Originally written on NBA 24/7 365  |  Last updated 2/23/12

If you exclude the late games–Dubs/Suns, Lakers/Mavs, and Nuggs/Clipps–last night’s average margin of victory was 11.3 points… and that’s not because some team like the Wizards or Kings, who actually played each other (which is why this couldn’t happen), went out and lost by 50, either.  Damn near every early game played on Wednesday, February 22nd was simply a blowout.  Hell, even the close games weren’t close.  Luke Ridnour ended up connecting on one of his signature floaters to beat the Jazz at the buzzer, but Utah led big for the vast majority of that game.  All night long the T-Wolves would make these runs, only to fall short of the lead… it happened time, after time, after time.  I’m glad I continued to watch the game anyway because the last of Minny’s many runs finally got them over the hump, but goddamn did it seem like a lost cause.  Other than that, the only games that really went down to the wire were Cleveland/New Orleans and Houston/Philly, and that NOH/CLE game seems to have gone kind of similar to how the MIN/UTA one went, minus the successful last-ditch comeback effort.  Despite getting within a point in the fourth, the Cavs never led for a single second in that entire game.  I guess Kyrie Irving used up all his magic in Tuesday night’s victory over Detroit, ’cause he went 1-5 in the fourth.  Don’t worry, you’re still my ROY, Kyrie–Ricky Rubio had been benched by the time Minnesota made their charge.  As for the Rockets and Sixers… Philly needs to find a way to put the ball in the basket in halfcourt situations.  Their defense is fine–they’ve only given up 100 twice in their last 17 games–but they’ve dropped five in a row now ’cause they’ve only been able to top 90 one f@cking time (and they only had 91 in that game).  So, there’s your one-paragraph summary of last night’s early games.  Hope it was effective.

Sacramento’s 60th overall pick, Isiah Thomas, continues to outplay his teammate Jimmer Fredette, the 10th overall pick.  As the 5’9 Thomas scored 18 points and dished 6 dimes to help his Kings beat the Wizards (who had more TOs than FGs in the second half), the only thing Fredette contributed to was Jordan Crawford’s 32-point explosion off of Washington’s bench.  Jimmer went 2-5 for 8 points in 12 minutes… basically an average game for him.  Aside from Bismack Biyombo, who was taken with the 7th pick that the Kings traded away for the 10th pick they used on Fredette, here is a list of just a few players Sacramento could’ve had instead of their 6’2 shooting guard: Iman Shumpert, Marshon Brooks, Kenneth Faried, Markieff Morris, Kawhi Leonard, and Nikola Vucevic (career-high 18 PTS last night).  There’s a solid mix right there… some other two guards, big men, a European, some versatile swingmen… I dunno, man, I don’t watch college basketball, but Jimmer just seems like a bad selection… and I don’t mean a bad selection in hindsight, either… just a straight-up bad selection.  He’s undersized, unathletic, and went to school for your years so he isn’t that young.  Basically, I see Eddie House in this dude while I see so much more in each of those other players I listed.

Despite another Utah L, give props to the Jazz frontcourt. I’ve been gushing over Minnesota’s Love/Pekovic duo for weeks now, but Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson handled those two for the duration of last night’s contest.  Although Pekovic came up with 15 points and 11 boards, Jefferson had 18 and 11 of his own, and Millsap thoroughly outplayed Love (25/9 for PM, 10/10 for K-Love, and on 3-14 from the floor).  Derrick Favors also came into the game for a 12-minute run and contributed 6 boards.  That’s 3 fewer than Derrick Williams had, but Williams played 8 more minutes, so we’ll call it a wash.  Basically, it was the 39 combined points from JJ Barea and Luke Ridnour (compared to 25 from Harris, Hayward, Miles, and Watson) that won Minnesota the game.  Al Jeff and Millsap were awesome.

The Atlanta Hawks racked up 24 turnovers at Madison Square Garden.  Six of them came on consecutive first-quarter possessions during a 16-0 Knickerbocker run.  The Hawks have now lost 8 of 11 games in the month of February.  I don’t really have any further thoughts on the Hawks, I just felt the need to mention their recent futility… again.

I was posed with an interesting question this morning via a topic on the InsideHoops.com message boards.  Although I haven’t kept track of how many NBA games I’ve taken in this season, I came up with a little formula to figure out how many games worth I’ve watched: estimated hours spent watching NBA per day x days in season so far / duration of average NBA game = answer.  And they told me I struggled with math… hah!  Anyway, 6 x 59 / 2.5 = 141.6.  While I’m sure that’s not exactly correct, I’d say I’ve watched something like 125-150 games worth of NBA basketball this season.  That would be just under 2.5 per day, which seems about right.

Could Wilson Chandler be a Toronto Raptor by March 1st? According to a variety of sources, Chandler and his agent have been in contact with the Raptors, who may be interested in signing the restricted free agent to an offer sheet.  This would have to be done by March 1st, and Denver would have the option of matching any offer sent Chandler’s way.  For those of you wondering why Chandler may be interested in the Raptors… well, that’s where the shots are.  Denver’s got money tied up in other young wing men, including Danilo Gallinari and Arron Afflalo.  They’ve also got Al Harrington off the bench, and even Rudy Fernandez and Corey Brewer have proven to be worthy of playing time.  Depending on how much Toronto offers… I’m not sure Denver matches.  Chandler figures to become a bench player for them, and with Nene, Gallinari, Harrington, and Afflalo making as much money as they do… they just don’t have as much fiscal freedom as the Raptors do.

Box Score Observations: Dirk Nowitzki had 25/12, but the Mavs lost to the Lakers by 5.  Dallas scored just 19 points in the fourth quarter.  Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum combined for 43 points and 23 rebounds.  MarShon Brooks dropped a game-high 24 in a Nets loss to the Magic.  For New Jersey’s sake, I hope Dwight liked what he saw in the 91-108 losers.  Detroit squandered a 30-point, 14-rebound effort (along with their entire month of February, which had gone so well up until this point) as they lost the the Craptors by 10.  Jose Calderon had 15 assists.  Bismack Biyombo blocked 6 shots in a loss to the Pacers.  Channing Frye took 23 shots (made 10, scored 22 points) in a 104-106 loss to the Warriors.  Chris Paul had 36 points as the Clippers snapped their little two-game losing streak.  Rookie Jordan Hamilton had 18/7 on 6-11 in the game.

Lowlight Recap, Javale McGee Edition: McGee’s pissed because he wasn’t awarded two freethrows after being shoved on an alley-oop dunk attempt.  The officials ruled that he hadn’t yet caught the ball (the right call, by the way) and the Wizards were simply given the ball out on the side.  Here’s what he does…

Notice how he purposely allows Fransisco Garcia to enter the paint in order to set up for the swat.  That’s what got him benched.  Many of the NBA’s players protest just about every call that goes against them, but most tend to refrain from giving the other team two points in the process.  Considering Washington’s 7-26 record, and their four-game losing streak… it was an especially bad idea.

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