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Tuesday, February 14th, 2012 at 8:35 am  |  32 responses

Post Up: The King’s Revenge

Miami bucks the trend in Milwaukee, the Champs clip the Clips and more.

by Abe Schwadron | @abe_squad

I’ll admit it—I nodded off during the second and third quarters of the early games. Your boy was tired. But when I woke up, I was pleasantly surprised by the games in progress, and got a few more goodies later on in the night, from LBJ going HAM on the Bucks to the Clippers nearly stealing one in Dallas despite Blake Griffin’s inability to make a darn free throw. Let’s get to it.

Sixers 98, Bobcats 89

Ain’t much to cheer for these days in Charlotte, but give the Bobcats credit for at least keeping this one close. Reggie Williams (14 points, 5-13 shooting) made it a three-point game at 84-81 with 5 minutes to play on a driving bucket. But in the end, the Sixers just proved to be too much for the ‘Cats, as Lou Williams poured in 23 points (including the win-sealing trey in the game’s final minute) in his normal sixth man role, Thaddeus Young had 20 off the bench and Jrue Holiday scored 19. Philly (20-9) got a nice boost from Nikola Vucevic, too, as the rookie big man came in and gave the Sixers 27 quality minutes, finishing with 10 rebounds, 8 points and 2 blocked shots. Fellow rookie Kemba Walker did his best to keep Charlotte alive, scoring 21 points (on 6-15 shots) and Corey Maggette scored a season-high 22, but the Sixers turned it over only 7 times—Philly is crazy good at keeping turnovers low. And, just for fun, peep a classically odd Boris Diaw line: 39 minutes, 10 assists, 5 boards and as many fouls as points (2, on 1-3 shooting). Keep doing you, Boris.

Magic 102, Timberwolves 89

Kevin Love (19 points, 15 rebounds), Ricky Rubio (11 points, 8 assists) and Nikola Pekovic (16 points, 13 boards) all had nice games for the Wolves, but Minnesota turned the ball over 18 times and six Magic players scored in double figures as Orlando improved to 18-11 on the year. One night after dropping 31 in a win over Milwaukee, Jason Richardson again led the Magic with 17 points, despite not playing a single minute of the fourth quarter—Stan Van went with JJ Redick’s hot hand. Redick, Jameer Nelson (!) and Hedo Turkoglu scored 14 points apiece, while Dwight Howard battled foul trouble to just 11 points and 7 boards. After ruffling some feathers with his comments about wanting the ball down the stretch, Dwight wasn’t even on the court for much of the fourth after picking up his fifth foul early in the period. The Wolves trimmed a 20-point lead to 8 with less than 6 minutes to play before JJ and Jameer stroked back-to-back threes to help the Magic fend off KLove and Co. Minnesota (13-16) played without Luke Ridnour, so Martell Webster and his hair started in his place. Meanwhile, here’s your daily Rubio highlight sample package: nifty dish, nifty finish.

Heat 114, Bucks 96

Milwaukee came in to this game with a 2-0 record against the Heat this season, and after one quarter, it looked like the Bucks might be on their way to three in a row against Miami, leading 30-27. But LeBron James awoke over the next three quarters and helped the Heat jump out to a 24-point lead and cruising in the second half to get revenge on the Bucks, finally. James finished with 35 points on 16-21 field goal shooting—tying his career-best field goal percentage in a game (minimum 20 shots). LeBron clearly remembered the last time these teams played, when Milwaukee came back from down 18 to beat Miami. In that game, they used a big third quarter to get back on top—this time, it was LBJ who dominated the third, scoring 16 points and helping Miami start the second half on a 14-4 run. The Heat shot 53 percent from the field as a team, Dwyane Wade scored 22 points, Mario Chalmers had 13 and Chris Bosh had a quiet but all-around decent game when called upon (which wasn’t often), with 8 points on 8 shots, 7 boards and 4 dimes. Carlos Delfino was hot early for the Bucks, finishing with 24 points (5 threes), but Milwaukee shot sub-40 percent and was outrebounded 48-35. Drew Gooden had a forgettable night, with 12 points and 8 rebounds but just a 2-14 shooting night.

Hornets 86, Jazz 80

On paper, New Orleans had no business winning this game. And I’d also add they didn’t deserve it, given their newfound candidacy for worst NBA jersey of the season, with the two-toned “NOLA” Mardi Gras edition yucksters. It’s the Tams and the NOLAs going head-to-head right now in that department if you ask me. But Chris Kaman, who looked especially weird in last night’s unis, went all Caveman on the Jazz, with 27 points and 13 rebounds in a starting role, leading the Hornets to just their 5th win of the season, despite playing without Jarret Jack, Carl Landry, Jason Smith and Eric Gordon (duh). The final score is deceiving, since New Orleans (which snapped an 8-game slide) led by as many as 20 in the third quarter before the Jazz went on a late run to make it close, but never close enough. Utah’s road struggles continue, as the Jazz are now 3-8 away from home. 14 points was the high-water mark for Utah, getting that many from Al Jefferson (plus 12 rebounds) and Derrick Favors, and not much from anyone else.

Mavericks 96, Clippers 92

I’m a big-time Blake Griffin fan. I mean, I think we all are. But Blake, for the sake of all things holy, make a free throw, bro. Griffin missed 5 straight freebies late in the fourth quarter and shot 2-9 from the charity stripe for the game. He scored 20 points and the Clippers were in this one until the final few seconds, but his misses from the line were painful and damning for Lob Angeles. So much so that I considered calling this morning’s Post Up by the title “Brick City.” Blake wasn’t the only one on the court, though—on the night Caron Butler got his championship ring from Dallas, he dropped 23 points, but couldn’t connect on what would have been the game-winning three-pointer from the wing with less than 5 seconds left to play, and the Clips fell to 17-9 on the year at the hands of the Mavs. Dallas rode a familiar clutch performance from Dirk Nowitzki, who morphed into unguardable mode over the last 6+ minutes, when he scored 11 of his team-high 22 points. All told, L.A. had a chance to tie or take the lead after Griffin and Chris Paul (16 points, 9 dimes) combined to steal an ill-advised inbounds pass from Jason Kidd on the game’s final possession, but Butler’s three was off the mark. Dallas is now 18-11, and faces Denver on Wednesday night.

Warriors 102, Suns 96

Thank god the Bobcats don’t play on the West Coast. At least when the last game of the evening features two sub-.500 teams, it’s usually an uptempo, high-scoring affair with a sure chance of some nice highlights. In last night’s late one, the Dubs got past the Suns on the strength of 28 points and 12 rebounds from David Lee, who picked up the slack for Golden State’s struggling backcourt. Monta Ellis scored 18 points but shot just 5-20, and Stephen Curry scored only 9 points on 3-10 field goals (though he did add 7 boards and 5 dimes). Steph also had a scare when he tweaked his ankle…again. But he was back on the floor late in the game and appeared to be okay. The #FreeSteveNash movement is in full effect, as Nash racked up 14 assists but the Suns shot just 5-25 from the 3-point line and couldn’t get a single key stop (or basket, for that matter) when it mattered. The only guy balling hard for Nash these days is Machine Gortat, who delivered with 25 and 12, plus 2 blocks.

Line of the Night: LBJ’s 35 Pts, 8 Reb, 3 Ast vs. Milwaukee

Moment of the Night: Chris Bosh is either really weird or drunk. Either way, I love it.

Dunk of the Night: More Heat.

Bonus Funny of the Night: ‘Where in the world’ did they come up with this? It’s amazing.

Tonight: 9 games on tap for Valentine’s Day viewing, including an NBATV doubleheader of Heat-Pacers and (drum roll…) Wizards-Blazers! The best of the rest around the League: Jazz-Thunder and Rockets-Grizzlies at 8, Hawks-Lakers late night and Linsanity goes international as the Knicks are in Toronto. And that’s not even counting the SLAM pick-up game at an ultra-secret location in Manhattan. Not-so-bold prediction: we’ll have plenty to talk about tomorrow.

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  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    *cue righteous drum beat*
    THE CHAMP IS HERE…….!!!!
    Mavs, scratch that, Ason nearly gave this one away with the catastrophic inbound pass, but 4 game winning streak it is.
    Noooice.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Too cool that Nikola is playing well enough to garner meme status in the Nba. Was expecting an immediate impact when he 1st arrived in the L, he was a BEAST for Panathinaikos damn near unstoppable in Euroleague play. I guess injuries and culture shock slowed down his progress, but he’s playing well at last.
    Good for him.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    My boy JAX staying cool while Bosh act’s like a fool! @thejaxshow, my man.

  • Justin G.

    Bosh was doing it in response to Lebron doing the same thing to him during an interview a few nights ago. It was actually quite funny

  • T-Money

    damn lbj was going to work on that left block. his turnaround jumper going baseline could really become a go-to move if he wants to. he doesn’t even fade because he plants his left shoulder in the defender’s chest before spinning around. it’s basically a clean look from 15 ft whenever he wants to – that’s really valuable.

  • T-Money

    dark: i don’t really watch the mavs, has l.o. looked better or is he still pouting?

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    “There’s nothing in the rule book that says you can’t play drunk.” -Jackie Moon

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    T-money: still moving around the court in full-on pout mode. Worst part is he still shows flashes of the primo baller he can be once or twice a game then goes back in his shell.
    Seems also that none of the other Mavs (except Mahinmi at times) communicates overtly with him out there.
    If he found the motivation to go hard again, Mavs would be superb.

  • http://slamonline.com. datkid

    I miss the stephen jackson who was on the warriors… the one who dropped like 43 for charlotte was cool too.

  • Showmeyourwits

    Blake missing FTs is getting old. It looked like he was turning things around after working with Chauncey and finally taking some rhythm dribbles at the line.

  • http://slamonline.com The Philosopher

    The King, my brethren.
    The King.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Is Kahn a good GM or did he just get enough high draft picks? That is the question. And Steve Nash will be “free” at the end of the year. What is the rush? Let him walk get a decent draft pick and cap space. Makes sense.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    or get rid of him now, for prospects (+ an expiring of 5+Mill) and a late 1st, save your league leading cap space and secure an even better pick.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Who is trading an expiring deal and prospects for Nash? Atlanta doesn’t have the pieces and neither does New York. Who else wants him and who does he want to play with?

  • burnt_chicken

    The Clippers would be fun. He could be their new l’il 2.

  • http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=6lqqc4t nbk

    Click my name. Just one option. It’s hard to come up with more till that point when everyone is eligible to be traded. Which I think is at the beginning of March.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    You think Portland would take on the horrendous contracts of Childress and Warwick for the possible le rental of and old point guard who play s no defense? How does that benefit them ? That is not even a lateral move in my opinion.

  • Ill Smith

    Nash to ATL for Teague, Hindrich’s expiring & a future pick? If he does stick around then I see him back in the Big D after Cubes craps out on Dwight & Deron. Please just free this man from Sarver’s cheap ass tyranny, fans can’t take it anymore.

  • shutup

    For all the people that said Blake couldnt play the three, then what position was he playing yesterday while Evans and Martin were on the floor?

  • http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=6lqqc4t nbk

    Take Camby out, & Warrick – Childress Out, Portland puts in their 1st.

  • http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=6lqqc4t nbk

    shutup, considering Blake Griffin was a -4 on the game, didn’t hit a shot outside the key, went 2-9 from the FT line, had 4 turnovers and 2 assists, I think it was a pretty clear indication that he doesn’t belong anywhere near the perimeter.

  • http://www.t-mac.com/tmac/index unf*ckwitable

    ^haha good call shutup, dude killed it at the 3.

  • LA Huey

    It’s silly for ANY team to rent Nash and send anything more than a mid-to-late 1st round pick in return. Even that would be questionable.
    It’s frustrating to see that Miami still hasn’t figured out a way to keep Bosh consistently involved playing both Wade and LBJ.

  • logues

    WOW, how many steps did bron take on that dunk? thats a ridiculous travel

  • shutup

    When I first posed the idea, it was a hypothetical, and many people laughed, I was just pointing out the the idea wasnt a bad one, Jordan was hurt or has foul trouble, but Blake did a good job on D and the -4 is misleading because he was having an off shooting night which was apparent in his lack of proficiency at the line also he didnt play the 3 the whole game so if your gonna quote +/-, it would be helpful if it was just when he played the 3 or I dont see the relevance. He can guard almost any 3 in the game today, he actually had the defensive assignment of guarding Durant when they played. and when your center is athletic as Jordan and with Martin at the 4 who can hit mid range jumpshots you can run your 3 in the post, again I dont see why that front line wouldnt work. In fact I’m pretty sure we’ll be seeing Blake at the 3 a lot this season.

  • shutup

    Lin with 27-11 in another impressive win, going into the fourth I had my doubts he was getting outplayed by Calderon, but in the fourth they buckled down and did what they had to win, and the legend grows, lmao

  • http://www.t-mac.com/tmac/index unf*ckwitable

    How can you not be a fan of this kid, 8 TO but still 6 wins in a row is impressive against any opposition.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    That was awesome

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    lin-pressive.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    That’s now the scoring record for first 5 starts since the NBA/ABA merger, right? What a game… Not just for Lin but Shumpert as well–the kid can flat out play defense. Clutch steal and lay-in from Shump, clutch 3 point play from Lin, and of course the game-winning J. This is unbelievably fun to watch.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OhGZNLPSOY&feature=related Allenp

    i know y’all see nick young smoking ninjas, right? just saying

  • Justin G.

    I’m torn right now. I’m loving the way Lin is playing but it comes with the price of having to read IAMORANGE the next day.

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