- The Season's Over -

Friday’s Box Score Breakfast, Featuring Another Rookie Triple-Doubling

February 26, 2010

Louis Williams Can PlayBy: Zachariah Blott

Darren Collison earns second triple-double for class of 2009: In a 107-101 victory over the Pacers last Friday, the Hornets’ rookie point guard went for 18 points, 12 assists, and 13 rebounds. This marks the the second triple-double of the season by a rookie (the only other being Stephen Curry’s 36-10-13 line from February 10th, unless you count DeJuan Blair’s effort on January 13th: 28 points, 10 offensive rebounds, and 11 defensive rebounds). As a starter during Chris Paul’s multiple absences, Collison is averaging 18 points, 8 assists, and 4 rebounds per.

Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings nearly did it on opening night with 17, 9, and 9. Sacramento’s Tyreke Evans has gotten close a few times and seemed to have the size, skillset, and opportunity to achieve the feat first. Congratulations Mr. Collison. Not too shabby for being the 10th PG selected in last summer’s draft, especially compared to this guy.

Remember the Sixers’ real point guard? Louis Williams, Philadelphia’s odd-man-out during the Allen Iverson fiasco (I believe this officially marks the third one in the last 12 months), was back in the starting lineup on Tuesday and Wednesday. In two road games, he averaged 23 points, 5 assists, and 7 rebounds per, along with 56% from the field (14-25) and 54% from deep (7-13). I know GM Ed Stefanski and Coach Eddie Jordan aren’t getting into Mensa any time soon, but Williams should never have been sitting behind the perpetual freak show and a rookie who is neither a good distributor or scorer.

Josh Smith blocks shots, forgets about cleaning the glass: Atlanta PF Josh Smith has a bit of reputation for lacking consistency and going for big plays instead of simple, helpful ones. Exhibit A is the Hawks’ February 19 loss in Phoenix. While Smith was able to dazzle with 4 blocks, he only grabbed 3 defensive rebounds (the easy ones), and 5 total. The Suns outboarded the Hawks 50-36.

Zachariah Blott cannot recommend Rick Telander’s “Heaven Is A Playground” enough.

Louis Williams Photo Credit: Icon SMI

No CommentsPosted by ETB Contributor on Feb. 26, 2010 at 10:57am in NBA

Ivan Drago Can Sing and Dance, Too

February 25, 2010

Dolph Lundgren: the performer who puts all other performers to shame. To Russia!

1 CommentPosted by Brian Spencer on Feb. 25, 2010 at 2:58pm in Miscellaneous

Two Point Guards are Better Than One in Chicago Bulls’ Starting Backcourt

February 25, 2010

Kirk Hinrich

Kirk Hinrich Photo Credit: Icon SMI

By: Zachariah Blott

With the trade deadline in the rearview mirror, we see that the Bulls have decided to hang onto Kirk Hinrich, the seventh-year point guard who’s been in a lot of trade talks of late. Many fans felt he was an expendable piece after Derrick Rose arrived last year, but on the contrary, the two PGs are together bringing the Bulls to new heights.

After rotating the two last year, with Rose starting and Hinrich backing him up, head coach Vinny Del Negro has been starting the two together for 2 months now, with staggering results. When both players are on the floor during the opening tip this season, which has been in every game since Christmas (minus one when Hinrich had the flu), the Bulls carry an impressive 20-9 record.

Before Christmas? The pair rotated for 21 games earlier this year, going 9-12 and headed straight for the lottery. Not only that, Hinrich missed 6 games around Thanksgiving, during which Chicago went a pitiful 1-5. It’s obvious that these two are working in tandem quite well… and if Del Negro has the good sense to keep them together, you might see a favorite or two in the East fall sooner than expected come playoff time.

How It Works

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that putting your two best passers in the game at the same time will increase ball movement. Since Del Negro has paired them up, Chicago’s ball movement has resembled that of Argentina’s post-Diego Maradona national teams.

Watch just a quarter of Chicago basketball and you’ll regularly see four, five, six passes during most possessions. The ball goes inside, it goes outside, there’s a drive and kick, a fake shot and a pass – it’s crazy. It’s like watching one of those teams at the YMCA made up of middle-aged guys who all know how to play the game. Their lack of athleticism should make them chum for the youngsters with expensive sneakers, but they end up beating three teams in a row with great passes, picks, and backdoor cuts.

The Bulls are simply moving the ball faster than opponents can slide their feet (remember your sixth-grade coach’s drills?), and they have a slew of quick and/or intelligent players who move well into cracks in the defense. Chicago has Hinrich and Rose whipping the ball around from all locations, and they have Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Brad Miller, and now Hakim Warrick using their know-how and hustle to open things up underneath or on the weakside. The result is an offense that creates a lot of opportunities from a lot of different angles.

More on Chicago’s PG revelations after the break…

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6 CommentsPosted by ETB Contributor on Feb. 25, 2010 at 3:15am in NBA

The New York Knicks Don’t Need the Draft

February 23, 2010

Mike D Antoni

Mike D’Antoni Photo Credit: Icon SMI

By Brian Spencer

Wholesale rebuilding via the draft often proves a fool’s errand in today’s NBA. Few teams who focus their intentions on the whims of bouncing ping-pong balls and lottery picks experience the dramatic turnaround they seek, and if they do, it’s often because of freak luck. (See Cleveland and LeBron James.)

Well-rounded franchises incorporate a balanced mix of free-agent signees, trade acquisitions, and draft picks. Work your way down the list of NBA champs, and you’ll see the vast majority of these elite teams followed this formula rather closely.

The Oklahoma City Thunder, a team clearly on their way up and likely heading to their first playoffs (as the Thunder) this season, is a rare exception of teams who’ve heavily, successfully, leaned on the draft to fortify their roster: their core of Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Russell Westbrook, and (eventually) James Harden were all lottery picks. In fact, the only players not drafted by this franchise that play a significant role in the rotation are Nenad Krstic and Thabo Sefolosha. They’re set to add to their core via the 2010 NBA Draft, too, with two first-round picks, though my guess is they parlay at least one of them into a player via trade. And even with all of this reliance on the draft, the Thunder will have ample salary-cap space this summer to pursue a veteran big man to solidify the starting lineup.

The New York Knicks, however, are doing just the opposite: they apparently don’t have much use for first-round picks, and are instead throwing their hopes and dreams into the free-agent market. It feels like they’ve been planning for this since the days of Larry Johnson, and GM Donnie Walsh better hope he delivers the two megastars he’s angling for because there’s no young help on the way.

Consider that dating back to 2005, the Knicks currently have David Lee, Wilson Chandler, and Danilo Gallinari to show for their draft picks; also consider how bad they’ve been since ’05, a fact which often translates to lottery-pick riches. Uh uh. Not for the Knicks then, and not for the Knicks for a few more years.

A quick recap of why they have and will have so few assets from the draft:

- Traded their 2004 and 2010 first-round picks to the Phoenix Suns 6 years ago in the trade that netted them Stephon Marbury, Penny Hardaway, and, of course, Cezary Trybanski. The Suns almost immediately flipped that 2010 pick to the Utah Jazz in a complicated deal involving yesteryear players Tom Gugliotta and Keon Clark; the Jazz are no doubt eager to finally cash in that investment, which should be a top-seven pick.

- Traded Jordan Hill, the eighth-overall pick of the 2009 NBA Draft, to the Houston Rockets.

- Houston will swap first-round picks with NY in 2011, unless the Knicks win the lottery.

- Houston also acquired the Knicks’ 2012 first-round pick (top-five protected).

We’re fans of Chandler and think he’ll be a nice complimentary player to the Knicks’ big free-agent signees, and Gallinari is flaunting one of the sweetest spot-up shooting strokes in the league. Both are fine pieces that came to New York via the draft; as for Lee, after his restricted free-agent fiasco last summer that ended in a one-year deal, I have a feeling the Knicks will be low on his priority list and that he’ll end up walking.

So can the Knicks do this with little help from the draft? Can they actually build a winner almost exclusively through free agency? If they coax LeBron out of Cleveland, and pair him with a Chris Bosh or an Amare Stoudemire, sure, why not. But if they strike out on James and/or Wade, and are forced to “settle” for the next-best options, it’s tough to see how this will work. We’ll see.

(For the record, our best guess as to who ultimately signs with New York this summer? Chris Bosh and Joe Johnson. Johnson makes too much sense, on many levels, and not necessarily in a good way.)

2 CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Feb. 23, 2010 at 4:17pm in NBA

The NBA’s Eastern Conference Playoff Push: Who’ll Be In, and Who’ll Be Out?

February 23, 2010

Miami Heat

Miami Heat Photo Credit: Icon SMI

By: Zachariah Blott

Like the West, the East has four clubs who have cemented themselves into the playoffs: Cleveland, Orlando, Boston, and Atlanta. The conference also has a ton of teams waiting to play the lottery, so only five squads have a legitimate chance at the final four spots: let’s take a look at that quintet of hopefuls.

5 – Toronto Raptors (31-24, 4.5 games ahead of 9th spot)
The Raptors are in the driver’s seat to make it, but there are a few problems facing them. For starters, they have eight back-to-backs remaining, and their record is much better than their Pythagorean W-L record of 27-28, which indicates they’ve caught a lot of breaks up to this point. On the flip side, Toronto has been on a tear recently, winning 10 of their last 12, and they have a comparatively easy April schedule to close out the season.

Verdict: In – If they can continue to play so-so defense, their better-than-so-so offense will carry them through.

6 – Chicago Bulls (29-26, 2.5 games ahead of 9th spot)
The Bulls also have plenty of statistical hurdles, namely a tough stretch to end the season (6 of final 7 opponents are playoff-bound/hopeful) and a 25-30 Pythagorean record, which could spell a slide. It might be sooner than later considering they have a difficult group of games coming up shortly, and they play eight more contests against teams over .600. Thankfully for them, 15 of their final 27 games are in Chicago. Additionally, Hakim Warrick is already a fan favorite compared to the always-unpredictable Tyrus Thomas.

Verdict: In – Rose and Hinrich are together working out nicely in the backcourt, so they should be able to weather their upcoming schedule. (More on Rose and Hinrich later this week.)

7 – Miami Heat (29-28, 1.5 games ahead of 9th spot)
Miami’s remaining schedule is an absolute cakewalk compared to everyone else’s. They have 15 more home games versus 10 on the road. They have just five more back-to-backs and play against only four more teams over .600, both lows for this group. Their final eight games are a joke (Nets, 76ers twice, Pistons twice, Knicks, T-Wolves, Pacers), and they’ve apparently underperformed up to this point, posting a Pythagorean W-L of 31-26. Dwyane Wade’s injury doesn’t look too bad, so hopefully there’s nothing to worry about on that all-important front.

Verdict: In – The Heat have the best chance to move up a spot or two.

8 – Charlotte Bobcats (27-27, 1 game ahead of 9th spot)
The final spot comes down to two defensive teams with no-nonsense coaches. Charlotte just picked up a pair of inside helpers on D (Theo Ratliff, Tyrus Thomas), but Thomas’ attitude could prove troublesome down the stretch. We’ll see. Thankfully they have a nice little run of scrub opponents in late-March, but also have eight more back-to-backs to contend with.

Verdict: In – Larry Brown and Stephen Jackson will lead them through the final two months. Yes, this is a coach-star duo that can get you there in the weak East.

9 – Milwaukee Bucks (26-28, 1 game behind 8th spot)
They’re right there, but there may be too much trouble down the road. Milwaukee has to face 10 more squads whose records are over .600, and they play in another eight back-to-backs. They might get ahead of Charlotte in early-March, but 7 of their final 9 games are against playoff teams/hopefuls. Brandon Jennings’ shooting has only gotten colder (32% FG since New Year’s), so he has to be a true floor general for the Bucks to make it through.

Verdict: Out – Bogut is a legit talent but not a fiery leader, and a rookie PG with inconsistent performances all around can’t be the lead ship.

Zachariah Blott cannot recommend Rick Telander’s “Heaven Is A Playground” enough.

2 CommentsPosted by ETB Contributor on Feb. 23, 2010 at 3:02am in NBA

Darko Milicic, the Multi-Million Dollar Crybaby, Has Nobody to Blame But Himself

February 22, 2010

Darko Milicic

“The self hatred that blinds you, binds you, grinds you, keeps you down,
The world falls down around you, you build up walls around you,
You wear disgust like a crown.”
- Rollins Band, “Low Self Opinion”

By Brian Spencer

There’s been no bigger punchline in the NBA over the past 7 years than Darko Milicic.

He’s one of the biggest busts in the league history, and he’s done little to help himself in the public-pity department as he’s skulked, moped, and complained his way through the rosters of five different franchises. Each of them at one point believed in him and in his potential to be the uniquely dominant player he was once billed as as a 17-year-old phenom from Novi Sad, Serbia. They all thought that all it would take to tap that supposedly limitless potential was some hands-on coaching, a few extra minutes, and the right situation.

Darko just needed some love, to feel wanted, and once he got it… watch out. This kid was going to be something special. Except, he wasn’t, he isn’t, and though still just 24 years young, we know he never will be.

It’s easy to pile on Milicic. He’s made few friends in the NBA, he’s wasted every opportunity that’s been gifted upon him (and there’ve been plenty), and he’s done all of it while sporting one of the most consistently biting, petulent, and accusatory attitudes we’ve seen in this league in some time. And that’s saying a lot.

So, believe me, I know you don’t need another writer to tell you how miserable Milicic’s NBA career has been; his resume speaks for itself and he’ll vanish from our daily NBA consciousness soon enough once he hops on that plane bound for home this summer. There, he’ll make millions of more dollars on top of what he’s already made, likely suiting up for a mid-tier European team, ideally one where he can be the big fish in a small pond and be told how great he is and how mistreated he was in the NBA during the prime of his youth.

Poor Darko. Poor. Fucking. Darko. If only… if only what?

Let’s not get misty-eyed and reflective about Darko Milicic’s NBA failure. He made his bed, he deserves to sleep in it. Nobody sunk Darko’s prospects except Darko. Not Joe Dumars, Larry Brown, and the Pistons. Not the Orlando Magic, not the Memphis Grizzlies, not the New York Knicks. This one’s on Darko and Darko alone.

More on Darko Milicic, and a surprising apologist, after the break…

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8 CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Feb. 22, 2010 at 3:24am in ETB Articles, NBA

A Fairytale Debut for Tracy McGrady in NYC

February 21, 2010

Tracy McGrady

Tracy McGrady Photo Credit: Icon SMI

By Brian Spencer

Give the fans what they want, Mike D’Antoni: they want Tracy McGrady.

Nearly 20,000 fans packed Madison Square Garden Saturday night with the Oklahoma City Thunder in town for their only visit of the season. That’s why we were there—to catch Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, et al. in action—and until the trade-deadline deal that landed former All-Star Tracy McGrady in New York, we thought that’s why a good chunk of other people would be there too.

This was unexpected. There was actually a buzz in the building, a real palpable sense of excitement and energy, and for once it was actually for a guy suiting up for the hometown Knicks. Not for Kobe Bryant, not for Carmelo Anthony, not for LeBron James (whom was represented by a handful of forward-thinking fans sporting customized James Knicks jerseys).

The loudest cheers, the impassioned chants, the standing ovations, the whole night all belonged to the discarded NBA superstar of yesterday, Tracy McGrady, who after sitting out all but six games for the Houston Rockets this season was scheduled to make his Knicks debut as the team’s starting shooting guard. The fans knew it, and they showed up in force to welcome him and again pin their immediate, if not long-term hopes on a player who’s better days are clearly in the rearview mirror.

Laugh all you want, but there’s not much else to cheer for until summer. Fan favorite Nate Robinson has been shipped to Boston, and as generally appreciated as David Lee, Danilo Gallinari, and Wilson Chandler are, none of them can individually or collectively motivate the long-miserable Knicks faithful to show more than a passing interest in the season’s final 28 meaningless games.

But with Tracy McGrady in Knicks’ blue and orange? Maybe GM Donnie Walsh is actually onto something here. Maybe he’s actually going to parlay this into a healthy boost to the Knicks’ rest-of-the-season ticket and merchandise sales. Short-term rental or not, Knicks fans are psyched about this guy: after the halftime break, from our seats alone I counted eight or nine people pulling on brand-new jerseys and t-shirts emblazoned with McGrady’s name and number. McGrady still, apparently, sells.

Devout fans of the NBA know why McGrady was acquired (salary-cap space) and in which stage of his career the 30-year-old is in (the final legs). But on our way to the game we agreed that there’d be thousands of people at the Garden who don’t know the score here. They saw the headline, they remember McGrady as a high-flying, boxscore-stuffing stud, and they can’t believe how little the Knicks had to give up to get him. In this simplistic view, they see the stars beginning to align over the corner of 34th Street and 7th Avenue: first McGrady (whom the Knicks will definitely resign this summer), then LeBron and Chris Bosh, then a string of championships. They’ve been waiting a long time for this, and finally, the waiting is over.

For one night, at least, those fans were right and I was wrong. McGrady was the last announced Knick starter, and the applause greeting him as he rose from the bench and trotted onto the court was deafening, sustained, and sincere.

We set a pregame over/under on total points scored by McGrady at 12 (I took the under), and he damn near had it after one quarter. He wasn’t nearly as dominating as his final line on the night hints at, but give him credit: he was active, aggressive, hustling, and confident. He was knocking down jumpers, taking it to the hole, finding open teammates, putting himself in a position to succeed. Whether you came into the game with low or high expecations, everybody left impressed, and in my case, surprised. There was no way I saw him logging 32 minutes, or finishing 10-17 for 26 points, 4 boards, 5 assists, 1 steal, and 3 turnovers.

The Knicks lost the game in overtime, 121-118, but while I’m sure the home crowd would have welcomed the win, few seemed to expect it, or to care much about it. During the overtime period, the chant reverberating around the arena weren’t “Let’s Go Knicks!” or “De-fense! De-fense!”: it was “We Want T-Mac! We Want T-Mac!”. After a few minutes, D’Antoni relented and gave them what they wanted.

Who knows how much longer the honeymoon with McGrady will last; it could be for a few more months, it could be for less than a week given the uncertainty of McGrady’s health and durability. For one night, though, the Knicks fans got what they wanted—a star to rally around—and the fading star got what he wanted too: to feel wanted again.

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Feb. 21, 2010 at 5:14pm in NBA

17th Annual Make-A-Wish Ultimate Sports Extravaganza & Auction Coming This Week

February 20, 2010

Make a Wish Foundation

Event Photo Courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida

We’re thrilled to once again play a small part in helping spread the word for a fantastic event hosted annually by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida.

For those planning to be in or around the Miami area this week, mark your calendars for Thursday, February 25, at 6pm for the Make-A-Wish Ultimate Sports Extravaganza & Auction, which will feature Miami Dolphins coaching legend Don Shula along with a host of celebrities and sports personalities from the Miami Heat, Miami Dolphins, Florida Marlins, Florida Panthers, and Miami Hurricanes.

Here’s more on the event from the press release:

The Make-A-Wish Ultimate Sports Extravaganza & Auction promises to be bigger and better than ever with Hall of Fame Coach Don Shula as Featured Guest. This star-studded evening will take place on Thursday, February 25, at the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa beginning at 6pm. Now in its 17th season, this is the only charity event where coaches, players and, representatives from all of South Florida’s sports teams come together for one common goal. Guests will rub shoulders with local and national sports personalities and other A-list celebrities, while bidding on one-of-a-kind experiences and memorabilia in the Famed Live and Silent Auctions.

Tickets start at $250 are still available; to order, call 954-967-9474, ext. 318. For more information, visit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida website, head to their YouTube channel, or follow them on Twitter.

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Feb. 20, 2010 at 5:39pm in Miscellaneous

The NBA’s Western Conference Playoff Push: Who’ll Be In, and Who’ll Be Out?

February 19, 2010

Blazers

LaMarcus Aldridge & Brandon Roy Photo Credit: Icon SMI

By: Zachariah Blott

Behind the Lakers, Jazz, Nuggets, and Mavericks, a gaggle of Western Conference teams are still in the thick of things and making a push for the playoffs. There are essentially seven teams vying for the final four spots, so it’s surprising only two of them made significant trades aimed at improving their chances.

Let’s take a quick look at these seven teams and the key info about their remaining schedules and injury concerns, followed up with predictions for who’s in the postseason and who’s bound for the lottery.

5 – San Antonio Spurs (31-21, 3.5 games ahead of 9th spot)
The Spurs have a Pythagorean W-L record of 34-18, which indicates they are likely to get better. On the other hand, they still have 18 road games to play, compared to only 12 at home. They’ve been 12-11 on the road and are a veteran bunch, so this shouldn’t be a backbreaker for them. On the other hand, they play 9 more games against teams whose records are over .600, the most of this group.

Verdict: In – Although they could move up to the #4 seed, they’re more likely to drop a spot or two, especially since it’ll get them out of facing the Lakers in Round 2.

6 – Oklahoma City Thunder (31-21, 3.5 games ahead of 9th spot)
They’re on a roll and could easily win 10 of their next 12. Their schedule gets tougher from there, but not cripplingly so. The Thunder haven’t had injury problems this year, and if that keeps up, there’s no reason they don’t make it in.

Verdict: In – They could drop as far as 8th and face a first-round match-up with the Lakers, but have enough of a cushion and talent base to at least stay in the playoffs.

7 – Phoenix Suns (32-23, 3 games ahead of 9th spot)
They stuck with Amar’e Stoudemire, so Phoenix is hoping he can help carry them into the postseason. The Suns are blessed with 16 more home games (where they’re 18-7) and only 11 on the road. Their schedule gets pretty easy in March, but they end on a killer stretch: five Western Conference playoff teams/contenders and the Bucks, who will be fighting to make it in the East. Leandro Barbosa is out with a wrist injury (during which the Suns are 7-4), but he should be back in March.

Verdict: In – They get the easy schedule while Barbosa is out and being eased back into the rotation, so enough also-rans should fall back by their final stretch.

8 – Portland Trail Blazers (32-24, 2.5 games ahead of 9th spot)
Brandon Roy will be back to form at some point soon after missing most of the last 16 games, and they just picked up Marcus Camby, a prolific rebounder and solid defensive stopper they sorely needed in the middle. Everyone who’s not a center is finally healthy, so things definitely are looking up for the Blazers. They only play 11 more at home and 15 on the road, but the remaining schedule isn’t too bad, and they have a handful of hopeless teams near the end (Warriors, Clippers, Kings, Knicks).

Verdict: In – They have the best chance of moving up a spot or two because of Roy’s return and the Camby pickup.

A look at the rest of the Western playoff hunt after the break…

Read the rest of this article »

No CommentsPosted by ETB Contributor on Feb. 19, 2010 at 4:22pm in NBA

Boxscore Breakfast: Blatche is the Main Man, and Other Oddities from the Week

February 19, 2010

Andray BlatcheBy: Zachariah Blott

Andray Blatche becomes Washington’s new top gun: After the Wizards’ top four players were all traded or legally taken away, Blatche went out and scored 33 points on Wednesday in only his fifth start of the year. He hit 14 of 22 shots against the Timberwolves, and is shooting 48% for the year. If Randy Foye doesn’t start taking 20 shots a game (always a possibility), Blatche should have a very good rest of the season, possibly even averaging somewhere between 20 – 25 points per, especially if he gets a legit move or two at some point.

He’s already shown the ability to put up points, so more playing time and touches will only increase Blatche’s visibility as an emerging, young player. We saw flashes of his potential last season.

Watson and Warriors just fine without Ellis: Warrior guard C.J. Watson was again put in the starting lineup Wednesday because of Monta Ellis’ injured knee. Unlike his 11-point outing on February 10, this time the tiny speedster went off for 40 against Sacramento. He hit ‘em from everywhere: 16-23 total, 2-3 from deep, and 6-8 from the line. Just for kicks, he threw in 6 assists and 7 rebounds. Golden State is now 2-1 since Ellis’ injury, with their loss coming against the Lakers.

DeJuan Blair continues to be a monster brickhouse: Grizzly Blair completely decimated the Sophomores on the way to a huge 140-128 victory for the first-year players in the All-Star Weekend’s Rookie Challenge. The San Antonio rookie dropped 22 points and snatched a game-record 23 rebounds in the contest. The top four rebounders for the Sophomores (Beasley, Lopez, Love, Gasol) combined for 26. Beyond Blair’s continued dominance on the boards, this game illustrated a few points that need to be made.

First, the NBA automatically gives any award to whoever scores the most points for a winner. Tyreke Evans won the Challenge MVP with 26 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. If this guy was more valuable to the rookie win than Blair, than the moon is made of cheese. Evans had the good sense to share the award with Blair, showing a 20-year-old who’ already more intelligent than the NBA at assessing value. Boy, do I miss MVP votes like this one in Wilt’s 50 points per season, back when the league had the brains to look beyond scoring when selecting MVPs, exhibition match or otherwise.

Second, Patrick Ewing should never be a coach in the NBA. He coached the first Sophomore defeat in the Challenge since 2002, when Pau Gasol, Jason Richardson, Tony Parker, Joe Johnson, Andrei Kirilenko, Shane Battier, etc. beat Marcus Fizer, Lee Nailon, Desmond Mason, Chris Mihm, Quentin Richardson and company. Why Ewing thinks he can be a coach just because he wants to be is beyond me. He was a dominant physical presence, but he was never lauded for his intelligence. (Remember this?) He’s lucky he has a job as Dwight Howard’s mentor disguised as a real assistant coaching gig.

Zachariah Blott cannot recommend Rick Telander’s “Heaven Is A Playground” enough.

Andray Blatche Photo Credit: Icon SMI

No CommentsPosted by ETB Contributor on Feb. 19, 2010 at 3:55am in NBA

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