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thebac
02-09-2004, 06:47 PM
The Good, the Bad, the Kitchen Sink

Five days away from All-Star weekend as two-time starting center Yao Ming prepares to face Tim Duncan tonight and Shaquille O'Neal on Wednesday as a warm-up to the big event.

The Good

Pau Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies
lWeek's work: 4-0, 22.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2 apg, 1 spg, 2.2 bpg, 60% shooting
His season averages are still not as good as his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2002, but who cares when he just led the Griz to their franchise-high 29th win with 32 games still to go in the current season. Currently, Memphis is 29-21 and tied for sixth place in the Western Conference. But when Gasol gets 14 or more shots in a game (he's averaging 13.6 this year), the Grizzlies are 16-7.

Stephon Marbury, New York Knicks
Week's work: 3-0 record, 27 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 8 apg, 1.3 spg, 7 triples, 55.3% shooting
Still not quite sure what was more impressive in Sunday's win over the Clippers. His 42 points; or the fact he needed only 20 shots to get there; or that he also had eight assists. So far as a Knick, he's shot 47 percent from the field, 45 percent from 3-point range and 87 percent from the line, as well as averaging 9.5 assists per game. Extend those out over a season and they would all be career highs for the Coney Island native.

Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
Week's work: 3-0 record, 27.3 ppg, 13 rpg, 3 apg, 2.3 spg, 3.6 bpg, 55.5% shooting
It isn't so much Duncan leading the Spurs to three straight road wins against Western Conference foes as it is Duncan leading the Spurs as center Rasho Nesterovic and back-up big man Malik Rose combine for a grand total of only 18 points in those same three road games on 30 percent shooting.

Kenyon Martin, New Jersey Nets
Week's work: 4-0 record, 21 ppg, 12 rpg, 3.7 apg, 0.7 spg, 1 bpg, 52.3% shooting
There are only three players in the entire NBA who average more than 3.5 offensive rebounds per game. This week, Martin, who was at two per game on the year and 1.9 on his career, grabbed 3.75 per game. Last month, he grabbed a total of 19 in 12 games. So far in February, he's grabbed 15 in four games.

The Bad

Andre Miller, Denver Nuggets
Weak work: 1-2 record, 8 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 6.3 apg, 0.6 spg, 0.3 bpg, 29.1% shooting
Shoot 53 percent over the month of January and we'll tolerate a little all-star talk from a playoff-contending point guard. Shoot 7-for-24 in the next three games as your team falls to the eighth and final postseason slot and we better hear a pin drop. On Friday, Andre totaled two assists in 35 minutes to go along with four turnovers and five fouls. Two days later, he put up a big, fat zero in the scoring column despite playing 31 minutes.

T.J. Ford, Milwaukee Bucks
Weak work: 1-2 record, 3.6 ppg, 3 rpg, 7.6 apg, 0.3 spg, 0 bpg, 18% shooting
Hate to do this to a rookie, but make only four buckets in three games as a starter in the NBA while playing more than 27 minutes a game and we gotta do what we gotta do. But look at it this way. While he's had weeks as nearly as bad as this one or worse as a professional basketball player, he still handed out 23 assists this time around and might have had even more if Michael Redd hadn't started the week 7-for-29 from the field.

Clifford Robinson, Golden State Warriors
Weak work: 1-3 record, 12.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4 apg, 1.7 spg, 1.2 bpg, 24% shooting
At first glance, the stat line is fine for a 15-year veteran until you realize that while the rest of the Warrior lineup was shooting an incredible 49.6 percent over four games, Cliffy was going 13-for-54. And we haven't even gotten to the 13 turnovers.

Robert Traylor, New Orleans Hornets
Weak work: 1-3 record, 1.2 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 0.2 apg, 0.2 spg, 0 bpg, 16.6% shooting
You might be wondering what a second-string power forward is doing on this list while the team's leading scorer, Baron Davis, has recently gone 9-for-27 when not injured while the team's second-leading scorer, Jamal Mashburn, has gone 25-for-73 this week after returning from injury. But don't do Tractor any favors. After all, he was traded for Dirk Nowitzki on draft day back in 1998. Anyway, in October, he scored one point per game. In November, he scored 3.2 a game. In December, he was at 4.6. And in January, he was up to eight points per game on 59 percent shooting and couldn't wait for February. Well, last week, he put up a total of 10 personal fouls and five points on 2-for-12 shooting.

The Ugly

Shaq missed 29 free throws last week, almost 10 a game, as the 30 players he went up against comprising the full playing rosters of the Magic, Sixers and Cavaliers missed a grand total of 18. For the record, he went 16-for-45 for 35.5 percent, including that 3-for-15 night in Philly.

The Kitchen Sink

ODD MAN IN
Last year, Antawn Jamison averaged 22.2 points per game, 19.7 the year before that and 24.9 before that. He knew he wouldn't reach those figures this year surrounded by the likes of Dirk Nowitzki, Michael Finley, Steve Nash and Antoine Walker, and he was right.

As of right now, he's scoring 15.3 points per game, the lowest since his injury-marred rookie campaign. But also, as of right now, he's shooting a career-high 52.7 percent from the field. His previous high was 47.1 percent back in 2000 with a career mark of 45.4 percent prior to this season. Not only has he adjusted well to not being the focal point of an offense, but also coming off the bench and playing 10 minutes less a game than last year. And he's actually getting even better at it. Last month, he shot 54.3 percent from the field. So far in February, he's shooting a blistering 64 percent from the field.

PISTONS LOSING PRETTY
Remember when the Detroit Bad Boys used to win ugly? It wasn't too long ago that they set an NBA record for holding opponents below 100 points at 38 consecutive games. That streak ended on Jan. 11 when the Mavericks scored 102 in a losing effort. But then it happened again on Jan. 28 when the Celtics scored 103 and then on Feb. 2 when the Heat scored 100.

One thing in common, though, was that Detroit still won all of those games. Until Saturday. That's when the Piston ran into the Mavericks again and this time, Dallas dropped 111 points on the former defensive specialists on 55.4 percent shooting in a three-point win.

That's right. Only three points as the Pistons shot 55.6 percent on their way to 108 points. And while NBA fans may appreciate the offense, the Pistons have now lost three in a row after winning their last four games by a combined total of only eight points with two of them going into overtime.

HOUSEGUESTS
After starting the season by losing 16 of their first 18 road games, Portland has now won six of its last seven. The current drive began on Jan. 20 with a 109-104 overtime win in Sacramento, where the Kings have gone an impressive 58-10 over the last two seasons.

Since that win, the Blazers have held their opponents to only 82.8 points per game in the five victories despite having to play their opponents on their own turf. To put that in perspective, the Spurs currently lead the league in that defensive category by holding their opponents to 83.7 points per game.

MIAMI BACKDRAFT
Lamar Odom may be second on the Heat in scoring and total assists and steals while first in rebounding and blocks and third on 3-pointers made, but he and his teammates have definitely been in the wrong place at the wrong time this week.

Not even Odom's averages of 22 points, 10 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 2.2 blocks and one triple per game in the month of February could keep them from losing against the Pistons last Monday to give Detroit four wins in a row, or the Nets on Wednesday as New Jersey has built its win streak to eight in a row, or the Knicks on Saturday as New York has now won five in a row, or the Pacers Sunday as Indiana has won five of its last six.

THE SUN ALSO RISES
Joe Johnson, before the Marbury trade
In 34 games: 12.5 ppg, 4 rpg, 3.2 apg, 0.9 spg, 38.8% shooting

Joe Johnson, after the Marbury trade
In 19 games: 22.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.9 apg, 1.2 spg, 49.1% shooting

KARMA SPECIAL
Detroit Pistons (33-19) versus New Jersey Nets (29-20)
Tuesday, Feb. 10 in East Rutherford, N.J. at 7:30 p.m. EST on TNT

The Nets have won eight games in a row by scoring 98.7 points per game after scoring only 80 per game in the five straight losses that proceeded their coaching change. Let's see how they do against a team that fired its head coach after he led it to consecutive 50-win seasons.

The End
"No man, including David Stern, can do to me what FICA hasn't already done."

Shaq checking Head of Household box after losing $275,000 in suspension money.

Peep Show

Los Angeles Lakers: Phil Jackson doesn't know how to deal with Kobe Bryant and Kobe isn't helping much, either. "That's a hard question to answer," Jackson said in the Los Angeles Times. "I don't think there's a place where we can start where things are. I don't know, things are never in any spot. It's like quicksand; we're always sinking. One level deeper or one stratum to go before we know what's the bottom out. So, it's hard to say." But he did have one solution. "If he was available to play," Jackson said, "it would be entirely different." But it didn't seem like that was coming in the immediate future. "It's the first time we were able to see the damage that's been done to his finger, and he's got a ways to go," Jackson said. "He can barely bend his finger still."

Detroit Pistons: Listening to Chauncey Billups, you'd never get the impression that the Pistons just lost their third game in a row. "We played some great basketball," he said in the Detroit News. "We executed, we got every shot we wanted, everyone was sharing the ball. It was beautiful. Outside of about four or five minutes, we played great." But that's exactly what happened as Billups' last-second shot missed and the Pistons lost by three to the Mavs on the road. "It just always comes down to the same things, taking care of the ball and being unselfish," said Ben Wallace. "It comes down to doing stuff to help your teammates get open. We did it for most of the first half (and built a 15-point lead), then we started looking for ourselves. We started trying to outscore them and we forgot about the defensive end."

New York Knicks: Keith Van Horn is happy that his team won again for the fifth straight time but not about the fact that he contributed only 12 minutes to the cause. "I got into some foul trouble early and that really cut down on my minutes," Van Horn said in the New York Post. "That group that was in at the end of the fourth quarter was playing really well. Sometimes you have to leave groups in that are playing well." But head coach Lenny Wilkins said that he shouldn't get used to it. "I always thought that Keith Van Horn was a little better player than I had seen," Wilkens said. "I think he is starting to feel comfortable. He shows he can rebound. His defense is improving. He is making a real contribution."

Washington Wizards: Ever wonder how the Wizards would feel if they got everybody healthy? "I was joking with Larry (Hughes), saying we've got two guys capable of getting 40 and I'm capable of getting 60," Jerry Stackhouse said in the Washington Post. "We've got some offensive firepower. Kwame and Brendan have been great. They have really stepped up their games over the last two weeks and they're playing at a high level and that makes it easy on all of us." And at least one opposing coach agreed. "They've made a lot of different changes now with Stackhouse coming in and Arenas," Cleveland coach Paul Silas said. "That's a totally different ballclub."

Philadelphia 76ers: Don't look at Glenn Robinson. He doesn't have the answers. "We haven't been winning, so something is wrong," he said in the Philadelphia Daily News. "There have been games where we didn't play defense, there have been games we played bad offense, there have been games we should have won, with a 14-, 15-point lead, and didn't win. Who do you blame for that?" But he did think that he should still be getting more time. "I really don't even want to talk about [my minutes]," Robinson said after scoring nine points and shooting 3-for-15 from the floor in 30 minutes. "That's the way [Randy Ayers] coaches. That's his style. I don't agree with it, but I said all I had to say a couple weeks ago."

TheBaron
02-10-2004, 01:08 AM
ODD MAN IN
Last year, Antawn Jamison averaged 22.2 points per game, 19.7 the year before that and 24.9 before that. He knew he wouldn't reach those figures this year surrounded by the likes of Dirk Nowitzki, Michael Finley, Steve Nash and Antoine Walker, and he was right.

What has happened to Antawn Jamison? He hasnt showed up for two straight games.

Poindexter Einstein
02-10-2004, 02:24 PM
BARON ....Jamison's injured, bad ankle. Rolled it pretty good last week. The All-Star break (a week off after tonight) should get him healthy again, but dont expect much out of him tonight either.

FullBurst41
02-10-2004, 07:26 PM
Too damn bad too, the MAvs could really use a Sixth Man like him. onight.