I was fully prepared to run a “We’re going streaking!” headline, along with some questionable Spurs images. The dream was not to be, as the Mavs broke San Antonio’s 12-game winning streak, thanks to Dirk Nowitzki’s 26 points as well as Tyson Chandler’s 19 points (13 of 16 FT) and 8 rebounds. Manu Ginobili had 31 points but Dallas poured on 32 4th quarter points, capped by a 14-2 run that put the game to bed. It seems that every member of Team USA’s “B-Team” is playing exceptionally well across the board which is great to see. In fact, Jason Terry was very impressed by Chandler’s free throw shooting, saying “We know who’s shooting our technical free throws from now on!” as he headed off to the tunnel. The Mavs take on the Heat tonight.
Without Derrick Rose, the Bulls had a long night ahead of them as they took on the Nuggets. Without their best player, C.J. Watson broke out with 33 points and kept his team in it the entire game. After a few rumors of blowouts with double digit leads, the Bulls clawed their way back with 6:05 to go on a Korver three-pointer. The Nuggets answered with an array of layups before Watson scored 6 straight points to turn it to a 97-94 game. Some Melo free throws later, the lead was cut to one. Anthony had a poor shooting night, going 7-of-18 with 22 points. Fast-forwarding the part where a new Bulls guard missed both free throws, Melo missed a shot in traffic as it rolled off the Bulls. He had one more chance. With 4 seconds to play, Melo gets the inbound pass, a short dribble and a long jumper to sink the Bulls, exorcising his demons of three weeks ago where he missed an eerily similar shot against the Mavs. Melo post-game: “I’m happy we got a second shot at it. After George called a timeout, I came to the huddle and I told everybody, regardless of the play, I’m popping out and getting it. If we lose the game, it’s on me. If we win the game, it’s on me. I accept that.” The thing about a close game is that you forget contracts, playoff seedings, or even talent levels. You just want to make the shot. More than a scorer, this was the 14th career game-winner for Carmelo.
The Suns avoided another collapse, almost blowing a 25 point lead to beat the Clippers. Jason Richardson led Phoenix with 29 points and Hakim “Amare Jr.” Warrick added a season-high 25 points. While Eric Gordon did his damage with 32 points and sliced the deficit to just four in the 3rd quarter but was blazed out by the Suns’ 23-10 run. Blakezilla finished with 20 points and 14 boards. Idea for a Suns amp-up huddle: “Phoenix! We shall shoot so many three pointers that they will block out the sun!”
In a night where close games and clutch jumpers became a prevalent theme, this game began to mould itself in that direction. After being down 19, the Jazz started on a familiar trek up Comeback Mountain, fuelled by Deron Williams’ 29 points and ice cold shots over the Lakers. Words of advice for defenders: if D-Will is dribbling between his legs from the three-point line in a close game, he’s probably going to shoot it! And make it. With a back and fourth tug of war, the Kloser came back in the game and scored 14 straight points for the Lakers, including three 3-pointers and a fade away, putting the Lakers up 96-91 with 2:12 left. However, the Lakers got very lazy with their defense and began to lean on crutch Kobe, succumbing to a double team and committing a turnover that led to a Utah lay-up to push the Jazz back in the game. A Williams three pointer and three throws later, the Jazz had it. Al Jefferson held his own against Gasol, with 20 points and 8 rebounds. Jefferson’s post-game comments are those of a man who has just begun to taste the sweet drink of victory: “We went against all odds. It was just amazing, man. I’m overwhelmed. I’ve never experienced something like this before and to be a part of it meant a lot to me.” Phil Jackson also apologized for his comments about Stan Van Gundy and the Miami situation, adding a barely audible “Kiss my rings” under his breath. The Situation could not be reached for comment.
Meet Andris Biedrins, offensive threat. Such was the main story from the Golden State side of things, with Biedrins leading the squad with 28 points and 21 rebounds in a loss to the Grizzlies. The last time Biedrins led the Warriors in scoring was when we were all contemplating on seriously voting for John Kerry for president. OJ Mayo came off the bench for Memphis for the third straight time to score 23 points, adding to Rudy Gay’s 25. Stephen Curry (26 points) hit a pair of three throws to make it a one point game but lost the free throw contest with Gay and Mayo in the end. You have to believe that if David Lee was playing, the Warriors would be able to pull out of a win of this one. Along those lines, can we get an official investigation of what exactly is in Wilson Chandler’s mouth? With so much toxicity in there, we might be able to spot the long-lost WMD’s.
The Hornets took care of bees-ness (pun sponsored by your local honey makers) as they routed their way over the Blazers. Life without Peja means picking it up on the defensive end (and less Icy Hot back patches after games), and New Orleans did just that as they held the Blazers to under 40% shooting. Chris Paul had 16 points and 13 assists, with Willie Green backing him off the bench with 19. For Portland, Brandon Roy led with 27 points.
“Check My $tats” of the night: Russell Westbrook – 43 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals, 1 block.
Blake Griffin in his funniest interview yet.
Jordan tells LeBron to rise up in his new fan-made trailer.
Lastly, USC’s Damon Moore has the greatest tattoo I have ever seen.
I’m out like streaking Spurs.