By Andy Roth
Where Politically Correct Opinions Get Rejected
New York, NY (Sports Network) - With week number four of the NBA season
books, let's take a look at what caught my eye...
There was a Chris Bosh sighting last week. After being invisible for much of
the season, Bosh put up 35 points against the Suns and 22 versus the Bobcats
in the first two games of the week. I would temper my excitement over these
performances because of the quality of the competition Bosh was facing. Both
the Suns and Bobcats have undersized power forwards in Hedo Turkoglu and Boris
Diaw respectively. Bosh closed out the week with 20 points and 10 rebounds in
a loss to the Grizzlies. But it should be noted that his counterpart, Zach
Randolph, put up 21 points and 13 rebounds in just 27 minutes.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
The Thunder went 4-0 last week despite playing without Kevin Durant in the
final two games and missing starting power forward Jeff Green for all four.
Even more impressive was that three of the wins came on the road. The Thunder
won Friday at Boston and Saturday in Milwaukee without both Durant and Green,
and also beat the Jazz in Utah to start the week.
Jason Kidd has struggled against some of the league's elite point guards and
it looks like he's become a non-factor as far as a scoring threat. He's been
badly outplayed by the likes of Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, and Rajon Rondo.
The 10-time All-Star is averaging a career low 8.0 ppg, while shooting just
38% from the field. With his lack of foot speed, Kidd rarely attacks the hoop,
and it's evident in his free-throw attempts, which stands at a measly 12.
Kevin Love probably had the single best performance of the season with his 31-
point, 31-rebound game against the Knicks on November 12, but somehow managed
to go scoreless against the Lakers on Friday. Teammate Michael Beasley,
meanwhile, continues to light up the scoreboard. He's had six consecutive 25-
plus point games, averaging 31 ppg during that span. A change of scenery, but
maybe even more importantly a change of positions has made a world of
difference to Beasley's game. The former Heat was an undersized power forward
who had to try to score over much bigger opponents. He no longer has that
problem since moving to small forward with the Wolves.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS
It's looking more and more like the team that will present the biggest
challenge to the Lakers in the West is also a former NBA champion. The Spurs
have won 10 straight games and are co-owner's of the league's best record with
the Hornets at 11-1. San Antonio is a perfect 5-0 on the road, which includes
convincing wins at Oklahoma City and Utah.
With John Wall missing the last four games with a sprained foot and bone
bruise, the Wizards actually tasted more success by going 2-2. Wall's absence
opened the door for Gilbert Arenas to be back in the starting lineup. Arenas
made his presence felt by averaging 18 points and 6.7 assists.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Matt Barnes continues to show why he may have been the biggest bargain of the
2010 free agent market. Barnes stole the show from Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol
on Friday in Minnesota with a perfect scoring line in the boxscore. He hit
all seven of his shots from the field, including 5-5 from three-point range,
and was 5-5 from the line. But he also contributed in other facets of the game
by pulling down seven rebounds and dishing out six assists. Barnes is
averaging 9.4 points and 5.8 rebounds in just 21 minutes per game. The Lakers
secured his services for a mere $3.6 million over two years.
NEW YORK KNICKS
After dropping the opener of their four-game road trip in Denver, the Knicks
finished with wins against the Kings, Warriors (without David Lee), and
Clippers. At 6-8, they've certainly proved they can beat really bad teams. The
Knicks have two wins against clubs that currently have a winning record in the
Bulls and Warriors. The combined record of the other four teams they've beaten
is 14-38. They continue to be one of the worst defensive teams in the league,
giving up 108 ppg, ranking them 28th in the NBA. They won the last three games
of the road trip despite allowing 113.3 ppg. When you have mediocre talent and
don't play defense, you can bet you'll end up losing a lot more games than
Andy Roth covered the Knicks for NBC Radio and AP Radio for eleven years and
was an NBA Columnist for Celtics Pride Magazine for two years. He's covered
many of the major sporting events, including the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA
Finals, U.S. Open Tennis and Golf.