Smack / Mar 16, 2009 / 3:17 am

Previewing the NCAA Tournament, and Dwight Howard goes 20/20

Blake Griffin (Oklahoma)

Eleven games on the NBA schedule yesterday, but the League still had to take a backseat to March Madness. Even the Kobe/LeBron/Wade “Can you top this?” battle took a day off; all three played, but no one turned in an instant classic (more on that later) … Just like every year, we’re going to be all over the Big Dance, and yesterday we rolled out a ton of preview content surrounding the Selection Show: Dime’s Austin Burton made his early pick that Louisville will win the ‘chip, but Aron Phillips thinks Rick Pitino‘s squad has too tough a road ahead. We’ve also got the Top 5 players who can carry their squads to the Final Four, some of the best first-round matchups (featuring James Harden and Tubby Smith), potential upsets to watch (UCLA and Duke are vulnerable), the Top 15 deadliest shooters, the Top 5 defensive game-changers, the Top 5 closers, and the 12 players who will bust your bracket (and ultimately cost or win you money). And, of course, the biggest Tournament snubs, including one Big East squad and one notable mid-major … At the beginning of the Selection Show, did you see those two guys in the committee room completely botch their “dap” exchange? … Kobe (28 pts, 8 rebs vs. Dallas), LeBron (19 pts, 8 rebs, 10 asts, 4 stls, 3 blks vs. New York) and Wade (18 pts vs. Philly) gave their MVP war a little break for the day, with Dwight Howard taking over the monster stat line crown. No one’s ever accused Carlos Boozer of being an elite defender, but he looked especially helpless trying to hang with Dwight. While Boozer put in work of his own (23 pts, 13 rebs), on the other end he was often standing there watching The Centaur (28 pts, 20 rebs) dunk on him in Orlando’s blowout win. One time Dwight threw down a backwards ‘oop, then on the next possession beat Boozer down the floor and got a reverse dunk as Booz could only laugh … Other big stat lines from Sunday: Joe Johnson scored 35 in a win over Portland; Vince Carter put up 41 points in a loss to the Clippers; Antawn Jamison scored 30 in a win over Sacramento; Kendrick Perkins went for 26 points and 12 boards in a loss to Milwaukee; and Andrea Bargnani dropped 27 in a win over the Pacers, while Danny Granger returned to the Indiana lineup to score 10 off the bench (but got damn near hurdled by Shawn Marion on a Matrix dunk that was circa 2005) … Who else but Nellie‘s Warriors could score 130 points and still manage to get blown out? Spending the entire game back-pedaling trying to keep up with the Suns’ transition game, GS gave up 154 points, the NBA’s highest total of the season. The Suns hit 120 in the third quarter, as Jason Richardson finished with 31 points, Shaq had 26, and Steve Nash oddly only had nine assists … We’ll give Kelenna Azubuike the benefit of the doubt: He had to have not been paying attention to exactly who was about to catch the alley-oop he jumped up and tried to block. And at least he was trying to play defense. Unfortunately, though, that ‘oop target was Shaq, and poor Azubuike got crammed on and Lipton’d. The Suns bench lost their minds after the dunk — even normally comatose Stromile Swift got hyped — but Grant Hill just sat there with an amused “These crazy kids” look on his face … Did you happen to catch “Celebrity Apprentice” last night? The challenge was for each team to run a bridal shop for a day, and while the men’s team had an obvious PR advantage — stick Dennis Rodman in a wedding dress (again) and draw customers — Rodman was a no-show on the day in question. His excuse? He had an allergic reaction to somebody’s cat and his eyes were too swollen to work; except he couldn’t really explain why he wouldn’t even answer the door when Tom Green came looking for him. Anyone who knows anything about The Worm knows what was really going on (hangover), yet he somehow avoided getting fired and Green got the axe. Rodman generally looks like a total mess these days, by the way … We’re out like Steph Curry

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  • Big Aaron

    phurstage yo.

  • Sambuu

    1st? (comment too short)

  • BRUCE

    You are not first, you are second.

  • GoEasy

    Dang man I knew it was coming but I was just praying davidson would be some surprise selection. Just love watching curry drop severe buckets. Oh well I guess there’s always the NBA…

  • http://iannyb9@hotmail.com Iannyb

    It’s official Kobe got ice water running through his veins.He should be the new Mr Big Shot.When he plays like that it’s a wrap.Good game Dallas but we got Kobe.Go lakers and good look Ariza we need more production from you.

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

    the ncaa is the real evil empire, nuff said!

    no davidson? eff that!

    we’re out like respect for the selection committee

  • http://uoregon.edu sans

    No love for Steve Novak making his first bucket in the NBA? A game winner at that?

    Is Ty Lawson going to be running the Tar Heels in the Tourney? How’s the injury? I need info before filling out brackets…

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

    Yeah Dwight was giving Boozer DA BIZNESS!

    With that said, Boozer’s jumper was ON!

    Too bad they sucked super hard yesterday. I guess they aint have no legs after that heavy dose of Wade.

  • Marci

    Dwight had 21 rebs. At the end of the game, he grabbed an offensive rebound.

  • bsteezy3

    Awww DIME… Maybe because it because the game wasn’t really competitive anymore, but still… Grant Hill got a nasty driving one-hand dunk in traffic last night (Azubuike is the one who contested, but someone else was under there too). Seriously, it looked like 1995 or something.

  • LakeShow84

    Im really not impressed with Tyler Hansborough..

    Douglas looks good but other than him no one really jump out at me during the tournaments this weekend..

    And anyone see that 25-30 3 the Mamba hit to help seal the deal?? that wouldve been a horrible shot if it didnt go in but damn it was all net.. sick..

    And bigups to Steve Novak.. if u watch he actually WANTED the ball on that 3.. u dont see that out of a lot of bench players..

  • doc

    U know u the shit when a 28 point night or a 18-10-9 statline in W’s is a “night off”.I hope yall all appreciating this greatness like me.We got to see Mike followed by these cats we lucky.U coulda been born in the George Mikan Vern Mickleson era.

  • ToAn

    @LakeShow
    yeah i saw that shot too and was thinking wtf?, the next shot over kidd was also great, nothing you could do about that…but still the 2nd unit played like crap at the beginning of the 4th quarter, if the starters didn’t come in later in the quarter they would have probably lost. bynum should be back in 3 to 4 weeks according to reports..sounds definitely better than last year

  • LakeShow84

    Yeah Bynum said this knee is responding a lot better than last year’s knee was.. dunno in the interview yesterday either he was shy or he knew he was woofin when he said things are going well.. he didnt SEEM to optimistic but he couldve been trippin off something else..

    That mofo better make it back.. i say sit him until the last 3-5 games and let him play to get his wheels back in shape..

  • bsteezy3

    @ LakeShow84
    Yeah, Andrew Bynum’s interview on his injury was definitely boring/pessimistic. Bynum doesn’t have enough charisma to get interviewed when he’s not playing. They would’ve been better off interviewing an assistant coach or the team trainer.

  • Kobeef

    Did anyone notice Darko dropped a double double in his visit to Detroit?

  • http://GEE2.COM POPPI GEE

    Georgetown made the NIT woooo hooooo! Better to be doing some type of dance than doing no dancing at all.

  • http://myspace/jkwryter Gunner J. Matthews

    When was the last time Dennis Rodman wasn’t a mess

  • Me

    Dime, you need to post Devin Harris getting injured. His fall looked soooo nasty:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxeNLsy4hqc

  • K Dizzle

    Michigan? Minny? Zona?
    Damn, St Mary’s got screwed. Selection committee tryin to do hoops like they did football and just mess EVERYTHING up

    Anyways, I got the definitive answer for MVP, with apologies to DWade but Kobe and Bron both wrote that story 2 seasons ago.
    MVP gonna go to the dude with the best recoed. Both the Lakers and cavs are strong. You got the West/East MVPs, one all star sidekick and good support with solid benches. Records are even up so the team with the best record cops that hardware…even if the west tougher than the east(u know I was gonna get my pro-west coast in)

    Peace

  • Big Island

    I thought that Davidson would make the tourney because everyone loves Curry, but I can’t believe Patty Mills is out of it. I agree with sans about Lawson. Without him UNC could get killed. I keep wanting to pick Syracuse…. Dammit. And my poor alma mater CSUN get Memphis. great.

  • Dave

    Carlos Boozer is the most gutless player in the league. I’ve never seen a player do less on defense than Boozer…and somehow people still put him in a category of elite players. He’s pathetic, screw you Cleveland for letting him go like you did@!