Smack / Jan 19, 2010 / 5:56 am

More Than Payback

Kevin Durant (photo. Jared McMillen)

So long as they can get their superstars to re-up when the time comes — which, knowing Joe Johnson and Kevin Durant, is a likely scenario — would it be too crazy to predict a Hawks/Thunder NBA Finals matchup sometime this decade? Maybe in the next five years? The up-and-coming contenders gave a preview in one of yesterday’s early MLK holiday games … With 2:30 to go in the fourth, Durant’s jumper coming off a curl broke a tie. After trading bricks for a while, OKC had the rock with 20 seconds left, still up two. The Hawks denied Durant (29 pts, 14-15 FT), leaving Jeff Green with an iso on Josh Smith near midcourt. Not exactly the guy you’d draw up that play for, Green put his head down, got a step on J-Smoove, and banged on his head, plus the foul. NBA TV’s Eric Snow called it: “Payback is a … That’s more than payback,” referring to earlier when Smith (18 pts, 12 rebs, 7 asts, 3 blks) got Green on an and-one … That should’ve sealed it with 12 seconds left, but Mike Bibby hit a three, and following a Durant FT, Atlanta had a chance to force overtime with four seconds left. On a play similar to when he burned out the Suns the other night, Jamal Crawford had a good (albeit long) look from straightaway over Green, but it didn’t drop for him this time … As for more realistic 2010 Finals contenders, the Lakers and Magic squared off for the first time since Kobe got that 350-pound Shaqzilla off his back. Still dealing with his recent SPINAL issues (you have to say it in Mike Tyson voice), though, Kobe was off, going for 11 points on 4-of-19 shooting. But the bench and role players held it down and dominated the fourth quarter to pick up a big win before L.A. goes on a long road trip this week … Maybe Dwight Howard has been playing possum all along, and was waiting to debut his shiny new post game against the Lakers. Dwight looked like a swole-up Tim Duncan in the first half: One time he faced up on Andrew Bynum, gave him a shoulder fake left and went baseline right for a reverse dunk (proper footwork and everything); another time he turned and drained a jump shot off the glass that he actually meant to hit off the glass. Dwight was in Fundamental Beast mode, but in the second half he went into another one of those long stretches of invisibility — not making his first shot until late in the fourth quarter on a nice hook shot over Pau Gasol. Howard finished with 24 points, but he could’ve dropped about 35 if he’d seen the ball enough … Without Kevin Garnett, which Celtic was supposed to guard Dirk Nowitzki? For the most part Rasheed did alright, although Dirk made him pay a few times for failing to step out and get him on the perimeter. But when ‘Sheed was in foul trouble, nobody else had an answer. Out of the Big Baby, Paul Pierce and Brian Scalabrine cast, one was too slow, one was too short, and the other generally doesn’t belong on a court with Dirk (37 pts) in the first place. Add it up and you have Boston’s third straight home loss … Other stat lines from MLK Day: Tony Parker‘s 25 points helped the Spurs knock off the Hornets; Rudy Gay posted 31 points, nine boards and three blocks as Memphis beat Phoenix; Nate Robinson scored 27 off the bench to lead NY past Detroit; Antawn Jamison dropped 28 points to beat the Blazers; Tyreke Evans put up 34 points, seven assists and three blocks in Sacramento’s loss to the Bobcats; Jonny Flynn had 29 and nine assists to get Minnesota past Philly in overtime; Luis Scola stamped 27 points and 15 boards on Milwaukee in OT, while Andrew Bogut had 18 points, 17 rebounds and six blocks in the loss; Marcus Camby had 17 points, 14 boards and three blocks as the Clips beat the Nets; and in the fantasy owner’s game of the night, Monta Ellis posted 36 points, eight dimes and four steals in G-State’s win over Chicago, while Stephen Curry added 26, 10 boards, six dimes and five threes, and Andris Biedrins had 19 boards and eight blocks … If you haven’t heard, the All-Star Weekend dunk contest field is (kind of) set, with Shannon Brown, Gerald Wallace, Nate Rob and the DeMar DeRozan/Eric Gordon dunk-in winner. No, LeBron isn’t on the list. And the crappy part is that even if the contest is pretty good, LeBron is going to overshadow the whole thing more than ever since he said he was gonna do it this year. But assuming there’s no last-minute LBJ addition, who’s your pick to win the crown? … We’re out like the Fundamental Beast …

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  • http://uoregon.edu sans

    Derozan wins it…and Monta scored his 36 on 39 shots…weak sauce 35% from the floor, but with two nice ass spin moves through the paint…Nate caught an oop in game, and I think Gerald Wallace will lose in the first round…

  • Holland

    Lebron is a douchebag, first he says he’ll be in the dunkcontest then he backs out.

  • WetNurse

    Derozan and Shannon Brown final.
    De Rozan wins though.

    And yes. ATL vs. OKC final could happen in a few years.

  • Netherlands

    MAN I AGREE with hollands comment Lebron is a douchbag his ass was saying he was gonna be up in the dunk contest and now he backs down like a litte bitch! gerald wallace is gonna take that shit or maybe the secret guest valentijn lietmijer wil take it he got hops like crazy !

  • dvs

    Shannon Brown will kill this year.
    Also, why is Lebron such a publicity whore.
    He only said he’ll be in the contest so everyone would suck his piece about how good he is, then when it comes down to it he bitches out. Lebron is a corny, immature bitch. The guys the best player in the league, but his attitude sucks!!!


    Alright Dime — Calling Shaq a monkey. Where is the LIKE button? I like, I like!


    Why do we hate Brian Scalabrine?

    Justify it, someone!

  • Josh Tha roc

    Mark my words durant MVP within 3. Thunder champs within 5.

  • Josh Tha roc

    I never really knew e Gordon was crazy athletic? Is he?

  • Josh Tha roc

    I think is hated for his post championship rant and general attitude I believe.

  • http://uoregon.edu sans

    Veal is awful…had a good playoff game once with the Nets…signs a huge contract and never works out…he’s the pale Jerome James that actually sees court time…

  • http://uoregon.edu sans

    Iv’e seen more muscle tone in the fish I eat than on Scalabrine’s body…dude looks like he drinks 10 eggs for breakfast then sits on the couch and chases it down with a 12 pack…he probably can’t scratch his ankles without pulling a hammy…

  • RC

    Brian Scalabrine = New Larry Bird LOL

  • stephen

    I’d say shannon brown

  • stephen

    And welcome to China, Stephon Marbury. I like him now.

  • Tbest

    I thought the dunk contest was doing something with street ballers competing in the contest this year. Weren’t there supposed to be competitions across the country with the top 4 competing on all star weekend against the nba players?

  • Tbest
  • PDaddy

    Lebron is worried he might miss a dunk and have to try to confiscate all the video cameras in the building, his ego is outta control at this point. Hopefully he’s serious about trying football so we can all see him get ‘Keyshawned’ lying face down on the turf with his helmet knowcked off.

  • Flying_Dutchman

    “Out of the Big Baby, Paul Pierce and Brian Scalabrine cast, one was too slow, one was too short, and the other generally doesn’t belong on a court with Dirk”


  • Sweet English

    @ Tbest.

    That was a bit of mis-journalism from Dime son.

    The actual write up was that the winner of that dunk contest got a ticket to the all-star weekend contest.

    As in literally, they get a ticket to go. To watch.

    Unfortuantely, although they bare many resemblances, David Stern is NOT willy wonka.

  • Tbest


    I hyped that up to a lot of people. I thought it would have been pretty cool to see some street ballers in the dunk contest.

  • duke_blue

    who gives a fk about the dunk contest anymore…its like watching warm-ups. For the first time ever, im more interested in watching the 3-point contest than the dunk contest

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    The broadcasters of last nights Magic/Laker game including the cast of NBA on TNT kept blaming coach Van Gundy for Dwight not getting enough touches in the 2nd half but at the end of the day you can only blame the players. The other Orlando players have to know that Dwight was killing the Laker backcourt and get him the ball. Even more importantly Dwight has to demand the ball. For as intimidating as Dwight may appear to opponents he really doesn’t seem to have any pull with his own team.

    The Kings still haven’t won since Kevin Martin has returned. Too early to say he and Evans can’t coexist but I’m throwing it out there. The other problem I have with Sacramento is Thompson plays 40 mins one night and 16 mins the next. What’s up with that?

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    NBA allstar dunk contests in their current format are just not very entertaining anymore. I haven’t watched one in 4 years and I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything. When you’re young, dunks are cool but I’m at the stage in my life where dunks are not really impressive anymore. Yeah seeing a sick dunk during a game will pump me up but other than that I’m much more impressed with good shooting, slick passing, or great defense. However, if they did the dunk contest in a H-O-R-S-E format I would check that out.

  • http://twitter.com/therealknowbody GABRIEL BROGDEN

    It’s ILL that NY’s bench scored 50 points.
    Nate and Al was Ballin!
    NYC’s starters by the way : 49 points
    2 men scored more than 5 men put together. Wow.

    Shannon was kinda like a SCORING MACHINE.
    Kinda dope to see him agressive and hittin’ his shots.
    He came in the second wettin’ jays like ol-school chronic smokers.
    Also good to see him in crunch time steppin’ up.

    STEPHEN CURRY is more ACTIVE than Tiger Woods.
    I love his hustle!

    If I refer to ZACH RANDOLPH as ELVIS, is that wrong?? I mean, he IS Memphis MVP.

    Kinda ILL how Dirk scored 9 straight points at the end of the 3rd and never look back. Uhh, Boston lost by 9. You do the math.

    62-65. Dallas down.
    63-65. Dirk makes tech freebie.
    65-65. Dirk jays it.
    67-68. Another shot from the German ruger.
    69-68. Dirk jays it again.
    71-68. Cottamn Dirk!!! YOU KILLIN’ EM.


    I aint smellin’ Eddie Jordan. I wasn’t smellin’ him with the Wizards. I aint smellin’ him now. And if I did, I’d probably earl because he stinks.

    Is Kapono an ORNAMENT??
    Jason Smith too?

    Why is Willie Green and Rodney Carney gettin’ thier minutes?

    WHY DAMMIT?????

    I got a consistent 3-point specialist but I’ma play my streaky combo gaurd.
    I got a dynamic wing but I’ma play my not-so-dymanic wing.
    I wonder if he’s racist, alright maybe I went too far.
    But you get my drift.


  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    @ brogden

    Ha ha man that has to be one of the most entertaing comments I’ve read in a while. Thanks for the breakdown.

  • Chaos

    No reporting on Steph goin to China?! come on cuz! he bout to go average like forty points a game and get some money but he better watch it cuz the Chinese officials are crazy as hell

  • M Intellect

    I just saw Dwight Howard’s ‘Post Moves’…

    That move on Andrew Bynum was probably the worst travel I’ve ever seen. EVER.

  • ShowKase

    The best piece the Magic got from the Nets in that trade was Ryan Anderson. Vince is just terrible. Might as well start giving his minutes to J.J. LeBuff. And Dwight needs to be punched in the mouth or something, to make him play angry and demand the ball. Dude was beastin in the first half, then pulled a Houdini and disappeared.

    I really hate the Grizzels metallic smurf jerseys.

    Scal should never, ever, ever, ever be guarding Dirk. Doc, just take your chances with foul-trouble Sheed. Scal couldnt guard a blow up doll.

    Young Money deserves ROY just for the stunt he pulled last night, trying to take Bogut’s free throw without the ref’s catching on until after he made the first one. He would have gotten away with it too, if it werent for the Rockets and that dang Scola too.

    Im out like Dime’s LeBromance crush…

  • ToAn

    @M Intellect…yeah that was a brutal travel but centers get away with a lot…I still find it funny and sad as well that everybody is talking about how Dwight should get a post game or a go to move…it’s his 6TH YEAR in the league and people get excited when he hits ONE jumpshot off the glass or makes some kind of move before he dunks the ball…I’m not sure if he is just lazy (looking at his body i guess he’s not) to learn some post moves or he just lacks fundamentals and won’t ever learn shit…

  • weezy f

    last year the cavs seemed unbeatable so lebron thought hey why not since i might win a chip this year but that didnt happen so he doesnt wanna waste unnecessary energy ad risk getting hurt in the dunk contest. makes sense to me

  • LakeShow84

    Phoenix starting to slide..

    Curry starting to rise..

    SB (SuperBoy, ShannonBrown) is starting to look good in our offense.. i dont wait for the other shoe to fall with him anymore..

    i couldve sworn Vince Carter hurt himself 3 times last night.. Dude is just a bigger Iverson.. When it was on him with under 2 minutes left he dribbled around the key for 1 minute not looking to pass for SHIT and then launched a horrible off balance J.. Horrible just horrible, and thats coming from someone who used to watch Kobe do the same thing.. He might single handedly be the reason the Magic dont repeat as ECF champs.. well that and Jameer Nelson isnt anything close to what he was pre-injury last year..

  • the cynic

    VC looks like a worse defender then Turk; either Carter is beyond finish or he is injuried

  • Rick Nelson

    Lebron doesn’t want to be known/rememberd as a dunker. So many over the yrs. get this label.

    He wants to be remembered as one of the greatest.

  • LakeShow84

    ^ sad because u probably really believe that ^

  • K Dizzle

    lol @ “Lebron doesn’t want to be known/rememberd as a dunker. So many over the yrs. get this label.

    He wants to be remembered as one of the greatest.”

    I shouldn’t laugh, but that’s a ridiculous statement. Of course, this could be a post by a wide-eyed 10 year old who believes that Lebron is the greatest ever in which case then I’m just an a-hole….but I doubt it lol.

    Like Dr. J, MJ, Scottie Pippen, Vince, T-Mac, Clyde, Dominique, Kobe, Ray Allen, Larry Johnson, Michael Cooper, Mike Finley, Shawn kemp, Amare,Dwight, Kenny Smith and ALLAN HOUSTON!?! and the other 80+ contestants in Dunk Contest history are typecast as dunkers and therefore aren’t considered great is ridiculous. Yeah, those dunk contest injuries are just devastatin…..(sarcasm). Please stop with the shit. lebron’s not dunkin cuz he don’t feel like it. point blank. Stop makin up excuses and makin him look even worse. If it’s good enough for Mike and Dr J, then dammit, it’s good enough for Lebron.

    I didn’t wanna talk about the Laker-magic game, but I already started.
    Magic miss hedo huge. You can’t trade a playmaker for a scorer. Magic didn’t need scoring. They got rid of Rafer(playmaker/3 point shooter), CL Smooth(energy with intense defense) and Hedo(playmaker/shooter/and for some reason, amazing defender in the playoffs last season) and brought in a always injured VC, a shoot 3s or die Ryan Anderson and Brandon”Haven’t even seen dude in a game-how you fall off so quick?”Bass. Not equal value replacements and we’re seein the results.
    As for the Lakers, we get production like that from Farmar, Odom and Shannon when kobe havin an off day like that, they gon stop talkin about the “thin bench”. Even Fish had a 2001 relapse and was torturin Jameer in the first. We real good.
    I’m out

  • F.L.A.S.H.

    whoever the fool is that put “scalabrine” and “Larry Bird” in one sentence should be banned from watching or playing basketball ever again, ur talking abt the second greatest player of all time and the second WORST player of all time (kwame brown may be more productive, but those poo hands…..)!!!!