by Holly MacKenzie / @stackmack

And….. We’re back. The second half of the season is officially here. Yes, yes, I know the halfway mark has already passed, but All-Star sort of serves as a break and then we have the home stretch. I’m excited. Also a little confused as to where the past few months have gone. The Raptors have 30 games left, 15 home, 15 away. I don’t even want to think about the offseason.

Although, it will involve summer league in Las Vegas and a rookie named John Wall. Already excited for that.

All-Star weekend. What did you think?

I enjoyed it. I know that the events on Saturday night were not up to the standards we’ve set, but I really, really enjoyed the rookie-sophomore game on Friday (word up, roooookies!) and I always love the skills competition. Becky Hammon is a fave, so I was pumped to see her with Team Texas and I even enjoyed H-O-R-S-E… Although I don’t get why they rushed it at the end just to take us to more commentators talking. I would have preferred to watch the rest of the competition.

The ASG itself was fun, competitive, packed (a little bit too quiet for my liking), down to the wire. It was fun to see Chris Bosh make the game-winning free throws in his hometown and it’s always great to watch the game’s best playing together.

Now, onto last night.

Nets won! Nets won! Nets won!

Crazy. The Nets won. Against Charlotte. In Charlotte. I wasn’t expecting it either, but they did. The final score was 103-94 and Devin Harris had 17 points and nine assists while Courtney Lee added 21. It was an awful night for Stephen Jackson who shot just 7-for-20 from the floor, including 0-for-6 from deep.

In Oklahoma, the Thunder bounced back from an awful first quarter to take down the Mavs, 99-86. While the game was close at the half, the OKC D stepped up in the second half, holding the Mavericks to just 32 points over the third and fourth quarters. While Kevin Durant hit a shot in the final seconds to keep his streak of 25+ points going, Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green and James Harden each added 17 points apiece. It was an off-shooting night for Durant, shooting just 9-for-28, but they survived, holding Dirk Nowitzki to 24 points on 22 shots.

New Mav Caron Butler certainly wasn’t shy to shoot, attempting 16 shots and making just four of them. It was nice to see Caron in the Dallas uniform, though. Got a feeling he’ll be a good fit when he gets used to things. He actually drives and attacks the hoop like Josh Howard used to before this disaster of a season.

In Philly, Allen Iverson returned after a five game absence –thoughts with his family as his daughter continues to recover from an illness– and the Sixers were absolutely smoked by the Heat, 105-78. Ehh, it was ugly. Dwyane Wade had 24 points, six rebounds and six assists, Jermaine O’Neal added 20 and QRich added 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Pistons got the big 108-85 victory over the TWolves, with Minnesota getting outscored 33-13 in the third quarter. Yup, that’s pretty much the ballgame right there. Jonas Jerebko had 21 for the Pistons, Rip Hamilton added 12 points and seven assists and Will Bynum had 14 assists off of the bench and  Kevin Love had 22 points and 15 boards, Al Jefferson added 14.

In Memphis, Steve Nash took four shots, finished with four shots and had 16 dimes (with just two turnovers) in the 109-95 Suns victory. JRich had 27 points and Amare Stoudemire added 21 and 10. Zach Randolph had 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Grizz, who shot just 36 percent from the floor for the game.

About Amare: Is this guy going to be moved? I’m anxious for tomorrow to get here to see how things shake out.

118-85. Oh, New York. The Bulls took advantage as the Knicks fell apart in the second half, scoring just 35 points in the second half. While David Lee had 24 points and 12 rebounds, he didn’t get a lot of help. Derrick Rose was on fire, scoring 29 points on 14-for-18 shooting as six Bulls reached double-figures and Chi won despite playing without Joakim Noah.

The Jazz got the W against the Rockets, winning, 104-95 thanks to a strong fourth quarter and big nights from Deron Williams (17 points and 15 assists) and Paul Millap (20 points and 12 rebounds off of the bench). Mehmet Okur added 21 points for the Jazz. The victory was the Jazz’s 14th of their last 16th and their fourth straight on the road.

In Sacramento, the Kings played games with my heart, having the game against the Celtics and then blowing free throws in the fourth quarter like it was their job, allowing Boston to get back into the game and steal the 95-92 road win. Pierce and Sheed each scored 17 points and Ray Allen added 15. It was a quiet night for Rondo and KG, with Rondo scoring four points to go with seven rebounds and six assists and KG adding nine points. Tyreke Evans had 17 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists for the Kings while the other rookie, Casspi added 19. Love this Kings team, even when they kill me and shoot just 19-for-30 from the free throw line.

Now, there are two more games going on right now, but my ass is going to sleep because I’m pretty tired and was spoiled by the All-Star break. Okay, not sleep, but to get under the covers and watch the end of this Lakers game. Yay!

Before I go, just wanted to say thoughts and prayers and all things positive are being sent out to George Karl and his family. It’s not fair that he’s got to go through this again, not one little bit. It’s never fair when it comes to cancer. Here’s hoping he feels the love and strength of his many supporters and that he gets through this with as much fight as he did the last time.