Locked In

12.22.07 10 years ago 22 Comments
IMAGE DESCRIPTIONPhoto. Gary Land

You thought the Celtics wouldn’t be locked in for last night’s game coming off the Detroit loss? And with the Bulls — once predator, now patsy — coming onto the parquet, everything was set in place for a piecing. Chicago started off the game settling for jumpers that weren’t hitting, meanwhile allowing Ray Allen (18 pts) and Paul Pierce (22 pts) and everyone else to get open and knock down their shots. Initiate 20-piecing … Bill Walton killed the Bulls in the pre-game, saying Ben Wallace isn’t a leader (“He’s not even playing. He’s just standing there.”), Luol Deng and Ben Gordon are gunning for contracts, and Scott Skiles is coaching like he’s trying to get fired. No mention of how bad Kirk Hinrich has been this year, though. And not 30 seconds later, Walton was enshrining Brandon Roy into the Basketball Hall of Fame and calling LaMarcus Aldridge a tough guy who rebounds … Not a good start for Hinrich. On the first possession he did all he could to turn it over, hanging on to the rock in spite of himself. Then a couple minutes later he badly missed a runner, after which Rajon Rondo saved the loose ball by firing it off of Kirk’s groin. Hinrich finished with 2 points (1-for-5 FGs), 2 assists and 4 turnovers … Here’s a situation where you’re supposed to follow the spirit of the rule, not the letter: Tyrus Thomas had the ball on the block, gave James Posey a spin move that put Posey on his back, then threw down a two-hand hammer on Big Baby‘s head. Upon landing, Tyrus gave Big Baby — his ex-teammate and buddy at LSU — a little extra “What?” look, and the refs gave him a tech. Weak call. You gotta consider the relationship between the two players in question, and know that they were most likely just messing with each other; as far as we know there’s no beef or any reason for Tyrus to buck up on Glen. Of course, we’re sure not every ref is paying attention to a couple of young’uns enough to know that they went to school together, but it was still an unnecessary call … Speaking of Roy, he led the Blazers to their 10th straight win, this one over the Nuggets. Roy scored 18 against a Denver squad that got 34 points apiece from A.I. and ‘Melo, but had to start Jelani McCoy in place of the injured Marcus Camby. HUGE downgrade there (as you saw when LaMarcus crowned him something nasty in the third quarter). And coming off a double-OT game the night before, it’s a shock Denver even made it close with Portland. They had their chances, but Roy and Travis Outlaw came up with two crucial blocks when Denver needed to score in crunch-time … As usual, Kobe got booed every time he blinked in Philly last night, and even though the groin injury limited him (19 pts, 6-for-20 FGs) he still came up big when he had to, hitting some clutch free throws down the stretch to help L.A. pull it out. It boiled down to the Sixers having nothing for Andrew Bynum (24 pts, 11 rebs) and Lamar Odom (21 pts, 11 rebs) inside. Did you see that lob Bynum caught from Fish? Didn’t even know he had hang time like that … Andre Miller (21 pts, 8 asts) was ballin’ against the Lakers. He was getting buckets and playing more aggressively than we’ve seen him play since he came over to Philly. It was almost like he was trying out … Crazy how things can change in a just a couple of weeks. It wasn’t that long ago when you could have suggested Jazz/Magic as an NBA Finals preview, and you wouldn’t get very many “Whatchu smokin’?” looks. Now, with both teams slumping and looking all kinds of flawed, yesterday’s game was just two teams headed downhill in desperate need of a win. Carlos Boozer (24 pts, 9 rebs, 8 asts) and his squad that win after Paul Millsap went beastmaster on an 11-2 Jazz run where he scored all the points himself … Gordan Giricek wasn’t with the team. A lot of people are saying he’s played his last game with the Jazz. Just a hunch, but something tells us he could end up in Cleveland … Surprise of the night: the Wolves coming back from down 20 in the first quarter and beating the Pacers, putting up 131 points in the process. Sebastian Telfair played every single minute, thoroughly outperforming fellow NY playground stud Jamaal Tinsley in dropping 27 points and 11 dimes. And a few of those assists were to ‘Toine, who hit 6 threes on one of his occasional turn-back-the-clock nights … Surprise of the Night #2: the Sonics actually showing a pulse (they looked D.O.A. against the Hornets the other night) and hanging 123 on the Raptors. Kevin Durant led the way with 27 points and he put Rasho on YouTube on one baseline cram … We’re out like Philly’s love for Kobe …

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