By Jason Wojciechowski on November 9, 2009 at 7:30 PM
So LeBron says winning is more important than money, huh? Well, first, I guess that's easy to say in a league that puts a cap on contracts: when every single team with cap room is going to call you and offer the maximum, and your only decision is whether to take a little more money in Cleveland under the Bird rule, or go somewhere without a state income tax, you have a lot of other things to think about when you're making your free agency decision. And second, I guess this rules out Cleveland, huh? (Zing!)
With that, to Sunday's games.
Sixers 81, Pistons 88: Ben Wallace had a turn-back-the-clock night, grabbing seven offensive rebounds and 16 overall to go with three steals and three blocks, all while shooting 0-2. Has there ever been a specialist quite like Ben Wallace? It's fascinating, really. Iggy continued his box-score filling ways with 24/6/4 and four steals for Philly.
Suns 102, Bullets 90: Jason Richardson and Channing Frye combined for eight threes, four apiece, Frye, Grant Hill, and Amare all cracked double-digits in rebounds, and Steve Nash had seventeen assists. I love Phoenix box scores. They give me joy in a way that no other team quite matches. Andray Blatche had 20 points and three blocks off the bench for Washington. Hibachi had 20 as well, but took 22 shots, turned the ball over four times, and committed five fouls. Rough night.
Orlando 74, OKC 102: Wow. Has Hijack City arrived for real real now? Yes, the Magic are still minus Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis, but Da-wight and Jameer Nelson is plenty for most teams to handle, and certainly enough to not lose by 28. Twenty-eight, ooincidentally, is what Kevin Durant scored, to go with four rebounds, five assists, and three steals. He's still not consistently rebounding the basketball, but the five assists are a good sign -- he's had far too many Jerry Stackhouse lines in his career for my comfort. The Thunder won despite getting called for 29 fouls to just 17 by Orlando, leading to a DQ for Jeff Green in just 22 minutes of run. This can be attributed to fouling the right guys: Dwight Howard hit 11 of 17 from the stripe and Mickael Pietrus missed six of his eleven, which is pretty brutal for a wing player. The Thunder, by contrast, shot the lights out: 57% from the field, 9-16 from three, and 13-15 from the line. That's just a lot of ball finding net. Vince and Rashard not being known for the stellar defense, it's probably safe to guess that they wouldn't have done much on this kind of shooting night.
Minnesota 93, Portland 116: Now that's the kind of blowout you expect. Portland led by 25 going into the fourth quarter, which is likely the reason why Nathan Jawai led Minnesota in scoring with 16 points. I don't know what to say about the Blazers. With this kind of blowout win, everybody on the team ends up playing 24 minutes, so nobody's line jumps out at you. Brandon Roy only shot 1-6 but had seven assists. How about that?
Golden State 107, Sacramento 120: Seven guys in double digits for Sacramento, not counting Sean May, who didn't play after being a starter for the team a few games ago. Tyreke Evans had another big game with 23/8 and two steals. Omri Casspi had the best game by an Israeli ever, shooting 4-6 from three, grabbing ten boards, and even adding five assists and three steals. He did commit five fouls, but that's to be expected from a guy adjusting to the stench of cows after a life growing up amongst olive trees.
I made that up. I have no idea what kind of surroundings Casspi grew up in. Either way, Stephen Jackson, who did not grow up in the Middle East but who is now living in a seriously conflict-oriented situation up in Oakland (I'm referring to the team, not the city), led the Warriors with 21 points.
New Orleans 88, Lakers 104: New Orleans apparently did not come to play against L.A. The final margin was just 16, but L.A. was up 24 entering the final period. DJ Mbenga, starting because both Pau Gasol and Drew Bynum are hurt, had 10/12 and four blocks. That's a legit line. It's a better line that Greg Oden ususally winds up with. Lamar Odom and Ron Artest are turning into the same player, at least per the box scores: 1-6 shooting, 1-4 from three, 4-4 from the line, nine boards, six assists; 2-6 shooting, 0-2 from three, 1-2 from the line, eight boards, seven assists. Who is who? (I'm not telling because the point is it doesn't matter.) Chris Paul had 15/9 and Emeka Okafor grabbed 14 rebounds, including five offensive. But do you really care? The Hornets are 2-5 and we're all feeling worse and worse for Paul, aren't we?