1/22/11: Durant, Griffin, Wall Hit Clutch Threes


Durant gets the photo love because his triple was a game-winning buzzer-beater.  Neither Griffin nor Wall’s long-range buckets were technically game winners because there was more scoring afterwards.  Both of them did come in the final minute, break ties, and put their team in the lead for good, though.  I was most impressed by Griffin’s myself… and not because I have a mancrush on the guy.  Wall is out of the conversation because he banked it and damn sure didn’t call glass.  Durant’s was the toughest look and came at the buzzer, but you expect this type of thing out of KD.  He’s an established superstar who’s been known to come through down the stretch from time to time.  Griffin?  A 6’10 rookie PF who had taken nine threes all season?  I can’t honestly say I expected him to be 6 for 10 when he released it, but shame on me for doubting him.  When he scored 47 points I recall talking about how every time I think I’ve seen everything Griff’s got in his bag of tricks he does something else.  Game-winning three?  Why not, he’s done damn near everything else.

Random Observations:

  • Highlight Recap:

  • I feel like leaving it at that, but if I must continue: Blake gets way up for the putback slamGriffin throws down HARD.  See the top-10 for the non-Griffin material.  It’s a damn good one… a couple killer crosses, a powerful oop from Kidd to Chandler, and a nasty putback by Russell Westbrook.
  • Kevin Durant shot just 10-25, but made it six straight losses for the Knicks with that tough game-winning three.  Oddly enough, the Thunder won this game without ever leading in the second half; that is until just after the final buzzer sounded, of course.  The Knicks had the lead from the start of the half until just 29 seconds remained, when Russell Westbrook tied the game at the freethrow line.  OKC never actually took a lead until time had expired.  Oklahoma City outscored New York 13 to 4 in the final 3:30.  The Knicks bricked five of seven shots during that stretch (Raymond Felton was responsible for five of them).  The Thunder were held to 38.6 percent shooting, but they crashed the offensive glass, resulting in 22 extra possessions and 21 second-chance points.  Although they only grabbed nine offensive boards, the Knicks cashed them in for 18 second-chance points… so even though they were abused on the glass, that’s not really where they lost the game.  The freethrow line is where that happened.  The league’s #1 team in freethrow percentage was sent to the line 34 times, resulting in 28 makes.  Russell Westbrook made 14 of 17 on his own.  Danilo Gallinari led the Knicks with 23 points.
  • Blake Griffin scored 30 points, tied a career high with 18 boards, and damn near made it his first triple double with eight assists.  More importantly, he knocked down the sixth three-pointer of his career, giving LA the lead for good as they beat the Warriors 113-109.  As nice as 30/18/8 and a clutch three is, that info doesn’t even include the most surprising nugget: he knocked down 9 of 10 freethrows.  I’m not saying he’s Ray Allen from the stripe all of a sudden, but I do believe his percentage will improve sooner rather than later.  There’s nothing wrong with his form, and he’s shown the ability to hit jumpers.  A little more time in the gym and a boost in confidence and he’ll be hitting in the 70s.  Anyway, the Clipps jumped out to a 12-point lead at the end of the first quarter in this one.  Led by Stephen Curry and his 32 points, the Dubs battled back, outscoring LA by eight in the second and third quarters.  They still trailed for most of the fourth quarter, but Vladimir Radmanovic would eventually tie it up at 105 with about a minute remaining.  That’s when Blake Griffin happened, game over.  The Warriors were on a four game winning streak, so this win is more impressive than it appears.
  • John Wall admitted to getting a little lucky on his triple: ”I knew it was going to hit backboard, but I thought it was going to be a hard brick. It could’ve broken the backboard. Luckily, it went in.”  Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good… and when you’re 12 and 29, you’re due for a break.  The Celtics, who were on the flipside of the Wizards’ fortunate bounce, shot themselves in the foot with seven misses from the line in 18 tries (61%).  John Wall, Javale McGee, Rashard Lewis, and Andray Blatche all scored in double-figures while accounting for 61 of Washington’s 85 points.  Mustafa Shakur, who was called up from the D-League just before the game, scored five points in 10 minutes.  That’s a nice contribution to a winning effort, and you can’t even get the guy a propper jersey?  Look what they made this guy wear:


  • It wasn’t a three, but Dirk Nowitzki got in on the game-winner action.  Dirk saved the Mavs from severe embarrassment with this jumper, giving Dallas an 87-86 lead over the Nets with six seconds to go.  Jordan Farmar got a shot off just before the buzzer, but his attempt wasn’t close.  Dirk was just 6 of 23 from the field before he fired that shot, but Rick Carlisle never had any doubt that he should be the one to take the shot: “When it comes down to it, there is really only one place to go in that situation.”  I bet the huddle sounded something like this: “Dammit Dirk, we’re about to lose to the f@cking Nets.  Go make a f@cking shot!”  Speaking of making shots, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry still can’t do that.  The brick brothers went 5 for 20 in this near disaster. 
  • Austin Daye knocked down a go-ahead J with 53 seconds on the clock to put the Pistons ahead of the Suns 71-70.  Will Bynum and Tayshaun Prince then went two of four from the line, giving the Suns life in the final seconds.  Rodney Stuckey committed a pre-inbound foul on Steve Nash, sending him to the line for one shot, which he made.  Channing Frye decided to fire away for the win with five seconds left, but came up empty.  Will Bynum was fouled again, and sealed the deal by making both.  Channing Frye made the final score (75-74, if you didn’t follow my writing) look closer by clutching a pointless triple.  The Suns choked hard in this one… Detroit outscored ‘em 28 to 13 in the fourth quarter.  Not including Nash’s FT and Frye’s too-late triple, the Suns missed their last seven shots. 
  • The non-nail-biters: Atlanta recovered from Friday’s 41-point loss with a 16-point win over the Bobcats.  Joe Johnson dropped 32 on 12-18 FG.  The Utah Jazz are sinking like… something that doesn’t float.  They lost to Philly by 11, making it four Ls in a row, three of which have come against Eastern Conference teams not named the Magic, Heat, Celtics, Hawks, or Bulls.  Mike Miller, who’s been awful all season, busted out of his slump with a Heat record 22 second-quarter points.  He dropped 32 in the game as Miami beat the Craptors by 17 without Bosh or Wade.  LBJ dropped 38/11/6.  The Spurs shot 36 percent and scored just 72 points in a 24-point loss to the Hornets.  It’s been an odd season for New Orleans.  They came out of the gate strong, then kind of fizzled a bit, but now they’ve won eight in a row and 11 of 13.  The Cavs made the Spurs look hotter than an oven with their 32 percent brickery as they dropped their 16th straight (this one to the Bulls, 92-79).  Chase Budinger led the Rockets with 19 points, but the H-Town boys gave up 118 to the Magic, resulting in a 14-point defeat.  The Bucks had a typical showing with sub-40 percent shooting and sub-90 scoring as they lost to the Grizzlies 94-81.  Marc Gasol, who’s had a quiet season, dropped 24/16.  LaMarcus Aldridge recorded 25/12 as the Blazers won their 5th in a row.  The Pacers were the latest victims… they turned the ball over 18 times and lost by five.

Quote of the Day: Antawn Jamison… 

“If we continue to play this way, things could go our way.”

He’s actually right.  The Cavaliers have a great opportunity Monday night… a road game against the Nets.  New Jersey’s lost 12 of their last 15, and while they are not as pathetic as the Cavs, they could certainly find a way to lose.  If Cleveland doesn’t get a win in this one, though, they’re in trouble.  Boston, Denver, Orlando, and Miami are the next four… three of those games are on the road. 

Photo of the Day:


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