In a slight attempt to dilute the taste of failure that was last night’s game, let’s see what’s up out East.
Paul George, Indiana –
The electrifying swingman out of Fresno State answered his scoreless dud of a performance, last Saturday, with a killer week. George posted a 34 point, 9 rebound, 3 steal, 2 block performance against the Bulls in his next game, and followed that with two consecutive 22 point, 4 three-pointer games. George has been a bit inconsistent on the year, but is doing his best to keep the team afloat in the absence of Danny Granger.
– The Chicago Bulls are doing the best they can to tread water while Derrick Rose rehabs his knee injury, in hopes of positioning themselves for a playoff run for his return. This week they beat the opponents they should (Cleveland and Detroit), and outlasted the Knicks behind strong performances from Marco Belinelli, and Nate Robinson’s revenge game, en route to their third straight victory, overtaking the division lead.
– In spite of their loss to the Bulls last night, the New York Knickerbockers had been doing their thing, rolling to 5 straight victories prior. Not enough can be said about Raymond Felton and the job he has done. You can be assured that there is no conversation remaining in New York about what a travesty it was to let Linsanity go, as Felton and his 23.5 points and 7 assists per game through the last four, coupled with Jason Kidd’s stabilizing veteran presence, have shown Knicks fans what it’s like to have some real point guards calling the shots. Most importantly, neither turns the ball over at a clip of nearly 5 a game the way Lin did as a starter last year.
– As hot starts are beginning to correct themselves over time, Eastern Conference coach of the month, Avery Johnson’s Nets have dropped three straight. Despite the surprisingly good production out of fill-in big man Andray Blatche, they’re hurting from the injury to skillful big man, Brook Lopez, and the fact that they faced some staunch opposition (Miami, Golden State, and Oklahoma City).
– While I wouldn’t exactly say they’re cooling down by any stretch, I’ll take this opportunity, which is likely one of few, to place the Miami Heat in the “bad” section this week, as they were blind-sided by a loss to Washington, and then were taken down by the three-ball of the Carmelo-less Knicks.
– Perennial bottom-dwellers the Cavs, Bobcats, and Toronto are free-falling, all having gone winless this week.
A few sweet reads by our TrueHoop brethren:
– Sixers’ blog, Philadunkia investigates the identity, or lack thereof, of this year’s team.
– Over at Magic Basketball, they venture a look at the team’s secret weapon, a very effective play that fits their personnel, and lament how awesome Dwight would have been in the Big Baby role.
– Bucksketball, the Bucks’ blog, looks at the team’s victories this season, and differences between what went into them.