New York Can’t Be Stopped; Kyrie Irving Beats Chris Paul In L.A.

Is it time we start taking New York seriously? We’ll have to wait until Amar’e Stoudemire comes back from his latest knee setback, and Carmelo Anthony gets pushed back to the three to see if this level of play holds up. But what else can we say? ‘Melo (21 points last night) has looked like he’s ready to finally embrace basic basketball principles like rebounding, defending and not holding the ball every time you touch it, and New York is getting contributions from everyone. The defense has been oddly aggressive – they were riding Jrue Holiday (17 points, eight dimes) all over the court last night – while Jason Kidd is playing like someone cloned his ’00 version and just added a few head wrinkles and 20 pounds of old man fat. Then you have people like Pablo Prigioni and J.R. Smith, who’ve oddly created an electrifying combination off the bench. It culminated last night during the second half when Pablo stole a pass, got out on the break and then left it for Smith, who came running in from out of nowhere to cram a one-hander. Then Smith (17 points) decided he wanted to take on the City of Brotherly Love by himself. He’s lucky he made it out of that one alive … We figured the Sixers would come out and win last night. That’s what a normal team would do. They got smashed on Sunday afternoon by these same Knicks, and then shockingly let it happen again last night, 110-88 … We’re not sure why Nick Young decided to set a record for “YOLO” shots last night, but his first quarter was a comedy of errors. One play in particular summed it up: he saved a bad pass that was going out of bounds in front of Philly’s bench. Now where everybody else in the league would look to make a pass before landing out of bounds, Nick Young caught the loose ball, spun and shot a corner three in one motion. It hit the top of the backboard. His night would finish with 12 points, one assist, one rebound, and 10 bad shots … Halfway through the third quarter, Brooklyn was beating Minnesota by 22 and had the white boys on the ropes with the T’Wolves on the second night of a back-to-back. But in the fourth quarter, the Nets succumbed to Joe Johnson‘s old Atlanta disease, turning the offense into a stand-around, isolation system. Johnson (17 points) missed a couple of easy shots in the lane. Deron Williams (18 points, 14 assists) had a key turnover, and shot a couple of long bricks. MarShon Brooks got blocked by Nikola Pekovic‘s (17 points) armpit. And Kris Humphries had his lunch stolen twice as Dante Cunningham ripped a couple of rebounds right out of his hands. On the other side, Alexey Shved made some jumpers, helped out by his more aerodynamic haircut, and Chase Budinger canned the backbreaker with about 30 seconds left: a weak side three-pointer where there wasn’t a white jersey within 10 feet, icing the 110-99 win … Indiana’s pathetic offensive showing continued in a 101-79 loss in San Antonio. It’s the first time in franchise history the Spurs have ever started 4-0 (that’s hard to fathom, isn’t it?), and they blew out one of the “better” teams in the East even though Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili combined for nine points on 4-for-17 from the floor. The Spurs’ reserves were whipping some nice passes around from the start. After they checked in en masse in the first quarter (the noise for Manu sounded like a Bieber encore), Manu had a nice curl at the free throw line where he caught a pass mid-sprint and one-timed it to DeJuan Blair (14 points, 11 rebounds) going baseline for a dunk. In the second quarter, Blair was stuck inside with nowhere to go when he flipped it with a half no-look to Kawhi Leonard, who had a date with the rim after running from the top of the arc … And in some related NBA news, Jonny Flynn signed in Australia after getting cut by Detroit. He’ll be the highest NBA pick to ever play in the NBL … Keep reading to hear about an incredible shooting night from Miami …

After watching the new Kyrie/Dion combo in their opening night win over Washington, we knew we were going to like them. We just didn’t know they’d be killing it this early. Cleveland upset the Clippers last night in Los Angeles, 108-101. It was L.A.’s second-straight home loss to a non-playoff team, and it came because Irving and Waiters filled it up. All night. Kyrie (24 points, 10 dimes) came out smoking, dropping 16 points on Chris Paul before the first quarter had even ended, and then he also hit the dagger: a wide-open wing three with 28.1 seconds left in the fourth. In-between, it was all Waiters. He light the Staples Center up with seven triples, a lot of them moonshots from two or three feet beyond the arc, and finished with 28 … Near the end of the first half, Chris Paul (17 points, nine assists) spun Samardo Samuels around so badly on a wicked Shammgod move that the Cleveland big man probably thought he was back in Jamaica … At one point in the third quarter of Miami’s 124-99 drubbing of the Suns, we thought it might actually be better if Phoenix started conceding inside shots while guarding the three-point line. Miami was just that hot, shooting 55 percent from the floor and 58 PERCENT FROM DEEP. LeBron had 23 and 11 rebounds, and was the key in the game-deciding run in the third quarter when Miami cut up Phoenix and stuffed the body parts in a closet: Back-to-back wide open triples from James and Mario Chalmers put Miami up 16. Then after Phoenix called a timeout to stop the bleeding, LeBron came out and smashed a Statue of Liberty dunk on the break (Marcin Gortat nearly killed himself and two or three photographers on the baseline trying to stop it) before Chalmers dropped another triple. To finish off the 15-0 run, LeBron caught yet another dunk … Amazingly, Norris Cole and Shannon Brown (18 points) each hit midcourt shots from the exact same spot at different end-of-quarter buzzers … In other scores around the league: Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol tore it up inside in Memphis’ nine-point win over Utah, combining for 38 points, 26 rebounds and nine dimes, while for the second straight game, no one bothered to check O.J. Mayo (six triples, 32 points), and his league-best perimeter shooting had the color guys talking about switching up their condiment games during Dallas’ runaway 114-91 blowout of the Blazers … And the Kings survived two jumpers from Klay Thompson (22 points) and Stephen Curry in the final 10 seconds to beat Golden State by two as DeMarcus Cousins went off for 23 points and 15 rebounds … Justin Bieber also showed up for Washington’s practice yesterday. Apparently, he played a little ball, too (insert Wizards joke here). But the best part of the event was what Michael Lee tweeted. Jordan Crawford doesn’t have Bieber Fever, but he did notice a lot of little girls waiting outside. When reporters asked if they were for him, he said, “Not them young ones.” … We’re out like Jonny Flynn.

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