Smack / Apr 10, 2010 / 4:07 am

The Losers

Terrence Williams (photo. Nicky Woo)

Would anybody outside of Chicago and Toronto protest too much if we just scratched the 8th seed in the East? It’s not like we want to give LeBron a bye into the second round; it’s just that the Bulls and Raptors are playing like they don’t deserve a playoff spot. Tied in the standings going into Friday, they both blew golden opportunities to get a step ahead of the competition … Absolutely no excuse for Chicago losing to the Nets. Terrence Williams hasn’t played in a meaningful basketball game since he had “Louisville” across his chest, yet he was the best player on the court against a Bulls squad that has everything on the line. T-Will dropped a triple-double (27 pts, 13 rebs, 10 asts), throwing in halfcourt buzzer-beaters and 360 layups on the break … Chicago was down 10 midway through the fourth quarter and had to rally just to force overtime, as Brad Miller (27 pts, 10 rebs, 3 blks) scored 12 points in the final four and a half minutes. The Bulls were up two with three seconds left when Courtney Lee missed a jumper, but Brook Lopez was there for the follow dunk right before the buzzer — it was the not-so-athletic version of Josh Smith‘s game-winner … The Bulls quickly scored the first seven points in overtime, but blew that lead in the last minute. In the second OT, Jersey jumped out to a seven-point lead and didn’t falter, then T-Will delivered the dagger when he caught a Yi Jianlian airball and dunked it in one motion to stretch the lead to 10 with under 30 seconds to go … It wasn’t like the Raptors had an opponent they would’ve overlooked — getting the fully-healthy Hawks on the road — but Toronto played defense like they’ve yet to discover the wonders of the scouting report. With Hedo Turkoglu back in the lineup wearing a mask (and looking super-goofy in the process), the Raps appeared sort of motivated as they jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter. And then their D completely fell apart. Toronto gave up FORTY-FIVE points in the second quarter, as Jamal Crawford rained hot misery on their heads with 15 points and four triples during the run. Crawford (25 pts) was pulling threes from Pink City as the Raptors continually gave him too much space … And because Toronto needed more injuries, Antoine Wright rolled his ankle in the third quarter and had to be carried off … The Raptors would probably donate Marco Belinelli‘s body to science if they could get two guys like Thabo Sefolosha and Serge Ibaka. Beyond the obvious factors (Durant and Westbrook), the biggest difference in Oklahoma City’s turnaround has been the defensive energy and playmaking of role players like Thabo and Ibaka. They helped hold Phoenix to 34 points total in the second half of last night’s win. How much does a franchise like Minnesota hate that they’re paying Mark Blount $8 million to eat FunYuns when they could be paying Ibaka a fraction of that to run around like a maniac and try to spike every shot he sees into the 300 level? …

Dirk Nowitzki (photo. Monte Isom)

Two other teams vying for playoff position in the West, Dallas and Portland, had a defensive battle on Friday. Dirk Nowitzki dropped 40 points (17-17 FT), and that was damn near half of the Mavs’ 83 as they pulled out the win. Things nearly got Auburn Hills-style ugly late in the game, though, when Andre Miller and Nate McMillan drew back-to-back techs and security had to give some unruly fans the boot … Eduardo Najera has the best job in the NBA: All he has to do is use his six fouls, get under people’s skin, and basically be a goon. After Jason Kidd made a layup late in the first quarter, Najera was going to pressure the inbound pass when Juwan Howard went to set a pick on him. Howard gave Najera a little too much forearm and shoulder, knocking him down. From the floor, Najera may or may not have tried to kick Juwan in the nuts, and Juwan forcibly moved Najera’s feet away from him. Najera got up swinging and the two had to be separated … Other stat lines from Friday: Pau Gasol posted 29 points, 15 rebounds and 4 blocks as the Kobe-less Lakers beat Minnesota to clinch the No. 1 seed in the West; Dwight Howard and Vince Carter scored 25 apiece in Orlando’s win over New York; Deron Williams went for 27 points, 16 assists and 4 steals as Utah knocked off New Orleans; Zach Randolph had 28 points and 15 boards as Memphis beat San Antonio; Carlos Delfino put up 23 points, 5 dimes and 3 steals to lead Milwaukee past Philly; Andray Blatche had 31 and 11 boards as Washington upset Boston; Trevor Ariza had 17 points, 9 boards and 8 dimes in Houston’s win over Charlotte; Ben Gordon scored 39 with 7 threes as Detroit snapped Miami’s nine-game win streak; and Danny Granger dumped 36 points (14-14 FT) on the the Cavs’ JV squad in a Pacers win … More NBA Draft early entries: Georgia Tech freshman and projected top-5 pick Derrick Favors, VCU junior Larry Sanders, and UAB junior Elijah Millsap, younger brother of Paul Millsap. And if you missed it, check out Dime’s Q&A with Lance Stephenson, who talks about his decision to go pro and responds to critics who say he’s going too early … We’re out like Chicago’s pride …

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  • http://www.sactownroyalty.com Willis

    Who would you take # 3 in the draft, assuming Wall and Turner go FIRST and second?

  • K Dizzle

    @ Willis

    gonna depend on the squad pickin.If the draft goes Nets Wolves 1-2. The 3rd pick could be Sactown, Golden State or Washington.
    Washington a wildcard cuz they need to know what’s up with Gil and Josh Howard before they pick, but size isn’t something they need.
    Warriors need size, straight up. Favours? Cousins? Whiteside? Monroe?
    SacTown needs backcourt help for Reke and another 3, some size if they don’t like Thompson(hearin mixed reviews about him and Hawes havin problems playin together) so….best player available. Wesley Johnson? Aminu?
    Draft gonna be good this year.

  • sh!tfaced

    If your a lotto team, better hope you don’t wind up at the 3 spot. Think there isn’t a tougher place to be in this year’s draft than picking third…

  • BRUCE

    Whatever you do, don’t draft Cousins (Kentucky). Attitude and Character issues!

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  • “Tha Boddy” There is ALWAYS Next Season.

    The Wizards will pick either Wesley Johnson the SF from Syracuse or DeMarcus Cousins from Kentucky.Both of them have size and are NBA ready.I kinda hope they would take Cousins cause at 6 10-11 with his footwork and post skills he can give the Wizards a strong force down low.The only thing I dislike about that is that it will hurt JaVale McGee’s progress..

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  • sp

    did anyone actually expect the raptors to beat the hawks? they are missing bosh and the hawks had everyone healthy.
    Even if bosh was healthy the hawks would probably still win. They are the better team. The hawks were still playing for something too by trying to keep the 3rd spot from the celtics.

    The bulls on the other hand were just horrible not to be able to pull out a win against jersey.

  • Posterboy15

    I just want to ask, have people still havent noticed how orlando has been beastin opponents as of late, Its like Deja Vu all over again. To be honest VC and DH are lookin like the best 1-2 punch in the league, and if u can name a better one, I promise u they havent been has consistent as these 2.

  • TIP

    “Would anybody outside of Chicago and Toronto protest too much if we just scratched the 8th seed in the East?”

    Actually, I’m pretty sure those associated with them wouldn’t mind…well, Toronto at least.

  • QQ

    @ 12:

    For some strange reason, I agree with you. LOL.

    But seriously, I love how we’re peaking at the right time. And don;t give me the ‘against bad teams’ argument. By this time, you get all the wins and momentum you can, whoever the team is. Winning is always good for team chemistry, and getting it right now is like fuel for the playoffs. I would like to say that we’re now ready for the Cavs, but I don’t think the Cavs deserve it. That’s a team that haven’t proven shit. Last year, they too we’re beastin the L but got beasted when it really matters.

    Still the best team in the East. GOOOOO MAGIIIIIC!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.getbuckets.anywhere.com Chicagorilla

    Chicago doesn’t deserve to be in the playoffs. after losing that 30+ point lead to Sac-town earlier this season, thats when I noticed they were not a playoff team. Not so much because of the talent, but because of the coaching mixed with the talent. All the players are role players minus Derrick Rose. And other than Kirk, none of them bring a great value to defense. 3 of our starting 5 would be bench players on any other team. There needs to be an superstar in Chicago.

  • Rizwan

    @ 12

    Um, have you missed all the past 30 Suns games. Better 1-2 punch than Amare and Nash, I dont think so!

  • Posterboy15

    Since u say that, and this might be childish but wut the heck…VC and DH vs Nash n Amare in a 2 on 2 mathcup. Dats really sounds unfair, and if u rewind the clock on Vince and Nash..dat shit is rediculous, lol, I rest my case.

  • EN FUEGO

    That’s why it’s TEAM basketball, not 2 on 2. Lots of teams have 2 players that can win it playing 2 on 2.

    Besides, Vince Chandelier might get injured from posting up too much.

  • Posterboy15

    Dats why the comment was stated as being childish..and your joke would have made since 6 years ago..unless u was mistaken him for his cousin Tmac, who btw i still believe has a chance when fully healthy.

  • EN FUEGO

    Hey, a childish joke for a childish opinion. Call it even.lol

    Here’s another childish thought:

    How come NBA cousins seem to be fucked up? Vince and TMac are unbelievably injury prone. Marbury and Telfair have there own problems. And DeMarcus Cousins has attitude and character issues. hehehe

    Bad DNA or is there some unseen force in the league that somehow ‘cousins’ can’t have a good, clean and controversy free career?