Kyrie Irving Can’t Beat Denver By Himself; A Philly Surprise Erupts

Once we saw the schedule had Denver and Cleveland last night, we set our watches. Ty Lawson. Kyrie Irving. Could it get any better? The matchup never materialized, however, and Lawson is probably thankful for that. He scored just 11 while Irving dropped 26 points and seven assists. But part of that stems from Denver being one of the deepest teams in the league, and Irving being asked to do everything outside of fill his team’s water bottles. The matchup that was a good one to check out during Denver’s 111-103 win (their ninth straight) was Irving and Andre Iguodala (14 points, seven dimes). Isolating against Iggy is a recipe for disaster, and yet Irving often found himself in that spot in the fourth quarter, unveiling even more unique floaters, dribble moves and hesitations. Denver and Danilo Gallinari (19 ponts, nine rebounds) answered every time … At the end of the first quarter, Irving went coast-to-coast in five seconds, splitting two defenders and then finishing right at the rim by switching hands from right to left. He has to be the best in the league at switching hands in midair. We can’t think of anyone else that’s even close … While some would argue the Warriors and Nets have the two best broadcast teams in the game, we’ll say that when it comes to entertainment, no one is touching Cleveland’s team: Fred McLeod and the legend, Austin Carr. Any time there’s a drinking game made up because of you, then you know you’re good. Every few minutes, they’ll get excited and start going crazy. In the first quarter last night, Alonzo Gee (20 points) dropped 15 of Cleveland’s first 17 points, and it was almost like the two commentators were trying to one-up each other for the best punchline. After Gee made a triple along the baseline, McLeod came with “Alonzo Gee with 3G service returning to the Q!” and almost immediately after, Carr dropped, “Deep in the Q!” We must’ve heard “Deep in the Q!” at least a half dozen times in the first quarter … Andre Miller is, and will always be, the best lob thrower in the league. At the end of the third quarter, he threw a nearly full-court lob to JaVale McGee, who somehow tipped it in from the oddest angle. It was ruled after the buzzer, but who’s really complaining? It was nasty … It’s good to see Charlie Villanueva woke up from hibernation. One night after dropping bombs all over the Spurs, Kevin Garnett‘s favorite player came back last night for 18 points, 13 boards, and a cold-blooded dagger to beat the Bucks, 105-100. Down the stretch, Detroit’s offense came down to Jose Calderon (23 points, 10 assists) and Charlie V pick-n-rolls, and after Villanueva made the game-winner with under 10 seconds left, Detroit’s announcers screamed, “Did I see what I think I saw? Charlie V composure!” … On the other side, Brandon Jennings went for 26 points and seven assists, but took 27 shots and missed a shot so badly in the closing seconds that the refs are still searching for the ball … Meanwhile, Sacramento took care of business against the Jazz, winning 120-109. Isaiah Thomas (25 points) led three guys with 20-plus points … And in some trade rumors, Yahoo! Sports is reporting Phoenix is pursuing a deal for Iman Shumpert where New York would get a future first rounder and Jared Dudley in return. The No. 1 characteristic of a Knicks’ fan is, undeniably, completely overrating young role players. So you can probably guess how New York followers feel about that deal … Keep reading to hear about what the Mavs are planning to do until they get back to .500 …

Lavoy Allen (aka the “young Malik Rose” as Philly’s commentators started saying) picked a bad night to have his best game as a pro, bulldozing Charlotte for 14 points and 22 rebounds. Why? We’re imagining we were a few of the only people willing to sit through Philly’s 87-76 W. It was that bad. We’ll be having nightmares of Byron Mullens and Spencer Hawes for the next few weeks. The action was so poor in the first half, we’re surprised Doug Collins didn’t hyperventilate. The turnovers poured in in almost record fashion, and not even Jrue Holiday (20 points, seven assists) had enough in his pocket to save this one. We watched simply to take in Ben Gordon‘s night. He’s involved in some trade rumors right now – possibly going to Brooklyn for Kris Humphries – and we wanted to see how he’d alter his game: would he fire away from 26 feet, going one against five? Or would he try to be a better teammate, and at least wait to shoot those shots until the rest of his guys got downcourt? Turns out, he might be immune to trade rumors … Charlotte is dead last in opponents points per game, and after showing the stat last night, Sixers’ color guy Malik Rose tried to say it’s because they are young and inexperienced. That has its merits. But he lost us when he pointed out that Brendan Haywood is one of their only vets, and one of the only guys who knows how to play D. We had to stop listening. What is this? 2007? … In the same vein as Irving’s switch-hand finishes at the rim, Holiday is good enough with his left on floaters and push shots that you might think he’s left-handed if you didn’t know any better … The Dallas players are vowing to not cut their facial hair until they get back to .500 (can Darren Collison even grow a beard?). If they get to play Golden State every night, they’ll be breaking out the razors pretty soon. The Warriors are looking like a hot mess right now, and got run out of the building last night in Dallas, 116-91, as Shawn Marion (26 points, 11 rebounds) threw on a remix of The Matrix. Dallas scored 14 straight points during the first quarter, and it was a wrap from there. Nineteen minutes in, the Warriors had 27 points and Dallas was doubling them up … In college ball, even after Bill Self basically disowned his own team, calling them the “worst Kansas team ever,” the Jayhawks laid another egg against Oklahoma, losing their third-straight game to drop to 19-4 … Meanwhile, No. 8 Miami put a hurting on UNC, 87-61, making a school record-tying 15 triples, extending their winning streak to 11 games, and earning a standing ovation from LeBron and D-Wade. Shane Larkin led the charge with 18 points and nine assists … Did you see this incredible buzzer-beater by Wisconsin’s Ben Brust to send their game with Michigan into overtime?. The Badgers went on to win, too … And behind 19 points from Jerian Grant, Notre Dame beat Louisville by three in a five-overtime game, the longest regular season Big East game ever …. We’re out like a “young Malik Rose.”

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