Friday, February 11, 2011

Afflalo's first buzzer beater (+ Bruins in NBA)

Arron Afflalo hit a game winning jumper at the buzzer over Shawn Marion to beat the Mavericks last night to complete an awesome 24 point effort.  Amazingly, he scored 19 of those 24 in the 4th quarter.  He said he had never hit a game-winner at the buzzer.

That shot definitely reminded me of the huge game-winning jumper he hit at usc in 2007 with 4 seconds left.  We won 65-64 that day in UCLA's first game at the Galen center.

 Arron will always have a special place in my heart (sniff) because he was Howland's first recruit, committing early his junior year - marking the beginning of a new, vastly superior era at UCLA.  Before he even stepped on campus, I had pieced together a amateur Afflalo slideshow, complete with Tesh's NBA on NBC theme.

Whenever I think of Howland's trademark defensive mentality that he's brought to UCLA, I think of Afflalo.  For 3 years, he prided himself on his defense and became one of the key reasons Howland's squads made those first two Final Fours.  At the end of his junior year, many UCLA fans gave him a hard time for not being able to deliver offensively in the Final Four, but we need to recognize his ginormous role in bringing UCLA back there in the first place.  I even won 2 bets (a couple rounds of golf) when Afflalo got drafted 1st round.  I figured the Pistons or Spurs could use a defensive minded, solid jump-shooting guard with great character.

Afflalo's having the best year of his career.  13.1 ppg, 3.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists.  He's started all 54 games, averaging 35.1 minutes a game, shooting career highs percentages - a ridiculous 51.1% on FG, almost 45% on 3s, 85% on FTs.  Couldn't be happier for him.

Bruins in the NBA:

There are 14 Bruins in the NBA, more than any other school.  The big story is obviously Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook's first All-Star awards this year for their unbelievable seasons.  They are averaging career highs in all major categories, as are Afflalo, Collison, Farmer and Holiday.  7 of the 14 Bruins are starting.  Here are all their stats.

Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City) 36.0 mpg, 22.5 ppg, 43.8% FG, 5.1 reb, 8.6 assists
Kevin Love (Minnesota) 36.8 mpg, 21.4 ppg, 47.1% FG, 15.6 reb, 2.5 assists

Other Starters:
Darren Collison (Indiana) 30.2 mpg, 13.8 ppg, 46.0% FG, 3.0 reb, 5.0 assists
Arron Afflalo (Denver) 35.1 mpg, 13.1 ppg, 51.1% FG, 3.9 reb, 2.4 assists
Baron Davis (LA Clippers) 28.9 mpg, 12.5 ppg, 41.9% FG, 2.8 reb, 7.1 assists
Jrue Holiday (Philadelphia) 34.8 mpg, 13.5 ppg, 43.2% FG, 3.9 reb, 6.4 assists
Trevor Ariza (New Orleans) 34.7 mpg, 11.1 ppg, 39.4% FG, 5.5 reb, 2.0 assists

Jordan Farmer (New Jersey) 24.4 mpg, 9.4 ppg, 38.3% FG, 2.2 reb, 4.5 assists
Matt Barnes (LA Lakers) 20.8 mpg, 7.4 ppg, 47.4% FG, 4.8 reb, 1.7 assists
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (Milwaukee) 24.6 mpg, 5.3 ppg, 45.9% FG, 5.2 reb, 0.8 assists
Ryan Hollins (Cleveland) 13.6 mpg, 4.4 ppg, 57.4% FG, 2.3 reb, 0.5 blocks
Earl Watson (Utah) 16.0 mpg, 3.5 ppg, 42.1% FG, 2.1 reb, 3.0 assists
Dan Gadzuric (Golden State) 10.6 mpg, 2.8 ppg, 42.0% FG, 3.1 reb, 0.6 blocks
Jason Kapono (Philadelphia) 5.2 mpg, 0.8 ppg, 27.3% FG, 0.5 reb, 0.1 assists

Lavin's got 7 guys (2 starters - Davis, Ariza), Howland's got 7 (5 starters), non-starters: Farmer, Mbah a Moute.

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