NCAA Elite Eight is set, and ‘Melo drops 43 and the game-winner

03.28.09 9 years ago 36 Comments
Oklahoma's Blake Griffin

Oklahoma's Blake Griffin

Now that all the underdogs and Cinderellas have gone home, it’s time for one of the remaining Elite Eight to step up and win this NCAA ‘chip. Last night the PTP’ers took over: Blake Griffin leading Oklahoma over Syracuse, Tyler Hansbrough and Ty Lawson leading UNC over Gonzaga, Terrence Williams and Earl Clark leading Louisville over Arizona, and in the only close game of the night, Kalin Lucas lifting Michigan State past Kansas … When the defending champs go back and watch this game on film, there’s one sequence that’ll make them feel sick: Up five with three minutes left, the Jayhawks let MSU get about 4-5 offensive rebounds in a row and manufacture a couple buckets out of it. Had Kansas been able to get just one of those boards, they could have delivered a dagger instead of allowing State to eventually tie it up … Then with less than a minute to go, Lucas (18 pts, 7 asts, 4 stls) pulled a move from Tony Parker‘s playbook when he spun into the lane, got Sherron Collins in the air with a pump-fake, and hit a little leaner as Collins fouled him that proved to be the game-winner … Your guaranteed “One Shining Moment” clip from Friday? Blake Griffin (30 pts, 14 rebs) about to smash the final nail in the Orange coffin and hitting his head on the backboard in the process … How many lanky shooters on the AAU circuit are gonna come out this summer rocking long sleeves on the court? Oklahoma’s Tony Crocker might have made them hot overnight, sticking six threes on his way to 28 points and looking extra-smooth with the long-sleeved tee … Gonzaga has two good scoring PG’s in Jeremy Pargo and Demetri Goodson, but they don’t have anybody who can stop Ty Lawson (19 pts, 9 asts). Lawson got whatever he wanted, whether it was in the paint or beyond the arc, dropping 17 in the first half and mostly resting that toe in the second while Pyscho T (24 pts, 10 rebs) took care of business … And Louisville just destroyed Arizona in every facet of the game, 103-64, behind Williams (14 pts, 7 rebs, 6 asts) and Clark (19 pts, 9 rebs) and their unrelenting defense … We can’t confirm or deny the rumor that Chase Budinger was scheduling pre-draft workouts at halftime and sifting through agents business cards on the bus ride back to the hotel. Budinger is 100% out of there, as is Jordan Hill. ‘Zona coach Russ Pennell took his team farther than anyone expected, but he’s got a rebuilding project ahead of him now … Also in rebuilding mode is VCU, who took a major hit when coach Anthony Grant accepted the Alabama job yesterday. Veteran move by Grant to parlay the mid-major job into a bigger deal at the same time Eric Maynor is leaving; now maybe VCU should go after Billy Gillispie, who got fired by Kentucky despite winning 40 games in two seasons. The NIT just isn’t gonna cut it in Lexington …

Carmelo Anthony (photo. Mannion)

Carmelo Anthony (photo. Mannion)

Carmelo Anthony was the pro star of the day, dropping 43 points (18-29 FG) and the game-winner at Dallas. ‘Melo added 11 boards in a game he absolutely dominated, and the Mavs helped him out by not even guarding him on a bunch of his buckets. Seriously, late in the fourth quarter of a close game, there’s no excuse for ‘Melo — whether he’s got 50 points or five points — to be shooting threes where nobody is within two arms lengths of him. Then on the game-winner, ‘Melo worked a pick-and-roll with Chauncey Billups and BOTH defenders went with CB, leaving ‘Melo with a clear path to drive and put in a layup over DirkJ.J. Barea deserves a lot of shine, too. Filling in for Jason Kidd (back), Barea dropped 22 points and five threes, and was sticking HUGE shots in the fourth quarter, including the go-ahead three before Carmelo’s game-winner … Ray Allen looked like UConn Ray (“Nobody named Raymond either”) in the Celtics win at Atlanta, getting some inside buckets and pull-ups in the lane on his way to 22 points; just so you didn’t think he’s only a spot-up shooter … Nice try at humility from Ray, but even he can’t believe Eddie House is the best shooter in the NBA, which he said during his “NBA Gametime” interview. Let Ray and Eddie get into a shooting contest, and if Ray doesn’t win, he’d be pissed that he didn’t … Funny NBA TV moment when Steve Smith decided to nickname Joe Johnson “The Machine” and Rick Kamla reminded him that Sasha Vujacic has that handle already. “Um, you’ve gotta be pretty good to be called ‘The Machine,'” Smitty said … The LeBron-haters have plenty of fresh material after his game against the Wolves: First there was the “flagrant” foul called on Jason Collins (‘Bron called it “borderline dirty” several times in the post-game) that might not have been ruled flagrant if the victim was anybody other than LeBron, and definitely wouldn’t have been ruled flagrant if LBJ hadn’t done the whole Wladimir Klitschko-punched-me-in-the-face act. Then there was the alley-oop dunk where it looked like LeBron slapped the backboard; somewhere Al Harrington saw that highlight and lost his mind when ‘Bron wasn’t given a tech … Some big stat lines from Friday: Chris Bosh had 21 points, 13 boards, six assists and three blocks in a win over OKC; Pau Gasol posted 36 points, 11 boards and seven dimes in a win at New Jersey; Kevin Martin scored 31 in a loss to Memphis; and Chris Paul had 22 points, 10 dimes and three steals in a loss at New York … Did you see Hedo Turkoglu do Luc Richard Mbah a Moute dirty? Last 30 seconds of the first half, Hedo pump-faked LRMAM at the three-point line, took a hard dribble right, then pulled back with a crossover/step-back as LRMAM fell on his ass. And it was right in front of the Orlando bench, so he could hear the guys clowning him … We’re out like the Zags …

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