NBA wRap: Green, Iguodala hit buzzer beaters to give their teams a win
MANILA, Philippines - The Indiana Pacers finally lose a game against no less than central division rivals Chicago Bulls, both New York teams are bringing up the rear in the Atlantic Division, and Omer Asik wants out of Houston. Not crazy enough yet? Wait till Javale McGee does something YouTube-worthy. You know it’s bound to happen.
The best games
Miami Heat vs Boston Celtics (Sunday, Nov 10, 2013)
A pair of down-the-wire games headline the best games of this past week, with Jeff Green's "lucky" fadeaway three-pointer over LeBron James topping everything off. The game happened earlier in the week, with Miami leading Boston by two in the dying seconds. Dwyane Wade was on the line to pretty much hit the last nail on the coffin, but instead of making both, or even one, of his free throws, The Flash missed both. He actually missed his second free throw so badly, missing the entire rim completely, that the Heat incurred a violation.
The Celtics got the ball in the next play, with a chance to tie or win. Gerald Wallace lobbed a pass cross-court to Green, who almost didn't catch the ball. When he did, though, he immediately popped that fadeaway and it hit nothing but net, sending Miami to its third loss of the young season and resulting in the self-styled king railing against his teammates for their slower-than-expected start.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Golden State Warriors (Friday, Nov 14, 2013)
The other game that really stood out this past week was another humdinger, but this time it happened out West and was between two projected Playoff squads – Golden State and Oklahoma City. In this match, Russell Westbrook hit a pull-up three over Klay Thompson with 2.3 seconds left, pushing the Thunder up, 115-113. As expected, the Thunder celebrated what they thought was the victory-clinching shot. But newly-minted Warrior Andre Iguodala had other plans. Iggy wiggled free of Thabo Sefolosha for a moment and received the inbound pass in the right corner. He had about a half-second open look at the bucket, and the leather swished through. Iguodala hit his first game-winner as a member of GSW and, more importantly, gave his squad its sixth win in nine games. The Warriors are currently one of the top four teams in the Western Conference.
The best performers
Clearly the most impressive individual performance of this past week was Carmelo Anthony’s 45-point outburst against the Houston Rockets. He made more than half of his 30 field goals, he missed just 2 of his 11 free throws, and he added 10 boards, 4 assists and a block. Anthony has been playing a lot of PF minutes lately, and it seems he can be really effective at that position. Too bad the Knicks lost this one to the visiting Rockets.
Another great performance came from the reigning MVP, LeBron James, who scattered 39 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal against the Mavericks a couple of days ago. LBJ was dominant in this game and didn’t show any signs of the back pains he has recently been complaining about. The only blemish in his stat-sheet was his total of 6 turnovers.
It was almost 'Linsanity' all over again as Houston’s Jeremy Lin also had a brilliant week of basketball. Lin has been adjusting this season, mainly playing behind Patrick Beverley at the point guard position and pinch-hitting at the two-guard spot at times when the Beard is given time to catch his breath. The Rockets had 3 games this past week, and Lin was simply sensational in all 3. The Taiwanese-American averaged nearly 29 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal in that stretch as the Rockets went 2-1. He also proved to be deadly from long distance, hitting more than 48% of his threes.
The most disturbing development this past week had to do with injuries to two top-tier playmakers – Brooklyn’s Deron Williams and Chicago’s Derrick Rose. Williams sprained his ankle in the first period of the Nets’ overtime win over Phoenix Saturday, November 16. D-Will stepped on the foot of Miles Plumlee, rolled his ankle, collapsed on the hardwood, and lay motionless in agony. This was quite unfortunate since Williams already sprained his OTHER ankle this offseason which resulted in him sitting out a couple of months. But initial reports say his new sprain isn’t nearly as bad as his “old” one, and he should be ready soon.
For his part, Rose gave his team a scare earlier in the week when he limped off the court in the Bulls’ win over the Cavs. It was D-Rose’s first ever match-up with super point guard Kyrie Irving, and a lot of people were looking forward to a back-and-forth, slam-bang affair. Instead, both guys struggled from the field and Rose injured his hamstring in the second half. The injury was bad enough that Rose had to sit out Chicago’s road win in Toronto, but he actually returned to action Sunday in the Bulls’ win vs the Pacers. Here’s to hoping he stays healthy for the rest of the season.
Another player who has been under the spotlight recently, albeit for the wrong reasons, has been Milwaukee big man Larry Sanders, who was heralded by many pundits as a potential Defensive Player of the Year candidate this season. His numbers leave much to be desired, and his off-court behavior hasn’t exactly been worthy of emulation. The Bucks’ official website reports he underwent surgery for a torn ligament in his right thumb, which he broke in a non-basketball-related incident.
And, let’s not forget the almost fight between Matt Barnes and Serge Ibaka.Talk about testy!
READ LAST WEEK'S NBA wRap: Pacers flawless in opening week