Tuesday, January 31, 2012

1/31: Blake Griffin Breaks Twitter

Greetings everyone... my apologies on the absence over the weekend and through Monday... let's get back to it...
  • The lead story in the sports world is one solitary play in the Clippers/Zombies game last night. I'm generally against the "highlight" culture that manifests itself in this day and age of sports (especially in the NBA), but there's no denying the ridiculousness of the Blake Griffin dunk last night over Kendrick Perkins. Twitter virtually shut down as a result of it, and for a game that wasn't broadcast anywhere besides NBA-TV, that's a pretty impressive feat. That said, let me take a step back and cool off the people with the "best dunk ever" talk. Hyperbole can be a dangerous thing.
  • Clippers 112, Zombies 100 - To the actual game! You often hear about "2-man teams" and that's generally not the case, but Oklahoma City was about as much of a 2-man team as you can be last night. Durant and Westbrook combined for 67 points and both shot 50% or higher, but James Harden (2 of 10 for 7 points), Serge Ibaka, and Kendrick Perkins combined for just 11 points in 96 minutes, and the rest of the supporting cast wasn't much better. You can't win that way against a quality opponent. For LAC, there were 6 guys in double figures led by the masterful (not exaggerating) play of Chris Paul who shot 12 of 16 for 26 points to go along with 14 dimes (and just 2 TOs). Outside of that, I thought the key to victory was Caron Butler, who started off with 11 points in the first 6 minutes, and finished with an economical 22 points just by knocking down open jumpers off of the play of Paul. Riveting game.
  • I'm staying far, far away from Super Bowl "hype" (like Antrel Rolle's supposed guarantee even though he didn't even say anything), but it's worth mentioning that Rob Gronkowski didn't practice again on Monday for the Pats with that high ankle sprain. I fully expect he'll be in uniform, but high ankle sprains aren't 2 week injuries, and if he's limited, that puts a dent in the Pats offense simply because he's one of the most uncoverable players in the league when he's right.
  • Memo to Dwight Howard: I've defended you to the millionth degree throughout this season because you're an incredible basketball player, but please, please, please shut up! With the latest team to surface (Chicago), it's becoming absurd. While I respect the honesty it takes to openly discuss playing for other teams DURING THE SEASON, it's borderline crazy at this point, and with his team in a tailspin, it needs to stop.
  • The Indianapolis Colts will reportedly hire Bruce Arians as the offensive coordinator. The formers Steelers OC who tutored Ben Roethlisberger seems like a decent choice to head up the Andrew Luck campaign, but I'm interested to see what talent stays around, and the direction of that unit.
  • NBA Box Score Round-up - Philly outlasted Orlando 74-69 in the ugliest game of the night. The Sixers play incredible defense, and that doesn't always make for great cinema, but Orlando was flat-out awful on offense (again!) shooting 33% for the game and notching 42 points in the first 3 quarters combined. On the bright side? Ryan Anderson had a career-high 20 rebounds. There you go... Derrick Rose put up a Rose-like 35 points and 8 dimes in Chicago's 10-point road win in Washington... Man, the Hornets are pretty bad without Gordon and Kaman, huh?... Michael Beasley is alive and well in Minnesota, scoring 34 points off the bench in their road win in Houston. Kevin Love (29 points), and Rick Rubio (18/8/11) were both very good on this night as well, and I have to mention Kevin Martin scoring 29 points on 15 FGA. Such a Kevin Martin game... Dallas throttled Phoenix in Phoenix last night behind 21 from Vince Carter and 25 from Delonte West. I have no idea, except to say that Phoenix is not very good at all... and finally, the Jazz held serve at home 93-89 over Portland last night led by a 19/15 from Paul Millsap. He's really had it going lately and is getting some underground all-star buzz from out there.
  • One college hoops game of note last night was Missouri eeking out a 67-66 road win in Austin against the Longhorns. Missou is historically a terrible road team, but this is their second good road win in a week (beat Baylor in Waco), and that's a really interesting team with their experienced (and deep) guard play.

What to watch for on Tuesday...

  • NBA - Hawks @ Raptors - SportSouth 7:00 - Toronto nearly beat the Hawks on MLK day without Bargnani, and he's playing here, so watch out.
  • NCAAB - #10 Michigan State @ Illinois - ESPN 7:00 - Very nice Big 10 game here, as Sparty has to go on the road against a real, live tourney team.
  • NCAAB - Clemson @ #18 Virginia - ESPN2 7:00 - I only advertise this game for the opportunity to see Virginia's Mike Scott. His numbers don't jump off the page because of the style that the Cavaliers play, but if you adjust the numbers for pace, he'd be the leader in the national POY race, and that's not an exaggeration.
  • NCAAB - #20 Wisconsin @ Penn State - Big Ten 8:00 - I'm a sucker for Jordan Taylor and the Badgers.

There you have it...

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