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News » Court Awareness: Weekend review 2009-01-12


Court Awareness: Weekend review 2009-01-12


Court Awareness: Weekend review 2009-01-12

Dancing With the Stars

Sunday night was the second part of an NBA weekend highlighted by two games featuring the three best teams (no offense Orlando) in the NBA, and the three best wings in the league. It began with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers trouncing the Celtics Friday, and it ended with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers surviving Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat, Sunday night.

Kobe didn't shine as brilliantly as LeBron did in their respective victories, and you could argue that he was outplayed by Wade in their 108-105 victory.

However, the Lakers had star-caliber performances from nearly everyone else in their starting lineup. Andrew Bynum and Vladimir Radmanovic each had season highs in scoring with 24 and 18 points respectively. Pau Gasol hauled down 18 rebounds. Derek Fisher had 13 points and 11 assists.

Bleacher Report


Tuesday's action

  • Kobe, Lakers rally past Rockets
  • LeBron's triple-double carries Cavs
  • Bobcats stun Pistons with late surge
  • Heat snap Wolves' win streak at 5
  • Nuggets overcome Dirk's 44 in Denver
  • Shaq, Suns thump slumping Hawks
  • Magic break NBA mark for 3-pointers

FOXSports.com analysis

  • Rosen: Answering your NBA questions
  • Rosen: LeBron bests Celts' Big 3
  • Hill: The importance of home court
  • Galinsky: NBA Power Rankings

Video

  • Chatting with Clyde Drexler
  • On the Edge: Charles Barkley

Photos

  • LeBron, Cavs crush Celtics
  • 2008 year in the NBA

Each played well, but the fates of their teams are based on the outside shooting of their teammates. Since Duncan is the premier offensive post player in the league, teams have to double him, leading to open outside shots for teammates. Similarly, because of how Orlando spaces the floor with shooters, defenders helping in the lane on Howard's dive cuts and slipped screens usually are forced to leave their shooter wide open.

Orlando shot an absurd 14-of-22 for the game from downtown, 64 percent. San Antonio shot 3-for-13, for 23 percent.

When Orlando shoots well, they're very tough to beat.

Phoenix' All-Stars Shine Bright

The Clippers put up a good fight in their 109-103 loss to the Suns (you'll notice the team is playing harder with Tim Thomas and Cuttino Mobley gone, and Baron Davis, Ricky Davis, and Chris Kaman out with injuries), but their healthy players don't have the talent or the experience to beat good teams right now.

Conversely, the Suns had a throwback game. Shaquille O'Neal continued his resurgence with 15 points and 10 boards, while Grant Hill used his smarts to put up 23 points with five assists. Steve Nash had 14 points and 12 assists, Amare Stoudemire scored 26, and Jason Richardson rounded out the offensive barrage with 21 points.

For all the criticism Shaq has taken for his decline and his role in the "downfall" of the Suns, he's played excellent basketball to start the season. With 17 points, nine rebounds, and an underwhelming crop of centers to choose from, the Big Diesel may be selected to next month's All-Star Game, if nothing else as a headline generator as he'd in all likelihood be reunited with Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant for the game.

Notes

  • Nothing like facing detail-deficient Toronto to cure Boston's mid-season slump. Instead of getting up to face the slumping champions in your building, Toronto shot 38 percent, fell behind by 20 at the end of the third quarter and was essentially non-competitive against the C's in a 94-88 loss. Paul Pierce was bad, Kevin Garnett was worse, but Ray Allen shot 8-of-10 from downtown and scored 36 to pace the Celtics.

  • The 76ers are slowly starting to get their act together, after their 109-94 victory over Atlanta pushed their record to 17-20. If last year was any indicator, the Sixers are a second-half team. Most impressively, they shot 9-of-15 from 3-point territory, with outside shooting being their biggest weakness this year.

  • No matter how good the opponent is, no matter if it is at home or on the road, the Pacers are cursed to suffer close loss after close loss for the rest of the season. Yesterday the Warriors hexed them 120-117 as Jamal Crawford scored 15 in the fourth, including the game-winning three with ten seconds to go. The Warriors played much more inspired, unselfish basketball with Stephen Jackson out of the lineup. If that's the answer to getting the Warriors to actually play with passion every night, then Jackson should be benched. He's been a cancer the entire season.

  • How can anyone have confidence in the Mavericks making the playoffs when they lose 102-95 to a team like the Kings? Josh Howard was out of the lineup, but the Mavs are still more talented than the Kings. At the end of the year when Dallas is in a dogfight to make the playoffs, the loss will look terrible.

    For more from this Bleacher Report writer, click here.


  • Author: Fox Sports
    Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
    Added: January 12, 2009

     

     
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