Recently, I was thinking about how boring it must have been playing fantasy basketball in the early ’60s. Whomever grabbed Wilt Chamberlain with the first pick could just sit back and eat Bon Bons while casually flipping through the three channels.
The Big Dipper’s ’61-62 campaign makes LeBron James look like Edmund Sherrod. The man averaged 50.4 points, 25.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists and shot better than 50 percent from the floor. The league didn’t keep blocks totals back then, but my guess would be about 4.5 per game. He followed that season up with a 44.8 and 24.3 in ’62-63 and in ’66-67 he registered 24.1 points, 24.2 rebounds, 7.8 assists and shot 68 percent from the field. Simply sick totals.
But what stands out when looking at Wilt’s statistics and realizing that he towered over just about every other player in the league until Alcindor arrived, and also taking into account how much stronger he was than everyone else, his field goal percentages were a little spotty. He had two seasons (1959-60 and 1964-65) in which he shot less than 50 percent from the field and did not shoot better than 53 percent in each of his first eight years in the league… strange. Shouldn’t he have shot 65-70 percent throughout his career? And if his outrageous 1990s claims are true, he is the first ballplayer to post a career triple 20 with more than 20,000 points out of wedlock to go with better than 20,000 rebounds and 20,000 hoochies. I’ll take Russell.
How good is Deron Williams? He has led the Jazz to wins in 19 of their last 23 contests and has posted double-doubles in 15 of them. Last night he tasered Derrick Rose to the tune of 28 points (11-15 fg) and 17 assists. He is a nightmare to defend and as I’ve been saying ad nauseum since he entered the league, he is every bit as valuable as Chris Paul.
Zany night in the Association. Let’s see what transpired.
Milwaukee 86 Boston 84
My Buckaroos made it 10 out of its last 11 by staving off a talented but disjointed Celtic team. Andrew Bogut, who should receive Top 10 MVP consideration, finished with 25 points, 17 rebounds, four blocks and even drilled all five of his free throws. My lord and saviour Carlos Delfino converted 5-of-8 from the land of three to finish with 19 points and eight boards and should retain his value for the remainder of the season. Brandon Jennings (13 pts, 4 ast) even shot 50 percent (5-10) from the floor. The Celtics had their full lineup healthy and active for one of the few times this season and did show positive signs against a young, hungry and very tough Buck team. Kevin Garnett double-doubled (14 pts, 10 reb) and Rajon Rondo led the way with 20 points and six assists.
Indiana 107 Philadelphia 96
Chemistry and defense wins out again as forgotten man Dahntay Jones, erupted for 25 points (9-15 fg) and two blocks in the Pacer win. When Indiana was holding its own early in the season, Jones was a key reason as to why. The return of Danny Granger, who pretty much jacks up shots at will, killed Jones’ value. With Granger suspended last night Jones again had a chance to shine and he did just that. There is no reason to pick Jones back up while Granger is seemingly healthy until Jim O’Brien realizes that Jones is a key piece to winning. Another guy to keep and eye on is Brandon Rush, who exploded for 24 points (4-7 3-pt fg) and nine rebounds. He is cemented as a starter and could put up some decent across the board totals the rest of the way. Jrue Holiday had a nice little night at point guard (21 pts, 4 ast, 2 bk) for Philly and should be scooped up.
Orlando 113 LA Clippers 87
This one was over as the ‘Bombs Were Bursting in Air’. Drew Gooden still figured out a way to score 12 points and haul in 14 caroms in his 26 minutes of work. He will be a steady source of rebounds over the final month. Travis Outlaw is now a starter for the Clips, but he again struggled (5 pts, 2-8 fg) in 32 minutes of work.
Houston 96 Washington 88
With Carl Landry in Sacramento, Luis Scola continues to impress with 23 points and 10 boards last night. Yesterday also marked the return of Trevor Ariza who contributed 13 points and three threes off the bench. He should resume starting over Shane Battier in no time. Jordan Hill even posted a decent line (11 pts, 8 reb) as he played a career-best 27 minutes. Nothing but miserable lines to report from the team representing the nation’s capitol.
Charlotte 83 Miami 78
This was a classic from a pair of mediocre squads battling for the final playoff spots in the East. Ray Felton, who has been pretty quiet the past six weeks, registered 15 points and 11 assists for the Bobcats. Jermaine O’Neal, who was questionable coming in to this one [editor’s note: is he ever not?], finished with 19 points (7-11 fg) and three blocks and has rewarded his long-suffering owners who took him in the middle-to-late rounds this year.
Utah 132 Chicago 108
Wesley Matthews has started the last couple of games for Utah and is worth keeping an eye on. He posted 12 points (2-2 3-pt fg), four assists and five steals. Matthews won’t be starting for long if C.J. Miles has anything to say about it. He enjoyed the per-minute game of the decade last night with 26 points (9-12 fg, 6-7 3-pt fg), two steals and a block in a mere 19 minutes of daylight.
Portland 88 Sacramento 81
Marcus Camby returned from injury to post a Camby-like six points, eight rebounds and five blocks last night. The rest of the Trail Blazer lines were brutal. Jason Thompson appeared in only his second game since returning from a back injury but played just 13 minutes (4 pts, 2 ast). I’m not sure if he is still feeling the effects of the injury, but he could help teams in a few weeks. Carl Landry recorded another workmanlike performance (17 pts, 7-12 fg, 8 reb) and Tyreke Evans continued his Rookie of the Year ways (18 pts, 6 reb, 6 ast).
LA Lakers 109 Toronto 107
Kobe Beef did it again, knocking down the game-winner to lift the Lakers to a two-point win to snap their three-game losing streak. By looking at this season, it may lead one to think that Bryant is the most clutch shooter of all time. But we all know that this marks the first time in his career that he has been money with the game on the line. He often selfishly shoots his team into close games that could be comfortable wins if he’d get the ball down low to Pau Gasol… I’m just sayin’. Andrew Bynum added 22 points (8-12 fg) and two blocks. Jarrett Jack posted a great line (18 pts, 7 reb, 7 ast, 3 st, 1 bk) for the Raptors and seems to have held off the steady Jose Calderon as the starter.
Nine games tonight, including Grizzlies at Celtics and Hornets at Thunder. I get excited when Darren Collison is in line for a huge night.