By: Holly MacKenzie
Since the news broke yesterday of Nene’s medical circumstances I just wanted to preface the recaps by sending well wishes and prayers on to him. George Karl and Allen Iverson summed it up in their quotes yesterday when they said that this serves as a reminder that there is more out there than just basketball.
After losing to the Clippers (the Clippers!) last night the Suns will face the Lakers on Thursday. As a result to the loss against the Clips, the Lakers now hold the number one spot in the West as Phoenix has one game in the loss column. It will be interesting to see how that game turns out.
Bron was just ridiculous last night. 51, 8 and 9. Dropping 25 points in the fourth and overtime periods. It is crazy watching him play like that.
It was nice to see Joakim Noah turn in a solid performance in his return from the team-mandated benching. Hopefully things will continue to stay positive from here and he has learned a thing or two about the NBA’s pecking order and rookie rules although there are already new reports out of Chicago that suggest there is more drama within the Bulls team.
Tonight it is Portland in Boston and I can’t wait for that matchup. I expect Boston to come out on fire after dropping the last two games against Washington but, man would I love for Portland to take this game too.
Andres Nocioni is listed as day-to-day after that scary looking fall last night against Philadelphia.
Detroit 103 Toronto 89
Coming off of their blow out loss against New York, the Pistons were ready for a statement game. It took them until the third quarter to make their statement against the Raptors, but thanks to 39 points from Richard Hamilton and a third quarter in which they held Toronto to only 15 points while scoring 24 of their own the point was made. While Detroit threatened to blow the game open in the second quarter when they went up by as many as 13 points, the Raptors cut the lead to 51-50 at the half. In the third, Detroit came out focused and Toronto did not, missing 10 of their first 12 shots in the period. The Raptors used an 8-2 run to close the quarter and cut the Detroit lead to 12 at the start of the fourth. In the final period Toronto were unable to contain Detroit and the Piston lead was never really in doubt. Besides Hamilton’s 39 points, Chauncey Billups scored 20 and Antonio McDyess had 9 points, 13 rebounds and 7 steals. Chris Bosh was held to only 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Raptors while Carlos Delfino and Jason Kapano scored 14 points apiece and Jamario Moon had 11.
Orlando 102 Chicago 88
Thanks to some hot shooting from Rashard Lewis and a third quarter where the Magic absolutely torched the Bulls, Orlando rolled to an easy 102-88 victory last night. Leading 57-52 at the half, the Magic outscored the Bulls 32-10 in the third as they built up their lead to as many as 28 points in the rout. They came out after the break on a 16-2 run and held Chicago to only 21% shooting in the quarter. Rashard Lewis scored 26 points in the game as he finished 8-12 from the floor, including going 4-5 from the three-point line. Dwight Howard had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Magic as Keith Bogans also scored 15 points and Brian Cook had 14 points but fouled out in only 15 minutes of action. The Bulls had only three players in double-figures and were without Kirk Hinrich who had back spasms. Joe Smith had 13 points in the game, Joakim Noah had 12 points and 11 boards as he rebounded from a team-sanctioned suspension. Luol Deng added 10 in the loss.
Atlanta 103 Denver 94
While the Nuggets used a fourth quarter push to try and get back into their game against Atlanta, they were too late to make up for their slow start. While Atlanta came out of the gate on fire and led by 12 after the first period they extended that lead to 21 points at the half, 65-44. In the third the Nuggets started to wake up as they held Atlanta to 17 points in the period and they continued their push into the fourth as they cut the lead to 93-101 with 1:50 left in the game. Things started to fall apart for the Nuggets from there though, as Allen Iverson got ejected from the game for protesting a non-call and then JR Smith followed suit. In a game where Iverson, Smith and Carmelo Anthony combined for 84 of the Nuggets 94 points, there was not enough help for Anthony to complete the comeback after their ejections. The Nuggets never led in the game and were without Kenyon Martin and Nene. Joe Johnson scored 22 points to lead Atlanta, Marvin Williams had 19 points and 9 rebounds, Josh Childress scored 17 and Al Horford added 12 points and 8 rebounds. Anthony had 36 points and 11 rebounds for Denver, Iverson finished with 27 and JR Smith added 21. Marcus Camby had 12 rebounds but scored only 4 points as the Nuggets had only 5 players score in the game.
Cleveland 132 Memphis 124
It took him overtime but LeBron’s star shone extra bright last night as he scored a season-high 51 points to lead the Cavaliers to a 132-124 victory over Memphis last night. 25 of those 51 were scored in the fourth quarter and the extra session as Cleveland looked to their superstar once again and he delivered yet again. While Juan Carlos Navarro tied the game at 113 with 10 seconds left in regulation, LeBron missed on a potential game-winning jumper at the buzzer, but he more than made up for it in overtime. After dropping 16 in the final period of regulation he added 9 more in overtime as the Cavs outscored Memphis 19-11 in overtime. James finished the night shooting 18-28 from the floor and had 8 rebounds and 9 assists in addition to his 51 points. Daniel Gibson had 18 points off of the bench, Drew Gooden scored 12 points to go along with 11 boards and Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 14. In the loss Rudy Gay scored 30 points and pulled down 9 rebounds to lead Memphis, Navarro scored 26, Mike Conley Jr. had a career-high 20 points to go along with 7 assists and Pau Gasol had 19 points and 12 boards.
Philadelphia 111 Houston 107
After dropping seven straight the 76er’s were desperate for a win. Last night that desperation helped them earn their victory as they rallied back from a 16-point deficit in the second half in their contest against the Rockets to take the 111-107 win. After a first half that saw them trailing by only five, 60-55 things took a turn for the worse as Houston went ahead by as many as 16 points in the third before holding an 85-74 lead going into the fourth. In the final period Philly knew it was time to get to work or deal with another loss and they held the Rockets scoreless for over five minutes while also forcing turnover after turnover as the 76er’s took the lead on a dunk by Samuel Dalembert off of a Rafer Alston turnover. The dunk put Philadelphia up 103-101 with just under 2:30 left in the game. In the final minutes Philadelphia was solid while Houston crumbled and the Rockets were outscored 37-22 in the quarter. The outcome was sealed on two free throws by Andre Iguodala with 16.4 seconds on the clock and the 76er’s got the rare road win. Andre Miller scored 26 points to lead Philadelphia, Dalembert finished with 19, Louis Williams had 18 and Iguodala added 17 points. Yao Ming had 25 points and 8 rebounds for Houston. Alston finished with 20 points, Shane Battier scored 17 and Luther Head added 16 in the loss as Houston dropped to 20-19 on the season.
Golden State 105 Minnesota 98
While Golden State went up by as many as 20 points in this game they made the mistake of letting Minnesota stick around and the almost got themselves in trouble in the fourth before digging in and getting the 105-98 victory they had earned through the first three quarters. Golden State went up by 14 at the half but the TWolves used a 10-0 run in the third quarter to cut the lead to four. The Warriors weren’t having it and they went on a 21-6 run of their own to go into the fourth up 83-66. Feeling comfortable with their lead they let their guard (and their game) down, as they were outscored by Minnesota 32-22 in the final period and he Wolves again cut the lead to four, this time with 3:30 left to play. Luckily for the Warriors, Stephen Jackson had his game face on and hit a three and then got a layup to go to clinch the game. Jackson finished with 21 points, Baron Davis had 22 points 9 assists and 5 steals, Al Harrington scored 12 and Matt Barnes scored 11. Antoine Walker had 26 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Wolves, Al Jefferson added 18 points and 14 boards and Ryan Gomes scored 15.
LA Clippers 97 Phoenix 90
Leading 49-48 at the half, the Clippers hot shooting put them on top and kept them there against the Suns as they outscored Phoenix 25-17 in the third quarter to build a 74-65 advantage going into the fourth quarter where they would go on to the 97-90 victory. The Clippers shot 53% for the game, this being only their second outing this season where they finished above 50% from the floor. Phoenix and their high-octane offense sputtered as they shot only 40% for the game and were out-rebounded 47-36 by LA. The Clippers used a 21-8 run in the third to go up by as many as 11 but the Suns would go on a run of their own in the fourth to cut the lead to three, 80-77 midway through the quarter. With their lead in jeopardy Sam Cassell came up clutch for the Clippers as he knocked down three jumpers to help get LA some breathing room and the Clippers went back up eight with under two minutes to play as Phoenix could not close the gap. Cassell exploded for 32 points and 7 assists for the Clippers as Corey Maggette added 21, Cuttino Mobley had 12 and Chris Kaman scored 11 to go along with a game-high 18 rebounds. Amare Stoudemire scored 29 points for the Suns in the loss while Shawn Marion had 14 points and pulled down 17 boards and Steve Nash added 14 points and 13 assists. Raja Bell added 14.
New York 105 Washington 93
One night after their second big win against the Celtics the Washington Wizards were unable to keep up with New York and the Knicks won two games in a row for only the third time this season. Thanks to the tired legs of the Wizards and a strong effort in the first quarter that saw them go up 30-14 at the end of it, the Knicks had built a 22-point cushion in the first half and they were able to stay on top throughout the rest of the game, despite runs by Washington to try and cut the deficit. While the Wizards had cut the lead to 10 at the break, at the start of the fourth they trailed by only five thanks to three three-pointers by Antawn Jamison in the third. While the Knicks shot 51% for the game the Wizards connected on only 39% of their field goals as New York had six players reach double-figures and Washington had only three. Jamal Crawford had 29 points for New York, Zach Randolph had 14 points and 11 boards, Nate Robinson also scored 14 and Quentin Richardson added 13. Caron Butler was solid in the loss with 24 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists but, outside of 20 points from Roger Mason and 21-points from Jamison, the help just wasn’t there. Washington played without Antonio Daniels who sat because of a sore knee.