By: Holly MacKenzie
Baron…Jax...Kelenna…Ellis…Biedrins…Pietrus. Those Warriors had me out of my seat last night, what a crazy game!! Now that I’ve got that out of my system, the Post Up is back as regularly scheduled.
I’m back. Sorry for going AWOL yesterday, got caught up this weekend and a day trip turned into a weekend one with a laptop, minus a charger. Anyway, I finally get to log on and notice my boy Amare was MIA yesterday as well. Hmm. Suns are freaking out over the playoffs already. Probably because they are all feeling the heat from letting Kurt Thomas go and they are wondering how they’ll make it in the playoffs. Regardless, it is only January and they have one of the best records in the L and have withstood one of the toughest schedules of any team. They need to calm down and play their game. I’m sure Nash was thrilled when CP3 led the Hornets to the W at his expense. Hornets are looking great. It sucked when Diaw stopped on the play where he was fouled by Peterson to see if he was alright, rather than finishing the play and then checking. It was a nice gesture, but it cost his team a huge point when they needed it most.
Speaking of great, the Lakers had a big weekend. Shooting 66% for the GAME against Philadelphia on Friday night. I know it’s the 76er’s, but the Lakers were insane that game. Crittenton led the team with a career-high 19 and showed some of those crazy handles he has. Bynum was Bynum and that is a good thing. Then the win over Indiana last night, they are taking care of business at home. It feels pretty good as a Laker fan to write about their weekend and not even mention Kobe Bryant. It means other players are stepping it up and we’re getting contributions all around. Team basketball, it is a good thing.
At the end of the first quarter of the Suns/Nuggets game we have the Suns with 46 points and Iverson with 17 of his own. Looks like it is going to be a good game and like the Suns are sick of the slow starts.
The energy the Suns have shown tonight is what the have been lacking. While they are exciting today, lets see if they can keep it up consistently. Marcus Banks. The day the Lakers got him in the trade for Gary Payton I was pumped. We lost him just as quickly when Payton refused to suit up. He was lights out last night, just drilling three’s from deep and finishing 7-8 from the floor, all on three-point attempts.
Monta Ellis is fun to watch and impossible to guard on some of those drives to the basket. I am currently enjoying the Warriors up by 11 against the Spurs. My boy Kelenna is on a roll. Before I even got that sentence out he scored again! What a steal from the D-League. Making the Spurs look silly. And now a 24-second violation on SA. I hope you all are watching this I’ve got a feeling it’s going to go down to the wire and be a great fourth quarter.
There are some fun teams to watch in the league this year. I always have players and teams to really watch and I watch any game I can get my hands on but this year more than usual there are SO many teams that are just playing good basketball. Golden State, Portland, LA Lakers, Phoenix, New Orleans. All in the West, of course. Well, Phoenix isn’t always playing great ball, but they are still on my must-see list.
This GS/SA has turned into one of the best ones I have seen all season. Baron Davis is insane. He is so damn strong and he just took over and willed the Warriors over the Spurs. What a great fourth quarter. three-point plays, three’s, whatever the Warriors need, they come up with it. Jax connecting on his shots when he needs it. I love watching these guys play.
New Orleans 118 Phoenix 113
In the showdown of two whom are considered to be the top point guards in the game, Chris Paul came out on top as he led his team to a 118-113 victory over the Suns Saturday night. Playing all 48 minutes, Paul scored 14 points in the decisive fourth quarter as he helped the Hornets overcome the loss of David West (bruised hip). Raja Bell left the game at the end of the first quarter with flu symptoms and did not return. After one quarter the Hornets led 34-31 but, Phoenix was up 68-57 at the half. In the third New Orleans turned it on and they trailed by only three going into the fourth, 93-90. A three-pointer by Paul with 3:03 remaining gave New Orleans the lead for good at 110-107. Paul finished with 28 points and 10 assists. Peja Stojakovic had 23 points, Morris Peterson scored 22 and Tyson Chandler had 19 points and 11 rebounds. Jannero Pargo added 19 points. Leandro Barbosa had 28 points off of the bench for the Suns in the loss and Steve Nash scored 23 points and dished 11 assists. Amare Stoudemire and Grant Hill each added 17 points.
Boston 92 Detroit 85
After being down 10 points at the end of the first quarter, the Celtics knew they’d need everyone to step up for a win against the Pistons. What Boston didn’t expect was for their leading scorer to be rookie Glen Davis, scoring a career-high 20 points with a handful of them coming in the final minutes of the game to seal the Celtics victory. With Kevin Garnett sidelined after picking up his second foul in the first quarter the Pistons went on a 17-0 run to go up by 10 but, with Garnett back in the game in the second period the Celtics trimmed the deficit to only 2 points at the half. Going into the fourth, the Pistons led by three but the Celtics rang off a 10-2 run to go up by five points. In the final minutes it was Davis who was solid for the Celt’s while Detroit vets Richard Hamilton and Chauncey Billups missed free throws when it mattered. 33 seconds left in the game and Billups shot an air-ball and the game was Boston’s for the taking. Davis had 7 points in the final 2 minutes of the game to help the Celtics hold on to the victory. In addition to Davis, Paul Pierce had 19 points and 9 rebounds and Garnett added 15. Hamilton led Detroit with 18 points and 8 assists, Billups had 17 points and Rasheed Wallace scored 16 points and pulled down 8 rebounds in the loss.
Cleveland 93 Toronto 90
It appeared that the Raptors were in control in their game against the Cavaliers. LeBron James reminded them that a lead is never safe as he scored 24 points in the final quarter to lead Cleveland back from a 13-point fourth quarter deficit to take the 93-90 victory. To open the fourth, James scored 9 points in three minutes, cutting the Raptors lead down to eight before Damon Jones hit a pair of threes setting it up for James to tie everything at 76 midway through the quarter. Once the game was tied, James continued his scoring binge and gave the Cavs their first lead with just under four minutes remaining and from there they hit their shots, went up by five and withstood free throws and consecutive lay ups from Chris Bosh in the final minutes. In addition to the 39 points on the night from James he also added 11 rebounds and 8 assists. Larry Hughes had 14 points and Drew Gooden had 10 points and 12 rebounds. Bosh had 23 to lead Toronto in the home loss, Anthony Parker had 20 and 9 rebounds while Jose Calderon scored 16 points to go along with 11 assists and Jamario Moon added 16 points and 7 rebounds for the Raptors.
Portland 103 Utah 89
The Trailblazers racked up another win Saturday night. This time they did it with their star point guard not in the game. In the absence of Brandon Roy, the team knew they would have to step it up and Martell Webster did so by scoring a career-high 26 points, 24 of them in a decisive third quarter. It was a victory that helped to avenge the loss to Utah last week that ended their 13-game winning streak. Trailing 42-39 at the half, Portland put in a strong third quarter, thanks to Webster knocking down 10 consecutive shots, including three three-pointers as the Blazers outscored Utah 36-22 in the quarter to take control of the game going into the fourth. In the final period they went up by as many as 20 points and came away with the 103-89 win. While Webster had 26, LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 points and 8 rebounds, Travis Outlaw scored 14 and Sergio Rodriguez had 12. Deron Williams led Utah with 23 points and 7 assists as Mehmet Okur added 15 points and Matt Harpring added 14 off of the bench. Carlos Boozer was held to only 6 points to go along with his 9 rebounds in the game. Portland out-rebounded the Jazz 43-31 in the contest and hit 27 of their 31 free throw attempts as compared to Utah connecting on only 13 of their 21 attempts at the line.
Phoenix 137 Denver 115
One team was coming off of a big win, the other a disappointing loss that had everyone pointing fingers. It was the latter who came together as a team and put together a dazzling first half to grab the 137-115 victory over the Denver Nuggets. The game was already a rout by the second quarter, with Phoenix going up by 23 points after putting in a 46-point effort in the first and leading 78-59 at the half. For the rest of the way Phoenix was in control, as the Nuggets could not get any closer than 13 points down the stretch. Part of the reason why Phoenix was able to hold onto that lead were the 20 three-pointers that the team had, seven of them coming from Marcus Banks off of the bench. Another five came from Shawn Marion, another came from Brian Skinner, only the second of his career. It was just one of those nights for the Suns as they finished shooting 65% from beyond the arc and spoiled a 32-point performance by Allen Iverson. Shawn Marion was the leader for Phoenix, finishing with 27 points, 14 rebounds and 6 blocked shots. Amare Stoudemire had 20 points and 10 rebounds, Grant Hill added 20 points and Banks finished with 23 off of the bench on 7-8 shooting. Steve Nash added 13 points and 10 assists. Besides Iverson’s 32, Carmelo Anthony added 20 points and 14 rebounds, Marcus Camby had 13 and Nene had 12 in the loss.
Golden State 130 San Antonio 121 OT
While Stephen Jackson was cold all game long it didn’t take him long to heat up when the game was on the line. Scoring 12 points in the overtime period Jackson helped lead the Warriors to a 130-121 victory over the Spurs. While Baron Davis carried Golden State in regulation in the extra session it was all Jackson. Davis had 12 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter as he answered with a three-point play or a huge assist every time San Antonio scored. Golden State led 51-44 at the half and went up by as many as 14 points in the second half before the Spurs rallied back in the fourth. While the Warriors took a six point lead with 47 seconds remaining the Spurs quickly erased the deficit with a three-point play opportunity and then a Parker three to tie the game with 6.3 seconds on the clock. In the overtime Jackson got to work quickly and he was simply too much for the Spurs as they were outscored 18-9 in the final five minutes. While Davis and Jackson led the way for the Warriors, they had plenty of help. Davis finished with 34 points and 14 assists in the victory while Jackson shot only 8-21 but ended up with 29 points and hit the shots when they needed them to drop. Monta Ellis had 16 points and 9 rebounds, Andris Biedrins had a 13-point, 10-rebound double-double and Kelenna Azubuike scored 16 points off of the bench. Tim Duncan led San Antonio in the loss with 32 points and 13 rebounds. Tony Parker was right behind him with 31 and 8 assists. Manu Ginobili scored 20 off of the bench and Michael Finely added 14