Kevin Durant Unleashes The Monster In The Desert; The Grizzlies Get Exposed

By: 01.15.13
Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant (photo. Nike)

It’s a good thing Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook didn’t get much help last night. Phoenix fans went to the arena expecting to see competitive basketball, not some bloodbath. Durant and Westbrook didn’t need any help, taking the Suns on 2-on-5 and still getting it done for OKC, 102-90. Westbrook was a demon for most of the first half, and finished with 36 points and eight boards. But it was Durant (41 points) who pushed this thing to another level. He was in a pissy mood all night, talking junk with old friend Michael Beasley, and looking straight perturbed that the Suns refused to double-team him. So he went out and took their souls in the fourth quarter. Nineteen points and one disgusting jam over the top of Marcin Gortat (19 points, 15 rebounds) later, and his MVP case just got a whole lot stronger. They’re still looking for Gortat’s body … Speaking on Hasheem Thabeet‘s development, Suns color guy Eddie Johnson noted, “They hire these hybrid trainers. I heard there’s this one guy out there who calls himself ‘the Whisperer.’ You know why he’s whispering? Because he doesn’t want anyone to hear what he’s saying. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” Johnson’s rant sort of made sense, but then he started fawning over Thabeet as if the dude’s a game changer in the NBA. Where’s Eddie been the last, oh, four years? … At the same time, LeBron James was unleashing his fury in Utah. Bringing his squad back into it after Miami fell behind by 21, LeBron (32 points) woke up after a few referees had the nerve to toss a few bad calls his way. Down the stretch with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the bench, he was guarding Al Jefferson (23 points, 11 rebounds) on one end, running point on the other (truly insane), and yelling at everyone from Mario Chalmers to the fat guy in the front row. It wasn’t quite enough – the Jazz’s bench, led by Gordon Hayward‘s 22, wasn’t missing at all – but it’s getting to the point that we are expecting ‘Bron to save the Heat every time they have an off night. These explosions are more predictable than Brent Musburger hitting on chicks during telecasts … Thanks to Boston celebrating real world heroes on their broadcast last night, Tommy Heinsohn finally shut up for a little while. Good thing too, because if we had switched the channel we would’ve missed the phenomenon that was Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley making jump shots. In the Celtics’ 11-point W against Charlotte, Bradley complemented his trademark defense with four triples and 16 points. Rondo, who dropped 17 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists for his 26th career triple-double and third this year, made a handful of shorter jump shots. Yeah, many of them were more open than a Montana highway, but it still counts. If they can make those shots, that changes everything for the Celtics. Actually we’ll say it like this: if they can make those shots, this is the second-best team in the East … Boston’s offense needs to carry them more than ever because those old legs don’t move like they used to on defense. Case in point the end of the first quarter with Ben Gordon isolated against Jason Terry. Gordon, who spent most of the night complaining to the refs and taking YMCA-looking pull-up jumpers from Rhode Island, went by the Jet with ease before earning a three-point play at the rim as Jason Collins simply bear-hugged him. If Gordon was four inches taller and still had his high school hops, Collins would’ve gotten his jersey stained with Gordon’s number 8 … And apparently, Tracy McGrady is putting a high price on his head while he’s away in China. Reportedly, T-Mac expects $5,000 for any non-mandatory one-on-one interview, and $1,000 if it’s a group session. That’s a lot of cheddar, and while McGrady probably fears for his life at times over there because the fans treat him like a god, this still seems a little ridiculous if it’s true. How much is he charging for a second round appearance? … Keep reading to hear why Lionel Hollins looked so sad last night …

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Eric Bledsoe

If the Grizzlies wanted a lot for Rudy Gay before last night, then now they probably want a future All-Star, at least a few first rounders, and new producers for Justin Timberlake because Memphis was exposed by the Clippers without their best shot-maker, 99-73. Gay missed the game to attend his grandmother’s funeral, and even with Chris Paul sitting out as well, L.A. jumped out by 15 and never looked back. Eric Bledsoe (14 points) drew six fouls on Memphis’ two point guards in the first half, and his energy sparked his whole team – somehow, the Clippers were sending four guys to the glass and they still got back on defense. On the other side, the Grizzlies couldn’t make a shot (barely 30 percent shooting) and Lionel Hollins looked like someone had just killed his puppy … It’s only been two games, but we can already see one specific area John Wall will help the Wizards in: transition points. In their 120-91 domination of Orlando, Washington had 26 points off the break by the middle of the third quarter, many of them coming during a stretch where Wall (12 points, six assists) danced all over the Magic. Wall ended Washington’s 37-point third quarter by hitting two pull-up Js and finding Bradley Beal for a fast-break dunk. After that, he had the play of the night: crossing over and then going behind-the-back to put Ish Smith on his ass before dropping another dime (he’d start the fourth quarter with another perfect lob to Jan Vesely) … Orlando did have one highlight when Andrew Nicholson dropped a one-handed facial on Martell Webster. The dunk was bad enough, but Webster went after the ball hard, missed completely and damn near fell flat on his face. That’s like getting rejected by a girl, and then sneezing all over your clothes in the process … In other scores from last night: Atlanta officially discredited themselves forever against Chicago and Carlos Boozer (20 points, 13 rebounds) by scoring an incredible 20 points in the first half before losing by nearly 40; Darren Collison‘s 23 points and nine assists powered the Mavs past Minnesota, 113-86; and Sacramento beat Cleveland by six as DeMarcus Cousins went off (26 points, 14 rebounds, six assists) … And if you missed the moment this weekend where C.J. Leslie might’ve saved a kid’s life, it’s a pretty cool story. They have photo evidence now too … We’re out like McGrady interviews.

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