After recovering from a weird and wonderful night spent talking and dancing with strangers with moustaches at the Movember Melbourne Gala Party, my life returned to a little normalcy today (although seeing the guy with assless chaps win Man of Movember may scar me for a few more weeks). Here’s a look around the L.

Bogut Watch: The Bogey man celebrated his birthday on the 29th November – HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOGUT! Unfortunately he’s had some knee troubles and has missed the Bucks last couple of games (which they lost). But word from the man himself is that things are going well, this from his blog: “my knee is getting better already and I’m hoping I’ll be back sooner than later. I’m taking it day by day at the moment, and am slowly doing more and more.” It’s clear as day the Bucks miss him – proof of this is that Zydrunas Ilgauskas (also known as Grandpa Ilgauskas) went for 23 points and 17 rebounds today. 17 rebounds! This guy can’t touch the backboard anymore and you’re giving him 17 rebounds. COME BACK BOGUT!

In other Bucks-related news, Charlie Villanueva is the NBA’s worst inside player.

Patty Mills continues to rip it up for St Mary scoring 21 points in a win over Cal State Fullerton. This is after recently being named Player of the Week in his conference. The Gaels are now 4-1 in the WCC. As always, head over to Aussie Hoops America for the latest updates on how our Aussie men and women are doing over in the US.

I watched the Lakers v Mavs yesterday and witnessed enough to make me think this Lakers team will win 70 games. But I do want to make one point amongst the Lakers lovefest that is enveloping the league: their defense probably seems better than it really is. Last week I posted the Lakers defensive numbers, and while they seem impressive, watching them today I realised that they’re still pretty soft. Don’t get me wrong, they’re a very smart defensive team and they’re defending with a lot more energy this season, but underneath all that I think they’re still pretty soft. Why? Well, I saw the Pistons (and Kwame Brown) bully them into submission two weeks ago, and I saw it against the Mavs when the 5-foot tall Jose Barea (some Puerto Rican guy) abused the Lakers defense and penetrated at will. It was alarming to see just how many open threes Kidd and Terry were given in this game – I counted at least six. Basically I think the Lakers are just too good offensively – they score points so easily and have too much fun doing it – that they won’t and can’t care about defense enough. Not to take anything away from their start to the season which hasn’t just been impressive, it’s been historic.

I could not believe my eyes when I read news that Allen Iverson missed practice. As a Detroit fan there couldn’t be a more nightmarish scenario than have AI do something like this so soon in his Detroit career. Iverson has since apologized and it’s all water under the bridge now, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me. With a new point guard on board and a couple of recent bad losses, there’s NEVER been a more important time for the Pistons to practice and for AI to learn the new system. If AI doesn’t see that then there’s something wrong with him.

The Grizzlies lost to the Thunder and 3 Shades of Blue is really pissed.

Amare Stoudemire sounds a bit unhappy with Suns “system”, which at first I thought was ridiculous because Amare is the star of that system and the Suns have been travelling OK. But looking at things in a little more detail it appears Amare might have a legitimate gripe – he should be taking more shots. Here’s a list of the leading 15 scorers in the league and their average number of shot attempts in a game.

#    Player                 PPG    Avg. Shots
1    D. Wade, MIA    28.4    20.2
2    C. Bosh, TOR    27.7    17.9
3    L. James, CLE    27.6    19.4
4    K. Bryant, LAL    24.5    19.9
5    D. Nowitzki, DAL    24.3    19.1
6    D. Granger, IND    24    17.7
7    V. Carter, NJN    23.6    17.5
8    J. Johnson, ATL    23    18.3
9    D. Harris, NJN    22.5    14.3
10    A. Jefferson, MIN    22.5    18.6
11    K. Durant, OKC    21.8    18.2
12    A. Stoudemire, PHO    21.7    13.1
13    C. Butler, WAS    21.7    16.5
14    O. Mayo, MEM    21.4    17.5
15    S. Jackson, GSW    21.4    17.9

Notice Amare at #12 with only 13.1 attempts per game, the next least is Devin Harris with 14.3 and everyone else is averaging 16-20 shots. This tells me two things: 1) Amare has done damn well to be averaging 21.7ppg only taking that many shots, and 2) There’s no reason he should be taking less shots than say Bosh or Dirk or Durant. It’s not like the Suns have the multi-pronged offense they did two years ago. Giving Amare another 4-5 shots per game isn’t going to disrupt anything. Last game Barbosa and Bell had 33 shot attempts combined and Amare only had 10 – that should not be happening.

Amare’s discontent combined with the embarrassing loss to the Heat has a lot of Suns fans talking doom and gloom- Bright Side of the Sun asks are Suns fans giving up already?

Charles Barkley tells Lebron to “shut the hell up”, Lebron calls him “stupid”, and the boys at HP respond appropriately.

I haven’t talked much about Ray Allen this season, which is partly due to Ray starting slow and partly due to my Ray-obsessed housemate being distracted with non-Ray things. But we have to give props to Ray for his recent play – he’s averaged 19.0 points over his last five games on a ridiculous 59% field goal percentage including a three-game stretch where he hit 13-19 three pointers. Allen’s recent surge in production means he is now only 425 threes away from passing Reggie Miller at #1 on the All-Time list. This, my housemate maintains, is all Ray Allen cares about these days. Does Ray actually have a shot of passing Reggie? Let’s break it down.

Ray made 180 threes last season, and due to the natural human aging process you’d expect that to drop consistently for the remainder of his career. This season he’s on track to hit about 160 which would give him a total of 2265 threes – still 295 threes short of Reggie. Conveniently for Ray 295 threes is probably achievable in two seasons, and it’s certainly not a stretch to imagine Ray playing at least another two years. It all comes down to how these Celtics travel the next two seasons – perhaps they’ll win another title and KG, Pierce and Ray will all retire? Perhaps they’ll get hit by injury and fade away slowly like the original Big Three in the late eighties? Either way, they’ll need to stay together another two seasons if Ray wants to claim that #1 spot and for my housemate to celebrate what would be “the greatest day of his life”.



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