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4.20 The Cooler

Chauncey owns CP3; Iguodala takes Orlando’s homecourt

By 04.20.09
Chauncey Billups (photo. NBA)

Chauncey Billups (photo. NBA)

All this time we’ve been arguing Chris Paul vs. Deron Williams vs. Tony Parker for Best Point Guard in the League, and no one ever seems to remember Chauncey Billups. It makes sense; all Smooth does is bang home threes, dole out forearm bruises, win more games than almost anyone at his position, cash those playoff bonuses and go home. He acts like he doesn’t care who gets the hype, but try and tell us CB didn’t look like he had a point to prove last night. Chauncey DESTROYED the comp in the Nuggets’ Game 1 blowout of New Orleans, putting up 36 points and eight dimes — his eight threes were one shy of the NBA playoff record owned by Ray Allen, Vince Carter and King Rex Chapman — and making us look kind of silly for naming CP3 our NBA Defensive Player of the Year the other day … It’s wasn’t just Paul (21 pts, 11 asts) feeling the wrath, though. While CP definitely saw his share of buckets, Byron Scott had Rasual Butler guarding Chauncey a lot of the time. For Game 2 the Hornets might wanna try something else, because Butler doesn’t have much of a face left … Tyson Chandler was back in the lineup, but the Hornets’ bigs still couldn’t match the energy of Nene, Birdman and K-Mart and just got out-played. Between those three and Chauncey, it didn’t matter that Carmelo (13 pts, 4-12 FG) had a bad game … As sick as Chauncey was, the M-V-P chants from the Denver crowd was a little much. Somebody needs to put a note in every seat in every NBA arena that you can’t just go around chanting M-V-P all willy-nilly … Dime’s Andrew Katz, our Jazz-blogger-for-a-day, laid out the blueprint for what Utah has to do if they stand a chance of upsetting the Lakers. It included: Carlos Boozer playing like an All-Star, Utah’s bigs drawing L.A.’s bigs away from the rim, and finding some way to not get rung up on defense while keeping Kobe off the free-throw line. Basically, the Jazz will have to be close to perfect, and yesterday they fell behind 0-1 because they just weren’t close enough …



Boozer did his part, putting up 27 points and nine boards, but with Memo sidelined (hamstring), L.A.’s big didn’t have to venture too far away from the rim. Jerry Sloan‘s D gave up 62 points in the first half, and while they tightened up in the second, it wasn’t enough to overcome an off shooting game from Deron Williams (16 pts, 4-14 FG, 17 asts). And Kobe (24 pts, 8 asts, 6-7 FT) didn’t live at the line, but after the Jazz got to within single digits midway through the fourth quarter, he found himself there often enough down the stretch to close it out … Seeing James Worthy at the game, isn’t he a good role model for Greg Oden? Worthy looked like he was 30 years old when he was in the college, too, but he really hasn’t aged much since then. That’s a good sign for Oden. By the time he’s 45, he’ll be a relative babyface … Not a good for the Magic: Dwight Howard had his best playoff game ever (31 pts, 16 rebs), they had all their guys (except Jameer) back healthy, they led by as much as 18 at home, and they STILL managed to lose … Andre Iguodala was the hero. After missing two huge free throws with a minute left when Philly was down one, A.I.2 got a shot to redeem himself in a tie game in the final 10 seconds. Being guarded by Hedo, Iguodala (20 pts, 8 rebs, 8 asts) worked his way into a step-back J from the top of the key, which he drained with 2.2 seconds for the game-winner … That came after Donyell Marshall hit a three to tie with 35 seconds left, capping a big Sixers comeback. Of course, Philly fans can’t just be happy with that; they’re too busy wondering why the hell Donyell and Theo Ratliff were getting crunch-time minutes. One of our boys who’s a big Sixers fan e-mailed during the fourth: “A fat, barrel-chested Marshall. A 36-year-old Theo. Gross doesn’t even begin to describe it.” … How about Anthony Johnson dunking on Ratliff? Seriously, Anthony Johnson. Marcin Gortat‘s full-body convulsions on the bench were justified for that one … Miami is probably gonna need Dwyane Wade to win this Atlanta series by himself, but there’s no way he can pull that off if the Hawks continue to come out as focused on both end of the court as they did last night. The defense held the Heat to 64 points (Wade had 19) and forced a ton of turnovers, and the offense was a highlight factory. Josh Smith had 23 points, 10 boards, three steals and like 10-11 dunks. Whatever it was, J-Smoove found that spark he had in the middle of last year’s Boston series and looked like he had an extra couple inches on the vertical … And now we get to that extra-long drawn-out part of the first round. Only two games tonight: Bulls/Celtics and Mavs/Spurs. Kendrick Perkins was in the media talking crazy about Derrick Rose — basically guaranteeing D-Rose won’t ever have another huge game like he did on Saturday against the Celts. Which is weird because he’s the last dude who can really do anything about it, unless he’s planning a dramatic re-enactment of Andrew Bynum vs. Gerald Wallace‘s Whole Left Side … We’re out like Rasual …


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