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?
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – If you’re not a big believer in signs, the Heat and Thunder losing their first game of the season on the same night means little to you.
But if you’re as fixated on these sorts of things as we are here at the hideout, those two teams losing on the same night makes us feel stronger than ever that our preseason prediction that they will battle for the Larry O’Brien trophy is on the money. (Yeah, we’re reaching a bit but the whole Mayan calendar thing has us a bit spooked.)
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We’ve barely been at this thing for a week and already there are tons of fireworks. And we get them on a daily basis.
The Timberwolves, armed with a Kevin Love-led young crew and the dazzling magicianship (made that word up) of young Ricky Rubio, stunned the reigning champs to kick off the New Year (ending an 18-game slide in the process). The Heat steamrolled their way to 5-0 for the first time in franchise history, capping a huge weekend for LeBron James in style. The Nuggets beat back the Lakers in a rematch of their New Year’s Eve tilt despite Kobe Bryant reaching the 28,000-point club. And the Clippers lived up to their “Lob City” moniker (see the handy work of Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin below) while handing the Trail Blazers their first defeat of the young season.
You can see all of that and more in the Daily Zap:
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We don’t do resolutions around here. It’s simply not in the Hang Time DNA.
But we do understand the need to refine certain traditions here at the hideout. And far too often our friends around the globe awake without a full grasp of what went on the night before around the league. Some folks fall asleep early, some hit the club before the action is done and some of you are grinding at work before the final buzzer on the final game of the night goes off.
Well, we’re going to fix that in 2012 by making sure you get your highlights from us (and the best AV crew in the business) on a daily basis. And we promise, we’ll have you caught up and out of here in a matter of minutes.
So, about last night:
We mentioned a little something here Saturday morning about being excited about Andrew Bynum‘s regular season debut. Turns out the big fella was excited, too. He dominated the Nuggets on both ends of the floor as the Lakers pulled out a close one:
Finally, no morning is complete without a glance at the top plays. And there were plenty of guys that wanted to finish 2011 the right way as they prepare to do bigger and better things this year (what did the rim do to you Russell Westbrook?):
But priorities must shift, game plans must be changed and certain things become reality. All that res the Lakers were planning on getting after they swept the Hornets is gone now that they’ve lost home court advantage.
Same goes for the Spurs, now that the Hang Time Grizzlies have exorcised the playoff demon that had dogged the franchise since its inception. (They snapped the longest losing streak in the history of the NBA playoffs at 12 games, by the way.)
The Celtics and Thunder survived Game 1 scares, each of them winning thrillers on their home floors against opponents that had every right to believe they would exit those respective buildings on top, based on how well they played into the final minute (and even seconds) of those games.
Sunday’s action looked much like what we saw Saturday, games that were much closer and much more competitive in most cases, than we could have imagined.
The playoff mantra for all involved should now be changed simply to survive and advance. The higher seeds can take nothing for granted since the lower seeds in every series seems unwilling to concede any ground.
Normally the 4-5 matchup provides the most intrigue, the obvious reason being the fact they’re the most closely linked teams based on regular season performance. But the top two teams in the mighty Western Conference getting popped in Games 1 just hours apart …
Just so we are clear about how crazy a weekend this was, the Thunder rallying from double-digit deficit made them the fifth team during the opening weekend to do so (joining the Bulls, Heat, Grizzlies and Celtics), per Elias Sports. In all of the 82 games played in last year’s playoffs there were only 11 games in which the winning team overcame a deficit of 10- or-more points.
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We wouldn’t have believed it if we didn’t see it for ourselves.
There was a basketball party last night and everyone was invited!
Having all 30 teams in action on the same night provided a truly fantastic finish to the final night of the NBA regular season. It serves as the perfect appetizer to what should be an absolutely electric playoff season.
So before we dive off into the second season, we wanted to make sure you got one last look at Wednesday night’s action from around the league. And that includes the Daily Zap (above) as well as the Top 10 Plays:
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Portland’s Nicolas Batum wasn’t the only star to step up for his tea with the game on the line last night.
His buzzer-beating catch of an Andre Miller inbound pass did finish off the Spurs and earn the top spot on the Top 10 Plays from a glorious Friday night around the league.
Blake Griffin did his usual in the Clippers’ loss to Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in the Battle of LA. And Dwyane Wade was on fire as the Heat knocked off the Sixers in Miami and Derrick Rose making it clear that Chicago is his city and not Tony Allen‘s, just to name a few.
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The Chicago Bulls sit alone at the top of the Eastern Conference standings, for now at least.
So what if it’s only a half-game lead they have over the Celtics.
If the postseason started this afternoon, the Bulls would be the East’s No. 1 playoff seed. And when the regular season ends, that’s all that will matter.
The Bulls haven’t held that top spot this late in the season since 1997-98, the season the Bulls won their sixth NBA championship. But now that they have officially arrived, a little ahead of schedule based on some expectations, they’ll have to guard against feeling they’ve got things totally under control.
That shouldn’t be a big problem with blue-collar cogs like Luol Deng keeping a keen eye on things.
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Just in case you missed out on Sunday’s best, we have a quick catch up kit for you.
After weeks of light Sunday schedules, things picked up yesterday in a major way.The Mavericks are rolling again (it seems we say that every couple of weeks, when they get on one of their wicked rolls).
The Magic won again, the 76ers continue to climb the ranks in the Eastern Conference and the Hawks seemed to have found a post-trade deadline groove of their own.
Check out all the highlights from the 10-game slate in the Daily Zap: