By Jason Wojciechowski on November 15, 2009 at 9:20 AM
This is, according to my new system, my 1000th post on this blog. That's something of a milestone, I suppose, although the fact that it has existed for over five years now tells me ... actually, my rate of posting isn't terrible, is it? That's basically a post every other day for five years. Of course, that's not how it's worked. The blog has lain fallow for months on end, followed by spurts of multiple short (and essentially worthless) posts per day. Through all of that, it's still fun to do and still a good outlet for my sports thoughts. At one point, I actually cared if people read it, and wanted to become a big blogger, a guy who was known and linked to in the blogosphere. It became apparent pretty quickly that I didn't have the dedication to pull that off, though, so now the blog is what it is: a place for me to write, one that apparently does have enough visitors to sell ads that pay for the hosting and the domain registration fees, but which don't provide me any actual profit. I have no illusions about my own writing ability (mediocre) or about the level of attention I'm going to pay to what I write here (everything I post is a first draft, or at best a half-assed second draft -- I don't think I've ever once actually re-written a post, tearing apart structure, and so forth; I correct typos when I find them, but that's about it). So, with that, a day late, here's a roundup of Friday's NBA games. Here's to another thousand.
Nets 72, Magic 88: Another ugly final score for New Jersey, although at least Chris Douglas-Roberts is back now. Devin Harris, Yi, and Courtney Lee are all still out, though. Rafer Alston actually had a triple-double in this game, with 17/10/10, but given that it took him 20 shots to score 17 points and that his team scored only 72 points and that they lost by 16, it has to be one of the most meaningless triple-doubles ever, right? Weirdly, Terrence Williams, the backup point guard, had 12 rebounds himself for the Nets. I guess the Jersey bigs were feeling generous. Or maybe just feeling dominated, because Matt Barnes and Dwight Howard had 13 and 12 rebounds, respectively, for Orlando, including five on the offensive glass for Da-wight. Howard added 26 points and five blocks.
Jazz 112, Sixers 90: Losing by 22 on your home court when you're supposed to be a solid team isn't a very good sign. Iguodala had 11/7/10 and four blocks, filling up the stat sheet, but he shot just 4-13, and Utah did its best Phoenix impression, having seven guys score in double-digits (everyone who played more than two minutes went for at least 13) and racking up 32 assists on 42 field goals. And all of this with Deron Williams missing the game for personal reasons, leaving the Utah starting backcourt to be Wes Matthews and Eric Maynor. Just an ugly loss for Philadelphia.
Warriors 121, Knicks 107: Fourteen points doesn't mean as much at the pace these two teams play as it would in a game between two slower teams, but it's still a double-digit loss for the Knicks on their home floor to a team that isn't very good, one that's missing Ronny Turiaf and Andris Biedrins (and thus theoretically shouldn't be able to take advantage of New York's lack of power and size inside). But in the event, Corey Maggette, Kelenna Azubuike, and Monta Ellis each had 22 points, and Stephen Jackson had 23, which is kind of a funny coincidence. Jackson wasn't so efficient, shooting 10-23 and 2-10 from three, but Maggette was 8-10, and anyway, Jackson added five steals to make up for all the possessions he used up with missed shots. Jordan Hill shot 5-5 off the bench for the Knicks and had three rebounds, all offensive, but he also committed five fouls in fourteen minutes. Chris Duhon and Larry Hughes, the starting guards, combined to shoot 2-13. Toney Douglas picked up some of the slack, scoring 15 points, but he wasn't super-efficient either, as he took 16 shots. Big Cock came away with the clear best line of the night: 7-10 shooting, 4-6 from three, 19 points and ten boards, both of which were team highs. Oh, and Nate Robinson is back.
Hawks 97, Celtics 86: I half-watched this one, and you know I love seeing Boston get beat, especially on their home floor. The two things that jump out at me from the box score are 16 offensive rebounds for the Hawks (to 23 defensive for Boston) and 1-15 shooting from three for the Celtics, including 0-4 from Paul Pierce and 1-5 from Rasheed Wallace.
Blazers 86, Hornets 78: That coaching change really took hold, didn't it? Marcus Thornton and Darren Collison led the Hornets in scoring with 20 and 18 points, respectively, which is fine, except that they're bench players. Peja? 1-7 for two points. Okafor? 2-7 for seven. Chris Paul? 1-8 for three points, and he got hurt. (He did have eight assists and three steals, the assists being all the more remarkable given that his team shot 37% from the field.) Portland racked up twenty offensive rebounds, led by five from Greg Oden. He and Joel Przybilla each blocked a trio of shots and LaMarcus Aldridge led the team with 20/13.
Mavericks 89, Wolves 77: Minnesota is now 1-9 and their leading scorer in this game, Jonny Flynn, had eleven points, which is the same as the total points scored in the second quarter for Minnesota. Ouch. Dirk had 20/11, but this one was over early: Dallas was up 19 going into the third (despite being tied at the end of the first quarter).
Rockets 100, Kings 109: The Kings continue to surprise, and the Rockets continue to show that maybe they're not quite there. Jason Thompson, Beno Udrih, and Tyreke Evans had 27, 22, and 20 points, shooting 9-15, 9-15, and 9-17. The Kings turned the ball over 18 times to Houston's 10, but the 54-35 rebounding advantage helped neutralize that. Trevor Ariza had 28/6/5 with five steals, but he shot 4-12 from three and 6-9 from two, so he might be taking the wrong kinds of shots. Shane Battier had 23 points on just eleven shots.
Lakers 79, Nuggets 105: It's a good thing I wasn't at home for this one. I watched the first quarter, which L.A. won 28-26, but the third quarter score was a shocking 29-8. That's right, the Lakers, of all teams, were held to eight points in a quarter (and a quarter that the starters dominate, not a second quarter where the first six minutes might be played by the second unit, which has had trouble scoring). The second unit was terrible for L.A.: putting aside Jordan Farmar, who was 3-6 for eight points, the bench shot 4-25 from the field and 0-2 from the line. That's right, they took 25 shots and only two free throws. The team only shot 16 free throws compared to 29 for Denver, but I'm not going to look at the refs on this one, because L.A. shot 25 threes on the night, which tells me that overall, they were a jump-shooting team, and jump shots don't lead to fouls. Anyway, if there was a game L.A. was going to lose, it would be to Denver on the second half of a back-to-back, but you'd like to see them put up a better effort, especially since Denver looks like it's actually for real and this could very well be a playoff matchup in the spring.
The anticipated matchup of Ron Artest and Carmelo Anthony worked out pretty well in Carmelo's favor: 25 points for him and five fouls for Ron-Ron. Andrew Bynum had 19/15 on 8-13 shooting, another very nice game for the big man. He led both teams in rebounds, and tied for the Laker lead in scoring. Tre Smith had 20 points off the bench for Denver, and Ty Lawson had 13 with six assists and one incredible finish over DJ Mbenga:
Raptors 104, Clippers 89: The final deficit for the Clippers was created entirely in the fourth quarter, which Toronto won 30-15. The Clippers had won the first quarter 34-17, but Toronto chipped away over the next two periods and then blew out the home team at the end. Chris Bosh had 21/14/6 and Marco Belinelli scored 15 off the bench for the Raps. Chris Kaman led the Clippers with 25.