Fired Up

By: 11.23.08
Chris PaulChris Paul (photo. Zach Wolfe)

Twenty-four hours after the Hornets helped get P.J. Carlesimo fired, they were back at it again with the Thunder. This one wasn’t as bad as Friday’s destruction — OKC looked like a group of guys who’d actually met each other before — but they weren’t good enough to stop Chris Paul from posting a triple-double (29 pts, 10 rebs, 16 asts, 3 stls) or David West (33 pts) from dominating Jeff GreenPeja Stojakovic was playing like crap, and in the second half when he finally got wide open coming off a screen on the wing, before he caught the ball the Hornets play-by-play man said, “Now this is his bread and butter RIGHT HERE.” Cue the Peja air-ball … The Hornets broadcast had a “Separated at Birth?” split-screen with Chris Wilcox and Melvin Ely. Apparently when those two were teammates on the Clippers, even their mothers would get them mixed up. Hint: Wilcox is the talented one, Ely is the one who stays on the bench … Shaq vs. Oden, Round 1, was a TKO win for The Diesel. Whether it was individual numbers (19 pts, 17 rebs), team performance (Phoenix won) or hilarious/scary entertainment value (Shaq took a dive three rows into the stands going after a loose ball), the vet came out on top. Granted, Oden is still coming off the bench, but the fact that he only played 13 minutes was due to his constantly picking up fouls more than anything. “I’m the shogun,” Shaq said after. “And before you get to the shogun, you’ve got to go through a lot of ninjas. He has to go through Dwight Howard and Yao Ming and by that time, I’ll be out of here.” … Speaking of, Yao vs. Dwight also went down on Saturday. Yao clearly outplayed Dwight this time in Dwight’s gym, putting up 22 points and 13 boards while getting Dwight (13 pts, 9 rebs) in foul trouble that hampered him the whole game. “I learn a lot every time I play him,” Howard said in the post-game … Ron Artest seemed bothered by that ankle, but he hobbled around well enough to hit some huge shots in the second half: a pull-up J that gave Houston the lead midway through the fourth quarter, another three that broke a tie a minute later, and another long two to put them ahead comfortably with three and a half minutes left … You know, everyone jokes about Oden, but where’s the clowning for Anthony Johnson? He looks like he’s 56 years old … Since the Hawks didn’t bother to show up — it was all they could do to crack 20 points before halftime — LeBron (24 pts, 7 rebs, 8 asts) decided to have a personal dunk contest on their heads. The lefty improv cram over Al Horford and Solomon Jones that cost ‘Bron his headband was sick, but our favorite was when he did the Rajon Rondo fake-behind-the-back move to clear out the lane then hammered on Mo Evans‘ dome … As much as D-Wade (38 pts, 8 asts) was killing Marquis Daniels throughout Heat/Pacers, Marquis (25 pts) was giving it right back to him. You know how Wade got his, but Marquis was doing it by using Flash’s athleticism against him; getting Wade to overplay everything and slipping into the spaces he’d leave open for old-man-style buckets … Wade took over in crunch time, though, and turnovers killed the Pacers again. Indy had it within one score late before Danny Granger‘s back-to-back turnovers led to breakaways dunks by Wade and Udonis Haslem. Does anyone in the League get more open-court dunks than D-Wade? … Some of the Dime crew was at MSG for Knicks/Wizards, which had potential to be awful given that the Knicks were shorthanded and the Wizards stink. In the hallway leading to the Knicks locker room, where they have framed photos of all the current players, they’d already taken down Jamal Crawford, Zach Randolph and Mardy Collins. Those three were also absent from the team’s intro video, along with Steph, who was phased out of the video last season and hasn’t been in it since. In the locker room, Al Harrington and Tim Thomas‘ nameplates are there, but what should be Cat Mobley‘s locker still doesn’t have one. Is that an indicator he’s not sticking with the club? (It could just be that the trade hadn’t yet been finalized, because Zach didn’t play in last night’s Clippers/Nets game.) … Written on the whiteboard in the Knicks locker room: “When shorthanded it takes the long arms of team effort to win.” Below that: “Defense vs. Bucks was good enough to get us in the playoffs. Offense we sucked.” … The game itself was surprisingly good. Q-Rich rained six threes in the first quarter and finished with 34 points in the New York win, leading four players who scored 20-plus. Ironically, the last time that happened for the Knicks it was Z-Bo, Crawford, Eddy Curry and Steph … When the Knicks came out to warm up and throw t-shirts into the crowd, a kid wearing a Gilbert Arenas jersey behind the Knicks bench dropped his tee. Malik Rose went down to pick it up, looked at the kid and his jersey, then threw it someone else. Priceless … We’re out like P.J. …

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