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10.24 The Cooler

Hostile Environment

By 10.24.09

Stan Van Gundy, Dwight Howard

They all count from here on out. Friday was the last day of NBA preseason action, with a nearly full schedule that included two national TV games: Hawks/Magic and Nuggets/Lakers … Orlando effectively ended their contest early, going up by 20-plus in the first quarter and capping an undefeated preseason with a near 40-piecing. Vince Carter dropped 26, hit all five of his threes, and was throwing down double-clutch dunks along the baseline while the Hawks basically watched. Dwight Howard put up 25 points, 13 boards and three blocks … Even more impressive about Dwight’s performance was that he managed to beast Al Horford. Did you see the arms on Al? He looks like a Dominican Terry Crews, like he’s been eating raw antelope and drinking Diesel Juice all summer … Orlando didn’t seem to miss a beat with Ryan Anderson in the lineup replacing Rashard Lewis. Now is that an indication of how good Anderson is, how good Stan Van Gundy‘s system is, or how expendable Rashard is? … At least from a hostility standpoint, the Nuggets and Lakers are in midseason form. In the second quarter, Lamar Odom and Birdman Andersen got into a shouting/shoving match. Since the contact leading up to the “fight” didn’t seem like anything serious, do you think it had anything to do with the Birdman’s impostor destroying L.O. on Twitter after he married Khloe Kardashian? Odom was extra anxious to start throwing blows, and might’ve torn into Birdman’s face if Kenyon Martin wasn’t there to string him up by his collar. Maybe Odom didn’t know it was an impostor insulting his wife. Maybe we’ve had our first NBA Twitter fight … With Carmelo and Chauncey Billups sitting out on one side and Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum on the other, Denver got the W behind Ty Lawson‘s 29 points (13-16 FT), six dimes and five steals, and J.R. Smith‘s 18 points (6-20 FG). Kobe made a 9-minute cameo and scored six points … Even the announcers were in full stride: Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy had a hilarious exchange that started when Jax said Tyler Hansbrough is arguably the greatest college ballplayer of all-time and JVG vehemently disagreed. Van Gundy then launched into his usual insane statements, saying he could name 20 UCLA players who were better than Hansbrough — one of them being Swen Nater. It ended when JVG suggested Mike Warren and Jackson said Warren was a better actor than a ballplayer. “Have you seen Hansbrough flop?” Van Gundy shot back … Actual line from JVG: “If you can’t respect Kobe Bryant, you can’t respect anybody.” Um, well, there was that one — ahh, nevermind … Rockets/Mavs also saw some playoff-caliber tension, when Pops Mensah-Bonsu and Drew Gooden got into a spat that Gooden started for no good reason. When the refs hit both guys with technicals, Gooden immediately headed for the locker room, assuming he’d been ejected when he actually hadn’t been. Either way, he’s lucky somebody stepped in. Drew is from the Bay, but Pops looks like he’d hand him a nice ass-whuppin’. As for the game, Dirk dropped 32 points in 32 minutes before getting ejected for arguing calls … Some bad news for the Grizzlies — or maybe good news for Allen Iverson — as Mike Conley hurt his ankle in the first quarter of last night’s game against the Bobcats and didn’t return. With A.I. still sidelined, Marcus Williams took over and finished with 11 points and five assists in the win. Hasheem Thabeet has still done nothing to prove he won’t be a bust, posting three points, three boards and four fouls in 16 minutes … Meanwhile, Blake Griffin has done nothing to prove he won’t be a beast. His stat line against the Hornets wasn’t very notable (8 pts, 6 rebs), but he definitely stood out on the play where he ate up a Hilton Armstrong dunk attempt at the rim, then ran to the other end and finished with a dunk off an alley-oop. Another time Blake came barreling through the lane about to put somebody on a poster, only Peja saw it coming and smartly slid out of the way … Some other notable stat lines from Friday night: Deron Williams posted 19 points and 11 assists in Utah’s win over Sacramento, while Tyreke Evans had 21 points, five assists and three steals; Ben Gordon scored 19 to lead Detroit over Milwaukee, while Michael Redd went for 23 points in the loss; Yi Jianlian had 22 points and 11 boards, and Terrence Williams added 23 points, eight assists and four steals in Jersey’s win over Philly; Chris Bosh put up 27 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks in a loss to Minnesota; and Danny Granger had 29 points, 14 boards and six assists in the Pacers’ win over San Antonio, while Tim Duncan posted 15, 11 and six. FYI, if you haven’t seen San Antonio play yet, Duncan is still at PF while Antonio McDyess plays center. Going into the season, some people thought this would be the year Duncan finally played center officially … We’re more than used to TV talking heads never taking a strong position on anything — we think Steve Smith has 12 teams in the East going to the playoffs according to NBA TV’s season preview shows — but Jamal Mashburn had a gem of a quote last night: “I think Gilbert Arenas needs to show up for this (Wizards) team to be really successful.” And in other news, LeBron needs to stay healthy in order for Cleveland to win a championship … We’re out like the preseason …


TOPICS#BLAKE GRIFFIN#DWIGHT HOWARD#LeBron James
TAGSAl HorfordALLEN IVERSONBirdman AndersenCHRIS BOSHDANNY GRANGERDERON WILLIAMSDIRK NOWITZKIDrew GoodenGILBERT ARENASHasheem ThabeetJamal MashburnKENYON MARTINLAMAR ODOMMark JacksonMIKE CONLEYPeja StojakovicPops Mensah-BonsuRASHARD LEWISryan andersonSmackSwen NaterTerrence WilliamsTIM DUNCANTy LawsonTYLER HANSBROUGHVINCE CARTER

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