For Chris Paul and Deron Williams to go head-to-head and put up underwhelming numbers isn’t a surprise anymore. For Devin Brown — the rare NBA starter who could also appear on “Who He Play For?” and stump Charles Barkley — to steal the show from both of those guys is definitely a surprise … Brown (30 pts, 5 threes) got it rolling early, scoring 10 of N.O.’s first 18 points, wetting jumpers and getting layups in transition off Utah turnovers. Despite Brown’s hot start, however, the Hornets struggled overall, falling behind by double-digits in a first quarter highlighted by C.J. Miles‘ 360 two-hand dunk. New Orleans caught up in the third quarter and took the lead during a run where Brown scored 13 of the team’s 19 points. Utah got within four with under a minute to go, but CP picked off a D-Will pass intended for Andrei Kirilenko, then scored on a driving layup to give the Hornets enough cushion … Paul finished with 12 points, nine assists and three steals, while Deron put up 17, 11 and two. When Deron wasn’t guarding CP, Jerry Sloan would sic Ronnie Price on him, and he stuck to Paul like bar sluts on a VH1 casting couch … (Speaking of VH1, how terrible is the new “Frank The Entertainer” dating show? We can’t actually wish death on somebody, but seeing as the only way VH1 will cancel a show mid-season is if a cast member commits a murder, well, never mind) … Have you ever noticed that James Posey takes forever at the free-throw line? The Utah fans probably wanted to give him a hard time for it, but they can’t really say anything seeing as they had Karl Malone for 18 years … Games like last night’s Hawks/Heat blowout are part of the reason people say Joe Johnson isn’t really an elite superstar. As his squad was getting torn apart in a near-20-piecing, Joe disappeared (11 pts, 4-15 FG) while a certified star, Dwyane Wade, was on his way to 28 points. Joe didn’t get any help, either; nobody on the Hawks did anything except for Jamal Crawford, who scored 23. Not sure if it was one of those casualties of a night off in Miami, but Atlanta played like a bunch of guys who’d just met each other in the layup line … In Chicago, the Thunder knocked off the Bulls behind Russell Westbrook‘s 29 points and Kevin Durant‘s 25 … With the Clippers intent on shutting down Brandon Roy — essentially running a box-and-one and face guarding B-Roy from the time he got off the plane until he’d changed clothes after the game — Portland needed to find other scorers. They got 25 points from Martell Webster, 22 and 16 dimes from Andre Miller, and Juwan Howard (16 pts) looked like David West‘s grandpa while knocking down a slew of mid-range jumpers and catching a dunk on Chris Kaman. It almost worked, but during a key fourth-quarter stretch where B-Roy (6 pts, 3-12 FG) would normally take over, the Blazers went scoreless for about four minutes and couldn’t recover … When ‘Dre Miller scored on a cut to the rim, one of the Blazers announcers called him “a bolt of lightning.” That’s the first and last time anybody ever going to refer to him like that … Portland basically went with a seven-man rotation, plus Shavlik Randolph and Patty Mills got a couple of minutes apiece. Talking about the team’s injuries, color commentator Mike Rice (a notorious homer) was adamant: “No other team has gone through ANYTHING NEAR what the Blazers have gone through.” Rice brought up the Nuggets and how they’re “crying” that they haven’t had Carmelo and Chauncey for a few games, but he forgot to mention the Warriors and Pistons have also been racked by injuries to key players all season long. True, no team has had it as bad as Portland, but they’re not completely in a class by themselves … In college ball last night, the College of Charleston pulled off the huge upset of No. 8 UNC in South Carolina. The game went to OT and UNC’s huge problem of not having a legit go-to guy who can take over a game was on full display … We’re out like Lightning ‘Dre …
Smack / Jan 5, 2010 / 5:07 am
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