Basketball season is underway, and baseball is in hibernation as the winter hasn't really started yet (at least for the guys on the field; the manager / GM action is going hot and heavy).
I haven't watched last night's games yet: they're on the DVR at home, but I can take a quick run through the box scores. I'm a stats guy anyway.
LeBron James had himself an interesting night: he was very efficient, scoring 31 points on just sixteen shots, which is incredible, but he managed just three rebounds and four assists. He did get two steals, though. Still, isn't Bron-Bron supposed to average a triple-double at some point? The Cavs beat the Hornets by 22, so you can't complain too much, though.
Welcome back, Ron Artest. Problem is, he forgot how to shoot: just 4-14 last night. Also, just three rebounds in 40 minutes. The Pacers won 90-78 over the Magic, though, and no one for either team managed to reach twenty points, ten rebounds, or eight assists.
Washington won in Toronto by three, which is a disappointingly small margin, given the Raptors' atrociousness. Caron Butler had the kind of game that makes people wonder whether he's stagnated at the same time as showing his "all-around player" potential: 29 minutes off the bench, 3-10 shooting, though with seven rebounds and five assists.
Boston beat New York in overtime ... by fourteen. How do you lose by fourteen in overtime? It's a miracle the Knicks even got to overtime, though, with Jamal Crawford shooting 3-11 off the bench while Stephon Marbury and Eddy Curry combined to miss fourteen free throws. The Celts played a short rotation, with Al Jefferson's 13 minutes off the bench registering as the team high. Also, the way to stop Paul Pierce is not to send him to the line 24 times.
The Bucks are 2-0 after they beat New Jersey by fourteen. Andrew Bogut grabbed 17 rebounds, eight offensive (but shot just 4-13), Michael Redd dropped 41, and Maurice Williams scored 23 in just 28 minutes off the bench. The Nets countered with all five starters in double digits but a total of just 15 points off the bench.
Detroit beat Philly, so the Sixers are 0-2. I'm sure Allen Iverson's displeasure with the dress code has everything to do with it. The fact that Chris Webber got to the line just three times shows his devolution into an outside player. He's not worth the money or players the team paid for him if he's a jump shooter. It was more of the same for the Pistons, though: Ben Wallace rebounds the ball (10), Chauncey Billups runs the show (10 assists), Rip Hamilton works that mid-range game (37 points, no threes attempted), and Darko rots on the bench (nine minutes played despite a 20-point victory).
Boy, that Sebastian Telfair really fills up the stat sheet, doesn't he? Thirty-four minutes, five points, two rebounds, three assists, three turnovers? That's remarkable. You can't put up a line like that by accident. Meanwhile, in the same game, what's happened to Troy Hudson? He's getting DNP-Coach's Decision now? He was overrated based on lighting up the Lakers a few years ago, but is Richie Frahm really playing over him? Who the hell's Richie Frahm? Whoever he is, he was tied with Kevin Garnett as the Wolves' leading scorer last night.
Shaq only had to play 28 minutes against the Grizzlies, partly because Dwyane Wade and Antoine Walker combined for 48 points and 26 rebounds. Pau Gasol, who I love, scored 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, but got no support. It's not entirely clear to me who he should have expected support to come from, either. Is Shane Battier supposed to score eighteen a night? I like Battier, but that's not his game.
The Bobcats took the Bulls to overtime but were sunk by Chicago's team-wide effort. The Bulls had seven players in double digits. It took Ben Gordon 18 shots to get his 14 points, but Chris Duhon filled the gap: 18 points on nine shots, ten rebounds, and twelve assists. Duhon's on pace for 82 triple-doubles this year.
Sacramento is 0-2 after Yao Ming dropped 22/10 in just 25 minutes (foul trouble, it seems: he finished with five) and Jon Barry scored 24 off the bench. Peja and Bibby sunk the Kings, shooting a combined 5-24.
Utah beat Dallas by ten, which is a little bit stunning. My absolute favorite non-Laker in the league, Andrei Kirilenko, did his usual damage, grabbing ten rebounds, dishing five assists, and blocking six shots. He only scored seven points, because he shot 2-10, but can we recognize how ridiculous it is for a 6-9 small forward to regularly put up four-, five-, and eight-block games? I like Mehmet Okur a lot. He's my kind of player. The Jazz shouldn't count on him to keep scoring 27 per game, though.
The Clips knocked out Seattle by scoring 37 in the fourth quarter to the Sonics' 18. Sam Cassell went for 35 and still managed to dish out 11 assists.
Golden State went nuts on the Hawks, 122-97. I'm not sure what to make of this. The Hawks are bad. They're awful. But doesn't winning by 25 still mean something? The Warriors shot 58%, helped out by Troy Murphy's 8-8 and Mickael Pietrus's 6-9 showings.
Finally, the Lakers beat the Nugs in overtime. I may have more to say after I watch it, but from the box score, Lamar Odom was awful, shooting 2-13; no team should ever be putting Chris Mihm on the free-throw line ten times; and how in the hell did Andrew Bynum get six minutes of run while Slava Medvedenko got squat? Slava can't really guard real centers, but who were the Nugs throwing out there as big men? Marcus Camby, Eduardo Najera, Francisco Elson. Slava can't guard these guys? Bynum did block two shots, though. Final note: if you let Smush Parker score 20 points despite not focusing on Kobe enough to keep him under 30, you're going to lose.