Smack / Feb 6, 2012 / 12:00 am

Boston Crushes The Grizzlies; LeBron James Goes Off In Miami

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett

The Grizzlies should’ve just hit up a Super Bowl party early because Boston slapped them around all afternoon, winning their fourth-straight game 98-80 behind a throwback (24 points, nine rebounds) from Kevin Garnett and yet another, ho-hum 21 points from The Truth. Boston’s defense was suffocating, holding Memphis to under 37 percent from the field and under 20 points in every quarter outside of the third. And with Rajon Rondo (14 assists, his first game with double-digit assists since Jan. 13) really back, they had one of their best bucket-getting halves of the year (the second frame) … Even though the early afternoon start killed their first half shooting (Ray Allen began 0-for-6. He probably felt the early start more than anyone. You know Ray. To get his whole routine in, Jesus probably had to be there at like nine a.m.), the Celtics had one of their best team games of the year. Chris Wilcox had so much energy that we thought he might’ve actually made a facial expression at one point. He also hit the glass like a maniac, and scored 12 points in 11 minutes. Mickael Pietrus hit two corner threes from the same exact spot during a five-minute span in the third. JaJuan Johnson was even scoring in the lane (10 points). So then Avery Bradley wanted to get into it with a pull-up jumper from 17 feet… and he missed the rim and nearly put a hole in the glass … What’s going on with Garnett? He’s 3-for-3 on triples this week alone, after making only four in his first four years with the Green … Meanwhile the Grizzlies were doing a fabulous job of saving their energy on defense for celebrating the Super Bowl. If their goal was to give up open threes and easy layups, they would’ve aced it. Had they wore pennies instead of jerseys, we would’ve never guessed that was the same “Grit ‘N Grind” team from last year. And on the other end, only Rudy Gay (21 points) did anything … We love how the Celtic broadcasters – especially Tommy – were praising Tony Allen by saying that he’s brought that “Celtic attitude” of great, aggressive defense to Memphis. It’s not that the C’s don’t have a culture that bleeds unselfishness and toughness, but Tony has been like that his whole life. He played that way back in Chicago, back when Will Bynum used to bring him in off the streets. It didn’t take Boston to bring it out of him. But we’d expect nothing less from Tommy … The Celtics are now 13-10, still 3.5 games back of Philly. But they’ve won eight of their last 10, have found their legs and now have Rondo back. Can they catch the Sixers? … DeMar DeRozan could only carry the Raptors for so long. Midway through the third quarter, the flood gates opened in Miami’s 95-89 W over Toronto. Mario Chalmers‘ back-to-back threes halfway through the third capped an 18-3 run to put Miami up 14. Eventually, Toronto made a run after Miami fell asleep, reducing it to five with four minutes to go on a Jerryd Bayless (17 points) triple. It eventually got to three before LeBron (30 points) hit two free throws and then had a breakaway tomahawk. The Heat (wearing their dope Floridians unis) didn’t need much from their supporting cast. LeBron missed out on a 26th-straight game with 15/5/5, but he still had 30 and nine. Even though he STILL doesn’t have a triple this year, Dwyane Wade finished with 25, and had yet ANOTHER block on a seven footer, this time on our man Aaron Gray. The bench didn’t matter in this one, but eventually it will. And where is Shane Battier? 236 players have attempted at least 95 shots this year. Among them, Battier ranks 235th in field-goal percentage … DeRozan (25 points) was rushing through the door of the Heat’s defense all night, and had one powerful dunk where he went right over three defenders and still finished the play despite getting hacked by all three … James Johnson also had a ridiculous smash on Joel Anthony in the opening minutes … Random stat of the day from ESPN’s Jeff Caplan: the Mavs have 14 baskets and 17 turnovers in the last three third quarters … And which one of y’all had the best Super Bowl party? Did you have Tyra Banks, Gheorghe Muresan, talking puppets and ping-pong at your spot? Probably not. We’re still taking Lil’ Penny‘s bash over anyone else’s … We’re out like Battier’s game.

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  • catdaddywhack

    Whatever ‘attitude’ was in Memphis, Battier didn’t bring any of it to Miami.

    and what’s up with these players from Duke? they seem to age fast and lose their game even faster than the average player… short quality bball careers… g hill, brand, bad porn, battier… early warning for cleveland…? lol

  • Ceasar paciotti

    Yes we can!!!!! Big up to those giants of ny fame. We did it again
    No love for beiber, as soon as I give him a pass he goes right back to his effeminate ways. Green light on him.

  • beiber the bounty hunter

    Where have all the 2 guards gone? After Kobe and Wade there’s a huge drop off talent wise.

  • K Dizzle

    Prolly cuz they all still gettin they feet wet or on the come-up:
    James Harden
    Nick Young
    Iman Shumpert
    Wesley Johnson
    Evan Turner
    Wesley Matthews
    Marshon Brooks
    Jordan Crawford
    OJ Mayo
    Monta Ellis
    Alec Burks
    Gordon Hayward
    Tony Allen
    Tyreke Evans
    Arron Afflalo
    Danny Green
    Courtney Lee
    Vince Carter(……jokin……)
    Eric Gordon
    Gerald Henderson
    Demar Derozan
    Paul George
    Daniel Gibson
    Xavier Henry
    Thabo Sefalosha
    Wayne Ellington

    Class dismissed…

  • Balls

    Balls

  • heckler

    @ Dime–

    that is an AMAZING stat.
    LeBron James had TWENTY FIVE STRAIGHT games of 20-5-5?!!?

  • ERIC

    Bron missed out on *15/5/5 not 25/5/5..

  • heckler

    @ Bieber–

    2 guards have now gotten old. or are no longer in the league.

    Vince Carter
    Manu Ginobli
    Richard Hamilton
    Ray Allen
    Brandon Roy (retired due to injury)
    Jason Terry
    Joe Johnson
    Allen Iverson
    Tracy McGrady (or is he a SF this week?)
    Ben Gordon (is he still in the league?)

  • http://www.zwani.com/graphics/funny_pictures/images/88funny-pictures128.jpg JAY

    beiber:
    “Where have all the 2 guards gone? After Kobe and Wade there’s a huge drop off talent wise.”
    Great point. Look at the centers too.

    …and we have people arguing that we’re in the most talented era ever. Silly.

  • the truth

    ^^^true

  • http://ufl.edu Big Freeze

    Just heard that Stat’s brother died in car wreck in Florida. Sad stuff.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Austin Burton

    The centers didn’t go anywhere. They’re just playing power forward now.

    Think about it: Back in the Golden Era for centers (I’m talking late-80s to mid-90s), you had your star centers like Ewing, Robinson, Hakeem, Mourning, Shaq, Daugherty, etc. … and they were flanked by no-name or non-star power forwards who served as enforcers and rebounder/defenders.

    The only thing that “happened” to the true center is that he got more range on his J, learned to handle the ball better, and now he’s playing power forward. Garnett, Dirk, Duncan, Pau Gasol, Bosh, Kevin Love, etc. … back in the day they all would’ve been playing center but now they play the four. And they’re flanked by no-name centers who are only asked to rebound and defend and (as much as you can do in 2012) act as enforcers.

  • http://www.zwani.com/graphics/funny_pictures/images/88funny-pictures128.jpg JAY

    @AB
    I made that argument here last year and got laughed off the board. Lol. My argument was that the centers started playing PF when Shaq got to the league. Coaches did not want their guys guarding Shaq so they moved their Cs to PF…
    …some suckas in here called me crazy. Shaq scared the shit out of coaches at the center spot.

    And to revisit my argument with ABs point in mind…. take all the PFs who should be playing center and move them back to center… now look at the PF position.
    “…and we have people arguing that we’re in the most talented era ever. Silly.”

  • beiber the bounty hunter

    I can see the lack of centers because you’re meant to be around 7′, but a decent 2 gaurd should be easier to find.

    K Dizzel, Tyreek Evans is the only one I can see who may grow into a great 2 guard. The others will just be ok/good.

  • catdaddywhack

    @ rational beiber

    good one. agreed. not just current talent but a huge drop off in future talent as well.

    We were too busy arguing MJ-Kobe for too long that nobody saw it coming. Enjoying 2 eras of the ‘GOATest’ SGs back-to-back, topped off with Clyde, Ray, Reggie, TMac, Wade, AI, Manu, etc made us spoiled rotten, we almost didn’t notice 2-guards were on the decline.

    It’s now the Age of the Point Guard… and New York is under recession.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Austin Burton

    @JAY — Exactly. Whereas we used to have Hakeem at center flanked by Otis Thorpe, today your “Hakeem” role is played by Kevin Garnett and Thorpe is played by Kendrick Perkins or whatever random guy was playing next to KG in Minnesota. And so using that argument, the guys who really stand out at center in 2012 (Dwight, Bynum, etc.) appear WAY better than their comp in the same way that Barkley and Malone and the few superstar PFs of the ’80s-90s shined against their comp.

  • http://www.zwani.com/graphics/funny_pictures/images/88funny-pictures128.jpg JAY

    I wanna say I agree, AB, but there were more PFs back then compared to today’s Cs. Alongside the aforementioned Barkley and Malone you can also throw in Kemp, Webber, Rodman, Larry Johnson, DC, TD and a handful of others.
    We can do a legit top 10 PFs list for the 80s. We can do a legit top 10 PFs list for the 90s. Can we make a LEGIT top 10 Centers list for today?? The only way to make it a legit list is if you started including the PFs who should be playing center. But then if you do that, the PF list is shortened to just a few players.

    My point is, back then PFs were still power forwards… in the same era with dominant centers. It’s not like they moved some PFs to C. It’s a little bit different.

  • catdaddywhack

    So this is also the Golden Era for Forwards… going through an identity crisis?

    Beasley, Horford, Iggy, Odom, Bargnani, Amir, Josh Smith, Daye, Yi, Jeff Green, Derrick Williams, Wesley ‘cant Snipe’ Johnson, Evan ‘dont call me Eva’ Turner, Paul George ‘& Ringo’.

    Even the names are versatile. lol
    Too many tweeners. PFs can play center while others can play 3. They play C but shoot the three. Threes play PF in a small line up or slide to 2, set up teammates, post up, inside, outside, bring up the ball or shoot the 3. Etc, etc, etc…

    Too multi-this & that, they can’t decide which position to play, what job to do and where to focus. They try too much and/or do everything, sometimes they end up doing nothing. Lots of little things scattered all over and their stats sheet like a binary code table.

  • http://Www.thebridgeisova.com Chicagorilla

    @Jay

    Great point about the PFs. Im in the process of moving & I have to type from my phone/iPod so I can’t type much. Top ten PFs 80’s/90’s vs top ten Cs of today isn’t even close.

    But I do see the drop off in 2guards. Started when Tmac and VC went down with injuries. Then BRoy. Then Tyreke has been slow to develope. KMart and Eric Gordon have held it down but we need some college guys to come in and dominate.

  • catdaddywhack

    ***stat sheet ends up looking like a binary code table.

    dammit. just talking about it gets you mixed up. lol

  • silky

    going along with the 2 guard drop off is the lack of pure shooters. not alot of guys u can say today look at shooting as a craft, at least not how they used to. the league used to be littered with em; hornacek, allan houston, steve smith, rice, dell curry, hubert davis, thunder dan, drazen, dale ellis, ricky pierce, reggie, abdul-rouf ect… like those dudes used to be wet. now u might have a handful; curry, redick, morrow, jet, mo will and a holdover in ray ray.

    I guess the position is evolving to focus on athleticism and more broad abilities than a specialized skill. having the new breed come up thinking and1 and summer league is ball will make em focus on dunking and ball handling more than something as unglamorous as shooting- at least not to the point where it’s an art form

  • catdaddywhack

    Not much SGs in sight for about 2 yrs. Shabazz, Rivers, Ross, Lamb bros, Beal…

    Draft lottery has been dry of shooting guards the past few years.
    Since ’06, only a handful of ‘pure’ 2guards were taken in the Top 10 of each draft – Roy, Mayo, Gordon, Harden & DeRozan.
    Tyreke came after the success of the DRose experiment (converting undersized college SGs into great big PGs) and was drafted, played & won ROY as a PG until he was diagnosed with tunnel vision so he’s now a legit 2guard playing with a PG in sheep’s clothing.

    These days, most are deemed to versatile assigned to just one position and have slashes like F/SG, G/SF, PG/G SG/PG after their names. Jacks of all trades master on none.

  • catdaddywhack

    shit. too many posts. sorry for that. lol
    Things tend to go slow and boring after the super bowl.

    have a good one, cats. and before somebody accuses me of being beiber newz…

    I’m out like 2guards

  • http://www.dimemag.com Austin Burton

    @JAY — Point taken, but also consider that many of those top PFs of the ’80s/90s played with average centers, just like the top centers played with average power forwards. Kemp had Ervin Johnson. Rodman (in Chicago) was surrounded by average centers. Webber had a still-good but old Vlade.

    Basically, from the ’80s to 2012, teams generally have one star post player and one average/forgettable post player. Back in the day the stars were more often centers; today it’s more often power forwards.

  • UncheckedAggression

    It does seem like young center prospects are encouraged to develop skills that make them better suited for PF. The exceptions seem to mostly be guys that are naturally much better around the basket or simply don’t bother expanding their game in that way.

    Every time we see a guy dominating inside, one of the first criticisms you hear is, “they need to work on that midrange jumper.” Shaq was the most dominating big guy I’ve ever seen, and it wasn’t a problem at all that he didn’t have a midrange game. Obviously, not everyone can be Shaq. But there isn’t anything wrong with knowing your limitations and playing accordingly.

  • dagwaller

    I say the same thing every time this comes up, but here goes.

    Centers have not gone anywhere. The rules have shifted the focus from the paint to the (more entertaining?) perimeter.

    Zone defense, hack-a-(center) strategies, calling fouls on cuts to the hoop more often, etc.

  • control

    dagwaller is mostly right. The rules have changed so vastly, that to play center you pretty much just need to know how to be 7ft, get a rebound or two, and flop. In addition to that, because basketball has expanded so much, and kids are getting into it at such an early age, kids are working on the flashy shit straight from the start. Pullups, fadeaways and handling is pretty much all I see kids working on AT ALL. I’ve only seen two kids under 20 working on post up moves, or close to the basket finishing moves while alone in a gym, but I’ve seen 100s at least working on pull ups, half court shots, fade aways, dunks (if they are able to), handling/cross overs and even free throw shooting.

    Right now, basketball is suffering from the “AI Effect”. The current crop of players in the nba grew up watching his garbage, and it was so popular that it is all kids were working on for years. How to be a ball hogging moron who takes low percentage shots. That is why you don’t see very many low IQ European players, they weren’t inundated with that bullshit, they actually learned how to play as a teammate, and practiced their fundamentals. It affects a lot more positions than just center/pf, but the it’s one of the major reasons why the ‘traditional’ center is almost dead…

    How many people growing up studied and emulated Tim Duncan? Of pretty much all players I watched while learning the sport, I’d take his game, and his winning, over anyone’s…

  • EN FUEGO

    If kids and players alike all practice jumpers, threes, pullups and fadeaways, why the hell are most of them ridiculously aweful when it comes to shooting freethrows?

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    @ control – cosign. Of course, AI suffered from the “MJ” effect, and MJ suffered from the Dr. J effect.

    The problem is that not every NBA player, as talented as they are, are Dr. J, MJ, or AI.

    Although I’m getting away from the center discussion a little there.