HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The Iowa caucus results mean little around here, beyond providing the perfect title for this morning’s lookback at last night’s action around the league.
And it was Super Tuesday indeed for some teams, like the Bulls, Cavaliers, Trail Blazers, Hang Time Grizzlies, Jazz and Lakers. For others like the Hawks, in particular, it was a night to forget. The Hawks fumbled a 19-point lead over the Bulls at the United Center, crumbling down the stretch behind their own free-throw woes and the crushing weight of Derrick Rose being well, Derrick Rose.
Fan Night tends to deliver on the drama and this one certainly did, complete with another monster night from Andrew Bynum (21 points, 22 rebounds and 3 blocks … his first 20-20 games of his career) and a 37-point barrage from Kobe Bryant in the win over the Rockets.
Perhaps we shoveled dirt on these Lakers a bit prematurely?
Judge for yourself after seeing their highlights and plenty more in the Daily Zap:
The Hawks and Thunder came up on the short end last night, but that didn’t stop Kevin Durant or Josh Smith from making appearances in the Top 10 Plays with some of the most spectacular gems of the night:
And is there any player you like watching more after he’s been criticized for his shot selection than Kobe? He showed once again last night why he remains one of the league’s most lethal performers:
— DON’T SLEEP ON WEDNESDAY —
A monster Wednesday night schedule will get a boost from the return of Clippers veteran guard Chauncey Billups, who has missed the team’s last two games with a groin injury. But he will suit up against the Rockets tonight.
The schedule also features a Heat-Pacers matchup and a Grizzlies-Timberwolves tilt that remind us why League Pass is the best thing to happen to basketball since baggy shorts.
The upstart Pacers are facing a statement stretch of this early season with tonight’s game in Miami and Friday’s game against Boston. The fact that the Pacers feel the same way, and are not afraid embrace it publicly, is what we like about this crew. More from Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star:
The Pacers are out to send a message, too. They want to prove they can compete against the league’s elite teams.
“We’ll see where we’re at,” coach Frank Vogel said. “It’s a good barometer. (The Heat are) playing better than anybody in the league. We want to be one of the elite teams in the East. It’s time to show the rest of the league we are one of them.”
Cocky? No, just Vogel exuding the same confidence he has been showing since he became the coach nearly a year ago.
The Pacers’ first five games were against teams that missed the playoffs last season and could do so again this season. Detroit, Toronto, Cleveland and New Jersey have a combined record of 7-13.
“I think this is going to show what type of team we are,” small forward Danny Granger said. “We’re 4-1 on paper, but we played five teams that may struggle, so it’s going to give us a test. It’ll give us a measuring stick for where we are.”
Good for the Pacers. There is nothing wrong with letting everyone know exactly what your intentions are, even if you are maybe a year or two away from legitimately challenging for one of the elite a spot in Eastern Conference.