Bigger Fish to Fry

By: 11.04.09  •  74 Comments

LeBron James

In lieu of making yet another LeBron/Jay-Z analogy, let’s put it this way: The Cavs are treating the Wizards like LL Cool J did Canibus. They’ll take some time out to address the beef, but always with a swagger that says “Who is this little pest?” It’s even trickled down to the announcers. When Washington came out blasting last night (“Second Round Knockout”) and put the Cavs down by as much as 18 in the first half, Austin Carr admitted the game didn’t mean as much to LeBron and Co. as it did to Gilbert Arenas‘ squad. In the fourth quarter, after the Cavs had caught up and started to pull away on a barrage of threes, the other Cleveland announcer yelled something about the Cavs showing the Wiz, “they’ve got bigger fish to fry!” … LeBron finished with 27 points, eight boards, six dimes and three steals, and Shaq put up 21 points and eight boards, but the Cavs actually looked their best when those two were on the bench and a lineup of Mo Williams, Boobie Gibson, Jamario Moon, Anderson Varejao and Big Z delivered the backbreakers in the fourth. LBJ and “Big Witness Protection” came in later to play the Mariano Rivera role … There was almost a disaster in the fourth, after Boobie hit another three and Washington called timeout. LeBron rolled off the bench laughing, but he rolled right into the path of Shaq, who’d hopped off the bench to greet Boobie. Shaq just avoided stepping on LBJ and causing some damage one way or the other … DeShawn Stevenson was getting booed every time he got the ball, but after a while it just seemed pointless. He did bad all by himself, going 0-for-4 … Question that came up during the game: Is Shaq the best passing center of all-time? Tell us what you think … Cruel joke that came up during the game: Shaq’s black and white mouthpiece looks like an ice cream sandwich in his mouth … Defensively, the Heat did almost everything you’re supposed to do when trying to slow down the Suns: Don’t give up a lot of open threes, get Amar’e in foul trouble, do your best to control the tempo, and force Steve Nash into being a scorer. All that, and playing without Leandro Barbosa (wrist), and playing on the road, Phoenix still pulled out a W in a matchup of unbeaten teams. Nash scored 30 points (11-15 FG) with eight assists, and the Suns even played a little D of their own, slapping on a zone in the second half that kept D-Wade relatively in check (23 pts, 7-18 FG) … Is it just us or does Miami look like a faster team when everybody is wearing white shoes instead of black? … Talking about Heat sixth man Udonis Haslem, the Suns announcers had a conversation about how “most players” understand that it’s not about who starts the game, but who finishes it. Subliminal message for Allen Iverson? … Apparently the Pistons just have Dwight Howard‘s number no matter who’s in the lineup and how lopsided the matchup is supposed to be. In one of those “die by the three” nights, Orlando hit 10-of-35 beyond the arc and Dwight fouled out in just 16 minutes, somehow failing to dominate a frontline consisting of Ben Wallace, Charlie Villanueva and Jonas Jerebko … Where was Tayshaun Prince, you ask? The Iron Man of the NBA, who’s been as reliable as a bus schedule for the last six years, missed his first game since 2003 with a lower back strain. Rip Hamilton (ankle) was also out, and starting in his place, Ben Gordon led the way with 23 points (11-11 FT) …

Dirk Nowitzki

Speaking of having somebody’s number, the Jazz can’t seem to do sh*t with Dirk Nowitzki or the Mavs. Utah was up 15 in the fourth before Dirk morphed into the owl from The Fourth Kind, dropping TWENTY-NINE points in the quarter on 7-of-8 from the field and 14-of-14 from the line, finishing with 40 points as the Mavs scored 44 in the quarter. The loss was Utah’s 12th in their last 13 trips to Dallas. Jerry Sloan was unavailable for comment after the game, seeing as his head had exploded earlier … Since Andrei Kirilenko had to guard Shawn Marion, and Carlos Boozer‘s sorry defense was a perfect match for Erick Dampier‘s sorry offense, Mehmet Okur drew the short straw and the mismatch on Dirk. Oh, and Nowitzki added 11 rebounds, five dimes and five blocks … Other big stat lines from Tuesday: Paul Pierce had 21 points and Rasheed Wallace scored 20 on six threes as the Celtics routed the Sixers; Jamal Crawford put up 27 points and seven dimes in Atlanta’s win at Portland; Carmelo scored 25 and Chauncey dropped 24 with five threes as the Nuggets smashed the Pacers; and Luol Deng posted 24 points and 20 rebounds in a come-from-behind win over Milwaukee. Brandon Jennings (25 pts) outscored Derrick Rose (16 pts) in their matchup, but Rose blocked Young Money’s attempt at a game-tying bucket in the final seconds … When the Thunder actually become a good team, it’s gonna be crazy watching playoff games in that arena. Last night’s near-upset of the Lakers had that postseason atmosphere and volume, in a game that was back-and-forth in the fourth quarter and went to overtime. While Ron Artest making things tough for Kevin Durant (28 pts, 10-24 FG, 7 turnovers) was no surprise — KD had a couple airballs and some ugly bricks down the stretch — not many people would have expected Thabo Sefalosha to give Kobe such a hard time … Scoring 31 points on 9-of-22 shooting from the field, Kobe hit a Jordan-esque baseline fadeaway with 1:30 left in the fourth quarter to put L.A. up by two, and after Jeff Green tied it on the other end with a jumper, Kobe got a clear-out on Thabo with a chance to deliver a dagger. Kobe’s crossover didn’t fool Thabo, however, who poked the ball mid-cross and forced Kobe into a long airball. After Durant forced a 30-footer that didn’t hit anything, Kobe had another shot with 2.7 seconds left. And while Kobe did pop open on the inbounds, Durant deflected the pass intended for him and Thabo stole it … The Lakers were up three with 10 seconds left in overtime when Lamar Odom gave OKC a chance to stay in it, bricking one free throw and then airballing the other. But Russell Westbrook‘s three on the other end missed, and that was the game … Worst segue ever: One of OKC’s announcers did the contractually obligated, “Your friends at Jack Daniels remind you to drink responsibly, then added, “Ron Artest has been scoring responsibly here in the fourth quarter.” Wouldn’t scoring responsibly involve a condom? Maybe an extra Adam’s Apple check before leaving the club? … Speaking of corporate shilling, here’s your RCA Universal Remote Control PAUSE of the Night: OKC’s play-by-play guy said the Thunder’s equipment manager was “using his miracle juice” to clean blood off Etan Thomas‘ jersey. That’s a new alternative to club soda … We’re out like weak rivalries …

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