We don’t often lead Smack with the Pacers, but what transpired in Atlanta last night was too depressing not to. We found out yesterday morning that Danny Granger is now going to miss three months of action, and for Indiana, that’s a major loss. It showed in a 89-86 loss to the Hawks. After going up 14 in the fourth quarter, the Pacers’ offensive rhythm made us want to cry. They were more of a mess than Romney‘s campaign strategy. With Atlanta scoring 13 straight while Kyle Korver was balling like Jimmy Chitwood, Lance Stephenson went all Lance Stephenson on us and tried to connect on a 40-yard touchdown pass that got intercepted. The Pacers then had an ugly shot and a turnover to end their next two possessions before Roy Hibbert missed a layup and Paul George missed a wide open triple. After Jeff Teague (15 points, six boards, six dimes) converted the lead-swinging three and a layup to finish off an 18-0 run, Paul George airmailed a three-pointer in the final five seconds. If Lance Stephenson is the only one on your team who can make a shot late in the fourth quarter (he made one triple), you have problems … What’s up with tiny Atlanta guards making nightly trips to the Robert Pack hot tub time machine? Normally it’s been Teague. Last night it was Lou Williams, who introduced Tyler Hansbrough to shame … Denver is the first team to find the remedy for James Harden: all you need is Andre Iguodala. If Iggy wins a Defensive Player of the Year award this year, they’ll look back on this night as the start of it. The Nuggets survived by six in Houston with Iguodala harassing Harden (5-for-15, 0-for-5 from deep, 15 points, six turnovers) all over the floor. In the closing moments, Iguodala and the human wrecking ball Kenneth Faried (16 points, 16 boards) blocked both of the Beard’s shots … JaVale McGee was all over the rim in the second quarter, and for once it wasn’t all bad. Yeah, he had a stupid goaltend on his own shot, but he also caught a lob, and had a sick left-handed putback. In-between, McGee even had a turnaround jump shot. That outburst led to a second quarter run where the Nuggets ignited their turbo jets out of nowhere. Ty Lawson (21 points, eight dimes) got a one-on-one shot at Toney Douglas on the break, and had the Rockets backup guard spinning. Lawson hit him with an in-and-out and Douglas literally did a 360 in place. It was one of three fast-break layups Denver’s point guard got during a super fast 11-2 run (it swelled to 19-6). The next two times Lawson touched it, he dropped outside jumpers … How much does it suck to be a Charlotte fan right now? You watch your big man Byron Mullens (24 points, eight rebounds) tie a franchise record by making four triples in one quarter, and six for the game, and you’re all hyped about a possible win, until Shannon Brown (24 points) comes out of nowhere to make SIX THREE-POINTERS in the fourth quarter to seal a seven-point Phoenix W. On the final one – the game’s dagger – the Bobcats predictably had such a big hole in the defense that even the Kansas City Chiefs couldn’t have screwed it up … Also, Kemba Walker‘s (17 points, eight assists) barber forgot it isn’t the ’90s anymore … Keep reading to hear about the NBA’s Blake Lively …
No one’s smiling in Los Angeles now, least of all Kobe Bryant. Through the first three quarters of their wire-to-wire 95-86 loss in Utah last night, it felt like Kobe was testing his teammates. He wasn’t forcing anything, felt like he was almost disinterested at times, and could’ve possibly wanted to see his teammates step up in a Hellish environment like Utah. After Randy Foye (17 points) hit three consecutive triples and started chest-bumping a surprised Tyrone Corbin, Bryant had his answer. His late charge (29 points) wasn’t enough, and down the stretch “Lakers suck!” chants started, and the Jazz played “California Love” at the end of the night to spite what was supposed to be a super team … While the overtime period in Boston’s 100-94 survival against Washington was anti-climatic, the final 30 seconds of regulation were awesome. With the score tied, Rajon Rondo (18 points, 14 dimes) dribbled right into a pull-up jumper and canned it. Not something you see every day. Then, Chris Singleton one-upped him by dunking all in Kevin Garnett‘s (20 points, 13 rebounds) grill in the final 10 seconds … Coming into last night, Bradley Beal (6-for-15, 16 points, a clutch three at the end of regulation) was shooting 15 percent from the floor on the young season, and while you could charge that to a number of things (early season woes, a rookie getting used to the speed of the game, no one on the Wizards to set him up), it wouldn’t be a problem if he didn’t also struggle from the perimeter in his one year at Florida. Then last night, he came out in the first half and shot an airball, a jumper that careened off the glass, and another brick. He’s the NBA’s Blake Lively – beautiful-looking jumper but at the end of the day, is it really that effective? … Other stat lines from Wednesday: LeBron James (20 points, 12 rebounds, eight dimes in less than 30 minutes) and Miami set the nets on fire again during a 103-73 destruction of Brooklyn. Deron Williams was probably sitting over on the bench during the fourth quarter blowout checking out the Dallas score, thinking about what could’ve been … Meanwhile, Dallas edged Toronto by five as O.J. Mayo and Chris Kaman each had 22 points while Vince Carter had 17 against his old friends … Luke Ridnour paced Minnesota with 19 in the T’Wolves 90-75 win over Orlando … That game was ugly enough (during a spurt in the second quarter, the Magic and T’Wolves combined to miss 16 straights shots), but what went down in New Orleans in the Hornets’ 77-62 loss to Philly could make Sarah Jessica Parker look good. In front of like 11 fans, Jrue Holiday finished with 14 points and 12 helpers … Marreese Speights and Zach Randolph both dropped 18 points as Milwaukee couldn’t match the Grizzlies’ physicality, 108-90 … Sacramento beat the Pistons by two despite Greg Monroe‘s triple-double (21 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists) … David Lee‘s 22, 14 and six assists paced the Warriors during their 106-96 beatdown of Cleveland … And the Clippers skinned the Spurs alive, 106-84, behind Blake Griffin (22 points, 10 boards) and DeAndre Jordan (20 points, 11 boards) … We’re out like L.A.’s Super Team.
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