Sometimes it’s simple and plain, and last night the Lakers simply got a plain ol’ meat-slapping from the Suns. After Robo-Kobe cut a double-digit lead in the second quarter to six by halftime, the Suns came out shooting like a bunch of Steve Alford clones, quickly pushing it back to double digits on jumpers by Channing Frye, Amar’e (26 pts), Grant Hill and Steve Nash (16 pts, 13 asts). The Lakers never really challenged them after that, and midway through the fourth, Phil Jackson officially waved the white flag by taking Kobe out … One of the Suns who did struggle was Jason Richardson. In between not being able to hit the side of Yao Ming‘s dome on offense, J-Rich (4 pts, 1-6 FG) had his hands full with Kobe (34 pts, 14-26 FG) on the other end. “When he has to guard the best player on the other team,” one Phoenix announcers said, “somehow his offense goes down.” Somehow? Shouldn’t that be pretty easy to figure out? … Equally frustrating night for Derek Fisher, who shot 1-for-7, had to chase Nash around, and got called for a tech when he tried to shove a stumbling Nash into the floor. After Fish got called for another hard foul on Jared Dudley, one of the announcers said, “This is not Monday Night Football.” … Apparently this week’s theme for the Celtics is underachievement. The night after being upset by the Clippers, Boston went into the Warriors’ gym and caught another L. And just as Baron Davis got the best of Rajon Rondo in L.A., Monta Ellis (37 pts) was serving Rondo buckets in this one. The Celtics were up by as much as 18 in the first half before G-State came back and took control in the fourth quarter … The Warriors were up three with one minute left before Monta, Ray Allen and Corey Maggette each missed good looks at three-pointers that could have either been the dagger or changed the complexion of the game. On that last possession Boston gambled by not fouling and hoping for a miss, which they got when Anthony Morrow passed up an open shot and Maggette’s trey spun out. (“You tell me why Anthony Morrow didn’t shoot!” one GS announcer kept repeating.) Celtics ball with five seconds left, and Don Nelson had his guys foul Ray before he could get off a three. Ray (24 pts) made the first free throw, and tried to miss the second on purpose but didn’t hit the rim. On G-State’s possession, Doc Rivers had Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins stand in front of inbounding Vlad Radmanovic and jump up and down, which nearly worked when Vlad threw a bad pass, but Monta gained control and hit the free throws to ice it … Just like against Baron, it’s not like Rondo got dominated. He put up 30 points and 15 assists of his own, but down the stretch Monta was just better. On defense, Monta was giving Rondo a good 10 feet of open space, daring him to shoot jumpers … Even those waiting for the Blazers to run out of gas with their lineup stretched thin by injuries wouldn’t have predicted they’d fall to the Sixers at home. After knocking off Dallas, San Antonio and Denver with a little more than half a roster and no center, Portland was getting worked over in the paint by Elton Brand (25 pts, 9 rebs), and even Sam Dalembert (14 pts, 3 blks) looked like he had a few post moves … Allen Iverson scored 19 in his return to the lineup, and while he guarded Martell Webster most of the night, for some reason Nate McMillan never tried to get the 6-7 Webster any post-up opportunities. It’s been standard fare for Philly’s opponents to take advantage of Iverson’s matchup; McMillan dropped the ball on this one … Other stat lines from Monday: Gerald Wallace posted 21 points and 14 boards in Charlotte’s win over Milwaukee; Zach Randolph put up 23 and 19 to beat the Wizards in overtime, while Gilbert Arenas scored 30 in the loss; Carmelo scored 34 but the Nuggets lost to the Tyreke-less Kings; and Kevin Durant dropped 40 points (15-22 FG) as OKC got past the Nets … Hopefully Andray Blatche got what he wanted for Christmas, because it’s been all bad for him ever since. The other night he got Tom Chambers-ed by Ryan Hollins, then on Monday he was coming over to trap Jamaal Tinsley when “The Abuser” skipped the ball between Blatche’s legs and went in for a layup. Next up on the Wizards’ schedule is Oklahoma City: We’re seeing a nasty Jeff Green dunk or a Russell Westbrook ankle-breaker in Blatche’s future … We’re out like Chambers …
Smack / Dec 29, 2009 / 5:28 am
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