The Starting Lineup: JEREMY PARGO #NBABallot

The finish of the night took place in Atlanta. It was a 113-111 shootout between the Cavs and the Hawks, and it was big bucket after big bucket down the stretch as the two teams combined to shoot 53% in the fourth quarter.  Jeremy Pargo was the primary catalyst for Cleveland, executing yet another fine Kyrie Irving imitation as he initiated the action by penetrating effectively and scoring 10 of his team-high 22 in the period.  Pargo’s Cavs actually trailed by nine at the start of the fourth, but a big-time triple from Boobie Gibson capped a 10-0 Cavalier run, gave Cleveland the lead for the first time in the half, and left ATL playing catchup with 4:22 to go.  A pair of poorly-defended triples from Josh Smith (25 PTS, 2-2 from three) and Lou Williams (18 PTS, 3-5 from three) would tie the score at 111, but the Hawks left the opposition with 13 seconds to work.  Unfortunately for them, the Cavaliers’ fortunes proved to be better than those of the Washington WizardsAin’t nothin’ but a Gee Thang Baaaabaay!

As if the Wizards needed any further proof that the basketball gods hate them.  In addition to Gee’s Martell-Webster-like basket actually being released on time, it’s becoming pretty clear that they signed the wrong Pargo.  Jeremy is posting 16 PPG since taking over for Kyrie Irving… meanwhile, Jannero is backing up a 35% shooter in AJ Price.

I’m extremely glad I watched the Timberwolves beat the Bucks 95-85. Not only was it a fairly competitive game, but two of my favorite players in all the association represented the top performers for their respective teams.  Both Nikola Pekovic and Larry Sanders got off to strong starts, with Pekovic recording 12 PTS/8 REB and Larry Sanders 5 swats in the first quarter.  At least two of Sanders’ early rejections actually came at Big Pek’s expense, leaving me feeling lost and confused, but when Nikola went on to lead the T-Wolves to victory with his career-high 16 boards and Larry earned himself a triple-double (with blocks, 10 of them) I was able to feel happy for everyone.  NOTE: For those of you who may be surprised by a Larry Sanders triple-double, don’t be.  The guy averages 12 and 11 per 36, and he swatted over 4 shots per game on that same basis last season.  He was bound to do this if he could ever play 30+ minutes without fouling out, which he finally did on Friday night.  I’m honestly more surprised by the fact that he finished a 32-minute appearance with two personal fouls than I am by his triple-double.  After the game, Larry himself said the same damn thing (I swear, I typed all of this before I even saw this quote): “I only had two fouls tonight. I think that’s what I’m most impressed with,” Sanders quipped. “I was able to stay in the game and help my team.”

Fun Facts: Prior to the one from Larry Sanders, the most recent triple-double in Bucks history had come courtesy of Drew Gooden, who has not yet appeared in a game this season.  Sanders’ 10 blocks tied Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s franchise record.  I say they give him a statue.

Alexey Shved scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, which is also when he made one of the most vexing passes that you will have ever seen.  Shved, trapped near halfcourt on the right side of the floor, throws some sort of one-handed lob-bounce pass to Luke Ridnour, who is spotted up in the left-hand corner about 60 feet away.  In Russia, they simply call that an assist.  I think I’m going to call it the most dangerously-foolish yet brilliantly-confident dagger of a toss that I’ve seen since Brett Favre was quarterbacking the Green Bay Packers.

Ersan Ilyasova: DNP – Coach’s Decision. That’s one thing about Scott Skiles — he couldn’t care less about how good a player has been in the past or how much money a player has just been paid.  He’s going to play the guys who he feels are playing the way he needs them to at that very moment.  Ilyasova has been pretty bad this year, so Skiles is going to roll with other people.  Simple as that.

Clearly, E’Twaun Moore spent the majority of his rookie season taking lessons from Paul Pierce on how NOT to defend Joe Johnson.


Raptors win! Toronto snapped a six-game losing streak by beating the Suns 101-97.  DeMaR DeRoZaN dropped a game-high 23, but he, Littlefoot, and the rest of the Dinosaurs couldn’t have done it without the help of the officials, who ignored two blatant shooting fouls that would’ve given Luis Scola and Shannon Brown a total of four free throw attempts in the game’s final minute.  Ah well, I guess the Suns aren’t going anywhere anyway.  And the Craptors winning means that Andrea Bargnani played like 5 or 10 seconds of meaningful defense on Goran Dragic.  How ’bout that?

Mickael Pietrus back! Air France played 31 minutes in his first game as a Craptosaur, scoring 6 points on 2-7 off the bench.  He has a lot more tattoos than he used to.

Nick Young is now shooting 66% this season on falling-out-of-bounds-from-behind-the-backboard-in-the-right-hand-corner shots (yes, he’s taken enough of those shots to be shooting 66%)…

Swaggy scored 9 points as the Sixers beat the Bobkittens by 6.  Charlotte put up a solid fight on their home floor, but they left Jason Richardson open in the corner a few too many times.  Of Richardson’s 22 points, 6 were scored from that same exact spot in the final five minutes of the game.  Also of note from this contest, Jeff Taylor threw down the best dunk of his career and screamed like a girl while he did it.  Seriously, did you hear that? What in the hell, Jeff…

The Bobcats apparently ran a promotion where all fans in attendance would get a free ticket to December 3rd’s game if any Charlotte player made a three-pointer in the fourth quarter.  A free ticket for one fourth-quarter three?  That’s a saddeningly-generous promotion.  I mean, most teams give away a coupon for a!, and it requires more than something as commonplace as a three-point basket.  Of course, Bobcats tickets probably cost less than a DACO! right now, so…

Rough night for Ty Lawson (3-11, 5 TOs) and the sub-.500 (!!!) Denver Nuggets. It’ll be an even rougher film session.  The Nuggets got abused by Dwight Howard (28/20, looked like Shaq) and did a horrible job of closing out on three-point shooters as the Lakers out-rebounded ‘em by 8 and rained 17 triples on their under-the-pick-and-roll asses.  Jodie Meeks checked in after taking his 500 warmup shots and almost immediately poured in four straight threes, setting a new career high as he knocked down seven on the night.  Antawn Jamison (33 points) added five, Ron Artest made 2, and Dwight Howard — yes, Dwight Howard — had one.  As a matter of fact, the only Laker who tried a three without making one was Kobe Bryant.  If I’m Chris Duhon I’m rubbing that in.  Ultimately, LA took it by a final score of 122-103.  The Nuggets looked similar to the guy that just discovered the alley-oop button in 2k12 as they botched lob attempt after lob attempt.

Thomas Robinson looks frighteningly raw a lot of the time, but that won’t keep him from making the occasional spectacular play.  Check out this awesome chasedown block on Tyler Hansbrough.  It was one of his three swats in the game… but he also had three turnovers and shot an air ball.

Box Score Observations: Joe Johnson dropped 22 and Gerald Wallace made a career-best five three-pointers as the Nets beat the Magic by 12.  Jeff Green dropped 19 for the Celtics to help Boston beat Portland by a lot, even without Rajon Rondo.  The Wizards are back to their losing ways, having fallen to the Knicks 87-108.  JR Smith and Carmelo Anthony had 20 apiece.  Kendrick Perkins had one of the best lines of his life — 12 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, and 3 blocks — but probably still sucked as the Thunder defeated the Jazz 106-94.  Zach Randolph failed to record a double-double for just the second time this season, but the Grizzlies still schmucked the Pistons.  Charlie Villanueva’s steak of three consecutive double-digit outings came to an end (man, what a depressing game).  David West’s season-high 31 points led the Pacers to another W in California, this time in Sacramento.

Highlight Recap, Buzzer-Beaters Edition:

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