Thursday was a slow night in the NBA, but it was certainly eventful. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around The Knicks/Bulls game for more than 12 hours. I actually watched most of the first quarter in this one and saw the New Yorkers take a 33-16 lead as Al Harrington, Chris Duhon and Danilo Gallinari were all dialed in pretty early on.
I came home to a 98-89 loss in which my heroes launched a preposterous 47 threes and more or less played a six-man rotation. Larry Hughes was injured and did not play last night yet Mike D’Antoni still didn’t request the services of sparkplug Nate Robinson. Despite what the coach says publicly, Li’l Him is clearly in D’Antoni’s puppy palace and it will be interesting to see if he sees any daylight tonight at home against the Clips in the second of a back-to-back.
Harrington, an extraordinary chucker, was 3 for his first 3 from beyond the arc and went 1-for-10 after that. The man, who I drafted in the Damn Lies league in the ninth round, has absolutely no conscience. He recorded a 42-point game earlier in the season by consistently driving the basketball, but is more comfortable dry heaving against smaller defenders.
Gallinari, who possesses the same proclivity as Harrington, came off the bench to fire up 15 threes in just 27 minutes and connected on six. At least he has pretty good touch.
The Bulls only played seven guys yesterday, one of them being Derrick Rose who I think suited up with a punctured lung. Luol Deng (24 pts, 13 reb) and Taj Gibson (12 pts, 10 reb) hurt the Knicks and their puny interior and both double-doubled.
Knicks defensive stopper Jared Jeffries produced his 400th consecutive triple-single with 6 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists. In all fairness, Jeffries has been playing big minutes of late and delivering surprising blocks and steals totals.
Kirk Hinrich played 39 minutes off the Chicago bench and is worth keeping an eye on, particularly if John Salmons continues to smell.
Jeff touched upon him yesterday, and I will reiterate, on the chance that Chauncey Billups will miss some time, pounce on Ty Lawson. Billups strained his groin the other day, and as we saw with Devin Harris and Chris Douglas-Roberts, groin injuries tend to linger. Lawson is a controlled dynamo, capable of stupid numbers if given 30+ minutes in Denver’s high-octane offense.
Thursday’s Notable Performances:
Rashard Lewis: Inconsistency continues to mar Lewis’ season as he finished with just 9 points and 3 rebounds in the Magic’s blowout loss in Miami. Lewis should right the ship, but Orlando has too many weapons, including the ever-selfish Vince Carter, for him to maintain anything better than sixth-round value.
Michael Beasley: Beasley’s debutante season continued last night as he notched 22 points (8-15 fg) and 8 boards in the Heat’s win. His shot selection has improved immensely from his rookie year and he is proving that his collegiate rebounding numbers weren’t flukish.
Carlos Arroyo: Arroyo remained in the starting lineup and did not turn the ball over in 26 minutes. His numbers last night were a bit pedestrian (5 pts, 4 reb, 7 ast), but as long as the Heat keep winning, weekly leaguers should give Arroyo consideration during four-game weeks.
Grant Hill: It does my heart good to see Hill post 20 points and 3 steals as he did in last night’s 105-102 loss in Portland. Not enough credit is given to the now 37-year old legend, who was on his way to being an all-time great before ankle injuries derailed his studliness. Here’s a random Hill season for you: In ’96-97 for Detroit, he averaged 21.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 1.8 steals, 0.6 blocks and shot 50 percent from the field. First pick in a fantasy draft numbers, no doubt.
Jerryd Bayless: Bayless led all scorers in the Phoenix/Portland game with 29 points on 9-of-15 from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers and 4 assists in 29 minutes. Will he continue to receive this kind of playing time? Probably not on a consistent basis, but the Blazers are trying to move Andre Miller, and if that happens, Bayless will be the man to scoop up.
Channing Frye: Frye drained five more threes last night on the way to a 17-point, 6-rebound, 1-block outing. He’s averaging a not-so-spectacular 12 and 6 this season, but he blocks just under a shot a game and his 2.6 threes per contest are among the league leaders.
There are 11 games tonight, including Sixers/Celtics, but no Allen Iverson, Andrew Toney, Mo Cheeks, Moses Malone, Julius Erving, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish and Dennis Johnson.