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Posted by Rob Peterson on Nov. 16 2004 2:50 p.m. ET
THE SONICS AND RAY ALLEN ARE ON A ROLL
When you're 6-1, have won six in a row and play professional basketball in Seattle, the headline puns inevitably will follow.
"Sonics reign in Seattle"
"Sonics raining threes in Seattle"
Yes, we get it. We get it. The Sonics are good. Very good. Better than many expected. (We, the online crew, picked them -- heh! -- 13th. Yeah, we're good at this.)
So, why have the Sonics won six in a row and thumped opponents by an average of 15.8 points per game in their victories? Many reasons, but first and foremost, it's been Ray Allen's play.
The incumbent Western Conference Player of the Week, at 26.0 points per game, is six points better than his career average and is shooting the lights out from downtown, making 3-pointers at a .600 clip (24-40).
Seattle also has added some ruggedness with Danny Fortson. (The article also notes something about former Sonic Frank Brickowski that you may not have known.)
-- Seattle P-I
"That's what you always want to do when you get traded ... make a difference," Fortson told CBS.Sportsline.com about his arrival from Dallas in the offeseason. "That's my job."
Then again, maybe Fortson is a little too aggressive at times.
-- Seattle Times
Maybe, new point guard Antonio Daniels has something to do with it.
-- Seattle Times
And then, maybe doing nothing is better than doing something for the sake of doing something.
-- Arizona Central
Still, as one Seattle columnist put it: It's not how you start, it's how you finish.
-- Seattle P-I
THE DEUTSCHE MARKSMAN
Last week, in our awards issue (the first of many), we gave our MVP to Utah's Andrei Kirilenko. In the other contenders
section, we listed Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki.
Is it too early to change our minds? (We're fickle that way.)
While Cleveland's LeBron James and the aforementioned Allen won Player of the Week honors for their stellar efforts last week, Nowitzki had a heck of a week going for 20, 41, 31 and 32 points, respectively, in his four games last week. He's the No. 1 reason the Mavs are an NBA-best 7-1.
And no effort may have been more impressive than his 41-point performance against the Heat in Miami on Nov. 11. True, 41 points is impressive any time, but in this case it was even more so because of what happened before the game. Seems that Nowitzki's long legs had a hand in his having his fingers slammed in a car door.
According to the Dallas Morning News: "Dan Dickau had the scare of his professional life when he went to South Beach for dinner with Dirk Nowitzki on Wednesday. The pair hopped in a cab and Dickau asked Nowitzki what seat he wanted for the most legroom.
"Nowitzki took the back seat. Then Dickau shut the car door on Nowitzki's fingers. Worst of all, it was his shooting hand.
"'I looked at the door and two of Dirk's fingers were hanging out,' Dickau said. 'That could have been the most expensive cab ride of my life.'"
As for Dirk, what did he say when he noticed his digits in the door?
"I said, 'Dude, open the door. My fingers are in there.'"
-- Dallas Morning News (Registration required)
I don't know what's more amusing: Dirk being nonchalant about his fingers in the car door or my imagining him saying "Dude" with a German accent. Heh. That's funny.
Anyway, Dirk's old buddy, Steve Nash, returns to Dallas for the first time since signing a free-agent deal with the Suns this offseason.
-- Dallas Morning News (Registration required)
THE DOG DAYS OF WINTER
Charles Barkley called this
the "puppy dog look." I don't know. What would you call it?
-- St. Paul Pioneer Press
AN ASIDE ...
Guys (meaning SportsCasters), I have a favor to ask of you. Please don't lead into highlights for a high-scoring NBA game as you did Sunday by whining, "Dallas and Washington scored 235 points. Where was the defense?" and then wonder aloud as to why scoring is down in the NBA. (This season, by the way, scoring is up. That's for another Click.)
So, let me get this straight: Fans love high scoring NFL shootouts and slugfests in baseball, but when two teams both go over a hundred points in the NBA, we get a snide remarks about the teams not playing defense as if NBA fans don't like high-scoring games? Please, just quit it.
We like high-scoring games. We like fastbreaks. We like crisp passing that leads to open jumpers. We like decisive backdoor cuts that lead to thunderous dunks. We like reverse layups. We love pull-up jumpers. Love 'em. We like crossovers that lead to running one-handed tear drops that nestle softly into the bottom of the net.
We like watching the best players in the world work their magic on offense. We like offense.
Once you and certain NBA coaches learn that, all will be well. Thank you.
What can I say that hasn't already been said? Do I want to be the 100th sportswriter on that pile?
That being said, I must admit, I am looking forward to an album release next week.
"Uno! Dos! Tres! Catorce!"
First, I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to send an e-mail. I will gladly wade through the multitude of spam to pluck these Nuggets, er, nuggets from the Click and Roll mailbag.
"I would just like to thank you for having positive input on the Utah Jazz thus far this year. As a long time Jazz fan all I am hearing is how "lucky" they are getting, people refuse to see them as a contender due to the lack of a championship. As I said all last year we are now a new team, a younger team, and once we learn to mesh it should all come around. I am so thrilled and positive by their play in the first five games maybe people will wake up and see what I do, the Utah Jazz are a force to be reckoned with. Thanks again!"
-- Veronica, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Click and Roll says: No problem, Ronnie. Anything else we can do to make Jazz fans in Iowa happy? More Jazz mail, you say? Thought you'd never ask.
"What's all this talk about the Utah Jazz winning 50 plus games, I'm talking 70-plus games. I'm feeling a new record, the 72-10 Bulls were impressive, but the Utah Jazz are going 74-8."
-- Craig in Cottonwood Heights, Utah
Click and Roll says: Mmmm... Yes, and I see Salt Lake City becoming the new Las Vegas. Next!
As far as my plea for NBA players not to hesitate on open jumpers, one fan wrote:
"Please, please don't shoot. Well, unless you're in the West and you play boring, sloppy basketball. There is a REASON the Pistons are the World Champs. Because they can think, and not just shoot, shoot, shoot. Look how far the Lakers got with that excellent strategy."
-- Judie in E. Lansing, Mich.
Click and Roll says: Judie, Judie, Judie. First of all, taking open shots is not sloppy basketball. Taking forced shots is sloppy basketball. Second, those Pistons made their open shots. Let's not forget Chauncey Billups, who lit up the Lakers, was named The Finals MVP. While the emphasis in the NBA has shifted to building strong defensive teams, I will still argue that the basic tenet of basketball is to put the ball in the basket and I will always prefer watching a team that can fill it up rather than grind you down. If I wanted low scoring, I could just think back to all the dates I had in high school.
We also have some Suns fans wishing we could see the light.
"I'm a long time Suns fan, so of course I'm happy to see what is going down in Phoenix this year, but as far as I can tell, no one else is noticing. I never see them mentioned with the other surprise teams or hear there name mentioned when it comes to serious playoff contention. Any idea why
this is? They've got everything needed to go very far this year, but what's stopping them from entering the league's radar?"
-- Eric in Phoenix
"Amaré Stoudemire is the most underrated player in the league. Nobody can stop him, he now has a jump shot, and will lead his team into the playoffs."
-- Mike in Mesa
Click and Roll says: Gentlemen, just last week, from Yuta to shooters, the Suns have made our radar ping like mad.
And as far as Stoudemire being underrated, let's see. If ...
-- Being named got milk? Rookie of the Year in 2003
-- Starring in two All-Star Rookie challenges
-- Taking part in the All-Star dunk contest
-- Making the Olympic team
-- Starring in TNT commercials this year
-- And being named Employee of the Month by Bill Walton for two consecutive ad campaigns for NBA League Pass
... is underrated, then, yes, I agree. He is underrated.
Lastly, but not leastly a post haste from North of the Border (Canada, for our international readers).
"Still no respect for the only team up north.... They go to the Conference semifinals against the Sixers, and come within a bucket at the buzzer of going to the conference finals, nothing. They have an All-Star guard who's has led the league in All-Star balloting for four years consecutive years, a feat only done my Michael Jordan and Dr. J, nothing.
Now they are leading the Atlantic, atop the East, and still nothing? The Raptors have a bona fide all-star in Vince Carter, but since he's playing in Toronto, he gets no respect..."
-- George from Toronto
Click and Roll says: Whoa, whoa, whoa, George. Wait right there. I can understand your love for the Raptors. Canadians have shown the Raptors much love and so have we. Shall I reference you to last week's Click where I named Raptors first-year coach Sam Mitchell Rookie of the Year for the first week of the season. Sam's been great. We love Sam. (We also have much admiration for his top assistant, Jim Todd, but we'll get into that another time. "Hey, JT. How's it goin'?")
More specifically, how can you not love Sam Mitchell. Just check out this quote regarding his rotation right now.
-- Chicago Tribune
"The guys who are going to do the things we ask them to do, offensively and defensively, are going to find minutes," Mitchell told the Trib. "We're going to find some guys in that room who are going to play team basketball. And the guys who aren't going to play team basketball are not going to play.
"I don't know any other way because I do know one thing: If they do it their way, we're going to lose, and if I don't do it my way, I'm going to get fired. But if I'm going to get fired, I'm going to get fired doing it my way." (Emphasis added)
How great is THAT? "I'm going to get fired doing it my way." That. Is. Awesome! Good for you, Sam Mitchell. Much love and much respect for your I'm-going-down-swingin' style.
Speaking of style, seems that Vince Carter will no longer get to have a personal soundtrack for his pre-game warm-ups by wearing his iPod. The NBA has put the kibosh on VC's solipsistic groove.
-- Toronto Globe and Mail
I just want to know if that means I need to take mine off when I write Click and Roll?
At 0-6, the New Orleans Hornets have the worst record in the Western Conference. Could it get any worse? Possibly, as Baron Davis may miss as many as two weeks
with an inflamed back.
-- New Orleans Times-Picayune
Well, what did you expect?
-- Dallas Morning News
Where is Karl Malone? Read this blog entry from SI.com's Chris Ballard and find out.
Say it ain't Zo! Patrick Ewing urges Alonzo Mourning to hang up the Nikes.
-- New York Daily News
I'd like to give a shout out to Mark Haubner, NBA.com's director of programming (my boss's boss). Mark will be moving on to greener pastures in Seattle (Seattle greener than New York City? You don't say.) Good luck, Mark and thank you for making us better than we could imagine.