“BaseLINE of the Night”

For those of you who don’t know, this is a post I do every day or night that pays homage to the guys out there ballin’ hard and making their fantasy owners feel all warm and fuzzy inside. With 9 games on the slate tonight, it was pretty nice Tuesday to get back into the swing of things after All-Star Weekend. Here’s the latest edtion of “BaseLINE of the Night” for Tuesday, February 28th, 2012.

The Durantula was off tonight so I guess someone else can win the award. We’ll see if he can pick up where he left off tomorrow night against the 76ers though. Tonight though, we have a first time winner. When you think about this guy, it’s not a guy that would come to mind pretty much ever when thinking of a top-line producer. He plays for the Milwaukee Bucks and isn’t even a starter. Tonight, however, he was on fire and helped the Bucks to a one point win over the Wizards. The “BaseLINE of the Night” goes to… Mike Dunleavy. Yes, I really meant Mike Dunleavy and no, that’s not a typo. The worst part is that when looking for highlights, there are more results for Dunleavy receiving the highlights than actually providing the highlights. Anyways, enough with the Mike Dunleavy bashing and just go ahead and enjoy this line and clip.

  • 28 Pts (9-17 FG, 5-10 3PT, 5-5 FT)/2 Reb/1 Ast/3 Stl/1 TO

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

While Mr. Dunleavy reigns supreme for a night, let’s take a look at the guys who came oh-so-close to being awarded the “Line of the Night” award. Rounding out the top 5 are:

T2. DeAndre Jordan – 14 Pts (7-9 FG)/14 Reb/2 Stl/4 Blk

T2. Derrick Williams – 27 Pts (9-10 FG, 4-4 3PT, 5-5FT)/5 Reb/1 Blk/1 TO

4. Derrick Rose – 32 Pts (11-24 FG, 1-5 3PT, 9-11 FT)/2 Reb/9 Ast/3 Stl/2 Blk/2 TO

5. Paul George – 11 Pts (4-7 FG, 2-2 3PT, 1-2 FT)/9 Reb/5 Ast/4 Stl/1 Blk/1 TO

*Suprising Line of the Night*

  • Derrick Williams (35% owned) –  See Line Above

Derrick Williams, the second overall pick in this past draft, had a career night tonight. Tonight was the first night that the explosive rookie has broken the 20-point barrier in his career. In the whole month of February, he only scored in double figures three other times! His line tonight was tied for the second best of the night as well. Although he has the talent to be a great player and scorer, he doesn’t have the right situation. There is such a logjam for minutes with both Rubio, Ridnour, and Wes Johnson starting, plus Beasley, Webster, and Barea coming off the bench, and Kevin Love playing much of the game, that it’s hard for Williams to get consistent minutes at either SF or PF or even SG. While he might have earned himself some more playing time for his game tonight, I still think his play, as well as his playing time, will be sporadic for the rest of the season barring injury so if you have him, enjoy tonight but don’t expect it moving forward.

While these guys weren’t the best of the best, they certainly had their owners smiling after their performance. As I always say, In the words of Cleveland fans (myself included), “There’s always next year,” or, in this case, next game.

That’s it for this edition of “BaseLINE of the Night,” but make sure to check back tonight/tomorrow to see who takes home the award.


Dunk Competition

It’s about that time again. The NBA All-Star Weekend is underway and the dunk competition is fast approaching tonight. Needless to say, I don’t think people are nearly as excited for this year’s contest.

Too bad Blake Griffin isn’t going to defend his title this year because not only would we get to enjoy his unbelievable hops, but we would also already know who the winner was going to be. That’s right. I said it. The dunk competition has more or less become a popularity contest that is more about the pre- and post-dunk celebrations and showmanship than the actual dunk itself. Don’t get me wrong, I still like watching it, but it’s just changed a lot over the years and seems much more dried out. I don’t think it’s necessarily the fault of the contestants because I mean, come on, how many different dunks and possibilities are even humanly possible? Maybe it’s just me, but I would rather see a guy perform great dunks, ala Vince Carter, over all the showmanship, ala Nate Robinson.

Even today, in my opinion, I still feel as though Vince Carter’s performance in the 2000 dunk competition was THE best ever and that competition was one of the best ever as well. I feel like the contest has been on a downward spiral ever since “Vinsanity” took over in 2000. Sure, there have been great performances and memorable dunks, most notably Jason Richardson and his performances including his alley-oop, under-the-legs, reverse jam. Nothing, however, can measure up to what Vince did in 2000 though. Let’s take a look at some highlights of that contest.

This year’s contestants consist of a lot of new faces and no real big superstars. That is actually one thing I’m sort of looking forward to. It’s the whole “unknown” and “surprise” factor that comes along with these guys and not really knowing what they can do. None of them necessarily have the popularity won over another like Griffin would either. Let’s go ahead and get to know this group a little better:

  1. Paul George – SG/SF / Indiana Pacers / 2nd year / Fresno State / 6’8″
  2. Derrick Williams – SF/PF / Minnesota Timberwolves / Rookie / Arizona / 6’8″
  3. Chase Budinger – SG/SF / Houston Rockets / 3rd year / Arizona / 6’7″
  4. Jeremy Evans – SF/PF / Utah Jazz / 2nd year / Western Kentucky / 6’9″

When looking at this list, I’m actually excited to see if these guys can come up with some things that will surprise everyone and how they do when the lights come on. I think conventional wisdom would lead us to placing the “favorite” label on D-Will because of the explosiveness we’ve seen out of him so far in his rookie year and last year in college. The guy who is my favorite player of this group and who I really want to win is Paul George. I also think that George is actually going to win as well. I was going to pick Shumpert before he was replaced by Jeremy Evans, simply because he seems like the one who would be the most celebratory and I figured his pre- and post-dunk showmanship would be the best. I also figured, correctly at that, that he would involve Jeremy Lin somehow and the crowd would pretty much love it no matter what as long as they got their dose of “Linsanity” which would have given him a few extra points from the judges. However, I can’t really figure out who, out of this group, will be the biggest showboater, therefore I’m going to have to pick my favorite guy, Paul George. Plus, I have also heard that he has something surprising planned so I’m looking forward to it. With all that said, who do you think is going to win?

Rising Stars BBVA Challenge

The Rookie-Sophomore game has changed up a little bit this year. Usually, in years past, it would be a group of the best second year guys facing off against a group of the best rookie players so far. However, this year the NBA changed it up a little bit. Instead of Rookies vs. Sophomores, this year, the NBA had Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal be the managers of the two teams and they drafted their teams. This mixes Rookies and Sophomores onto the same team and should make it a little more interesting, especially with as big of personalities as Shaq and Chuck drafting and managing the teams. They also decided that “Linsanity” couldn’t be possibly left off the rosters, so they added Lin and rookie Norris Cole to the mix. Beforehand, Shaq was heavily favored as I’m sure most viewers figured Shaq at least had a decent of idea of what he was doing. Shaq even joked that he was the “black Pat Riley.” Here are both squads:

  1. Team Shaq                                                                                                 2.  Team Chuck
  • Blake Griffin, LA Clippers                                                                             Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Jeremy Lin, NY Knicks                                                                                  DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings
  • Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves                                                     Derrick Williams, Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Markieff Morris, Phoenix Suns                                                                     Paul George, Indiana Pacers
  • Kemba Walker, Charlotte Bobcats                                                             MarShon Brooks, NJ Nets
  • Landry Fields, NY Knicks                                                                             John Wall, Washington Wizards
  • Norris Cole, Miami Heat                                                                               Evan Turner, Philadelphia 76ers
  • Brandon Knight, Detroit Pistons                                                                 Gordon Hayward, Utah Jazz
  • Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers                                                  Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
  • Greg Monroe, Detroit Pistons                                                                      Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz

Shaq took no time at all in taking Blake Griffin with his first overall pick and then Chuck surprised by taking Kyrie with his first pick. I think Shaq did a nice job by teaming Lin and Rubio with Griffin because I think they fit nicely together. However, I think Chuck has a more versatile team and I don’t understand why Shaq decided to draft Morris so early. When watching it, it looked like he just threw a name out there because of the clock expiring. I would like Shaq’s team a lot better if he would have picked John Wall ahead of Morris, Walker, and Fields, but for some reason both guys let Wall slide until Chuck finally took him with one of his last picks. The last four picks of the draft were randomly drawn and Derrick Favors was an injury replacement for Tiago Splitter.

When looking at both rosters, I feel like this could be a very close and entertaining game. Ultimately, I like the versatility of Chuck’s team and really like the backcourt of Irving and Wall as they are two of my favorite players in the league. I also think that Wall might come out attacking and playing with a chip on his shoulder after being passed up so many times. So, in conclusion, I’m going to have to pick “Team Chuck” as the winner of this exciting game. What do you guys think?