Whole lotta stuff going on in the NBA right now huh? We’ve got trades, trade talk, streaks being ended and streaks continuing and we haven’t even reached Christmas (though its really close). Today I’m bringing you the first ever “Snowed In Blog Because It’s Sunday And There’s Nothing Else To Do”. It’s going to be brilliant (well, not really but I’m going to always have to build myself up right). In amongst all the trade talk, we’ll talk Cavs and even a Mailbag question from a loyal reader. So without further ado…
Cavs win! End losing streak! Against the Knicks! At the Q! I promise now I’ll stop using my ! button and talk basketball. I genuinely thought with 52 seconds left and down 4 we were heading for 11 straight in the wrong way, but credit our guys for hanging in there and pulling this one out. Credit Mo Williams for having ice in the veins, credit Tawn for scoring like we need him to and credit Andy for 14 points and 17 rebounds. Those 17 rebounds equalled what Stoudemire, Gallinari and Chandler had combined. Finally the monkey on our shoulder (who wears a number 23 jersey I think, well that’s what Brendan told me) has been removed and we can hopefully find the form we had when at 5-5 all those weeks back to begin the season. Both teams fell in love with the long ball a little bit too much (combined to connect on 21 of 61 attempts) which is not what either teams should focus on. Our strength is pushing the tempo and beating teams down the floor to get easy looks. The Knicks strength is Amare inside, so seeing both teams hoist long bomb after long bomb was kinda dumb, but hey we won. We also ran the ball (somewhere at least, in between all those three point attempts) and outscored the Knicks 26-8 on fast break points, which is a good sign for us.
We showed we have character by fighting from behind with under a minute to go when it would have been easier to just collapse and accept yet another loss. Mo Williams showed he has it in him to at least take a shot at being the guy we need him to by making big shots and dishing the rock (14 assists!!!!!!) to his teammates. I truly hope that this win (along with the effort put forward in the two losses previous) will signal a turn in the right direction for us. After the crap we’ve been through, who’d begrudge us of that? Go Cavs baby!!
Orlando needed something. They have been worse than I thought; after all I had them pegged to win the East before the season. When they started off on fire I thought I was a genius, then the flaws started to come out. Now, they’ve gone “Holy Crap!” on us by pulling off two mega deals – the first will send Carter, Pietrus, Gortat, cash and a pick in 2011 to Phoenix for Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark. The second was Rashard Lewis for Gilbert Arenas. That’s a roster overhaul my friends, and a drastic one at that. My immediate thought – which I Tweeted – was that the Magic will never ever win a game by defense again. It’s gun slinging time in Orlando right about now, sit back and enjoy the ride. Where does Orlando expect to get its depth from at the four and five spots? Brandon Bass will more than likely have to start now, leaving Ryan Anderson and Malik Allen as reserves. Gortat is now gone, so will we see rookie Daniel Orton? Thing is, with a lot of guards – Redick, Nelson, Williams and Duhon – maybe they’re going to try a small for big deal somewhere? I really don’t know what the Magic’s thoughts are on that one, but something I will say is why the hell didn’t they go for Carmelo? Even if Denver didn’t want what Orlando were offering, get a third or fourth team involved. Carmelo, Arenas, Howard and Nelson would be fun to watch and very, very dangerous. I’ll put it to you this way, would you rather have a starting five of Nelson-Richardson-Turkoglu-Bass-Howard or Nelson-Redick-Carmelo-Bass-Howard? You still have Arenas to work in with that second team also so a closing trio of Howard-Melo-Arenas is a case of pick your poison. Right now, the Magic are pretty daunting on the offensive end, but defensively I’m not that sure. J-Rich, Turkoglu and Arenas were never known for their defensive prowess, after all remember the job Pietrus did on LeBron a few years back? Sure I know Pietrus has been awful this year, but he can still defend with the best of ‘em. Also, the Magic are now financially restrained for the foreseeable future. With a new CBA looming, that could cost Otis Smith a pretty penny or two down the road.
Another interesting facet of this deal is what JA Adande reported – “How will Arenas respond to Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, especially after one person close to the trade talk says that Van Gundy was opposed to trading for Arenas?” If that is the case, well then we know how much power SVG truly has within the organisation.
Just a quick sidenote on one other trade flying around the net (and as of now is still just a rumour) and is a proposed move where the Bulls would send Luol Deng and Keith Bogans to Atlanta for Jamal Crawford. If I’m Chicago, I get this deal done. Rose-Crawford-Korver-Boozer-Noah is very, very good.
Q: With 8 players swapping homes, who benefited the most from the moves – Orlando, Phoenix or Washington? – Wayne
A: In short, I think all teams have gotten better in ways. Orlando has added firepower in J-Rich and if Hedo finds the form he showed in 2009 whilst in Orlando this deal is an A+ regardless of what happens with Arenas. If Arenas finds the form he displayed from 2004-2007, holy crap for the Eastern Conference (thought the chances of that happening are about the same as the odds you’d get on Lindsay Lohan staying out of rehab the rest of her life). I love the move for the Wizards organisation; they can now move past the Arenas years and fully embrace the John Wall era. Also, Rashard Lewis’ monster deal ends a year earlier than Arenas deal, so it saves Washington money aswell as headaches from dealing with Arenas on a daily basis. Gilbert Arenas averaging 29 points a season but being a nightmare to deal with – kinda acceptable. Gilbert Arenas averaging 17 points and not setting the place alight whilst being a dressing room nightmare? Next…
Phoenix for me has done very well. Many won’t agree, but I think they won here. They got the size they needed in Gortat, a wing defender in Pietrus and a scorer in Carter. Plus, playing with Steve Nash has wondrous affects on NBA careers (see, Frye, Channing) so look for them to look like Globetrotters next to the diminutive Canadian.
All we need now is for our Cavs to get the finger out and start shopping, actively!!
Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org for the Stepien Rules Mailbag, Facebook under “Stepien Rules” and Twitter @DOL17