by Anton Kudriavtsev/@TheDiesel
The Hornets beat the Wizards with the help of Trevor Ariza’s season-high 22 points. New Orleans used a strong third quarter to extend their lead and never let Washington back in the game. While Nick Young led the Wizards with 24 points, Emeka Okafor had a strong game with 17 points and a season-high 15 rebounds. The Wizards, ever so desperate to distract fans from their record, set up a “Great Wall of Assists” to track John Wall’s assist numbers. No word on whether the back of the wall tracks turnovers.
Still missing their MVP Dirkmeister, the Mavs fell to the Bucks as Earl Boykins led his team with a season-high 26 points. JJ Barea led the Mavs with a career-high 29 points in just 35 minutes but the rest of the team didn’t shoot well and got out-rebounded 51-31 as well as outscored 50-24 in the paint. Recovering Mountain Dew addict Caron Butler injured his knee in the first quarter, leaving Dallas without much of their weapons, including Shawn Marion who disconnected from the Matrix due to a thigh injury. Dallas needs to get their weapons back to keep pace in the West.
Behind Derrick Rose’s 28 points and 11 assists, the Bulls overcame the Cleveland curse and beat the Cavs. Outscoring Cleveland 32-9 in the third quarter, Chicago hung on against a late rally by the short-handed Cavs. JJ Hickson came off the bench/doghouse to lead his team with 21 points and 8 rebounds but the Cavs didn’t have enough manpower nor willpower to slop interior slashing as they lost for the 16th time in their last 17 games.
The schedule-maker obviously is not a Warriors fan, as the team played on New Year’s eve and get the joy of facing the Heat the following day. Regardless, Golden State gave everything they had (except for defense) and came up empty. LeBron James flirted with but ultimately decided against a triple-double, finishing the game with 25 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds while Wade added another 25. The much-hyped storyline of Dorrell Wright returning to Miami (…anyone?) paid delicious dividends as Wright led his team with 30 points while Monta Ellis had 25. Thanks to some hot shooting, the Warriors led by as much as 20 points before Miami put the defensive clamps down, allowing just 35 points in the second half after giving up 72 in the first two quarters. The Heat are now beating down Boston’s creaky door for the best record in the East, just two Celtic losses away from claiming top honors.
Refusing to be tied with Cleveland as the second-worst team in the league, the Wolves got motivated and came out with a win over the Nets. Kevin Love had 23 points and 10 rebounds while Sasha Vujacic tied a career-high 22 points for the Nets. The Wolves played an early April Fool’s joke by playing some defense, holding the Nets to just 9 points in the third quarter. The biggest story, thanks to the camera constantly cutting to her, was that apparently Kim Kardashian is now dating Kris Humphries. Besides the fact that I don’t know what Kim does for a living (nor Humphries, for that matter), I can’t help but think Mikhail Prokhorov had something to do with the arrangement.
What happens when you hype up a match-up in your mind? A blowout, usually. Last night was no different as the Spurs rolled over the Thunder to keep their best record in the league intact. Tim Duncan was pre-calibrated for 21 points and 9 rebounds while the Spurs forced the Thunder into their worst shooting performance this season. Oklahoma City shot just 33% from the field, including an abysmal 14% from distance as Durant and Westbrook combined for 10-of-26 shooting. The Spurs continue on their toughest schedule to date as they face New York and Boston later on in the week.
Carmelo Anthony made his return to the Nuggets as they beat the Kings for their third straight win. Without action for two weeks, Melo was not in his usual point-dropping form, scoring just 16 points in 31 minutes while Billups added 22. Jason Thompson led the Kings with 17.
Seemingly the only close game on this night saw the Jazz pull away late with a win over the Grizzlies. Paul Millsap led Utah with 22 points and 10 rebounds while Deron Williams delivered in the clutch once again, scoring 10 points in the 4th quarter. The Grizzlies came back from a 13-point deficit, launching a back-and-forth contest before Williams took over. Hitting smooth jumpers and free throws, D-Will sealed the game with a pass that led to a Gordon Hayward dunk with 18.9 seconds left. Fun fact: Hayward has not dunked since 1997. Zach Randolph led Memphis with 27 points and 16 rebounds.
“Check My $tats” of the night: Earl Boykins – 26 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds. Not impressed? Considering Boykins makes Iverson look tall , you should be.
Is it really necessary to have a “Trade Deadline Clock” on NBA.com’s homepage? Just 53 days of speculation left! My sources say you will be disappointed at the prospect of many “blockbuster” trades.
Paul Pierce was fined $15K for throwing gum into the stands? I realize Indiana are very sensitive to the events happening in their stands, but fifteen thousand dollars?! If the league charged one dollar for every half bucket of sweat from Ewing back in the day, they could easily allow teams to be in the luxury without paying tax.
According to NBA.com, LeBron’s decision was a bigger news story than the Lakers winning back-to-back titles in 2010. No one show this to LeBron, it will only humble him even more.
I’m out like Humphries’ plans when Kim calls.