By: Holly MacKenzie
Another weekend of basketball behind us. Big match ups were all over the place and of course, the Lakers dropped their last two. This bodes really well for getting time with some happy players at the game on Friday… If only they could sustain their energy and give a full effort for 48 minutes. If only they had Andrew Bynum. Anyone who doubted the impact this kid has on the team can clearly see it now.
The Raptors looked really good against the Bucks. I had a feeling they were going to come out strong, but didn’t expect that much of a win. Maybe that win against the Celtics will stay with them and be the boost that they need to finish out the season strong. Halftime was Jose Calderon handing out Gatorades to all of his teammates like usual. And just like that Raps went up by 23. Calderon hits a three to finish the quarter and the crowd goes absolutely bananas.… I don’t care who does or doesn’t have him on their all-star list, I think this kid does deserve to make the all-star game and he is proving it nightly. LOVE seeing him on the bench cheering as the raps are up by 30 now. +33 for Calderon in the game, finishing with 11 points and 12 assists.
Caught Kwame with an air-ball during the Lakers/Mavericks game… U-G-L-Y… I was surprised Avery didn’t go to the hack-a-kwame. Gosh, I don’t even want to imagine what would happen if they decided to go to that in LA. The Staples crowd would tear him apart.
I have decided that J Ho (Josh Howard, in case you didn’t know), is the worst nickname ever.
I’m ticked I missed the majority of the Celtics/Timberwolves game. The Twolves were holding it down until the final minutes of the game where their youth was exposed. I’m with Myles who was dropping the praise on Ryan Gomes last week. He just seems like a great guy on and off court. The TWolves look like a different team than they have as of late and I am loving the ball movement and Telfair/Gomes/Al. Bassy was fantastic in the game and it feels so good to see him play well. The Bron/Bassy cover was one of my favorites and I always feel bad when people talk about how he made the jump too early and he hasn’t lived up to the hype. He is still so talented and so quick. I love a feel good story and he was a good one in that game, even if he did lose the ball in the final seconds. KG, what more do I need to say. Intensity.
Lakers and Cavaliers. I’m not going to comment much on the Kobe/LeBron hype because I’m sure it will be mentioned elsewhere. I’m also confident it will be brought up in the comments regardless, so I will let you all have at it. I was not happy, not with Kobe, but with the Lakers as a team, substitutions and effort. Frustrating. Bron was great though.
Suns have been interesting to watch their past two games. A close one in Cleveland where Marion saved the day in the final seconds and then the grind-it-out win against the Bulls last night. Too bad to see Grant Hill sit out with back spasms, but, I was shocked he had returned from the appendectomy as quickly as he did, so hopefully all he needs is a little more time to get healthy.
All of this talk of Webber in Golden State with Nellie makes me nervous. I didn’t like the talk of Gary Payton joining the Warriors and I don’t think I like C-Webb there either. I just think they have such a good chemistry that bringing in a vet like one of these two might mess it up. Not to mention the subplot with Webber and Nellie. Maybe it would be great, I just don’t want to see anything compromise Golden State and their chemistry.
Orlando 96 Boston 93
While the Celtics have been rolling thanks to their big three of Garnett, Pierce and Allen, they were down one of their stars on Sunday against the Magic and things didn’t go in their favor. With Garnett out with a strained abdominal the Celtics dropped to the Magic 96-93. After going down by as many as 16 points after being outscored 32-16 in the third quarter the Celtics stuck together and managed to cut the lead down to 10 at the start of the fourth where they dug in defensively and kept Orlando scoreless for almost four minutes. During the Orlando drought they cut the lead and Allen knocked down a three-pointer with 14 seconds left on the clock to tie the game at 93. On the Magic’s final possession of the game it was Hedo Turkoglu that took the final shot. Rather than a drive to the basket or a two-point shot he rose up and knocked down the three-pointer as the buzzer sounded to give Orlando the three-point victory. Turkoglu finished with 27 points, Dwight Howard added 18 points,16 rebounds and 5 blocked shots and Rashard Lewis added 15. Pierce led Boston with 24 points and 9 rebounds, Allen had 17, James Posey scored 16 and Rajon Rondo added 15 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 steals.
Portland 94 Atlanta 93
After losing against Houston at home on Friday night the Trailblazers were not about to let it happen again. While it appeared as those Atlanta was going to hand Portland their third straight loss, the Blazers rallied back from 19 down to win the game by one on a made free throw by star guard Brandon Roy with 2.3 seconds left in the game. Roy had been ailing all day, running a fever and had to be given liquids during the game. Still, he chipped in 24 points and saved the day as Portland looked a step slow in the first half, trailing 52-37 at the break. With a strong finish to the third quarter to cut the lead to 10 going into the fourth, the stage was set for their comeback as they went on to outscore the Hawks 31-20 in the final 12 minutes of play. Besides Roy and his 24 points, LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 points and 8 boards, Travis Outlaw scored 15 and Channing Frye had 14. Joe Johnson had 19 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists for the Hawks while Marvin Williams and Josh Smith each had 17 and Anthony Johnson added 12 points and 11 assists. Al Horford added 9 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.
Minnesota 98 New Jersey 95
It was a great night for Al Jefferson, not so much for the Nets. While Minnesota might own the worst record in the NBA, the struggling Nets dropped their ninth straight game thanks to Jefferson and his career-high 40 points. In a game that was all New Jersey early on and saw the TWolves trailing by 15 points with under 10 minutes left to play, the Wolves showed they are growing up. Outscoring the Nets 34-21 in the period, Minnesota got key contributions from Gerald Green (two three-pointers) and Corey Brewer (all eight of his points), in the final minutes of the game as they managed to shave off seven points in under two minutes to take the lead. Ryan Gomes hit a three with 40 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 95-94 and that set the stage for Al Jefferson’s big finish as he knocked down all four of his free throws in the final seconds to close the game out as the Nets were held scoreless on their final two possessions. Al Jefferson was too much to handle, scoring 40 points, grabbing 19 rebounds (8 offensive), and blocking 3 shots. Rashad McCants scored 16 points and Sebastian Telfair added 12. Richard Jefferson had a team-high 35 points and 7 rebounds for New Jersey while Vince Carter added 25 points and Sean Williams had 8 points and 12 rebounds.
Miami 98 Indiana 96
After 14 games and over an entire month of losing, the Miami Heat got a bit of breathing room as they got a victory against the Indiana pacers. It may have only been a two point victory that went down to the final possession, but it was a victory and that is all that mattered. After slow starts by both teams the Heat trailed 57-48 at the half. They would go on to outscore Indiana by nine in the third with Dwyane Wade hitting nine of their points during an 11-0 run that gave them a two point lead before the Pacers would tie it back up and the teams were each sitting at 77 at the start of the fourth. In the final period the Heat would go up by as many as nine points with under six minutes to play but they had to watch the lead evaporate as the Pacers went on a 9-2 run to cut the lead down to two points but Indiana would not get any closer as they had their chances, but a Wade deflection in the final seconds sealed the game for Miami. Wade finished with 35 points, Mark Blount added 19, Dorell Wright had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Udonis Haslem scored 12 points to go with his 9 boards. The Pacers were led by Mike Dunleavy’s 25 points while Danny Granger and Andre Owens scored 13 points apiece, Kareem Rush had 12 and Troy Murphy scored 9 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.
Toronto 106 Milwaukee 75
Coming off of a big victory in Boston the Raptors returned home and continued their winning ways, dropping the Milwaukee Bucks 106-75. After losing 112-85 to the same Milwaukee team in on the road earlier this season, the Raptors set out to show their team has grown since then. Leading 47-42 at the half, the Raptors blew the game open in the third, outscoring the Bucks 32-11 as they went on a 19-0 run and held Milwaukee scoreless over a five minute period. At the start of the fourth quarter the Raptors were up 79-53, thanks to Jose Calderon’s three-pointer as the buzzer sounded at the end of the third. It was just that kind of night for the Raptors and the fourth quarter only brought more of the same as Milwaukee could not get anything to go their way. Chris Bosh Led Toronto with 32 points, Carlos Delfino scored 18 off of the bench, Calderon finished with 11 points and 12 assists as Andrea Bargnani and Anthony Parker added 13 points apiece in the blowout. Michael Redd and Charlie Villanueva each had 12 points for Milwaukee as they were the only player to reach double figures for the Bucks.
Memphis 125 LA Clippers 120 OT
After dropping all of their overtime contests this season, the Memphis Grizzlies managed to win one Saturday night, thanks to the play of Rudy Gay. With Pau Gasol sitting the game out, Gay played nearly 52 minutes and poured in 34 points and 12 rebounds to help the Grizzlies stall the Clippers in overtime. While Memphis led for the entire regulation, the Clippers tied the game up at 108 on a layup by Corey Maggette with 28 seconds remaining. After LA forced a Memphis turnover on the next possession, the game went into overtime. In the extra session the Clippers struck first and went up by as many as three points before Memphis started attacking and getting to the free-throw line where they knocked down seven of eight foul shots in the final minutes of the extra session to grab the win. With Chris Kaman sitting out for the Clippers, Memphis out-rebounded LA 43-34 in the victory. Besides Gay and his career-night, Mike Miller scored 27 points, Kyle Lowry had 21 points, Juan Carlos Navarro had 18 points and Hakim Warrick added 17 points off of the bench. In the losing effort, Corey Maggette had 35 points and 9 rebounds for LA. Sam Cassell scored 25 points, Tim Thomas had 23 and 8 rebounds and Cuttino Mobley added 15.
Golden State 106 New York 104
When the Knicks saw the Golden State Warriors struggle early on, they should have known to be cautious because they can come back in a hurry. That is just what they did last night as they turned an 11-point deficit into a tie-game in the third quarter. They would continue their offensive flurry into the fourth and after Stephen Jackson knocked down three three-pointers to open the final period, the Warriors had put together a 17-5 run to not only come back from the deficit, but take a 95-87 lead. The Knicks would battle back and get the lead down to five points in the final minutes but Golden State was solid with Baron Davis hitting a jumper and Jackson knocking down free throws in the final seconds to protect their lead. A Nate Robinson three with 1.5 seconds remaining cut the lead down to two points, but the game was over as the Warriors ran out the clock with the win. Andris Biedrins had 11 points and an NBA season-high, career-high 26 rebounds for Golden State. Jackson led the way offensively with 25 points, Monta Ellis had 24 and Davis finished with 22 points and 9 assists. Robinson led the Knicks with 22 off of the bench, Jamal Crawford had 21 points and Eddy Curry added 17. David Lee had 8 points and 13 rebounds off of the bench and Quentin Richardson added 14 points.