Friday, January 20, 2006

NBA Quick Hits

Gilbert Arenas played one of his best games tonight, it happened completely under the radar, and it made me want to jot it down somewhere. But where? Put it in a column? Devote a blog entry to it? It made me realize that we need a thread here where we can note random NBA observations. Thus: NBA Quick Hits. It is a place where you can hop online and say something like, "Wow, Kwame Brown is so unbelievably bad that Devean George just took his spot in the starting lineup." Or: "Raja Bell might be the most underrated perimeter defender in the league, and that might actually give the Suns a fighting chance to win the West (provided Amare ever comes back, of course." Even: "Chris Kaman has the most horrific hair style this side of Pink." You get the idea. Read on, you can be sure the first Quick Hit will be devoted to one Gilbert "Grape" Arenas.


Adam Hoff said...

So, back to Gilbert. Over the course of the 2005-06 season he has continued to elevate his game. He's scoring almost 30 points per game and proving to be virutally unstoppable off the dribble. However, he continues to turn the ball over far too often, hoist too many contested threes (particularly early in the shot clock with no one in position to rebound), and monopolize the ball. It is telling that his spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star team is up in the air.

That's why tonight's game was so important. He came out getting people involved, he constantly took the ball to the rim (creating passing opportunities as well as the "AI Effect," meaning all of the offensive rebounds created when he draws three defenders and gets the ball to the rim for his big men to clean up), he made good decisions, and he played great defense. He finished with great numbers, but nothing mind blowing for him. He had 33 points and 5 assists, compared to his season averages of over 28 and 6. He shot 11 for 24, which is just above his 44% mark on the season. So what made it so good?

For starters, he committed zero turnovers. He is averaging 4 per game and had committed less than two in a game only four times all season. He also made his usual two three pointers, but on only two attempts rather than seven plus. He blocked a shot, nabbed two steals, and went to the line for 11 free throws.

More importantly, his team got a W against a scrappy Hornets team as they won for the fourth time in their last five games. Perhaps Arenas is now bringing the leadership and winning mentality to back up all those terrific numbers.

Craig said...

Gotta put T-Mac on the list. Comes back from the injury to put up 35 points and hit the game-tying jumper in regulation, game-tying jumper in OT, and the game-winning three in double OT. Not bad.

Anonymous said...

Between the game last night and the Spurs game last year, T-Mac proves that he has a killer instinct. That commerical they had with him making all those crazy shots with everyone storming the court, that could probably happen with him sometimes. You can't catch that kind of fire on the old NBA Jam games!

Adam Hoff said...

Good to see that Ray Allen is from the Dale Ellis school of shooting. When asked to describe his philosophy on shooting, Ellis once said, "When you are hot, keep shooting. When you are cold, shoot until you are hot." Genius.

Now a new Sonics gunner is taking the words to heart. Ray Allen was clanking away in tonight's Sonics-Suns game to the tune of 5-13 from the field and a hideous 0-6 from three. But he kept firing. For that reason, he wound up with 42 points and a game-winning three in the wild 152-149 double OT thriller. Not only that, but he finished at .500 from the field and from behind the arc, and dropped eight three-pointers in all. When is the last time you saw someone shake off an 0-6 start to bang home eight triples?

"When you are cold, shoot until you are hot!"

Adam Hoff said...

I should also point out that Allen Iverson had 39 (including 26 in the second half) and 9 boards to lead the Sixers from 19 down at Minnesota. Huge effort.

Also, T-Mac had 43 and 9 in a valiant effort at Detroit (Pistons won 99-97).

Finally, Kobe currently has 64 points midway through the fourth against the Raptors. Holy hell.

Adam Hoff said...

Make that 81 for Kobe. Only the second player in NBA history to go for 80 in a game, Kobe was out of his head tonight. I've never liked him (he's selfish, manipulative, fakes injuries, ran Shaq out of town, yells at teammates, may have got his rape on, etc.), but I was in awe watching the old stat tracker tonight. 81? Are you kidding me? My man took 46 shots from the field and made a whopping 28. He drained seven threes. Went 18-for-20 from the line. Incredible.

Miller said...

That was amazing. The highlights on Sports Center gave me chills. The real question is whether anyone else in the NBA could even come close to that. Is anyone talented and self-absorbed enough to even try? LeBron looks like he could score 70+, but he passes too much and lacks that assassin nature. Iverson has the will power, but is just too small to do more than 70, probably. T-Mac is the only one with the size, skill, and lack of conscience like Kobe, but he doesn't have the stamina to keep heaving like that. No big man could do it, I don't think.

I guess Kobe is is the only one that could ... and he did.

Adam Hoff said...

Believe it or not, the only guy that I think could do it is the very player pictured on this thread: Gilbert Arenas. He has just enough size, plenty of speed and stamina, and he has the same mentality as Kobe. That being: attack, attack, attack. Plus, he has the kind of streaky shooting ability to work a 9-14 type of night from behind the arc in with constant slashing to the rim. I think with the right opponent, the right hot start, and permission from his team, Gilbert could take a legit run at 70+. Remember, he's still very young. Give him 3-4 years and I think he's the guy that could do it.

My second choice is T-Mac. You make good points, but this is the same guy that scored 13 points in 34 seconds last year. I think it is safe to say he can put up numbers in a hurry.

Of course, this is all a moot point. There is a reason that no one other than Wilt had ever eclipsed 80. I think we can assume it isn't going to happen again for a some time.

doc said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jack Wang said...

Who else could score 80? I say Lebron. In his third year, Lebron's averaging 31 points/game (compared to Kobe's 19.9 in his third year). He has the stamina, the range, and better efficiency. He's already had two 50 point games this year. Kobe didn't have his first 50 point game until his 5th year in the league. He may not have the assassin's nature like the Mamba, but put him on a team like the Lakers where he's the best scoring option by far, and the ability is there.

Adam Hoff said...

Good point on LeBron's youth. Because he is so accomplished, we forget that he's only in his third season. He may develop that killer instinct to just relentlessly attack over and over again. For now though, he still looks like the guy that could score 60 or so but then feel self-conscious and shy away from going any further. He's got the talent though, no doubt about it.

Adam Hoff said...

By the way, here are the career highs for many of the game's best scorers:

T-Mac: 62 points (2004)
AI: 60 (2005)
LeBron: 56 (2005)
Jermaine: 55 (2005)
Dirk: 53 (2004)
Duncan 53 (2001)
VC: 51 (2005)
Jamison: 51 (2000)
Amare: 50 (2005)
Lewis 50 (2003)
Crawford 50 (2004)
Marbury 50 (2001)
Pierce: 48 (2006)
Wade: 48 (2005)
Ginobili: 48 (2005)
Arenas: 47 (2005)
Allen: 47 (2002)
Garnett: 47 (2005)
Melo: 45 (2005)
Brand: 44 (2000)

(Of course, we can't forget about Tony Delk. Should he make a comeback, his 53-point outing in 2001 will loom large. I also left C-Webb [51 points in 2001] and Shaq [61 in 2000] off the list, since it doesn't seem either of them will be regaining the old "50+" form anytime soon.)

Matt said...

It should be noted that the Raptors defense is beyond hideous. Now, this isn't 81 points or anything, but the Raps are currently yielding 30 to Melo on 12-14 shooting with a quarter to play. If he turns it on and goes for 50 (after all, he has about 12 missed shots in the bank right now), would that cement Mo Pete as the worst "defensive stopper" of all time? Or just Sam Mitchell as the worst defensive coach?

Anonymous said...

Jamal Crawford scored 50 points in a game? Now I KNOW that points scored doesn't mean much of anything.