Starting 5: Boneheaded endings, Kevin Love’s greatness & Kobe’s pissed off again


Every morning, we’ll give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.

1:  Don’t foul the 3 point shooter!!

Last night’s NBA action made fans of fundamental basketball cringe.  Over the course of about an hour, in three separate NBA games, I saw about four or five guys get fouled taking a 3.  The two biggies were in the Clippers/Timberwolves game and in the Nuggets/Kings game, as both came with the shooter’s team down three in the waning seconds and a chance to send the game in to OT. 

Chris Paul and Arron Afflalo were the foulee’s.  But it was Afflalo that came through.  

Paul drew the foul on Derrick Williams with two seconds left and the Clippers down 95-92.  But Paul clanged the third free throw, and the TWolves held on for a 95-94 win.  In Denver, Afflalo calmly sunk all three of his freebies with .06 left on the clock to tied the game.  Denver came back to win that game in OT, 119-116… taking advantage of a boneheaded play to win.  

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen two games end like that… ever.  Minnesota got lucky, because they deserved the Kings’ fate for such a bad play at the end of the game.

2:  Bulls put Pacers in their place

There are elite teams in the NBA, and then there are pretty good teams.  The Pacers are a pretty good team.  Chicago is elite.  And the Bull proved it last night by turning a one point half time deficit into a 19 point lead after 3.  

Even with Derrick Rose finishing with just 13 points, other Bulls stepped up to key a 20 point win over their closest competition in the Central Division.  Luol Deng had 20 and Chicago’s bench dropped 46 points (46-28 advantage) to pick up their superstar on a 5-16 shooting night.  

Indiana could have used a little more out of Darren Collison and Roy Hibbert than 2 points on 1-12 combined shooting.  But that’s part of what makes some teams elite and what makes others not elite.  The Pacers are getting close though, and there’s reason to be excited about the future.  But last night showed how far the Pacers still have to go. 


Ty Lawson puts the final nail in Sacto’s coffin


Lawson… this time with the lob to Kenneth Faried

And of course, Blake doing something you have to watch a few times to fully grasp how he pulled that move off

4:  Line of the night:  Kevin Love – 39 points, 17 rebounds, 2 assists 

I’m legitimately excited at the possibility of years of battles between Kevin Love and Blake Griffin.  That is going to be so awesome, that I can say with confidence that I won’t miss another Timberwolves-Clippers game.

Blake is damn good (he had 26 and 12 last night), and he’s as exciting a player as you’ll find.  But if I’m starting a team from scratch, Love is my power forward.  He won’t make Sports Center as often, but he’ll do everything you ask him to.  He’s more fundamentally sound and he’s got more offensive weapons at his disposal.  

It’s not a knock on Blake Griffin.  I love watching him play.  He’s great.  Love is just better at more things. 

5:  You can quote me on that

“It’s tough, it’s tough, because I wanted it.  I wanted the ball. I wanted to be in that situation. I’ll tell you again, if I’m in that situation again, I’m going to go right to the line. I know I’m going to make it every time I shoot it. Tonight I didn’t.”
     –Chris Paul, on missing a game-tying free throw with :02 left

“I heard he was kind of pissed off”
     –Ty Lawson, on Kobe Bryant after Lawson was named Conference Player of the Week over Bryant

“I think Dirk is back”
    –Scott Brooks, before last night’s game.  Dirk scored 12 4th quarter points to nearly beat the Thunder 

“We don’t get the benefit of the whistle.  I don’t think we’re looked upon as champions, but that’s a whole other story.  Dirk should live at the line if they would call it the way it’s supposed to be. But, he doesn’t.”
     -Jason Kidd