Saturday, February 28, 2015

Winslow and Cook Help #4 Duke Blow by Syracuse

#4 Duke blew out Syracuse tonight 73-54.  Tonight's game had great hype built up for it, but Duke destroyed that "hype" for a close game once they started to play.

The story of the night was the chemistry and play between Quinn Cook and Justise Winslow.  They played with a great feel for each other tonight, they ran the floor and created good looks for one another all night with their unselfish attitudes.  Although they played unselfish, their stats tell another story.  Either that, or they were rewarded for their unselfishness.  Winslow demonstrated his amazing athletic ability tonight with a 23 point, 9 rebound, and 3 block performance.  On the other hand, Cook showed his leadership ability with 17 points and 4 assists.

Although Jahlil Okafor was not in the headlines tonight, he still had a good game.  The super freshman finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds on an "off" night.  Although, the big does have an excuse for tonight.  Okafor was playing on a bum-ankle that forced him to take time off.

Also in the building for Duke, but not playing were high-schoolers Chase Jeter and Jayson Tatum.  Jeter, who just won the Nevada State Title with his high school Bishop Gorman the other night, is taking his talents to Duke next year.  He is an athletic forward with excellent post moves and a great mid range game.  He is ranked as the 9th best High School senior by ESPN.

Also at Cameron Indoor tonight was the #1 HS junior in the country, Jayson Tatum.  He is a 6 foot 8 small forward who plays with great flow to his game and can kill you from the inside or outside.  After watching tonight's game, it would be hard for Tatum to not want to play for Duke.

Duke finishes off their season with games against Wake Forest and #15 UNC.  After those games the Blue Devils will be fighting for a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament while playing for an ACC championship.  It seems Duke is peeking at just the right time and starting to play great as a team, not just through one player every night.

Ellis' 28 Points Help #8 Kansas Hold Off Texas at Home

With seconds left, Texas guard Isaiah Taylor drove to the lane and threw up a wild shot after being hit by Perry Ellis.  Kansas' Kelly Oubre swooped in and grabbed the rebound, while Taylor was in disbelief laying on the ground.  It was clear, Ellis had fouled Taylor.  While Oubre walked down the court to sink 2 free throws to clinch the game, Taylor's heart sank.  Instead of watching Kansas shoot two free throws, he wanted to be shooting two free throws that he rightfully earned.

Although the game ended in controversy, Kansas skated by and moves to 23-6 with their 69-64 victory. Perry Ellis did the right things all game long today and finished with 28 points, 13 rebounds, and 3 blocks.  His outstanding play was highlighted by his high motor and how he always seemed to be in the right spot.

Taylor finished with 17 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds, but his team still fell short.  As for the one who rebounded Texas' last second try, Kelly Oubre played another great game for Kansas with 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks.

As the regular season winds down, #8 Kansas only has two games left against #20 West Virginia and #16 Oklahoma.  Although they escaped today, they will have to bring their A+ game when they play some of the Big 12's best to close out their season.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Russell Westbrook Continues His MVP Campaign, But the Suns End up Topping the Thunder

Russell Westbrook did it again last night, only this time the Thunder did not win.  Coming off of a 7 game win streak the Thunder went into Phoenix looking to extend their streak to 8 games.  After their 117-113 OT win last night, the Suns only sit 1 1/2 games behind the Thunder for the final playoff spot.  Last night's game was definitely a must win for both teams, only one team could actually win though.

Eric Bledsoe led the Suns with 28 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists, and 4 blocks.  He has stepped up in his new role since Isaiah Thomas and Goran Dragic have left.  Markieff Morris also had a great game and led the Suns with 29 points.

Russell Westbrook dominated with a triple double again last night.  He racked up 39 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists.  This helped him lead his team in rebounds, points, and assists.  Without MVP Kevin Durant (out due to injured foot), Westbrook has put the Thunder on his back.

Westbrook is single-handily pushing to get the Thunder in the playoffs.  Through the end of January and into February he has been putting up MVP like numbers.  His averages for the month of February are as follows; 30.4 PPG, 8.7 RPG, and 10.2 APG.  Also, the Thunder have gone 9-2 during that stretch because of his play.  Not only has he been doing good for Oklahoma, he also won all-star game MVP this month.  Westbrook has been stealing all of the thunder in the MVP race lately, no pun intended.

Although they lost last night, Oklahoma City still has great momentum on their side.  Tonight, they face off with Portland on the road.  Maybe they will start a new winning streak tonight, if they do Westbrook will have to dominate a matchup against all-star Damian Lillard.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Chicago Bulls Win Against the Suns

After getting rid of Isaiah Thomas and Goran Dragic, one would expect for your team to lose.  So, that's what the Suns did last nigh against the Bulls in Chicago.

The game remained a battle all the way to the end, but it was Aaron Brooks who made the difference.  Brooks scored 8 points in the 4th quarter and extended the Bulls lead comfortably with only minutes left in the game.  He finished with 12 points total.  Taj Gibson also had a huge 4th quarter while scoring 10 of his 12 points in the late stages of the game.

The Bulls also received huge contribution from Pau Gasol again with 22 points and 14 rebounds.  Joakim Noah had the most interesting stateline with 8 assists, 12 rebounds, and 3 points.  

The Bulls ended up winning 112-107 and continue on with their great season.  On the other hand, the Suns start a new way, without prominent guards Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas, they may start to struggle in a highly competitive Western Conference.

#1 Kentucky Obliterates Auburn 110-75

Kentucky did it again last night.  Although, this time they looked the best they had all season.  They put up a season high 110 points and never let up.  Karl-Anthony Towns continues to play great and he put up 19 points and 10 rebounds last night.  Aaron Harrison also had a great game with 18 points and 2 steals.  The highlight of the game came from neither of these two players though, instead it came from Tyler Ulis and Willie-Cauley Stein.  Kentucky just keeps on getting better and better and moved to 27-0 last night.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

George Karl Signs to Coach the Sacramento Kings

George Karl has agreed terms to become the coach of the Sacramento Kings.  His deal is reportedly worth $15 Million over 4 years.

Karl used to be the coach of the Denver Nuggets before he started a battle with cancer.  After beating out cancer he took a job at ESPN which is where he has been working until now.  Karl is known to get players to buy into his system and turn a team of lesser talent into a winning team once they buy into his system.  In his years with Denver he had to deal with many wild personalities.  Some of these include J.R. Smith, Carmelo Anthony, Allen Iverson, and Kenyon Martin.  With each player he helped control them and ended up getting the most out of them.

George Karl's previous experiences are going to be extremely beneficial for him in Sacramento.  The Kings have a young team filled with potential, and they all need is a system to buy into.  They also have their own wildcard; DeMarcus Cousins.  This year, Cousins is an all star despite his terrible attitude and wild unpredictability.  Karl will need to teach or even just deal with Cousins in order to maximize his potential. 

It's good that Karl has saved up energy while resting between coaching jobs, because he is going to need it while dealing with the Kings.  After all-star festivities conclude this weekend, Karl and the Kings will start working together in order to try to revive their franchise.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

James Harden Picks Apart the Suns Defense

Last night was a special one for James Harden.  This year he has been the most dominant offensive player in the NBA.  Last night he continued his ways.  During the Rockets 127-118 win over the Phoenix Suns, Harden added to his campaign for MVP.  He went off for 40 points, 12 rebounds, and 9 assists, with 20 of his 40 points coming in the 4th quarter.  Watch highlights of his MVP caliber performance below:

#1 Kentucky Slides By LSU On the Road

#1 Kentucky was tested once again last night on the road.  The Wildcats went on to beat LSU 71-69, but had to hold off a late run.

LSU made a 21-2 run in the second half to give them a 66-60 lead in the final minutes.  From there though, it was Kentucky's game.  In a late timeout Coach Calipari told his team that he hoped they would lose, obviously this was just to light a fire under them though.

After they saw their undefeated season flash before their eyes, Kentucky made their run.  Freshman Karl Towns helped lead this charge and finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds.  Willie Cauley-Stein also helped hold on to win with a 15 point effort.

LSU was led by Jarell Martin who scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.

Once again Kentucky was tested on the road.  This game was definitely a tougher one than their close call against Florida.  This time they were coming off of a road game with a short break inbetween games.  Also, LSU is a good and athletic team who has the ability to compete with Kentucky.  At this point it seems as its a matter of time until they lose a game.  Although it may seem bad they are being tested, it's actually a good thing.  Some great teams never get tested, and then come tournament time they are finally tested and have no idea of how to respond.  On the other hand, other great teams are tested and learn how to overcome adversity in the regular season. This second type of team will be Kentucky.

With their win last night Kentucky moves to 24-0 and 11-0 in the SEC.  Their next game will be at home vs. South Carolina this Saturday.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Phil Cofer Posterizes Duke's Jahlil Okafor

Last night, Florida State's Phil Cofer posterized Jahlil Okafor in the opening minutes of their game.  Cofer drove baseline and then prepared for takeoff above the nation's best freshman.  It's not to often you see Jahlil Okafor's name associated with a bad play, but this is the exception.  #4 Duke went on to defeat the Seminoles 73-70 in a close game.  

Kevin Durant Dominates Against the Denver Nuggets

Kevin Durant said it himself last night.  After drilling a deep, deep, deep three point shot Durant pranced back down the court yelling, "I'm a bad Motherfu**er."  Try to deny that fact last night and the stats will prove you wrong.

In the Thunder's 124-114 win over the Denver Nuggets, Kevin Durant was in high efficiency mode.  He finished the night with 40 points on only 19 shots.  Watch highlights of his dominating performance below:

Durant and teammate Russell Westbrook combined for 66 points last night.  Together they proved that they are one of the NBA's most dominant pairs.  Although it has been rare this season, when both players are healthy and get to play with each other, they are practically unstoppable.  It's very hard to shut down either one of the Thunder's stars or even slow them down.

Right now the Thunder are tied for the 9th seed in the Western Conference, 1 1/2 GB of the Phoenix Suns for the 8th and final playoff spot.  Hopefully they can ride the momentum of this big night all the way into a playoff spot.

It wasn't only Durant who impressed fans last night though.  Denver's Kenneth Faried also showed off a little something-something.  He let go of his losing frustrations and tore down the rim on this powerful windmill slam.

DeAndre Jordan With a Career Night to Push the Clippers to Victory

DeAndre Jordan was a beast last night.  During the Clippers routing of the Dallas Mavericks, Jordan racked up 22 points and 27 rebounds.  Yup, twenty-seven rebounds... With Blake Griffin out to injury, DeAndre felt it was his job to collect rebounds for him and the injured Blake I guess.  The Clippers went on to beat the Mavericks 115-98.  Watch highlights from his career night below:

K.J. McDaniels With Another Crazy Athletic Dunk

Last night, the Philadelphia 76ers actually played a good game.  Although they lost, they still challenged the best of the west in a 89-84 loss to the Golden State Warriors.  The best play of the game was when McDaniels threw himself an alley-oop off of the glass then finished with a nice slam.  He ended the night with 5 points, but this dunk was enough to get him in the news.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Damian Lillard to Replace Blake Griffin in the All-Star Game

The Newest Western-Conference All-Star
Damian Lillard is set to play in the all-star game.  He did not get on the team the way he wanted to, he got on because he will be replacing the hurt Blake Griffin.

Griffin is undergoing surgery on his right elbow to get rid of a staph infection.  The Griffinless Clippers lost their first game without him in the lineup yesterday.  They fell 131-108 to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Griffin has averaged 22.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG, and 5.1 APG so far this season.  Without him, the Clippers miss an all around force.  In about a week, his injury will be reevaluated and a time table for return will be set.  Hopefully Blake will return in a couple weeks.

For Lillard, he doesn't have much to say about his late selection.  He feels he should have made the team as a reserve in the first place.  When asked how he felt about replacing Blake, all he said was, "I'm thankful, that's it."

Damian Lillard has sure played up to an all-star level so far this season and is averaging 21.6 PPG, 6.3 PPG, and 4.7 RPG.

Watch out for the new all-star next weekend in New York.  The festivities begin on Friday and run through next Sunday February 15.

Turmoil Brewing in Cleveland: Part # We Lost Count

The other night, LeBron James took to Twitter to express his feelings.  While this may not seem like news, it is.  James decided to tweet out this:

After the media jumped all over the tweet, James admitted who it was aimed towards: teammate Kevin Love.  All season Love has been scrutinized of not playing up to the level of expectation and he has not been trying to make it work with Cleveland.  It has even started to frustrate LeBron.

So how did Love respond to the tweet?  He went out and scored a season high 32 points and 10 rebounds in the Cavs 120-105 win over the Lakers.

Hopefully this may mean that LeBron and Love ended up talking out the problem out and Love is ready to produce.  One thing is for sure; Cleveland wants to feel some Love in the air.  There is no better way for that to happen than Kevin Love starting to fit in and putting up numbers.

DeMarcus Cousins Sinks a Game Winning Buzzer Beater

Last night, DeMarcus Cousins and the Sacramento Kings were tied with the Suns 83-83 with 2.5 seconds left.  That is when the Kings drew up a play designed for DeMarcus Cousins to take the game winning shot.  After rolling over a series of screens, Cousins threw a solid pump fake then tossed his try into the air.  After a lucky bounce or what some may call shooter's touch, the shot fell and the Kings won 85-83 over the Phoenix Suns.

DeMarcus Cousins finished the game with 28 points and 12 rebounds.  He has been producing strong statlines like this all season, yet was still snubbed as an all-star.  But, he did make the team after injuries replaced some players.

After the game, Cousins also went on a mini-rant.  He kept asking, "How are you going to stop God's plan?"

This actually might explain how Cousins hit a jumpshot to win last night's game.  Maybe it was just "God's plan."

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Saturday February 7th College Basketball Review

Yesterday's slate of college basketball games was filled with promise.  There was potential upsets, upsets, and surprising finishes to games.  To review the craziness we present Buzzer Beater Basketball's review of all of yesterday's games.

#6 Arizona Loses at Arizona State:
Fans in Arizona were rushing the court after Arizona State's 81-78 upset over #6 Arizona.  Arizona St. jumped out early and kept up with the Wildcats.  From the start of the game you could tell it was going to be a tough one for the #6 team in the country.   Although they received 25 points from T.J. McConnell and 16 points from Stanley Johnson, they still didn't have enough in the high scoring affair last night.  On the other hand, Bo Barnes led Arizona State with 18 points and hit a crucial late game three pointer.  This loss moves Arizona 20-3 and 8-2 in the Pac 12 this season.

#1 Kentucky Extends Streak to 23 Games:
The top ranked team in the country extended their winning streak Saturday with a 68-61 win over Florida.  Yes, Kentucky was actually tested for once.  Although, the game was on the road in a tough environment against a decent Florida team.  Kentucky's freshman Karl Towns was ready to answer to the pressure placed upon them though.  He finished with 19 points and 8 rebounds, while teammate Aaron Harrison led the team in scoring with 23 points.  Although this game was closer than many expected, Kentucky still escaped with another win.  Also, Willie Cauley-Stein finished off a fast break with this beautiful poster finish.

#4 Duke Stomps Over #10 Notre Dame
After losing to Notre Dame at their house recently, Duke wanted to show ND how they play at home.  And that they did.  Duke stomped over Notre Dame with a 90-60 blowout win.  Duke's freshman Jahlil Okafor dominated once again with 20 points and 10 rebounds.  Another one of their star freshman also had a great game.  Justice Winslow finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 assists.  Although Duke's offense was stellar, their defense was also great.  They held Notre Dame's star players Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton under 10 points a piece.  Grayson Allen also added to the defensive punch with this block of his own.  

#8 Kansas Loses Momentum Against Oklahoma State
Just as they were starting to play better, Kansas lost.  They were just starting to click and it seemed they figured out everything they needed in order to win.  But it went wrong on Saturday during their 67-62 loss to Oklahoma State.  Granted, it's only a 5 point loss, but it still slows the momentum they were building at a crucial point of the season.  Kansas choked in the second half and lost an 11 point lead.  They shot a dismal 27% from the field in this second half.  Oklahoma State also brought it on the offensive end.  Le'Bryan Nash capped off his performance with 18 points and 5 rebounds.  For Kansas, their offense was more stagnant.  Their offense seemed to be slowed down and not as fluid last night.  Their next try to regain momentum will be at Texas Tech on Tuesday.

#3 Virginia Slides Past #9 Louisville
This is a bittersweet victory for Virginia.  They beat Louisville 52-47 after holding off a late push, but they also lost a key player.  Their leader Justin Anderson broke his finger last night and is going to be out 4-6 weeks.  Louisville's big three helped lead their second half comeback.  Terry Rozier led the big 3 with 16 points and 5 assists.  For Virginia, it was Malcolm Brogdon (15 points) and Darion Atkins (9 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks) who led their team to victory.  Virginia capped off their tough 3 game stretch against Duke, UNC, and Louisville with 2 wins and 1 loss against Duke's promise filled team.  Now they can relax a little as that stretch of terror is over. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

#8 Kansas Continues Winning Ways Against #11 Iowa State

Kansas Freshman Kelly Oubre Jr.
Last night #8 Kansas defeated the 11th ranked team in the country, Iowa State.  The Jayhawks pulled off and impressive 89-76 win.

Led by a second half run, the Jayhawks showed off their true ability last night.  Sophomore guard Wayne Selden scored 20 points and led their second half charge.

The most impressive player for Kansas happened to be freshman Kelly Oubre Jr..  At the beginning of the season he was expected to be one of the top freshman in the country, but at times he was coming off the bench and was not producing anything.  Because of the struggles, Coach Bill Self challenged Oubre to develop more as a college player and brought him off of the bench until he was ready to play at a higher level.  This taught him a lot and also installed a motor to play inside Oubre.   Last night, this motor pushed him all over the court and he finished with 16 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.

So what has gotten into Kansas.  They have won their last 5 games against some of the nation's best teams.  One may say it's their change in style of play.  At the beginning of the season the Jayhawks were a team loaded with talent, but they looked confused on their court.  Their play seemed choppy.  Now, their play is smooth, passes are crisp and jumpshots are falling.  Kansas has started to play less selfish and more like a team.  Last night they finished with 22 assists, 7 over their season average of 15 APG.

As long as the ball movement and unselfishness continues, Kansas is ready to be a force come tournament time.  They are filled with experience in Wayne Selden and Perry Ellis (17 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists last night) who will be able to lead young stars like Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre.  Standing at 19-3 right now the Jayhawks have 5 games left against ranked opponents.  This year they are 7-2 against ranked opponents, one of which was Kentucky.  The Jayhawks will have quite a few more tests before the tournament in order to prime them for crunch time in college basketball.  They have already improved so much this season, therefore nothing is holding them back from becoming a contender for the national title.