It’s not every day you see the defending champs get completely outclassed. But it happened in the Staples Center last night as the Clippers rolled over the Heat, 107-100. The game was never that close – a late Miami run turned what was nearly a 20-point game into a more respectable score. But it was obvious, especially in the second half, that Miami has real problems with L.A.’s size and athleticism. Blake Griffin went for 20 and 14, Chris Paul (16 points, 10 dimes) dominated a third quarter stretch that put the game away by scoring the last 13 Clipper points of the quarter, garnering “CP3!” chants from the crowd, and Jamal Crawford led the team with 22 points while adding four or five ankle tendons to his collection of victims at home … For Miami, LeBron did his best to pick the energy up in the second half, and finished with 30, but together, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade combined for only 17 … Thanks to Greg Monroe‘s 19 points, 18 rebounds and six dimes, Detroit finally won a game, hammering Philly in the City of Brotherly Love, 94-76. Meanwhile the Sixers were beyond bad offensively – they shot under 30 percent from the field. It was almost as embarrassing as Andrew Bynum‘s new hairdo (is that a perm or is that some plant Bynum stole from the Amazon to wear on his head?) … The Sixers have been a major disappointment so far this year, but at least their franchise player is out with knee problems. Indiana doesn’t have Danny Granger, but who ever looked at him as a game-changer like that? It wasn’t until he actually went out and the Pacers offense turned into rotten milk that people actually started saying, “Um, that Danny Granger is pretty important. The Pacers really miss him.” And last night, Indiana’s season from Hell continued with a blowout 99-85 loss against Milwaukee, a game they fell behind immediately, 20-6. The offense was so bad that their most productive offensive player was Tyler Hansbrough (17 points). We ran a piece on DimeMag.com yesterday about five odd statistical anomalies that won’t last, and we should’ve mentioned Roy Hibbert‘s free throw shooting. He took four of them last night, giving him 15 on the season – yes, your 7-2 All-Star center has taken 15 freebies through nine games. He’s also only made six of them … On the other side, Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis each had 16 in shortened nights … After their offense took a week-long vacation in Malibu, Dallas erupted for 107 points on 50 percent shooting in a six-point win over the Wizards. But it was actually missed shots that won the game for them, more specifically, the offensive rebounds off those missed shots. Three times in the closing minutes, the Mavs tracked down long rebounds, killing any momentum Washington’s backups had going for them (The Wiz were actually playing five bench players in crunch time… they were their best options, which shows you how backwards this team is. Cartier Martin and Kevin Seraphin scored the team’s final 22 points.). The final killer was a Chris Kaman (23 points, eight boards) three-point play where the Huntsman had a layup and actually waited for Jan Vesely to catch up to him, and then dropped in a three-point play … While playing over 45 minutes last night, Kemba Walker (22 points) hit a jumper with 0.7 seconds left to lift Charlotte over Minnesota, 89-87. He’s been special this year, but there’s nothing we can say to explain this: the Bobcats are 4-3 right now … Keep reading to hear about what happened that caused the police to show up at the Memphis and Oklahoma City locker rooms …
Despite their similarities in wingspan, style of play, position and roots in Baltimore/D.C., Rudy Gay doesn’t enjoy being compared to Kevin Durant, always citing that he likes to handle the ball on the perimeter more, even as KD’s all-around game came back this year at another level. But in the past, it never truly made sense to compare the two – they weren’t on the same level. Well they were last night. Even though Durant had 34 points, 10 boards and five assists, Gay came through with a number of big shots in the third quarter, many of them from the same exact midrange spot in Durant’s grill, and 28 points in Memphis’ statement-producing 107-97 win in OKC. The Grizzlies have now won six games in a row, have an improved bench that dominated the second quarter (a 19-point turnaround at one point), and still have the Grit N’ Grind that was their bread and butter the past two years. Zach Randolph added 20 points and 11 rebounds. Kendrick Perkins went at Z-Bo late in the fourth and they were both ejected. Perk was already pissed off from getting worked in the post all night by Marc Gasol. At one point, the Spaniard brought out a nasty crossover, and then hit Perkins with a Dream spin move that had OKC’s big man stumbling backwards. But the angriest man in the NBA didn’t stop there. Reportedly, Z-Bo and Perkins had an altercation after the game near the locker room, and had police investigating the carnage … This was KD’s 102nd 30-point game since 2009-10. No one else is even close (LeBron is second with 88, followed by Kobe and ‘Melo) … Paul Pierce had 23 in Boston’s 98-93 win over Utah, but it was the bench – specifically Leandro Barbosa (16 points) and Jeff Green (16 points) who made the difference. Green had a fourth quarter dunk across the lane over the top of Utah’s frontline that probably smashed the south out of Al Jefferson. It also caused Rajon Rondo (continued his streak with ten more assists) to show emotion for the first time since he’s been in the NBA with a weird, one-legged Stanky Leg celebration (he had an ankle injury) … Other story lines from last night: James Harden regained his form with 30 points against New Orleans in a 100-96 Houston win; Golden State rode rookie Harrison Barnes (19 points, 13 rebounds) to a four-point win over Atlanta; and Carlos Boozer had 28 and 14 in an overtime win for Chicago over the Suns, 112-106, after the Bulls nearly disintegrated in the fourth quarter … We’re out like Bynum’s hair stylist.
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