In a night where the two best players on the planet both looked like the two best players on the planet, we’re leading off with Anthony Bennett. Yes, that Anthony Bennett. The top pick in last year’s draft who has had every God-awful label and chart thrust upon him since averaging a whooping two points for much of the first half of the season.
The Cavs defeated the Kings 109-99, avenging a 40-point baptism in Sacramento a month earlier. DeMarcus Cousins finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Isaiah Thomas outplayed Kyrie Irving by a smidgen (not all that surprising if you’ve kept up with how Zeke has played this season). And Luol Deng led Cleveland with 22 points of his own.
Yet, it was Bennett’s 19 points and 10 rebounds on 6-9 shooting off the bench that shone brightest for the disappointing Cavs last night. And truth be told, it would’ve been 20+ had he not misfired five of his nine trips to the charity stripe. No, this doesn’t signify the emergence of the “Canadian Charles Barkley” as one of the writers here so eloquently referred to him as months ago. And no, he’s not threatening to take home rookie of the year honors.
Bennett’s still averaging a blistering three points and three rebounds on 30-21-67 shooting splits and came into the season laughably out of shape despite a shoulder surgery. But in all fairness, Young Anthony has show glimpses of some form of productivity in increased minutes.
More importantly, this post is dedicated to our very own A.J. The man very rarely has much to be thrilled about in sports being a Cleveland homer, but he gave us that stunning Kanye feature on Monday. The first two rounds are on me, my friend.
Just don’t get used to the feeling. Not yet, at least.
– A bucket list item of mine is to watch a home Blazers game when Durant comes to town if for nothing else to hear the commentary of the fans. Nevertheless, a month ago, KD dropped 46 on Portland in OKC. Last night, the slacker that he is, only dropped 36 points and 10 rebounds as his Thunder edged out a 96-95 win. Also of note? Jeremy Lamb’s 19 points on 8-11 shooting off the bench. I’m finally starting to look somewhat smart with my assessment of buddy a few years ago.
– As for LaMarcus Aldridge who admittedly “couldn’t throw a rock in the lake,” and his feelings on the Thunder…let’s just say LMA and KD won’t be hosting any All Star Weekend parties together.
LaMarcus Aldridge on the Thunder: "We don't care to like them. … We're not trying to make friends out there, we want to win games."
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) February 12, 2014
– The Bobcats used big second and third quarters to pull away from the Mavericks in a 114-89 win led by Al Jefferson’s 30 and 8. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise seeing as how Charlotte has quietly ranked as one of the league’s best defensive teams all season (which made Melo’s 62 piece that much more impressive).
– Speaking of the Bobcats, be sure to tell Michael Jordan and his new wife Yvette congratulations! He’s the proud new papa of twin baby girls! It’s a damn shame those two little bundles of joy will never truly realize their dad’s – the guy who occasionally fancies himself in parachute jean pants – impact on the game which has already made them richer than I’ll ever be.
– God bless the Hawks. Injuries have debilitated one of the better stories of the season. On the bright side, Kyle Korver extended his streak of at least one made three-pointer to 118 games Tuesday night in Chicago. Second in line? Steph Curry at only 39. Unfortunately, that’s about all the good news Atlanta had as they fell 100-85 behind Joakim Noah’s triple-double (19 points, 16 rebounds, 11 assists and three blocks). Worth repeating, that guy – my mother’s favorite player – could run on my squad any day of the week.
– DAMMIT, WIZ KIDS! CAN YOU NOT STAY ABOVE .500 FOR MY SANITY?! Washington slipped to 25-26 on the season after a three-point road loss to Memphis perfectly wasting Bradley Beal’s best game of the season (37 points on 15-24 shooting).
– Chris Kaman’s 25 points and 14 boards did little to remind Staples Center faithful of Shaquille O’Neal. The Lakers lost their sixth straight home game – their most ever – in a 96-79 loss to Utah. And, yes, Steve Nash hurt his leg again. At least it marked his tenth game of the season, a mark guaranteeing medical retirement can not be thrust upon him having every penny of his $9.7M salary in 2014-2015 disappear from Jimmy Buss’ books.
– Goran Dragic should be an All-Star and the Heat treated him as such limiting him to 4-12 shooting. Following an uninspired effort in Salt Lake City, the Wade-less Heat survived an early onslaught and used a +9 fourth quarter to beat Suns 103-97. With that “internal KD clock” of his, the reigning MVP (LeBron) kept pace with the current favorite for MVP logging 37 points, nine rebounds, five steals and a plethora of WTF-worthy aerial theatrics. Bosh added 21 points and eight rebounds of his own. Not for nothing and it may not exactly show in the above highlights, but Bosh and Birdman played some rather fine interior defense.
Side note: Boy do I wish this Suns team had Eric Bledsoe and boy do I pray this Suns team handles this year’s draft correctly.