Posts Tagged ‘chauncey billups’

The American Point Guard Renaissance

For me, the American Point Guard Renaissance started on an otherwise uneventful night in Winston-Salem, N.C. in February 2004. In Wake Forest’s upset of Duke that night at Lawrence Joel Coliseum, highly touted freshman guard Chris Paul showed that he may not have been touted highly enough. Paul scored 19 second-half points and absolutely dissected the Blue Devils’ defense in as sterling a performance as a college point had displayed in years. I remember thinking that night how good it was to watch a real point guard—one who could dominate a game without dominating the ball—on the college stage.

The American Point Guard Renaissance is loosely defined as the return to form of, I think, the most important position in the game of basketball. Spearheaded by the continued brilliance of Jason Kidd and Steve Nash, some favorable rules changes on the perimeter, and a spate of young points like Paul, Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Brandon Jennings, and John Wall, the American Point Guard Renaissance is our best hope today to revive the quality of play in the NBA, which has been lagging for more than a decade.

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Aught Lang Syne: Top 10 Games — NBA

I’ll start with some brutal honesty: This was not a good decade for the NBA. It saw Michael Jordan in a Wizards uniform, severe conference imbalance, the collapse of the Knicks as a viable franchise, and more than its share of forgettable championships.

But this isn’t the time to dwell on that; this is the time to remember the best that the NBA had to offer in the aughts. The following are what I consider the 10 best games the NBA gave us this decade, with the caveat that I am a Nets fan, and so the team that has this season returned to its long-held status as the Eastern Conference’s answer to the Clippers is perhaps overrepresented. Before we get to the top 10–you want a criteria? Well, overtime helps, folks–the only Finals game to garner serious consideration was Game 5 of the 2005 Finals between San Antonio and Detroit, and the worst series of the decade was the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals, in which the Pistons and Pacers played six games without either team surpassing 85 points.

10. Game 3 of the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals: Boston Celtics 94, New Jersey Nets 90

A personal recollection: I was over the house of a Celtics fan. At halftime, with New Jersey up by 20, he turned the TV off and demanded we do something else. After I dominated him (NJ-Boston style) in basketball in the street, we went back inside to check the score. It was one of those TVs where you hear the sound well before the picture comes back, and I was immediately struck by how loud it was in Boston. Why is it this loud? Aren’t we killing them? Boston was already back within a half-dozen, and Byron Scott was in the midst of one of the worst coaching jobs ever with his inexperienced team (seriously, Scott pulled the whole “I’m gonna call timeout and stay outside of the huddle while you guys realize what you’re doing wrong” in A PLAYOFF GAME! WITH HIS TEAM COLLAPSING!) A Paul Pierce Parade to the free-throw line helped the Celtics outscore New Jersey 41-16 for the largest fourth-quarter comeback in NBA playoff history and a 2-1 series lead. My Nets would get the last laugh, winning the next three to advance to the Finals.

Note: This was also the game that propelled Mike Breen to NBA announcing stardom.

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