11.5 The Cooler

Everybody Hates (guarding) Chris

By 11.05.09
(photo. Zach Wolfe)

(photo. Zach Wolfe)

Erick Dampier was almost the headline photo for today’s Smack. Seriously. In the late stages of the fourth quarter of Mavs/Hornets, Damp (16 pts, 14 rebs, 3 blks) was the most clutch player in the building, getting a putback off a Dirk Nowitzki miss to break a tie, catching an alley-oop from Jason Kidd on the next possession, then scoring on another tip-in with 16 seconds left. That should’ve been the dagger, but Dallas killed themselves at the free-throw line in the final seconds: Jason Terry missed one after Chris Paul got T’d up for arguing a push-off call (CP had pushed off on J.J. Barea like 3-4 times in the fourth, but didn’t get called for it until what looked like N.O.’s last-chance possession), then Barea missed two freebies to keep the Hornets alive. Keep in mind that Dirk had fouled out by that point. The misses set up Peja Stojakovic‘s three to force overtime, a risky call by Byron Scott to go with a guy who hadn’t hit a shot all night over Paul, who hadn’t missed a three all night … Did you catch Drew Gooden‘s reaction to the Peja three? On the bench in street clothes, Gooden dropped his head when the net snapped and looked like a wino about to slump over on the sidewalk … While the fourth quarter had belonged to Terry (35 pts, 12-18 FG) and CP (39 pts, 14-23 FG), the overtime belonged to the bigs. David West and Emeka Okafor got a couple early buckets to give the Hornets the lead, then Okafor swatted Shawn Marion on a crucial possession. CP’s free throws and Bobby Brown‘s exclamation-point dunk closed it out … When he puts on his Angry Face or his Whiny Face, David West (25 pts, 10 rebs, 5 asts, 3 stls) kind of looks like the kid from “Everybody Hates Chris” … With so much talk of CP and Carmelo dropping crazy buckets early into the season, has anyone noticed that Kobe Bryant is going nuts? Last night’s 41-spot against the Rockets was his second 40-point effort in the last three outings, bumping his average to 33.2 for the season. While Kobe gave Shane Battier the business on the block and getting to the rim, Trevor Ariza (5-21 FG) couldn’t really return fire with Ron Artest all in his shirt … Ariza did force overtime with a three with 14 seconds left, but L.A. won the free-throw battle in the extra frame. Andrew Bynum (17 pts, 17 rebs) hit the go-ahead free throw with 24 seconds left … We’re not naming names, but some Celtics fan in the Dime office was talking about his squad maybe going 17-0 through the month of November and making Al Jefferson cry last night in Minnesota. So about that — well, Big Al (18 pts) and Buckets Pecherov (24 pts) looked like Boozer and Memo out there, and the Celts barely escaped with a two-point win. Every team has nights like where their legs are dead, especially an older group like Boston that’s on the second part of a back-to-back on the road, but there were enough red flags to maybe chill on the 72-win talk … Doc Rivers post-game on Rasheed, who was front-rimming almost every jumper he took: “What I was urging for him was, attack the basket because clearly he had no legs. None of our jump shots were going to go.” When was the last time ‘Sheed attacked the basket? Maybe if you wrapped a referee’s shirt around the rim and hung a whistle on the net …

Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard

Meanwhile, the Magic are looking as strong as anybody in the League, getting some of their swagger back in hanging 122 points on the Suns last night in a blowout. With Vince Carter (ankle) sitting out, Dwight Howard put up 25 points and Jameer Nelson added 16 and 10 assists. Those two also hooked up on an off-the-glass ‘oop. Going into the game, we said Jason Richardson needed to have a big game for Phoenix to compete; he went 0-for-4 and finished scoreless … In the middle of Memphis’ 22-2 run in the first quarter that threatened to put the Warriors to bed early, the GS announcers were taking turns killing Allen Iverson for his recent “I’m not a reserve” comments; as if their team hasn’t been a three-ring circus of absolute clowns over the years. The sideline reporter even called A.I. “selfish” without hesitation. Meanwhile, the GS fans were about to raise a mutiny on their team, with the boos growing loudest whenever Corey Maggette took a jumper instead of going to the rim … The Warriors recovered from that run, though, and pulled themselves from the ranks of the winless with a — we’re not joking — efficient and balanced offensive attack. Monta Ellis (24 pts, 12 asts, 5 stls) looked like an actual point guard, and Anthony Morrow scored 24 without his usual reckless jacking … One GS announcer declared Morrow the best three-point shooter in the League. Seeing as Morrow isn’t near the top of any three-point stat categories so far this season, the announcer must have been saying Morrow is just generally the best shooter from deep. Would anybody not related to Anthony Morrow agree with that? … Iverson played 27 minutes off the bench, putting up 18 points and seven assists and looking a little more willing to shoot than he did in his debut. But once again, he was taken out with about five minutes left in the fourth quarter and didn’t return … Other big stat lines from Wednesday: Dwyane Wade dropped 40 points (14-26 FG) in a win at Washington, while Gilbert Arenas had 32 points on what seemed like 50 shots in the loss; Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford scored 26 apiece in a win at Sacramento; Ty Lawson had 23 points off the bench in a blowout win at New Jersey; Chris Bosh scored 25 and Andrea Bargnani put up 23 and 12 boards in a win over Detroit; and David Lee posted 20 points and 19 rebounds in a loss to Indiana … One time Chris Duhon drove left and went into the air with the idea of passing to a cutting Lee. But when Duhon looked and found Lee covered, he twisted his body in mid-air and slammed the ball off the backboard — and it happened to fall into Lee’s hands for a bucket. Clyde Frazier and Mike Breen couldn’t decide if Duhon had done that on purpose. You know if it was somebody like Kobe or Chris Paul, the announcers wouldn’t doubt for a second that they’d meant to do it … We’re out like ‘Sheed attacking the basket …


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