The Knicks Find Another Phenom; Duke & Missouri KO’D In Huge March Madness Upsets

03.17.12 5 years ago
Tony Parker

Tony Parker

Between the time that we’re writing this and the time you’re going to read it, the domain name will probably be off the market. The Knicks are 2-0 under interim head coach Mike Woodson, which means according to the rules of Linsanity, he should immediately be named NBA Coach of the Year and the MSG team shop should’ve started mass-producing bald wigs and fake Woodson beards yesterday. Woodsanity, baby! Try to catch up … New York beat the brakes off the Pacers last night – just like they did to the Blazers in Woodson’s debut – in a 115-100 decision that only appeared close because Long Island native A.J. Price was going to show off for his hometown crowd during garbage time whether his team was getting smoked or not … Is it cute or just sad that MSG was chanting “We want Bibby!” in the fourth quarter? It wasn’t THAT long ago that Mike Bibby was one of the better point guards in the league. Now he’s New York’s version of Brian ScalabrineClyde Frazier said Tyson Chandler was “indomitable” and “omnipotent.” And all Chandler did was post 16 points, seven boards and four blocks. If he ever turns in one of those Kevin Love stat lines, Clyde could go epileptic trying to invent new words … There probably should have been some drama with the Nets (the team that tried hardest to trade for Dwight Howard) facing the Magic (the team that considered trading Dwight Howard up until the last minute) one day after the NBA trade deadline. But when the Nets are playing without injured Deron Williams and, well, when they’re being the Nets, there isn’t much room for drama during a sleep-inducing blowout … Dwight had a modest 18 points, six rebounds and three blocks, and botched an off-the-glass alley-oop from Jason Richardson. Well, there you go, Jersey fans: the guy isn’t even that good in the first place. Besides, y’all have former NCAA Defensive Player of the Year Shelden Williams … Another of Friday’s odd matchups had Monta Ellis playing his first game for Milwaukee at Golden State, against the team that just traded him. Obviously Monta is just getting acquainted with his new teammates and the new system, but he chipped in 18 points (6-15 FG) and three steals in a 20-piece W for the Bucks … Kevin Durant was not having a good game. And his OKC Thunder were down by as much as 27 to San Antonio. And Tim Duncan (16 pts, 19 rebs) was ballin’ like it was 2003. And Tony Parker (25 pts, seven asts) was ballin’ like it was 2012. And the Thunder STILL almost won the game … While KD struggled (25 pts, 8-19 FG), Russell Westbrook keyed the second-half comeback in front of OKC’s crowd that must be on a 24/7 sugar high. He was going back and forth with Parker in a pull-up jumper contest, and that’s when Russ wasn’t slicing through the defense for layups. Westbrook finished with 36 points. But every time the Thunder got to within two or three points, Danny Green re-established the Spurs’ cushion. The guy who used to be The Other Guy on North Carolina’s 2009 national championship squad scored 10 of his 21 points in the final nine minutes, including a steal and dunk with under a minute to go that was basically the clincher … If you miss hearing Bill Walton on the air, sign up for NBA League Pass and watch as many Sacramento home games as possible. The Big Grayhead (his new nickname for himself) does occasional commentary for the Kings, and he was on fire last night with the Celtics in town. During one sequence Bill bemoaned “the tragedy of Mike D’Antoni” and predicted Jimmer Fredette would be a star in the NBA next season, right after Jimmer committed back-to-back amateurish turnovers … Then for no reason at all, Walton went in on Monta Ellis: “I just don’t like gunners – guys who only think about themselves and just jack it up.” Keep in mind this happened while Bill’s dude Marcus Thornton was pouring in 36 points and shooting the rock every time we looked up … Oh, and the Kings destroyed the Celtics, 120-95, running them out of the gym with constant fast breaks and making Boston look like the oldest team in the league … The new-look Lakers scored a W over the Wolves. (Is it just us, or have these two teams played each other like 14 times this year?) Kobe Bryant dropped 28 points, but the guy people wanted to see was new point guard Ramon Sessions. He came off the bench for seven points, five assists and three turnovers in 19 minutes, and what stood out wasn’t just his speed, but how his speed was seemingly effortless. Derek Fisher could get up and down the court pretty quick sometimes, but it was like you knew his feet were gonna be killing him the next morning for it. Sessions has a more natural speed, and once he learns how and where his L.A. teammates want the ball, he will be a big difference-maker … Other NBA stat lines from Friday: Joe Johnson dropped 34 points and six threes in Atlanta’s win over Washington (without Nene); LaMarcus Aldridge scored 21 to lead Portland (with new coach, without the players they picked up at the deadline) past Chicago; Jerryd Bayless put up 28 points and nine dimes as Toronto beat Memphis, while Zach Randolph dropped 25 points off the bench in his first game back since the knee injury; Steve Nash handed out 17 assists to go with five points as Phoenix beat Detroit; and LeBron James stuffed the stat sheet with 29 points, seven rebounds, eight assists, two steals and two blocks in Miami’s win at Philadelphia, hitting a clutch jumper and two free throws down the stretch to snuff out a near-incredible Sixers comeback … Given all that we’ve read in the gossip pages, it was weird seeing Will and Jada at the game in Philly, acting all together and married and stuff … Keep reading to hear about some of the greatest upsets we’ve ever seen …

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Tu Holloway

Tu Holloway (photo. Xavier University Athletics)

Then there was the Big Dance. It always cracks us up how people complain about “boring” days in the NCAA Tournament – as if we are owed crazy upsets and buzzer-beaters every day of every tourney – when we know that things always balance out. Because if you thought Day 1 (the real Day 1) of the Dance wasn’t entertaining enough, Day 2 more than made up for it … For starters, 15-seed over 2-seed upsets happen like once every 10 years – and we had TWO of them yesterday. The first saw Missouri falling to Norfolk State, 86-84. It wasn’t like the Tigers played a bad game, either. Phil Pressey (20 pts, eight asts) led a squad that shot 52 percent from the field, hit 13 threes, and only turned the ball over eight times. It’s just that Norfolk State was better. Big man Kyle O’Quinn had 26 points and 14 rebounds for the Spartans, including a go-ahead putback and-one with 34 seconds left and some huge rebounds and hustle plays the rest of the way. Pressey had a good look at a three that would have won it at the buzzer, but it didn’t go down .. Norfolk State’s win still didn’t match the shock value of 15-seed Lehigh taking down 2-seed Duke. This was supposed to be an easy run to at least the Sweet 16 for the Blue Devils, considering they would get to play their first two games in Greensboro, N.C. But after Mackey McKnight – only a guy at a mid-major school could have that name – canned a go-ahead triple with 8:25 to go, Lehigh never gave up the lead. C.J. McCollum (30 pts, six rebs, six asts) and Gabe Knutson (17 pts, eight rebs) scored 19 of the Mountain Hawks’ next 25 points, including two breakaway dunks by Knutson and a bunch of ice-water free throws by McCollum – who made his name last night just like Eric Maynor made his a few years ago at the hands of Duke. The Blue Devils only stayed in it as long as they did because Lehigh kept committing stupid fouls on Austin Rivers (19 pts) … Friday was so wild that a 13-seed took out a 4-seed and it almost went unnoticed. But if you’ve seen Ohio’s D.J. Cooper play before, you shouldn’t have been surprised that he led the Bobcats to an upset over Michigan. Cooper is like a lefty Rajon Rondo who can actually make a jumper; he had 21 points and five assists while outplaying Wolverines star freshman Trey Burke in a five-point Ohio win … In other March Madness action: Draymond Green had a 24-point, 12-rebound, 10-assist triple-double to lead Michigan State past LIU-Brooklyn; Tyler Zeller posted 17 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks to lead North Carolina past Vermont; Brad Beal‘s 14 points and 11 boards helped Florida knock off Virginia; Yancy Gates put up 15 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks for Cincinnati in a win over Texas; Victor Rudd and Anthony Collins scored 17 apiece to lead South Florida in a 12-over-5 upset against Temple that wasn’t really close; Terone Johnson scored 21 to lead 10-seed Purdue in one of those technically-but-not-really upsets over 7-seed St. Mary’s; Kwamain Mitchell had 22 points to lead St. Louis past Memphis; NC State’s Lorenzo Brown was all over the place with 17 points, nine boards and eight assists in the Wolf Pack’s win over San Diego State; Jason Clark racked up 21 points to shoot Georgetown past Belmont; Doug McDermott had 16 points and 10 boards to help Creighton edge Alabama; Thomas Robinson had 16 points and 13 boards to lead Kansas past Detroit; Bernard James finished with 19 points, nine boards and three blocks as Florida State barely survived an upset bid by 14-seed St. Bonaventure in a strange game that saw Seminoles star Michael Snaer go scoreless; and Xavier overcome a 10-point deficit in the second half to zip up Notre Dame behind Tu Holloway‘s 25 points … We’re out like Coach K.

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