Thursday, December 29, 2011

12/29: Red Sox Deal, OKC, etc.

Greetings everyone... a lot to get to today... non-NBA first...
  • The Boston Red Sox have acquired closer Andrew Bailey from the A's along with OF Ryan Sweeney in exchange for OF Josh Reddick and 2 prospects. This is kind of a weird deal for Boston in that they dealt a decent prospect haul (although experts debate Reddick's level) for an injury-plagued closer. On the other hand, their ridiculously cheap bullpen of Bard/Melancon/Bailey may be an advantage if they choose to use the money saved on a starting pitcher. I think the next move for Boston SHOULD be throwing a short-term, high-paying deal at Hiroki Kuroda, but that's just me. For Oakland, this is another future cost-saving move, and they get a guy in Reddick that a lot of people like. Typical.
  • College Hoops Roundup - Georgetown edges Louisville by 3 on the road in the biggest win in a while for that program... 20 points on just 8 shot attempts for Markel Starks to lead the way for the Hoyas... Baylor got a game-winning layup from Pierre Jackson to steal a 2-point win over Miss State last night... he had a rough night (5-13, 4 turnovers), but somehow Baylor won despite shooting just 34% from the field... Indiana falls from the ranks of the unbeaten by dropping a road game to Michigan State... MSU looked like the better team behind Keith Appling and his 25 points, while holding IU to a season-low 65 points... and finally, UNLV scored a ridiculous 124 points last night against Central Arkansas... nothing really to take away there, but my goodness....

To the Association...

  • Before we get to the games, I wanted to hit on the OKC rumor blow-up that hit overnight about an altercation between Westbrook and Durant. These things, as a rule, get blown out of proportion, but if you can think back to when you played basketball or any other sport, did you ever get into it with a teammate? Wasn't it usually fine afterwards? This is going to become a huge story because it's their two best players and it leaked out, but I'm unmoved by it.
  • Heat 96, Bobcats 95 - This was randomly one of the best games of the night, as Charlotte blew a 15-point halftime lead in this one thanks to their 2nd half ineptness. Lebron led the way for Miami with a 35/6/7 line that reminds everyone that he's the best there is, but the highlight play of the night for me was the ABSURD ball-save/full-court assist that he made to Wade with about 2 minutes to go. At any rate, Miami slept walked (sans Lebron) for about 2 and a half quarters, but Charlotte is just bad enough that it didn't matter. I did think it was a curious decision to run the last 2 plays of the game for a struggling Wade when Lebron had done whatever he wanted all night, but it worked out for them. On Charlotte's side, Fat Boris Diaw had a 16/16/8 to help make up for the 1-10 FG performance from Maggette. Yikes.
  • Atlanta 101, Washington 83 - This was an awful basketball game. I watched the game twice, and Washington was just as brutal the second time around. The Wiz shot just 39% from the floor including a legendary 0-6, -22 performance from Jordan Crawford in just 22 minutes, and Andray Blatche going a Blatche-like 2 of 13. Those two are hard to watch. For Atlanta, the big takeaway for me is just how good Marvin Williams looks so far this year. It's an admittedly small sample size, but Marvin finished with 17 and 8 on just 8 shot attempts, and he looked aggressive (10 free throws) and athletic for the 2nd straight night. The bench came back to Earth last night, but I did like what I saw from McGrady (11 points in 19 minutes) and Radmanovic in limited action. One positive note on Washington, JeVale McGee is an absolute freak, and I said this out loud last night, but I honestly believe he may be the best pure athlete in the history of the NBA, because at 7-feet-plus he does things I've never seen before.
  • New Orleans 97, Boston 78 - Trouble for Boston? The Celtics have started the year 0-3 and looked bad doing it, and while some of it can be explained as being without Paul Pierce, they got pretty much dominated on the road here despite NO being without Eric Gordon. Jarrett Jack had a nice debut with 21 and 9, but New Orleans dominated the glass (48-37) and held Boston to a paltry 37% from the field. Oh, and Boston saw "bad" Brandon Bass finally, when he refuses to stop shooting (4 of 13) and notches a -21 in just 24 minutes.
  • San Antonio 115, LA Clippers 90 - Remember when everyone buried the Spurs? The 4-time champs got a breakout 20 point game from DeJuan Blair, 19 from Richard Jefferson, and 24 points (on 10 FGA) from Manu to dismantle the Clips here. In the weirdest stat of night category, Blake Griffin notched a -37 in his 34 minutes despite playing well (11-19 for 28 points and 9 boards). Yeah. It was nice to see Billups stop shooting the ball at will, but LAC got killed on the glass, and allowed SA to shoot 56%. That'll do it.
  • Box Score Roundup - Danny Granger led all five starters in double-figures with 22 points in Indiana's 5-point road win over Toronto... really, really like Indiana... Kyrie Irving had a bounce-back in Game #2 notching 14 points and 7 dimes in just 20 minutes as Cleveland beat Detroit soundly on the road... 6 guys in double-figures for the Cavs including Tristan Thompson and Samardo Samuels off the bench... We talked about the OKC rumor above, but the Zombies actually WON that game last night on the road in Memphis behind Kevin Durant's 32... Westbrook went a near-impossible 0-13 from the field and was visibly frustrated (see the fight), but Durant was splendid and they held Memphis under 40%.... and finally, the Warriors beat up on the Knicks despite being without Stephen Curry... New York was awful offensively (78 points against the Dubs!?!?) and GS got a huge bump from Brandon Rush off the bench (19 points in 26 minutes) to overcome Ellis' 8-22 shooting night and Ish Smith's lack of basketball talent...

What to watch for on Thursday...

  • NBA - Mavs @ Thunder - TNT 8:00 - The Mavs desperately need to show some life here, but OKC is playing really well. I'm really interested to see how Westbrook responds to the 0-13 and the fight, but playing against the immobile Jason Kidd likely helps.
  • NBA - Knicks @ Lakers - TNT 10:30 - LA actually had a day off between games, and New York is on back-to-back this time, so that's interesting. This is the last game without Bynum (for suspension reasons anyway), so look for the Knicks to try to iso Amare on Murphy every time he's in there.
  • NBA - League Pass Free Preview - Please don't forget about this! Nets/Magic, Spurs/Rockets, Nuggets/Blazers (an awesome game), and Bulls/Kings all on the slate tonight. For free.
  • NCAAB - Vandy @ Marquette - ESPN2 9:00 - A really nice inter-conference matchup here, and while Vandy has struggled to an 8-4 start, that's still a tourney team.
  • NCAAF - Champs Sports Bowl - Florida State vs. Notre Dame - ESPN 5:30 - This game sounds better than it is with the two traditional powers, but I actually am semi-interested to see how Notre Dame looks.
  • NCAAF - Alamo Bowl - Washington vs. Baylor - ESPN 9:00 - Robert Griffin III is worth watching, even if that's the only reason to turn this game on for 15 minutes.


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