The Starting Lineup: Heat Still Hot, Clippers Still Not

  • Highlight Recap, LeBron James Edition:



  • Highlight Recap, Everyone Else Edition: DeAndre Jordan tip dunkin’ on Tim DuncanRudy Gay does a little work on the offensive glassBrandon Bass drives and dunksJosh Smith stuffs John Wall’s breakout seasonJavale McGee is pretty athleticAmare Stoudemire is too
  • I’ve never seen LeBron appear so comfortable in the post and so disinterested in shooting three-pointers. As a matter of fact, LeBron hasn’t taken a single three yet this season. Three games is a small sample size, but it’s still pretty shocking considering that he took 3.5 per contest last season. So, what’s LeBron up to? Well, he was hitting the block early and often in Miami’s comeback win over the Bobcats. In the first quarter alone (approximation, may have been the first 15 minutes or so) I counted five post ups from the King, all resulting in good looks for his team. Twice he kicked the ball out to open shooters, and three times he took the shot himself. The first time he came away with points was on his second try. He patiently backed his way towards the basket, turned, and banked a lefty hook over Corey Maggette. He passed the next few times before sticking a turn-around J later on. Anyway, the point is that he looked comfortable, which is new. None of his shots were awkward, and when he passed the ball it was the right decision. I like ’11/12 LeBron (35/6/7 in this one), he looks like a monster. In addition to the post game, he’s also got that new pet move in the mid-range where he just looks his defender in the face and pops the shot without ever bringing the ball down. LeBron is on a mission this season; it’s clear in both his demeanor and his new-and-improved game.
  • The Heat gave up 60 points to the Bobcats in the first half.  I still knew they’d win.  I’m not trying to take anything away from the ‘Cats, but everyone besides Corey Maggette (of course the guy who happens to be on my fantasy team goes 1-10) could do no wrong in the early going.  It was unusual, and sh!t balanced itself out as the Bobcats recorded a 10-point third quarter.  I don’t want to hear anyone talking sh!t about Chris Bosh today, because he was huge in the comeback.  His clutch jumper was preceeded by this take to the rack…

  • …so please, no “soft” comments.  Dwyane Wade came up with just 10 points in the game, but 2 of them won it for Miami…

  • Kinda sucks for Gerald Henderson; he’d just hit what would’ve been the game-winning three, then he gets scored on.  Oh well, he’s doing 19.5 PPG through two games… nothin’ to be ashamed about.  I do have to question Paul Silas’s coaching.  Why was Boris Diaw in the game for a defensive possession?  Maybe a more athletic player would’ve been able to contest that shot a little better.  Derrick Brown can jump… BJ Mullins is tall… DeSagana Diop is… nah, he sucks.  Oh, and Biyombo is a mistake-prone rookie, but why not?  They’ve got nothing to lose.  Maybe he blocks the shot.
  • The Golden State Warriors made a couple of low-key acquisitions that are going to help them compete for a playoff spot this season. First, they signed Dominic McGuire, a versatile forward who brings more defensive ability to the table than any Warrior since Stephen Jackson. McGuire is quick, athletic, and has more size than the aforementioned Jackson, allowing him to guard a variety of the league’s top players. He held Carmelo Anthony to one point in the fourth quarter of GSW’s 92-78 victory over the Knicks. McGuire’s minutes will probably fluctuate based on match ups, but he proved his worth tonight. There aren’t a whole lot of players out there with the size and athleticism necessary to pose any sort of threat to Carmelo Anthony, and the Warriors found one of them. The second move that’s already begun to pay off is the trade with Indiana that sent Lou Amundson on his way in exchange for Brandon Rush. Amundson is an alright hustle guy, but his basketball skills are extremely limited. Rush, on the other hand, is proving to be a perfect fit early on. He’s an athletic guy with a three-point shot and pretty solid defensive ability who likes to get up and down the floor. He got lost in the shuffle in Indiana and the Dubs were smart to snag him on the cheap; he’ll be an important contributor off the bench all season long. 
  • As the Warriors pounded the Knicks, Kwame Brown grabbed 10 rebounds in 11 minutes while Tyson Chandler came up with just 3 in 21 minutes. There’s a whole lot of season left, but Kwame’s contributions thus far can’t be denied. In the game before this one he was just as big a contributor as Joakim Noah in another Warriors W. I’m not saying he’ll prove to be worth the $7 million Golden State shelled out for his services–he’s never been the pinnacle of consistency–but he was pretty good for the Bobcats last year and he’s fitting in with Golden State pretty well early on. Andris Biedrins has also played well in limited minutes. Together, the two of them are getting the job done.
  • Russell Westbrook went 0-13 against the Grizzlies. The Thunder won (98-95), but goddamn, that’s rough. It may not be the worst part, either. Westbrook was obviously frustrated with his performance… this I understand… but why’s he taking it out on Thabo Sefolosha and Kevin Durant? “Shoot the f@cking ball?” Thabo should’ve told him to stop shooting the f@cking ball. Kevin Durant continues to insist that he loves playing with Westbrook and that this 0-13 performance/screaming incident is a non-story. Does OKC’s management view it the same way? I assume that they watched as Russ’s immaturity (on the court) proved to be damaging at the end of their latest playoff run. How long do they stick with him if he fails to show any progress? I don’t think they give up on him this season, but I could see him being dealt some time in the not-so-near future if the Thunder fail to take the next step (Finals appearance).
  • The Denver Nuggets are 2-0 after beating the Jazz 117-100. I’ve got to give Nene some props here because he took a team-high 13 shots and made 11 of them. Way to transition into your new role, big man! The Nuggets are lookin’ great through two games. Not only is Nene stepping up, but the entire team has figured out what they need to do: force turnovers and run like the wind. They’ve come up with an average of 16 steals in their first two games. The swipes have resulted in a sh!t-ton of fast break points and a couple of fun games for NBA fans. They’ve been a lot more fun than the Lob City Clippers, that’s for damn sure.
  • How long is it going to take for the Clippers to work out the kinks? Who knows, but two games certainly isn’t the answer. Despite Blake Griffin’s 28 points on 11-19 shooting, the Clippers were ineffective in the paint, and one thing is for sure: they aren’t going to win when they fail to score points in the paint. Hell, they might even lose by 25, kind of like they did tonight. The Spurs did an excellent job of packing the lane with defenders. The Clipps will have to find a way to succeed against that kind of strategy as they’ll be seeing it all the time. They also need to be more aggressive on defense. This team will thrive in transition and they need to create more turnovers so they can run. As of right now, I miss the old Clippers. I don’t think they played two games this unexciting all of last season, and they certainly never put two snoozers back to back.
  • DeJuan Blair scored 20 points on 10-15. Blake Griffin still has no idea how to play defense.
  • As you’ve probably heard, Andray Blatche complained about his role in Washington’s season openerHis performance in Washington’s second game (which doubled as their second loss) isn’t going to aid this situation at all…

  • For those of you who don’t feel like counting, that’s 2-13 overall and 1-7 in the paint.  I am anxiously awaiting his latest excuse.
  • Box Score Observations: Paul George was Indiana’s second-leading scorer with 18 points in a 90-85 win. Boris Diaw scored 16 points, grabbed 16 rebounds, and dished 8 assists. Brandon Knight had 23/6 to Kyrie Irving’s 14/7, but Detroit lost to Cleveland 105-89. Jordan Crawford scored 1 point on 0-6 in 22 minutes. Nick Young had 21 on 6-12.  John Wall had 6 TOs.
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One Response to The Starting Lineup: Heat Still Hot, Clippers Still Not

  1. Marshall says:

    The warriors played well last night. Plus, the knicks fell apart in the 4th. Kwame is a good rebounder and rarely gets any credit. Ishmael Smith is good too. I’d be surprised if the Nuggets can keep it up without JR, Wilson, and K-Mart. LeBron not taking as much 3′s should really help the Heat this year. I think they’re gonna win it all this year if Bron can come through in the playoffs.

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