Saturday, February 2, 2008

Friday Night on ESPN

I've already noted the Lakers great move in getting Pau Gasol, so here are last night's game after the trade:

- The Lakers were actually in action 1st continuing their extended roadtrip in Toronto. They got a big win, 121-101, with a huge game from Kobe (46pts on 28 shots) and still 4 other Lakers scored double-digits. Kobe looks to be putting his name atop that MVP list. Andrea Bargnani is becoming solid again (28pts in this one).

- Houston visited Indy next and pulled out a narrow victory (106-103) in T-Mac's return (again). McGrady had 19pts and 9assts in this one. The Pacers were led by Jeff Foster's 13pts, 17rebs and Danny Granger who had 22pts. Jamaal Tinsley played in this game coming off the bench to play 21mins and score just 2pts, but did have 8assts. Tinsley's never been a huge scorer so expect that he'll be fine and contributing in the starting rotation again soon.

- In Philly, Orlando got the win in another close one (108-106). The news in Orlando lately has been JJ Redick's frustrations and trade requests (putting it lightly; he got the DNP - CD in this one). My take on it is that he just needs to shut up and sit on that bench considering he's basically telling the league that he'd rather play on a bad team and get minutes then play on the contender that he's on. He should sit on that bench and wait until Stan Van Gundy has a reason to play him. He was an undersized, slower, not very athletic 2-guard coming out of Duke anyways. I understand he was a great scorer in college, but that doesn't mean anything in the bigger, stronger, faster NBA. The Magic are a contender and Redick needs to just enjoy the ride. I do think that the Magic are better served sending him to the D-League to develop a little if they aren't going to use him at all. The Magic and Sixers both had all 5 starters in double figure scoring, but the Sixers just didn't have enough. I'll give dap to Hedo in this game (23pts, 7rebs, 6assts), who should be in the ASG, but got snubbed. I can't really say who he should replace (maybe Antawn Jamison), but the Wizards are a more surprising team without the services of Gil and Hedo is the more surprising player (between him and Jamison). Tough call, but I do think Hedo has to be one of the top alternates if someone goes misses due to injury or other matter.

- Minny got their biggest margin of victory this season beating a bad Clippers team, 104-83, who were still without Chris Kaman, another snub (although I don't think so since the Clippers have been awful). Al Jefferson was his usual 20-10 self with 25pts, and 11rebs, while Gomes continues to prove that he needs to be owned in all leagues. He's that team's 2nd option right now (18pts, 9rebs) even with the return of Randy Foye (5pts off the bench again in this one) and Rashad McCants being a solid scorer (14pts).

- In Miami, New Jersey became the most recent team to beat the Heat. D-Wade only had 15pts in the loss as the Heat leading scorer. Jersey got 25pts from Jefferson, 15pts from Boone and 14pts, 11rebs from VC. Luke Jackson has been a decent scorer for the Heat recently (double digits in his last 3 games and 10pts off the bench in this one, he had been starting in Haslem's absence, who's still out).

- In Washington, Utah got a win that they hadn't been getting in the early season. Both Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer struggled from the field (6-23 combined), but Mehmet Okur carried the scoring load with 27pts, 11rebs, 5assts. Antawn Jamison had 31pts and Andray Blatche had 19pts and 13rebs in Caron Butler's starting spot. He's shown that while starting, he's a legit source of rebounds, blocks and some scoring. Pick him up until Caron Butler returns.

- In New Orleans, the Hornets are starting to show some signs of weakness, losing 2 games in a row after a 9 game win streak. Chris Paul was still Chris Paul, scoring 15pts and dishing out 19assts in this one, but NO came up short 103-112 against Sacramento, led by Brad Miller (22pts, 14rebs and 4assts). Sacramento as a team made 10 threes.

- The biggest blowout of the night came in GS, as it will when the Warriors are hot. They beat the Bobcats 127-96, shooting 54.8% as a team and making 10-18 threes. They got scoring from all 12 players on the roster, led by Monta Ellis' 21pts. The Cats got a big game from Emeka Okafor (20pts, 18rebs), but it wasn't close to enough. The Cats also picked up Earl Boykins for the rest of the season, hoping he can help them make the playoffs. He'll need some time to get back into game shape, but he could be a decent option for scoring if he cracks the starting lineup (in place of Jeff McInnis) and/or Raymond Felton gets injured, as he's been a bit injury-prone during his young career.

- The lone OT game came in the Pacific northwest in Portland, where the Knicks played tough. Brandon Roy had a solid triple-double with 21pts, 10rebs, 11assts to lead the Trailblazers and showed why he should be an All-Star, making my reasoning that he shouldn't be one look dumb. The Knicks were without Eddy Curry and David Lee got the start at center (14pts, 15rebs) and probably should be starting on a team as bad as the Knicks. Jamal Crawford played a game high 50mins and had just 13pts on 6-27 from the field (1-11 from three).

Friday, February 1, 2008

The 1st move to get things going

Memphis F/C Pau Gasol was traded to the LA Lakers this afternoon for F/C Kwame Brown, rookie PG Javaris Crittenton and 2 future #1 draft picks. This might be the worst deal in Memphis history, which isn't surprising since Jerry West just left the franchise. They went from a great HOF worthy GM to the next Isiah Thomas. That's like going from a Ferrari to a Ford Escort. I don't know who their GM is currently, but I'm sure ESPN and other analysts will be revealing that information shortly enough to bash him. Pau Gasol is a legit All-Star in this league and with him, Kobe and Bynum with what is already one of the deepest teams in the league, the Lakers immediately go to the top as a top 2 or 3 team once Bynum returns (hopefully he is healthy and as good as he was before the injury). Memphis is clearly looking to build around Mike Conley Jr. and Rudy Gay, both of whom are potential perennial All-Stars in the NBA, but I just don't understand the Crittenton part of the deal. The Grizz could have gotten someone better and more useful to their franchise. They could have gotten Turiaf in return and it would have made more sense. You're telling me the Lakers wouldn't get Gasol if they had to give away Turiaf and Kwame? I guess the Grizzlies got 2 future first rounders... Too bad those picks will be in the late 20's now that the Lakers are a supreme power once again.

Now to the fantasy implications this season. Rudy Gay was already leading the team in scoring, but now his rebounding numbers will increase as well with leading rebounder Gasol gone. He was already a pleasant surprise for owners this season, but now I expect him to explode being THE #1 option and without any argument elsewhere about being "1A" to Gasol. Gay is the most obvious player that will increase production on the Grizz, but other guys like Navarro and Milicic will be depended upon more in areas as well. I expect Darko to return to his early season numbers of 10ppg, 7rpg and 2bpg here on out and Navarro to be more consistent in scoring because they will need him. For the Lakers, they've got maybe the best starting five in league now once Bynum returns:

1. Derek Fisher
2. Kobe Bryant
3. Lamar Odom
4. Pau Gasol
5. Andrew Bynum

That is just sick. With this much talent, I see Kobe's numbers dipping just slightly, but he will play harder on D and be in line for better assist and steals numbers. I think he's got a legit shot at the MVP now for this season. The Lakers are once again a force to be reckoned with and those people who trashed Jerry Buss and Mitch Kapchuk need to issue their apologies because they have this star-studded team near the top once again.

Now for the Actual Games

The 1st game was in Mo-Town, where the Lakers continued their extended roadtrip (due to the Grammy's). Detroit pulled out the win in a tight one (90-89), but not before Kobe dropped a triple-double, albeit not in the preferred manner (39pts, 10rebs, 11TO's). Only two other Lakers scored in double-digits (Fisher and Turiaf) as it was a one-man show for the Lakers, who came up short. Detroit got 22pts out of Tayshaun Prince and 10pt games from rookies Rodney Stuckey and Arron Afflalo.

TNT had a good one between the visiting Celtics and the Mavs. Dirk had 31pts, 11rebs, 6assts in the Mavs win (96-90). Ray Allen returned and he and Pierce both had 26pts in the loss. KG missed another game. Rajon Rondo was solid with 14pts, 12rebs.

Seattle got a win at home against the Cavs, who were hot, but were without King James in this one. The Cavs are now 0-6 this season without Lebron. Larry Hughes showed life in this one (28pts, 6rebs, 5assts, 3stls) and has been hot recently. If Lebron misses extended time, Larry could be a big benefactor, but as we've seen, Hughes is one of the streakiest players in the NBA. Durant had a rare good shooting game (10-16 for 24pts) as did fellow rookie Jeff Green (8-8 for 17pts). Chris Wilcox also had 18pts, 13rebs in a great performance.

- In easily the strangest game of the night, SA went into Phoenix, still on their "rodeo roadtrip". Phoenix had the lead the entire game until the 4th quarter when SA pulled ahead and eventually won 84-81. Both teams shot terribly, as Phoenix scored a season-low 81pts. Manu got the start again, shooting terribly (3-14), but scored all of his 19pts in the 2nd half (12-12 FT's). Duncan was solid again (16pts, 17rebs) to lead the Spurs to the win. The Suns shot 38% and the Spurs weren't much better at 38.7%.

All-Star Reserves Announced!

Last night there were the usual TNT games + a couple local games as well in Detroit and Seattle, but the big news was concerning the All-Star reserves, who were announced on TNT. Here are the reserves as picked by the coaches in each conference:

G: Chris Paul
G: Steve Nash
G: Brandon Roy
F: Dirk Nowitzki
F: David West
F: Carlos Boozer
C: Amare Stoudemire

G: Chauncey Billups
G: Rip Hamilton
G: Joe Johnson
F: Caron Butler
F: Antawn Jamison
F: Paul Pierce
C: Chris Bosh

I'll begin by saying that I don't have much problem with any of the choices given here. Everyone on that list is having an All-Star worthy campaign, but this wouldn't be much fun unless I could give my input for some guys who are IMHO more deserving of these spots. Here are the guys I would have chosen with the reserve rules put in front of me:

My West:
G: Chris Paul
G: Steve Nash
F: Dirk Nowitzki
F: Carlos Boozer
C: Marcus Camby
11th Man: Baron Davis
12th Man: David West

My East:
G: Joe Johnson
G: Chauncey Billups
F: Caron Butler
F: Paul Pierce
C: Chris Bosh
11th Man: Jose Calderon
12th Man: Antawn Jamison

I thought the coaches did a great job picking their reserves this season, although I did have one big problem on both sides. I think that there are other guys who are very deserving as well (Manu, Tony Parker, Josh Howard, Deron Williams, Tyson Chandler out West and Ray Allen comes to mind out East), but the Brandon Roy decision out West and Rip Hamilton decision in the East were the biggest ones that I thought should not have been. I think Brandon Roy has been having a great season in just his 2nd year, but he would have been in the Rookie/Sophomore game anyways, while Baron Davis is a seasoned vet. For the coaches to snub him in arguably his best season (22ppg, 8apg, 2spg), it's ludicrous. He's having a better statistic season than Roy and his team is currently in the playoffs (1 game ahead of Portland). There's nothing else that needs to be said. He should be in the game. David West is the other decision that raised eyebrows to an extent. I love the guy's game and am surprised the coaches recognized his game as well, but I think that the fact that the game in his backyard (New Orleans) had a bit to do with it. With that said, I'm content with the 1st place Hornets getting 2 bids. Normally I'd be a bit peeved neither San Antonio nor Dallas got more than one bid, but the Spurs are struggling and the West is incredibly deep so Dallas just getting Dirk is OK i guess. Most of the coaches' choices were the right ones. Now for the east. I think Jose Calderon should easily be a reserve guard in the thin eastern conference. I understand that Detroit has the 2nd best record, but Rip has not had a ridiculous season by any means and Jose Calderon is one of the most efficient and effective pure point guard campaigns in a while. He's a quiet player that will be overlooked because he plays in Canada though. I'm fine with a lot of Eastern teams getting multiple bids though because that conference outside of the top 4-6 teams has issues. I'm also glad the coaches showed their love for the Hawks (Joe Johnson), who are having a surprising season with their young core. I also have one last notion for this AS game. Since the All-Star game doesn't stand for anything (like MLB's does) and everyone (the fans) want to see the best players, why not just pick the 24 best players instead and have them play each other? There would still be snubs, but not to this extent (a lot more snubs out West than East, I'm fairly sure few people would argue otherwise) and the most deserving players who want to entertain the fans will get that opportunity. Just a thought.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

NBA Top 10 Jan. 30

Last night's NBA highlights. A couple of Lebron James highlights as well to make the otherwise boring night exciting.

Last Night

A few notes from around all the sports before summaries of all the NBA games.

I didn't watch the KU@K-State game, but from a look at the final score (84-75), Beasley's game and his confident words of sweeping the Jayhawks this season, this had to be the story of the night. Beasley would have to be the #1 pick overall at this point if the draft happened tonight. The kid is confident, poised and knows how to play ball. His numbers almost mirror Kevin Durant's (the 25 points and 10+ rebounds) from a season ago and they're about the same height, but their games aren't very similar at all. Durant could score from anywhere and played more perimeter O than in the post. Beasley can handle the ball as well, but his game is way stronger on the post than it is shooting treys even though he's shown that he's got the skillset to do so. He put up rather than shut up during this game too finishing with 25pts and 6rebs in the 1st of two meetings between these interstate teams. Kansas was handed its 1st loss of the season and its 1st loss at Kansas State in their last 24 visits.

I hate writing about hype in football especially the week before the Super Bowl, but a couple of hard-headed wide receivers just made dumb comments this week. I'll start with the one everyone's heard already, Plaxico Burress. Plax is a great receiver who's been blessed with enormous talent for football, but why would he start talking trash now? Antonio Pierce, who was quite vocal for the regular season game, and Michael Strahan, who loves to talk, haven't been heard from at all in terms of trashing the Pats, much less the Pats' offense. They're the ones who must stop that O and Plax is talking about the Pats scoring 17. I just want to let everyone know (if they don't already) that the Pats haven't been held under 20 once during their 18 wins this season and scored the MOST points this season in NFL history. If Plax played defense, OK I'd stop for a second and let him a little bit off the hook since he might be trying to psych himself up about playing the historic offense before him, but he's a WR... That gets me to Jerry Rice, who most people didn't see, but I saw him on "NFL Live" yesterday afternoon on ESPN. I understand the guy is the best receiver of all time, hands down, and might be the best player of all time as well, but how could he possibly pick the Giants? His 22 TD season was awesome, especially in the shortened 12 game season and it seems kind of unfair for Moss to have the "record", but a record is meant to be broken and Moss broke Rice's in the 16 games he had to get 23 TD's. Get over it Jerry and don't make yourself look like a fool on National TV. The Pats are going to win the game.

Now to the NBA games and there were quite a few of them (10 in total):

- It started in a matchup of Florida teams, Miami visiting Orlando. Miami was missing Shaq, D-Wade and Udonis Haslem, arguably their 3 best players and I fully expected them to lose and they did, 107-91. Ricky Davis had 21pts in the start at guard for Wade and if Wade keeps missing time, Davis should continue to start and produce. He's a good short-term pickup if he's even been dropped, which he should have been for a while now the way he had been playing.

- Toronto beat down on the Wizards, who were still without Caron Butler (122-83). Bargnani had a team high 19pts and is starting to be at least ownable and startable in leagues as he's had some solid games lately. I'd only upgrade his fantasy status to streaky since he's not giving you everything (only 2rebs and 3assts to go with the scoring). If Caron is to miss an extended period, Andray Blatche should be picked up in most leagues since he's got talent given the PT and he will be the chief benefactor in Butler's absence.

- The biggest blowout of the night came in Philly. Surprisingly the Sixers were the ones who won 112-69 by 43pts. I don't know how any NBA team could possibly lose to a team 10 games under .500 by 43, but the Bucks found a way. The Bucks were missing Michael Redd again, who I don't believe Milwaukee can build around. I know about his defensive struggles, but I just don't think he's a good enough player. I saw him on Team USA this summer and he thrived being a 3rd or 4th scoring option (behind guys like Carmelo Anthony, Lebron James and Kobe Bryant). He's just not a #1 guy in this league. While he's a great scorer, he isn't good on defense and he doesn't make his teammates better while he's on the court. He also looked out of shape at the beginning of this season in my humble opinion. I don't think it's because he's a headcase, I actually think Redd's one of the better guys in the league, but he doesn't have the mental toughness to be the leader of a championship caliber team (or even playoff team as we've all witnessed from this Bucks team). With that said, Royal Ivey got the start at guard and scored a team high 17pts, but the Bucks were -39pts with him in the game. The Sixers dominated this game in a total team effort with 7 players in double digits scoring and none over 20pts.

- 2 blowout games before we get to Minnesota, but this was by far the ugliest of the night. The final score was 83-67, Wolves over the Bulls, but even a score that ugly doesn't show how ridiculously bad this game was. Neither team shot close to 40% from the field. Minny shot 36.6% and Chicago shot 33.3% and only 5 total players in the game scored over 10pts. The Wolves got huge performances from their 2 bigs, Al Jefferson and Ryan Gomes (26pts, 20rebs and 25pts, 10rebs, respectively). Chicago had two young bright spots with Thabo Sefolosha (14pts, 8rebs, 4blks) and Joakim Noah (10pts, 8rebs). At this point, Joakim Noah should have been picked up in deep leagues by now since Deng and Joe Smith are both still out. Noah's a rookie that does all the things Ben Wallace used to do (scrap for rebounds, block some shots, get his hands into the lane for steals and score on putbacks) and that makes him a decent start while he gets the minutes.

- Surprising game in New Orleans, where the Warriors came in and beat the Hornets, 116-103. It was surprising because NO had been so good recently (broke a 9 game winning streak in this one), but everyone knows that if the Warriors are hot, they can play with anyone. The Warriors as a team shot 52.3% and 13-27 from threes. Neither team played very badly (only 6 TO's on either side), but NO just couldn't keep up with GS in this one.

- The best game of the night thus far came in Memphis, where the Carmelo-less Nuggets visited the Gasol-less Grizzlies. Denver ended up squeezing out the win, 106-102, but not before Rudy Gay dropped 30pts and 10rebs and Darko had probably his best game of the season with 14pts, 16rebs and 5blks. With Rudy, these games aren't much of a surprise anymore, but with Darko, you gotta wait for a few of these type of performances in a row before you can decide if Darko might be producing like he was before his early season injury when he had been having his best pro campaign. Denver got 32pts and 12assts out of AI and 18pts out of Anthony Carter, who should be widely owned.

- In Utah, the Knicks tried to play tough and hang with the hot Jazz (6 straight wins and now leaders of the northwest division by 0.5gm) behind Jamal Crawford's 26pts, 9assts, but the Jazz got the win 100-89. Deron Williams is starting to look like an All-Star again (22pts, 12assts in this one), but the reserve All-Star picks come out tonight and I personally don't believe Deron will be one of them with the deep position of guards out west.

- Another ugly game was played in Portland, but at least this one was close at the end. The Lebrons went into the northwest and took the game from Brandon Roy's Trailblazers with his gamewinning drive. Lebron was the only Cav to score double digits (he did it easily too: 37pts, 14rebs) while the Cavs won 84-83. Portland got a solid all-around game from Brandon Roy (16pts, 7rebs, 8assts), but the Blazers shot only 35.3% from the field in a rare home loss (18-5 at home) and dropped to 9th in the standings.

- Sacramento is starting to look like the talented team they are. Reggie Theus played all his starters over 30mins in this one, while none of the bench players played 16 mins (John Salmons played 15mins for 8pts). All the starters score double digits with Kevin Martin (22pts) and Brad Miller (22pts, 21rebs, 3blks) leading the way for the win (105-91) over the visiting Bobcats.

- In LA, the Clippers and Hawks played in a game that I thought the Hawks should have and probably needed to win. The Clippers won the game, however, without Chris Kaman and Corey Maggette with a huge game from rookie Al Thornton (33pts and a huge block to save the game late). The Hawks are one of those teams that sneaked up on some teams early in the season and are currently sitting in the 7th playoff spot at 18-24 in the east. I personally believe this team will make the playoffs in the weak east, but they're gonna have to beat teams like the Clips, even on the road because they are not safe in any way the way they are playing right now (lost 3 straight).

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hot Stove!

Big news Tuesday in baseball, pushing the basketball games to 2nd priority. The Twins have reportedly reached an agreement with the Mets to send the best pitcher in baseball, Johan Santana, to New York. There have been rumblings all offseason, basically since the Twins' season ended back in September, that Santana may be moved before the season because the Twins couldn't put up enough money to extend the 2-time Cy Young winner past this upcoming season. This trade is basically done, which means the Mets immediately become the favorites to win the NL pennant. Even more ridiculous was the fact that they kept Jose Reyes in the process. I can't really fathom how this could have happened, but it is great for Met fans to show up the Yanks and get the best pitcher in baseball all at once. This move makes the Mets not only the favorite in the NL, but a favorite in the whole thing. No doubt that soon we'll hear random articles from the east coast of another subway series... Onto basketball where there were 9 games on tonight. Here they are:

- The night started well with an OT game in Canada. Toronto hosted the Wizards, who were without Caron Butler, but still pulled out the win on Jamison's ridiculous 24pt/20reb game, making his case to be an eastern conference All-Star. Bosh and Calderon will both probably be All-Stars and were great in this game; Calderon with 23pts, 13assts and Bosh with 37pts, 12rebs. On the other side of the spectrum, Andrea Bargnani was back to his usual self, 3pts on 1-6 shooting in just under 17mins.

- Detroit won a tight one in Indy, 110-104. Troy Murphy reentered the starting lineup to matchup with Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess (both good shooters like Murphy) and had 18pts, 8rebs. Sheed was the man for Detroit tonight finishing with 24pts, 10rebs, 3blks. Kareem Rush came off the bench and had 9pts in 29mins. He's not a must keep player since he's streaky and only really contributes in scoring.

- Boston visited south beach tonight without both Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett and still won by 30. The Heat allowed 20+pts from Leon Powe, Eddie House, Rajon Rondo AND Tony Allen and Paul Pierce only played 28mins in an off night, shooting 2-9 for 7pts. This game was out of reach so early that only 2 players on either squad played over 30mins, Leon Powe (36) and Tony Allen (33).

- The low scoring, crappy eastern conference game of the night goes to Milwaukee playing in the Meadowlands. New Jersey won the game at home, but Jason Kidd's recent comments and actions have been louder than what his team has been doing, which is losing a lot of games. Kidd has recently acknowledged the desire to be traded out of his present situation in New Jersey even if it isn't to a contender. If this is to happen, which I don't doubt it will before the February trade deadline, Marcus Williams proves to be a solid add. He hasn't shown anything this season since returning from his injury, but he's got talent and as long as New Jersey's losing, they might as well evaluate his abilities. The high scorer on either side was Richard Jefferson with 20pts.

- In Chicago, Minnesota was in for their one visit of the season. The Bulls won, but the Wolves got great news on their side with the return of Randy Foye. Foye came off the bench to play his 1st minutes of the season and scored 11pts in 17mins. It'll be interesting to see how Randy Wittman mixes up his young lineup with Foye's return. I would think Foye would be inserted into the starting lineup, but Telfair has been fairly decent starting this season, Jaric's been on and off and I don't think McCants will be the guy to lose his current forward spot. More than likely, Foye will be coming off the bench for a while, until after the All-Star break probably, before he begins to start. Chicago on the other hand got another huge game out of Hinrich (27pts, 6assts) and Joakim Noah got the start and did well (10pts, 13rebs) in Joe Smith's spot. The Bulls are just getting killed with injuries right now, but they did win.

- Houston was without T-Mac again tonight as they hosted and beat the Warriors. They were without Chuck Hayes as well, as Yao Ming returned to score 36 and rebound 19 (7 TO's as well). Luis Scola got Hayes' starting spot and scored 10pts in 25mins. Rafer Alston and Luther Head filled in for McGrady again for 17pts, 8rebs, 12assts and 20pts, 6assts, respectively. Stephen Jackson was hot for GS going for 25pts (5 treys), 6rebs, 7assts.

- Atlanta went into Phoenix tonight and ran into a brick wall. Phoenix won 125-92, with only Boris Diaw playing over 30mins (31mins), who got the start at forward with Grant Hill coming off the bench. Keep an eye on this if you've got Hill or have use for a potential all-around player like Diaw. If he gets more PT and produces, he's been known to produce solid numbers.

- Next one was the polarized game of the night at least before it started, SA @ SEA. The actual didn't quite play out the way it was expected however (with SA winning, at least the way I would have predicted it). Seattle played San Antonio's slow game and stayed with them the whole way. The young Supes eventually won behind their young star, Kevin Durant's 26pts, 7rebs and 5assts despite SA's current "big two" in Duncan and Ginobili. Tony Parker missed this game and will be out for a while so Manu got a rare start in this game and might keep starting considering how he played (29pts, 7assts and 4 treys). Duncan was great too (27pts, 12rebs), but quite frankly, the Spurs just didn't get enough help. Jeff Green has been terrible since Carlesimo put him into the starting lineup. Sure, every once in a while he'll put up a game of 15pts, but the hype surrounding his entrance to the starting lineup was that he'd be averaging that number, not putting it up as a good night. The point is, after he had 0pts on 0-4 shooting in 19mins tonight, you need to drop him and use his roster spot for someone else. Pick him up later on if he shows flashes, but he's virtually useless right now.

- The last game of the night featured the biggest market on the east coast against the biggest market on the west, the Knicks visting the Lakers at Staples. The game was actually a good one, but Kobe and the Lakers eventually pulled it out, 120-109. Kobe was the high point man in this one with 24, but he also had 11assts and 8rebs, close to a triple-double. The Knicks had 6 double-digit scorers, but it wasn't enough to beat the Bynum-less Lakers. Odom added 22pts and 12rebs in a solid game.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Not much happening tonight, but four NBA games and some more news about Tom Brady's supposed injured ankle or leg or whatever the speculation is. My thought on it (I've been trying not to talk about the Super Bowl, but it is the week of now) is there's absolutely ZERO way that Tom Brady doesn't start and play the entire game if it's close. He's gonna take every single snap and do what he does to propel the Pats to another title. Anyways here's tonight's basketball games:

- Memphis hosted Dallas in a divisional matchup. The Mavs beat the Grizz bad in this one, 103-84. I actually like most of Memphis' young talent, but in a game against Dallas, they were simply outmatched. Dallas got big games from Josh Howard (26pts) and Dirk (20pts, 11rebs). They were without Devin Harris, who's going to be out until around ASB (All-Star Break). For Memphis, at least they got back Pau Gasol, who played 28mins and got 13pts. His return bumped Juan Carlos Navarro back onto the bench, who was still strong for 33mins and 16pts.

- The next game was another blowout win by a team from the southwest division. New Orleans was even more impressive than Dallas because they beat down the Nuggets, 117-93, who are a playoff team right now. The Nuggs were without Melo again, but this game wasn't even close. Chris Paul was near flawless again with a near triple-double with 23pts, 9rebs, 17assts. The only flaw that could even be pointed out in his line was his 7-20 FG shooting. Tyson Chandler put on his best Marcus Camby impression with 10pts, 16rebs, while Camby was awful. In 26mins, he only had 3pts and 5rebs on 0-5 shooting. New Orleans continues to win and impress.

- The best game of the night also featured the southwest division. The Spurs began their "rodeo roadtrip" in Utah. Utah beat the Spurs 97-91 on a night when the Spurs could only get help from a couple of guys, rather than their entire trio of stars. Manu had 29pts and TD had 26pts and 11rebs, but the two also combined for 11 TO's while the Jazz were just better. They got help from all over. Deron had 11pts and 14 dimes, Boozer had 23pts, 7rebs and 7assts and AK-47 even had 23pts, 4stls while only missing 1 shot (9-10). The Jazz were just the better team tonight as they try to climb back into the western playoffs.

- Only one eastern conference team played and that was Charlotte in LA against the Clippers. This basically ended a relatively boring night for the NBA. Charlotte still has their playoff hopes alive in the weak east, coming into LA and beating a bad Clipper team, 107-100, that was without Chris Kaman again. Josh Powell got the start in Kaman's place in this game and was solid with 12pts, 6rebs. No where near what Kaman's been putting up all season, but decent for a guy most people have never heard of. Tim Thomas had a great effort on the Clippers' side with 29pts, 13rebs and 5assts. He's a guy who's always had the talent and size, but has always too lazy. I wouldn't say go pick him up entirely since Elton Brand will be returning eventually and the Clippers will undoubtedly start to evaluate what they've got with rookie Al Thornton, who's shown flashes.

NBA Top 10 Jan. 27

Last night's highlights. There were a lot of great finishes in the games including a couple of game-winners getting the top 2 spots

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Last Day of the Week

Early start today on ABC with the start of their afternoon Sunday games:

- The 1st was between Boston and Orlando in Florida. This game was awesome if you got to see it even without KG, who was a game-time decision with a muscle strain. It came down to the last shot in regulation, which Hedo Turkoglu hit from the top of the arc. Final score ended up being 96-93, which must have been awful for Garnett to watch. Brian Scalabrine got the start at forward for the C's because of his ability to stretch the floor, but only got 1pt in 21mins.

- Phoenix and Chicago got an early start as well in the Midwest. Phoenix only scored 88pts in this one, but it was enough to beat the lowly Bulls, who could only muster 77pts without Gordon and Deng, their 2 leading scorers. Hinrich had a big game with 31pts, but got basically no help around him. Sefolosha was solid in the starting lineup with 10pts and 2stls.

- The Next ABC game was sick as well. This one took place in LA, where Lebron visited Hollywood and Kobe Bryant. These two guys went at it the whole game and both had ridiculous nights. They even guarded each other down the stretch when Lebron just made better decisions and the Cavs came away with a big road win. Lebron finished with 41pts, 9rebs while Kobe had 33pts, 12rebs.

- The Bucks hosted Washington in the early evening in an OT finish. Washington had their own 40pt man tonight (Caron Butler), but it wasn't enough to beat the Bucks, who got help from all over. Royal Ivey had a random 17pt, 3stl, 6asst night, which I fully don't expect to happen again anytime soon, in a start for Michael Redd, who sat this one out with a knee injury. Mo Williams led the way for the Bucks with 25pts.

- Atlanta and Portland played a tight game as well, with Portland taking it down at the end, 94-93. Anthony Johnson had a surprising 12pts, 11assts and is a decent PG option in deep leagues, as he's shown signs of production this season, but he's clearly not a very consistent option. Portland got their usual all-around production with 3 bench players in double digit scoring (Travis Outlaw 15, Channing Frye 14, James Jones 10) with Brandon Roy leading all scorers with 24.

- Minnesota got another win at home bringing their season win total to 8 with a victory against the reeling Nets, now 18-26 after losing their 9th straight. Richard Jefferson did all he could with 35pts in this one, but Al Jefferson for Minnesota was unstoppable again. He got a new career high of 40pts in this one after scoring 39 just four days ago. He added 19rebs for good measure.

- The last game of the Disney triple-header was on ESPN between Dallas and Denver. Dallas pulled out the win at home, 90-85, behind a strong performance by Dirk Nowitzki (32pts, 11rebs). The Nuggets were missing All-Star Carmelo Anthony again in this game, although he should be back soon.

- In Houston, there was a battle between teams over .500 and not in the current playoff picture. The 9th seed Jazz and 10th seed Rockets played in a rematch of last playoffs' 4/5 matchup. Utah got a great team win in this one, 97-89, with no player scoring over 20pts. Houston was without Yao Ming in the middle, with Luis Scola getting the start. Scola's shown that given minutes, he's a legit scoring option and that he understands how to play the game. Keep an eye on Yao's injury and Scola's PT. Scola had 18pts in almost 40mins in this one. T-Mac reentered the starting lineup and had 21pts, 9assts in 39mins.

- In the northwest, Sacramento visited Seattle with Reggie Theus still trying to figure out a good rotation for his relatively deep team. Sacto pulled out the win in the end, 103-101, behind Kevin Martin's 26pts. Kurt Thomas had 15pts, 10rebs in his best effort to keep the young Supes in it, but it wasn't enough.

- In Golden State was the last game of the night. I was watching this box score intently as I had a rare shot at a 11-0 week in my main league (Baron Davis was in this game). I came into these last two games (Seattle and Golden State) down 3 three pointers with John Salmons and Baron Davis still to play. With that said, GS pulled out this game against the Knicks in the 4th, 106-104. Baron ended with 22pts and 9assts, but only 2-8 from 3, leaving me to lose by just one three pointer. I had a 10-1 week, which by most standards is great and will keep me in 2nd place by a comfortable margin, but 11-0 happens maybe once a season in every league that goes 11 cats H2H so I'm a little disappointed. Anyways, Andris Biedrins was crazy this game and grabbed 26 boards, which easily could have swayed some matchups in leagues as well.

The Four Games of Saturday

Lots of games on the schedule tonight, but there were only 4 last night, and here they are:

IND @ MIA: Miami finally won another game, snapping their 15 game losing streak, barely edging out the Pacers, 98-96. The Heat were again without the services of Shaq, with Mark Blount starting in his spot (19pts). D-Wade led the way with a very efficient night, especially by his standards with 35pts, 8rebs on 12-20 shooting and only 3 TO’s. Troy Murphy reentered the starting lineup for the Pacers in this one and played decently in 30mins, while Jeff Foster only played 17. Murphy had 9pts and 10rebs and if he’s starting, he can produce some points, rebounds and occasionally threes, so he’s more than productive when he’s got the time, but Jim O’Brien doesn’t seem to have a great rotation with this team, so outside of Danny Granger and Mike Dunleavy, no one else is very trustworthy to keep on your roster. Jermaine O’Neal and Jamaal Tinsley have shown they are injury-prone, so if you’ve got them, I would try to get rid of them in trades or even drops in shallow leagues.

PHI @ CHA: Philly won this game in Charlotte 103-96, but the Cats were missing starting PG, Raymond Felton, who might be out for a few games with his ankle injury. I've hinted at the youth movement in Philly and last night might have signified the beginning with Thaddeus Young starting in place of Reggie Evans (Evans still play more minutes however (23 to Young's 18).

LAC @ MEM: This was the lone OT game of the night, with Memphis pulling it out at home 125-120. Lots of changes for Mike Dunleavy's Clippers squad with the absence of Chris Kaman to injury and the reinsertion of Cuttino Mobley into the starting rotation. Mobley was probably back into the starting lineup because the Clips are awful on O and having a "defensive stopper" like Quinton Ross in there doesn't help things. Mobley had 15pts, 6assts in 37mins. Kaman was replaced by Aaron Williams (I didn't even know he was still in the league), who only played 7mins in an OT game. Memphis started Kyle Lowry and Juan Carlos Navarro at the guards with Mike Conley and Pau Gasol out with injuries. I would suggest picking up Lowry since he's a great fantasy option given the minutes (better than Conley at this stage of their careers), but it sounds like Conley is due back soon. Navarro has been a good source of points and threes all season, although he will give you better, more consistent numbers while in the starting rotation. Neither Navarro nor Lowry are great long term options, but they could be decent for the next week or so. Lowry had 21pts, 8rebs and Navarro had 18pts with 3 threes. Top guys on each side were Rudy Gay (34pts, 12rebs, 4 treys) and Corey Maggette (35pts, 9rebs, 16-18 FT's and 3 treys).

- NOH @ SAS: This was easily the most surprising game that should have, by most standards, been the best game of the night. New Orleans went into San Antonio and killed the Spurs, 102-78, to show why they belong in the conversation as one of the best teams in the league. No one on either side had astounding games, although David West had 32pts and 7rebs on 15-19 shooting and I'd like to mention Ime Udoka, who is one of the better role players in the league. He's being overlooked right now because he's on the Spurs' bench and his main role is to play defense. The Spurs believe he's their next Bruce Bowen and I trust the Spurs' evaluation of talent more than most other teams. He had 13pts, 7rebs in 24mins off the bench behind Manu Ginobili in this game. This could just be one of those games for the Spurs, or it could be a sign that the Hornets are that good and the Spurs beginning to decline with age.