“No LeBron, Mo Problems”

By: 03.09.10  •  31 Comments

That was Brent Barry‘s line before last night’s Cavs/Spurs game, his way of saying Mo Williams needed to step up and lead Cleveland since LeBron was out with a sore ankle. After sticking a big three midway through the fourth quarter to tie it, Mo (17 pts, 8 rebs, 8 asts) was at the line with nine seconds left and the Cavs up one. He made both free throws (between shots, did you see that girl in the crowd who looked exactly like J.J. Hickson?), and although Greg Popovich drew up a beautiful play to get Roger Mason a wide-open three, “No Shot Rog” bricked to complete his 0-for-8 night beyond the arc … With no LeBron, no Shaq, no Tony Parker (hand) and only half of Antawn Jamison (knee), you’d think there wouldn’t be much to learn here. On the contrary, we learned that Manu Ginobili (38 pts, 7 rebs, 5 asts) can still rip your heart out even though he’s missing some of his recklessness and most of his hair. We learned that George Hill (23 pts) has a lot of TP’s influence in his game but with a stronger body. We learned that without LeBron, the Cavs actually play a lot like the Mavs in that they’re a crew of jump shooters. And we learned that one of the few guys in Cleveland who does create his own shots, Delonte West, is one of the more athletic guards in the League but is obviously overshadowed most of the time playing with a real-life Avatar like LeBron … Late fourth quarter, Hill handed Richard Jefferson an easy scoring chance that RJ squandered by taking four steps right under the rim. The look on Pop’s face was priceless, like, “How much are we paying you?” … Accidentally unbelievable line of the night from Austin Carr: “Delonte West, I’ll tell you what. If I’m going to war, I want that young man with me.” Considering the arsenal Delonte rides with, we’d want him on our side, too … Did the Cavs even give Sebastian Telfair a uniform when he came over at the trade deadline? For some reason we get the feeling Terrell Brandon is gonna suit up for the Cavs before Bassy gets a chance … You knew Warriors/Hornets was gonna be crazy. Two teams that don’t know how to do anything but run and don’t know how to play any defense. This was like ABA-style. Well after both teams had cracked 100 points early in the fourth quarter, there was about a four-minute stretch where neither team missed a shot, going back and forth like NBA Jam … With 1:30 to go, the Hornets were up seven (not even close to a safe lead) when Stephen Curry dropped consecutive treys to make it a one-point game, but then Darren Collison broke Steph’s ankles on a crossover before dropping in a floater. Down three with 9 seconds left, G-State’s Reggie Williams (28 pts) was fouled before he could get off a three (defensive strategy?), so after his free throws and two David West (28 pts, 13 rebs) freebies, the Warriors were still down three. C.J. Watson had a good look at a three to force OT, but he sent it off the top of the backboard … We neglected to put Collison (16 pts, 20 asts, 7 turnovers) on our list of players most likely to break Scott Skiles‘ record of 30 dimes in one game, but he’s got just as good a chance as anybody. Only thing with Collison is he could break the record while also committing 15 turnovers … Josh Smith and Joe Johnson were both trying to pull a Kobe on the Knicks and take over in crunch time — Smith scored 11 of his 25 points in the fourth, while J.J. (22 pts) strung together some buckets late to bring ATL within one in the final seconds — but in the end New York’s defense came through. Smith was going for a dunk right before the buzzer when Wilson Chandler stuffed him at the rim, and Al Horford couldn’t get the putback off in time … Not to downplay what the Knicks accomplished, the Hawks are acting like the Nuggets in the way they’re playing down to their competition. No way a healthy Top-4 seed should lose to a Tracy McGrady-less squad whose starting five consists of Sergio Rodriguez, Bill Walker, Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and David Lee, with Toney Douglas playing a prominent role off the bench … Other stat lines from Monday: Rudy Gay put up 21 points and 10 boards as Memphis beat the Nets; and Shawn Marion‘s 29 points, 14 boards and 3 steals helped Dallas knock off the Wolves, while Al Jefferson had 36 and 13 boards in the loss … The major college conference tournaments get underway today: Namely, the Big East Tournament first round at MSG features UConn vs. St. John’s, DePaul vs. South Florida, Providence vs. Seton Hall, and Rutgers vs. Cincinnati. Yesterday we previewed the Pac-10 tournament; check back later this morning for a Big East preview … We’re out like Bassy …

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