Hell Week

02.07.09 9 years ago 41 Comments
Kevin GarnettKevin Garnett (photo. Gary Land)

As you probably know by now — since an eye-popping number never came across the ticker and you didn’t get any giddy/trash-talking texts about it — Paul Pierce didn’t come close to matching the out-of-this-world numbers that Kobe and LeBron put up at Madison Square Garden earlier this week. While Pierce did drop some clutch and timely buckets in the fourth quarter on his way to 26 points, it was a little bit of everybody lighting up the scoreboard for the Celtics, who gutted out a tougher-than-expected win. The Knicks actually led in the fourth quarter, until Ray Allen (22 pts) went on a run where he scored 11 straight to put Boston up for good. With NY at least trying to play D on the Big Three down the stretch, the bench guys like Eddie House and Leon Powe delivered the daggers. On Powe’s layup with 2:30 remaining that put the C’s up by 11, the Knicks were doubling Kevin Garnett (15 pts, 11 rebs) and completely forgot about Powe; by the time KG hit him under the basket, the closest person to Powe was probably a fan sitting on the baseline … If you weren’t watching the game and you get an e-mail that only says, “Wilson Chandler just murdered Kendrick Perkins,” you don’t know if Chandler dunked on Perk, or if Perk (who’s always trying to start something) and Chandler (who has to be on edge post-Kobe/LeBron) got in a fight and Chandler unleashed all that pent-up frustration on Perk’s left eye. Turns out the e-mail was about a dunk … Just-hired New York Jets coach Rex Ryan was in the crowd and got a nice ovation when he was shown on the big screen. Just don’t come back in November when the Jets are 3-7 and expect that kind of love … So who do you think complained to the NBA and prompted the video review that resulted in LeBron losing his triple-double: The Knicks, Ben Wallace, or Kobe? … Have any of the pre-hyped “Greg Oden versus Player X” head-to-head matchups lived up to their billing yet? Whether it’s Oden vs. Shaq, Oden vs. Yao, Oden vs. Duncan, Oden vs. Bynum, or Oden vs. Dwight, they all seem to end with G.O. either getting hurt or not playing much. Last night’s Oden vs. Kevin Durant matchup wasn’t head-to-head in the sense that the top two picks in the ’07 Draft guarded each other, but even then, G.O. was a disappointment. While KD did his part, dropping 31 points, Oden saw just 16 minutes (4 pts) thanks to his old friend Foul Trouble … As for the game itself, the Thunder won in surprisingly easy fashion. They were up 20 in the first half and were never really threatened the rest of the way despite Brandon Roy putting up 32 points. Not sure if Travis Outlaw was trying to quiet any talk that the Blazers should have taken Durant #1 to play his position, but he went for 20 and had a pretty sick Dwight/Superman-ish “dunk” on Jeff Green … E-mail from Dime’s Austin Burton early into Pacers/Magic: “You’re not gonna believe me, but Roy Hibbert is kinda killing Dwight Howard right now. I’m completely serious. He gave him a little turnaround J, then dropped a hook on him, then he just beat him underneath for a dunk. Roy’s got eight points early in the second quarter.” That was about the extent of it, though, at least offensively. Hibbert air-balled a baseline J on his next touch after the dunk, and only had one more bucket the rest of the game. He did block a couple of Dwight’s shots and beat him for a rebound here and there, but at the end of the day it was just another monster stat line for The Centaur (21 pts, 20 rebs) …

Dwight HowardDwight Howard (photo. Mannion)

Orlando’s issue wasn’t getting Dwight his looks; it was defense. “We brought no defensive mentality, played no defense in the first half,” Stan Van Gundy said after the loss. “It’s a broken record. An awful effort tonight. I applaud them, they played well, but an awful effort on our part.” The Pacers went up double-digits in the first half, and while the Magic made it close later on, Danny Granger (33 pts) took over in the fourth quarter to put them away … We’re getting overloaded on low points to reference during this awful season for the Raptors. There was the Vince Carter one-man annihilation, and the embarrassing loss to the Thunder in December, and the 700-point loss to the Nuggets that led to Sam Mitchell‘s firing, and the seven-game losing streak that was highlighted by Chris Bosh and Jamario Moon beefing in public. Last night may have been another low point. Having already lost four games in a row, the Bosh-less Raps faced a Hornets team that was playing without Chris Paul (groin) and on a four-game skid of their own. Toronto still took the loss, getting rained on by Peja (7 threes) and James Posey (4 threes); letting guys like Rasual Butler look like Josh Smith dunking on the entire front line; and getting run out of the building in the fourth quarter … In the off-chance that CP can’t go for All-Star, you might have to give Deron Williams his spot. Deron has been killing it lately, and last night’s 34-point effort against the Kings was his third straight 30-point game. Deron dimed Mehmet Okur (28 pts, 11 rebs) for the game-tying triple in the final minute of the fourth, and added the go-ahead layup with 20 seconds left … The Kings played some inspired ball in front of their first sellout crowd of the season, on the same night Chris Webber had his #4 raised to the rafters. (Vlade Divac will have his Kings jersey retired next month.) Kevin Martin dropped 37 points, but that same ol’ sorry defense got them in the end … Other big stat lines from Friday: Grant Hill scored 27 in a win over Golden State; Zach Randolph dumped 35 points and 10 boards in a win over the Grizzlies; and Marvin Williams scored 29 (18-20 FT’s) in a win over Charlotte … Anyone else see “C. Martin” on the Bobcats box score and think for a half-second that it was Cuonzo Martin? Turns out it was D-League call-up Cartier Martin, previously known as the best player in recent Kansas State history until Michael Beasley showed up. Martin is already taking Adam Morrison‘s minutes … We’re out like The ‘Stache …

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