…

Rob – you feel like an idiot? I cheer for them. Tonight was a great kickoff to the Larry Brown era.

Basketbawful said…

Mr T’s real name is Laurence Tureaud. Just thought everyone should know.

Matt said…
Someone want to tell me when Marvin Ely learned the drop hook?

Andrew “MVP DPOY HOF OMG BBQ” Bynum Gets his Cashola


It was only a matter of time, really, but Bynum has finally agreed to an extension with the small market, lottery-bound Lakers.

WE INTERRUPT THIS BROADCAST FOR A SPECIAL BULLETIN FROM MATT MOORE: Of course he’s worth this money! He’s the greatest center of his time, haven’t you heard? We no longer judge people on whole seasons! Only short bursts! He’s a legend!

And now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Getting The Bynumite locked in at this point can only be a good thing for the Lakers. Yes, yes, Matt, it has to be a bit disconcerting that he barely has more of a track record than Jerome James. But based on his age and just how well Bynum did play during that stretch, they didn’t have a choice. The Lakers had to re-sign this guy, and it was just a matter of agreeing on the dolla dolla billz. A four-year $58 million deal including a team option for a fourth year seems pretty reasonable. Well I mean it’s not reasonable, but for a young center who anchored the middle on a playoff team for awhile, you’re going to have to shell out some dough. The good news for L.A. is that they somehow talked Bynum down from his Iguodalaesque contract demands, even though he probably could’ve held this team ransom for the Crown Jewels. After seeing what happened to the Lakers in the Finals last year, they really had no choice. If they win that series, they’ve got a huuuuuge bargaining chip. But hey, guess what? They didn’t. And yet here we are, and Bynum is still a Laker. Go figure.

Is he some combination of Wilt, Mecha Godzilla, and a physical embodiment of the American way? Ehhhhhh notsomuch. But this guy is far from Stay Puft, he’s still a spry young lad, and he’s shown, even just a little bit, that he can play some basketball.

15 Footer: 10.30.08:

Short schedule tonight, which means it’s Thursday. Nice rack of games, though. Tonight’s games remind me of lamb chops. Smaller, but succulent.

REASONS TO WATCH THE GAMES OF THE NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION TONIGHT:

If Sean May And Ben Wallace Collide, The Earth’s Gravitational Pull May Be Shifted (Matt):

I like how in the first game of the season, the Cavs came out and looked finally like a contender for thirty minutes. Competent guard play from Mo Williams (if not enough dimes), slashing and scoring from Delonte West, decent shooting and defensive hustle. And then it’s like the third quarter came and the Cavs went “Wait a tick. This isn’t us. We’ve got to get back to who we are, man! Now let’s go out there and miss some easy buckets!” Odds are that LeBron brings a pain stick for Charlotte tonight and takes out his frustrations on a squad that looks more and more like it could struggle even more than last year in Larry Brown’s first season. The Bobcats generally have one huge advantage with Gerald Wallace being the best combo-forward on the floor. That maaaay not be the case tonight when the King steps on the court. Throw in Z’s ability to get Okafor up in the air, and you’ve got the makings of a talent-based blowout. Seeing Ammo versus Wally Szczerbiak in some sort of cross-anti-utopian nightmare battle should be entertaining though.

Gametime: 7PM EST on League Pass

A CRAZY PILL A DAY KEEPS THE RATIONAL THINKING AWAY! (Rob):

In this Episode of Crazy Pills Meets the Dallas Mavericks:

* Pills and Josh Howard talk politics while Artest is posting up
* Crazy Pills makes sure to give Mark Cuban some financial advice during a Rockets’ timeout
* Crazy Pills asks Dirk if he misses being in “Spain or wherever you’re from”.
* …oh yeah, and he’ll probably play some basketball.

Zany antics ensue!

Can’t wait for this one. Finally, the double-header doesn’t seem poised for one competitive game and one blowout (damn Lakers, ruining things as usual). Although, supposedly Carlisle’s new offense is going to involve the Mavs shooting more threes, which they had been slowly moving away from under Avery. Do you think Carlisle knows that Jason Kidd is his starting point guard? For the sake of watching a competitive one, I hope to God that he does. The thought of Kidd shooting corner threes is making me a little woozy.

Think of all the drama in this game: Dirk and…wait, but Yao still…no, no, OH T-Mac that one time…gah…well, J-Kidd…dammit. Okay, this is a game full of non-confrontational stars. That can still be dramatic though right? And if not, you just give RonRon a shot in the arm during halftime (…seriously, dope him up if this game needs a kick in the pants) and he’s a walking WILD CARD, B*TCHES! YEEEEEEEE-HAW!

But in all seriousness, this should be a great game. The JET is right on the money in proclaiming that the Mavs may be a bit underappreciated this season, and that’s a good place for them. Meanwhile, the Rockets are coming off a surprisingly competitive game with Memphis and are trying to get into a winning groove. Not that you’re really going to watch Cavs-Bobcats anyway (although I’d totally DVR that mofo, if I were you), but this is a must-see.


You Don’t Bring A Diaw To A Gunfight (Or: Pick On Someone As Healthy As You) (Matt):


Corn and I both knew the Suns were going to win that game last night. The Spurs without Manu, the Suns playing inspired for new coach Terry Porter, Amare Stoudemire announcing his MVP candidacy, and it still came down to the wire. Such is Suns-Spurs. For the moment, and by moment I mean the next month, I’m willing to give the Suns the benefit of the doubt and buy into the new hybrid of offense and defense that they’re selling. Under that condition, tonight’s Hornets-Suns game should be fascinating. The Suns are beefier down low than they have been in years, and they’re facing a Hornets team that’s not very deep. You’ve got two of the best point guards in the league, Stoudemire versus West which is actually a pretty equal matchup, and Grant Hill versus Peja Stojakovic in a battle of 2001.

The real question here, ironically, is about the Hornets being tired. Playing a late West Coast game that went down to the wire against the Warriors, only to turn around and fly to Phoenix is a rough back-to back for this early in the season. The pick and roll implementation and defense will be interesting, as will if Terry Porter tells Stoudemire to cut off Chandler on the release to use his athleticism or stick with West for the possible catch and shoot. Chandler has an athletic advantage over any of the Suns big men, but you can’t let West shoot 12-18 footers because that’s holding the gun to your head. Conversely, keep an eye on the Hornets defensively to see if they try and trap Nash which could lead to Chandler getting in foul trouble against Stoudemire on the pick and roll, or if they opt for the “Make Nash Score” route. Should be a good one. Which means it’ll be a blowout.

Gametime: 10:30PM EST, TNT

Super Overreactionizer: Greg Oden’s Injuries

The Super Overeactionizer lets us look at just how much we want to overreact to a story that Kelly Dwyer will inevitably make us feel stupid about overreacting to. Occasionally we’ll dabble in rational thought.

Q: How completely and totally doomed is Greg Oden?

*****************************************************
The Corndogg:

So, for those of you who aren’t movie snobs like me, there is a new David Fincher (he of Fight Club fame) called “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” So, why bring up a stupid sounding movie starring Brad Pitt? Because, its plot is almost directly identical to my theory about Greg Oden. See, Benjamin Button was born as an 80 year old man and who ages backward. So, as he grows/recedes, his size and emotions become stunted and opposite those around him who are growing normally. Such is the case with Greg Oden.

Oden was born with the body of a 100 year old man. So, now at “age” 20, he is LITERALLY 80 years old, at least in bone density, calcium deposits, ligament dexterity and muscle movement. Thus, the wrist injury of two years ago, the microfracture last year and the sprained foot now should be seen as the norm, not the ridiculous. I mean, by Christmas time, kid could be getting a hip replacement. In reality, it should be us, the viewers and fans, who should take the blame for poor Gregory. We have forced our conventional ideas about athletes (be young, healthy, leaping, careless, fearless) to a man who is clearly ahead of, or really behind, the times. Making Greg play now would be like trotting our Robert Parrish in today’s game. Greg is not the superstar of today, but of the next generation. You know, when he’s 45 going on 21.

Don’t blame the old, decrepit Oden, blame the system. We look forward to watching you dominate in the future Greg, when television will be programmed into our arms and cars run on happy thoughts.

****************************
Trey Kerby:

I hate worrying about injuries. I really don’t see the point. To me, worrying about injuries is like worrying that Michael Doleac is going to come to my house and eat all my Fun Dip. However, as Skeets says, “Greg Oden’s legs resent him.” And currently, I resent Greg Oden’s legs. They’re real jerks.

The real stick of it is is that this really hurts the Blazers. They have a rough stretch here (Phoenix twice, New Orleans twice, Detroit, Utah, Houston, Orlando) that would have been a challenge even at full strength. Struggling for these 4 weeks could put them out of the playoffs in the West. And then what happens when Oden gets back? Not only will he have to get used to playing (again), the Blazers will have to get used to playing with him (again). That’s another two months of uncertainty. In the West, that’s a death sentence.
********************************
Matt Moore:
I’m not saying he’s going to be injury prone. I’m just saying he has a history of picking them up. This is a minor deal. But it impacts his ability to get conditioned to taking the poundings he’s going to need to in order to play down low in this league. Furthermore, what’s the answer? Lose weight? You do that and he’s going to be able to be bumped and moved aside more easily. Keep the weight on him and you’re putting more stress on his lower body.

The worst part is there’s nothing the Big Chill can do about this. He can’t tough his way through legitimate injuries that effect his ability to do things like walk. But until he proves that he can go through a single NBA game without getting injured, we need to tone down on the hype machine and think of him as just another player for a while.

************************************
Rob Mahoney:

The Blazers won’t make the playoffs. Greg Oden will be traded in the off-season for a signed and traded Stephon Marbury. Travis Outlaw will quit the team to play in the ABA. LaMarcus Aldridge will stab Brandon Roy in a duel that will inevitably ensue over controlling power amongst the warlords of the greater Portland area. Then of course, Rip City will be completely covered in molten lava following the eruption of a now-dormant volcano.

Well, it was a good run, Blazers. You had a nice little team going there for awhile. But now it’s time to get real. And real means that the T-Wolves are tied for first in the division while they Blazers are tied for last. Game over man, game over.

Last Minute Halloween Costume Ideas

For all of you who still cannot decide on whether to be a suicidal stockbroker, Joe the Plumber or a dead Phillies fan for Halloween, leave it up to HP to help you make a wiser, snazzier decision. May we present to you… POPOWOLF


Outfit comes complete with “Hack-a-Shaq” machete, extra long crazy thumbs and fangs so sharp they’ll suck the heart right out of the NBA.

Trust me, this is a much better suggestion than last year’s:
Yi’s Jianlian’s (im)mortal enemy

Hit ‘Em Up: Oh What A(n Opening) Night!

One of the things I love most about the start of the season is the unbridled optimism in contrast to the slight panic that inevitably sets in after one loss. Right now Knicks fans feel great. Conversely, Heat fans are probably trying to get the dried vomit out of their ocular cavities.

Here’s a look around the web at some of my favorite post game reactions this morning.

Posting and Toasting: “Wilson Chandler was everything we want him to be and more. He had a very quiet 17 and 8, canned a couple jumpers, and scrapped all over the glass to get putbacks and loose balls. “Wilson is my homeboy” t-shirts coming soon.” (Ed. Note: How the f does Jamal Crawford go off for 29 after being lambasted in preseason and not get mentioned, P&T?)

Bl0g-A-Bull: “41 minutes for Tyrus Thomas!…He makes so many plays where you say there’s no power forwards who can do that, or stop that. He’s such an instinctive passer and his jumpshot has improved to the point where defenders are running at him. The one ‘old Tyrus’ part of his game was the 2 goaltends (plus an offensive basket interference), but if you let him play it’s usually a net positive. And then some…Kirk Hinrich also had a good shooting game, though before I looked at the boxscore I wouldn’t have guessed it.” (Ed. Note: At this point I’m hoping Hinrich gets traded just so Bulls fans will get off him. Even when he has a good game, he doesn’t have a good game.)

Peachtree Hoops: “hat was an unquestionably fine start to the season keyed by the team’s defensive performance. Josh Smith deserves to be singled out for praise though Al Horford’s work against Dwight Howard in the first half should not be overshadowed by Horford’s struggles to defend without fouling in the second half. I don’t think the Hawks can or should take full credit for Orlando missing 21 of 25 three-point attempts–some of that is simply Orlando missing makeable shots–but the Hawks’ defensive effort was constant. It’s a testament to the team’s room for improvement that a consistent defensive effort gets one’s attention. Here’s hoping they make it an unexceptional occurrence.”

Forum Blue and Gold: “That is the way you want to start. Good things were happening everywhere. The most important thing is that the Lakers defense looked good. The length of the Lakers starters really bothered the Portland shooters, the rotations were crisp, they switched very well (and a lot) on screens, they seemed to communicate and there was very good hustle.” (Ed. Note: I am terrified of the Lakers defense right now. Yeah, they’re still questionable inside, but Bynum takes the sting off, and their perimeter defense is just sickeningly good at this point.”)

Bright Side of the Sun: “We saw a little of the new and a lot of the old leading to 103 points with 49% FG and 40% 3FG against the Spurs defense. The Suns had 5 players in double digits with Diaw and Barnes just under that mark. Rebounding was a tie and the Suns lead in FTA’s…That is a solid night in anyone’s book and not your run and gun Suns. Oh, except for that highly efficient shooting and balanced scoring.”

Canis Hoopus: “On the good side, we had the best two rookies in last year’s draft on display, statistically speaking. Both Love and the Kings’ Jason Thompson had impressive debuts, and far and away outdid anyone else in the Class of ’08 in the opening Tuesday and Wednesday games. Love had a +20 for the night; in fact, the Wolves bench outshined the starters in the plus/minus category. For anyone that doubted the retention of Kevin Ollie over Blake Ahearnahem…please watch the last minutes of the game. The ability of Ollie to shut down Martin while Corey Brewer was able to guard John Salmons in the last possession of the game was huge…So, there was lot to enjoy about the victory, but a lot of concern for the team as well. Sounds about right for a mid-30 win team. For today, I’ll split the difference and stay positive.” (Ed. Note to Hoopus: If you can’t enjoy one of the 30 wins you’re going to get this season, what can you enjoy? Soak it in, man!Also, Kevin Ollie sucks.)

Hornets 24-7: “Our rotation was interesting. Byron took Paul out halfway through the first quarter and 2 minutes of the second, and played him the whole second half. Julian didn’t play, and neither did Ely. Posey was on the floor during crunch time for Peterson. Our second unit was fed into the game bit by bit over the end of the first, and we ended it with Hilton, Posey, Butler, Brown and James on the floor. Unfortunately, our scoring stagnated with that unit out there. Sigh.” (Ed. Note: Um. Guys? When you launch the new site and update a new feed? Little help? Please?)

Sactown Royalty: This entire post. Seriously. If you want a clue as to why Ziller is the best in the independent blogger business, this is it. He’s genuinely thrilled with stuff that went on in a loss to the Timberwolves. And he’s absolutely right. Great stuff. “Jason Thompson !!!” is the new “FTW!”

Peninsula Is Mightier: “Michael Beasley played like he was high. I promise that won’t become a running joke, but it needed to be said tonight. On a higher level of analysis, here are what I see as the two biggest problems with his offensive game. First, he’s heaving from the NBA-range 3-point line, which of course is the only one we’re using up here, and as a result is hesitant to shoot the wide-open jumpers that are a big part of his package. Second, he takes way too many shots from a low release point. He opened the Heat’s scoring with a fancy little scoop shot that really had no business going in, but that’s a really, really bad habit. Teams are going to learn that you can reach in and strip Beasley any time he makes a move toward the basket. Can you imagine if Karl Malone guarded him? Overall, though, I’m not worried. He’ll figure it out.”

Blazers Edge: “Well, that was not pleasant.”

Great Exercises in Basketball Statistical Production: 10.30.08

Just some lines.

Chalmers, 7-13, 17 points, 7 rebounds (WTF?), 8 assists, 1 Turnover.

Jamal Crawford, 9-19, 7-10 from the stripe, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 29 points to lead all scorers. So much for the doghouse, JC.

CNuv: 8-17, 20 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks, 5 Turnovers. Charlie Villanueva wakes up every night from a nap at 5PM and does not know who he is.

Joe Johnson and Josh Smith combined, 17-31, 42 points, 17 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 turnovers, 4 steals, 5 blocks.

JJ Redick: 0-4, 2 points

AK: 6-9, 16 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks. Guess coming off the bench ain’t so bad.

CP3: 21, 11 dimes, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block (?!)

Kevin Love, 18 minutes: 12 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks