Final Score: Hornets 84- Wizards 86.
Halftime: Wizards 50- Hornets 39
New Orleans Hornets
Chris Paul- Looked like he was sleeping half the time, playing with absolutely no energy and really hurting his team in the process. Showed some sparks with some unbelievable passes, but for the most part just brought the ball up the court and passed it off.
In the 2nd half Paul woke up and started taking the ball to the basket much stronger. He scored at least ten points in this half and added at least a couple of assists. He still didn't have a great game, but at least he left a better overall impression than the sleepy disinterested kid we saw in the first half.
Brandon Bass- The invisible man as Eric Weiss calls him, Bass is either really shy or really bad, we havent decided yet. He might be coming off an injury or something because this isnt even close to the player he was in college. Bass did absolutely nothing in the 2nd half. He may have played, but we didn't really notice.
Maciej Lampe- A good, but not great game from Lampe, more of the same from what we saw yesterday actually more than anything. Ran the floor pretty well and finished after taking a nice pass from Chris Paul or Troy Bell. Sometimes went underneath the basket to receive the ball and make things happen, and sometimes floated out to the perimeter and jacked up a bad shot. Didnt play a lot of defense and didnt really rebound that great, but still showed a lot of potential as usual.
J.R. Smith- Hit a few threes, took some bad shots and some good ones, made some acrobatic moves and some boneheaded ones, showed a lot of potential while showing that he has a ton of work to do at the same time. Smith was the man in charge of leading the Hornets back from a 15 point deficit with his scoring. He shoots WAY too many threes, jacking one up with even the least bit of daylight, but today his team needed that and he came through for them.
David West- A scrappy game from West who has to fight to get any touches here playing next to a lot of players who like to have the ball in their hands. Hes a semi athletic and well coordinated power forward who can do a lot of things well, but nothing really great. He contributed by doing a lot of little things as usual.
Peter John Ramos- PJR, as he will now be known as, definitely has some skill-at least more than Pavel Podolzkin from Dallas. PJR has got a little shake in his post game and looks good when he releases the ball. Still a bit goofy with the handle, but what can you expect from a 74 guy. His jumper looks to have promise as he keeps his elbow in and delivers the ball softly. Absolutely must work on positioning , especially on the defensive end where he is getting torched on help defense.
Andray Blatche- Hes got the moves, Ill give em that. But, what he does with them remain the question. Blatche made an excellent up and under stutter move to start the night and quickly followed with a rhythm three off the dribble. After starting off hot though hes shown nothing more than an great handle for a seven footer. While his teammates havent helped him out a ton with screens or solid cuts I dont know at this point if it would really matter. But, hes a young kid with a ton of talent figuring out what to do with himself. His future is in his own hands.
Ousmanne Cisse-Cisse, the forgotten high schooler from a few years back, has shown a nice game so far. Cisse is still sculpted like Adonis and looks capable with either his back to the basket or facing up. Ousmanne looks to have good form on his jumper and can shoot it out to 18 feet without pressing the motion. Hes only 68 but if he continues to display the type of poise he has so far hell probably make someones team. More to come from him
David Hawkins-A very successful playoffs overseas in Rome has gotten Hawkins another shot at the league. Looks very solid, but is built like a tank and has the height of a 2 guard minus an inch or two. Still, hes got post moves and an outside shot along with an ability to put it on the floor so someones going to pay him to play
Gerald Fitch-Gerald Fitch is a 2 guard trapped in a point guards body-the oldest story in the book. But, hes a heady player whose show an impressive handle of the ball and an ability to not run himself into traffic like a lot of guys with similar skills do. Geralds keeping on his toes on defense and gave Chris Paul quite a hassle in the game tonight not too shabby. Fitch came up big with a three pointer with 20 seconds left that put his team up by 1. Hiram Fuller iced the game from the line by splitting his free throws.
Final Score: Orlando Magic 89- Chicago Bulls 85
Halftime score: Chicago 44- Orlando 40.
Dwight Howard- So much better than anyone else here that its not even funny. Got the ball inside the post and just exploded towards the hoop. Posted up, showed some footwork and even a little baby hook or a kiss off the glass when he wasnt skying to the roof and tearing the hoop down. Looks like he has put on some serious weight since the season ended. Hes quick, skilled, has awesome hands, moves his feet extremely well...I could go on and on. The kid is a stud.
Jameer Nelson- Last game he looked like he didnt really want to be here, this time its probably the same but he came in and did his job anyway. Jameer has developed some really nice chemistry with Dwight Howard it looks like, he put the ball right in his hands numerous times for easy baskets. Jameer took the ball strong to the basket but looked a lot more interested in creating for others rather than scoring himself.
Jerome Beasley- Continued to show a nice faceup game and even something resembling a back to the basket game. Tried to play some defense even, looking decent in the process. Beasley had another solid outing, showing off a lot of skill on the offensive end and making another solid case for himself to make someones roster this upcoming season.
Travis Diener- A very solid outing for Diener backing up Jameer Nelson. He did a good job running the team and getting everyone involved, going to the basket and dishing off or finishing himself. Best of all was his perimeter stroke, Diener gets off his shoot quickly and accurately and looks like he will have absolutely no problem at all adjusting to the NBA three point line. The 20 footer he hit falling out of bounds with the shot clock about to expire sealed the game for the Magic at the end of the game.
Eddie Basden- Quiet, but very effective. Took the ball to the basket aggressively and did his job on defense, picking pockets a couple of times and igniting the break. Got to the line and even hit a 3 pointer. There isnt much more you can ask for out of Basden.
Final Score: Phoenix 70- Detroit 64.
32-30 Phoenix at halftime. The refs wont let them play. No flow to this game.
Jason Maxiell- Did a good job knocking people around in the paint, nailed his mid-range jumper and dunked the ball with authority. Solid game from Maxiell, he wouldnt back down from anyone.
Darko Milicic- Doesnt really look too interested in whats happening around him. Not really trying too hard.
Got the ball from two feet out with the 6-7 Harold Jamison guarding him, Darko bricks it. The same thing happened in the fourth quarter, he had his man pinned and just needed to throw it down strong, instead he got cute with a hook shot and it rimmed out. Someone from the crowd then yelled at Joe Dumars: "you see that Joe?!?"
Darko went to the bench with the most dejected look you have ever seen out of a #2 pick. Its obvious that people are disappointed in him and he is disappointed in himself, but after seeing such little playing time over the last two years, there really isnt too much he can do.
Alex Acker- Hit 2 NBA 3s right off the bat, played the point a bit with mixed results. All in all a decent game for Acker. He looks much more confident than he did in Chicago. Thats apparently what will happen when a team sees something in you and decides to use a 2nd round pick on you. Took the ball to the basket a bit and did a great job shooting the ball from outside.
Amir Johnson- Hit his mid-range jumper and tried his best around the basket.
Carlos Delfino- Looks incredibly slow. Definitely not the same player he was in Italy. Trying too hard, and things really arent working out for him.
Completely out of shape, looking very heavy, barely being able to get off his feet\. Only player here who is wearing an undershirt with sleeves, apparently he has something to hide. His basketball instincts are still there, but he has a long ways to go to get ready for the new season.
Steven Graham- Graham had a solid showing in limited minutes. He was much more assertive than in his previous game, making a number of trips to the basket for scores or free throws. Stevie hit a nice baseline three and shows great form on his shot. Grahams defense was also very solid tonight and he seemed much more involved in the offense.
Leandro Barbosa Barbosa is what he is, an extremely talented athlete who possesses virtually no point guard skills to this point in his career. Barbosa plays stellar defense and is extremely active on both sides of the ball, but his shot is flat and he looks to it more than he looks to get teammates involved. Too much dribbling. Barbosa can score with the best of them though and when he keeps his game north and south hes a handful as a change of pace player off the bench.
Dijon Thompson Thompson continues to baffle with his selection of shots and moves. Thompson only looks to score from the perimeter, but will go inside and then pass out to the perimeter when hes close enough for an easier basket. Still, hes got good size and likes to get out on the break so hes got a chance to play with the Suns this year. Must have a breakout game at some point this week for me to buy into his status of a drafted player though
Devin Harris- Didnt really do a whole lot of anything, not looking like a top 5 pick at all. Every assist is followed by a turnover. An average PG and average scorer, without a great shot or feel for the game. Turned the ball over quite a bit, didnt run his offense very well and shot wasnt falling for him. Didnt seem to enjoy taking contact, complained to the refs a lot and settled for a lot of weak shots. Decision making was questionable. Harris got injured at the end of the game on a hard foul from Gerald Green. He might be done for the week.
Pavel Podkolzin- Did a good job looking goofy and picking up fouls and turnovers mainly. Doesnt play like he is 7-5 at all. Later on in the game scored a bit from two feet out or so, but otherwise had a hard time making his presence felt. He must get in better shape if he is going to have any chance at getting playing time next year in the NBDL.
Marquis Daniels- Showing good athletic ability and ball-handling skills, but not really dominating the game the way you would expect a player of his caliber to. Picked it up a bit in the second half with a couple of steals and baskets in transition.
Josh Powell- A bit quiet, but put himself in the right spots to be effective thanks to his strength and athletic ability. Got to the line an awful lot and converted. Rebounded well. Playing mostly inside, although he needs to show off his perimeter game to make it in the pros as a combo forward.
Pissed off Avery Johnson a bit by not taking the open shots he had from the perimeter, and was sent to the bench eventually. Solid 1st half.
Michael Harris- Has lost a lot of weight since the last time I saw him playing for Rice. Body looks great and he is clearly more athletic now that he is down to the size that a swingman should be at. Hit an outside jumper or two and did a pretty good job with everything he was asked to do.
DJ Mbenga Did a nice job sticking to his strengths, challenging and blocking shots around the rim, rebounding well, and showing a nice hook shot in the paint. Not the most skilled guy in the world, but makes up for it with his effort and a massive body.
Al Jefferson- Jefferson finally came alive in the second half of the game. His offense is never really a concern, but hes been missing a lot of gimme shots. In the second half Jefferson rediscovered the deadly arsenal of post moves that everyone has come to expect. Als rebounding was very solid throughout the game and his on-ball defense is much improved.
Justin Reed- Reed has been the Celtics best player again today. In a herky-jerky game Reed has been the only real energy on the court. Reeds jumper continues to be effective, even making a couple off the dribble. Reeds been the active voice on the court as well, getting his teammates into position.
Taylor Coppenrath- Showed a ton of hustle by getting to a number of loose balls and putting himself in a position to finish with good floor spacing. Got a nice and one play against DJ Mbenga, who is a physical shot-blocking seven footer with very little actual skill.
Gerald Green- Green is not moving well without the ball, but not for a lack of interest. Hes just too wide-eyed at this point to really assert himself and is staying out of the way when not getting the ball. Still, already has had four dunk attempts, 2 sweet ally-oops and finished all his free throws.
Ryan Gomes- Ryan got smacked in the head on an offensive rebound early and had to come out of the game. He finished both of his free throws before leaving the court, which was nice. Gomes came back late in the half and had two nice dunks where he displayed excellent post position and awareness of his defenders positioning. Finished up the game with a solid double-double despite what the box score might say.
Delonte West- Delonte over-handled the ball a bit in the first half, an unusual thing for him to do. His shots have been limited as hes been looking to create for teammates more than get his own baskets. Defense is still there though.
Tony Allen More hustle from Tony as usual. A couple nice dribble drives to the basket for soft pull ups within 10 feet. Hasnt made and tremendous defensive plays, but continues to go inside against bigger opponents for rebounds. One nice drive for the jam to highlight his first half.
Portland Trailblazers vs. Golden State Warriors
Sebastian Telfair- Had an outstanding first half, doing a great job of running the team, getting everyone involved and being super active all over the floor. Got to the basket at will thanks to his quickness and an outstanding crossover, and didnt shy away from taking contact and finishing off the glass. He is obviously taking this very seriously, playing with a lot of heart and showing leadership out on the floor. May have dominated the ball a little too much in the 2nd quarter, but thats really just the nature of the games here, all about one on one play.
Got to the line repeatedly and hit all of his free throws. Really has a great feel for where his teammates are. Drive and dish was superb in this game, as is his ability to find teammates in transition from even 40 feet away. Left a very strong impression with the way he played once again today.
Andris Biedrins- Did a solid job inside the paint and on the glass, sticking to his strengths and scoring around the basket. Looks to have added some more pounds to his frame, and really appears to have a lot of room to grow as a player over the next year if hes featured a bit more.
Monta Ellis- Playing mostly off the ball, getting a lot of open catch and shoot situations on the perimeter, but not doing much more offensively besides that. It was nice to see him try and make his presence felt somewhat defensively and on the glass, always seeming to find himself in the right place at the right time and showing quite a bit of energy on this end.
Played a lot more PG in the 2nd half, but with mixed results. Only really showed the ability to create his own shot. Came up very short on a number of attempts from the perimeter. Forced the issue quite a bit, showing awful shot selection.
Martell Webster- Made a conscious effort to put the ball on the floor a little more and make his way to the basket, with mixed results. His stroke from outside was absolutely gorgeous and he used it a couple of times to put points up on the board. When he had space, he is virtually automatic from outside.
Lack of ball-handling skills and explosiveness really showed at times.
Travis Outlaw- The Warriors did a pretty good job taking away his dribble penetration, forcing him to rely more on his outside shot, with mixed results. Didnt really stand out too much except for a few nice moves.
An outstanding athlete, but needs to work on his ball-handling and outside shooting to make up for his average feel for the game. Scored some garbage points and intimidated around the basket thanks to his energy, length and athleticism. Had a decent game with 18 points (7-19 FG), 12 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 assists.
Andres Biedrins- played limited minutes, but was very effective during his time on the floor. Biedrins looked confident on the floor. His transition from receiving the ball to his initial move was near instantaneous and when a defender blocked the path to the basket Biedrins was able to go to a contingency move without hesitation. Very physical on both ends of the court. Biedrins didnt shy away from contact, actually went looking for it, especially on his defensive positioning. Dont know how much hell play in the upcoming games but he looks great so far
Ike Diogu- was another player who saw little court time, which was surprising. Diogu showed that his love of physical play hasnt diminished as the competition has increased. Diogu still got caught on his initial move a few times as he looked to be surprised that it wasnt enough to free himself for the shot. Ike looked more comfortable going toward the middle of the court than he did on the baseline, but there werent really enough opportunities to make a solid assessment. Defensively got inside and grabbed a few rebounds in traffic.
Diogu showed up in the second half of the game in a major way. He was the dominant player for the Warriors in this game. Diogu used his superior strength and positioning to corral at least 5 or 6 offensive rebounds, many in traffic. Used his body with authority, knocking around anyone who got near him. Ike had a couple of nice put-back jams off his teammates misses. Didnt get a lot of feature touches on offense, but still managed a few strong post moves. Looked stronger in the center of the court as opposed to the baseline where the help defender could trap him and expose the lack of explosiveness a bit. Great game overall.
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