by Holly MacKenzie / @stackmack

It’s Monday…. And I’m going home. Yes, it’s that time of the year and I’m ridiculously excited. I’m flying out to Nova Scotia in a few short hours and I cannot wait to see my mother. I’m also excited to dig into this stack of books I’ve got waiting for me.

Before I head out, holy rookie battle between Tyreke Evans and Brandon Jennings on Saturday night, right?

While Evans got the W, and got his team the W with a driving layup with .9 seconds on the clock, the two rookies were both awesome to watch battle down the strethc. Someone wanna explain to me how Jennings comes up with so many big rebounds? And Evans, HOW does he look so experienced? He just does not look like this is his first stab at the NBA game.

I had a lot of fun watching that one.

Saturday night was just insane for hoops all around. Can you recall a December night in the NBA with so many close games?

The Bulls hung on to take down Atlanta, despite Derrick Rose missing two free throws that would have clinched the game. Spurs and Pacers went down to the wire with Duncan playing hero and Andre Iguodala hit the closest “too-late” buzzer-beater that I’ve ever seen.

Also, hellllllo, Memphis. We see you. You’re not giving us any chance not to. Zach Randolph was huge in a victory against the Denver Nuggets yesterday. He scored 32 points and pulled down a career-high 24 rebouds as the Grizzlies took down Denver 102-96. Huge win for the Grizz who were up by as many as 23 in the first half and managed to weather a Nuggets push late.

Was able to watch Chris Paul up close for the first time yesterday and what do you know, Marcus Banks came in and did a defensive number on him. Crazy, right? I sound as though I’m kidding, but in all seriousness, the size of Banks as well as Jarrett Jack seemed to give Paul some trouble and he wasn’t ever really able to get it going offensively. Of course, he also left the game in the second quarter after tweaking that ankle that caused him to miss eight games earlier this season but claimed the ankle wasn’t the problem. He’s a tough one.

I know not many of you catch Raptors games –and I don’t blame you, with how a lot of this season has gone– but, man, Amir Johnson is the easiest player to root for in the entire league. He’s fun, he hustles and he busts his ass on every single possession. He had 12 boards in 21 minutes last night and the guy is just the easiest, nicest, most down-to-earth professional athlete you could ever imagine.

Guys working hard make me happy.

So do great basketball books. If you haven’t already, read The Art of a Beautiful Game. For some Christmas reading grab Jackie MacMullan’s When the Game Was Ours” with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Of course, Simmons’ Book of Basketball is on my list, too and of course, Shooting Stars, the LeBron book, although I still maintain that “More Than A Game” is the best movie I’ll see this year. And next year, too.

Okay, I’ve gotta get to packing. If you were caught in the storm this weekend, I hope you enjoyed the time in and that you’re all safe, happy and healthy.

Oh yeah! I was happy the Blazers redeemed themselves on the second night of a back-to-back after, winning in Miami after falling apart in Orlando.

And, um, Carl Landry? Warrior of the season, I think. Crazy, crazy, crazy that Lou Williams was back in action so quick from that broken jaw, too.