by Holly MacKenzie / @stackmack

Happy Friday!

If you celebrate it, enjoy the holiday weekend. I’ve learned that holidays and weekends no longer hold meaning for me. Besides Christmas, the days blur and are divided by “Raptors home” and “Raptors away”. It’s kind of fun. It almost makes me feel like I’m still a student or something, because I’ve yet to experience the 9-5 schedule.

Anyway, the Magic were balling last night. It was NBA on TNT Thursday and I really thought the Mavericks were going to get the win against Orlando. Not so. Maybe it was a case of Dallas playing the overtime game the night before, but the Mavs couldn’t hit a shot all night, shooting just 38 percent in the game that the Magic took, 97-82. The first half was a defensive battle, as Orlando led 43-36 at the break. After scoring 15 points in the second quarter, Mickael Pietrus continued his hot shooting night, scoring a season-high 24 points including going 6-for-6 from deep as he hit the dagger in the fourth to shut out the Mavs who attempted to come back from 16 down.

The Dwight “block” of JJ Barea was phenomenal. He just grabbed the ball in the air, as though it was a pass attempt from Barea to him and then went the other way. Howard finished with 17 points, 20 rebounds and five blocked shots. After starting out ice-cold, Vince Carter found himself matched up against former teammate Jason Kidd in the second half and he took advantage, finishing with 19 points. Dirk Nowitzki had 24 points and Jason Terry and JJ Barea added 16 points apiece off of the bench, but the offense was just not happening for the Mavs.

In Denver, the Blazers and Nuggets had a great first half and then Denver took over. Outscoring the Blazers 31-21 in the third, they then turned up their defense, holding Portland to just 16 points in the final quarter as they came away with the 109-92 victory. Brandon Roy struggled throughout the game, finishing with 14 points on 3-for-13 shooting. Andre Miller led the Blazers with 24 points and LaMarcus Aldridge had 16 points and a season-high tying four blocked shots, but they were not enough to battle the Nuggets having three players top 20 points. Chauncey Billups had 21 points, Nene scored 22 points and Carmelo Anthony overcame a slow start to finish with 25 points, despite nine turnovers. Nene also had five assists.

The low point for the Nuggets in the win was losing Chris Andersen to a nasty ankle sprain late in the fourth. Coming down for a rebound he came down on Andre Miller’s foot and rolled his ankle over enough to make my stomach turn. In obvious pain while lying on the court, the trainers came over to tend to him and what appeared to be a coin fell out of someone’s pocket and onto Andersen’s face. He “spit” it out/off and it was a random little moment captured live on TV. While X-rays were negative, Andersen did not return and before we knew it, there was a Twitter discussion about what the object was, screengrabs of the incident and then video, proving it was a coin of some sort.

I love the internet. And Twitter. And Birdman, too.

I also love: Melo looking cranky –and maybe even a little pouty– on the bench when his fourth foul, and third offensive, kept him out of the game. He was fired up and you could see it was killing him to be on the bench. That made me happy. While Dwight’s “block” on Barea was awesome, I loved how JJ went back at him without hesitation and I really, really loved Mickael having such a big game. Saluting the Mavs bench after he hit a three was pretty bad ass and he just looks like he’s having fun out there.

One thing I don’t like: The March Madness Tourney coming to a close. I know it can’t go on forever, but it feels sort of empty, like Boxing Day does, after Christmas. For all of you Americans, that’s what we call December 26th.

I can’t believe it’s the weekend already. Have a great one and join me on Monday for the final two weeks of the season. Also, make sure you pick up the new issue of SLAM this weekend. You already know which cover I’m itching to pick up. My OKC boys are looking just right on the cover. They deserve that love. Made my day when I found out they were on the cover. Yeahh!