Philadelphia 76ers

Start Me Up

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This late-season tilt between the 76ers and us will be part of my legacy. Why is that you ask?

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Kill the Coach

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My latest game against Philadelphia was something of a new sensation. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something seemed different. The world looked richer to me, and the world seemed to move faster.

(translation: new PC = higher settings and a new shading filter… I’m not sure I like the filter yet, so it may not stay)

Ah well. On to the Sixers.

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Defensive Woes, part 3

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Philadelphia, here we are. I was matched up with Jrue Holiday to start the game, but that didn’t last long.

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Back and Gunning

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And just like that, I’m back in the game. After shooting a big fat zero from the field last game I was determined to get involved in our next match against the 76ers. When I took my first break midway through the 2nd quarter, I had 12 points, 1 rebound and 3 assists on 57% shooting (2 of 3 from deep). Sadly, that was the end of my offense for quite a stretch.

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I didn’t score again until the last 30 seconds of the 3rd quarter, partially because the LeBron and Wade dominated the ball, but mostly because everything I was doing was just a fraction off. I was missing on my picks, my defense was a step slow, and I was committing fouls more then normal.

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Ok, some of the fouls were more like muggings, but who’s counting? I finally hit a three with 29 seconds left in the third, and got one more shot before the period finished.

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It was money. I now had 18 points, with 12 of them coming in the 1st quarter. With LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Ilgauskas, Mike Miller, Haslem and everyone else the fans might actually recognize on the bench, it was me and the Bench Bunch to bring the game in safely for a win.

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I think this picture tells you how it all went down. We won by 36 and I played well when I was the focal point, scoring seven points in the final quarter. I finished with 25 points, six rebounds, five assists, and only one turnover on 43% shooting, including 5 treys. I also won Player of the Game.

Now I feel better.

- Rick Daniel

Trio of Triumphs

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A couple more games down, and a new milestone or two accomplished. Game one was a win over the Philadelphia 76ers. I had 4 points, 1 board and 4 assists this game, including the pass you see above to LBJ  for a slam. Not a great game, but not terrible either.

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The next game against the Mavs in Dallas was a poor effort by me. We won but I only scored 2 points with a rebound and an assist on 1-5 shooting. I just didn’t play well at all, and for that matter spent most of the game as a 5th wheel on the court, totally uninvolved in the action.

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The next game was against the Wizards at home, and I decide early on that I was going to be more aggressive. I ended up with 10 points, 4 rebounds, an assist and a block. Two of my points came on an alley-oop play.

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Mike Miller tossed me the ball at the rim and I laid that sucker right in. Yay! It was totally unplanned and completely unexpected, but it was cool. My first alley-oop score!

Another milestone was hit in the 4th quarter of the Wizards game. For whatever reason, our coach decided that since the game was locked up that I could be moved to small forward with 2:37 to go in the 4th. I didn’t have any particular issues with it and no one scored on me during this time, but it was funny. I know I’m kind of big for a point guard (6’2, 215 lbs) but I’m not that big. Maybe he’s taking ‘small’ forward a little too literally.

- Rick Daniel

Blocking Magic

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I’ve played two more games for the Heat, and I’ve yet to truly embarrass myself.  In the first game, which was in Philly, I scored zero points but chipped in a rebound, two assists and a steal while making no turnovers. The next game was our home opener, against Orlando.

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I had these freaky deja-vu sensations during this game, but I was with it enough to pitch in two points, an assist, a steal, and two blocks, both on Vince Carter. For some reason, the blocks were very cathartic.

Our team has won all three games so far, even though I’ve yet to play even half of a game (the Orlando game was my longest game, and even then I only played 9 minutes, out of 24 total), I think I’ve landed somewhere good!

- Rick Daniel

10 Game Win Streak

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This picture of Vince Carter pretty much sums up our last month of games. Everybody’s confidence is sky-high right now because the whole team is clicking at the right time. Here’s a summary my last three games.

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We played Philadelphia first, and I had 27 points, four assists and four steals. I also hit 3-4 on threes. This would be my last good shooting game recently.

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Against the Pacers I scored 25 points, had 9 assists (again with the near double-double!) two steals and a block. I hit another three but I shot well under 50% in the game.

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The Lakers came to town yesterday and gave us a serious scare. By halftime we were down 21 points. I wanted so bad to get switched to shooting guard so I could defend Kobe Bryant, not because I really wanted to go head-to-head with Bryant, but because Vince Carter just couldn’t stop him. To my surprise, the Lakers moved Kobe to the PG slot, so they purposely matched him up on me.  I matched Kobe nearly shot for shot, and depending on your perspective, I may have gotten the better of him. He scored 29 points, had 1 board, two assists and a steal while I had 28 points, 1 board, four assists, 3 steals and a block. I also had this shot;

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The latest episode of Dunking on the Stars has Kobe on my latest poster. The best news is that – despite that 21 point halftime deficit – we won the game by four. This was in due no small part to my shutdown job on the Mamba. At one point I got up to him on a fast break and swatted his shot. Yes!

The big picture has us on a 10-game win streak, bringing our record to 43-31. We’re two games behind the Nets and only a half game ahead of the Hawks for the 4th seed. That’s right – we now qualify for first-round home court advantage. We only have 8 games left so this is the time to be peaking, and we are. Go Magic!

- Rick Daniel

Two More Wins

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We recently beat the 76ers at home, and I showed Sebastian Telfair first-hand that I’ve gotten better at dunking. I scored 25 points, had 1 rebound, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block and four turnovers. I’ve got to get those turnovers under control! We ultimately won the game by 18 points.

StuffedOur next game was against Golden State, and I had serious trouble around the rim. I got my shot blocked no less then three times. It was irritating! We trailed most of the game, but ultimately won, 88-84. I had 22 points, two rebounds, six assists, a block with three turnovers.I’m shooting better, with FG% of 52% against Philly and 56% against GS. Oh, and I had a great hustle play.

Hustle! Move it, ref! Dumb ass.

As far as our record goes, we’re 11-3 in the last month and 7th in the East. Onwards, to the playoffs!

- Rick Daniel

Good, Bad and Ugly

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Two more games in the books, and they were pretty different from one another. In the first, we beat the 76ers by 8 and I scored 15 points and shot 54% from the field.. In game two, I had just four points on 2-6 shooting as we just barely squeaked by the Pistons. We were down 1 point with under eight seconds to go and I caught an inbounds pass in the corner. I drew a double team and passed to Marcin Gortat who promptly missed a layup. Fortunately, Dwight Howard was there to slam home the miss, putting us up by one. On the final possession  of the game, Gortat made up for his miss by swatting a Charlie Villanueva three away and grabbing the loose ball. Game over.

I was completely out of sync the second game. I could not get to the rim and was unable to get my teammates in a position to score. That was frustrating.

- Rick Daniel

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