By Holly MacKenzie
Another full schedule in the NBA last night. Ben Collins was at the Boston/Denver game, so be sure to check out his game notes because they are pretty awesome and definitely funnier than anything I could write from looking at highlights. Obviously, the biggest story to me last night was Amare sitting out yet again for Phoenix. As each missed game goes on I get more nervous, but hopefully it is just a matter of needing time to get rid of the swelling and heal the knee totally and nothing more serious. In the meantime, Amare’s importance is being magnified play by play for Phoenix. Orlando is continuing to play well and I really like how Rashard Lewis is fitting in down there. Chris Kaman got a haircut and has a great start to the season. Clipper fans have got to love that. LeBron was just amazing again last night and I am impressed with how the Cavs have played in these past two games without Hughes, Marshall and Snow. It was another tough loss for Seattle and this time Durant’s frustrations really came out, especially as he was helpless from the floor for most of the game, shooting only 3-17 on the night. I didn’t get to see any of the SA/Miami game but it is good to hear that Wade was out shooting before the game and is closer and closer to returning. I’ve got to say I can’t wait to get myself to Boston to watch KG do his thing with Allen and Pierce, even in a blowout it will be so satisfiying for me to see KG get what he deserves. Bargnani is jacking for Toronto and Garbo still isn’t getting any time. It will be interesting to see how the Raptors chemistry is once we get a few months into the season. And now for tonight’s schedule, its Dallas in Golden State. I wonder how many fans will pull their yellow shirts out and slip them on for the rematch? Also, one of the scariest things I have seen lately is Dirk Nowitzki doing the “Gentleman, start your engines” thing at a Nascar event. Saw that on BDSSP last night and I can’t get his voice out of my head. Okay, onto the recapping.
Orlando 105 Toronto 96
With each team having played the night before, Toronto dropped its second game on the road to Orlando while the Magic continued to win, sending the Raptors on their way with a 105-96 loss. For the game, Orlando led by 8 after the 1st quarter and then 52-47 at the half. They kept their lead going into the 4th, but the Raptors continued to fight back and they took their first lead of the game with 3:56 left. After going up 92-91, the Raptors were helpless in stopping the Magic from going on an 8-0 run to regain the lead and hold on to take the victory. Jameer Nelson was back for the Magic after missing the game last night due to a concussion. It was Nelson who was instrumental in that 8-0 run, hitting a three and a lay up to save Orlando. All of the Magic starters finished in double-figures with both Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis posting 24 points. Turkoglu also nabbed a career-high 15 rebounds. Dwight Howard and Keith Bogans each scored 17 with Bogans adding 11 rebounds as well. Nelson finished with 10 points and 7 boards, six of those points coming during that all-important run to take the lead. For Toronto, Chris Bosh rebounded from a scoreless night from the floor in Milwaukee to score 26 points (including going 14-14 from the ft line), and grab 10 boards, Andrea Bargnani had 16 while Juan Dixon and TJ Ford each scored 12.
LA Clippers 104 Indiana 89
After averaging 109 ppg in their first three victories, the Indiana Pacers shooting went cold in their game against the Clippers and it was LA who was able to escape the game with their winning record unscathed, defeating the Pacers 104-89. While the teams switched leads in the first half, things remained close in the 3rd until the Clippers went on a 14-0 run that saw them go into the fourth up 87-72. For the rest of the 4th the Pacers did not get any closer than 11 points as the Clippers answered every attempt at a run and led by as many as 21 for stretches in the 4th. Indiana shot only 10-37 in the second half, losing their shooting touch for the first time this season. Sam Cassell had a great game for the Clippers, scoring 35 points and dishing 8 assists. LA also got 15 points and 22 huge rebounds from Chris Kaman as they outrebounded Indiana 53-40. Corey Maggette had 18 and Tim Thomas added 15. LA lost Cuttino Mobley in the 1st quarter to a pulled groin. For the Pacers, Danny Granger had 16 points, Mike Dunleavy scored 15 and had 8 rebounds and Jermaine Oneal added 13 in the loss.
Philadelphia 94 Charlotte 63
The Bobcats got blown out at home by Phoenix on Tuesday and endured the same fate last night in Philadelphia. Philly took control from the opening tip until the final buzzer and ended the game with a 94-63 victory. The Bobcats were without point guard Raymond Felton who injured his knee in Tuesday night’s contest versus Phoenix. Without him, their offense fell apart as Charlotte finished with only 16 team assists and 26 turnovers. Jeff McInnis started in place of Felton, but he finished 1-6 from the floor with only 2 assists and 5 turnovers. For the game Charlotte shot only 30.7% as compared to Philadelphia’s 34.8%. The Bobcats were also 0-13 from the three-point line in the contest. In the win, Philly was lead by Andre Iguodala and his 19-point effort while Samuel Dalembert had 9 points and 13 boards. In the loss for Charlotte, Matt Carroll had 16 points and Emeka Okafor had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Atlanta 105 Phoenix 96
After getting their offense on point in a victory over Charlotte Tuesday night, the Phoenix Suns ran into Atlanta and Atlanta’s athleticism ran the Suns out of town,105-96. The Hawks played a great game throughout, getting key contributions all over the board as they came up strong in the 4th, outscoring the Suns by 5 and ensuring there was no repeat of their 2 losses this season, which were games that were close the entire way through with the young Hawks unable to pull out the stops when it mattered. In the game last night there was no shortage of people to step up for Atlanta. Marvin Williams had a huge game for the Hawks, scoring 18 points and hauling down 12 rebounds. Of those 18 points none were bigger than when he responded to a Steve Nash lay up with 4:45 remaining in the game by knocking down back-to-back jumpers at the top of the key to stretch the Hawks lead. In the final minutes of the game, Josh Smith was the one grabbing key offensive rebounds and completing a three-point play. Smith finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds. After the made free-throw by Smith, Atlanta was up by ten, 99-89, and they managed to stay in control for the 1:47 remaining on the clock. The Hawks finished the game outrebounding the Suns 56-40, due in large part to Amare Stoudemire’s absence as he missed his 3rd consecutive game with a sore knee. Nash did everything he could for the Suns, scoring 34 points and dishing 11 assists, but it was not enough to overcome the Hawks and their four players who recorded double-doubles. Joe Johnson had 15 points and 10 assists and Josh Childress had 19 and 10 as rookie Al Horford pulled down a career-high 15 boards. Shawn Marion had 20 points and 14 rebounds for the Suns, Grant Hill had 13 points and 9 boards and Leandro Barbosa finished with 12 in the loss.
San Antonio 88 Miami 78
After being handed their first loss of the season in their last game, the Spurs made sure they got back on track with their winning ways as they downed the winless Heat 88-78 last night. After keeping things close in the first half, the Spurs led by one at the break, 39-38. Once the third quarter got underway, so did the Spurs as Manu Ginobili took over leading San Antonio in a 10-2 run to extend the lead. Ginobili scored 12 points in the 3rd and the Spurs opened the 4th up 65-48. In the opening minutes of the final quarter, the Spurs went on another 10-2 run and were up 15 points at the end of it, where they went on to claim their 4th victory. In the win, Ginobili finished with 25 points to lead the Spurs as Tony Parker had 22 points and 8 assists while Tim Duncan added 12 points and 8 rebounds. The Heat were led by Shaquille O’Neal in the loss, with O’Neal posting 17 points, but grabbing only 3 rebounds. Ricky Davis had 14 points and Udonis Haslem had a double-double with 10 points and 9 rebounds.
Memphis 105 Seattle 98
The Seattle Supersonics were up by 14 points in their game against Memphis last night. They had been in this position before and just as they had done previously, they gave up the lead and surrendered the win, winding up with an 0-5 start to their season as they allowed Memphis to notch their first victory. While the Sonics led going into the 2nd half, midway through the 3rd the Grizzlies went on a 23-8 run to take control of the game and went into the 4th quarter up 87-81. Seattle continued to rally against the lead and cut it to 100-98 after rookie Kevin Durant hit two free throws with 2:14 remaining on the clock. Seattle did not score again in the game while Kyle Lowry grabbed his own offensive board and knocked down a huge three-pointer with 11.4 seconds remaining, sealing the victory for Memphis. It was Rudy Gay who led the way for Memphis with 25 points and 10 rebounds and played some defense on Durant that stumped him, holding the rookie to 17 points on 3-17 shooting. Mike Miller had 20 points for Memphis, Darko Milicic had 15 points and 10 boards and Pau Gasol added 11 points and 10 rebounds. On the losing side of things, Chris Wilcox had 21 points and 8 boards while Damien Wilkins tallied 18 points. Memphis was 10-25 from the three-point line while Seattle went 3-12. Seattle was without Kurt Thomas again who has yet to play this season after suffering a hamstring injury.
Portland 93 New Orleans 90
While the Hornets set franchise records in their win against the Lakers Tuesday night, it was a whole different ball game against the Trailblazers, who were able to avenge a loss to New Orleans last week and also notch their first victory of the season by defeating the Hornets 93-90 in their home opener. While the Hornets led 49-44 at the half, the Blazers broke out an 18-5 run to start the 3rd quarter and take a 72-60 lead. The Hornets Tyson Chandler was ejected from the game shortly after the run for elbowing Martell Webster. Coach Nate MacMillan gave Jarett Jack’s starting spot to Steve Blake in an attempt to get a spark off the bench in Jack and the move worked as Jack finished with 20 points, scoring 9 of them in the 4th quarter. Webster also scored 20 for the Blazers who got a 12 point, 8 rebound effort from LaMarcus Aldridge while Brandon Roy added 17 points and 7 assists. David West exploded for 34 points and 18 boards in the loss for New Orleans while Chris Paul had another strong night of 18 points and 12 assists. Tyson Chandler had 11 points and 8 rebounds before his ejection in the 3rd and Peja Stojakovic came off of a night where he was 10-13 from the three-point line against the Lakers to score only 5 points and finish 2-13 from the floor.
Utah 103 Cleveland 101
After a big win in Golden State on Tuesday night, the Cavs were hoping for another in Utah. With a triple-double from LeBron James they almost pulled it off, but Deron Williams stole the spotlight at the end of the game as he surprised the Cavs, speeding up the court for the game winning lay in with 1.3 seconds remaining in the game. While the Jazz were up by as many as 9 throughout the game, the Cavaliers hung on and were right there at the end where LeBron took over getting the 6th foul on Milsap, scoring a lay up but missing the ensuing free throw. Cleveland got a break as the offensive board went to Zydrunas Ilgauskas and the Cavs called for time with 17 seconds on the clock, down by three, 99-96. Out of the timeout, James went in for the lay up rather than a game tying three and Cleveland was in a position where they needed to foul. Ronnie Brewer was the guy who was put on the line and he was solid for the Jazz, extending the lead back to three, 101-98 with 9 seconds remaining. Of course, the final shot went to James who drilled a three-pointer to tie the game at 101. While Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan says he tried to call a timeout, and the entire Cleveland team expected the Jazz to do so, Deron Williams pushed the ball up the floor and scored on a lay up giving Utah the 103-101 victory. Williams finished with 15 points and 12 assists (also 8 turnovers), Paul Millsap had 24 points and Carlos Boozer continued his strong play with 23 points and 12 rebounds. LeBron finished with his 11th career triple-double going for 32 points, 15 boards and 13 assists. He also had 3 steals and 2 blocks in the loss. Ilgauskas had a double-double with 18 points and 14 boards and Sasha Pavlovic added 17 for the Cavs who were playing without Eric Snow, Donyell Marshall and Larry Hughes for the 2nd straight game.