Originally posted on NBA 24/7 365  |  Last updated 3/10/12

Unfortunately, yesterday’s biggest news isn’t good news. Ricky Rubio may or may not have sustained a serious knee injury in the closing seconds of last night’s loss to the Lakers… we won’t know for sure until later today, after he’s had an MRI.  If you haven’t seen the play, here it is.  To me, it doesn’t look as bad as you may imagine.  However, you never can tell with knee injuries… sometimes you think it’s going to be nasty and it turns out to be minor, and other times it’s the opposite.  I think I speak for all basketball fans when I say I wish Rubio the best.  He’s an exciting young player, but more importantly he just brings such a contagious joy to the game.  You can tell he loves to play, and I hope he can do so again very soon.

Rubio’s injury obviously overshadows the game, but I’d like to mention that the Timberwolves competed very admirably without the help of Kevin Love, who sat with back spasms.  Derrick Williams made some unforced errors… a few regrettable traveling violations and a foolish goaltend, to be specific… but his 22 points and 10 rebounds more than canceled out Pau Gasol.  Nikola Pekovic also had his share of struggles containing Andrew Bynum, but he came up huge with 25 points and 13 rebounds.  Pek’s D was better in the second half, and he would’ve had the game-winning tip had Bryant not been fouled (and, as much as I hate to say it, it was a blocking foul) on the play where Rubio hurt his knee.

Guess which Eastern Conference team has won consecutive road games against Denver and Oklahoma City?  If you guessed the Cleveland Cavaliers, good job… you know your sh!t.  Kyrie Irving, who played hero in Denver, went just 4-12 from the floor in last night’s 96-90 W, but he made two of the three shots he took in the fourth quarter as he blew by Russell Westbrook twice in the last 2:14 to take Cleveland from down one to up four.  I didn’t see this game, by the way, but I’ll take a Thunder blogger’s word for it.  Can you believe Kyrie is still shooting 48% from the floor in March?  I bought the hype the first time I ever watched him play, but I expected a shooting slump long before now.  What kind of rookie goes 48/40/85 on the percentages?  Derrick Rose, who had one of the finest rookie seasons I’ve ever seen, averaged about a point per game less than Irving is now on 47.5% from the floor, but he only went 22% from three and 79% from the line.  Chris Paul didn’t reach percentages like Kyrie’s until his third season, and the same goes for Deron Williams.  I’m comparing Kyrie to these players because that’s how good I think he’s going to be.  I don’t know if it will take one or two more seasons, but I imagine the Cavs make the playoffs next year and Kyrie Irving is on par with the big boys by 2015.

You may have noticed that Jason Terry wasn’t on the floor during the closing moments of Dallas’s 94-96 loss to Phoenix (Thursday).  I didn’t happen to notice because I was too distracted by Rodrigue Beaubois taking both shots to potentially tie the game (do the Lakers ever fail to get the ball to Kobe?  Do the Bulls fail to get it to Rose?  I don’t understand how people other than Dirk continue to get the ball late in games).  Terry responded well to the time on the pine, giving the Kings 23 on 10-18… but the Mavs lost, and by a discouraging 13 points.  Vince Carter, who looked alive against Phoenix, went 0-5 in 17 minutes and Dirk Nowitzki scored just 13 points on 13 shots.  Jason Kidd got destroyed by Isiah Thomas, who had 14 on 5-8.  Still, I have not counted Dallas out.  Does that make me a fool?  I’m looking back on their Championship season and considering the struggles… while not really comparable to this season, they did have them.

Brandon Jennings is a Knick killer. Thirty PPG in two games this season… 20 PPG last season… and, oh, well, only 14 PPG in his rookie season (did have a 22-pointer, though).  Jennings had 25 points and 10 assists last night in a 119-114 victory.  Ersan Ilyasova’s lone offensive rebound came at a key juncture… he got fouled in the process of tipping a ball towards the basket with a minute to go and gave the Bucks a three-point lead.  He also gave the Bucks another three-point lead with 28 seconds to go.  Credit Drew Gooden, who seemed to be catching flak on Twitter all game long (4-12, 6 TOs), for tipping a loose ball to Ilyasova, leading to the game’s biggest basket.  Gooden may have sucked, but it was a Kidd-esque touch pass off of an offensive rebound.  He did it all in mid air.  Definitely a Drew Gooden kind of play… dude has a sh!tty game, but draws a Jason Kidd comparison out of me.  Only Drew Gooden, I swear.

As Blake Griffin continues to disappoint me, Kenneth Faried continues to do exactly the opposite.  Faried had a couple of monster slams (you can see one of them in the top 10) as he scored 9 points on 4-5 in a Nugget victory over the Hornets.  I don’t know what it is about the way Blake Griffin is dunking this year, but he’s not doing it for me like he did last year.  I’ve noticed that he’s putting down a lot of “Carmelo dunks” (throwing the ball through the hoop without grabbing the rim)… maybe that’s the problem.  Anyway, Kenneth Faried doesn’t do any of that sh!t… Kenneth Faried wrecks the rim the force and enthusiasm.  He’s quickly becoming one of the league’s more frequent dunkers, and one of the nastiest to boot.  Despite having played just 406 total minutes, Faried is 21st in the league with 36 dunks.

Box Score Observations: Deron Williams had 50 fewer points than he did last time New Jersey played Charlotte, but the Nets still won (83-74).  Kris Humphries had 20 and 15.  Evan Turner had 16/12/6 in his third start… the Sixers beat the Jazz by a lot.  I think I heard someone on NBAtv say Portland trailed Boston by 40 (!) before losing 104-86.  Paul Pierce dropped 22 in his 1,000th game as a Celtic.  Josh Smith made a contested jumper that would’ve beaten the Pistons at the buzzer, but it came after the red light.  I think they should’ve counted it anyway… f@ckin’ Josh Smith jumper.  Chris Paul and Mo Williams had 36 and 33 respectively as the Clippers beat the Spurs 120-108.

Highlight Recap, Serge Ibaka Edition: I don’t even like Serge Ibaka, or the Thunder, but this is a really cool sequence.  Three of Ibaka’s six blocks happened on this Cavalier possession, eventually resulting in a run out/James Harden jam.  End-to-end pwnage…

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