Superman v. Superman in Orlando, and the Spurs get Ripped apart

02.22.10 8 years ago 39 Comments

Dwight Howard (photo. Mannion)

After a disaster of a debut, Antawn Jamison was a lot better in Game #2 of his Cavs career. Jamison put up 19 points and 8 boards coming off the bench against Orlando, giving Rashard Lewis joystick moves in the paint and stepping out to bury jumpers in his face, but Cleveland still lost its third straight … Reminiscent of the “Kobe hates Shaq” era of annual Christmas Day games, ABC focused on the pre-game dap session to see how Shaq and Dwight Howard would interact. After a harmless fist bump, Old Superman and New Superman went to work: Shaq (20 pts, 5 rebs, 2 blks) dunked on Dwight for one of the first buckets of the game, and later spun on him for an and-one dunk when Dwight went for a steal, but overall Howard (22 pts, 16 rebs, 4 blks) got the better of the veteran. And while LeBron (33 pts) struggled to score in the fourth quarter, Jameer Nelson, Vince Carter and Rashard stuck big shots down the stretch to help Orlando pull away … Apparently Joe Dumars knew what he was doing by holding onto Rip Hamilton. It seemed a no-brainer that Detroit would look to trade Rip this season due to his age, his contract, and the fact that they’re paying Ben Gordon starter’s money. But the NBA trade deadline came and went, Rip didn’t go anywhere, and now he’s playing as well as any guard in the League since the All-Star break. Rip dropped 36 points on Orlando a few nights ago, 29 on Milwaukee, and yesterday he hit the Spurs for 27 points in a vintage performance … You know how Rip got his buckets: Mid-range jumpers coming off screens and curls, taking turns running George Hill, Keith Bogans and Manu Ginobili through the hamster wheel. Rip almost blew the game, though: After the Spurs forced overtime with a late comeback that included Ginobili flopping on a grazing Rip elbow like he’d been hit in the face with a skillet, Hamilton got T’d up after the fourth-quarter buzzer. The refs could have had San Antonio shoot the technical free throw with zeroes on the clock and that would have been it — you know Manu (21 pts, 5 asts, 4 stls) would’ve made it — but instead they had the FT count towards the overtime scoring. So Rip was at least able to redeem himself, hitting clutch free throws (he literally hasn’t missed at the line in two weeks) and dropping a backbreaking and-one jumper to get Detroit the win … It was Will Bynum mini-bobblehead night at The Palace. When they showed Bynum the doll for the first time, he said it looked like Dikembe Mutombo

J.R. Smith

If you didn’t hear it the first 13 times Mike Tirico said it during Nuggets/Celtics, J.R. Smith can either shoot his team out of a game or shoot his team into a win. Smith (19 pts, 5 threes) delivered the daggers as Denver turned the screws in late, and at the very end launched a 35-footer that almost went down. Sometimes he’s just a jerk for no reason … How is Rasheed Wallace still among the League leaders in techs when he’s getting like half the playing time of regular offenders like Kobe and Dwight? ‘Sheed only plays 20 minutes a night; his shit-talking-per-minute PER must be insanely high. ‘Sheed managed to avoid the whistle yesterday — in fact nobody got T’d up in a game that was physical and a little hostile down the stretch … One time Kendrick Perkins slammed into Birdman before giving him a nice little fadeaway J, and then the camera caught Birdman glaring at Perkins from across the court as they went to the other end. Then it cut to Perk, who was glaring right back like he wanted to murder Birdman and eat his children … Speaking of scary individuals, Carlos Boozer was an ANIMAL against the Blazers. Dropping 22 points and 23 rebounds while playing center for Mehmet Okur (baby), Booz sent the game to overtime with a putback at the buzzer. Having come back from a 25-point deficit in the second half, the Jazz pulled it out in OT. Did you hear when Nate Robinson called Tyreke Evans “The Layup King” during the Rookie Game? Boozer is the Layup King for big men … Other stat lines from Sunday: Russell Westbrook had a triple-double (22 pts, 10 rebs, 14 asts) and Kevin Durant dropped 32 points to lead OKC past Minnesota; Rudy Gay scored 29 as Memphis beat New Jersey; Jason Richardson had 26 points and Steve Nash handed out 17 assists to beat Sacramento; Stephen Curry put up 32 points as the Warriors upset the Hawks; and Darren Collison went for 26 points, 9 dimes and 4 steals as N.O. beat Houston … Today is Julis Erving‘s 60th birthday. NBA TV didn’t completely drop the ball — they are airing 1976 ABA dunk contest — but we wouldn’t have minded a classic game or three from Doc’s ABA and NBA collection … Did you see the Ohio State/Michigan State game? The Buckeyes won on the road as four of their starters played the entire 40 minutes, and star Evan Turner put up 20 points and 10 boards with the flu. Gutting out a Big Ten road win against one of the better teams in the country this late in the season with only six guys? If you want your kid to be in shape, send him to play for Thad Matta … We’re out like superhero feuds …

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