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Butler and Kemba Walker Shoot Their Way Into the Final Four; The Knicks Debacle Reaches a New Low

By 03.27.11
Kemba Walker

Kemba Walker

The Butler is back again. You ever doze off, then wake back up to see the game you thought you were watching be turned upside down? You sit up, confused, eyes straining like “Huh?” Thank Butler for that. They are pretty good at making people look stupidGus Johnson called Florida’s style “bullyball.” It took five extra minutes, but eventually that big bully was sent home by the little guy as Butler staked it’s second consecutive trip to the Final Four with a come-from-behind 74-71 overtime win. The Bulldogs got help from everybody but it was Shelvin Mack (27 points) who was the difference. He came back from an ankle sprain in the first half to hit every big shot, including the go-ahead three-pointer with just over a minute left in overtime. … As much credit as Butler deserves, the Gators really screwed up. In the first half, Vernon Macklin (25 points) looked like Kevin McHale. Then he rarely touched the ball in the second. Florida pushed Butler around all day inside, but down the stretch in both regulation and overtime, the guards – specifically Kenny Boynton (17 points) and Erving Walker (1-10 from the field) – took a number of stupid threes. Watching the game, it felt like Florida was the teenager who just enjoyed beating up on their kid brother, razing them enough until all of a sudden, they had an unwanted fight on their hands. They were up 11 in the second half and had a nine-point lead late, but when Butler cut into the lead, Walker’s shot to win rimmed off and the game went to overtime. When the Gators fell behind late in the extra frame, two consecutive wild threes from Walker and Boynton sealed their fate … Can adrenaline really last 19 days? Can you really ride that high through nine straight games? Well, UConn has done it. They survived a talented an assault by a Arizona team and a pro-‘Zona crowd to win by two and extend their season to the Final Four. The Butler and Florida game was spectacular; this one was just as good. On the final possession, down two, first Derrick Williams (20 points) pulled up for a contested three that was long. The rebound ended up in Jamelle Horne’s hands but his three was off as well. For the Huskies, it was one final sigh of relief. They fought off Arizona’s charges ever since Williams went out with two fouls in the first half. After that, every ‘Zona attack was countered by Kemba Walker (20 points, 7 assists) and Jeremy Lamb (19 points) … Remember the second half against Duke when Arizona had two straight message-sending dunks? They did it again in the final frame last night. Williams drop stepped and brought the whole desert careening down on UConn’s faces and then Jesse Perry (14 points) finished another eyebrow-raiser on the baseline … But as we said, UConn immediately came right back at them, hitting the ‘Cats with a 10-0 sledgehammer that helped give them a cushion down the stretch … It won’t be long before Derrick Rose is going to have haters too. When you are this good, people get jealous, jealous you aren’t on their team, jealous you just really don’t care about feelings and are coming for what’s yours. Watching the final minutes of Rose’s (30 points, 17 assists) takeover against Milwaukee, that’s all we could think of. Rose went from a little, cuddly thing last year to maybe the baddest dude on the planet. With the game in the balance last night, Rose scored six straight points, making his weird push shot in the lane and then coming back on the next possession with a Kobe-like reverse pivot fadeaway. Splash. To top if off, he fed Luol Deng for a three-point play on the next possession. He scored 10 in a three-and-a-half minute span. Milwaukee had no chance. Still don’t think he’s the MVP? … On the other end of awesome sit the Knicks, who are more embarrassing right now than getting caught bumping and mouthing Ke$ha with the windows peeled down at a red light. When you give up 64 first-half points to the freaking Bobcats, as New York did in their eight-point loss to Charlotte, it’s officially go-sit-in-the-corner-time. It’s not even Carmelo Anthony’s (36 points) fault either. Boris Diaw (20 points) played well. So did Stephen Jackson (19 points). But New York could make anyone look good right now. Seriously, Charlotte might be the worst offensive team in the league and they trampled the Knicks. That’s like losing in a spelling bee to a four-year old … Other headlines from around the league: Atlanta jumped out 19-2 on New Jersey and rode that to a 11-point win, led by Al Horford (23 points, 12 rebounds); Richard Hamilton (23 points) and Detroit dampened the Pacers’ playoff chances with a 12-point win; Dallas and Jason Terry (22 points) sprinted away from the Jazz in the fourth quarter to win by 17; and Blake Griffin (22 points, 16 rebounds) and the Clippers held off Toronto in a four-point L.A. win … We’re out like “bullyball.”

TAGSboris diawButlerDERRICK WILLIAMServing walkerKemba Walkerkenny boyntonNCAA TournamentShelvin MackSmackSTEPHEN JACKSONTyler LambUConn

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