Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Player of the Night

This is a new running segment where a player is highlighted for his play from the previous night. Simple concept. For the first time, here are two guys who were key on a slow Monday night:

- UConn's Hasheem Thabeet had a good night last night. He finished with 14 points (5-7 FG), 11 rebounds, 4 blocks and 2 steals. But even more important than the numbers were two other things. One he was crucial in stopping Louisville Samardo Samuels and Earl Clark. Both like to operate around the basket and his length and shot blocking skills put kibosh on that.
Secondly, he finally showed up in a game that mattered. Thabeet has had a history of shrinking in big games. Against Gonzaga he fouled out in 19 minutes. Against Villanova he only played 17. But he has been playing much better lately when it counted, including a combined 12 blocks against Georgetown and ND. So it was important for UConn last night that he played all but one minute and was a force.

- This one is a little more low key. Green Bay's Ryan Tillema led his Pheonix to an upset over No. 11 Butler. He finished with 21 points off the bench in only 29 minutes including 10-12 from the FT line. Throw in 6 boards and 2 blocks and Tillema probably had a good night out on the town last night in Cheesehead country.

- Kobe Bryant, Special NBA edition. I had to throw this one in. I was at MSG last night to see him score 61 points and break two very important records. He topped Jordan's record for most points by a visitor, which was the famous "Double Nickel" game in 1995. He also broke Bernard King's MSG record of 60 points, which he set on Christmas Day in 1984. Bryant was unstoppable last night, granted the Knicks are to defense what kids are to vegetables. But I don't think it would have mattered who he faced last night, he had the look in his eyes. Now to see if LeBron can top it Wednesday.

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