by Adam Figman | @afigman
The day’s early game was a close one, as these two went into the final quarter all tied up. The Raps showed some strong play during the stretch, though, and bursted ahead in the last few minutes to grab and hold onto the lead. Andrea Bargnani and the steadily-improving DeMar DeRozan combined for 58 points for Toronto, who are now 13-24 and have impressively won two of, um, three. The Kings dropped their 10th straight road game with the L.
I’d imagine this matchup should be the most exciting/watchable game between two subpar teams, right? The Clips, with their high-flying rookie and young guns, and the Warriors, with their uptempo style and lack of D. Well, it wasn’t, though we still had Blake Griffin (23 points, 12 rebounds) pulling down highlight-worthy rebounds and a few alley-oops, naturally. The Clippers did take down the Warriors, winning relatively easily behind strong outings from Griffin, Eric Gordon (25 points) and DeAndre Jordan (9 points, 13 rebounds, 3 blocks). LAC hosts LeBron and friends on Wednesday.
After losses to the Knicks and the Celtics, and a close win against Indiana, it seems safe to assume the Spurs wanted a nice, easy victory at home against the visiting Timberwolves. Well, that’s too bad. The TWolves gave the Spurs a hell of a scare, but hung on after Manu Ginobili scored 14 of his 21 points in the second quarter. Despite the W, something tells me Coach Pop wasn’t too satisfied after this one. Kevin Love provided his usual beasting with 18 points and 17 boards, while Darko Milicic put up an 11 and 10 double-double for Minny.
During the same night we learned Anderson Varejao would be out for the season, the bad news kept coming for the Cavs when they were shut down by the Suns on the road. Steve Nash scored 20 and dished 17 assists, and Jared Dudley came off the bench, providing energy and an even more valuable 21 points to spark the victory. Manny Harris led Cleveland with 27 points, and JJ Hickson and Antawn Jamison each dropped 23.
From the sound of things (read: the sound of me reading tweets aloud, to myself), the Nuggets were in the midst of ironing out a Carmelo Anthony trade literally in the middle of this contest. Which, naturally, would make it pretty difficult to focus for everyone involved, mainly the players. At least it seemed like it, as the Nuggets fell to the Hornets at home and Melo scored a measly 8 points. Chris Paul dropped 20 and dished 6, while Emeka Okafor went for 19 and 13 in the win. Still no word on whether or not Melo goes or stays, but one thing’s for sure: If he is indeed staying, Denver’s front office is gonna want him to get it together. And if New Jersey is to trade for him, well, 8 points in a game ain’t gonna cut it.
The Heat will probably need guys beyond their Big Three to step up if they’re to win games—or entire rounds—in the Playoffs. But they didn’t last night. LeBron James (44 points), Dwyane Wade (34) and Chris Bosh (18) combined for 96 of Miami’s 107 points, which was all they needed to take this one in overtime. Respect to the Blazers for putting up a hell of a fight, and they were ahead late in regulation and almost did pull it off, but when LeBron—influenced by Marshawn, Lynch, perhaps—enters the beast mode he hit yesterday, you aren’t stopping this dude. A couple of threes and a couple of free throws in extra time sealed the game, and the Heat have now won 21 of their last 22.
The Knicks will get their share of wins, but against teams that can body them down-low, they have and will continue to struggle. In front of dozens of celebrities, the Lakers straight bullied NY, dominating the paint and cruising to their seventh straight victory. Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol combined for 47, while Amar’e Stoudemire led the Knicks with 23. NYK’s road trip continues tomorrow night in Portland.
Actual Stats: LeBron: 44 points, 13 rebounds, 6 dimes, 2 steals.
Moment of the Night: Seriously though: Let Shannon shoot.