1/1/11: More Injury Trouble For Dallas.

Just three games after losing Dirk Nowitzki due to a minor knee strain, the Mavericks have lost Caron Butler to a potentially serious knee injury.  He’ll have an MRI at some point today to determine the severity of the injury and approximately how much time he’ll miss.  According to NBA.com’s Art Garcia, the Mavs fear that Butler has torn is patella tendon, which would likely end his season.  Hopefully we’ll get some surprise news as we did in the KG scenario, but I seriously doubt that.  Butler’s injury was of the non-contact variety (those tend to be the worst), and he was already grabbing his knee in pain before he even hit the floor.

Random Observations:

  • Highlight Recap: LeBron James with a flashy dish to Big Z, who should be slapped for finishing with such weaknessLeBron dishes to Wade for a much stronger dunkBirdman sends a shot into the crowd, the cleans up with a putback slamJR Smith goes baseline and throws down a nasty slamGordon Hayward finishes the Grizz with a strong baseline slam.  I’m sorry, but Gordon Hayward simply doesn’t look like he should be able to do that.  Not because he’s white, but because he looks like a 14-year-old choir boy or something.  What a perfect fit for the Utah Jazz.  Monta Ellis banks it in from the backcourtTop 10‘s got the rest covered.  Check out play #10, the first two points of 2011.  This year’s looking promising.
  • Not only did the Mavs lose Caron Butler, they lost to the Bucks, making it Milwaukee’s first season sweep of Dallas since the 02/03 season.  Earl Boykins dropped a season-high 26 points as the Bucks picked up a 12-point victory.  Little Earl is averaging 20 points per game over his last four… and he’s doing so in under 30 minutes a night.  The 5’5 34-year-old has been in and out of the league over the past few years, but as unbelievable as it seems, he continues to show that he belongs.  Ersan Ilyasova–my favorite Euro in the L–also had a nice game for the Bucks with a 16/17 double-double.  JJ Berea dropped 29 in a losing effort, but many of his teammates struggled to put the ball in the basket… The Jet, who has been unable to get up off the runway since the loss of Dirk Nowitzki, went just 3-15.  He’s 6-31 over the last two games.
  • The Hornets suited up in some gold alternates and defeated the Wizards 92-81.  Trevor Ariza had a rare 50+ percent shooting night and dropped a season-high 22 points.  Ariza also threw in five steals, which only accounted for a third of the Hornet’s steal total.  Chris Paul tacked on seven more and three other players had one each for a team total of 15.  The Bees trailed by five at the half, but took the lead in the third by outscoring Washignton by 11.  The Wiz never mounted any comebacks and lost the fourth by five.  John Wall turned the ball over eight times.
  • LeBron James and Dwyane Wade attempted 33 freethrows–over twice as many as the entire Warriors team–as the Heat defeated the Dubs 114-107.  Golden State was able to live by the three for a while… they knocked down nine long-balls in the first half and led by 14 at the break… but they cooled off just as fast as they heated up.  GS clanked their first nine shots in the third, allowing Miami to get within five.  The Heat would take the lead less than a minute into the fourth, and they never gave it up.  Wade/Bosh/Bron each dropped 20+ and totalled 70 points.  Dorell Wright knocked down six threes and dropped 30 on his former team.
  • Denver looked about as poor as a team can possibly look in a blowout victory.  Carmelo Anthony looked horribly rusty in his first game back after missing the previous five, and as a team they played lathargically.  I guess the fact that they won by 18 while turning the ball over 20 times is simply a testament to how terrible the Kings are.  Carmelo had six TOs on his own while bricking 16 of his 22 shot attempts.  I’ll cut him some slack because he’s just been through a tragedy, and he was out there trying… he was actually trying too hard.  He didn’t let the game come to him, and that shows in his line.  Nene is the guy who I’d really be pissed at if I’m George Karl.  There was one play where he stole the ball and should’ve had an uncontested dunk… but he ran so damn slow he allowed DeMarcus Cousins (not exactly a speed demon) to catch up and contest the shot, resulting in a miss.  I couldn’t believe Karl left him in the game, it was even more pathetic than I’m making it out to be.  This is before it was a blowout, too.  Denver only led by nine entering the fourth, which is when they blew it wide open.  They extended that lead to 20 in just three minutes.
  • The other games: The Cleveland Cavs started the following lineup against the Bulls: R. Sessions, M. Harris, A. Parker, A. Jamison, L. Powe.  Do I really need to tell you what happened?  They lost for the 17th time in their last 20 tries.  D-Rose went for 28/11.  The T-Wolves kicked the crap out of the Brooklyn New Yorkers, who are now starting a Graham brother at shooting guard.  Kevin Love did 23/10 for his league leading 29th double-double.  Meanwhile, Brook Lopez continues to search for that illusive second double-double.  The Thunder shot 33% from the field and got their asses kicked by the Spurs 101-74.  SA’s bench dropped 37 points, which equalled the total put up by OKC’s starting lineup.  Gordon Hayward is on a tear: he scored 13 points as the Jazz beat the Grizzlies by six.  Hayward has scored in double-figures three games in a row now, which doesn’t sound like a big deal until you consider the fact that he had never done it once before dropping a career-high 17 on December 29th.

Quote of the Day: Remember Russell Westbrook’s triple-double on Friday night?  He got his 10th assist on a last-second full-court pass to Serge Ibaka, who dunked the ball.  The game had been decided at that point, and Josh Smith feels like OKC should’ve run the clock out…

“You know what it was. That’s showing disrespect (dunking the ball). Everybody in the whole league knows you don’t do nothing like that. I talked to Durant about it. He said he would talk to him (Ibaka) about it, and he knew that wasn’t right.”

…so Josh did the NBA equivalent of telling Ibaka’s mama, which is even lamer than what Russell and Serge did. 

Photo of the Day: DeShawn Stevenson realizes he no longer wants a backwards P tatted on his face…

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