The Post Up: All That Jazz
Not even clocks springing forward and EST can stop Sloan’s squad.
I feel like I’ve been through the war and back today! Or tonight, since I’m writing this around, oh, it’s about 5:37 a.m. EST right now. Losing that hour last night, kicked my ass. It should have kicked the Jazz, but of course, they took down the Raptors.
Story of our lives here in Toronto.
Utah’s won 11 straight. 11! They had to deal with the time difference and also losing an hour because of the clocks going ahead Saturday night but still pulled out the win in the fourth. Deron Williams said he fell asleep on the training table 15 minutes before the game, Kyle Korver said he woke up at 1 a.m. and was lying in bed until 4, then woke up at 8 totally confused about whether it was 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. The guys were not thrilled with the early start, but they were able to heat up late and take care of business.
Also, Jerry Sloan is amazing.
I was able to witness Dwyane Wade’s amazing 42-point performance on 17-23 field goals Friday night. I’ve since decided it was the best performance I’ve seen live, slightly beating out Kobe’s 46-point night in February of ’08.
He was incredible. He was also incredibly nice. While I felt as though I spoke with him forever one-on-one after the game, when I sat down to transcribe my piece over at The Score, I quickly realized a lot of what was said wasn’t quoteworthy. What I DID forget to ask (of course), was how it felt to drop the 41 on the eve of his SLAM cover. I had so many things to ask and Dwyane was just so laid back and easy that I got off track.
Either way, Cheryl and Eboy, your boy was fantastically nice and had the media in Toronto smiling.
Here’s the link to my mini-edition of a one-on-one with Dwyane.
My favorite Wade play of the night? There were many that were absolutely lovely, but this one , takes the cake.
I know, I know, he got his first ejection of his career in the final minutes of the Heat’s loss the Cleveland on Saturday night. The Cavs were a handful, with Delonte and Mo playing so well together as Bron picked up another triple-double on the season.
So, the Thunder won again tonight. This time it was against the Sixers, 89-74, and again, it was without Durant and Green. Malik Rose was huge for OKC, giving 14 points and 11 rebounds while Nenad Krstic had 20 points and 8 assists, while shooting 10-13 from the floor. Our boy Nick Collison had 12 points and 11 rebounds in the win. Philly had 20 points from Andre Miller who seemingly has found the fountain of youth* and 20 from Thaddeus Young as well.
*a quick google search shows Miller as being born in 1976. Okay, so he’s not really that old at all… It just feels like he’s been around forever. Is this just me?
Another game I didn’t see (because I was watching Pat Mills and St. Marys get a W last night!), was Sacramento grabbing their 14th win of the season by taking down the 40-24 Denver Nuggets, 114-106 despite Carmelo Anthony finishing with 32 points, Chauncey Billups finishing with 22 points and 8 assists and JR Smith adding 19. Kevin Martin had 26 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists for the Kings, Andres Nocioni had 23 points and Spencer Hawes tied a career-high with 20 points to go with 8 rebounds as the Kings hit 14 three-pointers compared to only four for the Nuggets.
We established in Friday’s edition of the Post Up that I don’t understand or care for the +/- stat on a boxscore. When Leon Powe is the only Celtic with a + (+8), in an 86-79 point loss to the Magic, his 12 points and 7 rebounds in 29:59 minutes of play looks pretty good. I’m just saying, Doc. Give Powe more time!
Still can’t believe we have Stephon Marbury as the starting point (in this game in the absence of Rondo), for the defending champion Boston Celtics. Bizzare-o world.
Or that the Kings took down Denver. Or, that Phoenix is now four games out of that eighth spot. Can they really not make the playoffs? That just doesn’t feel right.
Thoughts on ROY? Still set on Rose? I’m just asking.
One more thing. Did you all see the starting lineup for the Warriors on Friday night? Let me go through who we didn’t have playing. No Jax, Maggette, Monta, Azubuike, Biedrins. Fun times for the Warriors. Some thoughts on Nellie and what’s going on in the Bay.
ps…. UNC over Duke.
Utah 109 Toronto 101
The game story of this one is simple. The Raptors scored 39 points in the third quarter and were ahead in the fourth. The Jazz missed seven free throws in the fourth… And still outscored Toronto 28-14 in the final quarter. Games are not won when your offense dies like that. This has been the story of the season for the Raptors. Hang around until the fourth and then fade out. The game was the 11th straight for the Jazz and they did it without Boozer who was sidelined with an ankle injury. The Jazz allowed the Raptors to hang around as they struggled to get into the game and adjust to not only the Eastern time zone, but also the hour that was lost due to clocks springing ahead. Once the fourth quarter rolled around, they were awake and were too much to handle for the Raptors, as Toronto shot only 6-19 from the floor in the final twelve minutes. Deron Williams finished with 25 points and 9 assists as Mehmet Okur added 19 points and 11 rebounds and Paul Millsap added 18 points to go with 11 boards. The Raptors had another strong game from Chris Bosh as he finished with 30 points and 10 rebounds as Andrea Bargnani scored 20 points to go with 8 boards and Jose Calderon added 11 points and 11 assists in the loss.
Orlando 86 Boston 79
While the Celtics were able to get the win against Cleveland Friday night, the absence of KG inside was too much for them to overcome yesterday afternoon as they fell to Dwight Howard’s Magic, 86-79. Without Garnett and also point guard Rajon Rondo (sitting out with a sore ankle), the Celtics were unable to get going and opened with their lowest scoring quarter of the season (15 points). While the Magic ran over the Celtics early, and ran out to a 22-point lead, they got lazy in the fourth and allowed the Celtics to cut the lead to three, behind Ray Allen’s 17 fourth quarter points (32 in the game), before pulling out the victory as Howard clinched the game with a pair of free throws in the final minute. Howard finished with 18 points, 15 rebounds and 5 blocked shots as Hedo Turkoglu scored 16 and Rashard Lewis added 15. The Celtics were led by Allen, as Paul Pierce had 16 points (but 6 turnovers), and Leon Powe added 12 points and 7 rebounds off of the bench.
San Antonio 103 Phoenix 98
It was a close one for the Suns against the Spurs, but isn’t that always the way. The Spurs have owned the Suns recently and with Phoenix chasing that eighth spot in the West, a loss, is a loss, is a loss. They need to be winning these close games, not falling behind early and then biting at the heels of San Antonio in the fourth. With Tony Parker scoring 12 points in the final quarter and finishing with 30 to go with his 9 assists, the loss dropped the Suns four games behind the Mavericks for the final playoff spot in the West. While the Suns lead by one in the fourth, San Antonio charged back and it was Parker who hit a dagger with 26 seconds remaining to put the Spurs up seven. Tim Duncan had 17 points to go with 15 rebounds while Roger Mason added 18 points. The Suns were led by 23 points and 11 assists from Steve Nash, 20 off of the bench from Leandro Barbosa and 15 from Jason Richardson.
New Jersey 106 New York 101
While we had a close one in New Jersey with a slightly injured Vince Carter and then a solidly clutch Devin Harris down the stretch, the Nets were able to hang on to grab the 106-101 victory. Harris finished with 35 points and 11 assists as he came up huge for the Nets in the fourth, in a game that was close throughout. While it was Brook Lopez who put the Nets up one with 1:54 remaining, Harris sandwiched Lopez’s bucket with four free throws and a layup. After the shot by Lopez to give the Nets the one-point lead, the Knicks responded by turning the ball over and missing shots on five consecutive possessions, securing the victory for the Nets. Vince Carter added 25 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals for the Nets as Lopez put in another strong night with 16 points. David Lee finished with a monster line in the loss, 19 points, 14 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 steals for the Knicks, as Nate Robinson had 17 points and Danilo Gallinari 15 points each off of the bench.
Houston 93 Memphis 83
With the Nuggets losing in Sacramento, a win would put the Rockets in sole posession of first place in the North West division. Facing the Grizzlies, that win was quite painless to achieve as the Rockets went up big early, leading 55-37 at the half. They mantained that lead with ease for most of the second half and although the Grizzlies threatened in the fourth by cutting what was a 20-point lead down to 10, the game was never really in jeopardy for the Rockets and they rolled easily to the win despite being outscored 26-18 in the fourth. Yao Ming led the Rockets with 24 points and 17 rebounds, Luis Scola had 18 points and 14 rebounds and Von Wafer added 13. The Grizzlies were led by Rudy Gay’s 21 points, Marc Gasol had 18 points and Darell Arthur added 6 points as he pulled down 12 rebounds.