Smack / Nov 10, 2009 / 3:50 am

Stevie Franchise

Steve Nash

Is it possible the West is actually stronger than we all thought? No surprise that the Lakers, Nuggets, Spurs and Blazers have been solid, but not a lot of people expected Houston, Dallas and Phoenix to play so well coming out of the gate … The Suns are arguably the best team in the entire League right now, with Steve Nash putting himself in the mix for a third MVP and doing that thing where he makes fringe NBA players look like All-Stars. Last night Nash added to the resume, putting up 21 points and 20 assists in a come-from-behind win at Philly … Cutting a 12-point halftime deficit to zero by the end of the third quarter, the Suns took control for good in the final two and a half minutes when Nash set up Jason Richardson for a transition dunk (and one), then in the halfcourt offense, laced a 25-foot bullet pass to J-Rich for an acrobatic layup that put Phoenix up by five. Then Lou Williams decided to put on Zenyatta’s blinders and turn into a bricking machine, and Nash eventually closed it out at the line … Elton Brand was invisible for every important stretch of the game. Not because he wasn’t producing, but because he was rarely on the court, sitting bench in favor of Marreese Speights (20 pts, 8 rebs). Early on Brand showed he could get buckets on Amar’e and Channing Frye, but the pace of this game just wasn’t right for him … Does it count as “drawing the defense” when you lose control of the ball, defenders converge like vultures looking for a steal, and you manage to pass out of that pile to an open shooter? If you’re Thaddeus Young and the announcers are from Philly, apparently it does. And just in case you weren’t sure Thad needs to work on his handle, a couple possessions later he tried to go coast-to-coast with a bunch of spins and shakes before getting mercifully picked by Jared Dudley. We love Thad’s athleticism and his attitude, but dude should be required to watch Pistol: Birth of a Legend and act out the basketball scenes at least once a week … At the end of the first half, Philly had a defensive breakdown that resulted in a wide-open three for J-Rich (29 pts, 6 threes). Andre Iguodala, who was guarding J-Rich most of the night and had already eaten a bunch of triples by that point, got pissed off even before Richardson released the shot, throwing his hands up and looking at the bench to yell at somebody. So with it now being Philly’s last possession before halftime, Iguodala trudged to a corner and was a mere bystander while Lou Williams went one-on-one with Nash and took a terrible fadeaway that barely caught rim. Iguodala looked like he wanted to quit going into the locker room … It was probably only there by accident — seeing as guys usually get their haircuts/shave before going on a road trip and don’t touch it until returning home — but Amar’e should really consider keeping his full facial hair look. Between that and the goggles, he looks like Moses Malone back in the day … Without Tony Parker or Tim Duncan in the lineup, Gregg Popovich had that, “Do I HAVE to coach this game?” look on his face as Spurs/Raptors got underway. And apparently Pop was experimenting by fielding the first-ever NBA starting five that was all-around worse than the second unit: Can you tell us you’d definitely take starters George Hill, Keith Bogans, Mike Finley, Richard Jefferson and Theo Ratliff over Manu Ginobili, Roger Mason, Matt Bonner, DeJuan Blair and Antonio McDyess? …

Manu Ginobili

Manu Ginobili

Although neither team was playing any kind of defense, it was still one of those games that makes Spurs fans mad when critics say Ginobili wouldn’t be any good without Duncan and Parker. Manu dropped 36 points (14-16) FT, eight dimes and four blocks in the win, pretty much doing all the stuff Dwyane Wade does when he carries a subpar team. Manu owned the fourth quarter, turning into a point guard when he had to and a scorer when he had to … DeMar DeRozan is tough to figure out. He’s one of the few rookies in the League with a regular starting job, but he’s hardly doing anything out there. He’s like Royal Ivey when he started for Atlanta a few years ago but would always get taken out in the first quarter and was never heard from the rest of the night … After blowing a 20-point second half lead, the Jazz were only up by two on the Knicks with 30 seconds to go. Larry Hughes had a good look at a jumper to tie, but Ronnie Brewer stuffed it just as it left Larry’s hand. On the other end, Mike D’Antoni decided not to have his guys foul, forcing the Jazz to ice it with a contested shot rather than free throws. Brewer bricked a jumper, giving NY another chance with six seconds left. Toney Douglas (21 pts) got the inbounds, and when it looked like he was supposed to pass to Al Harrington or Hughes at the three-point line, Douglas took it himself and missed a tough shot over Deron Williams. Hughes and Harrington might still be standing in a dark MSG right now, waiting for the ball and not believing the rookie looked them off … Carlos Boozer put up 23 points and 14 boards, while Deron handed out 16 dimes despite struggling with his shot (5 pts, 2-10 FG) … Other notable stat lines from Monday: Chris Paul had 24 points and 10 assists in just 24 minutes in a win over the Clippers; and Kelenna Azubuike dropped 31 points, Stephen Jackson had 15 assists, and Anthony Randolph scored 23 in the Warriors’ blowout of the Wolves where they racked up 146 points … College basketball got going for real last night, like actual games that count being on TV and everything. In his first regular season game with Florida International, Isiah Thomas had to go to the Dean Dome and watch his squad get rolled by North Carolina. Deon Thompson led UNC with 20 points and 10 boards, while Ed Davis posted 13, 11 and four blocks; Ohio State’s Evan Turner had the rare 40-minute triple-double with 14 points, 17 boards and 10 dimes in a win over Alcorn State; and Cal-Berkeley PG Jerome Randle scored 18 in a win over Murray State … The #5 team in Dime’s preseason college Top 25 was unveiled yesterday, and we’ll roll out our final four throughout the rest of the week. Who’s your pick to win the NCAA ‘chip when it’s all said and done? … We’re out like Lou’s shot selection …

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  • Sambuu

    AK was on fire!

  • the cynic

    No mention of Matt Bonner’s first ever dunk, that Bargs was too gutless to challenge

  • mcw88

    Suns have always has talent (j-rich, amare, nash-ty n barbosa) so dunno why ppl wrote them off so quickly. Dallas also should have improved on last yrs 50+ wins so thats shouldnt shock either. Houston is a pleasant surprise but its still early so don’t want to get my hopes up

    quick question, if a superstar is remembered for playing for multiple teams, does it affect their legacy? Say, someone like shaq (orl, la, mia, pho n now cleveland) or ai (phi, den, mem) for instance.

  • K Dizzle

    Everytime haters pull out the “Yeah, but he don’t play defense…”, I look at games where a player puts up a 20pts/20ass and I think to myself, “Phuck defense”

  • http://yahoo.com john grizz

    Go nets we just need to get our team healthy so we can win some games, d harris is a beast so is cdr and t will but courtney lee sucks ass ps china men yi is looking good to bad he also is hurt broke lopez needs to stop turning over the dame ball along with super suck rafer alston wich I’m pretty sure leads the league in turnovers and airballs

  • ToAn

    dopey dimes from nash. c’mon tyronne where is your comment…

  • Kobeef

    Is Elton Brand a player who “puts up big numbers on bad teams”? Think about it: he looked good on the Bulls when they were crappy, and looked like a 20-10 machine for years on clippers teams (which is to say crappy teams).

    In Philly, Brand was supposed to take a playoff team to the next level but is averaging 10 and 6 and making $63 million over the next 4 years….something’s gotta give in Philly.

    I know it’s early, but I smell a coaching change or a trade or both in Toronto. Losing to a team that starts Mike Finley, Theo Ratliff and Keith Bogans is inexcusable. Giving up 130 pts to said team should get someone sent packing.

  • http://uoregon.edu sans

    All those white people in TDot might have made Bogans have a Kentucky flashback….

  • BRUCE

    Smack that rookie for not passing the freaking ball!

  • the_don_mega

    @ BRUCE – lol!

  • Big Sia

    Nashton Butcher went to work tonight

    raptors are pathetic

    j rich will always be an underrated scorer

  • ab_40

    the suns aren’t going nowhere even if they win 60 games this season they’ll be a first or secound round team who’ll get knocked out by a team with a real game plan.

    New York is tuurrrible.

    I don’t hope the toronto D takes itself serious because letting matt bonner get a wide open lane and take that and dunk it with players standing by is well… no good

  • Jay Jay

    This line is too funny “Hughes and Harrington might still be standing in a dark MSG right now, waiting for the ball” …I just have an image of them standing there now with their hands out waiting for a pass!!!

    Agreed with BRUCE “Smack that rookie” ..lol

  • rangerjohn

    “Can you tell us you’d definitely take starters George Hill, Keith Bogans, Mike Finley, Richard Jefferson and Theo Ratliff over Manu Ginobili, Roger Mason, Matt Bonner, DeJuan Blair and Antonio McDyess? …”

    yeah pop was playing, he figured the same thing all of us did, this game is gonna suck, the raps are gonna blow us out. now swap mason for hill and start hat line up would be better. george hill was doing his best TP impression. did you catch the behind the back, through the legs move he did for a lay up?

  • the_don_mega

    @rangerjohn – yeah.. so that play… sick… i think it was Bargnani that was guarding him that time…

  • QQ

    Isn’t it just like WEEKS AGO where Nash is off everyone’s list of top point guards in the L (including mine)?

    Daamn. Now he’s clearly the BEST right now. Props to the 35 year old with that floppy ‘do. That dude has SPUNK.

  • sh!tfaced

    Can you imagine a more explosive guard combo with Manu in the backcourt with Tony Parker (or Steve Nash) and playing under the offensive freedom of Mike D’Antoni? (With apologies to Greg Popovich and his limiting the free wheeling style of TP & Manu, of course).

    The only thing similar with Amar’e and Moses Malone is the goggles cause you have to actually want and love to rebound if you want to be compared to Moses.

  • Ian

    ginobliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

    damn finally i get to yell that. the fuck got into bonner last night.

    dime not the critics the haters but funny thing is that everytime manu and td are out parker destroys the other team when td and parker are out manu destroys the other team. good thing neither are good alone right? best part of the haters comments are that they want manu and tp to do it with scrubs while all the others stars dont get bashed when playing with someone else thats good.

    btw the new spurs are kinda way too much fun for my taste no defense at all.

  • Lee

    I think TD, TP and Ginobli are the most annoyingly good players in the league. I really want them to be bad but I really respect that they can get numbers and Ws

  • Lee

    Oh, and thank god for Nash, unathletic white boys have a hero again !!!

  • TO

    @ sans..not as many white people in TO as you think.
    WE GOT MURDERED last night.
    The fuck is right…when Bonner got that dunk I turned it off sad…just sad. Although everybody in TO still loves Bonner the “red rocket” (his nickname and the nname of the public transit)

    No excuses for last night at all.

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    @Lee

    Nash is an athlete. Don’t get it twisted.

  • http://luckylester.com luckylester

    I would love the definition of, ATHLETE – I always thought it was coordination, hand/eye, good feet, quicks, balance, etc. – but a lot of people define that as run fast, jump high, strong…

    If it’s the first, Nash is an athlete. If it’s the latter, he’s got that run fast thing but I’d wonder how many guards in the league he’s going to smoke in a race.

    Nash is awesome, and I’m sorry I left him out. And I would love to see them win come playoff time with that no-defense playin’ Y ball they run. I just can’t see it.

  • Lee

    @ Spliff

    Compared to me, yeah he’s athletic. For the NBA I say he isn’t !! Love his game though !!

  • Ian

    Nash is getting back his best pg in the league title.

  • Dagomar

    Nash is the best shooting/passing point in the league. Has been for years. And it isn’t at all close. Lebron’s stats are down as compared to last year as well, and he doesn’t seem too pleased, so maybe we can accrue Nash’s last year to the “late 30s Shaq effect.” Now he’s dominating again, showing everyone who he was a 2-time MVP.

    As for the Raps . . . no effort on defence or on the boards tonight, none at all. If only one of their bigs could play inside consistently they could have just pounded it in there all night and overwhelmed the undersized Spurs lineup, but, no dice.

  • Dagomar

    PS Lee: athleticism is about way more than jumping.

  • http://allthatjazzbasketball.blogspot.com/ Amar

    lol @ ‘all those white people in toronto’

    t-dot is like NY or LA with how multicultural it is.

  • rangerjohn

    ok ok ok, lets not get carried away on nash, he is having a great run right now and all but we are barely a couple weeks in, and with the exception of that boston win, the rest of their competition hasnt been the greatest defensively. PHI, was, bos, mia, min, gs, lac. outside of boston and washington, which team there has a good PG for nash to play against? (these are only their wins, with the lone loss to orl who has a decent PG). MIA is maybe their best win outside boston, and i say boston let down more then nash/suns rose up.

    dagomar,
    so bosh with 32 and 10 didnt play inside consistently? shot 50% and 15-17 from the line, grabbed 10 boards, seems pretty consistent to me. i would say mcdyess RJ and blair stepped up on the glass pretty hard. the best part about that game, manu…. and the best part abotu manu last night, he had 36 pts, 8 assissts, 4 rebounds, 4 blocks, 1 steal, only 1 turnover, 6 threes, and all that in less then 33 minutes. not a lot of guys in the league putting up numbers like that in such a short time. it was onyl one game, and i hope he doesnt have to put up a line like that all the time for the spurs to win but he took over that game and no mater who stepped up for the raps, he wasnt going to lose.

  • That’s whats up

    they say Tiger Woods is a great athlete.

    I say “the mutha-fukka plays golf, man” – shheeeesh

  • Rockets

    That title belongs to the great Steve Francis!

  • Ian

    Ranger
    Nash is back.

    Tiger is an athlete. Does he look like fuckin jonh daly (my fav golfer ever)?

  • control

    Man, I’m hurting today. My Raps let me down big time, and as much as I love to hate him, Manu came through and stuck the daggers when needed.

    The reffing of the game was HORRIBLE, Chris Bosh got like 3 calls he didn’t deserve, and Manu got about 7 or 8 bullshit calls (including his classic run into a small guy and flop into the crowd against Jarret Jack). Why do the refs need to send someone to the line every time someone drives to the basket or falls down when taking a shot? The refs are just disgusting, bring back the replacement refs!

    Props to you Ian, your boy won the battle, but I’m still not convinced he can carry the Spurs at all if TD and TP are out of the line up for any length of time.

  • control

    Oh yeah, my thoughts about Steve Nash. He’s always been great, and right now he’s just murdering it out there. The guy is QUICK when moving forward and backward, but he probably has the biggest difference in lateral to forward movement in the league. He can’t move side to side for shit, don’t know if it’s his back or what is going on there. It means almost anyone can blow by him, but he can blow by almost anyone, it’s crazy. He’s turning 37 in the next week or something, so for a guy at his age performing at that level, that’s just INSANE.

  • Ian

    Control
    Bullshit calls? Like the bargnani fake travel that they gave him 2 freethrows. Comon man no one can carry scrubs for too long alone.

  • Ian

    Btw bad referees go both ways unless u r the 02 kings.

  • rangerjohn

    control,
    how about the other way around on teh refs? say the play where blair was completely standing still, standing out side the restricted area by 6″ and bosh comes barreling in and knocks blair to the 1st row? and blair got called for a block. CLEAR charge. as for the manu/jack crash, manu was set, jack ran into manu with a lowered shoulder, also a clear charge. how about the CLEAN block on bosh by mcdyess, 100% all ball, by mcdyess got called? if anything george hill should have gotten called for reaching in on that play before the shot.

  • control

    Ian

    Yeah, that Bargs call was bullshit. The whole idea of faking a guy into the air and then jumping INTO him for a foul is bullshit. Traveling before doing it is just stupid, but the refs were blowing the whistle before Bargs even made those steps (way too premature).

    I didn’t say that the refs were biased against any team or anything, just that they were fucking up big time. Anytime Bosh got the ball, it was a foul, and they just gave Manu a foul call randomly for no reason throughout the game. My Raps would have lost either way because they are soft as fuck when it comes time to step the game up.

    I don’t know how you can call Matt Boner a scrub right now, that guy is looking like a…red headed somebody who isn’t too bad.

  • Ian

    I was exaggeratin a bit hehe no other star on the team sounds better? The red rocket is awesome.

  • Dean

    Hahaha, the remark about Young working on his handles to Pistol, Birth of a Legend is way funny! I have that on VHS! Dribbling on the rail road track, dribbling out of the car while his dad drove and dribbling blind folded. Those drills are great!

    NASH IS A STUD! For real, does Nash even have a nick name? How about…money? Steve ‘money’ Nash, he’s good for it.

    Ha.

  • Dean

    My gf who is from Brazil says Barbosa is complaining to the brazilain reporters about his role on the Suns. How can you complain playing along side STEVE ‘MONEY’ NASH?! Watch, next season w/o Nash, he’ll do NOTHING.