The final ten commence with an away doubleheader of Memphis and New Orleans. We beat the Grizzlies 104-94 as Paulinho Buboltz ratchets up 23 points and 11 assists and Dan Jacobson is nicely effective with 14 points and 18 rebounds. Unfortunately, we piss away the game against the Hornets and lose by a nauseating single point, 105-104 as they get hot in the fourth quarter. Dan Jacobson played well with 16 points, 13 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 blocks before fouling out and Joakim Noah scored 14 from the bench.
Key road game versus Minnesota and a home game Seattle comprise the next back-to-back. The T-Wolves go down 99-88 as Paulinho Buboltz puts up 26 points and 13 assists and Dan Jacobson pulls off a fourth straight double-double with 13 points and 18 rebounds, though I should note Minnesota is without Kelvin Moody, who broke his finger last month. The Supersonics don't fare any better against us in the easy 117-104 victory. Ben Gordon scores 33, Paulinho Buboltz has 13 points and 17 assists, Dan Jacobson makes it five double-doubles in a row with 26 points and 11 rebounds and Joakim Noah contributes 12 bench points.
Dan Jacobson's double-double streak ends with 8 points and 16 rebounds, but we beat Golden State 97-87 as Ben Gordon scores 26 to lead both teams and Al Thornton and Tiago Splitter have 10 and 13 points respectively to lead the reserves.
Another game against the Hornets and this time, there's no let-up as we stomp them by 32 points, 122-90. Ben Gordon scores 42, Paulinho Buboltz gets 14 points and 18 assists and Duez Walker has a career-high 21 points off the bench.
I received an e-mail from one of the NBA brass after the game, notifying me that there'd been a mix-up and Duez Walker was supposed to play in the Rookies-Sophs game as a reserve for the Rookies. He apologized for any inconvenience the miscommunication may have caused and that Walker's career portfolio would be credited with the appearance. Yeah, thanks for telling me that now. Oh well, I'll still take it.
Grizzlies-Rockets the next back-to-back. Memphis stuns us 100-96 at home, even though we get 28 points from Ben Gordon, 15 points and 10 assists from Paulinho Buboltz and 10 reserve points from Joakim Noah. And yet we beat Houston 115-107 on the road as Ben Gordon scores 38 and Dan Jacobson has 14 points and 16 rebounds. Good sign for our hopeful run to the Western Conference finals.
Double-P for the final two games, a doubleheader of Phoenix and Portland. Double delightment in the wins, too. The Suns fall 110-101, Ben Gordon the darkness-bringer with 28 points and Dan Jacobson with 10 points and 13 rebounds. We cheerfully dispatch the Trailblazers 97-86 to end the year as Ben Gordon scores 30 and Paulinho Buboltz polishes off the regular season with 16 points and 11 assists. The reason Portland hasn't been able to win despite their great starting 5 is their shoddy bench and it's highlighted this game, as the Trailblazer reserves score 9 points total. Hell, Duez Walker had 8 points just by himself!
We finish the regular season 54-28 and win the division easily.
Western Conference Top 8 Records
1. Dallas Mavericks (64-17)
2. Los Angeles Lakers (60-22)
3. Houston Rockets (57-25)
4. San Antonio Spurs (55-27)
5. Denver Nuggets (54-28)
6. Minnesota Timberwolves (45-37)
7. Sacramento Kings (40-42)
8. Memphis Grizzlies (40-42)
....I now have a migraine and it hurts. Yes, we'll have the homecourt advantage as the division champions, but we haven't beaten the Spurs once this season. They were the one team I did not under any circumstances to draw at any point in the playoffs and we get them in the first round.
Eastern Conference Top 8 Records
1. Toronto Raptors (61-21)
2. Charlotte Bobcats (55-27)
3. Boston Celtics (53-29)
4. Milwaukee Bucks (46-36)
5. Detroit Pistons (46-36)
6. Indiana Pacers (43-39)
7. Atlanta Hawks (42-40)
8. Philadelphia 76ers (40-42)
I'm happy to see the Pacers rebound and make the playoffs as a respectable seed and even more gleeful to see the Knicks finish with the NBA's worst record at 17-65, helping to alleviate the pain in my temples a bit.
Lebron James ends the one-year drought of no 30+ players with an average of 31.9 points. Too bad the Cavaliers suck so bad. Gilbert Arenas was second with 28.1 and our Ben Gordon took third at 26.6 points a game.
Dwayne Wade and T.J. Ford led in assists per game at 10.9 and 10.8 respectively, with Baron Davis just off the double-digit pace at 9.8. Paulinho Buboltz finished 8th with 8.9, just behind fellow 2010 draftee Brandon Brooks, who had 9 even.
Terrible year for rebounding when 13 boards a game is enough to win, but that's what Greg Oden did. On the other hand, a good number of rebounders over 12 boards a game, led by David Lee in 2nd with 12.6. Dan Jacobson was 20th, averaging 9.5 rebounds a game.
Andrei Kirilenko ran away with the blocks title again at 3.7 a game. 2nd place went to Elton Brand with 2.7. Emeka Okafor was 12th with 2.3, a pleasant surprise.
Gerald Wallace was the lone player with more than 2 steals average a game at 2.2. Tracy McGrady, Andre Iguodala and Ron Artest tied for 2nd with 1.8. Paulinho Buboltz tied with a bunch of others in the mid-teens with 1.5.
I said the Knicks made the right choice in taking Jeremy Leach when he fell to them at #3 and they did, as he blew away the rest of the class in averaging 17 points a game. Austin Buller was second with 12 even and all told, 7 rookies hit the double-digit points mark, the others being Bill Towns (11.4), Charles Garren (11.3), Darrell James (11), Demarcus Baptist (10.6) and Jeff Culuko (10.3). Duez Walker finished off the Top 10, averaging 6.7 points.
Darrell James took assists with ease with 6.6. Calvis Graham was a distant second at 3.5 and Duez Walker was 7th with 2.1. Demarcus Baptist was the top rebounder with 9.3 boards, Austin Buller 2nd at 8.2. Duez Walker rounded out the Top 10 again with 2.1.
Marvin Stapleton led in blocks with 1.5, followed by Doug Newman with one even. Duez Walker got another 7th in class with 0.5 rejections a game. Darrell James, Calvin Graham and Bill Towns were the best ballthieves with 1.3, 1.2 and 1.1 respectively. Duez Walker took 8th with 0.8.
Walker really has turned out to be one of the most pleasant surprises of the season and I'm glad I made the move to trade up one spot to get him. The former Golden Domer (of the basketball variety naturally), has been an invaluable part of our bench as a rookie.
If only we didn't have to throw him up against the Spurs. I'm not looking forward to this matchup at all.
2006 Golden Scribe Nominee
2006 Golden Scribe Winner
Best Non-Sport Dynasty: May Our Reign Be Green and Golden (CK Dynasty)
Rookie Writer of the Year
Dynasty of the Year: May Our Reign Be Green and Golden (CK Dynasty)