By: Holly MacKenzie
Tonight hurt as a Lakers fan. To be up like that from playing the game the RIGHT way and then to come out after the half and just deviate from everything that was good and right and easy? No.
I do not want to talk about this game yet I feel like I need to. Lakers play amazing ball in the first half, ball movement, everyone is involved, passing, cutting, dunking, LA is up by nine at the half. Of course, it then takes them until the 5:29 mark in the third quarter to score for the first time out of the break. Game over. Momentum has swung, Spurs get their groove back. The Lakers completely collapse in the second half. Kobe had 29 points, 12 rebounds 5 assists. Don’t be deceived, only one of those assists came in the second half, he had four of his shots blocked and 9 horrendous turnovers. With the exception of Farmar, Turiaf and even Vujacic, there was a huge drop off in energy for the Lakers and the Spurs outscored the Lakers by 19 points in the third (31-12. 12!), to go into the fourth up by 10. End of story.
Okay, enough ranting. This game is over, this discussion is over and I am done thinking about SA.
Jose Calderon continued his strong play last night as he gave the Raptors the win against Boston with a HUGE three-point play on their final possession. People can say whatever they want about whether he deserves to be an all-star or not, I don’t think he really cares or gets caught up in the hype. His main focus is on helping his team get better and he has been doing a great job of that. I can’t wait to see him play next week.
Before the game last night the most points scored by an opponent in Boston was 96. The Raptors had 114 and finally got a win against the Celtics to finish 1-3 against them.
I thought one of the more exciting matchups of the night would be Cleveland and Washington. Ha, it was like the New York @ Boston debacle earlier this year. I had most of my attention focused towards the Toronto/Boston game and I had joined in on a live blog but, when I flipped and saw the score I immediately went and took my contacts out, rubbed my eyes, put glasses on and tried to refocus. There was no need, as the Cavaliers really were up by almost 40.
Toronto 114 Boston 112
After dropping all three of their previous meetings with Boston this season, this was the Raptors last shot to take down the league-leading Celtics. Thanks to hot shooting from the floor, the three-point line and the foul line the Raptors were able to take a 57-55 halftime lead into the locker room. The Celtics would come back and be up by seven at the start of the fourth where they would remain up by seven with five minutes remaining before the Raptors sprang into action, with four quick points from Chris Bosh to cut into the lead and in the final minute, Jose Calderon knocked down two free throws and the Raptors went up by one. With fourteen seconds on the clock it appeared as though the the victory would go to Boston as Ray Allen knocked down a jumper to give them the 112-111 lead. On the Raptors final possession, it was Calderon who was the star, driving hard to the hoop and not only giving his team a 113-112 lead, getting the foul call where he would complete the three-point play. Trailing by two, the Celtics went for a three and they would miss. Allen grabbed an offensive board but missed the shot attempt as the buzzer sounded. Calderon led Toronto with 24 points, 13 assists and 3 steals, Bosh added 23 points and 7 rebounds, Anthony Parker scored 23 as well. Andrea Bargnani had a strong game with 20 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists and Carlos Delfino added 15 off of the bench. The Raptors shot 58% for the game, 71% from the three-point line and were a perfect 19-19 from the foul line. Kevin Garnett had 26 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists for the Celtics while Allen and Pierce each added 19 in the loss.
Detroit 86 Philadelphia 78
The Pistons were out-rebounded 47-33 in their game against Philadelphia last night. they also scored only 16 points in the fourth quarter. That didn’t mean anything though because the 76er’s managed even less, scoring 15 points in the final period where they were unable to close the gap and the Pistons walked away with the 86-78 victory and avoided a rare four-game losing streak. While Detroit never really threatened to turn the game into a blowout, they were up nine at the half and they managed to stay in control to get the win as they committed only nine turnovers in the game as compared to 17 for Philadelphia. Richard Hamilton had 21 points for Detroit, Chauncey Billups scored 19 to go with 5 assists and Tayshaun Prince added 16. Willie Green had 16 points in the loss, Samuel Dalembert had 8 points and 13 rebounds, Andre Iguodala scored 15 and Louis Williams added 15.
Dallas 102 Charlotte 95
While the Bobcats have been steadily improving in recent weeks, they fell just short of being able to take down the Mavericks last night. it was not because of a lack of effort but effort alone was not quite enough as the smaller Bobcats were unable to stop Dallas in the final minutes after getting within three points with 2:38 remaining. Charlotte had their chances to tie the game, but they were unable to score while Dallas was solid at the foul line, knocking down six straight to secure the victory. Devin Harris had 23 points and 9 assists for Dallas, Josh Howard added 21 points and 12 boards and Dirk Nowitzki scored 20 points, grabbed 8 rebounds and dished 5 assists to go along with 3 blocked shots. Jason Terry added 16 off of the bench. Gerald Wallace, who was questionable before the game and ended up playing the entire 48 minutes finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds , Jason Richardson had 22 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. Emeka Okafor had 19 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks and Raymond Felton added 16 points and 7 assists in the loss.
Orlando 112 Memphis 85
The Magic got their third straight victory last night, routing the Grizzlies 112-85 thanks to a strong second quarter and an even stronger fourth. Outscoring Memphis 31-20 in the second quarter to take a 58- 48 halftime lead, the Magic would extend their advantage to 14 points at the start of the fourth where their lead was never in doubt and they went on to win by 27, as they knocked down a franchise-record 18 three-pointers in the game. They shot 18-33 from beyond the arc and had six players finish in double-figures. Hedo Turkoglu had 26 points and 5 assists to lead the Magic, Dwight Howard had 16 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks, Rashard Lewis added 19 points as well and Keyon Dooling had 13 as Orlando had only 6 turnovers in the game. Rudy Gay had 20 points and 8 rebounds for Memphis and Pau Gasol added 17 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists while Mike Conley Jr. had 13 points and 5 assists.
New Orleans 96 Portland 81
After a strong opening quarter that saw Portland go up by eight, the New Orleans Hornets showed their defensive skills as they held the Blazers to only 35% shooting after that first quarter. Down 12 in the fourth, the Blazers cut the lead to 77-72 midway through the quarter, but they would not get any closer as Chris Paul and reserve Jannero Pargo combined for eight quick points that extended the Hornets lead to 87-74 with less than three minutes on the clock. From there, New Orleans easily went on to capture what was their 29th victory of the season. Pargo led the team with 24 points off of the bench, David West had 22 points, Paul finished with 18 points and 10 assists and Tyson Chandler added 9 points and 14 rebounds. LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 8 rebounds for the Blazers, Steve Blake scored 15 while Brandon Roy had 14 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists and Travis Outlaw had 14 points off of the bench.
Chicago 108 Indiana 95
While these two teams traded big second and third quarters, the fourth quarter belonged to the Bulls, thanks to Kirk Hinrich and his career-high 38 points, 12 of which came in the final period. It was a night when the Bulls needed someone to step up, playing without Luol Deng who was out with an Achilles injury and Ben Gordon who missed the game because of a sprained wrist. While the Bulls gave up 30 points in the third quarter it didn’t matter because a 17-0 run in the second quarter gave them a lead that they would not relinquish. The Pacers came close to pulling off the comeback, cutting the Chicago lead to 79-77 in the opening minutes of the final period, but the Bulls would rattle off a 16-6 run that saw their lead stretch back to 12 midway through the quarter and they would go on for the 108-95 victory. In addition to Hinrich’s career-high 38 points, he also had 10 assists and 7 rebounds. Andres Nocioni scored 24 points and Thabo Sefolosha added 14. Joakim Noah scored 14 points and pulled down 15 boards for the Bulls. Danny Granger had a career-high 33 points in the loss for Indiana, Jeff Foster had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Kareem Rush added 13.
Houston 109 Seattle 107
Thanks to a strong first three quarters from the Seattle Supersonics, the Rockets needed a strong fourth quarter and Tracy McGrady, their still-sore superstar to help them rally for the 109-107 victory on the road. While Seattle led for most of the game, it didn’t matter as the Rockets managed to cut a 10 point deficit with 5 minutes remaining down to a two point deficit with 1:51 on the clock. On the next possession for Houston, McGrady took Kevin Durant by surprise as he knocked-down a step back three as the shot clock expired to give Houston a one-point lead. Kurt Thomas would score to put Seattle back on top but McGrady drove to the basket and again gave Houston the one-point advantage. After Seattle failed to convert on their next possession, McGrady decided to dish rather than score and as he was triple-teamed he found Rafer Alston hanging out behind the three-point line and he knocked down the triple. Durant gave the Sonics another chance as he hit a shot and McGrady missed at the foul line, but the rookie would miss on his final shot attempt. 18 of McGrady’s game-high 28 points were scored in the second half. Yao Ming had 26 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists. Alston finished with 18, as he knocked down five three-pointers in the game and Shane Battier added 11. Durant finished with 25 points for Seattle, Wally Szczerbiak scored 22 points and Kurt Thomas added 16 points. Nick Collison had 14 rebounds in the game and Luke Ridnour added 10 points and 8 assists.
Cleveland 121 Washington 85
From beginning to end, the Cavaliers led, Zydrunas Ilgauskas was perfect and the Wizards struggled to get anything to go. It was just one of those nights for Washington and the Cavaliers took advantage, pummeling the Wizards 121-85. While the Cavs led 52-46 at the half they had a third quarter they won’t soon forget as they scored 43 points while holding Washington to only 17 points in the period to take a 95-63 lead into the fourth where the starters got to watch from the bench. The Cavaliers finished with 39 assists in the game while committing only 6 turnovers. Ilgauskas went 10-10 from the floor on his way to 24 points, James finished with 23 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists and Drew Gooden had 18 points and 10 rebounds in the rout. The Wizards were out-rebounded 53-29 for the game as they shot only 39% from the floor while Cleveland checked in at 57%. Brendan Haywood had 11 points for Washington as Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison and Roger Mason each added 10 in the loss.
LA Clippers 111 Sacramento 85
After a close first half that had LA leading by one, the Kings went ice-cold in the second and the Clippers took advantage to turn their game into a blowout before the final quarter. With the Clippers up 50-49, they put the defensive clamps on the Kings in the third as they held them to only 15 points while scoring 26 of their own to take 12-point lead into the fourth. In the final period things continued to get worse for the Kings as they were outscored 35-21 and the Clippers went up by as many as 29 points in the contest. Chris Kaman was a handful for the Kings and he finished with his fifth 20-20 game of his career, scoring 20 points to go along with 21 rebounds, Corey Maggette had 21 points and Tim Thomas scored 17. Rookie Al Thornton was terrific off of the bench, adding 23 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Mike Bibby had 16 points to lead the Kings, Brad Miller had 15 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists as Francisco Garcia and Kevin Martin added 11 points apiece.
Minnesota 117 Phoenix 107
Minnesota has now won two games straight for the first time this season with their 117-107 victory over the Phoenix Suns last night. The young TWolves have earned impressive wins in their last two games, starting with the Warriors and now the Suns. Al Jefferson was fantastic in the contest, scoring a career-high 39 points to go along with 15 rebounds as the Wolves led 65-50 at the half and held on for the victory after the Suns cut their lead to 10 with four minutes remaining in the game. Minnesota would ensure they did not get any closer as they went on to collect their win. The Suns were out-rebounded 48-36 as the TWolves grabbed 22 offensive boards as compared to only 3 for Phoenix. Marko Jaric had 15 points, 8 rebounds and 10 assists while Ryan Gomes added 14 points and 9 rebounds and Sebastian Telfair scored 13 points and dished 8 assists. Amare Stoudemire had 33 points to lead the Suns while Steve Nash had 21 points and 16 assists and Raja Bell added 18 in the loss.
Denver 107 Atlanta 100
Even without Carmelo Anthony, the Nuggets were not in the mood to drop another game. The supporting cast stepped up in their star’s absence and the Nuggets were able to ride an 11-point first quarter lead through to the final buzzer. After taking that lead in the first quarter, the Nuggets would extend it to as many as 17 in the first half and the Hawks were stuck playing catch up the rest of the way. They would keep on pushing and with just over five minutes remaining in the game they went on a 10-4 run to cut the Denver lead to only four points, but Anthony Carter and Linas Kleiza were solid each hitting layups to finish the game out with the Nuggets on top. Allen Iverson had 29 points and 6 assists in the victory, Kleiza added 23 points, Kenyon Martin had 20 points and 10 rebounds and Marcus Camby had yet another 20+ rebounding game, finishing with 13 points and 21 boards to go along with 4 blocked shots. Carter had 9 assists for Denver. Josh Smith notched his first career triple-double in the loss, finishing was a huge line of 22 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 steals and 5 blocks as Marvin Williams scored 20 points, Al Horford had 14 points and 11 rebounds and Joe Johnson added 14 points.