North Carolina Basketball: Recap of Recent NBA Games

Christopher McCollumContributor IIJanuary 9, 2012

North Carolina Basketball: Recap of Recent NBA Games

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    With 11 former UNC players currently logging meaningful minutes in the NBA (Jerry Stackhouse's 5.5 MPG don't count), there's a lot of action going around on a night-to-night basis for the Carolina family. 

    For those who don't keep track of the NBA but are curious to know which player is on which team, here's a rundown:

    Tyler Hansbrough: Indiana Pacers

    Ty Lawson: Denver Nuggets

    Wayne Ellington: Minnesota Timberwolves

    Danny Green: San Antonio Spurs

    Vince Carter: Dallas Mavericks 

    Brendan Haywood: Dallas Mavericks

    Brandan Wright: Dallas Mavericks

    Raymond Felton: Portland Trailblazers

    Antawn Jamison: Cleveland Cavaliers

    Ed Davis: Toronto Raptors

    Marvin Williams: Atlanta Hawks

    (Jerry Stackhouse: Atlanta Hawks)

    All players have been in action over the past half week, packing in games on an almost-daily basis for the cramped NBA schedule. Some have performed great, some have performed well and some have had forgetful games. Here's a breakdown of what has happened since Wednesday.

Danny Green

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    The beloved dancing man from North Carolina's 2009 National Championship team has made his way all over the world in search of professional basketball, moving in and out of the NBA, D-League and Europe since 2009. An injury to Manu Ginobli has forced Gregg Popovich to use Green way more than was probably planned when he was brought back into the San Antonio fold at the end of the lockout. 

    Green has responded to the call to action in the same manner in which he earned a loyal following while in Chapel Hill: doing whatever needs to be done.

    This season, he has featured well and provided significant contributions from the bench. This has been especially evident during the past four games, helping the Spurs to victory in three of those games. These performances were capped off by the dominant showing against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, where he went up against fellow Heel Ty Lawson and clinched the victory with two free-throws in the waning seconds.

    On the season, Green is averaging 7.8 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.8 BPG and shooting 52 percent from the field, as well as 47 percent from three-point range. If he's able to maintain that stat line, there will be little reason for the Spurs to send him back down.


    Sunday, January 8

    Oklahoma City 108-96 San Antonio: 6 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block (2-2 from three-point) 


    Saturday, January 7

    San Antonio 121-117 Denver: 24 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 assists, 2 steals.

    Thursday, January 5

    San Antonio 93-71 Dallas: 8 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block

    Wednesday, January 4

    San Antonio 101-95 Golden State: 8 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks


    Next Four Games on the Calendar:

    1/10: Milwaukee (away)
    1/11: Houston
    1/13: Portland
    1/15: Phoenix

Ty Lawson

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    Ty Lawson has the ability to put up gaudy numbers. He can shoot, penetrate, pass the ball, defend the ball and as he showed this week, he can also occasionally block a shot. While it was pretty much always known that he would get plenty of playing time in the NBA, there was some doubt as to how successful he would be. He's short, and his offensive game depended on being able to get to the basket, which he found plenty of opportunity for in college when defenders simply could not match his explosive speed. 

    Lawson has adapted to the NBA while maintaining his ability to get to the basket. He has also continued developintg as a shooter, and in his third season, there is a lot of expectation that he is going to explode onto the scene after finally becoming the starting point guard for Denver.

    On the season, Lawson is averaging 16.6 PPG, 6.3 APG, 3.0 RPG and 2.0 SPG while shooting 49 percent from the field. He is the seventh-highest scoring point guard, but has a seven to 14 percent higher field goal percentage than the players ahead of him.

    He has the fifth-best field-goal percentage among Point Guards, and his 3:1 Assist:Turnover ratio is good for sixth in the league among those averaging six or more assists per game. His ratio is higher than Rajon Rondo, Steve Nash, Derrick Rose and Deron Williams.

    His stats for the past four games are as follows:


    Saturday, January 7

    San Antonio 121-117 Denver: 20 points, 10 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 block


    Friday, January 6

    Denver 96-88 New Orleans: 12 points, 8 assists


    Wednesday, January 4

    Denver 110-83 Sacramento: 8 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals


    Monday, January 2

    Denver 91-86 Milwaukee: 16 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal 


    Next Up for the Nuggets

    1/9: New Orleans
    1/11: New Jersey
    1/13: Miami
    1/15: Utah

Tyler Hansbrough

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    It usually isn't pretty when "Psycho T" is battling his way into the scoreline, and his 39 percent field goal Percentage is proof of that. However, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant can have a monopoly on attractive scoring, because all that really matters is putting the ball in the basket, which, one way or another, Hansbrough is consistently proving that he can do at the professional level. 

    Just like he did in college, Hansbrough is getting a great deal of his points at the free-throw line, as he averages 5.6 trips there per game, which ranks eighth in the league among power forwards and third off the bench.

    On the season, Hansbrough is averaging 12.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG and 1.1 SPG.

    Over the past four games, Hansbrough's stats are as follows:


    Saturday, January 7

    Indiana 99-77 Charlotte: 15 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal


    Friday, January 6

    Indiana 87-74 Boston: 12 points, 3 rebounds


    Wednesday, January 4

    Miami 118-83 Indiana: 14 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals


    Monday, January 2

    Indiana 104-98 New Jersey: 12 points, 7 rebounds, 1 steal 


    Next Four for the Pacers:

    1/9: Philadelphia (away)
    1/11: Atlanta
    1/13: Toronto (away)
    1/14: Boston

Raymond Felton

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    The 2010-11 season was up and down for Raymond Felton. His performance with the New York Knicks had many fans clamoring for his inclusion in the All-Star Game, as he averaged 17 points, nine assists and 3.6 rebounds per game while appearing to be on the way to leading the Knicks to the Playoffs.

    Then came a surprise deal to Denver, where Felton platooned with Ty Lawson for the remainder of the season. After exiting in the first round of the playoffs, Felton was dealt to Portland during the NBA draft.

    It was looking like a dream move. Portland was building into one of the most exciting young teams in the league, with offense to spare. Then came the shocking news of Brandon Roy's retirement and Greg Oden's further health issues. Portland remains a good place for Felton, being able to go inside to LaMarcus Aldridge and Gerald Wallace, and outside to Wesley Mathews. Felton hasn't been in the position to continue his impressive stat line from New York, though.

    On the season, Felton is averaging 11.6 PPG, 6.7 APG and 3.1 RPG. His shooting percentages of 37 percent from the field and 13.5 percent from three-point are well below his career averages.

    His numbers over the past four games are as follows:


    Sunday, January 8 

    Portland 98-78 Cleveland: 2 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal 


    Friday, January 6

    Phoenix 102-77 Portland: 9 points, 2 assists, 1 rebound, 1 steal


    Thursday, January 5

    Portland 107-96 L.A. Lakers: 8 points, 10 assists, 4 rebounds


    Tuesday, January 3

    Portland 103-93 Oklahoma City: 12 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds


    Portland's Next Four Games

    1/10: LAC
    1/11: Orlando
    1/13: San Antonio (away)
    1/14: Houston (away)

Antawn Jamison

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    One of the greatest players to ever wear Carolina blue, Antawn Jamison never quite found himself in the right NBA situation. A two-time All-Star, it looked like he might finally get a chance to win a ring when he joined the Cleveland LeBrons, only to see The Decision after one disappointing season. 

    More than one, probably more than a dozen Tar Heel fans, probably assumed that Jamison's career would peter out from there, leaving him to gradually fade into obscurity like Rasheed Wallace, especially after LeBron's departure from Cleveland left Jamison under contract with one of the worst teams in the NBA. He put up solid numbers, but they seemed much smaller than they were because of the setting.

    Cleveland has made improvements after last season's abysmal 19-63 record, and there has been a spring in the step of the 35-year-old Tar Heel. Last season, he said that this season could be his last, but with the numbers he's putting up, he might be tempted to stick around one more year if they keep going.

    On the season, he's averaging 17.9 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.4 BPG, 1 SPG and shooting 44 percent. 


    Numbers Over the Past Four Games


    Sunday, January 8 

    Portland 98-78 Cleveland: 3 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal 


    Friday, January 6

    Cleveland 98-87 Minnesota: 22 points 6 rebounds 2 blocks 1 steal


    Wednesday, January 4

    Toronto 92-77 Cleveland: 19 points 6 rebounds 1 block


    Tuesday, January 3

    Cleveland 115-101 Charlotte: 19 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals, 1 assist 


    Next Four Games for Cleveland

    1/10: Utah (away)
    1/12: Phoenix (away)
    1/13: LAL (away)
    1/16: Charlotte (away)

Marvin Williams

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    The second-overall draft pick in 2005 is continuing along as normal in Atlanta. He has good games and bad games that equal out to a career average. His stagnant nature remains a mystery to many people, but most UNC fans probably agree that it would've been nice if he stuck around Chapel Hill for his sophomore year before jetting off to the pros and nearly being forgotten.

    This season, he's averaging 10.9 PPG, 6 RPG and 1.3 APG on 41 percent field-goal shooting.


    Past Four Games


    Saturday, January 7

    Atlanta 109-94 Chicago: 3 points, 1 assist. Left game in first quarter with ankle sprain.


    Friday, January 6

    Atlanta 102-96 Charlotte: 15 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal


    Thursday, January 5

    Miami 116-109 Atlanta: 7 points, 7 rebounds


    Tuesday, January 3

    Chicago 76-74 Atlanta: 14 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal


    Next Four

    1/9: New Jersey
    1/11: Indiana
    1/12: Charlotte
    1/14: Minnesota

Ed Davis

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    Another ill-advised (depending on how you look at it) early departure from UNC, Ed Davis has been a consistent backup for the Raptors. He's too talented and has shown too much promise in his limited opportunities to remain there for very long, though. If not during this grueling shortened season, then perhaps next season, Davis will be getting serious minutes and putting up impressive numbers. 

    This season he's averaging 5.6 PPG and 4.5 RPG in 19 minutes. He is shooting 52 percent.


    Past Four Games


    Saturday, January 7

    Philadelphia 97-62 Toronto: 2 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals


    Friday, January 6

    New Jersey 97-85 Toronto: 11 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 1 steal


    Wednesday, January 4

    Toronto 92-77 Cleveland: 8 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist


    Monday, January 2

    Toronto 90-85 New York: 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist 


    Next Four:

    1/9: Minnesota
    1/10: Washington (away)
    1/11: Sacramento
    1/13: Indiana

Wayne Ellington

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    Wayne Ellington has only played in five games so far this season and is averaging 16 minutes and 3.6 points per game. However, that may be changing with an opportunity borne from misfortune, as Michael Beasley has been sidelined with a foot injury. This has moved Wesley Johnson into the small forward position and has turned Ellington into the de facto starting shooting guard for the Timberwolves. 

    Ellington jumped on this opportunity Sunday in his first start this season.

    Through the season, he's averaging 3.6 PPG and 2 RPG. 


    Last Four Games


    Sunday, January 8

    Minnesota 93-72 Washington: 13 points, 3 steals, 2 assists


    Friday, January 6

    Cleveland 98-87 Minnesota: 0 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal


    Wednesday, January 4

    Memphis 90-86 Minnesota: 2 points, 2 rebounds


    Monday, January 2

    Minnesota 106-96 San Antonio: 2 points


    Next Four

    1/9: Toronto (away)
    1/10: Chicago
    1/13: New Orleans (away)
    1/14: Atlanta (away)

Vince Carter, Brendan Haywood, Brandan Wright

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    Last year's championship brought a ring to a former UNC player In Brendan Haywood. Now, there are two more former Heels on the roster, in Vince Carter and Brandan Wright. None of the three have numbers worthy of much attention, and unfortunately, it looks like Carter's years of Hall of Fame-worthy production are well behind him.

    Unlike his UNC teammate, Antawn Jamison, Carter's production has slid sharply off, and while still an effective player at times, there doesn't seem to be any hope that he'll regain anything more than a few good stretches here and there. Not that much more can be expected from the nearly 35-year-old, an eight-time All-Star with bad knees. However, he did show Emeka Okafor that he can still leap if necessary, as he posterized the New Orleans Center with a moment of Vinsanity on Saturday.

    On the season, Carter is averaging 8.9 PPG, 2.6 RPG and 2 APG, shooting 36 percent from the field. All numbers are career lows, as are his 21 minutes per game.

    Will this be Carter's last season? It's been an absolute pleasure watching his career, and he will go down as one of the game's all time most exciting players. Fifty years from now, he will still be remembered as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, dunkers of all time.

    Haywood's season is also seeing a few career lows, as he averages 4.9 PPG, 6.4 RPG and only 0.8 BPG. The big man has seen his minutes dwindle, and his career looks to be nearing an end as well as his production slides. After only nine games, there's time for the 32-year-old to turn it around and get back into the swing of things on the defense end, but perhaps the most important thing to do for now is to mentor the young Brandan Wright in the way of blocking shots in the NBA.

    Speaking of Wright, the lanky 24-year-old doesn't have much opportunity to play in Dallas, and the only hope of that changing will be with significant fatigue up the depth chart among the older players on the roster as the season wears on. He has played in only three games this season and hasn't done much of note in his very limited minutes. He is averaging 3.7 PPG and 1 RPG. His field goal percentage of 87 percent is impressive, but he's only taken six shots.


    Past Four Games


    Saturday, January 7

    Dallas 96-81 New Orleans

    Carter: 13 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal

    Haywood: 2 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal

    Wright: 5 points, 1 rebound


    Thursday, January 5

    San Antonio 93-71 Dallas

    Carter: 6 points, 2 rebounds

    Haywood: 6 points, 6 rebounds

    Wright: 6 points, 1 rebound, 1 block


    Wednesday, January 4

    Dallas 98-89 Phoenix

    Carter: 7 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists

    Haywood: 5 points, 12 rebounds 1 block, 1 steal

    Wright: Did not play


    Monday, January 2

    Dallas 100-87 Oklahoma City 

    Carter: 14 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block

    Haywood: 6 points, 8  rebounds, 2 blocks

    Wright: Did not play


    Next Four

    1/10: Detroit (away)
    1/11: Boston (away)
    1/13: Milwaukee
    1/14: Sacramento