Say hello to the bad guy. We have a new beast in the West. In probably the most physical game of the NBA season so far, the Blazers showed why everyone is so frightened of playing them up in the Northwest by punking the Clippers and Blake Griffin, 105-97. With the NBA’s newest A-List team threatening them over and over, Portland answered every call. Between Gerald Wallace, LaMarcus Aldridge and Marcus Camby, they did work on Griffin, holding him to the most up-and-down 18 and 12 night you’ll ever see. For once, Griffin seemed off-balanced and frustrated in an atmosphere that felt like a Public Enemy concert. Gerald Wallace paced five Blazers in double figures with 20 … With Andray Blatche on the verge of flipping out, the Wizards finally won a game, blowing out Toronto by 15. Our man Sean Sweeney predicted it on Twitter last night, but we’re not sure anyone could’ve seen a total team defensive effort coming from D.C. And it started right away. JaVale McGee had three blocks before even Nick Young had a chance to chuck up a few shots. The Wizards are actually in the top 10 in the NBA in both steals and blocks, but that should tell you more about their style than their effectiveness. Last night was the first time they put it all together, turning up the heat in the second half and running away with it … Philly won’t stop. They shunned Sacramento back to the cows with a dominating 112-85 win, their sixth in a row and what felt like their sixth blowout in a row. Elton Brand dropped 21 and 10 to lead six players in double figures, and in the second half of the second quarter, he taught DMC (17 points, 10 rebounds) a thing or two, putting down eight straight points on Cousins’ head … Travis Outlaw is quickly closing in on the all-bad hairline team. The team’s tri-captains have gotta be ‘Bron, Joel Anthony and Kosta Koufos … Jrue Holiday (17 points, eight dimes, four steals) was in the lane the whole first half, scoring in all types of weird angles. There aren’t many better finishing point guards in the league … One guy who is though is Derrick Rose. Chicago’s leading man did the heavy lifting (31 points, 11 assists) in the Bulls’ wild 111-100 win up in Minnesota. After Minnesota had been down by as many as 24 in the first half, they crawled back into it until eventually Rose had three or four shots right in Ricky Rubio‘s (13 points, 12 assists, four steals) mug as if to say “Go back to Spain, rook” … Rick Adelman finally smartened up. In the first quarter, by the time Rubio came in, the Bulls were already up 15. So Adelman said screw it, and started both Rubio and Luke Ridnour after the half. Ridnour was hot all night with 22, and was involved in one of the weirdest matchups we’ve ever seen. The tiny guard matched up with the 6-7 Kyle Korver for most of the second half, like one of those times at the park when they just throw the two white guys on each other … Milwaukee survived Tim Duncan (20 points) and San Antonio behind a huge night from Stephen Jackson (34 points, eight assists). Jack looked like he was back in Port Arthur with the way he was flowing, hitting pull-ups, driving to the rim, doing a little bit of everything. Late in the game, Brandon Jennings (15 points, 11 assists) still couldn’t make a shot, but he did rip Tony Parker (22 points, eight dimes) and go in for a dunk to put the Bucks up three in the closing seconds. After Richard Jefferson‘s game-tying three attempt at the buzzer fell short, the camera went to a shot of the Milwaukee crowd going crazy over the win. We caught one dude who looked like an extra from a Bun B video, doing The Sprinkler with brew in hand. We’d bet this year’s income tax returns that dude is an active member of Stephen Jackson’s crew … After saying he needed to rebound from the worst game of his career (the last time he was in Memphis), Russell Westbrook responded with his best game of the year: 30 points and six rebounds as OKC won in Memphis 100-95. At one point, the telecast showed a kid wearing an, “All Heart, Grit, Grind” shirt with Tony Allen‘s face on it, right after Allen forced a turnover by jumping a passing lane and then knocking down an 18-foot jumper from the wing. If Marc Gasol (20 points, 14 rebounds) is the only one putting in work, the Grizz are REALLY gonna have to grind out wins … Keep reading to hear about Kobe’s big night …
Smack / Jan 11, 2012 / 1:44 am
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