The Folks with the Crossbows

By: 01.07.10

Delonte West (photo. Jacob Gerber)

At least that’s who the Wizards must have felt like they were playing. As the Gilbert Arenas saga finally reached some kind of conclusion, there was no more ironic opponent for Washington last night than the Cavs. You could tell the Cleveland announcers didn’t want to get too soapbox-ish when they know Delonte West could see a similar (or worse) punishment when his legal situation irons out, and the Cavs players were said to “wholeheartedly concur” with David Stern‘s decision on Arenas; a smart move if you want to stay on Stern’s good side before he decides on Delonte … As for the game, the Wizards were done before tip-off. Austin Carr called it: When a team is emotionally fragile, jump on ’em quick and end it early. Two defining moments from the 20-piecing: Andray Blatche started a fast break and had his lazy pass picked off by Mo Williams, who set up LeBron (23 pts, 7 rebs, 8 asts) for a monster dunk; then another time, Washington had a 4-on-1 break and somehow couldn’t score … Line of the Night: Cleveland’s play-by-play guy speculating that DeShawn Stevenson got the Abe Lincoln tattoo on his neck because he’s “enamored with the Five-Dollar Footlong.” … Crazy finish in Heat/Celtics. Tied up with five seconds left, Ray Allen got the rock and tried to get around D-Wade, but got his pocket picked as Wade (44 pts, 7 asts, 3 stls) sailed in for a game-winning dunk. Except for Flash left 0.6 showing on the clock. On the inbound play, Rajon Rondo got a screen from Big Baby that gave him just enough room to get a step on Mario Chalmers going to the rim, and Paul Pierce hit Rondo with a perfect lob that he dropped in at the buzzer. Rondo (25 pts, 8 asts) then owned overtime, continually beating Chalmers off the dribble for buckets as the Celtics pulled away … During a timeout at a crucial point in OT, you’d expect the Miami loudspeakers to play something like “Eye of the Tiger,” or even “Let’s Go” by Trick Daddy and Lil’ Jon. No, they played “Peanut Butter Jelly” … Hornets/Thunder also went down to the wire. With N.O. clinging to a slim lead down the stretch, multiple times Chris Paul drew the defense and found somebody wide-open for a jumper, only they’d miss. So when it got to real-deal crunch time, CP understandably went into “Eff it, I’m not passing” mode. Up by one, Paul (14 pts, 13 asts, 3 stls) took it himself a missed in the lane, but after David West got the offensive rebound, CP called his own number again and got a layup with 11 seconds left …

Chris Paul (photo. Zach Wolfe)

Naturally the Thunder wanted Kevin Durant (27 pts) to force overtime, so Hornets coach Jeff Bower had Paul line up like he was guarding Durant initially, while putting James Posey on Russell Westbrook in anticipation of a Westbrook/Durant screen where N.O. would have to switch anyway. But Westbrook ran in another direction, so Durant actually had a chance to just take a three over the 6-foot Paul, but he passed it off and the Hornets knocked it out of bounds. Run it back, and again Durant found himself being guarded by CP. Only this time he never even touched the ball as CP climbed in his shirt, and OKC kicked it around the arc between guys who clearly didn’t want to take that three. Westbrook ended up missing it … A few of us in the Dime office have a pet peeve about coaches who never run plays in the final seconds of a game, instead having their superstar milk the clock down to two seconds before taking what’s usually a bad shot. In Orlando, the Magic were down three with 16 seconds left when Stan Van Gundy actually ran a play that resulted in J.J. Redick (22 pts) getting a great look from straightaway with nobody in his face. Only he bricked. Alright, so maybe Van Gundy should’ve just let Vince Carter (7 pts, 2-7 FG) milk the clock and jack a fadeaway after all … How bad is Jose Calderon defensively — or how much of a micro-manager is Jay Triano — that even with a four-point lead (going on five) with two seconds to go and the Raptors shooting free throws, Jose still got taken out in favor of Sonny Weems for the offense/defense sub? Weems and Calderon were laughing about it, but somewhere deep down, Jose should be a little ashamed … Other stat lines from Wednesday: Baron Davis put up 25 points and 10 assists as the Clippers upset the Lakers, while Kobe had 33 and eight dimes; Tony Parker had 23 and six assists as San Antonio routed the Pistons; Jamal Crawford dropped 29 off the bench in Atlanta’s win over New Jersey; C.J. Miles scored 24 to lead Utah past the Grizzlies; Kevin Love posted 23 points, 16 boards and six dimes, and Al Jefferson added 26 points and 13 boards, but the Wolves still lost to Golden State; and Steve Nash went for 26 points and 12 dimes as Phoenix beat Houston … During the California/UCLA game, Marques Johnson and his announce partner were talking about how a lot of guys on the Cal squad are creative artist types. “It’s Berkeley. You just feel it walking around this area,” Johnson said. The other guy chimed in, “You used to REALLY feel it walking around this area,” as they busted out laughing. That’s a weed reference if you didn’t catch it … We’re out like 4:20 in Berkeley …

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