I want to start this recap by telling you I'm watching cardioke with my roommates. A little get to you know your blogger, eh? Now that you know that, let's get it started like Billy Blanks, shall we?
Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand played like men tonight, specifically men who are good at basketball. Dre bounced back from a number of poor games in a row where he was sometimes trying to do too much offensively and other times being simply invisible on the court. He shot 11-19 from the field, the first time in 6 games he shot over 43%. Add in the fact that he was only 1-6 from beyond (hitting his only three from the top of the key to basically put away the game), and his slashing and inside game were basically unstoppable tonight. He had a chance to end the game in regulation with two free throws, but he managed only one to send it into OT. While he's shooting his second best percentage from the line for his career at almost 77%, the extended slumps from the stripe are what's keeping him from being an 80% regular. He added 8 assists, 8 rebounds, and 3 steals to his 25 points as he marches ever closer to the day he gets traded to a contender that's *hopefully* not the Celtics. He's a lot better than Luol Deng.
Elton Brand, meanwhile, continues to put to bed the premature theory that he has lost all tangible basketball ability (is ability tangible? whatevs) with another great game. EB matched his output from last week's game against Milwaukee with 26 points, bringing down 9 rebounds and a trio of big blocks. No, he's not a guy that you build your franchise around to win a championship right now. But he's a starting power forward in this league that can take over a game or play second fiddle to a superstar on a contender. I may be getting frisky here (maybe it's cardioke) but I don't think his contract, if handled correctly, is too awful. Bear with me. We trade him to a team like the Cavs for some expiring contracts. They win a championship in Cleveland this year everybody's pumped over there. Lebron's happy because he's got a decent supporting cast around him and one championship ring under his belt, so they don't have to go out and sign Chris Bosh to a fat deal. They sign Lebron for forever because he's a basketball historian and wants that whole "play your career in one place" feeling, and all of a sudden Elton Brand can spend the following two years hitting 12 foot jump shots and banging on the boards to the tune of 16-9 with a legitimate title shot every year so nobody's complaining about his contract. By the time JJ Hickson is ready to start in this league (still raw), Brand is an expiring contract and you trade him to a team looking to save money. Maybe that's a buttload of assumptions, but I don't think it's too far-fetched and if played right, this could be a good situation for everybody. But anyway, great game for Elton tonight.
Good for Jrue playing 30 minutes tonight, but he didn't show much offensively except a general command of the tempo. He wasn't matched up with Derrick Rose all the time I don't think, but against the combo of Green-Williams-Holiday, Rose did what he does, putting up 30 and 9 dimes. Iguodala played some great situational D on him at crucial times, showing his variety of skills on the defensive end. I'm glad Holiday stayed on the court, but I'd like to see more initiative on the offense and creating for himself.
Dalembert had another good game, he just continues to string solid performances in a row. I can't say enough how impressed I am with him this season especially considering where his thoughts must be straying during practice and games. Big Willie style as well (Will Smith references were in full effect in the game thread) played decent enough, hitting a few nice shots while not stuffing the ball into his armpit and fending off intruders for extended periods of the game. I still don't want him getting minutes, but this is probably his best season also. Sum of all the parts do not equal the whole. And the hole is certainly Eddie Jordan. Play on those words.
On the other hand, Rodney Carney and Royal Ivey played a combined 15 minutes, going just 2-2 (both three's) with one rebound and 3 fouls. That's productivity folks.
A final note: good rebounding and defense out of Dalembert/Brand/Speights, holding Brad Miller, Joakim Noah, and Taj Gibson to a combined 14 points and 10 rebounds in 77 minutes. Key defensive stops and the ability to generate some offense in the half court were key tonight, and the main reasons why we (unfortunately) inch further away from a good lottery pick.
Blog a Bull is a good site.