Hey there, friend. Having a tough time feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after a six-game Tuesday night headlined by a national doubleheader that didn't wrap up 'til after midnight on the East Coast? It's cool. We've got a double shot of video espresso to crack open those droopy eyes, courtesy of the Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers.
First up: Jason Terry turns an ambitious lead pass into an even more ambitious lob pass, which is flushed by a surprisingly (and increasingly) ambitious Brandan Wright:
Of course an announcer would think that was Jason Terry just taking a crazy shot. He's Jason Terry. He attempts 15 field goals per 36 minutes; he gets off the bus chucking. He's not particularly shy about just throwing something up (or, as I learned when I talked to him after the NBA Finals last year, much of anything else).
Forgetting that, though: Big up yourself, Brandan Wright. After two solid per-minute but quiet per-game seasons with the Golden State Warriors, a 2009 season lost to a shoulder injury and a '10-11 campaign split between the Bay and the New Jersey Nets, people pretty much forgot you even existed.
And now here you are, starting over at age 24 with the defending NBA champions, deterring shots (he's blocking 6.6 percent of opponents' attempts, highest of his career), filling the lane, showing your springs and producing a sterling 21.1 Player Efficiency Rating in a career-high 41 appearances. There might just be a spot in this league for you yet, Brandan. (Especially if you keep turning wild, blind passes from JET into fast-break buckets.)
Next up: Thaddeus Young and Andre Iguodala making sweet music in the open court.
If Thad wasn't a natural lefty, this would be one of the sicker 'oops in recent memory; as it is, it's still an underhand scoop lob thrown from the 3-point line on the left side and right on the button, catching Iguodala perfectly in stride and mid-flight on the opposite side of the floor for the finish. Too easy, fellas.
Best of all, for Mavs and Sixers fans? The highlights came in much-needed wins.
Dallas scored a 110-100 victory over the Sacramento Kings and Philly put a 107-88 beating on the New Jersey Nets. The wins pushed each team into seventh place in their respective conferences, with Dallas moving a half-game clear of the idle Denver Nuggets out west and the 76ers taking a full-game lead over the New York Knicks, who lost in Chicago to fall to the No. 8 slot ahead of a huge matchup with the ninth-place Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center on Wednesday night.
Knicks/Bucks is just one of 11 showdowns on the league slate Wednesday night, including several with major playoff implications. The Atlanta Hawks look to keep their hopes of snaring the East's No. 3 seed alive when they head to the TD Garden to take on the Atlantic Division-leading Boston Celtics, fresh off a very impressive Tuesday night road win over the Miami Heat.
The real showcases will be out west, though. The Utah Jazz-Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns-Memphis Grizzlies matchups could shake up the lower half of the Western Conference playoff bracket, while two titanic tilts — the Los Angeles Clippers visiting the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers taking on the San Antonio Spurs — could offer previews of games to come beyond the postseason's opening round.
It's gonna be a long night, gang. Might as well head back up to the top of the post and watch those 'oops again. With only a couple of weeks left in the regular season, you've got to take your eye-openers where you can find them.
- Jason Terry
- Brandan Wright
- Dallas Mavericks
- New Jersey Nets