It’s a New Day

By: 11.26.09  •  33 Comments

LeBron James

The Detroit broadcast of last night’s Pistons/Cavs game had one of those text-in polls: Who is the Pistons’ perfect rival: Cavs or Celtics? One announcer argued it was the Cavs, “whether they want to admit it or not.” After re-signing Ben Wallace, sticking to the idea that Rip Hamilton could lead them to the promised land, being hesitant to start an official rebuilding project, and thinking last year’s team would have been a contender if not for Allen Iverson, that statement was probably the greatest indication that Detroit is living in the past. The Cavs ain’t worried about the Pistons; they’ve got real contenders in their path. The Pistons should be more focused on Chicago, Milwaukee, teams like that … Meanwhile, the Cavs went into the Palace and got another convincing win. Detroit’s rotating cast of coaches had it easy with Tayshaun Prince: 90% of the time you could just stick Tay on LeBron and worry about the rest of the matchups, but with Prince now injured, you could tell John Kuester wasn’t sure what to do. In the first half alone ‘Bron saw five different defenders, from Rodney Stuckey (who he’d immediately try to post up) to Jonas Jerebko (who he’s immediately try to beat off the dribble). Jerebko did a decent job of at least frustrating LeBron (34 pts, 8 rebs, 7 asts), or else LBJ just had a big chip on his shoulder playing in the building where he got his early playoff baptisms. He seemed to have a snarl on his face all night. One time he drove on Jerebko and as the whistle was sounding, screamed, “And-one, cot dammit!” … The pre-Thanksgiving schedule actually had a few good, down-to-the-wire games. In Magic/Heat, Vince Carter hit a go-ahead three with 14 seconds left. Jeff Van Gundy and Hubie Brown debated whether the Magic should foul Dwyane Wade (24 pts, 11-11 FT) and put him on the line rather than give up a three — tough call because while Wade isn’t automatic beyond the arc, he’s definitely automatic from the line, and he’s definitely clutch as in he hits threes when he has to. (Ask the Nets about that.) Wade got off a corner three that missed, but Udonis Haslem tipped it in. After White Chocolate (25 pts, 8 asts) missed two big free throws, Miami had another chance. Wade airballed a J, but Mike Beasley was there for a follow dunk. Orlando had to go the length of the court with 0.7 remaining, and although Vince came close to hitting the greatest shot you’ll ever see since Jeff Malone, it didn’t go for him … Let’s not even get into a “Chris Paul who?” thing, but Darren Collison has been doing some major dancing on people’s faces ever since CP went down with his injury. Down three to the Bucks with 11 seconds left, Collison got into a lane for a layup and N.O. quickly (smartly) put the rookie Jennings on the line. He made them both, and on N.O.’s last possession, they ran a clear-out for Collison, who forced overtime by dropping a three on Luke Ridnour‘s head. Under a minute to go in the OT, Collison picked Jennings in the backcourt and got fouled, hitting the go-ahead free throws. Jennings responded with a driving layup, so again it was down to Collison on a clear-out. Guarded by Jennings this time, he crossed him up and got fouled at the rim. DC hit one of two free throws, enough for the win …

Rajon Rondo (photo. Christian Kozowyk)

Rajon Rondo (photo. Christian Kozowyk)

Rajon Rondo was the man during crunch time of Celtics/Sixers. He ran off a string of buckets early in the fourth quarter to give Boston what appeared to be a comfortable lead, but after Philly made it close again, Rondo to stick the dagger on a baseline J with nine seconds left … A win is a win is a win, but the Celtics might be a little concerned that they were taken to the limit by a Sixers squad that was missing two starters (Lou Williams and Elton Brand) and had Sam Dalembert as one of the other starters … Mavs/Rockets wasn’t so close. In fact, in the second quarter the Houston play-by-play guy declared it was the worst defensive performance he’d EVER seen from Houston. That didn’t stop Clyde Drexler from giggling all night, but still … Jason Terry had 27 points and 10 assists, but how about Tim Thomas putting in work? He had 23 points in 24 minutes off the bench. Two things: (1) Tim is getting kind of chunky. If you took a quick glance at the game, you easily could’ve thought he was Nathan Jawai. (2) Do you realize he’s been in the League for 13 years? He’s like the chick that came into college looking super-hot and available, quickly went downhill on her way to hooking up with every guy on the dorm floor, and while she was responsible for some good times, now nobody wants to claim her on the record … Other stat lines from Wednesday: Gerald Wallace put up 31 points, 13 boards to beat the Raptors; Steve Nash had 16 dimes and Amar’e had 28 points in a win over Memphis; Marcus Camby posted 15 points, 21 rebounds and three steals in a loss to Indiana; Carmelo Anthony scored 22 to beat the Wolves; Donte Greene had 24 points and six blocks in Sacramento’s win over the Knicks; Brook Lopez went for 32 points and 14 boards in another Nets loss to Portland; and apparently Monta Ellis is a robot, because one day after playing all 48 minutes and carrying GS to a win at Dallas, last night he dropped 42 points on the Spurs in a loss … On this Thanksgiving day, we have to say thank you to Allen Iverson, who as you heard, announced his retirement yesterday. Love him or hate him, A.I. influenced a whole generation of ballplayers, whether it was with his on-court or off-court style. Truly one of the greatest players we will ever see in this lifetime. But really, does anybody think he’s truly done with the game? Iverson is probably going to sit out this season, but when next summer rolls around and teams have money to spend and roster spots to fill, somebody will offer him a shot. We don’t think we’ve seen the last of The Answer … We’re out like the Cavs/Pistons rivalry …

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