Chris Kaman Steals Chris Paul’s Homecoming; Michigan State Gets Rocked

It’s true what Thomas Wolfe wrote, that you can’t go home again. OK, so saying New Orleans is Chris Paul’s home is a definite stretch, but when you spent your whole career someplace, it’s more than just a stop on a map. Paul (16 points, nine assists) went to New Orleans for the first time since he was dealt to the Clippers in December but got a loss. Weirdly enough, it wasn’t even Paul who ended up being the highlight of old home week: Chris “Bobcat Hunter” Kaman went for 20 and 10. Lob City lost all three of its back-to-back-to-back. … Jason Smith (who is this guy and where did he score 17 points with eight rebounds?) gave DeAndre Jordan (14 points) the “got ’em” treatment with a huge denial tonight. That Nick Young still got two points off the play doesn’t lessen Smith’s initial stuff. Then he went and put a HUGE foul flagrant on Blake Griffin. What the…? What’s the percentage of players who wanted to do that after all of Griffin’s pub for his dunks? Well, here’s one more: Fire up YouTube today for a nice Griffin (21 and 11) follow-jam in the first quarter off Caron Butler’s brick from the corner. If you could count those as assists, the Clippers’ dimes would increase twofold. … The Pacers had a quiet run through the nation’s capital coming back from 22 down to beat Washington. Jordan Crawford had 14 — in the first quarter — and everything looked gravy. He finished with 21, but the Wiz just couldn’t finish, period. They let a Foams-rocking Paul George (13 points) scope in a three to take the lead with a minute left, then when it came time to tie, John Wall (16 points, nine assists) missed a buzzer-beater tie jumper by a tenth of a second. He probably could have saved time not running in and out of the key with the ball. … Kiss goodbye that Milwaukee six-game win streak. The Celtics rode Paul Pierce’s 25 points to spoil the home debut of Monta Ellis (13 points, seven assists). He took out a page in the newspaper to say ‘hi’ on the road, and the Bradley Center seemed receptive to the high-risk, high-reward scorer. … Statlines to mention from that game were three double-doubles from Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass and Rajon Rondo. Consistency killed the Bucks. … We put up DeMarcus Cousins against Greg Monroe this week in a who’s better matchup, and if you took DeMarcus you have to like what he did tonight. Twenty-two points, 18 boards (10 offensive) for the big fella, but still a loss for Sacramento to Utah. This despite 70 points in the paint by the Kings. … Also in that game, you’ve gotta love the dime by Jamaal Tinsely going off the back of Donte Greene on an out of bounds play before hitting Derrick Favors on a cut. Seems weird to us people still fall for that outside of church league. … Pretty cool to see the two title teams from Houston honored before their rout of a win with Golden State. Clyde Drexler, Hakeem Olajuwon, Mario Elie, Robert Horry, Kenny Smith all came for the celebration. It continued into the court, with Chandler Parsons going for 20 and 11 against just a deflated Warriors team. They were outrebounded by 17 and had to have Richard Jefferson‘s 14 points off the bench lead them. … Nic Batum was the recipient of two nice feeds by Raymond Felton (he’s gaining a little more traction in Portland, but very slowly) on an oop and then on a curl for a big ‘ol slam in Portland’s win over Memphis. The French Connection had 24 for the team that’s all about interim coach Kaleb Canales, the intern turned coach eight years later. … We were suspecting Memphis would get going with Z-Bo (12 points, five rebounds) back at it, especially against a team that’s already raised the white flag this year, but the Blazers surprised at home (…used to be a surprise if they lost there). Give credit where it’s due, though: Portland went 25-for-25 from the charity stripe. … Hit the jump to read about why the NCAA tournament just got a little harder to predict.

Put on your college sweatshirt and buy an overpriced textbook because it’s back to campus we go. Wisconsin’s offense, which can be as pretty to watch as German is to hear, was unconscious in a stretch against Syracuse. The Badgers dropped six straight threes, and Jordan Taylor had 5-of-7 at one stretch to give them a three-point lead with under five to go. Dion Waiters helped save the Orange with a pretty spin in the lane and step-back J. After surviving an awful last possession by UW, the ‘Cuse lives on. … Down goes our first No. 1 of the tourney when Louisville knocked off Michigan State. We still have our doubts about the color of the ‘Ville’s unis (is that really red or orange?) but there’s not much to say about their performance, a rare beatdown of Sparty. Even center Gorgui Dieng hit a triple for the Cardinals, his first make of the season. … And then there was one less Ohio team after Ohio State started some intra-state hate by knocking out Cincinnati. Still having trouble pegging who Jared Sullinger will be like in the NBA. Cousins? … Interesting match up in the elite eight in the West when Rick Pitino faces his former Providence point guard, Billy Donovan on Saturday in Phoenix. Florida got there after beating Marquette, and we love the Gators’ guards. Kenny Boynton, Bradley Beal and Erving Walker are fantastic. … We’re out like Chris Paul‘s homecoming tour.

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