This is one of the best nights we've seen in a week or so. Absolutely terrific lineup of games.
REASONS TO WATCH THE GAMES OF THE NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION TONIGHT:
I Want My CPTV (by Trey Kerby):
New Orleans Hornets vs. Los Angeles Lakers
You probably shouldn't even watch this game, unless you like being horribly disappointed. Obviously, the Lakers will win by 22 points on their way to going 82-0. With that in mind, to quench your desires for disappointment, here's some other great footage you may have missed:
Winner in Wasilla: Sarah Palin's victory rally – Fox News
The Beast and the Bones: Greg Oden visits a podiatrist – Discovery Channel
Time Out of Mind: The Story Behind Chinese Democracy – VH1 Classic
Oops!: Lamar Odom and the Trojan Horse – History Channel
Oops! 2: Lamar Odom and the Apollo 13 Crash – History Channel
Call Girls 19: The Elliot Spitzer Story – Spice
Get a Hand Up: The Craig Ehlo Story – ESPN Classic
If you can squeeze this game in somewhere between those heartwarming tales of melancholy and distress, your therapist will be very happy..
Put on Your O Face. (by Trey Kerby):
Orlando Magic vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
This is one of only two games this year that features teams from cities that start with O, so there's that. Also, you'll get to see the biggest freak in the NBA playing center.
That's right; Oklahoma City's Robert Swift.
I was watching a Thunder game on Monday with my mom when Robert Swift stepped to the free-throw line. Her immediate response: "Oh, sick. Who is that guy? That's a guy, right? He grosses me out." GO THUNDER!
Other attractions in tonight's game include:
- the ongoing, inevitably failing Jameer Nelson experiment
- Rashard Lewis making 4 million dollars more than Dwight Howard while being worth 4 million less
- a guy who is actually named Marcin Gortat
- A LOT of blue
- the strange juxtaposition of Kevin Durant's off-kilter face compared to his silky jumper
- the continuing confusion caused by Earl Watson's race (Black, Asian, Hispanic, really tan?)
8PM EST, NO TV (!)
They Aren't Who We Thought They Weren't (Matt):
Toronto versus Philadelphia in the "Thanks for fooling us into thinking you might be a contender" Bowl.
Okay, so the Sixers can't defend, can't consistently score, can't get Brand involved, Dalembert sucks, Iggy has sucked until last night (15,10, and 5 is pretty good for him so far this season... oh, wait, there's the complimentary 4 turnovers that come with every Iggy performance), the bench can't contribute, and Andre Miller, despite statistically looking good, has been bashed by everyone from Liberty Ballers to KD to the kid selling newspapers down the street. The question is becoming less and less about when they're going to turn it around and more and more if last year's little sprint to the finish was more a fluke than anything, and if Mo Cheeks is maybe not the genius we all thought he was. So winning tonight would be a nice way of having last night be rock bottom, and tonight starting the turnaround.
The Raps on the other hand, they're pretty good. When you've got Chris Bosh and Jermaine O'Neal playing up to their potential, you're going to be pretty good. But that Boston game stung. For three quarters, they were out and out better than Boston, and they let 'em off the hook! Now they're in a rebound situation. This game could prove to be kind of a barometer for their season in conjunction with the Boston game. Not as good as Detroit or Boston, better than the rest of the seeds outside of Cleveland. They need better perimeter defense, they could use some more wing scoring, and they would be improved by a stat-stuffer. Hmmm... who's available? TRADE 4 TEH G-FORZ NOWZ!
This game is going to be about Toronto's speed and agility versus Philly's braun and accumen. The Sixers need to slow this thing down to a crawl, because they can't run if they can't get stops, and they can't get stops right now in a fast paced game. Young should have a huge game tonight because there's really no one that matches up well against him. But if Iggy doesn't come up big on both ends of the floor and from the perimeter, the Raptors can shoot their way into a blowout. Let's see what you got, fellas.
7PM EST, SCOR
Since Last We Met, We Kind Of Sort Of, Discovered We're Awesome (by Matt):
Atlanta at Boston.
KA-KAW! KA-KAW-KAW-KAW! Rat-A-Tat-Tat-Ka-Kaw, b*tches!
You have to ask yourself something, at this exact moment in time, because I don't think anyone outside of the most insane Hawks fan or Lang Whitaker can envision it. And we know it likely won't happen. But the question needs to be asked.
What if the Hawks beat the Celtics tonight?
Think about it. You would be looking at an undefeated team that will have beaten Toronto, Philadelphia, Orlando, New Orleans, and Boston, and be on a three game winning streak without Josh Smith. Beating up the Clippers twice and a Mavs team they own it ain't. That's a schedule that stands with anyone.
What do we do at that point? Panic? Buy high, sell low? Build altars? Throw keggers? Paint faces? Seriously, if the Hawks without their second best player beat the defending world champions on the road to remain undefeated, don't we have to have some sort of worldwide day of celebration? Bigger than Obama winning? I think so. Okay. Too far.
Especially considering this Boston team has only one loss and has gone from last year's "We have to prove it to the world!" to this year's "We've proven it. We know it. You know it. Expect us." This team strikes without consideration, hesitation, or fear. Down by double digits to Toronto? No biggie. Having an off shooting night? No problem. They'll just execute you in whatever way they need to, get back into position, and have the Truth rain down fire.
The Hawks have to play with a lot of emotion tonight. Mike Bibby has to shoot well. I cannot stress this enough. If this team is going to win tonight, Mike Bibby is going to need to shoot at least 45% from the arc. That's a pretty tall order. The contributions from Flip Murray and Mo Evans can even things, and if Horford gets it going again that would be huge, and of course, we all know what Joe Johnson can do against the Celtics. But if Bibby is a weakness, the Celtics will capitalize.
The Celtics need to slow it down and prevent the Hawks from jumping into their offense like they do. They're not especially fast paced, they just throw a lot of movement into their offense. And if the Celtics don't shut down the offensive glass, they're going to find themselves behind.
With all the huge games tonight, this one is either the heartbreaking truth come to the Hawks' door (most-likely), or an indication that we may be in for something special this season.
7:30PM EST CSNE
The Inconsistent Meteor Shower Versus The Defective Missile Launcher (by Matt):
New York at Memphis.
Memphis finally gets a day's rest after a four-game road trip. The Knicks get brought back to earth by the Spurs. Something's gotta give. The Grizzlies are two games back of .500, the Knicks one game over. Something's gotta give. The Grizzlies have the 6th best defense in efficiency, the Knicks have a better offense (if still at 21st in efficiency), and score much more than the Grizzlies. Something's gotta give. The Knicks have Jamal Crawford. The Grizzlies have OJ Mayo. The Knicks have Zach Randolph playing well. The Grizzlies have Marc Gasol. The Knicks have David Lee. The Grizzlies have Rudy Gay. Gotta give, gotta give, gotta give.
Outside of Portland-Miami, this honestly might be the most entertaining game on the schedule. You've got speed, athleticism, and lots of talent to root for. Can Nate Robinson have a stellar game? Can Mike Conley get his act together in time to save the Grizz from the doom that is OJ Mayo at the point? Will Mayo have a career night for the third game in a row? Will Rudy Gay find his hot? Will Starbury play? No? Okay, can't ask for too much.
8PM EST, MSG
Do Not Poke The Wounded Animal With A Bogut. Repeat, Do Not Poke With Boguts.(by Matt) :
San Antonio at Milwaukee.
The Spurs have had quite enough of this "Dyansty=Over, Window Closed= Very Yes" business. They put the Knicks back in their place last night, and low and behold, George Hill can actually ball. What? Unheard of draft pick comes in to contribute and help win a game? Shocking!
Milwaukee, on the other hand, is mediocre. They're not terrible. They're not the Thunder. But Jefferson can only have one great game out of four, Villanueva appears, dominates, and then vanishes for halves at a time, Redd's on the shelf again, and Bogut looks like crap. But hey, Ramon Sessions is pretty good!
For the Bucks to win tonight, they need to get Bogut involved early and that means going right at Duncan. Which isn't the easiest thing in the world. Mbah a Moute needs to dunk a lot and Sessions has to score 24, with 11 assists. That's what's needed. Or he and Ridnour can split if they score 40 with 18 assists. But anything less than that and the Spurs via the once-evil, always-evil Bruce Bowen will walk with this one. Tim Duncan will have his cake and eat it, too, tonight.
8PM EST, SUN
I Have No Way Of Describing This, So I Will Simply Post This Picture (by Matt):
Sacramento at LA Clippers
There's A Lot Of Ego In This Game For Two Teams That Aren't As Good As The Lakers (by Matt):
Houston at Phoenix.
I've been really impressed with the new Suns. Really. Shaq's terrible wrapped in a nice suit and some flashes of competence, but other than that, this team is solid. They've taken to the defense like they said they would, and they're still being incredibly efficient on offense. That's even more insane considering Steve Nash has taken yet another step back. But they're doing their thing.
The Rockets meanwhile, apparently decided they had had enough of living up to potential and giving me something to be happy about in this Laker-infested universe. They've been wholly underwhelming. The biggest problem is that they're shooting badly, which could be a slump, or a sign that they're not in sync.
It's a weird matchup. Yao, who's always held his own against The Big Fella. I...guess they'll try guarding Amare with Artest? Though they'll probably spell Scola on him too, which means I'd get ready to hear Houston fans complaining about fouls. Amare is unstoppable right now, and that's just kind of the way it is. I'd expect to see a lot of Aaron Brooks, to try and wear down Nash with his speed, and I'd anticipate Barbosa having another big game. This one could also get very nasty really quick. Both of these teams have a tough defensive attitude and aren't going to want to back down. Should be a good one.
10:30PM EST, ESPN
Portland @ Miami
8PM EST, ESPN
Indiana @ New Jersey
7:30 PM EST, YES
Utah @ Washington
8PM No TV Listed (!)
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