Smoove Criminal

By: 11.21.09  •  39 Comments

Josh Smith

At some point during the fourth quarter, as the Hawks were getting all they could handle from the Rockets and seemed on the verge of their first home loss of the season, Dominique Wilkins said the same thing you’re gonna hear from a bunch of opposing team announcers about the Rockets this year: “This is a GOOD basketball team!” in a surprised tone … In what might have been the most entertaining finish of the year, Houston went up by seven midway through the fourth when Aaron Brooks dusted Joe Johnson on a crossover/hesitation along the baseline for a layup. The Hawks put together a quick rally over the next two minutes and grabbed the lead on a Jamal Crawford three. Marvin Williams (29 pts, 9 rebs) stretched the lead when he came flying out of nowhere to follow-dunk a J.J. miss, Al Horford got a dunk off a turnover, and another Crawford triple put ATL up by 10 with two minutes left. But just when you were about to see what other competitive games were on League Pass, the Rockets pulled the Jason Voorhees act and got back up. Kyle Lowry‘s and-one got Houston within two points with 30 seconds left, and when Mike Bibby bricked a three, the Rockets had a chance to tie or win. Brooks drew the D and got Luis Scola a great look, but he lost the ball. As usual, Carl Landry (18 pts, 8 rebs) was in the right place at the right time, recovering the loose ball and getting fouled going up. Landry knocked down the game-tying free throws, giving the Hawks the ball with five seconds left. Inbounds to Bibby, he missed a pull-up J, but then Josh Smith swooped down the lane and put in a tip dunk just before the buzzer to win the game … You know how you could tell it was a great play? Smith actually had a reaction on his face … Here’s how Pacers announcer Quinn Buckner described LeBron: “He’s Larry Bird‘s size, but he moves like T.J. Ford.” LeBron actually has about 40 pounds on Larry during his playing days, but you get the point … LeBron (40 pts, 9 rebs, 7 asts) dominated the last five minutes after the Cavs came back from a fourth-quarter deficit: He took a hit from T.J. and banked in a runner plus the foul, spun into the lane for a layup, hit a few free throws, and dropped a deep three with under a minute to go that was the dagger … Maybe Monta Ellis kinda knew what he was talking about when he said he was Golden State’s only good defensive player. Monta guarded Brandon Roy for most of Warriors/Blazers, and got two crucial steals from B-Roy in the fourth quarter as GS pulled away; one leading to a breakaway dunk for Monta (34 pts, 8 asts, 6 stls) and another for Vlad Radmanovic. Already frustrated by that point, Roy (17 pts, 6-17 FG) almost lost it a few minutes later after he was called for a foul when Monta ran him over on his way to an and-one that put Portland away … Other big stat lines from Friday: Chris Bosh had 29 points and 12 boards in a win over Miami; Tyreke Evans put up 29 and 10 assists in a loss to the Mavs; Kevin Durant scored 35 and James Harden added 25 and four steals to lead OKC past the Wizards; Brandon Jennings put up 29 points and seven dimes in a win over Charlotte; Rudy Gay posted 33 points and 10 boards to beat the Sixers; and Carmelo scored 37 in a loss to the Clippers … The Magic got Vince Carter precisely to do what he did against the Celtics last night. With the rest of the team struggling and Boston threatening to take over in the fourth quarter, Vince willed himself to buckets on a night where his jumper wasn’t falling (26 pts, 10-29 FG) and allowed Orlando to pull off a big road win against a contending rival … Anyone else get the impression the Knicks really out-thought themselves with this Allen Iverson thing? You’ve got a chance to replace Chris Duhon and bolster a backcourt whose best players are Nate Robinson and Larry Hughes — not to mention get A.I. for pretty cheap — so what’s the problem? Reportedly Donnie Walsh wanted to get A.I., but Mike D’Antoni and owner James Dolan were worried about team chemistry. You know, because things were so harmonious with the 2-9 Knicks in the first place. And with Dolan’s track record, we know he’s the owner, but why does he still trust himself to have any say in personnel moves? … We’re out like A.I. in MSG …

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