The Indiana Pacers: Amare Stoudemire scored 49 points on 17-for-21 from the field and 15-for-15 from the line. Yeah, he was on fire...but shouldn't the Pacers have swarmed him with double teams? Or maybe put a hand in his face? Over half of Stat's shots were jumpers...and he was 7-for-11 from outside. He also had six dunks and four layups. So, you know, put "protect the rim" on the Pacers to-do list as well.
Pacers coach Jim O'Brien dismissed the idea that he should have instructed his team to double up on Stoudemire. "When you surround somebody, it's damned if you do, damned if you don't with Phoenix." True...but I would think that, at some point, you'd try to get the ball out of the hands of the guy shooting 80 percent. But what do I know?
A few thoughts on the Suns: People who thought the Phoenix offense died when Mike D'Antoni walked out the door were sadly mistaken. Their scoring is down a few points this season, but they're still leading the league (106.4). They're also shooting a blistering 55.2 percent from the field. And, according to John Hollinger's team statistics, their effective field goal percentage is just over 60 percent. By contrast, their opponents are shooting only 44 percent...which gives them a whopping 11.s percent differential in FGP. That's five percentage points higher than the next best team (in terms of differential), which is Boston (at 6.0).
There's a lot of season left to play, but the early results seem to indicate that Terry Porter's more disciplined approach is making the Suns an even more efficient team. Now if they could only do something about those turnovers...
Amare Stoudemire: Basketbawful reader Garron sent in this video (via Ball Don't Lie) of Amare Stoudemire flopping like a fish after getting brushed by Dick Diener's nephew. As Garron put it: "You are NOT allowed to have a major dunkage, go to the whole King Kong chest bump, then fly half the width of the court after a backup point guard touches you. 49 points was great for amare. Flopping, is not." Agreed.
Shaq: The Big Hacker only managed to stay on the floor for about 12 minutes due to foul trouble. He had 3 points and 3 missed free throws.
Maceo Baston: The second-round pick out of Michigan had a one trillion for the Pacers.
Sam Mitchell: I'm not a big fan of Sam's coaching, nor am I particularly impressed by his assessment of why his Raptors coughed one up at home to an undermanned Pistons team. "I don't think they did anything necessarily, we just couldn't guard their twos and threes." He's right! Now, if only they had a coach who could draw up some defensive schemes to stop that...
Jermaine O'Neal: The Drain had another rough night on the offensive end, scoring only 8 points on 3-for-10 shooting and committing a game-high 3 turnovers...only two fewer than Detroit had all night. His frustration became pretty obvious in the third quarter when he got called for a technical foul for ripping his headband off while arguing a non-call. After the game, O'Neal said: "I knew it was going to be a process but I didn't know I was going to be four games in and still looking for my rhythm. You want to do well, you want to dominate at your position, it just really hasn't worked out for me yet." It certainly hasn't. But then again, when was the last time the Drain was dominant at any position? Other than the "suck" position, that is.
Jason Kapono: Toronto's super shooter went 0-for-6 from the field and 0-for-3 from the other side of the arc.
Videotastic extra: From Basketbawful reader CW, via Ball Don't Lie: Allen Iverson, talkin' 'bout practice.
The Philadelphia 76ers: The Sixers got crushed 106-83 by the Miami Heat. Philly shot 37 percent (27-for-72) and committed 25 turnovers (compared to only 11 assists). Andre Miller was 3-for-8, Iggy was 1-for-7, Elton Brand was 4-for-10, and Kareem Rush -- who just a few says ago was complaining about a lack of PT and shots -- was 0-for-3 in his 12 minutes of lack-tion. Frankly, the Sixers were embarrassed by rookie Mario Chalmers, who had a franchise record 9 steals for the Heat. This team has not looked good in the early going.
Mark Blount: He had a season high in rebounds after only four minutes. He had 2. He finished with 5 boards and 4 fouls in just under 18 minutes.
Knicks versus Bobcats: From Basketbawful reader Will C: "I guess you've already seen this but in losing to the Knicks (ahem) last night, the Bobcats made a valiant effort to trump Dallas' double two trillion by coming heartbreakingly close to a TRIPLE THREE TRILLION! Linton Johnson provided an actual three trillion, Nazr Mohammed was 0-for-1 with no other contributions in three minutes, and Shannon Brown's three minutes contained...a personal foul. And nothing else. Wow. The Knicks had a four trillion of their own from Malik Rose, which might go some way to explaining why they were only able to beat Larry's Bobcats by three points. That and Quentin Richardson's 1-for-9, no-assist, six-turnovers 'performance.'" I have only one correction: Rose did not have a four trillion. He avoided that ignominy by committing two turnovers. You go, Malik!
His Airness: According to the game notes in the AP recap: "Bobcats executive Michael Jordan was seated courtside across from the Charlotte bench and enjoyed a first-quarter standing ovation." Yes, I'm sure the New York fans were very appreciative of how Jordan assembled a squad lousy enough for their team to beat.
D.J. Augustin: Brett from QueenCityHoops sent in this picture of Auggie going for a fistful of Chris Duhon's junk. Perhaps he was trying to uncover the secret meaning of the :07 seconds or less offense. The pic is from the The Charlotte Observer, by the way.
Kevin Durant: Fantasy owners who were expecting Durant to set the league on fire this season must be pretty disappointed so far. He's averaging 18 PPG on 41 percent shooting...a slight step down from last year's 20 PPG on 43 percent from the field. Even his puny rebound and assist numbers are worse. Last night, he was 6-for-15 from the field, which makes him 18-for-50 so far this season at his new home arena, the Ford Center. Way to give your fans a show, Kevin. Fortunately, those basketball-starved Oklahomans have no idea what they're seeing. They'd probably root for you even if you were chucking dirt clods at the basket.
Update! Basketbawful reader David made the following suggestion: "I propose the following watch for the season: Can Durant (6'9") average more rebounds than Nate Robinson (5'9")? Right now Durant is at 3.8 RPG and Robinson is at 4.3. Let the great experiment begin!" The people have spoken! The Durant Watch begins today.
The dreaded trillion [!!]: Basketbawful reader Mark L. wrote in with this tidbit: "Not sure if this is noteworthy or not, but the announcers in the OKC/BOS game are talking about Kyle Weaver not wanting to log another 'dreaded trillion' (as they put it) already this season." Eh? Could it be that NBA players have become aware of our favorite little statistical measure for awful? If so: Awesome. For the record, Weaver avoided the trillion by notching 1 board, 2 assists, 1 turnover and a foul in just under five minutes. For Weaver, that's a victory.
Nick Collison: Watch Paul Pierce just break the boy's ankles.
Now watch Nicky play a little (very little) matador defense on Rajon Rondo. The video's a little chewed up, but you should be able to make out Collison's whiff on the replay.
The videos were provided by Garron.
Minutes watch: Hm. Doc Rivers needed 39 minutes from Paul Pierce and 38 out of Ray Allen to beat the Thunder.
The New Orleans Hornets: They scored only 79 points in a home loss to the Atlanta Hawks. That's not exactly what the Big Easy expects out of their championship hopefuls. A special wag of the finger goes to Peja Stojakovic and his 3-for-13 shooting.
Chris Paul's backup: Mike James gave the buzzing bugs 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist and 1 turnover in 11 minutes. It was a signature performance, which should explain why CP3 is averaging almost 38 minutes per game right now.
The Chicago Bulls: It was a good news/bad news night for the Bullies. The good news is that Derrick Rose managed to dish out 7 assists, Ben Gordon caught fire (31 points on 11-for-19 shooting off the bench), and Luol Deng broke out of his slump to score 18 and snare 7 rebounds. The bad news is that the good news did little to alter the craplike play of the rest of the team. Thabo Sefolosha was 0-for-4 in 17 minutes. Andres Nocioni was 1-for-4. Captain Kirk Hinrich had his Phaser set to "suck" (0-for-5 shooting, including 0-for-3 in threes). Joakim Noah and Aaron Gray spent most of the game riding the pine. And Ty Thomas -- whom I can't look at without thinking "We could have had LeMarcus Aldridge, damn it!" -- scored 1 point (0-for-1, 1-for-2) and had 3 rebounds in 15 minutes. That one shot, by the way, was a 15-footer from the elbow. Oh, and he got two foul shots on a drive that should have been called an offensive foul (replays showed that Zydrunas Ilgauskas had pretty good position). Thomas is shooting 25 percent on the season, by the way.
Vinny Del Negro: I'm not impressed with the job he's doing. I can't figure out his rotation, and I'm not sure he has either. I also wasn't impressed by something he had to say in a pregame interview on Chicago Sports Radio a few days ago. When asked whether he calls plays or let's Rose run the show, Vinny said: "Well, I call most of the plays from the sideline. But on the other hand, I want Derrick to make his own decisions, because basketball is instinct." It might not read that bad in print, but on the air it sounded like a man who wasn't quite sure of himself or what he's doing. This was in marked contrast to the interviews Scot Skiles used to give. Skiles always sounded like he knew what was going on and was in total control of his players...even after they had clearly tuned him out. Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that I have to wonder whether Del Negro can instill his players with any confidence when he can't even do that to fans listening to him talk on the radio.
The Washington Wizards' free throw shooting: I guess they call them "foul" shots for a reason. The Wiz squandered a 14-point fourth-quarter lead and lost to the Bucks in overtime. I'm guessing the 17 [!!] missed free throws had soemthing to do with it (Washington was 34-for-51 at the line).
The San Antonio Spurs: The Los Oldmanos needed a 55-point, 10-assist, 7-rebound performance from Tony Parker to pull out a double-overtime win over the Minnesota Timberwovles. The same T-Wolves who lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday. Parker's career game and Tim Duncan's turn-back-the-clock brilliance (30 points, 16 boards) camouflaged a series of dreadful performances by Michael Finley (1-for-9), Matt Bonner (nearly achieved a six trillion), Bruce Bowen (3 points and 4 fouls in 33 minutes), the Fabulous Oberto (2 rebounds and 5 fouls in 30 minutes), etc. The only bright spot for this team is the continuing development of Roger Mason.
The Portland Trail Blazers: The Blazing Ones fell to 1-3 on the season by losing to the still Deron William-less Jazz...who are still undefeated this season even without their starting PG. They're playing hard, they just can't seem to get over the hump. Sadly, Greg Oden -- who was supposed to be their get-over-the-hump guy -- is still out with that foot injury.
Carmelo Anthony: He scored 28 points...on 30 shots. Not efficient. He and Allen Iverson didn't switch bodies before the trade, did they? Update! As Basketbawful reader Ari pointed out: "He wanted to score 44 to honor Barack Obama, instead he honored Woodrow Wilson. Oops. Maybe he shouldn't tell people about these things before he attempts it. That way, IF it happens, he can sound clever after the fact... instead of foolish."
The Los Angeles Clippers: Man oh man. Only the Clips could hold their opponent to 38 percent shooting and lose by 18. Oh, that cackling laughter you hear? That's Elgin Baylor.
Jason Hart: Only 10 seconds of PT...which means a Super Mario!
Luke Walton: Two and a half minutes, one missed shot, and zero-for-everything-else. A bargain at only $5 million a year! Speaking of five-million-a-year bargains, see Vujacic, Sasha.
Update! Wild Yams provided a little extra data on Luke's PT: "FYI regarding Luke Walton's brief glimpse on the floor and lack of contribution last night, he narrowly avoided a Mario due to the 22-0 run the Lakers had over a 6 minute stretch in the 4th quarter. Allow me to explain: the game was really close throughout and the Clippers were even up 2 points with 7:30 to go in the game, but for some reason Phil Jackson had subbed Luke in with about 25 seconds left in the 3rd quarter; however, when the 4th quarter started he was back on the bench and I remember thinking "he's in line for his second straight Mario with that appearance." However, when the Lakers scored 22 straight points to go up 101-81 with about two minutes to go, Phil "emptied the bench" (so to speak) by putting Luke Walton back in so he could avoid the Mario, and with his one missed shot attempt he managed to miss the three trillion as well.
"An interesting postscript to this is that after the game when Jordan Farmar was being interviewed by the TV crews, Luke Walton walked by and playfully bumped into Farmar. Farmar responded by saying "hey Walton, good job playing three minutes tonight." He was clearly just joking with Walton, but this then prompted a couple minute discussion with the TV guy about how people like Luke are adjusting to hardly playing at all. Awkward.
"At least the lack of PT for Luke Walton will presumably prevent the creation of any more stalkers, so he's got that going for him. Which is nice."
Sasha Vujacic: L.A. fans rejoiced when he re-upped with the Lakers for $15 million over the next three seasons. And Sasha has rewarded them the way Brutus rewarded Ceasar for their long and prosperous friendship. The Machine is currently shooting 31 percent from the field, 30 percent from Threeland, and 66 percent from the line. Last night's line: 3 points, 1-for-5, 2 rebounds and 1 foul in 11 minutes and 39 seconds. Say goodbye to your old spot in the rotation, Sasha. But don't worry. Jordan Farmar will be keeping it warm for you.
Brian Skinner: From Basketbawful reader Wild Yams: "Here's a video of Brian Skinner from the Clippers blowing a wide-open dunk against the Lakers tonight, which he then follows up by grabbing Derek Fisher in frustration or embarrassment." Well, in all fairness, Brian has a lot to be frustrated about. Still, watching him blow a dunk when there isn't anybody within five feet of him is pretty funny, and it has the added benefit of making Yao Ming feel better about himself. So, you know, win-win.