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4.2 The Cooler

Dwight Howard Destroys the Mavs; the Nuggets go WWE on the Blazers

By 04.02.10


There are many, many nights when the Dallas Mavericks look like legit NBA title contenders, just running through teams, knocking down jumpers in waves and playing better defense than we’ve ever seen a modern-era Mavs team play. Last night was decidedly not one of those evenings. Maybe Dallas got caught looking ahead to the playoffs, or maybe they were due for a letdown after reeling off three straight wins, or maybe (and most likely) the Orlando Magic might be just that good. The Magic dominated the Mavs, just owning Dallas in the paint, beyond the arc and on defense, steamrolling their way to a 97-82 W … The Orlando domination started with Dwight Howard‘s Kraken act in the paint. The Centaur cruised his way to a light 17 points, 20 boards and five blocks (including one where he just snatched a J.J. Barea shot out of the air), showing some nice moves and carrying himself with a little bit of an edge. For example, in the final minute of the first half, Dwight almost decapitated Jason Terry on a ball screen. About 30 game seconds later, as the final seconds of the half were ticking down, Terry tried to launch a shot from just inside half court. Dwight rudely swatted it away and stomped off to his halftime interview … Before the game, Reggie Miller (wearing socks he borrowed from Marvin K. Mooney’s closet) asked Dwight during warm-ups if his cover photo on Men’s Health was doctored/Photoshopped at all. “Nah, that’s all me,” Dwight said with a very serious look on his face … And speaking of those offensive moves, Dwight looked good – on one play he hit Erick Dampier with a nice spin for a lefty layup in the first quarter. Think about how impressive these moments are – this time last year, if you locked Dwight in a gym by himself and told him he couldn’t dunk, it might take him all day to get a bucket … Meanwhile, words cannot describe how atrocious Dallas’ defense was last night. Orlando was just pick-and-rolling them to death. It seemed like Jameer Nelson must have had 20 wide open jumpers … The Denver Nuggets basically put the Portland Trail Blazers in a sleeper hold last night. Denver ground down the Blazers in what ended up being a pretty unremarkable almost-20-piecing doled out by the Nuggs to snap the Blazers’ four-game winning streak … There was a moment when Chris Anderson rolled his ankle trying to block and Andre Miller drive to the hoop. He was in obvious, serious pain, but was able to get up and hop down the tunnel to the locker room. The TNT cameras followed him best they could, a la WWE cameras chasing a wrestler backstage. And also a la WWE, the cameras went right through whatever was going on beyond the tunnel. In this case it was the Nuggets dance team practicing. To quote a comment from reader hoopguru right after it happened: “gotta love when the birdman walked back into the locker room and flung open the curtain……TA DA, Cheerleader tail right in your face.” … Make sure you come back to Dimemag.com in the early afternoon to see if you’ve won one of these Kobe Bryant California’s Finest T-Shirts. You still have time to make your case as to why you deserve one … While the Magic were killing the Mavs, we put it in a lot of time watching the NCAA dunk contest and three-point shootout. Maryland’s Eric Hayes beat Cornell’s Ryan Wittman in the men’s three-point contest. Ali Farokhmanesh and Jerome Randle got KO’d early. When Hayes won on the last money ball, Gary Williams (not sweating profusely for once) smiled in public for maybe the first time ever … Hayes then beat Detroit’s Brigid Mulroy by one point in the “Battle of the Sexes” finale. It was actually pretty impressive – both shooters were like androids, knocking down shot after shot with identical form … The favorite going into the dunk contest was Cal State Fullerton’s Gerard Anderson. He started off with a dunk where he touched the bottom of the backboard with his left hand while windmilling with his right, but after that was hurt by missing dunks and having to rush dunks … Bradley’s Chris Roberts finished 2nd. He had the sickest dunk of the night when he caught it off the glass and did what appeared to be a delayed two-hand backwards windmill. Shades of a young Jason Richardson … Vermont’s Marqus Blakely eventually won the whole thing. He did something we’ve never seen before: His teammate came in from the right side and dunked a simple one-hander, then Blakely caught it as it was coming out of the net and did a windmill. In the final round, Blakely had Wake Forest’s 6-4 L.D. Williams stand in front of the hoop and throw it off the glass while Blakely hurdled L.D. and dunked with two hands. Blakely leaving as champ was no surprise, especially if you’ve SEEN THIS … We’re out like last night’s NBA games …


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