- Sunday: The Spurs (14-2) impressively beat the Hornets (12-4) in Nawlins, 109-95. San Antonio turned a 17-point deficit into a 17-point lead in the second half. It's the most anyone has scored against Nawlins so far this season. I'm inching toward the Celtics and Spurs being #2 and #2A in my mental power rankings.
- Sunday: Carmelo Anthony's streak of 134 consecutive games scoring in double figures ended when left the game due to an "illness" less than three minutes in. It's not like the Nuggets (10-6) were playing a team that plays defense, at least. They beat the Suns (8-9) without 'Melo, 138-133. Old Man Chancey dropped 25, FFS. (Box Score)
- Sunday: The Pacers (8-7) beat the Lakers (13-4), 95-92, in L.A., despite shooting only 43.2% and Kobe's 41 pts. Roy Hibbert, T.J. Ford, James Posey, and Brandon Rush displayed excellent basketball I.Q. in the game-clinching possession. (Also: note the Lakers sticking on the cutters keeps Ron-Ron from needing to help, so he could keep denying Danny Granger the ball as an option.) "Maybe it's time to start paying attention to the Indiana Pacers," Mike McGraw wrote on a Bulls off-day, sandwiched between days with no games. I picked Indy as a possible sleeper to sneak into the playoffs, but if they're worth any attention, it's peculating how badly they get whooped by Boston, Orlando, or the Bulls in the first round as an #7 or #8 seed.
Kelly Dwyer says this team could be 11-4. "Defensive aptitude doesn't tend to go away, so there's no reason why
this team can't sustain this good play, and the Pacers could and should
improve offensively as Hibbert gets more and more comfortable with being
a go-to guy of sorts down the stretch of games," he wrote, but I get uneasy with the logic of morphing records to strength based on close games. All mediocre and bad teams lose a lot of close games. It's what reflects that they're not good, not that they're unlucky or a brainfart or two away from winning a division. Winning blowouts not getting blown out are an even better measure.
- "The Magic [12-4] still are open to making a deal for either Carmelo Anthony or
Chris Paul -- they're partial to Paul -- and would part with pieces not
named Dwight Howard," Brian Schmitz reported yesterday at the Orlando Sentinel's "Magic Basketblog."
"Vince Carter and all their youngish, proven pieces are available in some
sort of blockbuster package: Jameer Nelson, Mickael Pietrus, Marcin
Gortat, Brandon Bass, J.J. Redick and Ryan Anderson," he added.
- The 9-8 Heat had a players-only meeting.
I'm not saying the way this team was built is insignificant, but the
dog n' pony show of the off-season doesn't actually win or lose games. I
find it humorous that a group which hasn't come close to winning
anything is going players-only-meeting with a winning record.
point is that even though a core was put together a few months ago to
become a potential dynasty. If the Celtics or Magic were 9-8, it'd be an
underachievement, but a collapse? Let's understand why we see the Heat
struggling to become great is significant: the key word is "become"
because they haven't done anything yet. People need to pick a lane on
the Heat. Either they haven't won anything yet and should be treated as
such or anything short of greatness should be treated as if they've
already won a three-peat and all of the contracts are expiring at the
end of the season.
Is Spoelstra to blame for their offense not converting possessions?
In the won-loss column, blame could be shared between him for not
negating those problems with an effective defensive scheme, but probably
more should go to Pat Riley for crippling the budget to only be able to
afford people with less than two good legs.
Also: "The Heat Have Failed to Impress Tracy McGrady." In other news, Tracy McGrady has failed at everything.
- Knicks are bad at defense.
- Grant Hill says he wants to play through 40, so of course the 38-yr-old wants a multi-year deal after the season.
- Henry Abbott on saving "a timeout or two."
- Sunday: Do triple-doubles count against the CRaptors (6-11)? Josh Smith went a 12-13-10 in the ATL's (11-7) 96-78 win in Toronto.
- Antoine Walker could sign a D-League contract as soon as Monday. When he shoots 4-for-20 within ten feet in a game, will he respond to criticism, "Because there are no 0.5s"?