Monday, December 27, 2004

NBA Prime Time

December 27, 2004
By Paul Benedict

8 games. 16 screens. Absolutely nothing to do. To put it mildly, it was a great night to be at the office. And to commemerate my first night of holding down the fort solo, I decided to keep myself busy by watching each game simultaneously as closely as I could and writing down any thoughts or observations I had. The Lineup:

  • Boston at San Antonio, 7:00
  • New Orleans at Cleveland, 7:00
  • Chicago at Milwaukee, 7:00
  • Toronto at Phoenix, 8:00
  • Washington at Minnesota, 8:00
  • Clippers at Houston, 8:30
  • Golden State at Sacramento, 9:00
  • Dallas at Denver, 9:00

    Boston 11 at San Antonio 16 1st 5:50
    Tony Parker absolutely owns Gary Payton. He just blew by him off a Duncan screen and spun towards the hoop for an easy lay-up. People look at this guy's numbers and claim he's not one of the best point guards in the league. But are you kidding me? Besides Baron Davis and Steve Francis, is there another point guard who penetrates to the basker better than Tony Parker?

    New Orleans 10 at Cleveland 20 1st 3:57
    Matt Freije is back in the starting lineup for the Hornets, replacing Chris Andersen. And the Hornets are down 20-10. So please tell me, what did Byron Scott smoke before the game?

    New Orleans 22 at Cleveland 25 1st :43.3
    Baron Davis enters the game and nails two bombs from well beyond the arc. Hornets now down 25-22. Is it possible that Baron Davis is more important to his team, at this present time mind you, than anyone else in the league? I think you could make a sound argument behind this.

    Chicago 23 at Milwaukee 28 1st 2:13
    Eddy Curry is outmuscled for a defensive rebound by Zaza Gabor--err Zaza Pachulia. Curry's got a solid post game and great touch around the hoop, but he might just be the softest defensive big man in the league. How many of the best teams in the league have soft centers? Rasho has Duncan by his side, so he doesn't count. Besides him I really can't think of anyo--wait...Ohnoitskandi--my mistake.

    New Orleans 22 at Cleveland 25 :32.8
    LeBron just had two of the sickest passes I've seen all year--and they were both dropped by his teammates. Is it possible that LeBron might end up being too good for this league?

    Boston 18 at San Antonio 25 End of 1st
    End of 1st quarter. Spurs 25, Celtics 18. Spurs had beaten the Celtics 14 straight times heading into tonight's game. There's no team that takes care of business better than the Spurs.

    Chicago 26 at Milwaukee 38 2nd 11:30
    Marcus Fizer throws one down for the Bucks. You're telling me that a team that starts Dan GadzurEEK and Joe Smith can't find more PT for Fizer?

    Boston 21 at San Antonio 29 2nd 8:48
    Ricky Davis comes off a screen and drains a jumper while being fouled. Wait forget that--Tony Parker just scored 5 more points while I wrote that first sentence. I honestly think he should be the 2nd All-Star from the Spurs at this point. And think about it, with Kobe, and TMac the starting guards, which other guards should make it from the West? Nash obviously, but is there any other point guard specifically that deserves it more than he does? Baron Davis is obviously better, but at this point, he can't possibly deserve an All-Star spot. Andre Miller? No. Sam Cassell. Nah. Mike Bibby? Maybe. I'd give the nod to Parker right now.

    Boston 23 at San Antonio 34 2nd 7:49
    Ok, back to Ricky Davis. He burns Devin Brown and throws down a reverse dunk in traffic and followed it up by nailing another pull-up jumper. If this guy didn't have his head up his ass 50% of the time he could be that reliable complement to Pierce that the Celts have been missing since 'Toine shimmied his way outta Bean Town.

    Boston 26 at San Antonio 38 2nd 6:22
    They announced that Malik Rose went to the locker room to treat a "hang-nail". The play-by-play guy is ripping Rose; "Has anyone ever left the game to treat a hang-nail before?" Meanwhile Sean Elliot is defending his former teammate and close friend; "I had toe-nail problems all the time when I was in the league. You should have seen my feet, I could have climbed trees with those babies!" You're telling me that guys making millions of dollars don't have time to cut their freaking nails to the point that it takes them out of the game? We'll re-evaluate this situation once Malik Rose returns to the game--although his return is questionable.

    Chicago 50 at Milwaukee 55 2nd 2:21
    Antonio Davis blows by Joe Smith for a power dunk. Okay, either that was a replay from 1997 or I haven't changed my contacts in weeks.

    Chicago 52 at Milwaukee 59 2nd :27.1
    Michael Redd has 26 points for the Bucks so far. Cool.

    New Orleans 42 at Cleveland 53 Halftime
    Matt Freije is 3-12 from the floor, having taken 5 more shots than anyone else on the team. It appears Freije is so bad that Paul Silas told his team to not even guard the guy, and look, it's working!

    Toronto 4 at Phoenix 13 1st 7:50
    Sam Mitchell brings in Donyell Marshall with his team down 9. It's already too late. Why not just start Marshall? Does Loren Woods actually bring anything to the table? Apparently not, he weighs like 140 lbs. (Ba dum CHING!)

    New Orleans 42 at Cleveland 53 Halftime
    Highlights of LeBron James during halftime. Do you think there's any night when at least half of the Cavalier halftime highlights aren't of LeBron James? Not that it bothers me.

    Toronto 8 at Phoenix 21 1st 5:21
    I just looked up at the game and saw Amare Stoudemire running back to defense hi-fiving teammates. I'm assuming he had a monster dunk. Let's see--Nope. Wow, a reverse lay-up prayer that just happened to fall in. He's good.

    Chicago 57 at Milwaukee 67 3rd 7:54
    My co-worker informs me that Milwaukee is the location of the NBA's Witness Protection Plan. That's where they send players so nobody knows they exist anymore.

    Boston 57 at San Antonio 56 3rd 7:17
    Gary Payton just deeked two Spur defenders in the post for an easy lay-in. Boston now up 1. Remember what I said, the Spurs are the best at taking care of business. I say the Spurs take the lead for good with 9:41 left in the 4th.

    Toronto 14 at Phoenix 32 2nd 11:58
    Amare and Nash: 25 Pts in the 1st. Toronto: 14. Yeah, I don't think I'll be eating any laptops tonight.

    Boston 57 at San Antonio 67 3rd 3:25
    Spurs just ripped off 11 in a row. Guess I was wrong about when they'd take over for good. Meanwhile, a defensive back for the Oklahoma St. football team was is interviewed and proceeds to say "ya know" at least, and I'm not joking, 21 times in a span of a minute. Good stuff.

    Washington 23 at Minnesota 32 2nd 6:15
    Kevin Garnett runs the break and delivers a ridiculous behind-the-back flip pass to Eddie Griffin (who proceeds to blow a lay-up). There's maybe 5 other guys in the league that can do that: Nash, Kobe, LeBron, Alston, and Kidd. Did I mention KG is 7 feet?

    Boston 66 at San Antonio 81 3rd 0:00
    Devin Brown just grabbed a loose ball and hit a 35-footer at the buzzer.

    Washington 26 at Minnesota 38 2nd 3:27
    Sam Cassell his his patenent pull-jumper from just inside the 3-point line. He's got 10 points and 3 assists so far and not surprisingly, the Wolves are up double digits. When Cassell tries, the Wolves are very tough to beat.

    Toronto 39 at Phoenix 56 2nd :53.1
    Chris Bosh and Amare Stoudemire are going right at each other. Bosh got Amare off his feet on a sweet little up-and-under and threw one down. Amare then backed Bosh down, drop-stepped, and tried to finger roll it in, but missed badly. Regardless, these two are doing a great job of maintaing the trend of awesome power forwards in the NBA.

    Clippers 17 at Houston 29 1st 1:36
    There's Jon Barry, the newly acquired guard for the Rockets making his first appearance. I like Barry, but I hope Houston isn't expecting him to turn their season around.

    New Orleans 87 at Cleveland 83 4th 5:11
    The Hornets are shooting below 40%. The Cavs are shooting a touch shy of 50%. Baron Davis has played only 14 minutes. Matt Freije has played more minutes and taken more shots than anyone on the Hornets. LeBron James is a rebound shy of a triple-double. Yet somehow, the Hornets are beating the Cavaliers in Cleveland. Go figure.

    Boston 84 at San Antonio 95 4th 4:24
    Bruce Bowen just sank a 3-pointer from the corner. Is there any other shot he attempts? Seriously, I can't remember the last time I saw Bruce Bowen even go in for a lay-up.

    New Orleans 89 at Cleveland 95 4th 1:29
    Jeff McInnis just scored 6 straight for the Cavs, all on assists from LeBron James. See what I'm saying? You can't mention something good about this team without LeBron James' name being attached. By the way, LeBron is still 1 rebound away from his first triple-double. How many times has he come SO close to getting a triple-double but came up short?

    Boston 90 at San Antonio 107 Final
    Tony Parker had a season-high 27 points.

    New Orleans 91 at Cleveland 98 4th :58
    Eric Snow hits a game-clinching 3-pointer on a pass from...LeBron James. Wait wait--Eric Snow sunk a 3-pointer?

    Chicago 92 at Milwaukee 99 Final
    After the Bulls blew a scoring opportunity late in the game which essentially ended their 5-game win streak, someone clearly yelled from the stands, "BULLS SUCK". Normally I'd agree here, but for the first time in years, I think the Bulls actually don't suck. Sure they lost to (gasp) Milwaukee, but they're not bad.

    New Orleans 91 at Cleveland 100 Final
    Nope, Lebron didn't get the trip-doub. Still...22-9-14-4-1 ain't too shabby.

    Dallas 24 at Denver 24 1st :29.2
    Earl Boykins takes out Marcus Camby. And with that, Jeff Bdzelik creates a whole new chapter in the meaning of a "small lineup".

    Golden State 26 at Sacramento 32 2nd 7:29
    The announcers just said that Adonal Foyle is 2 blocks away from becoming the Warriors' all time blocks leader. Quickly--name one quality Warriors center. I can't either. On the bright side, Adonal Foyle will now be remembered for something other than signing the most ridiculous contract in NBA history.

    Toronto 80 at Phoenix 82 4th 8:02
    Shawn Marion launches a wide-open brick from the top of the key. Who taught this guy how to shoot, Anthony Mason? His form is terrible, yet he somehow manages to shoot pretty well from beyond the arc. He's the Jim Furyk of the NBA.

    Golden State 34 at Sacramento 36 2nd 4:15
    Mike Dunleavy tore down a board and went right back up for an easy 2. That right there is all the evidence you need to know that the Kings are too soft upfront to compete with the Spurs, Wolves, and Heat.

    Toronto 80 at Phoenix 89 4th 6:11
    I blink my eye and this game goes from being tied to Amare Stoudemire absolutely posterizing Matt Bonnnnnner to put the Suns up 9. Side question: is there any player out there besides maybe Earl Boykins to be less pleased about dunking over than Matt Bonner? Feel free to send in suggestions.

    Dallas 35 at Denver 39 2nd 5:40
    They just came back from commercial and all I saw was Nuggets commentator Scott Hastings lean over and kiss whoever the hell their play-by-play dude is. Somebody better tell them this isn't the NBGay.

    Dallas 37 at Denver 47 2nd 1:45
    Kenyon Martin rebounded a Boykins miss and shoved it down the hoop's throat. And then he pulled his patenent KMart scowl while heading back on defense. Is this guy ever happy? It's like just dunked it..pump your fist or hi-five a teammate for the love of God.

    Washington 74 at Minnesota 109 Final
    Nice effort, Wiz.

    Toronto 94 at Phoenix 106 Final
    Suns have now won 11 in a row. Remember my theory about teams getting to the 8 to 11 win streak mark and then losing one of these games before they hit 12? Yeah, well mark my words. Suns next game: at San Antonio. (By the way, my picks are looking good so far : 5-0-1.)

    Golden State 36 at Sacramento 48 3rd 11:27
    Jason Richardson had a wide-open layup and proceeded to fumble the ball away. Those would have been his first points of the game. Ouch. Against the Kings and their lame defense. Double ouch.

    Clippers 59 at Houston 73 4th 11:41
    Dikembe Mutumbo just jammed one home. Geez, Deke even looks awkward when he dunks it. Did you ever notice that? He can't just slam one down cleanly, the ball usually shifts around before going through. At least he never fails to provide a laugh.

    Clippers 66 at Houston 80 4th 9:57
    Chris Wilcox just layed out Jon Barry on a screen. Welcome to the West, John. Side question: who do you think sets the hardest screen in the league? Shaq obviously is up there, but I could see Kevin Willis delivering a punishing screen. That guy is like 100% muscle and he knows when he's out there that setting a pick is his job.

    Dallas 47 at Denver 56 3rd 9:34
    Andre Miller hits DerMarr Johnson for a picture-perfect alley-oop from his own side of the court. How is this guy averaging just 5 assists a game? The Nuggets need to run more and put the ball in Dre's hands--everyone in their rotation excels on the break, I don't understand why they play halfcourt basketball 90% of the time.

    Dallas 48 at Denver 60 3rd 8:25
    DerMarr Johnson throws down a thunderous dunk through traffic. Highlight of the night so far.

    Golden State 65 at Sacramento 60 3rd 2:43
    Warriors on a huge run in the 3rd--of course they pull this every game. They'll lose by double-digits.

    Dallas 56 at Denver 62 3rd 4:39
    The courtside reporter just announced that Kenyon Martin has left the game and won't return due to back spasms. I'm interested to see how Denver holds up now without their two best players. This might sound like a stretch, but Earl Boykins is going to have to take over the 4th for them to hang on.

    Dallas 75 at Denver 72 End of 3rd
    Dirk just hit a fallaway 18-footer while he was fouled to cap off a furious finish to the quarter for the Mavs. So much for the Nuggets holding onto that lead. Against the Mavs though, a team that is going to get its points no matter what, you have to think the Nuggets will need to score at least 27 this quarter to have any chance. Let's see what happens.

    Clippers 79 at Houston 96 Final
    The Clips continue to fall back to earth with yet another debilitating loss. It was fun while it lasted, but they're just not deep enough or talented enough to battle through the injury problems they've had. It's too bad, I like this team.

    Dallas 78 at Denver 74 4th 9:56
    Here comes Shawn Bradley entering the game. Smart move by Nellie--may as well get to Nene's head and try to take out another key frontcourt player for the Nuggets.

    Dallas 80 at Denver 79 4th 8:45
    Yup, there we go. Nene dunks on Bradley, who sneakily shoves him as he comes down. Nene then blatantly elbows Bradley and draws a technical. See, you got to give a little to get a little.

    Dallas 89 at Denver 86 4th 4:55
    Boykins hits a huge 3 and the Nuggets appear to have some life left in them.

    Golden State 91 at Sacramento 83 4th 1:36
    Look at the Warriors hanging on, making me look foolish. And Jason Richardson with all 21 of his points in the second half. That's how you know if a player is for real--if he can bounce back after a miserable first half to carry his team to victory on the road, that's a pretty big sign right there.

    Golden State 93 at Sacramento 88 4th :31.8
    The Warriors let, and I mean let/allowed/permitted/begged the Kings to come back in this game after being up 10 just a minute ago, and then, Jason Richardson comes off a screen and buries a 22-footer with Peja smothering him (which actually isn't saying much). People don't talk about him much, but he's establishing himself as one of the better 2 guards in the league (and I'm not just saying that because he's on my fantasy team).

    Dallas 100 at Denver 88 4th 1:12
    Dallas outscores Denver 57-36 in the 2nd half, yet Scott Hastings claims "they're not that good. I'd take Denver over them." Yeah, yeah, Melo and KMart were out, but still pal, look at the score. Wait to make comments like that when you're winning.

    Dallas 103 at Denver 88 4th :37.6
    Dirk banks a 37-footer as the shot-clock expires. He must have overheard Hastings.

    Dallas 103 at Denver 88 4th 27.2
    The scorekeeper must have been a friend of Hastings because the score suddenly changed to 88-6 in favor of Dallas after Dirk sunk that prayer.

    Dallas 103 at Denver 88 Final
    Game. Set. Match.

    Golden State 98 at Sacramento 94 Final
    Wow. There's nothing worse than considering yourself an elite team in the West and then losing to your archrival (Lakers) and to Golden State at home in back-to-back games. But hey, I don't mind--undefeated night for me, baby! I'm outtttttttttttttttt--


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