by Holly MacKenzie

Before we go any further we need to address Lakers/Celtics. It’s only one game but damn was I happy. Okay, that’s it, I am above gloating. It’s only the regular season. It was only one game. But, man it is so freaking good to see your team play the way they are capable of playing. And, taking down those Celtics in the process.

Trevor Ariza. Makes. My. Heart. Sing. Oh yes, he does. That mix of athleticism and heart combined with his knack for being in the right place at the right time to make the right play has made him my new favorite player of the year. He’s fantastic. And, all over the place, but always exactly where he needs to be. He’s simply a perfect fit for these Lakers.

Even if some of you don’t agree.

A day after the Lakers take down the C’s, what do I get to witness? My other boys, my Golden State boys take them down, too! Obviously, I know they got lucky and they are not suddenly going to be dropping top teams every night, but it doesn’t matter.

Stephen Jackson was back in the lineup and he was feeling it, hitting from all over in the fourth to give the Warriors the win. It was an exciting finish and a come from behind victory for GS with the crowd on their feet.

Enough of my gushing about my two teams.

Hope everyone has been wonderful since the last time we checked in here and that you are all looking forward to a 2009 that is fast approaching. I love the start of the new year because it means I get to break open a new planner and as a girl who lives by lists and checking things off, my Italy themed planner for 2009 (as a subtle reminder to myself of where I want to visit this year), has already been filled out with both Raptors and Lakers games.

He's a giantWe really cannot ever escape this wonderful game, can we? Not that I’d want to.

It was his seventh pro start and Roy Hibbert had a great game for the Pacers last night in their game against the Hornets. While the kid could not stay out of foul trouble to save his soul, he had 19 points by the middle of the third quarter and you could tell he was hyped up about it. Rookie-watch is one of my favorite parts of each NBA season. I love their excitement, their work ethic and wide-eyed way of looking at things.

I feel the exact same way and I pray it never changes for me.

While the Mavericks were without Dirk because of a one-game suspension that came as a result of that punch he threw at Harpring on Friday night, they still rolled all over the Clippers so I am skipping that recap. All you need to know was, it was a game so ugly, I didn’t want to watch, Josh Howard had 29/9/7 (you all know I love this), and the Clippers picked up jump superstar Fred Jones to try and help them out this season.

Now that all of the games are finished, I’m wishing I would have chosen to skip the gongshow that was the Boston/Sacramento match up. 40-point losses are always fun.

And, let’s get to the recapping!

Denver 117 New York 110

While the Knicks are having little problem scoring points these days, they have been having some trouble stopping their opponents from doing the same. Yesterday, New York faced a Denver Nuggets squad that had Carmelo Anthony returning to the lineup. The result was a 32-point performance from Anthony and a 117-110 come from behind win for the Nuggets, extending the Knicks losing streak to six games. While the Knicks led by one with 4:32 remaining in the game, Anthony took control, giving his team the lead and then ensuring they held on to it by knocking down back-to-back jumpers to put the Nuggets up six. Melo scored his 32 on 13-19 field goals while JR Smith scored 16 off of the bench and Chauncey Billups added 14. The Knicks were led by Chris Duhon’s 17 points and 11 assists while Nate Robinson had 20 off of the bench and Wilson Chandler also scored 17.

New Orleans 105 Indiana 103

In what turned out to be the game of the night, the Hornets were able to comeback against the Pacers and deliver Indiana their sixth loss this season that has been decided by five points or less. While Indiana started out strong and led throughout the third, the Hornets made their push and went into the final quarter leading by one, 76-75. With 11 points from Chris Paul in the final quarter, his final two coming from a fadeaway in the lane that gave the Hornets a 103-101 lead with 45 seconds remaining, then the assist on the final possession of the game, the Hornets prevailed. That Chris Paul assist went to David West who drained a shot from the corner with 2.5 seconds left in the game and the Pacers were unable to connect on a heave from half court. Paul finished with 19 points and 12 assists, West scored 18 to go with 10 rebounds and James Posey had 19 off of the bench. Danny Granger scored 34 points for the Pacers, rookie Roy Hibbert had 19 points and Troy Murphy scored 16 points to go with 16 rebounds.

Cleveland 93 Miami 86

With Bron and Dwyane going head to head and each determined to get the W, it was LeBron & Co. who came out on top, continuing their dominance at home as they protected their undefeated record at the Quicken Loans Arena this season. After the Heat put up a 25 point third quarter while holding the Cavs to only 14 points, it was going to take a defensive stand from the Cavaliers to get the W. Not only did they hold Miami to 19 points in the final quarter, they exploded for 35 of their own, as they took down the Heat, 93-86. Trailing by as many as 9 in the fourth, they used an 18-2 run to take control and take the game, despite Mo Williams fouling out down the stretch. Bron finished with 33 points and 9 assists. Williams scored 20 before fouling out and Delonte West added 11. Dwyane finished with 29 points and 8 assists for the Heat as Udonis Haslem scored 15 points to go with 9 rebounds and Michael Beasley added 9 off of the bench.

Boston 108 Sacramento 63

Two nights after dropping consecutive games for the first time since last season, the Boston Celtics were not about to go down again. Unfortunately for the Sacramento Kings, they were facing the refocused C’s. As expected, the Celtics killed the Kings, with Sacramento unable to reach 20 points in any quarter. After outscoring the Kings 36-17 in the second quarter, the game was already decided by halftime with Boston leading 59-34. The second half only brought more of the same. Kevin Garnett led the C’s with 21 points and 11 rebounds while Ray Allen scored 19 and Eddie House added 15 off of the bench. John Salmons was the only King to score in double figures as he reached 11. The Kings shot an u-g-l-y 28% for the game while giving up 52% shooting to Boston.

LA Lakers 130 Golden State 113

After grinding out an improbable victory against the Celtics two nights prior, the Warriors were hoping for another holiday miracle as they headed to STAPLES to face the Lakers. The Lakers were coming off of a Christmas Day victory over those same Celtics and would not be stopped by the Warriors. With a decisive third quarter that blew the game open and saw LA outscore Golden State 37-27, the Lakers outrebounded the Warriors 47-33 and had 33 assists as compared to the 23 for Golden State. Kobe Bryant had 31 points for the Lakers while Derek Fisher scored 19, Sasha Vujacic scored 17 and Andrew Bynum added 13 points and 10 rebounds. Jamal Crawford led the Warriors with 22 points while Brandon Wright scored 14 and Andris Biedrins pulled down 17 rebounds to go with 8 points.