Portland Trailblazers: After two impressive homecourt wins against Dallas and Detroit, I wrote "I'm really excited about this Portland team." I must have stat cursed them or something, because the Blazers immediately lost their next four games by an average of 12 PPG, including last night's 101-92 loss to the Bobcats. Would Greg Oden have helped against the 'Cats? Well, let's put it this way: The Blazers got outrebounded 39-34 and their two big men -- LaMarcus Aldridge and Joel Przybilla -- combined for two rebounds and one blocked shot. Portland is now 0-7 on the road. Fortunately, they're about to start a four-game homestand that includes contests against the Nets, Kings, and Pacers.
Fun fact: The Knicks, Bucks, Hawks, Blazers, and Kings are a combined 0-25 on the road. If you're an NBA player and one of these teams comes to your town, you should be happy.
Kevin Durant: I know it seems like I'm giving this kid a hard time, but honestly, he's not playing very well. Last night he scored 11 points (on 2-8 shooting) to go along with 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 5 turnovers. Through 12 games, Durant's averages are 19.0 PPG (37% FG, 28% 3PT), 4.2 RPG, 1.8 APG, and five games in which he scored 20 or more points. I couldn't help but compare those stats to Adam Morrison's numbers through 12 games last season: 16.2 PPG (39% FG, 38% 3PT), 3.1 RPG, 2.3 APG, and four games in which he scored 20 or more points. Durant's team, by the way, is 2-10 and Morrison's team was 3-9. My point? There's not a very wide statistical gulf between how the two of these guys performed during their first month in the NBA, yet the perception is totally different. By this point last season, Morrison was already being viciously criticized for his misguided shooting and inadequate rebounding. Yet Durant isn't taking nearly the heat Morrison did, probably because his scoring average is closer to the all-important 20-point gold standard and, frankly, the things he does look spectacular, even when he's doing them poorly. I dunno, just feels a little double standardy to me.
Fun fact: Eddy Curry has 5 assists and 19 turnovers this season.
New Orleans Hornets: As recently as yesterday, the Hornets had the best record in the Western Conference. Yes, you read that correctly. But after a 95-88 loss to the Magic, they dropped to fifth. Actually, the Hornets probably would have won this game if not for injuries: Chris Paul, their leading scorer and assist man, didn't play due to a sprained right ankle, and Tyson Chandler, their leading rebounder, left the game early due to a hyperextended knee. So if you think about it, the Hornets probably did well to keep the game as close as it was. Then why am I criticizing them? I guess because Jannero Pargo, who filled in for Paul, led the team with 21 shot attempts. That just seems wrong to me for some reason. I mean, if you're coaching the Hornets, do you ever want Jannero Pargo taking 21 shots?
Fun fact: Tyson Chandler's middle name is "Cleotis."
New Jersey Nets: Jason Kidd wasn't happy going into this game, and you can be pretty sure he was even less happy afterward: He shot 1-9, committed 6 turnovers, and his team shot 35 percent en route to being routed by the Jazz, 102-75. The Nets are now 4-7, although, to be fair, they're playing without Vince Carter, who's "out indefinitely" with a sprained right ankle. Oh, who am I kidding? Vince Carter stopped caring about 1 second after he signed his contract extension. Actually, I doubt it even took that long. What's the smallest unit of time? An attosecond (one billionth of one billionth of a second) maybe? Or is it Planck time? Whatever, it doesn't matter. Kidd is pissed, Carter is apathetic, and the Nets' season will be ultimately meaningless.
Fun fact: Jason Kidd currently ranks 37th in field goal percentage (34.2 percent) among NBA point guards.