5 Takeaways from Monday Night's Tilted NBA Action
This was disappointing because two of the uneven games promised to be exciting. I was geeked at the prospect of watching the Atlanta Hawks scratch and claw against the Chicago Bulls. The game was seemingly over in an eye blink.
The best game on the docket should have been a battle between the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angles Clippers. Instead, we merely got another exhibition of bizarre Clipper dominance. Get it together NBA, liven up the League Pass!
Free LeBron James
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Granted, LeBron James chose to play in Miami, flanked by stars. You can't exactly feel sorry for him when the supporting cast underperforms.
At the same time, it's a bit frustrating to behold LeBron's mastery of the game while the Heat lose another one due to poor defense and rebounding. The Utah Jazz jumped out to a huge lead against Miami and held on despite a late Heat comeback, taking it 104-97 at home.
Even though LeBron James had 32 points on 19 shots, to go along with six assists, Miami's rebounding disadvantage (40-23) ultimately doomed their effort. This is becoming a theme with the Heat. First it was the three-point defense, now it's the boards.
Kevin Durant Is the Best Scorer I've Ever Seen
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Every now and again on the TNT set, the hosts will intone that "Carmelo Anthony is the best scorer." To each his own, I suppose, because Kevin Durant's the best I've ever seen at putting the ball through the hoop.
Michael Jordan's the best player I've ever watched, and LeBron James is my choice for "best right now." But Kevin Durant has turned into the best at the aspect basketball fans fixate on the most.
Once dismissed as a larger Reggie Miller (which by the way, wouldn't be a bad thing), Durant is showing that he's lethal on the move. He scored 41 points in a win against the Phoenix Suns on Monday night, including this incredible crusher over Marcin Gortat.
Marcin, you are no longer "The Polish Hammer." You're the Polish Nail.
Memphis Advertises Rudy Gay's Trade Value
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Sadly, Rudy Gay had to miss Monday night's faceoff against the Los Angeles Clippers to attend his grandmother's funeral. In his absence, his team did all they indirectly could to advertise Rudy's trade value before watchful eyes.
The Grizzlies were a mess offensively against the Clips, scoring 73 points on 30 percent shooting in the team's 99-73 loss at the FedExForum. While I'm not sure that Gay helps them much offensively, Memphis might not be used to playing without him. Even though Rudy is inefficient, his team is used to his inefficient ways.
There is a rhythm to running an offense with a volume shooter like Rudy Gay. When he's out, that doesn't necessarily mean that others feel comfortable filling the void. It's something to think about if the Grizzlies do indeed trade Rudy Gay, as has been rumored.
The Wizards Have Talent
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In Washington's 120-91 blowout of the Orlando Magic, we were reminded that this Wizards team has a talented roster. Put another way, can you imagine what magic Tom Thibodeau could conjure with a healthy Nene, Emeka Okafor, Kevin Seraphin and John Wall?
The pieces are there for, at the very least, a competent offense. It's just that Washington's coaching and training staff never quite play up to the potential of the talent.
The Wizards have been a good defensive unit this year, but a hideous offensive one. With the right coaching, and a little health, they could make the playoffs next year and beyond.
Jimmer Fredette Is in Need of Some Hype
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Jimmer Fredette is having a good second season, right after everybody forgot about him. There was a massive drum roll to greet his entry in the league and people largely dismissed his game after a disappointing rookie season.
On Monday night, Jimmer again reminded folks of his BYU days with 16 points on eight shots against Cleveland. His fourth-quarter effort was crucial for the 124-118 home victory.
Thomas Robinson also played well for the Kings off the bench. The youth movement in Sacramento might just be getting underway, after years of disappointing draft picks. Either Seattle or Sacramento has a good set of building blocks here.