by Adam Figman | @afigman
The Heat can win tons and tons of regular season games, but if they can’t close against the Celtics, they’ll never get out of the East. I have a scientific formula that proves it. And, needless to say, last night they did anything but close, falling to the C’s in the day’s early game. They kept it competitive, down two with 13 seconds remaining and LeBron James at the line, but LBJ could only convert one, and then, down three and with the clock winding down, Mike Miller received a hell of a wide-open, game-tying look…clank. Rajon Rondo was all over place for the Celts, putting up an 11-10-10 triple-double, and Kevin Garnett led them in scoring with 19. Meanwhile, Paul Pierce was awful, shooting 0-10 and scoring 1 single point, though reports say that might be injury-related. Here’s to hoping it’s nothing that’s gonna linger for too long.
Apparently the Lakers were a little too worried about their Grammy viewing party, and not nearly worried enough about the Magic, who simply had their way yesterday. L.A. shot 39. 3 percent from the field, and none of their players scored more than 17 points, as the Magic inched forward each quarter and sealed things up early in the fourth. Dwight Howard’s run of dominating performances continued with a 31-point, 13-rebound showing, while Brandon Bass returned to action to the tune of 6 points and 8 boards. It wasn’t much, but Bass’ help off the bench will be crucial for the Magic going forward. This was the Lakers’ first loss on their extended road trip, which continues in Charlotte tonight.
A 17-point deficit wasn’t enough to keep the Grizz outta this one, as they climbed back behind Darrell Arthur (24 points, a career high) and Rudy Gay (23 points) to rally for the victory. Carmelo Anthony (28 points) was solid, though not quite on par with his recent string of huge scoring performances, and Denver took the L despite shooting 55 percent from the floor. The Nuggets are now off travel to Houston, where they have the Rockets tonight.
It had to happen eventually. And, come on, where else would it go down? Following 25 road losses, the Wizards got their first W away from Washington, D.C., defeating the Cavaliers with ease in Cleveland. Nick Young, who’s developing into quite the pure scorer, dropped 31, while John Wall put in 19 and distributed 14. The Wizards are now off to Orlando, where they’ll face the Magic. So I ask: Is two in a row too much to…yeah, nevermind.
It’s dope that Blake Griffin (21 points, 15 boards) can throw down the wild dunks and put up all these huge stat lines, but the next step from here will be whether or not he can lead his team to a few Ws. Andrea Bargnani beat him to the punch yesterday, scoring 27 and coming through in the clutch to help the Raps earn the win. Also noteworthy, Ed Davis: 13 points, 14 boards, 3 blocks. Word.
What, you thought LaMarcus Aldridge wasn’t planning on reminding the world about his All-Star snub at every opportunity he gets? Nah, thats happening. Yesterday LA dropped 36 and hit a big-time bucket, leading the Blazers over the Pistons on the road. Wesley Matthews also pitched in 26 for Portland, who won their fourth straight and seem to have every intention of holding on tightly to that eighth spot in the West. Sorry, Grizz fans.
Ever since a couple of Wilson Chandler’s teeth got stuck in his arm, David Lee hasn’t really seemed the same. Until last night. DLee scored 23 and grabbed 19, putting up his old D’Antoni numbers and helping the Warriors get the win. Stephen Curry (23 points, 13 assists) was also great, dominating the ball and making smart play after smart play down the stretch. And this is strange: The Thunder shot 52.5 percent from the field, while the Warriors shot 43.4 percent. Yeah, I don’t know.
Not even 24 hours after the DeMarcus Cousins saga, the Kings were in Phoenix to take on the Suns, and they performed as if nothing negative had gone down in the slightest. Sacto put six players in double figures, led by Samuel Dalembert (!) and his 18 points, 15 boards and 3 blocks. For the Suns, Steve Nash had 22 points and 18 dimes in the loss.
Actual Stats: David Lee: 23 points, 19 boards, 2 assists, 3 steals
Last Call: The Heat, needing a three…