by Anton Kudriavtsev /@TheDiesel
You know why no one gives the Magic the respect that this team so desperately needs? Because they’re not true contenders and showed it on this night by escaping with a win over the Nets. Who escapes a win over the Nets?! Jameer Nelson sealed the win for the Magic with 4.1 seconds to go while Dwight Howard went for 16 points and 10 rebounds. Devin Harris rounded out with 26 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds but couldn’t hit some free throws that could have tied that game and his missed layup cost his team the game. Brook Lopez got the better of Howard with 23 points.
Deron Williams obviously didn’t get my Superstar Memo from yesterday because he decided to put away the Bobcats with his ice-cold game-winning floater with 0.8 seconds left. The Jazz played with Jerry Sloan’s blood pressure yet again as they mounted a 4th quarter rally led by Williams’ 17 points and 9 assists. The bright spot for the ‘Cats on this night as Nazr Mohammed had 22 points and 20 rebounds, apparently auditioning for Kevin Love’s upcoming rebounding camp. Stephen Jackson added 24 points but his team couldn’t contain their 16 point halftime lead. In case you’re counting, that’s four straight road games, five in total for the Jazz which has to do wonders for their confidence as the team has been notoriously poor on the road the last couple of seasons. Do you think Millsap saw this coming when he drove Boozer to the airport?
The Cavs suffered back-to-back losses including 4 in a row at home as they fell to the Pacers. Danny Granger scored 34 points in the win against a short-handed Cleveland team, missing All-Star in a different life Mo Williams and Anderson Varejao. Antawn Jamison led the Cavs with 19 points and 9 boards and Ramon Sessions added 17. It would have been nice to see some plays run for JJ Hickson as he was beating anyone on his in the first half but guards dominated the remainder of the game. Also ironic that Ryan Hollins, who was a throw-in for the Sessions deal, is now more productive for the Cavs than Sessions is.
“Man, you should have seen Chris Bosh tonight! He just took over the game against his former team!” This is what most Miami fans would like to be discussing but unfortunately were treated to a milkshake of 12 points and foul trouble. Wade led with 31 and LeBron, who was seen wheeling around an oxygen tank at halftime, managed to get his feeble strength together for 39 minutes of arthritic action. James finished with 23 points, 11 assists, and 3 excuses. The Raptors were hanging around most of the game, with Bargnani dropping 22 and DeRozan adding 21 points and 6 boards. The look on Bosh and Bargn’s face when they two were matched-up against each other was pure joy:
“Oh, Andrea. I have missed your soft tendencies so!”
“Shh, shhh. No words, Christopher – just emotions.”
Post-game, Bosh gave his vote of confidence towards his new team: “That’s one thing we could do, we could shoot the ball,” Bosh said, referring to the Raptors. “When I was in Toronto, we could shoot the ball. We had offense.” Keep it up, Bosh – you’re sure to have dozens of plays called for you soon.
Given yesterday’s news about Brandon Roy’s knee, the reality that the Blazers will continue to struggle health-wise in the future has set in. The Hornets used their improved defense to dominate the game, with David West and Marco Belinelli scoring 18 as Roy exited the game with 6:43 left in the third quarter and didn’t return. Portland made a run that trimmed the 17-point lead to 5 but New Orleans responded with a 16-5 run to finish the game. Nicolas Batum led the Blazers with 16 points and Chris Paul recorded 11 points and 13 assists. The Hornets are still the only undefeated team in the league. What are the odds of that?
Welcome to the NBA, rook. That was the message Derrick Rose had for John Wall as he outplayed his Wizards all night and led his Bulls to the win. Rose scored 15 of his 24 points in the second half and Joakim Noah had 21 points and 9 boards for the Bulls. John Wall injured his foot in the 3rd quarter and ended with 16 points and 6 assists, including this hammer. Gilbert Arenas stepped in and finished with a season-high 30 points, including seven 3-pointers. “I’m just trying to make people fear me on the court,” Rose said after the game. “Being aggressive. Keep on putting pressure on them.” Mission accomplished tonight.
Paul Piece and his Celtics were supposed to take care of business against the Grizzlies, but Memphis had other plans. The C’s had a 4-point lead in the 4th before Gay tied it up with a jumper with 7.3 seconds to play. Boston trailed 11 points before a late-rally and a clutch Ray Allen 3-pointer in overtime led to the win. Gay had 22 points and Zach Randolph finished with 21 points and 11 boards. The most surprising stat has to be Shaquita scoring 18 points after his usual “mailing it in until May” fitness routine. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the league will be an empty place without Shaq. Rondo had 11 points and 17 assists, continuing his assist assault, prompting some to question whether he can break Stockton’s 14.5 assist season record. Do you guys think he can do it?
David Lee missed his 2nd straight game with a lodged-elbow-in-Wilson’s-mouth injury, and his Warriors could not contain Salmons leading to a loss. Salmons scored a season-high 26 points, including a key bucket that caused his Bucks to walk away with the win. The Warriors, led by Ellis’ 24 points, made a final run coming within 3 points but Bogut blocked Radmanovic’s beard’s attempt. The Warriors trapped Jennings most of the night and he couldn’t re-create his 55 magic, ending with 19 points.
The Spurs cruised to their 6th straight win with a victory over the Sixers, using Tony “Haugh haugh hauuugh” Parker’s 24 points to surge ahead to a 39-28 first-quarter lead. Jrue Holiday had 16 for the Sixers but could not conjure Jazz-like tendencies to mount on a comeback. San Antonio shot better across the board and got help from outside the Big 3, with George Hill’s 16 off the bench and DeJuan Blair’s 13 points and 12 rebounds. This is already the biggest win streak for the Spurs including last season, leading to one conclusion: you still can’t quite count out the Spurs this season.
“Check My $tats” of the night: Deron Williams – 17 points, 9 assists, yet another game-winning bucket.
Honorable Mention: Nazr Mohammed – 22 points, 20 Kevin Loves, 4 blocks, 2 assists.
I’m out like the Hornets losing.