Wednesday, February 24th, 2010 at 9:00 am  |  47 responses

Post Up: Deja Vu in L.A.

While JRich wins a wild one in OKC.

by Holly MacKenzie / @stackmack

Oh what a night. With two games coming down to the final shot, I wished more than ever that I have picture-in-picture. I chose to go with Oklahoma City — I know, I know, a travesty for a Lakers fan– but what can I say, the Thunder have me. Just so young and fun and improving by the day. The best part is that they truly like each other and their reactions after a big play are awesome.

Okay, enough. I know, I’ve been heaping praise on OKC every other day, but I can’t help it. Now, their nine-game winning streak was snapped by a Steve Nash-less Suns team, thanks to a furious rally in the fourth, coming back from 10 down in the final four minutes of play. In the end, Amare was too much for OKC to handle, getting the Suns to within two on a three-point play and tying it on free throws. After a rare KD miss, Jason Richardson nailed a huge jumper with 0.7 seconds remaining and on a heave from three, Jeff Green was off of the mark.

The look on his face hurt. These guys don’t look like a team that believes in moral victories anymore. They’ve grown, are in fifth place in the West and are hungry for more.

Props to Phoenix for grabbing a huge road win without Nash who stayed in Phoenix to rest back and abdomen injuries.

While this was going on, in La-la-land, Kobe was doing what he does coming back from an ankle injury to drop 32 of his team’s 99 points, shooting 13-19 from the floor, adding seven rebounds and six assists and hitting the game-tying three-pointer then following that up with the game-winning dagger three to give the Lakers the 99-98 victory. It’s funny how tough of a time the Lakers have with Memphis. Had OJ Mayo made a pair of free throws, the Lakers would have trailed by two possessions, but you know, give Kobe room to win and more often than not, he’s going to.

How many game winners is this? Five? I think something like that. So crazy. It’s even crazier when, I swoon over the 32/7/6 line from Kobe and then go over and check LeBron’s numbers for the season. They are different players with different skill sets and different roles on their teams and I’m still picking Kobe to win the game for me, but I cannot wrap my head around just how good LeBron is on a nightly basis.

Kevin Durant belongs in this conversation, too The “how is this guy this good?” convo. With his 33rd game this season topping 30 points and now his 29th consecutive game topping 25, he’s been pretty incredible this season. I don’t feel like he’ll get most improved because he was still pretty damn great last season, but could Russell Westbrook please win it? K, thanks.

In Boston, Nate Rob made his Celtic debut as the C’s took down the Knicks 110-106. McGrady wasn’t a factor on the back-to-back, but David Lee did his best to keep his team in it with, 28 points and 15 rebounds, but a block from Ray Allen may have been the difference maker. Ray finished with 16 points while Rajon Rondo added 15 points and 16 assists. In 16 minutes of action off of the bench, Nate was 2-for-7 and finished with four points.

In Cleveland, LeBron shut out the Hornets in the final minutes, draining a three and then getting a hoop and a free throw to give the Cavs the 105-95 victory on a night when two Hornets rookies were shining like stars. Marcus Thornton came off of the bench to score 37 points, including 23 in the second quarter. He shot 15-22 from the floor and was unstoppable through the first three quarters. Darren Collison continued his strong play filling in for Chris Paul, scoring 22 points and dishing 10 assists.

26 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for Lou Williams in the Sixers 110-102 win against Golden State. Also, one backbreaking three-pointer to seal the deal for Philly. After leading by 18 at the break, the Sixers allowed the Warriors to race back in the fourth, before hanging on to get their 22nd victory of the season. Andre Iguodala added 22 points and Rodney Carney had 16 off of the bench.

The best part of that game for me was getting to hear Raja Bell on the broadcast in the second half. I’m happy to hear he’s doing well and I cannot wait to see him on the basketball court.

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  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    Man … I absolutely HATE how Kobe ruins the Lakers. They shouldn’t have even let him come back. Fack man. He kills everything on the Lakers.. and hitting another game winning shot, who the f()ck does he think he is. The Lakers need to trade this guy … when you have Pau Gasol, who don’t need a hung up, b1tchy, old, water boy of a shooting guard. You have Pau.

  • http://www.Twitter/notebooknick NotebookNick

    I’m still picking Kobe at the end of a game. Every time. LeBron has to hit more than 1 or 2 game winners in a few years for that to change.

  • http://www.Twitter/notebooknick NotebookNick

    And I’m loving the fact that OKC is getting their misses in during the regular season. It’s going to be quite a moment when they put it together and start finishing games against elite teams consistently.

  • http://myspace.com/brandnew Bryan

    Ship his as* out.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Good stuff, Holly. I also want to give a special shout-out to Ryne for the front-page pics he’s choosing, and to the NBA photogs for snapping them.

  • jumpman3224

    This is exactly the Kobe that the Lakers need. Efficient. Solid bound and dime numbers. Making clutch plays down the stretch. Glad to have you back Mamba.

  • Kadavour

    6 GWs this year: MIA, MIL, SAC, BOS, DAL, MEM. Bron has more 20/10′s than cp3 and dwill LOL.
    JRich’s cross on Thabo (top 5 man on man defender) was ridic

  • http://www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    Damn i nearly forgot how street J-Rich’s game is (Boozer probably remembers), the way he put Thabo to sleep with that double dip crossover then took in in for a nice floater was NASTY good. Don’t reach, Thabo!!! The celebration by the Suns bench was very nice too. These guys gel.

  • http://www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    Damn i nearly forgot how street J-Rich’s game is (Boozer probably remembers), the way he put Thabo to sleep with that double dip crossover then took in in for a nice floater was NASTY good. Don’t reach, Thabo!!! The celebration by the Suns bench was very nice too. These guys gel.

  • Jack Knife

    I still can’t believe JRich has never been an All-Star.

  • http://www.slamonline.com MooButter

    Great game by Kobe. Game winners are nice, and exciting, but the great thing about Lebron is this: He hits his game winners with 2 minutes to go in the game. I have watched every cavs game this season. If the game is close, Bron takes over with two or three minutes to go and puts them out of reach before a game winner is necessary.

    The things I found really exciting were Lebrons back to back defensive game winners this year. A steal from Dwayne Wade to seal the game, and a block on Kevin Durant the next game to seal one point victories.

  • T-Money

    I mean the i-don’t-care-if-he-goes-1-for-848449-i’m-still-picking-him-to-take-the-last-shot debate is kind of sterile. Because if you truly believe that, then you absolutely do not care what anyone else could do at the end of games and stats be damned. I don’t know why Kobe fans need to be so defensive about it. He’s a great player, he had IMO one of the best games of his season, he makes clutch shots. Oh and how STUPID does Pau look now? haahahha. I don’t know if Kobe can look at him now? Sure you want the ball in the clutch, big guy%?

  • http://Slamadamonth.com Mvp23100

    Good games jamison got his first w as a cav 24 did his thing okc is overhyped weve seen young hyper talent before

  • jumpman3224

    Overhyped? It’s so rare that a young team gets this good, this fast…can we just appreciate it. They’ve already won 33 games, that’s what most experts thought they’d get the whole year.

  • http://hoopmixtape.ning.com/ Simon S.Y Lawy

    Kobe aka Envy me

  • Michael

    i have to agree with something j.e. skeets said, marcus thornton was seriously jamming on the one.

  • http://slamonline.com Krishan

    I can’t believe LA has won 40+ games and suck this much in the 2nd half of games. Seriously, the reason that kobe has had this many amazing game winning shots this season is because LA as a team just keep seizing in the latter part of games. And I forgot Jrich got handles.

  • roman

    If Lehype was so good, why did he lose three in a row. Lakers havent lost 3 in a row since 2 to 3 years ago. Not that great! And the team around him sucks without him.

  • http://myspace.com/brandnew Bryan

    I agree about the lakers slacking. They seem like one of those teams that think they have a switch to flip on. My thing is though I don’t bet against Phil Jackson in the playoffs with a loaded team. Underrated stat : Phil has never NOT three-peated. Also he has a habit of getting the full 82 out of at team once and then cruising through the season after and letting players freelance more and mess up more and then he turns the screws on them in the playoffs. It would be good for them to have Homecourt but I don’t think it matters once the lights go on in the finals. Just one mans opinion.

  • LA Huey

    @roman, if Kobe is so good, how did he lose in the 1st round so many times? LeBron’s never done that!….Anyways, good to see Mamba back. I hope he trusts his team enough to take a few games off the next time he’s banged up. Save it for the stretch run, Kobe!

  • http://slamonline.com AlbertBarr

    I am pretty sure Kobe hit the game winner in Memphis? Not La-La land. and Ray Allen scored 24 not 16 last night. Just those few corrections. Kings lost last night (and are falling apart) but Tyreke had a great game. 28 points 13 assists 3 rebounds 2 steals and only 2 TO to go with the assists. Awesome game in OKC last night.

  • LA Huey

    Also, good to see LeBron & Co pick up a win but they cannot let non-starters go off for 30+.

  • http://slamonline.com AlbertBarr

    Oh, and Tyreke scored the 28 on 11/19 shooting. He missed three free throws though.

  • underdog

    How about Bill Walker’s dunk for Slamadaday?

  • http://Slamadamonth.com Mvp23100

    we just won 13 in a row if any team can afford a few its the cavs

  • T-Money

    Stoudemire had 30 last night, tho we all know that he wouldnt have scored like that if he wasnt getting perfect dimes from… Dragic.

  • http://www.another48minutes.com Gerard Himself

    “29th consecutive game topping 25″ I wonder when Durant’s streak will end. When I’m watching him play, it’s like getting 25 is easy for him. When I watched him playing the Knicks last weekend, I was surprised he even had 35. It’s like he’s scoring 25 in his sleep, before he decides to go for 10 more late in games to get the win. This guy is amazing. It’s not unthinkable that he’ll break Jordan’s record.

  • Rob

    Kobe is so amazing that those game winning shots look normal, he’s made us lose perspective on how tough it is. He’s on a completely different level. I can’t think of any other player who can return from an 18 day absence playing like that. And stop that Lebron vs. Kobe discussion, as Holly said, they are two different type of players, I prefer Kobe, his game is more refined, let’s see if Lebron can improve technically, because he’s not that smooth just yet. What amazes me, is how great a passer LBJ is. On that department he is way better than Kobe IMO. @AlbertBarr don’t forget those 13 assists by ‘Reke!

  • J-Ro

    Kobe’s shots bla bla bla….its stupid how every other team knows kobe is gonna get the ball in crucnh time and yet he recieves the ball wide open. Yesterday wen KD was gonna get the ball J-Rich was all over his grill and other players were right behind him. Kobe had Rudy Gay on him. I think u know wat happened next.

  • J-Ro

    The last time Memphis did a good job on doubling and he gave the ball up to artest. He missed and Memphis won.

  • Anthony

    Good point J-Ro, and it’s not like he made two 3s before that shot or anything. About LA I remember last year playoff against Houston when they just turned the switch on everytime they wanted to, they’ll turn that switch on come playoff time.

  • LA Huey

    @J-Ro, agreed. I’m glad teams play him straight up though (from a fan’s perspective). I love when it comes down to a superstar deciding the game.

  • http://www.bluefont.com Hisham

    mcgrady and david lee have pretty good chemistry. t-mac did a good job with his passing, although he was absolutely NOT agressive all game. looked terrible on defense and looked like he didn’t care very much

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    The suns played the thunder. lets not get to excited that Amar’e played well. They don’t even have decent interior defense. In-fact the Thunder’s 4 and 5 each get outscored and out rebounded every game. (on average by a total of 5 points and 4 rebounds)

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/madlib Michael NZ

    @Darksaber: the J-Rich bounce off Boozers head will always be classic. And Boozer being all mad about it afterwards just made it better.

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    You’re the bouncer in the club, there’s room for 1 more person and you have 2 choices – Gorgan Dragic or Stephon Curry. Who do you choose?

  • LA Huey

    @Anton. You can’t let Curry in. 14 year olds aren’t allowed in clubs.

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/madlib Michael NZ

    What about Chris Quinn?? He’s 12.

  • http://www.boogiewilliams.com Boing Dynasty

    J Rich’s shot definetly wasnt a “jumper”, and the Lakeshow/Grizz game was in Memphis.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    dont want to show bron’s weak stat line from last night? understandable. cavs won, but thornton and collison are a force. SLAM cover for marcus and darren.!!!

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    Yeah, 13 assists is f*cking weak.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed


  • Teddy-the-Bear


  • Teddy-the-Bear

    LOL @ T-Money.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    You know what? I just might like the Kings. And the Thunder. And the Bobcats. And the Hornets. When did this all happen?

  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    @Gerard — 25 point streak ended tonight. But 29 games is pretty amazing. And MJ do it for 40 straight and you realize how crazy good dude was.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Collison and Thornton do it again… They are the the truth. Except the Hornets are not so good.