Some NBA teams match up so well, you wish they played each other more than a couple of times per year. Case in point: Atlanta and Phoenix. The styles mesh, two teams full of talented scorers and athletes that bring out the best in each other. Too bad it will never be an NBA Finals matchup, unless the Suns find a way to trade for Amar’e Stoudemire back and the Hawks pull a Tonya Harding move on Dwight Howard, LeBron and Paul Pierce … Going against his usual script yesterday, Jason Richardson (21 pts) didn’t have a big first quarter before he blew up later in the game. J-Rich was almost quiet until the third, when he dropped a couple of threes right out of the locker room, threw in a dunk and a reverse layup and another triple, and had the Suns up by as much as 18 in the quarter. The Hawks stormed back and made up the difference within five minutes, setting up a fourth quarter that was nip/tuck all the way through: Al Horford (30 pts, 10 rebs) and Joe Johnson (34 pts, 7 rebs, 6 asts) carried the Hawks, while the Suns spread the wealth offensively … With one minute to go, Horford got stuck guarding Steve Nash on a switch and looked like he was playing Dance Dance Revolution while Nash (19 pts, 15 asts) decided where he wanted to drop a fadeaway J in his grill. Jamal Crawford tied it up with a baseline fade over Channing Frye, but then Frye gave Phoenix the lead back when he posted up Mike Bibby and managed a bucket. (How irrelevant is Frye’s post game that he can get the rock against old, slow, short Bibby and you’re still not totally confident he’s going to score?) The Hawks had another shot to tie or win, but Grant Hill wouldn’t let Crawford get open, and Johnson’s driving shot over three defenders didn’t go down … Is Earl Clark still in the NBA? Does he still play for the Suns? Wasn’t he a Lottery pick? Can he get traded back to Louisville? … Meanwhile in NYC, Amar’e must have been looking at the Sixers’ lineup pre-game and having Michael Olowkandi and Anthony Tolliver dreams. On paper, Philly’s big man rotation of Elton Brand, Spencer Hawes and 84-year-old Tony Battie has NOTHING for Amar’e, and after STAT thrived on dunks and layups from the outset of Knicks/Sixers, it took Doug Collins more than a half to finally realize playing a packed-in zone might make sense … With Amar’e relegated to jumpers and otherwise begging for the ball unsuccessfully, the rest of the Knicks went 3-for-19 beyond the arc as Ray Felton, Danilo Gallinari and Toney Douglas couldn’t stop jacking (and bricking) in Philly’s comeback win … Other stat lines from Sunday: Pau Gasol put up 20 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists and 3 steals as the Lakers routed the Blazers; Rajon Rondo had 10 points, 10 dimes and 3 steals to lead Boston past Oklahoma City; and Rodney Stuckey‘s 21 points and 9 dimes helped Detroit edge Golden State … Garbage time is fun, especially with an announcer like Clyde Drexler who laughs at everything. And with the Rockets blasting Minnesota from the get-go, pretty much the whole second half was garbage time as Houston notched its first win of the season. When Kevin Love tried a tricky reverse layup, swooping from one side of the rim to another, Clyde giggled, “Love had a Julius Erving moment. It didn’t work out.” … With Aaron Brooks and Kyle Lowry both sidelined with injuries, undrafted rookie Ish Smith got the start at point guard and looked pretty good. His stat line was nothing great — 7 points on 3-for-11 shooting, 6 assists and 3 steals in 41 minutes — but the Wake Forest alum is quick, crafty, sees the passing lanes and has a tight handle. Not wishing injury on Brooks or anything, but in the right situation, Smith is good enough to be this year’s Darren Collison. He’s going to have a tough time, however, getting any PT when Brooks and Lowry are healthy … During one of the Major League Soccer playoff games yesterday, a guy scored a goal and did the John Wall dance. The real John Wall dance, not The Dougie, which some people think is the John Wall dance because they’d never seen it done before Wall did it before his Wizards home debut … We’re out like K-Love playing Dr. J in a movie …
Smack / Nov 8, 2010 / 5:05 am
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