by Holly MacKenzie / @stackmack
Oh what a night. With two games coming down to the final shot, I wished more than ever that I have picture-in-picture. I chose to go with Oklahoma City — I know, I know, a travesty for a Lakers fan– but what can I say, the Thunder have me. Just so young and fun and improving by the day. The best part is that they truly like each other and their reactions after a big play are awesome.
Okay, enough. I know, I’ve been heaping praise on OKC every other day, but I can’t help it. Now, their nine-game winning streak was snapped by a Steve Nash-less Suns team, thanks to a furious rally in the fourth, coming back from 10 down in the final four minutes of play. In the end, Amare was too much for OKC to handle, getting the Suns to within two on a three-point play and tying it on free throws. After a rare KD miss, Jason Richardson nailed a huge jumper with 0.7 seconds remaining and on a heave from three, Jeff Green was off of the mark.
The look on his face hurt. These guys don’t look like a team that believes in moral victories anymore. They’ve grown, are in fifth place in the West and are hungry for more.
Props to Phoenix for grabbing a huge road win without Nash who stayed in Phoenix to rest back and abdomen injuries.
While this was going on, in La-la-land, Kobe was doing what he does coming back from an ankle injury to drop 32 of his team’s 99 points, shooting 13-19 from the floor, adding seven rebounds and six assists and hitting the game-tying three-pointer then following that up with the game-winning dagger three to give the Lakers the 99-98 victory. It’s funny how tough of a time the Lakers have with Memphis. Had OJ Mayo made a pair of free throws, the Lakers would have trailed by two possessions, but you know, give Kobe room to win and more often than not, he’s going to.
How many game winners is this? Five? I think something like that. So crazy. It’s even crazier when, I swoon over the 32/7/6 line from Kobe and then go over and check LeBron’s numbers for the season. They are different players with different skill sets and different roles on their teams and I’m still picking Kobe to win the game for me, but I cannot wrap my head around just how good LeBron is on a nightly basis.
Kevin Durant belongs in this conversation, too The “how is this guy this good?” convo. With his 33rd game this season topping 30 points and now his 29th consecutive game topping 25, he’s been pretty incredible this season. I don’t feel like he’ll get most improved because he was still pretty damn great last season, but could Russell Westbrook please win it? K, thanks.
In Boston, Nate Rob made his Celtic debut as the C’s took down the Knicks 110-106. McGrady wasn’t a factor on the back-to-back, but David Lee did his best to keep his team in it with, 28 points and 15 rebounds, but a block from Ray Allen may have been the difference maker. Ray finished with 16 points while Rajon Rondo added 15 points and 16 assists. In 16 minutes of action off of the bench, Nate was 2-for-7 and finished with four points.
In Cleveland, LeBron shut out the Hornets in the final minutes, draining a three and then getting a hoop and a free throw to give the Cavs the 105-95 victory on a night when two Hornets rookies were shining like stars. Marcus Thornton came off of the bench to score 37 points, including 23 in the second quarter. He shot 15-22 from the floor and was unstoppable through the first three quarters. Darren Collison continued his strong play filling in for Chris Paul, scoring 22 points and dishing 10 assists.
26 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for Lou Williams in the Sixers 110-102 win against Golden State. Also, one backbreaking three-pointer to seal the deal for Philly. After leading by 18 at the break, the Sixers allowed the Warriors to race back in the fourth, before hanging on to get their 22nd victory of the season. Andre Iguodala added 22 points and Rodney Carney had 16 off of the bench.
The best part of that game for me was getting to hear Raja Bell on the broadcast in the second half. I’m happy to hear he’s doing well and I cannot wait to see him on the basketball court.