Though they signed contracts over the summer totaling about $286 million, and each is seen in some way as a franchise-changing superstar for their respective new teams, there has been a lot of nit-picking and hate spread around for Amar’e Stoudemire, Chris Bosh and Carlos Boozer before and during the season. But lately, all three fours have been killing it, especially Boozer. Over the last seven games – during which the Chicago Bulls have gone 5-2 without Joakim Noah in the lineup – Booz has averaged 26.2 points and 12.1 rebounds – including last night’s 31-point, 11-board effort in an overtime W against Detroit … Boozer made some big shots in the fourth quarter, but with Chicago protecting a two-point lead in the final seconds, Detroit got four shots on one possession and ended up with Charlie Villanueva tipping in a Rip Hamilton miss with less than a second to go. In the OT, Boozer opened up some opportunities for the Bulls with his interior passing, and beasted Tayshaun Prince in the lane for another bucket to put Chicago up three with under a minute to go. Down one with less than 10 seconds remaining, the Pistons called on Rodney Stuckey, who got to the basket against Derrick Rose (23 pts, 12 rebs, 8 asts) but threw up a bad shot that didn’t go. Kyle Korver – going with the almost scruffy Butterfly Effect Ashton Kutcher look rather than the clean-shaven Just Married look – made two free throws at the other end, and Charlie V’s three at the buzzer didn’t catch rim … Blake Griffin is obviously the marquee face of the L.A. Clippers and its highlight-reel regular, but is he really the MVP of the Clips? Blake continues to put up his monster stat lines and thrown down his monster dunks, and you could easily argue that it doesn’t make much of a difference in whether the Clips win or lose, hence the 9-22 record. But last night was a show of just how much Blake really means to his team. After Blake fouled out late in the fourth quarter, L.A. saw its 10-point lead cut to one after Steve Nash (21 pts, 15 asts) and Mickael Pietrus (25 pts, 5 threes) strung together some shots. The Clips were up three before Eric Gordon came up with a steal to set up Al-Farouq Aminu’s dagger dunk with four seconds left … Of course you know Griffin (28 pts, 12 rebs) had to bring the thunder. In the first quarter he crushed a dunk on Marcin Gortat’s face with full arm-cocked-back extension just to make it a little nastier … Still no Vince Carter, whose knee is still a problem. Have the Phoenix Suns medical staff finally found its match? … As NBA TV’s Steve Smith put it, Chris Paul “got very offensive-minded” in the second half of last night’s Hornets/Hawks game. After a quiet first half, CP3 dropped 13 points in the third quarter and finished with 22 points and 8 assists as N.O. came from behind to win. Paul added a fadeaway dagger and some free throws in the end to seal it … Are the Hornets legit or what? Every time you’re ready to crown ‘em, they lose an inexcusable game here or just get molly-whopped by a truly elite team there. Then every time you’re ready to write them off, they knock off an elite team or show their full, dangerous arsenal. Obviously it starts and ends with CP3, but could this team go to battle with David West, Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza and a rookie coach in Monty Williams and be considered a real threat to the Lakers or Spurs in a series? … Other stat lines from Sunday: Tony Parker put up 20 points and 14 assists in San Antonio’s win over Washington; Rudy Gay had 30 points, 8 boards, 5 assists and 5 steals as Memphis beat Indiana; Elton Brand posted 16 points and 17 boards in Philly’s win at Denver; Michael Beasley scored 28 points and made the game-winning layup driving past Antawn Jamison with five seconds left to lead Minnesota past Cleveland … We’re out like Gortat …
Smack / Dec 27, 2010 / 7:05 am
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