Wing Bowl 2009

12.14.09 9 years ago 15 Comments

“Just like the point guards, [there’s] a diverse mix of old and young, shooters and slashers, champions and franchise players. Looking at this season’s rosters, almost every team has an established or budding star at the three, with every night providing multiple marquee matchups. Basically, reason No. 295 why you need to get NBA League Pass.”

That was from Dime’s NBA season preview issue, regarding the beginning of what looks like a golden era for small forwards. And Sunday was one of those nights we talked about, where the small forwards shined everywhere. The main event had LeBron and Kevin Durant squaring off in Oklahoma City, and ‘Bron turned in maybe his best performance of the year. On his way to 44 points (16-29 FG, 5 threes), seven boards, six dimes and four steals, LeBron erased a seven-point deficit late in the third quarter by himself, then knocked down a trey from 27 feet out that gave the Cavs the lead going into the fourth. The Cavs pulled away for the W thanks to some more threes and a six-minute OKC scoring drought … Durant had 29 points and four steals in the loss, but also turned it over seven times and got shutout in the fourth quarter … The play of the night, though, came courtesy Mo Williams. Cleveland was clinging to a four-point lead with four minutes left when Thabo Sefolosha (owner of two of the quickest hands in the League) deflected a LeBron pass. With the shot clock running out, Mo chased the ball down, turned and launched a shot just past the midcourt stripe that went in … Meanwhile, Rudy Gay starred in a Burger King Special, having it his way however he wanted it against the Heat. Gay dropped a career-high 41 points (15-28 FG), throwing in smooth fadeaways, a few threes, and some insane highlight-reel dunks and reverse layups. You know that thing about every team having quality small forwards? The Heat would be an exception. Their plan of having Yakhouba Diawara stick Rudy was scrapped sometime during the first quarter, then the rest of the game was spent watching James Jones and Dorell Wright fail at the task. Somebody should have called Glen Rice; at least he could’ve traded buckets with Rudy and made it interesting … But we all know Rudy can get buckets. More shocking was that the Grizzlies destroyed Miami in Miami by 28, seeing as Memphis never wins on the road. (They had three whole road wins last season.) It was so bad, the Heat reportedly held an intense closed-door meeting after the game, a sign that they saw this as a rock-bottom point in their recent struggles. “We all have to come in tomorrow with a different mindset,” D-Wade said afterward. “When you look at the game film, when you look at yourself, you’ve got to know how you can help this team get better and compete. Tonight, we didn’t compete.” … Trevor Ariza has been Houston’s go-to guy at the three (and the two) this year and has shown scoring ability some people didn’t know he had, but yesterday he got put on lock-smash by DeMar DeRozan in a loss to the Raptors. The rookie held Ariza to one point on 0-for-9 shooting from the field and four turnovers. In the third quarter, DeRozan harassed Ariza into fumbling the ball, and as DeRozan took off downcourt with the steal, a frustrated Ariza tried to hit him in the back of the head with an elbow. The refs blew the whistle and ejected Ariza, but not before Jarrett Jack got up in his his face. According to the Raps’ announcers, Toronto has had serious issues with teammates standing up for each other this season … In Sunday’s two other NBA games: Joe Johnson put up 21 points and 10 assists as the Hawks blew out the Nets, completing a two-week stretch where ATL scored like 1,800 points; and Tim Duncan scored 21 in the Spurs’ win over the Clippers … The Warriors had an off-day in Philly before tonight’s game against the Sixers, so Stephen Curry was among those in attendance at the Temple/Villanova game. (Does Steph have to pay to get into college games, or can he just walk up like, “I’m Stephen Curry from Davidson. I’ll be sitting wherever I want.”?) Curry must have seen some of himself in Temple’s Juan Fernandez, who did the giant-killer thing by dropping 33 points and seven triples on #3-ranked ‘Nova in an upset win. All due respect to Dionte Christmas, but they haven’t had somebody at Temple with that smooth of a stroke since Mark Macon … We’re out like Ariza …

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