by Adam Figman | @afigman
Firstly, shouts to Tzvi Twersky for holding it down yesterday. Killed it. Secondly, wait…there were way too many games last night for me to waste time screwing around with some long intro—we gotta get moving! Let’s do it.
Chris Bosh’s return to the T-Dot. It seems we can file this one somewhere between Vince Carter respective return to Toronto and Vince Carter’s return to, um, New Jersey. The Raptors were simply overmatched, and though Andrea Bargnani (and his 38 points) did a solid job of keeping the Raps competitive, the Heat were too much down the stretch. Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Bosh combined for 76 points in the win, and Miami finished its road trip with a 3-1 record.
Safe to say the Wizards have nobody to lock down Dwight Howard, and that was proved, to the tune of 32 points, 10 boards and 3 blocks. Howard and the Magic cruised in Orlando, winning their four of fifth and taking some light momentum into All-Star break. Despite the losses that keep piling up, John Wall is actually putting up some nice numbers, as he dropped 27 points, 5 rebounds and 5 dimes last night.
A few days after Paul Pierce’s terrible outing, the injury rumors and speculation were dismissed yesterday, when the Celtics forward scored 32 and led the C’s over the lowly Nets. (Oh, and he also did this.) As of now, it sounds like all four Celts selected will be suiting up for the All-Star Game this Sunday, which, to me, is kinda surprising. Did anybody really think that out of those four guys, none would be going through injury problems by this point in the season? Call me pessimistic, but yeah, I did. Here’s to good health.
After a snippy little back-and-forth between Amar’e Stoudemire and Al Horford, both teams had a little extra motivation coming into this one, though New York seemed to feed off of that energy slightly better. With the win, the Knicks have accomplished something they haven’t in, well, a while, by establishing that they’ll be bringing a winning record into All-Star break. (It’s been since ’00-01, for those of you keeping track at home.) Led by Amar’e (23 points), the Bockers took care of the Hawks at home last night, keeping them at arm’s length down the stretch and holding on for the victory.
Yo guys, help a dude out. I missed this game, and I’m really, really confused. What happened? Box scores and highlights aren’t doing this justice. After starting off their road trip with a 4-0 record, the Lake Show has now dropped three straight and will attempt the never-coveted All-Star regrouping. Ramon Sessions led the underdog Cavs with 32, and though Cleveland can’t really turn this win into anything special or long-term, hey, props! Cleveland’s on the come…OK, control yourselves. One win.
One squad that’s fighting it out for a spot in the lower end of the Eastern Conference Playoffs, and one squad that probably should be. These two battled through regulation and into OT, but the Pistons, led by a feisty Tayshaun Prince (25 points, 11 rebounds) jumped ahead in the extra session and held on, ending their three-game losing streak. After the L, the Pacers now have a one-game advantage on Charlotte for the eighth spot out East.
The 76ers finished last season with a 27-55 record. This year, they’ll bring a 27-29 record into All-Star break. So yeah, things are lookin’ up. Philly’s hot run continued last night, as the Sixers took down the Rockets behind Jrue Holiday (20 points) and Andre Iguodala(who had a 13-12-10 triple-double). Kyle Lowry dropped 36 (!) for the Rockets, but the team-wide effort just wasn’t there. It’s pretty damn hard to win when you give up 114 points on 55.2 percent shooting, generally speaking.
There was really no way to bill this thing besides Blake Griffin vs. Kevin Love. Love got the numbers (18 points, 18 boards), but Griffin (29 points, 8 boards) got the W and the highlights, so he wins this round. Unfortunately, I don’t think the All-Star break will contribute much in turning around either of these squad’s respective fates, but, um, it can’t hurt?
Keep talking about those rumors, kids, and Carmelo Anthony will just keep ballin’. Dude put up another huge night, scoring 38, and leading the Nuggets over the Bucks on the road. It was close right till the end, but some big shots (I see you, Chauncey Billups) and some clutch stops made all the difference. And y’all can go ahead and file the impending and seemingly never-ending Melo rumors in the Things I’m Not Looking Forward to After All-Star Break Category. Thanks, guys.
Oh hey, Rodrique Beaubois. Good to see you! After missing the season’s first 54 games, Beaubois and his tough-to-spell last name returned last night, providing 13 points, 6 boards, 3 steals and a serious spark to help the Mavs get by the Kings. Dallas has now won seven straight home games, and might have found just the guy to get them past their post-Caron Butler woes. Or do they need another piece? Either way, I expect them to be major players in the upcoming few weeks’ trade talks. Just a hunch.
You can’t just lose a coach like Jerry Sloan and continue to move along like nothing happened. Or so it seems. The Jazz are now 0-3 in the post-Sloan era, losing to the Warriors after coming within three points in the final minute. But some Golden State stops and a Steph Curry bucket (his only one) ended Utah’s hope, as the Warriors upped their record to 26-29. Monta Ellis was a beast, dropping 35, while Al Jefferson led the Jazz with 23.
The Blazers can’t be stopped. They’ll take a six-game winning streak into the break, after taking down the Hornets and showing, if nothing else, that they might not be so easy to topple if (when?) they hold on and maintain Playoff positioning. LaMarcus Aldridge, who has spent the past few weeks reminding the world that he probably should’ve been an All-Star, scored 34, while Wesley Matthews provided 24. Chris Paul had an off night, scoring only 8, and despite a 50-percent shooting performance, his team couldn’t contain LA and friends in Portland.
Last Call: Christian Eyenga !