The Golden State Warriors have a pretty brutal schedule this January. For what it’s worth, they’re off to a fine start! Led by the hot hand of Stephen Curry (31 points, 11-16, was 9-10 at halftime IIRC), the Dubs smacked up the Clippers in a 115-94 embarrassment of the Pacific Division frontrunners. David Lee, who recorded his 14th 20/10 line of the season, received a boisterous MVP chant as he toed the stripe late in the fourth quarter. Save for Chris Paul, who was so angry that he dunked twice, the Clippers seemed relatively unfazed by the humiliation. They fired up 29 threes, missed 21 of them, and generally looked like the same lackadaisical bunch that disappointed in Denver.
I’m not sure whether or not you all felt it necessary to click on the Orlando/Chicago box score, but if not, check it out. Now, are you noticing anything… unusual about it? I mean, aside from Chicago’s 14-point fourth quarter, which isn’t really as unusual as it seems it should be (the Bulls have been averaging 15 fourth-quarter PPG over their last three games). Ah, yes, you see it too — it’s that “top performers” column, in which Jameer Nelson and Carlos Boozer proudly lay claim to their 63 combined points. Funny things happen when All-NBA performers are removed from lineups, as evidenced by this box score. Jameer hadn’t scored 30 in approximately three years, and Boozer just twice in the last two, so this was indeed a funny thing.
Story time: in 2005, I met a 12-year-old Jamaican kid. I’m not going to bother explaining how or why, but my father ended up becoming the legal guardian of this kid, making him my brother. Despite being six feet tall at age 12, this Jamaican kid had never touched a basketball prior to joining our family. That, of course, would no longer be an option.
His first couple months playing the sport were essentially dedicated to learning the rules. He caught on pretty quickly, but there were was one particular area where he struggled. While he understood that it was necessary to dribble in order to move with the ball, he didn’t seem to realize that he couldn’t dribble, stop dribbling, then dribble again. As you might imagine, his one-dribble-pump-fake-one-dribble move was actually pretty unstoppable. We let it go for a little while (he couldn’t make the layup anyway), but he was forced to leave it behind forever when he joined the middle school team. He’s come an awfully long way since then.
As for Amir Johnson, he still has some work to do…
Look, Jayson, he stole your move!
Deron Williams hasn’t done much lately. He mostly just talks about why he isn’t good anymore. Surprisingly, the hundred-million-dollar system player actually helped his Brooklyn Nets beat a good basketball team yesterday. As Williams recorded 19 points and 13 assists, the Nets crushed the Thunder by 17. Kevin Durant was so ashamed that he couldn’t even bear to stick around for the final minute and change; he resorted to getting himself ejected for the first time in his NBA career.
Avery Bradley, the Celtics’ savior, has returned! Shockingly, he was very much unable to solve each and every one of Boston’s problems. As Bradley scored 4 points in 19 minutes, the Cs dropped their fifth in a row (83-93 to Memphis). Bradley’s killer defense had little effect against the Grizzlies as Mike Conley and Tony Allen combined to score 38 points. The Celtics finished the game with 27 rebounds, which is 2 fewer than Nikola Vucevic had against the Heat a few days ago.
In the Mavericks’ overtime loss to the Heat, Dirk Nowitzki had by far the best of the six games he’s played since returning from injury. Dirk scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half and hit one of his signature one-footed shots to send the game to OT. Miami dominated from that point forward, outscoring the Mavericks 16-6… but DIRK! He made an important shot and played pretty good, and that’s what really matters here.
The Kings have won three of their last four. They’ve also lost to the Pistons and come within a James Johnson three-pointer of blowing a 27-point lead, but hey, when you struggle as hard as the Kings do even to achieve a moral victory, you’ll take it! DeMarcus Cousins has been able to keep his head screwed on straight in four games (all of them double-doubles) since returning from suspension, but how long will it last? Rumor has it DumbArcus’s teammates aren’t exactly in love with him, and although the organization says he isn’t on the block… I believe his departure from Sacramento is imminent. If not this season, it’ll happen next season.
Box Score Observations: Paul George continued to beast against Washington, whom Indiana beat 89-81. George finished with 29 and 14. Terrence Ross obliterated the Blazers and his previous career scoring high with 26 points. Rozay’s Raptors took a 23-point victory, their eighth win in nine games (sadly, they’re still 12-20… but 7-2 without Bargnani!). James Harden’s 31 helped the Rockets improve to 18-14 with a 104-92 victory over the Hornets. Harden has dropped 30 or more in 7 of his last 13. John Henson made 10 of 11 shots off the bench on his way to 21 points for the Bucks, who lost to the Spurs anyway. Jrue Holiday messed around and got a triple-double (16/10/10), but the Sixers still lost to the Suns. The T-Wolves shot 34.5% in Utah, where they lost by enough to warrant 4:14 of Jeremy Evans.
Highlight Recap, Lance Stephenson Edition*:
*Note: there would’ve been a Lowlight Recap, Lance Stephenson Edition, too, if Youtubers had caught wind of his second dunk attempt. It didn’t go nearly as well as his first one did.