by Holly MacKenzie

After Monday night’s action, last night just wasn’t the same. The Suns/Mavs game was a good one and the Bobcats gave the Spurs a run for their money until about midway through the fourth, but there wasn’t anything that had me hopping like Monday.

BETCATS has to be happy with the way his squad is playing. Raja, Boris and Diop have helped these guys get on track and they are in the playoff hunt as we speak. I certainly didn’t expect that at the beginning of the season. Larry Brown has got a good thing going, or as good as can be with the roster he’s got.

You know what’s annoying? the Spurs announcers calling Emeka Oak-A-Fur“, the entire night long. That made me pretty crazy.

Now, you know what made me pretty happy? JJ Barea having a fantastic game in his seventh start this season for the Mavs. My love for JJ as well as our history (meaning, my watching him light up Chris Paul in the summer of ’04), has been well documented here on the Post Up, but it doesn’t get old. Seeing him prove himself game after game after game just feels so damn good. Rewarding, even!

Those Jazz. Still winning. 12 straight. Can they keep it going? It’s nuts how we are approaching the homestretch and each conference has the race for eighth going on. Makes things more interesting, like the Suns/Mavs game last night (that the Suns needed oh so badly), and the Knicks/Bucks game.

The Clippers, well, didn’t you just know that they’d find a way to lose to the Cavaliers? Bron gets another triple-double (his 15th of the season), Mo Williams goes 3-16 from the floor before hitting a huge three in the final minutes and then with 6.6 seconds remaining, the best the Clippers can do is getting the ball to Zach Randolph (although, they were trying to get the ball into the hands of Baron Davis), who must have forgotten that he had time, because he jacked a 30-footer that hit nothing but air.

The best part was his coach putting his head in his hands on the release of the shot.

Oh, Z-Bo. You’re a perfect poster boy for the Clippers.

The Cavs, meanwhile? They were down 19…. In the fourth quarter. They came back though, and Bron’s triple-double consisted of 32 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists as Mo’s three came with 6.6 seconds to put the Cavs up 85-83 after a three-pointer from Al Thornton had put the Clippers up two. The Cavaliers outscored LA, 35-14 over the final quarter and after his three, Mo iced the game at the line with two free throws. Finishing 4-17 from the floor, it didn’t matter as the most important shot of the night dropped.

LO has been suspended a game. That sounds about right. The league chose not to further discipline Ariza and I agree with that and I don’t think that’s just me being a Lakers fan. I truly don’t think the intent was there to injury or hurt Rudy, but man, Riza needs to rein himself in just a bit sometimes.

Very happy to hear that Rudy has returned home and is feeling much better. Loved that Sergio Rodriguez stayed with him in the hospital overnight. Sending more well wishes Rudy’s way.

Speaking of well wishes, thinking of Randy Foye, as he is out with an ankle sprain that’s got him in that dreaded walking boot. Not sure how long he will be out, but here is hoping he will be back in action soon.

I’m still kind of in shock when I sit back and think about the possibility of the Bobcats making the playoffs. I know they’ve been winning (six straight, before falling to the Spurs last night), but, wow. They’ve been under the radar for the most part.

In case you missed it: Shaquille O’Neal moved into sixth on the all-time scoring list by passing Elvin Hayes last night in the Suns loss to Dallas.

I was reading through the comments yesterday (you guys totally killed it, topping 300!), and it got me thinking about the All-NBA First team. Kobe, Dwyane, Chris, Deron, etc., etc. Who gets the nod?

Also, who’s the DPOY so far this season?

Anddddd….. If you watch ONE thing today, make it be this. Holy, holy, wow. I had him in my dunk contest last week, I’m happy the world is seeing this so we can make this happen. I demand Mike Taylor for the Dunk Contest, 2010.

The Kings and Thunder found themselves in another close one last night. I didn’t see this one, but the boxscore tells me that the Thunder narrowly escaped with a 99-98 victory as Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook combined for 44 points, with each scoring 22. The Thunder won despite scoring only 15 points in the fourth quarter and having only 15 assists to 22 turnovers. I’m fairly confident that this one wasn’t a pretty game. Nenad Krstic had 9 points and 15 rebounds for OKC and Thabo Sefolosha added 17 points. The Kings were led by Spencer Hawes with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists as Francisco Garcia added 18 off of the bench and Andres Nocioni added 16 in the loss.

New York 120 Milwaukee 102

It was a game the Bucks needed. It was one the Knicks needed even more. In their quest for the playoffs, the Knicks have to catch the Bucks, who were sitting in eighth before the game. Thanks to a 39-point night from Larry Hughes, and the ability of Nate Robinson to dance into the lane and get to the hoop, New York was able to shake off the Bucks late, after battling back and forth throughout. When the Knicks went down one with 4:21 remaining, Robinson completed a three-point play to put his team back on top. Ramon Sessions got the Bucks to within three, but they could not come up with an answer for Hughes or Robinson and had to resort to fouling in the final minutes, ultimately falling, 120-102. Besides Hughes, Robinson had 32 points off of the bench and David Lee added 19 points and 18 rebounds. The Bucks were led by Charlie Villanueva’s 32 points and 9 rebounds as Ramon Sessions had 22 points 9 assists and 6 rebounds and Richard Jefferson added 16.

Utah 112 Indiana 100

Gunning for their 12th straight victory, the Jazz continued their winning ways on the road, this time in Indy. While they found themselves in a close one that had them up only two going into the fourth, they were able to take control and outscore the Pacers 30-20 in the final period to get the 112-100 win. While the game was tied at 90 with seven minutes remaining in the game, Utah put together a 16-4 run to take control and gain some breathing room down the stretch. Mehmet Okur had 24 points for the Jazz to help on a night where Deron Williams scored just five points on 1-9 from the floor. He added 12 assists and five steals though as Paul Millsap scored 22 points off of the bench and Ronnie Brewer added 18. The Pacers had 23 points and 13 rebounds from Mike Dunleavy, 21 points apiece from Jarrett Jack and TJ Ford and 9 assists for Ford as well.

Dallas 122 Phoenix 117

While the Suns were four games back from the eighth spot in the West, the team they are trailing is the Mavs, so this match up last night was a critical one in their playoff run. Their race just became a bit more difficult as they were unable to stop the Mavs, get a W and make up some ground on their opponent. While they started out the game strong and led 62-58 at the half, Dirk Nowitzki led his team back in the third as the Mavs outscored Phoenix 34-25 to lead going into the fourth. In the final period, Phoenix made it interesting in the final minutes, by cutting the lead down to single digits after consecutive layups by Jason Richardson, but they were unable to slow the Mavs and fell for their fifth consecutive time to fall five games back out of the playoff race. Nowitzki led Dallas with 34 points and 13 rebounds as Jason Terry scored 25 off of the bench and JJ Barea added 16 points. Steve Nash scored 23 points to go with 13 assists (the Mavs won despite having only 15 team assists), while Shaquille O’Neal and Matt Barnes each scored 21 and Leandro Barbosa added 18 off of the bench in the loss.

San Antonio 100 Charlotte 86

The Charlotte Bobcats have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA as of late and last night, they remained one of the hottest teams in the league, for the first 42 minutes of their game against the San Antonio Spurs. The loss means that the ‘Cats are now one full game behind the Bulls for the eighth spot in the East, but the game was an encouraging one as Charlotte gave the Spurs trouble and the two teams traded leads throughout before rookie George Hill, veteran Tim Duncan and surprise fourth-quarter star, Roger Mason all helped the Spurs to pull away late in the fourth. Mason knocked down three three-pointers in the fourth and Hill played some tight defense before Duncan went to work late, finally getting shots to fall after struggling with his shooting on the night. Roger Mason and Tony Parker each scored 21 points for the Spurs as Duncan scored 18 to go with 11 reobunds but shot only 7-18 from the floor. The Bobcats had 16 points apiece from Raja Bell and Emeka Okafor while Boris Diaw added 9 points and 8 assists and Gerald Wallace added 14 in the loss.