The NBA Roundup: April 2-5, 2013

I missed covering these playdates because, well, my wife gave birth to a BOY!!! J And, well, the hospital didn’t have wifi so there. I’ll look back at action from in and around the association from Tuesday to Friday (Manila time) this week.

Tuesday’s Best:
  •        Big time teams come up big when it matters, and today Memphis, Indiana, and Utah all came up big. The Grizzlies beat the West’s top team, the Spurs, to boost their chances of finishing in the conference’s top four. Indiana, meanwhile, kept within striking distance of NYK and the East’s #2 seed with a victory over the Clippers. Lastly, Utah leaned on the dominance of Al Jefferson to turn back the Blazers anew and continue holding on to the West’s last Playoff ticket.
  •        Over in Houston, Turkish big man Omer Asik unloaded 22 points and 18 rebounds for the Rockets, who are almost assured of the West’s 7th seed.
  •        Devin Harris had a great night for ATL, rattling in 25 points, 7 assists, and 3 steals while shooting a flawless 8-of-8 from the line.

Carmelo Anthony was super scorer this past
week for the Knicks.
(image by David Goldman/AP)

Tuesday’s Worst:
  •        There was a point this season when the Clippers looked like the best team in the West, if not the whole Association, but that is now a forgotten time. Vinny Del Negro continued to be exasperated at his starters’ lack of effort, which has resulted in this LA squad losing 4 of its last 5 and having slid below both Denver and Memphis in the Playoff ladder.
  •        The longer Rajon Rondo is out, the more Courtney Lee plays, and that’s not good for the Boston Celtics. Against Minnesota, Lee shot just 3-of-8 from the field, had no assists, and turned the ball over thrice in 25 minutes.
  •        Tobias Harris has the makings of a future star, but right now he just chucks too many threes. He shot 6-of-17 overall from the field against the Rockets, including 0-of-6 from beyond the arc.

Wednesday’s Best:
  •        Who the hell shoots 18-of-26 from the field?!?! Apparently, Carmelo Anthony does. And against the defending champs no less.
  •        He scored less than half of Melo’s output, but, nevertheless, Kobe Bryant made an indelible mark on the Lakers’ key game versus Dallas – 23-11-11-4-2 in 47 minutes. #SteppingUpBigTime
  •        John Wall is starting to make a believer out of me – 27-9-9 plus 3 blocks and only 1 TO against the Bulls. #WatchOutNextSeason

Wednesday’s Worst:
  •        Yeah, Kirk Hinrich is soooo yesterday. And soooo inconsistent. 3-of-8 from the floor and getting ejected? Soooo not good.
  •        Google “Rashard Lewis salary” and you’ll see this – 21.14 million USD (2012). This is a guy who put up 0 points and 3 turnovers in 28 minutes today. Take note, however, that Miami is actually signed him to just a $1.35 million contract for the season. Still, that much money for 0 points and 3 turnovers? Still a bad deal in my book.

Thursday’s Best:
  •        Someday soon, Damian Lillard will be an All-Star PG, but on this day he ate Mike Conley’s dust. Conley shot 7-of-11 from the floor to finish with 20 points plus 5 dimes and only 1 TO. Lillard shot 8-of-19 with 6 assists but he also had 5 turnovers.
  •        The Spurs might actually NOT miss Manu Ginobili that much, as long as Danny Green plays the way he did against Orlando today. Green, the 6’6” standout from UNC, drilled din 20 points, including 4 triples, to go along with 2 steals and a block. Boy, if he becomes consistent, then Manu might not even need to play anymore. MIGHT.
  •        How about the Knicks winning 10 straight and keeping a hair ahead of Indiana for 2nd seed out East? Melo with 40 a night after hitting 50? I still don’t think he’s the MVP, but, man, he’s certainly the biggest star in Manhattan.

Thursday’s Worst:
  •        How about J-Smoove going 5-of-13 from the floor and 0-of-7 from the line? Not a good sign for the Hawks, who might face the streaking Pacers in the first round.
  •        Nobody shoots 2-of-24 from the field and gets himself exempted from the Day’s Worst. Jrue Holiday finished with a paltry 5 points, though I have to admit he did pretty well in the playmaking area with 8 assists against only 3 turnovers. In contrast, Kemba Walker scored 17 points, had 10 assists, 5 steals and a block.

Friday’s Best:
  •        There have been quite a number of games this season where Russell Westbrook played better than KD. This one against SAS was one of them. Jet Zero delivered a sublime 27-7-7-3 stat-line while playing 10 fewer minutes that Durant. If the Thunder want some vengeance against Miami in the Finals, Westbrook will need to do this every night. EVERY NIGHT.
  •        Corey Brewer stepped up big when Danilo Gallinari went down. Brewer ended the night with 23 points, 2 steals, 1 block, and a key save in the dying seconds to help Denver frustrate the Mavs, who really needed this win to remain in the hunt for 8th. Now Dallas is 2.5 games behind Utah and 3.0 behind LAL.
  •        Carlos Boozer was more Kevin Love tonight. 29 points and 18 rebounds? Tickling the twine with an array of Js over Reggie Evans? #Wow
Russell Westbrook looks up as the Thunder overcome the Spurs.
(image by Sue Ogrocki/AP)

Friday’s Worst:
  •        JJ continues to underwhelm for the Brooklyn Nets. The former ATL star netted only 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting. Not much else, too. And him + D-Will was supposed to be the best backcourt in the East. #TskTsk 
  • So, yeah, Vince Carter and Brandan Wright paired up for 27 field goals. Why you ask? Well, ask Rick Carlisle. I mean, how should I know why these two guys each had more attempts than Dirk Nowitzki? #NonSense

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