R. Daniel – 2009/10

Take the First Train Out of LA…

Not allot good happened in the last two games of my rookie campaign. We lost by 26 points to the Dallas Mavericks and got walloped by the Lakers by 20. The good news is, I took the first ticket out of LA and I’m now a member of the Orlando Magic (the Rockets, Grizzlies and Clippers were my other suitors).

Oh, as for the NBA Finals, the Spurs beat the Knicks in seven games. I knew you were wondering. Yes, the Knicks made the NBA Finals, besting the Cavs and Hawks in the process. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m in some whacko fantasy video game world or something.

- Rick Daniel

Downed by Golden State

RDaniel_DrivingOnGS

I’m down to my last three games of my rookie season. Game #1 of 3: home for Golden State. Long story short: we lost. Short story slightly longer: I played decent, but my long-range shooting touch was again absent and I hit only 1 of 5 on triple tries. I had 12 points (mostly on drives to the hoop past Monte Ellis), six assists, two steals and a block. Yes, I blocked a shot. Stop acting so surprised. In any case, it was a back-and-forth one point game most of the night until we screwed it all up in the last minute. Sometimes I hate my teammates.

Oh, and the last game was a  near win over Sacramento but I’m so bummed over this loss that I’m not going to regale you in my tales of success. Later.

RDaniel_ShootingTheKings-  Rick Daniel

Bucked Again

RDaniel_AttackBucks RDaniel_OverBJ

We could have won. We should have won. We didn’t win; we lost. Damn Bucks.

The Bucks took us two double overtime, both regulation and the first OT ending on a shot by Milwaukee to tie the game. Neither time was it my man who shot it, so I’m not entirely to blame. I blame Baron Davis. He missed game winning, three point buzzer beaters at the end of the 4th quarter AND both OTs. I didn’t get a chance to take the shot, and I was having a great game. I scored 14 points and had 8 assists, 3 rebounds and a steal. Davis 5-13 this game, and was 0-5 from three. Here’s a hint, Baron: Stop shooting threes!

Not our day, it seems.

- Rick Daniel

One Win, One Loss; Two Too Similar Games

RDaniel_OertheShoulder

RDaniel-WTFRockets It was truly a tale of two games. We played the Rockets recently, and blew them out of the building, 73-51. Our defense was stout and we were hitting our shots. Well, most of us were. I only had seven points on 2-6 shooting, but I had four assists. Blake Griffin and I wore out the high pick and roll against Houston, using it to perfection. I netting three steals to help cement our defensive stamp on the game.

The game was fun to play, and even the Rockets’ mascot seemed overwhelmed (see left).

Oh, and I trimmed my hair down. I wanted a sleeker look, and I wanted to hopefully break my bad luck by trimming my hair. Did it help? Well, we won, but I didn’t play so great myself.

The next game, though, was karmatic retribution.

 

RDaniel-ControltheGameRDaniel-BurntWarriors Holy crap, did we fall apart against Golden State. I was scoreless myself, missing all seven of my shots. We ended up losing by 22 (54-32), which matched our win differential against Houston.

I was pretty much useless this game. Dishing out my usual four assists doesn’t make me feel any better. My man lit me up, Mo Williams-style.

Frustration is setting in, but in reality, we’ve never been in a position to make a run at the post season, so I just need to keep playing hard to try and net a job next season.

I’m wondering if I’m going to stick on the Clippers first, though. They almost seem better without me. Seriously, they play better with me on the bench, and I can’t hit a shot anymore to save my life.

Maybe next year, I’ll be on a winner. Or maybe I’ll be back in Reno. We’ll see.

- Rick Daniel

Still Losing in L.A.

NBA10_RDanielS1k - DrivingHalfCourt

NBA10_RDanielS1k - ShootOerKid Two more games, two more losses. We played the Kings the other day and I was having a decent game at halftime, netting the Player of the Half award. The second half was just mediocre though. The big hit was that I hadn’t hit a jumpshot in over a week and I had to toss up a long three to tie the game at the buzzer (which, of course, I missed).

I didn’t hit a jumper until the next game against the Mavs. Sean couldn’t be there, I guess. He sent me the following text before the game.

- hey dude i can’t make the game. i can’t say why i just can’t be there. good luck dude. –

In any case,  I hit my first jump shot in over a week over Jason Kidd. We lost, though, after playing poorly the majority of the game.

I need to work on  my jumpshot, bad. I’m hurting the team if I can’t hit an open shot.

- Rick Daniel

Bucking the Bucks

NBA10_RDanielS1k - CrowdedJ

NBA10_RDanielS1k - GoBlakejpg Our most recent game in L.A. was against the Bucks. I went head to head with Brandon Jennings, but thankfully this B.J. isn’t as good as the ‘real-world’ Brandon Jennings. I didn’t play particularly great (6 points, 3 boards and 8 assists) but we won. The big difference here from the last few games is that Blake Griffin showed up. He was big and we won as he and I ran repeated pick-and-rolls down the stretch. My shooting percentage for the game was 28%, but more importantly, I hit two clutch free throws to ice the game in the waning seconds – my only freebies of the night.

I’m wondering if my transition to a passer from the scorer I tried to be when I got here is good or bad for the team. Our offense tends to be hugely disjointed, and I’m not sure if my willing ball distribution is helping or hurting. Should I be trying to score more? Probably not, with my shooting percentage plummeting.

- Rick Daniel

Bumming in Los Angeles

NBA10_RDanielS1k - UpStrongMy Clippers have lost again, this time to the New Orleans Hornets. We led by two after one, trailed by four at the half, and were losing by six to start the fourth quarter. I only had one basket in the first three quarters, but scored three times in the fourth to finish with eight points. Chris Paul lit me up for 12, but the big hurdle for us was our interior defense. Too many layups, too many dunks, and way, WAY too many alley-oops.

NBA10_RDanielS1k - FreakingD We gave up four alley-oop plays to the Bayou Bugs and completed none, screwing up the only one we tried. Blake Griffin played terrible, missing dunks and layups at the rim. This is getting frustrating, because after a good start here in L.A., I feel like they imported my team from Reno to replace our NBA talent. We’ve lost four straight now (I don’t post after every game, obviously), and my frustration is starting to show in my play. It’s really hard to win when your opponent shoots 80% from the field and you’re blowing easy baskets.

- Rick Daniel

Rick is Robbed

NBA10_RDanielS1k - RunningHeat

I just had a terrible game in Miami against the Heat. Ok, so I had six points and six assists. Maybe it wasn’t too terrible for a rookie point guard in his first week or so in the league, but it felt like someone kicked me in the gut. The worst part was at the end of the game, I took a three to tie, missed it, but Blake Griffin tipped the rebound to Eric Gordon who shot a prayer three that WENT IN! Wait – what’s this? No good?! WTF??? The game was ‘decided’ as over as the ball went airborne, and there’s no last-second replay in this league for some reason to see if the shot was actually taken before the buzzer sounded (I’d swear it was, and I was right there). So, it wasn’t so much my play that made me feel sick, but getting cheated at the end of regulation.

- Rick Daniel

Out of my Way

NBA10_RDanielS1k - ClearoutJazz

In my latest match, this time in Utah against the Jazz, saw me get a little cocky. I called for a series of clear outs against Deron Williams, manufacturing points on most of them, be it on an assist or by making a shot for myself. As usual I got off to a slow start but picked it up in the second half, as did my whole team as we overcame an early deficit to win the game. I had 14 points, bringing my NBA scoring average to 12.8 ppg, compared to the 7.8 I was averaging in the D-League. I’m also averaging  the same number of assists per game (three), almost as many rebounds (1.2 here, 1.5 in the NBADL) and twice as many steals (1.0 compared to 0.5). I’d say I’m making a fairly smooth transition to the NBA game.

- Rick Daniel

Finally Losing in LA

NBA10_RDanielS1k - ShootinSuns

I just had my first loss as a Clipper, and it was frustrating. No one on my team could score, and more often then not we couldn’t make a stop against the Suns (who I actually started my career with in the Summer League, way back when). I even had a bad game for about two and a half quarters. In the last part of the third quarter through the end of the game, though, I scored 11 points and didn’t miss once. I effectively neutralized Steve Nash, scoring-wise (I scored 16 points to his 14), but his teammates were much more effective. Oddly, this was the first game in the NBA that I saw the strategy I saw so often in the NBADL – playing point guard but having the shooting guard defend me. I saw this allot in the D-League (when I wasn’t playing shooting guard myself),  and I like it. lol I can usually get around a shooting guard better then I can a point guard. The big difference in the end of this game and the start of it was that Nash went to the bench. His replacement, Goran Dragic, was much easier to defend and score on. By the time the Suns brought Nash back in, I was red hot and scored on him with equal ease. I ended the game with 16 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.

After the game, I checked my stats and found out that I’m second among rookies in points per game (behind Stephan Curry) and sixth in assists. I’m also second in field goal percentage, which was my biggest weakness in the D-League (I’m shooting nearly 60% from the field here as opposed to 28% in the NBADL). I’m looking good, I feel.

Oh, Sean asked me to share this pic with everyone. It’s from his latest game against the Rockets. His team lost, but this picture was priceless.

NBA10_SDavidS1c - AmongTheTimber – Rick Daniel

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