Dwight Howard, LA Lakers at Orlando, March 12: 38 minutes, 7-13 FGs, 25-39 FTs, 16 rebounds, two assists, one steal, three blocks, zero turnovers, 39 points in a 106-97 win. Subjected to “Hack-a-Howard” in his return to the Magic Kingdom, the big guy made Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn pay. After making just two of his first nine free throws, he sank 23-of-30 for a .767 percentage, nearly 300 points higher than his season mark. He also dominated the defensive backboard and had an obscene 3.0 points per shot, all in a hostile environment.
Carmelo Anthony, New York at Miami, April 2: 40 minutes, 18-26 FGs, 7-10 3-pointers, 7-8 FTs, two rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block, zero turnovers, 50 points in a 102-90 win. Anthony got to 50 without a single point in the paint; every one of his shots came from at least 15 feet. In a bizarre spin on the trillion watch, he had 37 points before notching a rebound, assist, steal or block. Afterward, Miami’s Shane Battier noted, “It’s an inopportune time to announce my candidacy for defensive player of the year.”
WORST LINES OF THE SEASON: Bad players having bad games isn’t enough to earn a mention here. Yes, Jan Vesely and Bismack Biyombo were awful enough to receive one weekly “honor.” But the truth is they are so consistently bad that I could probably feature them every other week.
Also, players who have bad games when their teams win are fully exempt. For example, Evan Turner’s 0-of-11 in Philly’s win at Washington last Friday wasn’t even under consideration. Hey, my column, my rules.
Instead, what I look for is really good players having bad games that impacted the outcome, and there was no shortage of those. Six All-Stars received weekly worst honors, including Anthony, Dwight Howard and Paul George, who were joined by Nicolas Batum as players who managed to make the best and worst list at least once during the season.
Two players graced the worst list twice, and both did it in consecutive weeks – Denver’s Andre Iguodala and Philadelphia’s Jrue Holiday, both of whom apparently had trouble shaking a slump.
Here’s the worst of the worst.
Jason Terry, Boston vs. Milwaukee, Dec. 21: 32 minutes, 1-15 FGs, 1-9 FTs, 1-1 FTs, one assist, four points in a 99-94 overtime loss. No rebounds, blocks or steals – or even fouls or turnovers – for “The Jet,” who did nothing but shoot and shoot poorly.
Andre Iguodala, Denver at Atlanta, Dec. 5: 38 minutes, 2-10 FGs, 1-4 3-pointers, 0-1 FTs, four rebounds, four assists, one steal, seven turnovers, five points in a 108-104 loss. Dre matched a season low in shooting percentage and established a season high for turnovers.
Blake Griffin, LA Clippers vs. New Orleans, Nov. 26: 25 minutes, 1-9 FGs, 0-1 3-pointers, 2-3 FTs, six rebounds, three assists, one steal, four turnovers, six fouls, four points in a 105-98 loss. It was the worst game of Griffin’s career, featuring his all-time low in points, a refusal to step out and prevent Ryan Anderson from raining 3-pointers and a Dairy Queen exit.
Carmelo Anthony, New York vs. Boston, Jan. 7: 37 minutes, 6-26 FGs, 4-12 3-pointers, 4-7 FTs, three rebounds, five assists, one steal, two turnovers, five fouls, 20 points in a 102-96 loss. Season highs in missed shots and 3-pointers attempted, nearly a season low in rebounds, his fewest points since November, a technical foul and a foolish decision to continue a war of words with Kevin Garnett at the team bus, earning a one-game suspension. All in all, a night to forget.
Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia at Charlotte, April 3: 37 minutes, 2-24 FGs, 0-5 3-pointers, 1-1 FTs, six rebounds, eight assists, three steals, three turnovers, five points in an 88-83 loss. Holiday filled the rest of the boxscore but couldn’t throw it in the ocean. According to Elias, it was the most shots taken with just two baskets in NBA history. And it came in his first NBA game alongside his brother, Justin, who made it a family affair by shooting 1-of-5.
OUR TRIBUTE TO TRILLIONS: Eighteen players had a 5 trillion or more this season, and one – Oklahoma City Thunder rookie Perry Jones III – did it twice. Jones was one of five rookies who made the cut, and one of his classmates was the runaway winner.
What struck me was how many of the heroes of zeros were wing players, many of whom simply stand at the arc and wait for a pass that never comes. While that in itself isn’t surprising, it may be the future of the game.
Teams are relying on analytics more than ever, and what these numbers prove is that one of the most efficient shots is an open 3-pointer. Combine that with the trend toward small ball, and five years from now you may have teams shooting more threes than twos as a distinct game plan.
While that will keep our eye sharp in search of trillions, three guys standing on the arc waiting to hoist a 3-pointer will be a nightmare for a league very concerned with its perception.
Here is everyone who had a 5 trillion or more this season.
|PLAYER, TEAM||OPPONENT||DATE||BOX LINE|
|Will Barton, Portland||vs. Washington||January 21||11 trillion|
|Matt Bonner, San Antonio||at New Orleans||January 7||8 trillion|
|Josh Childress, Brooklyn||vs. Boston||November 15||8 trillion|
|Julyan Stone, Denver||at Oklahoma City||January 16||6 trillion|
|Gerald Wallace, Brooklyn||vs. Phoenix||January 11||6 trillion|
|Grant Hill, LA Clippers||at Dallas||March 26||6 trillion|
|Doron Lamb, Orlando||at Charlotte||March 27||6 trillion|
|Perry Jones III, Oklahoma City||vs. Detroit||November 10||5 trillion|
|Richard Jefferson, Golden State||vs. New Orleans||December 18||5 trillion|
|DeMarre Carroll, Utah||at Orlando||December 23||5 trillion|
|Daequan Cook, Chicago||vs. Memphis||January 19||5 trillion|
|Jeff Pendergraph, Indiana||at Utah||January 26||5 trillion|
|Perry Jones III, Oklahoma City||at Cleveland||February 2||5 trillion|
|Lance Thomas, New Orleans||vs. Brooklyn||February 26||5 trillion|
|Kenyon Martin, New York||vs. Golden State||February 27||5 trillion|
|Ekpe Udoh, Milwaukee||at Houston||February 27||5 trillion|
|Terrence Ross, Toronto||at Milwaukee||March 2||5 trillion|
|Sam Young, Indiana||vs. Chicago||March 3||5 trillion|
|Slava Kravtsov, Detroit||at Utah||March 11||5 trillion|
Thanks to our readers. Enjoy the playoffs.
Chris Bernucca is the deputy editor of SheridanHoops.com. His columns appear Monday during the season. You can follow him on Twitter.