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Smack / Nov 6, 2012 / 1:10 am

New York Can’t Be Stopped; Kyrie Irving Beats Chris Paul In L.A.

J.R. Smith

J.R. Smith (photo. Rob Hammer)

Is it time we start taking New York seriously? We’ll have to wait until Amar’e Stoudemire comes back from his latest knee setback, and Carmelo Anthony gets pushed back to the three to see if this level of play holds up. But what else can we say? ‘Melo (21 points last night) has looked like he’s ready to finally embrace basic basketball principles like rebounding, defending and not holding the ball every time you touch it, and New York is getting contributions from everyone. The defense has been oddly aggressive – they were riding Jrue Holiday (17 points, eight dimes) all over the court last night – while Jason Kidd is playing like someone cloned his ’00 version and just added a few head wrinkles and 20 pounds of old man fat. Then you have people like Pablo Prigioni and J.R. Smith, who’ve oddly created an electrifying combination off the bench. It culminated last night during the second half when Pablo stole a pass, got out on the break and then left it for Smith, who came running in from out of nowhere to cram a one-hander. Then Smith (17 points) decided he wanted to take on the City of Brotherly Love by himself. He’s lucky he made it out of that one alive … We figured the Sixers would come out and win last night. That’s what a normal team would do. They got smashed on Sunday afternoon by these same Knicks, and then shockingly let it happen again last night, 110-88 … We’re not sure why Nick Young decided to set a record for “YOLO” shots last night, but his first quarter was a comedy of errors. One play in particular summed it up: he saved a bad pass that was going out of bounds in front of Philly’s bench. Now where everybody else in the league would look to make a pass before landing out of bounds, Nick Young caught the loose ball, spun and shot a corner three in one motion. It hit the top of the backboard. His night would finish with 12 points, one assist, one rebound, and 10 bad shots … Halfway through the third quarter, Brooklyn was beating Minnesota by 22 and had the white boys on the ropes with the T’Wolves on the second night of a back-to-back. But in the fourth quarter, the Nets succumbed to Joe Johnson‘s old Atlanta disease, turning the offense into a stand-around, isolation system. Johnson (17 points) missed a couple of easy shots in the lane. Deron Williams (18 points, 14 assists) had a key turnover, and shot a couple of long bricks. MarShon Brooks got blocked by Nikola Pekovic‘s (17 points) armpit. And Kris Humphries had his lunch stolen twice as Dante Cunningham ripped a couple of rebounds right out of his hands. On the other side, Alexey Shved made some jumpers, helped out by his more aerodynamic haircut, and Chase Budinger canned the backbreaker with about 30 seconds left: a weak side three-pointer where there wasn’t a white jersey within 10 feet, icing the 110-99 win … Indiana’s pathetic offensive showing continued in a 101-79 loss in San Antonio. It’s the first time in franchise history the Spurs have ever started 4-0 (that’s hard to fathom, isn’t it?), and they blew out one of the “better” teams in the East even though Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili combined for nine points on 4-for-17 from the floor. The Spurs’ reserves were whipping some nice passes around from the start. After they checked in en masse in the first quarter (the noise for Manu sounded like a Bieber encore), Manu had a nice curl at the free throw line where he caught a pass mid-sprint and one-timed it to DeJuan Blair (14 points, 11 rebounds) going baseline for a dunk. In the second quarter, Blair was stuck inside with nowhere to go when he flipped it with a half no-look to Kawhi Leonard, who had a date with the rim after running from the top of the arc … And in some related NBA news, Jonny Flynn signed in Australia after getting cut by Detroit. He’ll be the highest NBA pick to ever play in the NBL … Keep reading to hear about an incredible shooting night from Miami …

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