Chasing Down The Latest NBA News
It was kind of amazing actually. If you are wandering what two players love going at each other the most and put on the best show, this game gave you the answer. The next time a Kobe-LeBron, or LeBron-Wade, or Durant-LeBron match-up is pimped on TV, I will know that none of those battles will end up looking as good as LeBron James versus Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony and James did something you won’t see in other super star match-ups, they guarded each other for the majority of the game. From the tip, LeBron was on ‘Melo, and, after starting on Anthony Parker, Anthony spent a good amount of time on James (though Kenyon Martin did do some work on James, too).
It made for great basketball.
On the statsheet, LeBron emerges as the better player in this game. And man do those stats justify that statement. 43 points, 15 assists and 13 boards. One hell of a line. The best since Pete Maravich in the 70′s. But take a closer look. No denying James was dominate.
But take a closer look at his shooting numbers: 15-of-33 from the field, one-of-nine from three, 12-of-17 from the line. There in-lies the biggest problem with James: ego. LeBron was simply the best player on the earth when he went off the dribble to the rim. I mean, we all know that nobody can stop him. But instead of sticking to what works, James wants to prove he can make shots. The problem with that idea is that he is still not a good shooter from outside the paint. James heat checks himself way too often and it kills the Cavs. When you see LeBron back up to mid-court with nine seconds left on the shot clock, you should rejoice, because chances are he’s going to launch an ill-advised 20-footer.
Down the stretch, Melo took over and made the game his. While James missed shot after shot in the fourth, Melo was creating shots for his teammates and easily beating Lebron with the ball. One time down the court, Anthony got the ball on the left baseline and did a filthy spin move on James to get to the bucket. He put it in, got fouled, but it wasn’t called.
In overtime, James started off with a turnover, and it didn’t get much better from there. With the Nuggets up 116-113 with 48 seconds left, LeBron missed two straight three-point shots on WIDE OPEN looks. James would tie the score at 116 with 24 seconds left on a cheap and-one call that wasn’t called when Melo got hit the same way on the other end.
That didn’t matter, though. It was Anthony’s game. Up until the 24 second mark in the overtime, Carmelo had hit two mid-range jumpers from 16 and 17 feet and assisted on a Chauncey Billup‘s three. Now, with time winding down, Melo had the caught the ball on the left wing with five seconds left, took a step and absolutely facial-ed LeBron James with a nasty 21- foot jumpshot. Melo, the best mid-range shooter in the game, made me so giddy with that shot that I literally purchased his Team USA jersey minutes later.
James would then miss a potential game-winning three that was typical considering the rest of the shots he had taken in this game. A 28-footer with no chance after traveling.
Anthony finished with 40 points on 13-of-18 shooting, 13-of-16 from the line, seven assists, six rebounds, two spin moves on LeBron, two blocks and a poster on James on a fastbreak. And a game-winning shot, too. Dominance.
Before moving on to the Lakers game, please give me Aaron Afflalo on my team. The guy is an excellent defender and just hits shots. Three’s, tough two’s, transition buckets. A fantastic non-star in the league. One of the best of that group. 11 points on five-of-six shooting and All-NBA defense on LeBron at times.Let’s start with the thing that cost the Lakers the game. The refs gave the Lakers just 2.2 seconds on the clock at the end of the game when they called a timeout with 4.5 seconds left on the clock. Then, having to deal with the bad call of 2.2 seconds, the Lakers gave the ball to Derek Fisher, who was fouled by Ray Allen on the shot, didn’t get the call, and missed the basket.
Not much else to say. Lamar Odom was excellent. 13 points, 14 rebounds, two blocks and a nasty poster dunk. Shannon Brown was not good, missing big shots late and open shoots at all times. Pau Gasol made a bad pass to Brown, who was covered, on the baseline to give the ball to the C’s with less than two minutes left. Rajon Rondo looked really bad despite being guarded by Derek Fisher and Brown. 14 points, 11 assists, 11 missed shots.
Boston proved they aren’t contenders anymore in this game. Beating a Kobe-less Lakers squad because of two straight mistakes by the refs in the closing seconds = first round elimination to the Bulls.