Tag:Game Changer
Posted on: December 8, 2010 11:22 am
Edited on: December 8, 2010 11:36 am
 

Game Changer 12.8.10: Elbow trouble

Dirk and his elbow, surprising guards, and Monroe exists, all in today's Game Changer.  Posted by Matt Moore

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: David Lee STILL HAS ELBOW PROBLEMS

While the Dallas bench was doing its thing , the Warriors managed to stay in this one with turnovers leading to fast breaks. Or, basically, your standard Warrior plan of attack. But when the Mavericks absolutely had to get buckets? They turned to Dirk Nowitzki. Either with his elbow, or at the elbow.

Example A:



What you'll notice here is that Nowitzki's able to create space with his shooting elbow, which is kind of insane. It's the post-fake that gets David Lee shook trying to recover, but on the step-back through, he brings that elbow up and through, with his forearm creating kind of a stone wall between Lee's recovery attempt and a block. Granted, Nowitzki being seven feet tall helps quite a bit, but that perfect elbow placement is part of it.

Example 2: 



And again, we see Nowitzki stepping back into Lee, freezing him. By the time Lee recognizes what's happening, Dirk's elbow is already in place, again, creating a barrier between he and Lee. You've got to body Nowitzki in order to defend it, and bodying Nowitzki means you're probably fouling him. This is why he's Dirk.

And finally, in crunch time:



Forget for a moment that Jason Terry successfully screens two Warriors defenders. When Nowitzki receives this pass, he's at that elbow sweet spot. But he doesn't have to disturb his placement at all when the pass comes in. The movement is one fluid process. Step out to receive the pass, catch the ball, swing the other leg back to square up, rise, and release.

Perfect.

You know what keeps Dirk Nowitzki as good as he is at 32? Precision. 

GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:

Josh Smith: 34 points on 14-16 shooting, 7 assists, 3 rebounds (weird), 1 steal, 2 blocks in 38 minutes.

Runners-Up:

Luis Scola: 35 points, 12 rebounds, 1 block

Pau Gasol: 21 points, 14 rebounds, 8 assists

WHAT YOU MISSED: 

SURPRISING GUARDS SURPRISING

Some underrated guards had a few nice games last night:
  • D.J. Augustin has developed a solid sense of when to pull up for a three. A lot of guards are unsure and are constantly trying to figure out when to shoot and when not to. Augustin though, has a good sense of when the defense is sagging and when the shot is in the flow of the offense. He doesn't leave his rebounders out to dry while they're trying to establish position. 
  • Kyle Lowry has been pretty ridiculous lately. His three-point shot, which has been pathetic until this season, has all of a sudden started dropping. His perimeter speed is creating a fair amount of steals and in transition he's becoming quite the guard. With Aaron Brooks on the shelf, the Rockets are getting back into contention, slowly but surely, because of Lowry's particular abilities. 
  • Devin Harris struggled with his shot last night, but he did manage to run the offense reasonably well. He understands Lopez better than any other player in the league and has an innate sense of where the offense runs. 

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Stephen Curry has a ridiculous set of fakes to his arsenal, particularly while on the move with the ball. He's got fakes within fakes within fakes. Last night he used about five of them on a baseline drive that absolutely froze Shawn Marion, allowing an easy reverse under the basket.

Greg Monroe is alive! 7 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks for the young'n which isn't much, but he also looked more confident in 25 minutes against the Rockets. Good signs for a Pistons team that needs some element of hope.

Luis Scola has a remarkable ability to shoot directly from wherever he lands on an offensive rebound. He snares the ball, then goes right back up in a hook.
Posted on: December 7, 2010 11:28 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:20 pm
 

The Game Changer: Heat win, Rudy hammers

Rudy Gay throws down a hammer, LeBron James makes a poster, a Los Angeles Clipper hits a 70 footer and the Miami Heat take care of business on the road. Posted by Ben Golliver

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: MIAMI HEAT TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS

If the Miami Heat keep this up, we might actually have to give them some credit. Man, I hope that doesn't happen. The Heat got a solid, although not spectacular, road win on Monday night, dropping the Bucks in Milwaukee, 88-78.

Nobody on the Bucks could buy a basket, save reserve forward Corey Maggette, who finished with a team-high 20 points, and the Heat did a solid job of protecting an early lead during an even second half. There were a few highlights (see forward LeBron James starring in one of the prettiest below) but the low-scoring nature of the game and Miami's sloppy play (18 turnovers) put a premium on sharing the ball (20 assists on 35 field goals) and controlling the boards (48 to 35 advantage), and the Heat managed to do both.

Milwaukee, which drops to a disappointing 7-13 on the season, is really under-performing so far this year given the playoff-quality talent on their roster. But taking care of underwhelming, lesser-talented teams on the road is what everyone expected of these Heat, and they came through without too muck flak on Monday. The Big 3 formula sparkled again, combining for 58 of Miami's 88 points, plus 32 rebounds and 12 assists. Those numbers represent an absurd percentage of Miami's offense, and clearly Milwaukee had no answers for their collective athleticism.

The Heat improve to 14-8 on the season, and continue their road trip on Wednesday against the Utah Jazz, who will provide a more formidable test in an even more hostile environment than the Bradley Center.

RUDY GAY HAMMER:

This dunk came near the end of a road loss to the Utah Jazz, but Memphis Grizzlies wing Rudy Gay reminded everyone why he has been a Slam Dunk Contest participant in the past.

GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:

After hitting for 30 and 30 earlier this season, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love went off on the New York Knicks once again, taking home top honors Monday night.

Kevin Love:
33 points, 15 rebounds, three assists, one steal on 10-18 shooting in 42 minutes in a road loss over the New York Knicks.

Runners-up...


Josh Smith
:
19 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, one steal, four blocks on 9=17 shooting in 40 minutes in a road win over the Orlando Magic.

Carlos Boozer : 29 points, 12 rebounds, one assist, one steal on 13-21 shooting in 36 minutes in a home win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

DON'T MISS:

WHIMSY:

Sometimes you don't need to dunk on an opponent to make a poster. Miami Heat forward LeBron James demonstrates this fact against the Milwaukee Bucks.

lebron-james-poster

WHIMSY II:

No, this isn't a photoshop.

FROM WAY DOWNTOWN:

Here's Los Angeles Clippers wing Ryan Gomes nailed a 70-footer at the first half buzzer, only it was a hair late and didn't count. The Clippers beat the Sacramento Kings anyway, 98-91.

Posted on: December 6, 2010 12:39 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:15 pm
 

The Game Changer: Blake Griffin beasting

Blake Griffin is a game changer, a fight in Portland, big nights for a familiar pair in two different cities, and a lot of questions circling in New Orleans about the future of the HornetsPosted by Ben Golliver

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: BLAKE GRIFFIN IS BEASTING

Normally, when we write in this space about a "game changer," we're talking about a single game. Today, we'll talk Blake Griffin, who is starting to demonstrate on a regular basis that he has the ability to change the entire NBA. Too big, too fast, too bouncy, too agile. He's everything at once, and more. As a rookie, Griffin is averaging 20.6 points and 11.8 assists through the first quarter of the season. He's been coming on as well, putting up 23.6 points, 13 rebounds and 3 assists over the last 11 games. That production hasn't translated to many wins for a young Los Angeles Clippers, but there's no question that he's doing his part, throwing down ridiculous dunks, putting on absurd displays of athleticism on a nightly basis and guarding just about anyone his team asks him to, switching out on perimeter players in pick-and-roll situations without a second thought. The pre-game buzz on Sunday in Portland was that there was a potential all star power forward taking the court, and it wasn't LaMarcus Aldridge of the Blazers. Griffin indeed dominated the match-up, putting up 21 points, 15 rebounds, two assists, two steals and just one turnover in 40 minutes of play. Most impressively, he got to the free throw line 16 times, fouling out Aldridge in the process (although he struggled to deliver at the stripe). Aldridge finished with four points, five rebounds, one assist, six fouls and just 2-10 shooting, a relative non-factor in his team's ability to finally end their six-game losing streak.   
Afterwards, Griffin didn't want to hear any all star potential talk, especially after the loss. "I don't know. No," he said in response to whether he's allowed the thought to enter his mind. "I'd much rather be on a winning team. I've got a lot of work to do before I get to that level." All star or not, Griffin is seeing his game progress after missing all of last season with an injury. "[My game] a lot better. I feel like I'm in a rhythm. Some games are better than others obviously. The key is just to limit those bad games and keep improving at the same." He also said his struggles at the free throw line -- he finished 7-16, and bent over while at the stripe, mad at himself -- are a point of emphasis. "It's frustrating whenever you miss free throws like that. The thing is I know I can make them, I've just got to do it." The Clippers dropped the game, but Griffin was glad to see how his teammates handled a chippy second half (video below), which included a flagrant foul 2 for his teammate Brian Cook and numerous technical fouls. "I thought we handled it well. We had guys stick up for our teammates. That's what you like to see. I just think you've got to keep that attitude, you can't let people punk us. I'm not saying that's what Portland was trying to do, but we can't back down from anybody." And really, Blake Griffin backs down from no one, because he's too busy sailing over the top of them.

GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:

Let's reunited these two for a night, for old time's sake.

Steve Nash: 20 points, three rebounds, 17 assists, two turnovers on 8-8 shooting in 30 minutes in a home win over the Washington Wizards.
Amar'e Stoudemire: 31 points, 16 rebounds, two assists, one steal, two turnovers on 12-24 shooting in 38 minutes in a road win over the Toronto Raptors. Runner-Up...

Stephen Curry
: 39 points, one rebound, six assists, two steals on 14-20 shooting in 46 minutes in a road loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

DON'T MISS:

VIDEO CLIP MADNESS:

Here's a video look at the throwdown in Sunday night's game between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Los Angeles Clippers. Clippers big man Brian Cook shoves Blazers center Joel Przybilla out of the air during a dunk attempt at the rim, causing him to come crashing to the ground. A scuffle ensues, with Clippers guard Baron Davis and Nicolas Batum exchanging words and bumps. Przybilla and Clippers big man Craig Smith also went back and forth. Cook was issued a flagrant foul 2 and was immediately ejected. The other four were issued technical fouls.

 

The scene was very reminiscent of the exchange between the Miami Heat and the Washington Wizards last week, which led to the ejection of Wizards center Hilton Armstrong.

WHIMSY:

The Raptors lost, but new guard Jerryd Bayless, acquired from a trade in New Orleans, is flying in to the rescue, here to provide excitement and hope. Bayless finished with 23 points, seven rebounds, and six assists in 27 minutes off the Raptors bench in a home loss to the New York Knicks.

jerryd-bayless

FINAL THOUGHTS:

To add an insult on top of all the questions that are swirling about the franchise's future in New Orleans, the Hornets got trucked by the San Antonio Spurs, 109-84. Brutal day.

Posted on: December 3, 2010 11:24 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:13 pm
 

The Game Changer: All LeBron, All the Time

LeBron James and the Miami Heat took it to James' former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Here's your roundup.  Posted by Ben Golliver

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: LEBRON JAMES, MIAMI CRUSH CLEVELAND

The fun-filled run-up to Thursday night's Miami Heat vs. Cleveland Cavaliers was a better show than the game itself, as Cleveland fans delivered their vitriol with far much acumen than the Cavaliers delivered buckets.

The Heat were runaway winners, 118-90, and it was just as uncompetitive as the scoreline indicates. LeBron James ran rampant over his former team, scoring at will, jawing at the Cavaliers bench, and soaking in the boos for maximum effect. He enjoyed his day in the sun, clearly.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT:

There was only one stat king Thursday night.

LeBron James
: 38 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, +26, on 15-25 shooting in 30 minutes.

Runner up...


In a game no one (comparatively) watched, Golden State Warriors guard Monta Ellis went off in a big way.

Monta Ellis
: 38 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, on 16-27 shooting in 48 minutes.

The Warriors fell to the Phoenix Suns, 107-101, at home.

DON'T MISS:

  • Ken Berger: "And there was that chasm, that disconnect, perfectly described. It is why LeBron and his fans -- his hometown -- still don't really understand each other, and never understood each other as well as the fans thought. That, and the simple fact that LeBron again refused to apologize for the part of this that was his fault: the obnoxious way he left, on national TV, failing to understand that fans don't think like athletes."

WHIMSY:

Cleveland Cavaliers fans pulled out all the stops on Thursday night, making dozens of creative signs and t-shirts to mock LeBron James. Check out the full LeBron James shirts and signs photo gallery right here .

lebron-james-sign

VIDEO:

LeBron James answers to one man, and one man only: himself. Here's James' personal highlight of the night: throwing up his pre-game chalk cloud as the boos in Cleveland pour down. 

FINAL THOUGHT:

The Cavaliers informed the media that there was one arrest, four ejections, 12 confiscated T-Shirts and 24 confiscate signs over the course of Thursday night. Source: Sun-Sentinel .

Posted on: December 2, 2010 11:40 am
Edited on: December 2, 2010 11:47 am
 

The Game Changer: A lot happened last night

Posted by Royce Young

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: BOOZER RETURNS, ORLANDO DOESN'T CARE

The Bulls were just coming off some of the best basketball of their season. They were returning home after a great road trip and were hosting one of the top teams in the East. They were ready to say something and to do so, they were finally getting the services of their biggest offseason acquisition.

Carlos Boozer was back.

Problem was, the Orlando Magic didn't care. They had business to take care of. And take care of business they did.

The Magic plowed the Bulls 107-78 in a game that wasn't really ever close. Even after the first quarter when it was 28-22, it felt like the Bulls were just hanging on. Orlando dominated everything. They outrebounded Chicago 44-21, (only 21 rebounds for Chicago!), hit 49 percent from the field, went 10-21 from 3, only missed one free throw and got 81 points from their starting five. One guy didn't stick out for the Magic. It was just a total team beatdown.

So maybe the Bulls aren't quite ready yet.

But how did Boozer do? In 22 minutes he went 2-5 for five points and two rebounds. It wasn't really the kind of game though where Boozer could make much of an impact though, so I wouldn't judge anything based off it. However, if you're looking for a crazy stat of the night, how about Joakim Noah - the league's second leading rebounder - not grabbing a single rebound in 25 minutes?

GO-GO-GADGET LINES

Tough to really single anyone out on this night with a number of big nights across the league. Russell Westbrook was an assist away from a massive triple-double as he went for 38 points, nine assists and 15 rebounds.

Westbrook's teammate Jeff Green had a career-high 37 on 12-21 shooting and 4-5 from 3.

Deron Williams went for 16 assists with ZERO turnovers. Impressive. Most impressive.

And Blake Griffin of course had another massive game, dropping 31 points with 13 rebounds.

CLIPPING ALONG

I went back and forth the entire fourth quarter. Are the Clippers really beating the Spurs, or are the Spurs just playing that bad? After watching Antonio McDyess brick a jumper that may have dented the backboard, Manu Ginobili airball an open 3 and Tim Duncan make two bad passes in traffic, I leaned toward the latter.

But then I watched Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon and even Baron Davis take over late in the game and close things out. So while it was probably a combination of the Spurs poor play and the Clippers doing well, I think the lesson here is to take that despite the still horrid record, these Clips aren't rolling over for anyone.

Griffin posted another stellar night, dropping 31 points, 13 rebounds and four assists, Eric Gordon had 21 points on 8-17 shooting, but it was really Davis who in his return, made the difference. In just 23 minutes, Davis had seven points and 10 assists, and really controlled his young team down the stretch against the veteran Spurs.

Still, it helped that San Antonio shot just 35.6 percent from the floor and missed 21 3-pointers. But that doesn't mean this Clipper win should be overlooked. In a week, the Clips have beaten the Hornets, who at the time owned the league's best record and now the Spurs, who currently sit atop the league. Granted, this makes L.A. just 4-15, but I get a Thunder-ish feeling from these guys. They're young, hungry and learning. They're working hard, have talent and given time, may start figuring out how to win.

Plus, having a piece like Blake Griffin in place helps quite a bit.

ONE OTHER THINGS FROM THAT SPURS GAME

Interesting note: Gregg Popovich sat Tony Parker for the entire fourth quarter, instead playing George Hill. Parker, who was healthy, didn't appear happy on the bench about it. Weird.

GRIFFIN (ALMOST) SMASH

LOTS OF FREE HOOPS IN JERSEY

There were 12 games in the NBA last night. All of them took the traditional 48 minutes to settle the final score. Except one. It took 63 minutes.

The Thunder and Nets played a triple overtime classic Wednesday with Oklahoma City eventually emerging as a 123-120 winner. The last 15 minutes and 1.5 seconds were an entire game in itself.

First, Anthony Morrow hit an awkward 3-pointer to send the game to OT. Then in the first period, the Thunder fought back to even get it to the second frame. In the second overtime, the Nets held a three-point lead with 6.2 seconds left. But an ill-advised Stephen Graham foul on Jeff Green as he was shooting a 3 (which rimmed in and out) put Green on the line where he coolly hit all three freebies. Third OT.

That's when Russell Westbrook took the game over. In the third extra period, Westbrook scored all 13 of OKC's points, two shy of the NBA record for points in an OT.

Kevin Durant sat the game out with a sore knee, so his two buddies picked up the slack. Westbrook finished with 38 points (21 after regulation), a career-high 15 rebounds and nine assists and Green had a career-high 37.

THE Lakers ARE GETTING GOOD AT LOSING

Matt Moore wrote on the Lakers losing a fourth straight and here's a juicy part:
The other trend that the 4-game streak omen is up against? Phil Jackson has never failed to complete a 3-peat. Given the fact that LA has five months to get it right, Andrew Bynum returns in a few weeks, and this team could not care less about the regular season and they're still only losing these games by a handful of buckets, we should probably bet on the latter trend holding up.

But it still should be noted that the Lakers right now? They're not very good at all.

WHIMSY

I was sent this picture yesterday by someone and it must be posted. It's titled, "Jazzketball."


PARTING THOUGHT

The Heat beat up on a bad team yet again, whooping the Pistons 97-72. But commend the Heat for not losing focus the night before the biggun against the Cavs tonight. They dominated from the opening tip and held every Piston starter out of double-figures.

The high scorer for the Heat was LeBron with 18, but really, this game was about the suffocating defense and not who scored what. If we could only figure out why they can't do this against good teams with good players.
Posted on: December 1, 2010 1:11 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2010 1:11 pm
 

Game Changer 12.1.10: Kobe won't put down the gun

Posted by Matt Moore

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: Lakers drown in a pool of Kobe


Kobe Bryant shot 9-25 last night, and given the chance, I'm pretty sure he'd shoot 18 of 50. For whatever reason, Bryant is unable to comprehend that more and more there are nights where he "doesn't have it" and continues to keep shooting the Lakers out of games, despite the fact that their offense makes it nearly impossible not to produce when executed with any reasonable set of effort. Bryant got hot in the third quarter of this game, and then:





That happened. And then more of that. Generally, lots of that. But the bigger problem of course was LA's defense, as noted by Silver Screen and Roll :

The Grizzlies ' point total of 98 doesn't look like much out of context. That's just pace masking deplorable defense on the Lakers' part. The Grizzlies' 88 possessions were the fewest of any Laker opponent this year, and their 1.11 points per trip is well above the season average for the Laker D. The problems tonight were mainly on the perimeter. Derek Fisher was egregiously bad against Mike Conley , who burned him off the dribble over and over. When Conley didn't have the ball, Fish frequently wandered away from him for no apparent reason, leaving him wideass open to make 4-of-5 three pointers. Conley, who's no one's idea of an All-Star point guard, finished with 28 points on only 16 shots (including free-throw possessions). I'm sure I don't need to tell you that 28 is far and away Conley's season high.

Kobe Bryant 's defense wasn't much better. He looked utterly indifferent to competing at the end of the court. On numerous occasions he simply refused to guard Xavier Henry . Literally, all the X Man (no idea if anyone really calls him that) had to do was jog around a light screen or even just walk to a different part of the court, and Kobe wouldn't follow him. Henry came into this game averaging five points a night and finished with 12.

Xavier Henry's emergence was downright baffling last night. His shot release is something akin to a sideways-launched screwball with the release time of a short documentary film but last night it was falling. The Lakers gave it to him, trusting the rookie would fail. He did not.

The final two possessions of this game were downright baffling. Conley dribbles off a Marc Gasol pick, Gasol rolls, and Conley attempts to throw a lob pass over Pau Gasol. Conley was right with his decision, wrong with his execution, and Pau took it away with those long meaty paws. Fast break to Kobe, who takes O.J. Mayo into the lane, Gay comes over to help, Kobe hesitates, then jumps. O.J. Mayo is not a tremendously athletic "burster." He has great top speed but not great leaping ability. He jumped higher than I've ever seen him jump, forcing Bryant to kick out to Artest who had Rudy Gay close on him. Game over.

GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:


Amar'e Stoudemire: 35 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block


Runner-Up:
Danny Granger: 37 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block



FELTON, REDUX:


Raymond Felton has gotten it. Not "is starting to get it." He has gotten it. Amid his 21 point, 7 rebound, 10 assist, 3 steal performance in last night in a win over the Nets, Felton took a high pick from Stoudemire and rolled right. As the defense sagged baseline to cut off his approach, he bounce passed to Stoudemire who finished with a fury. It was Nash-like. It looked straight out of Phoenix circa 2006. And it's the precise kind of play that Felton needed to make earlier in the season that he's making now.

With Felton on an absolutely ridiculous binge as of late, the Knicks find themselves right back in the thick of things. Felton is never going to be Steve Nash, ever, ever, ever, but if he's a dirtier, sturdier, better defensively version of Steve Nash? The Knicks can go places, like a first round playoff entrance. And after a decade of failure, that's a huge start.

The Knicks are coming around and fast.

Josh McRoberts ALLEY-OOP. THIS IS NOT A TEST. JOSH MCROBERTS ALLEY-OOP


 



FINAL THOUGHTS:


Brook Lopez gave a commanding performance in a loss last night, the first time he's looked like himself this season. He had the mid-range short-J going, which is a huge part of his game.

Roy Hibbert again looked phenomenal, even though his dominance wasn't needed with Danny Granger destroying everything in his path.

Tim Duncan had a very Walton-esque (as someone described it on Twitter) triple-double with 15 points, 18 rebounds, and 11 assists. Golden State had no answer for anything the Spurs are doing and have really fallen back into their bad defensive habits of seasons past.

Tyreke Evans is not right. Maybe it's the ankle, maybe it's the attitude, maybe it's coaching, but he is simply not the force of nature he was last season. For whatever reason, moving him to shooting guard has not worked out. Even if he may not make logical sense at the point guard position, if your team plays better with him there, how can you argue against it until you get a better backcourt partner than Luther Head?
Posted on: November 30, 2010 11:28 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:06 pm
 

The Game Changer: Heat go .500 in November

The Miami Heat actually win a game despite a crazy flagrant foul, Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul duel in OKC, Andrei Kirilenko's hair does it again and Houston ... poor Houston.
Posted by Ben Golliver


Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: MIAMI HEAT BEAT Wizards, GO .500 FOR NOVEMBER

The Miami Heat stood out on a light Monday night of NBA action, and not just because everyone wanted to know whether coach Erik Spoelstra would make it through halftime without being fired. The Heat hosted the Washington Wizards to close their November schedule, and salvaged a .500 month (8-8) with a commanding 105-94 win.

Washington was without rookie point guard sensation John Wall, sitting with a sore right knee, so most of the luster on this match-up was lost before tip. In its place arose violence, as a series of chippy episodes cluttered the second half as Miami began to pull away.

The biggest single incident, without a doubt, came when Wizards forward Hilton Armstrong used both arms to shove Heat center Joel Anthony during a layup attempt, sending him flying through the air Matrix-style and leading to gasps from the crowd. Just take a look at Anthony's horrific flight. joel-anthony Watch out, below, Gilbert!

Heat forward Juwan Howard rushed to Anthony's defense, shoving Armstrong to the ground from behind as he attempted to check on Anthony's health. The sequence led to ejections for both Anthony and Howard. For video of the whole thing, click here .

Tensions continued into the fourth quarter as Wizards guard Kirk Hinrich and Heat forward James Jones got into an elbows-flying, double-technical incident. But, in the end, the bitter back-and-forth proved to be a sideshow. The Big 3 were all dominant, combining for 76 points, 23 rebounds, 12 assists, and six steals, shooting a combined 23-49.

Still not enough to be a quality team, but more than enough to beat an ice-cold Wizards team that shot just 3-17 from downtown. The win ensured that the Heat avoid finishing their first full month of the season with a losing record and buys coach Erik Spoelstra a brief respite from the piranhas circling for his job.

GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:

This race came down to the two point guards leading the charge during the game of the night, a spirited New Orleans Hornets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder slug fest that saw OKC escape, 95-89. Despite the turnovers, Westbrook takes home the honor due to his fearless shot-making to provide most of the winning margin.

Russell Westbrook
: 25 points, 5 rebounds, 11 assists, 5 steals, 8 turnovers on 9-19 shooting in 37 minutes in a home win over the New Orleans Hornets.

Runner-Up...

Chris Paul
: 17 points, 2 rebounds, 14 assists, 5 steals, 2 turnovers on 6-13 shooting in 35 minutes in a road loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

LOOK BEHIND YOU CHRIS!

By Royce Young

We call this thing here the Game Changer because every night, there are plays that change games and therefore, outcomes. And Jeff Green's chase-down block of Chris Paul qualifies.

Not completely though, because the Hornets scored four straight points after, putting Oklahoma City down eight. Yet the play energized a somewhat unusually sedate OKC crowd and fired up his team. Green came streaking from halfcourt to block Paul and erase an easy two points. CP3 is one of the fastest players in the league with the ball in his hands, yet Green didn't take the two for granted. He went and made a play.

The Thunder who had been struggling mightily in the third quarter, scored 11 points in the final three minutes of the third and closed the Hornet lead to just two. At that point, the game was up for grabs again and with an energized arena behind them, the Thunder held the Hornets scoreless on 10 straight trips in the fourth, going on a 13-0 run to secure a big 95-89 win.

Here's the block, plus postgame comments from Green talking about it.

WHIMSY:

When in doubt, search for pictures of Andrei Kirilenko's hair on Getty Images. It's like putting a Wayne's World wig on Mt. Rushmore.

ak47hair

FINAL THOUGHTS:

The Houston Rockets lost to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night, falling to 5-12. The New York Knicks are currently 9-9. Entering the season, not many would have guessed that Houston's own first round pick would wind up higher in the draft lottery than the pick owed to them by the Knicks. That's how it's shaping up so far.

Posted on: November 23, 2010 9:26 am
 

Game Changer 11.23.10: Spurs and ammo

Spurs and Magic have a classic, the Pacers show they're decent in dismantling a mediocre Miami team, and the Celtics take the Hawks to the shed in today's Game Changer.
Posted by Matt Moore


Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.  


THE BIG ONE: Spurs have one more round than Magic in shootout


San Antonio 106 Orlando 97 .

That's the final score but it doesn't even come close to descrbing A. how great this game was or B. how close this game was. It was a back and forth affair for the entire game, as neither team could shake the other one. Just as one team would seem to be pulling away, the other would respond with a flurry of offense. San Antonio would bruise their way to a lead, only to find the Magic creating turnovers, sparking the break, and dropping in three-pointers in transition. The Magic would burst their way into a lead only to find the Spurs settle down, get a bucket, then a stop, then Manu Ginobili Ginobili'ing his way with a knife to their heart. In the end, the Spurs had a few more bullets left in the gun and the Magic were unable to find an answer for Manu.

Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili combined to shoot 23 of 42, for 64 points, 13 rebounds, 21 assists, 5 steals, and 2 blocks. Guess Boston and Miami aren't the only ones with Big 3s. The efficiency with which the Spurs attacked was ruthless. In the third, Tony Parker got up to full speed and was using those wide curving pick and rolls to find Duncan, while Ginobili was using the deep wing picks for that step-back jumper he's gotten to like so much. It was a clinic in execution, and the Magic weren't far behind, with Dwight Howard forcing the issue and the Magic backcourt raining 3s. Combined the two teams hit 21 threes on 37 attempts which is just ridiculous. Matt Bonner came through with 4 big ones (4-4 from the arc) while Mikael Pietrus kept breaking up Spurs runs on his way to a 3-5 run from the perimeter.

Sharp defense, tough shots, fun basketball, a close game. This one was a beauty.

WHAT YOU MISSED: The Heat suck.


I torched the Heat for their lack of effort, cohesion, and heart.

Ken Berger spoke with Delonte West in a must-read interview about his experiences with bipolar disorder .


DEAD BEFORE THE SHIP EVEN SANK

Last night's Celtics-Hawks game was not a game. It was a mercy killing, only without the mercy. The Celtics owned the Hawks 39-13 in the first quarter, and it didn't feel that close. Boston simply could not miss. Sharp passes, smart playsets, intensity at both ends of the floor, attacking rebounds, and Nate Robinson doing his best Rondo Baron Davis when he was good impression, throw in the Hawks looking like they wanted to be anywhere but on the floor and Al Horford being physically dominated by Boston's size and you've got a recipe for Von Wafer to get a fair amount of time by the end of this one.

It was stunning, considering the Hawks swept the Celtics last year. But call it motivation over last year's flukes, or the Celtics' last fluke against the Raptors, or just the impact of a healthy Kevin Garnett, but this one was over with before the t-shirt guns had even been loaded. The Hawks continue to perplex as they look genuinely good and improved at times, and like roadkill in others.

Kevin Garnett looks not only like he's healthy, but like he's healthy like when he was 31. That's terrifying for the rest of the league.

YOUR DAILY "QUAKE" GRIFFIN NIGHTMARE DUNK:




GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:


Carmelo Anthony:
39 points (17-17 from the line), 9 rebound, 5 assists

Runner-Up:


Manu Ginobili: 25 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists

FINAL THOUGHTS:


The Hornets are 11-2. Which is great. But the last few games have shown some of their cracks in the foundation. Relying on Jason Smith to be a significant bench contributor isn't going to get it done. Neither is hoping Emeka Okafor stays as an offensive force. The bigger concern may be that Chris Paul has started looking flat-out tired at the ends of games. Him missing the game-tying assist to David West was nothing more than one of those that happens, but in general he looked lethargic down the stretch. Some concerns for the Hornets do exist, even at 11-2.

Last night's game perfectly illustrates why Boston fans get so frustrated with their team. They look so awesome when they consistently try.

The story from Indiana-Miami was the Heat playing terribly but the Pacers deserve a world of credit for getting Danny Granger going, and Brandon Rush took it to Dwyane Wade, which, injured or not, isn't an easy thing to do. The Pacers look like a solid playoff contender.

People will tell you that the Oklahoma City-Minnesota game was closer than the final score appears. And it's true the Wolves lead down the stretch. So maybe I'm just exhibiting confirmation bias when I tell you that I never had a doubt the Thunder would win that game. The Wolves have no idea how to execute in clutch situations most times, and Michael Beasley still does a lot of Michael Beasley-type things.

Houston loses. Again.


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