by Adam Figman | @afigman
The streaking Sixers continued their streaking ways, easily taking down the Clips at home after delivering the knock-out punch during a 34-18 scoring advantage in the third quarter. Jrue Holiday, by far the most impressive Philly player during this stretch (the team’s won seven of nine now), led them with 24, while Spencer Hawes had another great night (I know!) with 16 points and 14 boards. Blake Griffin (20 points, 18 rebounds) was a force, but, you know. Free Blake.
Wow. Just, wow. After the Knicks led (mostly by single digits) for almost the entire game, the two teams traded buckets and shit talk in the final few minutes of the fourth quarter. A huge Ray Allen three-pointer gave the Celts their first lead since they were up 7-5, but a goofy Danilo Gallinari and-1 tied it up. Of course, as he loves to do, Paul Pierce put on his assassin mask and went to work, drilling an elbow J over Amar’e Stoudemire (more on him in a sec) to put the C’s up two with only 0.4 seconds remaining. STAT found himself open at the top of the key during the in-bounds play, and proceeded to hit a pretty three-pointer FOR THE WIN! But no. The ball clearly left his hand after the red light went off, and it was negated.
Still though, this one will go a long way in legitimizing the Knicks’ recent success, as a last-second loss to Boston is nothing to complain about. Stoudemire was brilliant, hitting 39 points by dominating the post and drilling a barrage of mid-range J’s at will. With everything going on, it was hard to notice that Pierce was having a pretty incredible game as well, as he went for 32 points and 10 boards. Multiple Celtics also put up strong efforts: Rajon Rondo (who was hobbled by an ankle injury late) dished 14 assists; Allen scored 26; and Kevin Garnett had a 20 and 13 line to go along with a whole bunch of intensity. Next up during the Knicks’ dream (err, nightmare?) week is a matchup with the Heat Friday night at MSG. If you like watching basketball, you should probably check that out.
The good: The Bulls won, easily, and by a lot, and they’re playing great ball. They’ve won seven in a row, and Carlos Boozer (34 points, 12 rebounds) is beasting away. Derrick Rose (only 6 points and 11 dimes, but in only 29 minutes) is getting increasingly comfortable, and Luol Deng (19 points) is hitting a nice rhythm.
The bad: It was reported last night that Joakim Noah (11 points, 11 rebounds) will be having surgery on his right thumb, and could miss up to 10 weeks. This means the Bulls just got a lot weaker defensively, lost a huge source of energy, and won’t be able to fully develop their on-court chemistry until a number of weeks from now. Unfortunate news, all around.
LeBron against his former homies, part two. This time, there was no joking or joking-masked-as-trash-talk going on, as both teams meant business. The Cavs meant a little more business than last time, but the Heat still have all those good players, so they were able to get by. It was only a one-point game going into the final quarter, but a few big hoops and some important stops down the stretch was the difference. Dwyane Wade led his crew with 28 points, while Bron scored 21 and collected 13 rebounds. LBJ’s old bud Boobie Gibson scored an impressive 26 in the loss.
Pau Gasol scored 14 points in the first six and a half minutes. The Lakers outscored the Pacers 36-22 in the first quarter. They went on to outscore them 59-37 in the first half. In other words, this one was over nice and quick. Kobe went for 31 off 11-18 shooting, while Lamar Odom scored 13 and grabbed 17. L.A.’s road trip continues tomorrow night in Philly.
The Thunder shot 57.7 percent from the field. When a high-octane team like Oklahoma City shoots 57.7 percent, they’re probably going to get a W. And so it was. Houston’s been playing well, but couldn’t keep up with Kevin Durant (32 points) and Jeff Green (21 points) last night. The Thunder have won four straight, and chances are they’ll keep that flowing tomorrow night against Sacramento.
The Bobcats are generally known for hard-nosed defense, and when they lose their defensive focus, they lose games. Like this one. The Grizz walked all over the ‘Cats in the second quarter, outscoring them 35-16 en route to an easy victory. OJ Mayo, Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay combined for 66 points, and some solid bench assistance was the icing on the cake. Gerald Wallace’s (out with a sprained ankle) absence was felt, to say the least.
Down 23 points in the third, Chris Paul and the Hornets decided they were tired of the losing thing, and spent the rest of the game storming forward. They finally did caught up in the fourth, jumping ahead with a few minutes to go and not looking back. CP3 had 22 points and 11 dimes, while Marcus Thornton stepped up and scored 19 in the W. As we’ve seen numerous times this season (Knicks, Heat), sometimes a couple of games against sub-par teams is all it takes to turn around some negative momentum, so maybe this’ll be the start of something bigger for the Bees. Stay tuned.
Manu Ginobili, ladies and gentleman. Talk about a comeback season. Not only did his stat line read 26, 6 and 4 (on 9-13 shooting), dude drilled a very contested jumper at the buzzer to give the Spurs their sixth straight win. San Antonio continues to sit atop the NBA, now with a 21-3 record, its best in franchise history. Video of Manu’s heroics below.
Fifteen threes. 128 points. Phoenix Suns basketball, folks. Of course, they gave up 122, but that’s usually how it goes. Jason Richardson scored 29, as his team ended its three-game losing streak and sent the TWolves packing. Also, Steve Nash: 11 points, 19 assists. Kevin Love (23 points, 16 boards) put up another incredible line, but Minny had no answer for Phoenix’s barrage of offensive firepower.
After having their win streak put to an abrupt end against a scrappy Milwaukee group, the Mavs rebounded against the Blazers last night. Dallas shot 53.4 percent, and though the Blazers played well, some clutch play down the stretch—including a vital Dirk Nowitzki jumper—was the difference. Even though he played, Brandon Roy is looking decreasingly healthy, and he sat out some important minutes while guys like Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum saw time.
Actual STATS: (I know, so clever.) Amar’e Stoudemire: 39 points, 10 boards, 3 blocks, 1 steal.
Moment of the Night: There were two. First, Manu takes no prisoners:
And, of course: The Truth shines under MSG’s bright lights, followed by STAT’s negated game-winner: