Tyson’s Punch-Out

01.03.09 9 years ago
Tyson ChandlerTyson Chandler (photo. Brandon Sullivan)

Typically, after a sports fight — or even one of those Major League Baseball stand-and-stares — teams rally together when one of their guys gets bullied. In last night’s Blazers/Hornets game, that wasn’t the case at all. After Tyson Chandler picked a fight with Joel Przybilla midway through the third quarter (Chandler got ejected), the Blazers went flat, wilted and lost their lead, and eventually lost the game. It started when Joel P and Chandler were jockeying for position on the block and Chandler blatantly karate-chopped Przybilla’s wrist, which is already broken. Przybilla pushed back, then Chandler forearm-punched him in the chest. Both guys squared off (with Joel screaming “F*** YOU!”) before the rest of the players and refs got between them. At the same time Greg Oden and assistant Monty Williams were laughing on the bench, one of the Blazers’ announcers said, “That would have been like De La Hoya/Pacquiao, with Przybilla playing the role of Pacquiao.” (For what it’s worth, we’re thinking Przybilla destroys Chandler in a real fight) … With Chandler out, Portland tried to force-feed Oden, but even against Hilton Armstrong, he just doesn’t have the offensive skills yet to be a dependable scorer. In fact, Armstrong started giving Oden work, throwing in tip dunks and scoring in transition. Add in some James Posey threes, some David West (25 pts) mid-range, and some Chris Paul (17 pts, 11 asts) daggers all over the place, and the Hornets pulled out the W … The absence of Brandon Roy (hamstring) really showed itself down the stretch. While N.O. was turning in the screws, the Blazers didn’t have anyone they could go to and stop the bleeding; LaMarcus Aldridge was having an off-night (5-for-18 FG’s), and Jerryd Bayless‘ Baby B-Roy act didn’t work ’cause he’s too small to go to the rack and score whenever he wants … At some point during the Beijing Olympics, when it became apparent D-Wade was gonna be a problem this season, we figured Miami and Orlando would go neck-and-neck for the Southeast Division crown. So far, not so much. The Heat have been OK despite Wade’s nightly MVP campaigning, but the Magic are about to lap them in the race for first place (not to mention the Hawks are getting it done as well). Yesterday’s Heat/Magic game was close heading into the fourth quarter, but Wade (33 pts, 7 rebs, 6 asts) went ice-cold and Miami didn’t have a Plan B as their man went scoreless over the last 12 minutes … Improbable Play of the Game: Tony Battie going over Mike Beasley‘s back and dunking on his head while Beasley tried his best to not look embarrassed …

CarmeloCarmelo Anthony (photo. Mannion)

While B-Easy was quiet, his two D.C.-area boys went nuts on Friday. Carmelo (31 pts) and Kevin Durant (33 pts) traded clutch buckets down the stretch of Nuggets/Thunder, taking it down to the final seconds. Down by one with about three seconds left, Durant came around a curl, took the inbounds and dropped a three in Carmelo’s face as the Ford Center crowd reacted like they’d just won the championship. (Gotta take those small victories when you can.) But on the other end, ‘Melo got the inbounds in the corner and let one fly over MC Des Mase, drilling the game-winner to a shell-shocked arena … Did you see Scott Brooks‘ post-game comments? After the usual, “Both teams played hard,” part, Brooks added, “Their best players had 27 (Nene), 24 (Chauncey) and 31 (‘Melo). That’s what it takes to beat us in our building.” Sounds a little bold for somebody leading a team that’s 4-30 … And what kind of justice is there when ex-Sonics GM Rick Sund saddles this team with slugs like Robert Swift and Mo Sene and Johan Petro in consecutive drafts — the same 7-footers who watched Nene play like Neon Bodeaux last night — and Sund’s reward is that he lands with a playoff team in Atlanta? … Speaking of, the Hawks got a gift against New Jersey when Devin Harris threw up in his mouth as ATL had him trapped on the sideline and turned the ball over, leading to Josh Smith‘s go-ahead layup with 11 seconds to go in overtime. So what do you do if you’re Lawrence Frank: give it back to Devin, who had scored 26 points and has a track record this season of playing like a Hall of Famer on Fridays? Or go with Vince Carter, who’d scored 15 points, was shooting 5-for-17 at the time, and had already missed a potential game-winner at the end of regulation? Frank went with VC, who calmly dropped a 30-footer in Smith’s grill at the buzzer. The other day in the office we were arguing whether or not N.J. had become Devin’s team, but yesterday we got our answer … Lakers/Jazz was a rout for all of the first half and well into the second, until Utah suddenly came alive and cut the lead to four with 2:50 left. But in that space where you’d expect Kobe (40 pts) to take over, Trevor Ariza was the guy. In the last three minutes he scored an and-one, got a putback, then took a feed from Pau Gasol (who led the break, went CP-style reverse between-the-legs, then flipped an underhand pass) and dunked what was the dagger …

Paul PiercePaul Pierce, Dime #5

The Celtics made it back to the East Coast and resumed whuppin’ ass — which is kinda easy when you’ve got the Wizards on the schedule. Paul Pierce had a field day, scoring 26 and missing just one shot (9-for-10 FG’s, 5 threes), torturing everyone from Caron Butler to Dominic McGuire to Nick Young; one time we swore we saw him giving Jeff Malone buckets … Other big stat lines from Friday’s 15-game slate: LeBron had a triple-double (16 pts, 11 rebs, 10 asts) in a win over the Bulls; Marcus Camby had 19 points and 23 boards in a loss to Phoenix; Dirk scored 31 in a win over Philly; Jarrett Jack scored 29 and hit the game-winning J with less than a second to go over the Knicks at MSG; Michael Redd dropped 31 in a win over Charlotte; Rodney Stuckey dumped 38 points on Sacto in a win; and Al Jefferson had 32 and 10 boards in a win (no, really) over Golden State … Stephon Marbury (a walking billboard with his Starbury t-shirt and Starbury head ink) was in the building for Wolves/Warriors, and sat down with Minny’s announce crew for a stretch. Asked about the rumors that had him going to Boston, Steph said he would love to play with KG again, and that the first break-up had nothing to do with basketball; translating Steph-speak, he simply hated living in Minnesota: “When I was younger, I had a difference disposition about how I wanted to live my life,” he said. Talented as he is, the only way we really see Steph ending up in Boston is if Garnett actively and aggressively advocates for him. Otherwise, the C’s could be taking a risk akin to the Clips signing Ricky Davis … We’re out like head tats …

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