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Smack / Mar 23, 2009 / 6:32 am

Sweet Sixteen field is set, and the Rockets grab the West’s 2-seed

Pitt's Levance Fields

Pitt's Levance Fields

While No. 1 seeds UConn and North Carolina had little trouble getting through the first two rounds of the tourney and into the Sweet Sixteen, Louisville and Pitt haven’t looked nearly as strong. Yesterday, Pitt was tied with Oklahoma State around the 2:30 mark of the second half, struggling again to put away a lesser-talented team before Levance Fields took over. Getting the edge in his head-to-head with Byron Eaton (15 pts, 10 asts, 5 stls) in the 2009 Khalid El-Amin Chubby Point Guard Showdown, Fields (13 pts, 9 asts) owned the last couple minutes, getting the go-ahead bucket on a driving layup and sticking a three to extend the lead. DaJuan Blair then iced it with a putback of a Fields miss … Louisville actually fell behind late in the second half to Siena, but Terrence Williams (24 pts, 15 rebs) carried them down the stretch, making a couple touchdown-pass assists over Siena’s press, coming up with key rebounds and knocking down some timely threes. Wins are wins and that’s really all that matters at this point, but anyone who picked UL or Pitt to go all the way can’t be too comfortable right now … Michigan State/USC also went down to the wire, when MSU’s Travis Walton (a.k.a. “Big Shot Travis” according to Gus Johnson) turned into Sunday’s version of Roburt Sallie. Walton averages like five points a game, but all of a sudden had his offensive breakout at the most opportune time, hitting huge jumpers in crunch time and finishing with a career-high 18 points in the Spartans’ win … After the “Dominic James is gonna PLAY!” story threatened to break into “Daniel LaRussa is gonna FIGHT!” territory in terms of overhype, James ended up not having much impact at all on Marquette’s loss to Missouri (17 mins, 0 pts). Even though he was on the bench at the end of the game, James still got plenty of camera time being the picture of nervousness, chewing his towel like Jerry Tarkanian … Tied up with five seconds left, Missouri’s Kim English hit the game-winning free throws. On Marquette’s ensuring inbounds, Lazar Hayward stepped inbounds while he still had the ball, turning it over. “Had he been a size-11 instead of a size-13, it would have been OK,” one of the announcers said … In Sunday’s other Big Dance games, Cole Aldrich posted 13 points, 20 boards and 10 blocks in Kansas’ win over Dayton, Xavier beat Wisconsin, Arizona beat Cleveland State, and Syracuse knocked off Arizona State … After getting shut down back-to-back by Temple and Syracuse (10 pts, 2-10 FG), should James Harden be thinking twice about going pro? Everyone has bad games, but he picked the worst time to play his two worst games of the season …
Ron Artest

Beating the Spurs on the road, the Rockets took over 2nd place in the West by a half-game. After Tony Parker‘s layup put the Spurs up one with 20 seconds left, a rare defensive breakdown cost San Antonio in the end. Kurt Thomas and TP (22 pts, 12 asts) trapped Kyle Lowry by the sideline, but when Lowry got the ball to Yao Ming at the top of the key, it left Tim Duncan in a tough spot — he could either run out at Yao and contest the jumper (Thomas would have got there too late), or stay with Luis Scola under the basket. Duncan went with Yao, and Yao fired a pass underneath to Scola (19 pts, 17 rebs, 3 stls) for the game-winning layup … D-Wade dropped 39 points on the Pistons and helped win the game with his defense: Wade got a steal and game-tying breakaway dunk late in the fourth, blocked an Arron Afflalo three with 21 seconds left (and helped Afflalo up afterwards), then after Udonis Haslem hit the go-ahead jumper with six seconds left, Wade blocked Rodney Stuckey‘s layup to essentially end it … Other big stat lines from Sunday: Chris Paul had 27 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in a win over Golden State; Andre Iguodala put up 27 points in a win at Sacramento; and Kevin Durant scored 30 in a win at Minnesota … LeBron had his standard monster dunk in the Cavs’ win at New Jersey — when he was driving left and threw down on Brook Lopez with his right hand — but LBJ (30 pts, 11 rebs, 8 asts) ended up on the wrong side of a highlight, too. And it wasn’t via Vince Carter. One time in the first half, Keyon Dooling got to the rim, and when LBJ came over to challenge, double-clutched and crammed on him with two hands … We’re out like Siena …

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  • Rafa23

    nice win for the rockets, great execution on that last play. and tony parker choked again, missing the easy winner.
    but I still think the refs are to blame for that.

  • http://uoregon.edu sans

    I love how the Cavs are up 4.5 games in the East right now…I’m out like the 2009 NBA Draft (seriously, how bad can this draft be? 2000 level bad?)…

  • knoc

    doolings career highlight!!!
    damn the spurs are usually money with buzzer beaters.

  • that’s whats up

    Spurs have 13 games to figure this shit out.

    Manu, please be healthy for the playoffs as we may not have home court

  • p33man

    “lesser-talented?”

    People in the media need to stop assuming that just because OSU was a lower seed that they don’t have any talent.
    FYI we have 3 former High School All Americans and we would be the “more talented” team had our #1 overall recruiting class of 2005 stayed intact.

  • http://www.alltexasforums.com rangerjohn

    hey congrats to the landryless rockets it was a good win either way. i didnt get to see it as the fucking league pass had it blacked out in my area and dish network didnt have it on anything local.

  • FedEx

    Harden played like a joke in the tournament, if I were a GM in the League I’d stay clear of him.

    And Wade’s game winning block on Stuckey would’ve been whistled as a foul if Wade weren’t such a big star.

  • QQ

    Good Rockets win. Once again, it’s about the FACTS: No TMac = Great team, and a contender. With TMac = Ummm… Never mind.

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    How about when Mark Jackson compared D-Wade and Stuckey as being similar players because of their body type and JVG said, “I have a body type like Iverson but that doesn’t make me a similar player to him. There’s no way you can put Stuckey in the same league as Wade.”

    Classic JVG.

    By the way Detroit kind of got screwed by a couple of non calls late in that game. Wade got the calls but Stuckey didn’t.

  • http://dimemag.com solomon (el latino machismo)

    2009 Khalid El-Amin Chubby Point Guard Showdown — that’s stone-cold with an LOL in it…

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    @fedex

    I was thinking the same thing about Harden. He was a complete disappointment. He needs to stay in school although this years draft will be so weak he’d still probably be a lottery pick.

  • jzsmoove

    The Rockets as 2nd seed are still not taken serously. Other teams know when the playoffs roll around, Houston tends to show promblems. and it aint gonna be new this year.

  • POPPI GEE

    On behalf of the streets I just can’t be ignored,
    Excuse me Mr. Moderator I hope ya pressin record!

    Houston Up!

    Checked and saw my squad up by two at some point around the half or 3rd quarter I think. Was super tired, went to bed and just prayed that the Rockets could pull it out. Woke up to find out they won!

    Nice way to wake up from a nap.

    I am really hoping that the Suns can pull that 8th spot and that Dallas is the team out.

    I don’t want to see Dirk or his squad in the playoffs and a Kobe -Shaq match up always makes the media go nuts! GO SUNS!

  • Frank

    Very intelligent play by Yao, great read on the situation.

    When you look at the replay you see that Duncan didn’t really chose to move towards Yao, he just followed the ball.
    He’s literally nothing to prevent the pass, not even putting his hands up.

    If Timmy D had thought (in a split second) he would have stayed with Scola, and not given up the layup.

  • Celts Fan

    Harden and cole should come out this year. Cole cuz he’s played his way into the lottery, possibly top 5 with this TERRIBLE draft class and Harden cuz he could play his way right out of it next year.

    Who was fatter. El-Amin or Lavance Fields?

    Serious question; who’s better over their ENTIRE CAREER (factoring in everything that’s happened, not just talent) – Kobe or Duncan? I’d say Duncan, no question, but this started a huge argument with me and my friends. What do you guys think?

  • E$

    No Landry, No Tmac, No problem

  • LakeShow84

    I think San Antonio still bout to take the Soutwest, sorry GEE.. i cant remember when San Antonio lost the Southwest 2 years in a row.. oh yeah cuz it hasnt happened the century lol

    Interesting question CeltsFan.. I would say Duncan because you can say he is the best PF every to play.. he has 4 rings and every individual accolade you could ever want..

    But if Michael Jordan werent a SG then Kobe probably could be argued as the greatest SG ever to play and he is still competing at an elite level for another chip..

    If Kobe wins 2-3 more rings and Duncan doesnt win any then he has a better career but right now i would give it to Timmay because he has had more success so far..

  • Kobeef

    T-Mac is done. He said two years ago that he would retire after his contract expires and now we see why: his body is broken.

    Earl Clark is going to be fun to watch in the NBA. He is still a bit rough around the edges but for a 6’9 freak athlete type he has a nice handle and a decent shot. I’d say Rudy Gay is his ceiling.

  • Big Island

    Ouch if Rudy Gay is your ceiling. Dude is overrated. And T-Mac just looks worse every day. EVERY day.

  • Taj

    Although Louiville, Memphis and Pitt have all been in nail biters so far I like they way they’ve closed out their respective games. As the games get tougher, you need wins like that under your belt. Now they just gotta put complete games together.

  • doc

    Them college teams not blowing people out dont mean a damn thing.As long as u win u good.I didnt really see Pitt blow nobody out all year.They all losing to Nova anyway so it dont matter.Harden gonna be okay.He had 2 stinkers but he also had 30 good games and got them where they were at in the first place.i seen Christian Laetnner look like Larry Bird mixed with Dirk in tourneys and was average in the league at BEST.He’ll be okay.

  • Kudabeen

    Kansas’ Bigs all looked legit last year. Cole’s numbers are crazy…What happened to Krutz (sp). He seemed like a David Lee type or Dale Davis type bruiser…I’d want him on my squad banging down low…

    If Harden has a good showing in the pre-Draft camps he’ll still probably get a lottery look.

    I look forward to seeing how good Blake Griffin really is against the Orange and Tar Heels (if they make it)…

    I think Dwight will get DPOY, but Wade is putting up ridiculous numbers for a guard. Dwight has the rebounding and blocks and Paul has the steals…those are the key stats…You just don’t hear enough about Wade’s on ball defense…

    Wade might not get MVP or DPOY, but He sure gets the SHAFT award…This year he has been the baddest MuthaF#*%@ for real.

    Earl Clark is better than Julius Wright right now, so he should get a lottery look…I was never impressed by Wright though…

    I just saw that Big Baby jam…caught me off guard…He got a tiny boast, but if he finds his way to level of aggression more often the talk of Boston’s front line will sure die out…

    Nova vs Duke and Syracuse vs Oklahoma best two up coming games…

  • star_bury

    No comment on Jonny Flynn’s HUGE post-whistle windmill in Syracuse’s 2nd round game? Kid can fly.

  • Kudabeen

    star_bury:

    didn’t see it is there video??

  • star_bury

    I’ve been looking…. I’ll let you know….

  • star_bury

    http://www.metro.us/us/article/2009/03/23/05/1422-82/index.xml

    Here’s a picture, but no video luck just yet.

  • star_bury

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iBbIOO-Whg

    I hope this works! I’m firewalled at work….

  • pigpen

    Austin, do you think Jon “Matrix” Brockman has a future in the NBA? I don’t see him in any mock drafts.

  • Ian

    the rockets are just proving how much tmac sucks better than manu austin??? yeah right.

    celts fan
    i think we had a poll here with that and also shaq in the mix and duncan won that thing easy. right now its duncan easyyyyy the man on 4 title runs and has never lost in the finals. kobe wasnt the best player on the three peat it doesnt take anything away of course but u kinda cant compare that.
    duncan is a top ten player kobe is a top 20 but if he can win a couple of chips on his own hes also top ten second best sg all time.

  • isotope

    ian sipping on that syrrup again. Duncan better than Kobe? Puhleaze!

  • doc

    @Isotope-so if they both were 20 u would pick Kobe before Duncan?Sorry dog but Timmy is the one.

  • chris

    gotta love march madness – just sticking with the highest seed in every game this year and you have 14 of the sweet 16 at this point. each year the seedings get a little more accurate, but the talent and size outside of those top 15 schools is a lot deeper than it used to be. more exciting than the nba? it can be, but it really is a different game…the floor almost needs to be bigger (and the rim a little higher) for the nba players.

  • Celts Fan

    @ian and Doc – exactly what I said and got told the “best player on a title team” argument isn’t valid, which was one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. Kobe’s damn good, but you gotta win at least 1 title as the best player on your team to get into this argument.

    Guards sell tickets, bigs sell championship T’s. But I’m thinking we can probably revisit this in June…

  • http://www.myspace.com/beenobrown BROGDEN

    HOUSTON in da BUILDING!

    SPURS – dropping games! UHHH OHHH, Spagetti O!

    They lost here, there and there…in one week.

    No cause for alarm, just saying…

    Duncan might have the better career but he aint better than Kobe.

    Master the basics. Practice the fundamentals. Be big. YOU can be Timmy. Stop acting like this boring, no frills, no glitter, strictly business, worried-face player is the BEST THING EVER. Chill! Kobe’s better than Timmy by far. Get off this ‘timmy.is.better.than.sliced.bread’ tip! Timmy might have a better career when it’s all said and done, but so what??? He aint better than Kobe. He might be the best power forward ever to play the game of basketball. But guess what? He aint better than Kobe. Timmy might have won several championships, heck, he might have won one or two all by HIMSELF…but guess what? He aint better than Kobe. So stop saying he’s better than Kobe. That’s a distortion you Spurs fans got your hands all over.

    Get it?

    Stop it already! DAMN!

    The real reason for San Antonio success is hidden somewhere between Popovich’s MINDSET AT THE TIME and Popovich’s FORWARD AT THE TIME.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    @pigpen — I just had this argument about Brockman the other day. My dad is a huge UW fan and thinks Brockman has to get drafted just on his numbers alone. While I think Brockman deserves a look, once it gets time for pre-draft camps and what-not, scouts will focus on his measurables (height, vertical, etc.) instead of things like heart, attitude, being a good teammate, effort, etc. Long story short, I don’t think he’ll get drafted, even though he should be. But I hope I’m wrong.

  • Ian

    iso
    read docs post

    brogden
    please tell me u r being sarcastic but the best one is sliced bread lol because that is exactly what u r doing with kobe. btw loved how u say tim carries teams , wins rings and does everything and say kobe is better because u just say so lol goh man. did u read the names of the people picking duncan celts fan celts duh , lakeshow lakers again duh. love the distortion not laker fans but crazy kobe fans like you have. in short duncan wins and has a better career but so what kobe is better??? does that shit even make sense.

  • Ian

    celts fan your friends are a bit crazy isnt the point winning rings??

  • isotope

    I think the point can be made that Duncan had a better team/system/coach. That team has stayed together for the most part and just keep adding spare parts. For instance, put Timmy in Shaq’s spot with the Lakers and i guarantee you they dont win those championships. There are many factors that lead to winning a championship. I mean, Paul Pierce has a championship series MVP. Does that make him better than Kobe? If you have to even think about that one then the convo is a waste of time

  • dagwaller

    Brogden, usually, you have some of the best posts on this site – always read your stuff. You are soooo far off on Kobe/Tim that it’s not even funny, though.

    Speaking of which, rangerjohn, usually I DISagree with you, but classy of you to acknowledge the Rockets. Yesterday I saw that Bron is still saying that they’re a one and done team. Hm…2nd seed in the West…just beat the “second best team in the West”…don’t have playoff cancer T-Mac this year…probably a legit team. Then again, I feel like Bron just roots for the Larry Celtics, the Showtime Lakers, or the Jordan Bulls haha.

  • the cynic

    beautiful play by Ron Artest at the end of the spurs/rockets game, he gave Bowen an illegal screen disguised as a box out to prevent rotation to the wide open Scola for the game winner. Of course no one mentions in the game broadcast, highlights, or smack. Its the type of play McGrady doesn’t make and it was the difference between a victory and a loss

    @ Isotope

    you’re a retard, put Duncan in for Shaq and the Lakers win 6 straight championships, not 3

  • K Dizzle

    If I was the gm of one of the top teams in the l(Lakers, Spurs, Cavs, Hornets, Celts etc) I hope harden comes out and some jackass gms let dude slide cuz of 2 bad games. Get myself a Finley, Parker, Howard or Granger type pick where gms make picks based on what have you done lately…not the player’s body of work

  • Ian

    iso i agree with cynic not on the retard part but on the 6 chips thing. duncan doesnt have that i need to be the man shit shaq and has stayed on top of the game since day one kobe and duncan would win 1999-2011. btw what does the pierce comment prove?

    can i say richmond is a better player than jordan is just that jordan had a better team/system/coach?? yeah thought so and u talk about kobe like he didnt have a supertar center and a hof coach or that he played for the lakers not the clippers dude whats wrong with your comments.

  • K Dizzle

    @ Austin

    Raptors should be illegally contactin Brockman right now offerin him a contract

  • LakeShow84

    Lol Ian..

    you guys try to trick me into saying Duncan is BETTER?? no siree.. just has had a more successful career.. MAINLY because he has 4 rings.. He has had the same coach, same system and his HOF partner never threw him under the bus when he left.. Kobe wins 1-2 more rings and Kobe moves ahead..

    @ Cynic – Isotope is right.. a lot goes into winning a championship.. not just “LINE UP PLAYER A WITH PLAYER B AND WIN A CHIP”.. well except for Boston but they had a C too.. and Moses and Erving.. and.. well you know lol.. but Kobe is one of the best SG EVER and Portland had us beat in 2001 but by luck of the draw we came back in the 4th.. If Horry dont hit that 3 most likely SAC wins the 2003 chip by skating on NJ.. its the way the dice fall..

    Shit Scottie Pippen has had a more successful career than Shaq.. does that make him better??

  • baron von faulk

    Hey Brogden…

    Timmy is better than Kobe! muhahahaaa

    You know what, I also think oranges are better than apples.

    Nate Robinson is better than Spud Webb.

  • baron von faulk

    Summer’s Eve is better than Massengill

  • baron von faulk

    Transformers is better than Voltron

  • Ian

    lakeshow the better player is the one the gives your team a chance at a title and duncan is 1 by far or am i wrong??? pippen better career than shaq ????? what are you talking about lol. dont say the flashier player is the best one because thats the only thing kobe has on duncan btw u said it yourself a while back till kobe wins a couple duncan is still the best. u say with 2 rings kobe jumps duncan why??? what about all the other stuff duncan has on kobe it disappears???

    would love to see u drafting both of them at age 20 i doubt u pick kobe and u have to pick the best player right? u take the best and the best is which player gets me rings.

    there are vert few cases were the best career isnt the best player but this isnt it and def not pippen and shaq.

  • Ian

    really baron i like voltron more

  • doc

    Timmys best is better than Kobe now,which is his best.@Iso-How can u say LA dont win those chips with Tim and he was the guy whipping that ass whenever they didnt win?U dudes get caught up in that pretty looking shit to easy.Dudes is actually typing shit like so what he won more and carried teams to titles.WTF!Tim on the downslope now so Kobe got him,but in his prime he was number 1 in the L.

  • doc

    And whoever said Pip had a better career than Shaq you’re fucking crazy.Shaq CARRIED teams to chips.Scottie RODE THE BEST EVERS BACK.

  • Ian

    doc tim is on the downslope and still he won more recently than kobe btw pip didnt ride anyones back but hes no shaq not even close. jordan is arguably the best ever and the best 2 guard ever but how many rings and mvps does he have without pip?? again not sayin hes shaq but comon hes not wellington either.

  • Ian

    btw doc i agree on everything u said but not quite sold on pip being a coat tail rider like horry. besides shaq and kobe should only have one title lol comon portland u guys suck plus no timmeh in the playoffs in 00 and the refs stole the series from the kings in 02 but thats just me being bitter hehehe

  • Celts Fan

    I’d take absolute apex Shaq over absolute best Timmy too, but with all the injuries\lack of conditioning\trashing everyone after he leaves, I’d take Timmy over Shaq for their entire career, but for just 1 year, at their absolute best, not many guys IN HIStORY touch Shaq. Kobes 3rd in all these arguments, but we’re talking 3 of the top 10-20 ever. No shame in that…

  • Celts Fan

    And pippen was an awesome #2, but he was clearly a #2 which is what I think dude meant