West and Brightest

01.07.09 9 years ago
Chris PaulChris Paul (photo. Zach Wolfe)

As far as statement games go, they don’t get much more timely or necessary than the Hornets win over the Lakers last night. Having already dropped two games convincingly to L.A. in their own building, N.O. needed to prove they could hang with the Western Conference’s top dog, and on Tuesday they had the two baddest pits in the yard in David West and Chris Paul. While CP carved up the defense with floaters over 7-footers (32 pts) and an almost flawless floor game (15 asts, 0 turnovers), West was just unstoppable, notching 40 points (15 in the fourth quarter) and 11 boards as Phil Jackson threw everyone from Gasol to Josh Powell to the ghost of Samaki Walker at him to no avail … CP had that “We are NOT losing tonight” swag going from the jump, scoring a quick 15 in the first quarter, but Kobe (39 pts) was right there with him to keep the Lakers close. After a third quarter run where Kobe knocked down three triples in 90 seconds with defenders draped all over him, the Lakers were ahead going into the fourth, but Kobe got shut down thereafter. He scored just two points in the final frame, shooting 1-for-6 thanks in part to James Posey, who is still getting booed by L.A. fans whenever he does anything. Denying Kobe the ball on one end, the Hornets went on a 15-0 run to close it out … Down two late in the second quarter, Kobe tried a behind-the-back pass that didn’t come close to Gasol and fell right into West’s lap. From our camera angle you couldn’t see Kobe’s face, but Pau appeared to shoot him a look that said, “Don’t even give me that pissed-off look” … What exactly did the Celtics do to Ray Felton? He always seems to put in work against Boston since the KG/Ray/Pierce era began, one of the main reasons the ‘Cats have had the Celtics’ number in that span. Last night Felton went for 25 points and eight assists in Boston’s fifth loss in seven games (and those two wins were against the Dakota, um, Washington Wizards and the Sacramento Queens). Yeah, Felton has a bad habit of over-dribbling only to jack a bad shot, but it’s not like the C’s have figured out how to stop it … The KG Hater’s Club had to love when Gerald Wallace (23 pts, 4 stls) threw down an alley-oop, bumped Garnett on his way back to earth, then glared right at KG when he tried to shove Wallace away …

Andre IguodalaAndre Iguodala (photo. Kelly Turso)

One play from Rockets/Sixers pretty much summed up the whole game. After Andre Iguodala went baseline and bricked what would have been a highlight reel dunk over Carl Landry, the ball ended up with Thaddeus Young, who took it down the middle and successfully put Landry on a poster. In other words, it was like target practice for the Sixers. They got whatever they wanted offensively as the Rockets looked soft without Ron Artest (ankle) and Shane Battier (foot) in the lineup. Maybe they should have played Dikembe … Seeing T-Mac sit in his high chair on the bench alongside Von Wafer and Aaron Brooks — neither of whom looks a day older than 16 — it’s hard to remember he’s only 29 years old … After Andre Miller out-hustled Yao and Luis Scola for a rebound, Rockets’ announcer Matt Bullard said, “Yao’s gotta make people pay for flying around him like flies. He’s gotta give people some stitches.” This was during the same game where Theo Ratliff swatted Yao twice on the same possession … Yesterday’s DimeMag.com poll asked, “One possession, down two, who would you give the ball to?” providing four Southwest Division bigs as the options: Duncan, Yao, D-West and Dirk. No surprise TD won by a wide margin, but Dirk got a respectable 31% of the vote. (Yao oddly got only 5%, less than West.) Last night during Mavs/Clips, Dirk showed why he got those votes. Tie game, 37 seconds left, Nowitzki took Al Thornton deep into the paint, then stopped and dropped that (usually) unblockable fadeaway in his grill for the go-ahead bucket … Dirk finished with 34 points, winning the shoot-out with Eric Gordon, who had 32. Have you noticed that with Baron Davis out, Mike Dunleavy Sr.‘s pint-sized playbook has simply transferred over to Gordon? Every time the Clips need a big shot, it’s just been Gordon getting the clear-out. Yesterday he didn’t come through, however, getting blocked by Dirk one key possession in the fourth and ripped by Jason Kidd another time … In case you didn’t notice, Darius Miles is back. He made his Grizzlies debut the other day, and last night went scoreless in seven minutes in a loss to Minnesota. Meanwhile, over in Portland, the Blazers’ front office just got real interested in Memphis’ schedule. Isn’t Tonya Harding‘s boy Jeff Gillooly still in Oregon? Is he available? … We’re out like Samaki …

Around The Web