by Abe Schwadron | @abe_squad
With only two games last night, and the first off to a blowout-ish start, it looked like we might be in for a double-snoozer. Au contraire, mon frere. Plenty to dig into from last night, from the Magic’s epic collapse to the wacky jerseys in the late game. Let’s hit it.
Early on, it looked like Orlando was ready to get revenge for an embarrassing loss to Boston earlier in the week, taking a commanding 27-point lead that had most of us channel surfing by halftime. Instead, the Celtics found a second, more unbelievable way to beat the Magic. Paul Pierce had 24 points and 10 assists, Kevin Garnett had 12 and 10, and rookie E’Twaun Moore scored 16 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, to lead Boston back to their biggest halftime deficit-turned win since 1996. The Celtics ended the game on a staggering 44-15 run, including with a 15-1 run to open the fourth period, and beat the Magic in stunning fashion, even without Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen or Jermaine O’Neal. Orlando scored 58 points in the first half, then just 25 in the entire second half (8 whole points in the fourth quarter), and finished shooting 38 percent from the field despite a red-hot start.
Dwight Howard battled foul trouble to 16 points and 16 boards, while Ryan Anderson scored 12 points before freaking out on an official down the stretch. This game leaves you wondering a lot of things, like what in the world the Magic did at halftime—did they go Ron-Ron and sip a little somethin’ with the game seemingly in the bag? Did Dwight Howard realize he should be tanking, not winning, in Orlando to save some face? Is that the most angry Ryan Anderson has ever been in his life? Thankfully, we can finally answer one question: No, Doc Rivers is not a real doctor.
First things first—those “retro” jerseys. I know I’ve sorta been a jersey hater so far this year, but you know what, I take back every bad thing I ever said about previous uniforms, from the Miami pinks to anything else. The worst ones I’ve ever seen were on display last night at Staples Center, courtesy of the Memphis “Tams” or Grizzlies or whatever we’re calling those mismatched abominations. I’m not off-base here, right? I mean, individually, the pieces look cool, and I could see them as a fan item, but on my TV screen, it was a hideous aesthetic combination, especially when paired with the Clips’ unis. I thought I was watching the Jamaican Olympic team, minus the cool. The game itself wasn’t as ugly—in fact, it featured a playoff feel (hasn’t every big Clippers game felt that way this year?) for a pair of teams that split their season series 2-2 a year ago. Lob Angeles took home the W, as Blake Griffin racked up 20 points, 9 rebounds and even had 8 assists, while Mo Williams came in off the bench to score 18, and Chris Paul scored 18 with 7 dimes. Rudy Gay led the Grizzlies/Tams with 24 points, including 3 on a buzzer-beating halfcourt heave, and Marc Gasol dug out an 18-11-6 line. But after Memphis got to within two with less than two minutes to play, a Caron Butler driving layup and a pair of CP3 free throws widened the margin to 6 with 45 seconds, and that was enough to get past the Grizz, who shot just 36 percent for the game.
Line of the Night: Take your pick: Paul Pierce 24/6/10 or Blake Griffin 20/9/8.
Moment of the Night: Kevin Garnett was mildly excited about the big win. “You ever been in a bar fight?”
Dunk of the Night: For anyone else, it’d be sick. For Blake, it’s just okay.
Tonight: Another week in the books for me. I’m taking the weekend to celebrate a birthday (let’s just say I’m entering my Jordan year) and hopefully another Wizards win. Pete’s with you for the next couple nights, starting with 13 Friday games, including Heat-Knicks, Wolves-Spurs, Pacers-Celtics, Jazz-Mavs and Thunder-Warriors. See you back here on Monday morning. Until then, be easy.