Read Everything That Dunks Must Converge

Read Everything That Dunks Must Converge
by Bryan Harvey

Truth & lies in Pixar's 'The Good Dinosaur'

Truth & lies in Pixar's 'The Good Dinosaur'
by Bryan Harvey

A world of child soldiers & cowboys

A world of child soldiers & cowboys
by Bryan Harvey

To their own devices: Pablo Larrain's 'The Club'

To their own devices: Pablo Larrain's 'The Club'
by Bryan Harvey

Breakfast with Berndon: Paid Professionals Edition

February 18, 2010

(Author’s Note: Due to our forthcoming look at all of the trade deadline deals I’m modifying the start of my weekly NBA writing. Look for Breakfast with Berndon: Paid Professionals Edition coming every Thursday. For today, I just have a couple of older game recaps, some power rankings that aren’t set in stone as more deals are made, and a look at the top players of the last two weeks.)

Atlanta 91, Chicago 81:  My inconsistent Chicago Bulls squad took on the Hawks, sans our low-post leader in Joakim Noah, which came back to bite us in the ass as Josh Smith had a field day. Not a field day like the one in elementary school where you are rewarded with ribbons for winning the three-legged race, but the type of field day that included 18 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists, notching his 2nd triple-double of his career. He also had 8 offensive rebounds, which was made easier without the presence of Noah. Chicago was abysmal from deep going 0-10 for the contest. I’m not sure what to make of the team that I’ve gotten a chance to see quite a bit since I’ve moved back to the Chicagoland area. Derrick Rose looks unguardable and unstoppable at times, but the Bulls struggle when he can’t hit his much improved mid-range jumper, which he wasn’t knocking down this evening. The team also seems to play down to their competition at times, as evidenced by recent losses to both the Clippers and Philly. They played well for 3 quarters tonight, but being outscored 27-11 in the 4th quarter did them in tonight.
Man of the Match: (Josh Smith 18 pts, 14 rbs, 10 assts)

Denver 126, L.A. Lakers 113: The second tilt in ESPN’s double dip involved the two best teams out West, as the Lake Show took on the Nuggets in a rematch from last year’s Conference finals, as well as a potential preview of an impending battle this Spring. One thing to take from this game outside of the fact that all three All-Stars, Billups, Kobe, and Gasol all played games that matched up to their resumes, was the fact that x-factor J.R. Smith had a gigantic 4th quarter, coming up with 16 points. Bold statement time so get ready. I think Smith is the most important player on Denver’s team, more important than Carmelo, Billups, Kenyon Martin etc. When he is on and not playing like he just got high and got his 167th tattoo, his scoring off the bench and in crunch time gives Denver that little extra oomph that other teams don’t bring off the pine. He can be unstoppable at times, and much like a Mariano Rivera or Jonathan Papelbon, can be used in small doses to simply murder the other squads out West. Billups was the major story, emerging as the victor in the shootout with Kobe. Mr. Big Shot went for a career-best 39 points, on 9-13 from three. Kobe gamely put up 33 on one leg, and Gasol went for 17-17, but Denver seemingly couldn’t miss during certain stretches, and in the process, further inching deeper into the Laker’s psyche as playoff time draws nearer.
Man of the Match: (Chauncey Billups 39 pts, 8 assts, 9 3’s)

Power Rankings
1. Lakers (42-13) The trophy still resides in LaLa land until someone takes it from them.
2. Cleveland (43-11) Jamison might put them over the top.
3. Denver (35-16) Great chance to beat the Lakers and make the finals.
4. Dallas (33-21) Picking up Tough Juice and Haywood puts them on par with West top two.
5. Orlando (37-18) Dwight Howard is back to dominance.
6. Atlanta (34-18) Hawks have closed the gap with the top three in the East.
7. Utah (34-19) Jazz need more contributions off the bench other than Millsap.
8. Oklahoma City: This team will be absolutely scary in a year ot two.
9. San Antonio (31-21): I still wouldn't want to play them in May.
10. Boston (33-18): Nate Robinson for Eddie House might take them two steps back.
11. Portland (32-24): Camby allows Juwan Howard to take his rightful spot on the bench.
12. Houston (28-25): I really like the Kevin Martin pickup.
13. Phoenix (32-23): Amare is playing for a new contract, but will he play D?
14. Toronto (29-24): Enjoy Chris Bosh while you can Canada.
15. New Orleans: (28-26): Darren Collison is holding his own replacing CP3.
16. Memphis: (27-26): The Griz have struggled lately, but still could get the 8 spot.
17. Chicago (27-26): Clearing cap space, yet still could suprise in the playoffs. (I hope).
18. Charlotte (26-26): Have fun with Ty Thomas Larry.
19. Miami (27-26): Beasley needs to step up.
20. Milwaukee (24-28): If they get the Salmons from last year's playoffs, they might get in.
21. Detroit (19-34): If they could figure out how to juggle the minutes, there's some talent here.
22. Philly (20-33): Jrue Holliday was a terrible first round pick.
23. Indiana (18-35): Troy Murphy is an underated rebounding machine.
24. New York (19-34): I'm curious to see if they land T-Mac, and what exactly, he has left.
25. LA Clippers (21-33): Poor Blake Griffin.
26. Washington( 18-37): Interesting to see what Blatche, Young, etc can do with more minutes.
27. Sacramento (18-36): Can't really comment until the aftermath of the McGrady deal.
28. Golden St. (15-38): Steph Curry is proving that he wasn't another Adam Morrison
29. Minnesota (13-42): Despite the record, I like what they are building here.
30. New Jersey (5-49): Does Brooklyn really want this team?

Man of the Match Leaderboard: (Brief Disclaimer: I have to give to credit to both Euro League Soccer, as this is where I first heard this phrase used for the best player in a game, and Brent Musberger, who used it when covering a college basketball game. So I blatantly stole this term from them. To be the man of the match, your team has to win, and you have to lead your team in the most statistical categories taken from points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. I've been keeping track for the last two weeks, so without further ado, here's the leaders as of late.)

1. Dwight Howard 5 (22.2 pts, 13.4 rbs, 3.2 blks)
2. LeBron James 4 (34.3 pts, 6.5 rbs, 10 assts)
2. Josh Smith 4 ( 18.3 pts, 9.3 rbs, 6 assts, 3 stls)
4. Kevin Durant 3 (29 pts, 11 rbs,)
4. Aaron Brooks 3 (19.3 pts, 5.7 rbs, 6.7 assts)
4. Andre Iguodala 3 (24.3 pts, 9 rbs, 7 assts, 2.3 stls)
4. Dwyane Wade 3 ( 19.7 pts, 4.75 rbs, 8 assts, 2.7 stls)

A couple of suprises with Josh Smith, Aaron Brooks, and Andre Iguodala being amongst the All-Stars. Howard stuggled in the middle of the season a bit, but is back to being dominant. James' assist numbers have continued to climb. Josh Smith should have been an All-Star. Durant is simply amzaing as of late. Brooks has quietly become one of the better young pg's out west. Iguodala always stuffs the stat sheet. We'll have to see how hurt Wade is from last night, as Miami will take a nose dive without him.

Later today, Langston, Teach, and I will take a look at the deadline deals, so keep a lookout.

Photos via NBA.COM/Getty Images


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