by Holly MacKenzie

Why does it feel like Monday night always has a handful of matchups that are not overly intriguing? I enjoyed Golden State and Utah, but that’s because I like anything Warriors. I did not enjoy Toronto/Milwaukee because those damn Raptors folded in the final minutes.

Didn’t get to catch much of San Antonio and Miami, but that block from Ginobili, um, yeah.

San Antonio is too good. When Matt Bonner is starting and scoring in double-figures, you know they are rounding into mid-season form and rolling to the victories.

Ridiculous, but you can’t hate them.

Seeing David Robinson sitting courtside in Miami was a nice little treat as well. Is there anyone here who can honestly say they don’t like this man? I can’t. Bet you already knew that though.

While I hated seeing the Raptors lose, I was happy that Charlie V had a great game. It’s got to feel amazing to always be able to stick it to the team that drafted you and then sent you packing.

I had a sad moment when my guy Stephen Jackson went down last night. Just before half, he Carmelo's bum handwent down clutching his leg, a damned hamstring injury for him that caused him to miss the second half of the game. I’m hoping he takes some time off, does whatever he needs to do to get healthy.

And one more on the injury watch: Melo’s got a probable fracture of his right hand and will see a specialist tomorrow. Sending him the speediest of well wishes. Sorry to hear this, Cub!

Enough with the injuries, already!

On to happier news, we’ve got a big one on the schedule tonight. Lakers/Hornets. I’m pretty excited. I also want to see if those Wizards can come up with another win as they face the Magic tomorrow night.

Speaking of the Wizards, great to hear that Gil is making progress on his recovery from knee surgery and is now playing two-on-two games again.

It’s his birthday today, so the happiest of birthday wishes are being sent out to to an NBA player who’s had a bigger impact on me than he’ll ever realize. And, as always, when speaking of Gil, wishes of health go along with those for happiness.

And, let’s recap!

San Antonio 91 Miami 84

While the Heat are trying to find an identity and integrate two rookies in their main rotation, the Spurs are seasoned, veterans who are cool under pressure. Last night they used that coolness to hold off Dwyane Wade and a Miami squad that was nipping at their heels in the fourth quarter. When their lead was whittled down to only three, the Spurs were solid, shooting 50% in the final quarter as Manu Ginobili was the hero, blocking a Wade attempt with less than two minutes to go. After the block deflated the Heat, the Spurs went on to take care of business and stretch the lead to five. Tim Duncan led the way with 19 points and 9 rebounds while Roger Mason and Matt Bonner each scored 11 and George Hill added 15 off of the bench. Wade finished with 24 points and 12 assists as Michael Beasley had a 15-point, 12-rebound double-double and Shawn Marion also added 15.

Milwaukee 107 Toronto 97

After piecing together two big victories on their home floor, the Raptors were looking to continue the winning on the road against the Bucks last night. Luke Ridnour had other things in mind. With the game on the line and the two teams in a dogfight down to the end, Ridnour responded, knocking down two three-pointers in the final minutes as the Bucks went on a 13-0 run to finish the game while the Raptors fell apart, missing their final five attempts from the floor. Without Jermaine O’Neal and Jose Calderon, Michael Redd scored a season-high 35 and former Raptor Charlie Villanueva added 25, including 13 in the final 12 minutes. Chris Bosh led Toronto with 31 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists as Bargnani scored 21 points and Anthony Parker added 12 in the loss.

Utah 119 Golden State 114

Another close game, another loss for the Warriors. And, the frustrating finishes continue for Golden State. While they had Corey Maggette back after missing the last 15 with a hamstring injury, they lost leading scorer and captain Stephen Jackson to a pulled hamstring just before the first half. The Warriors kept things close until the final minutes and neither team led by double figures in the game, but in the fourth it was the Jazz who simply outworked Golden State. Led by Deron Willimas and Paul Millsap, they took a seven-point lead in the final 1:14 to go on and get the victory thanks to solid free throw shooting down the stretch. Millsap finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds, while Deron Williams put in 25 points to go with 15 assists and Mehmet Okur added 20 points to go with 11 rebounds. Jamal Crawford scored 28 for the Warriors, Andris Biedrins had 14 points to go with 17 rebounds and Corey Maggette scored 23 in his return.

New Jersey 98 Sacramento 90

It’s funny how we can all hate on Vince Carter, but when the season is out, he’s always got a handful of game winners and dominating fourth quarters to choose from. Last night was no different as he took matters into his own hands and ensured that the Nets won on their home floor against the Kings, despite Devin Harris having to sit out the second half with a hamstring injury. While Sacramento led 55-43 at the half, the Nets trimmed the lead in the third and trailed by only two to start the fourth where they then dug their heels into the ground and outscored the Kings 26-16. At the end of the game, it was Carter who responded when his team needed him. Getting an and-1 where he misses the free throw, the ball finds it’s way to him where he knocks down a three-pointer and the Nets were safe from there. Carter finished with 29 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists while Yi Jianlian added 22 points and 13 rebounds. Kevin Martin had 36 for the kings, Jason Thompson scored 12 and Francisco Garcia added 10.