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Saturday, March 31st, 2012 at 9:00 am  |  34 responses

Post Up: Clutch Factor

Dirk hits the game winner, plus three late night games come down to the wire.

by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad

Last night was one of the better Friday nights the NBA has seen all season. Huge numbers, big dunks, and four games that came down to the wire. Catch up on everything below…

Heat 113, Raptors 101

The Heat jumped out to an early 20-6 lead, but Toronto clawed back to tie the game at 83 heading into the fourth quarter. After trading baskets for the first four minutes of the fourth, Toronto suddenly went ice cold and were outscored 30-18 the rest of the way giving Miami the victory north of the border. LeBron James (26/9/4), Dwyane Wade (30 points), Chris Bosh (30/8 boards) and Mario Chalmers (14) combined for 100 of Miami’s 113 points. Miami’s big three absolutely dominated the game as they combined to shoot 61 percent from the field. DeMar DeRozan had 28 points, but only 1 assist and 1 rebound. This season, DeRozan has proved that he is one of the better scorers in the league, but until he rounds out the rest of his game he won’t take that next step and be considered in the upper echelon of players. Andrea Bargnani had 27 and Jose Calderon chipped in with 9 points and 16 dimes.

Wizards 97, Sixers 76

The seldom-used Cartier Martin (who is currently on a 10-day contract) came off the bench and led all scorers with 20 points as the Wizards routed the Sixers down in DC. Philly’s loss, combined with the Celtics win knocked the Sixers out of first place in the Atlantic Division for the first time since December. Illadelph has now lost six out of their last nine and are struggling to score down the final stretch of the season–they only scored 36 points in the first half of last night’s game. The Wiz outrebounded their opponent 52-38, and outscored them 48-30 in the paint–the end of March is the wrong time to start losing to inferior teams. Nene had 16 points and 8 boards, Jordan Crawford has 17, and Kevin Seraphin had 14 and 7 boards in the win. For the Sixers, Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young each scored 14 off the bench.

Nuggets 99, Bobcats 88

Aaron Afflalo led the way with 19 points and 11 boards as six Nuggets scored in double-figures during their ten-point victory over the Bobcats. Denver used their 49-34 rebound advantage to get out on the break which made up for their 25 turnovers and poor three-point shooting. Charlotte had a chance to tie the game up after they fought their way back and trimmed the Nugs’ lead to three halfway through the third quarter. But, Corey Maggette earned himself an unnecessary technical foul which triggered an 8-0 Nuggets run that stretched their lead to 11. Ty Lawson had a double-double with 14 points and 10 assists, Al Harrington had 10 and 11 off the bench, and rookie Kenneth Faried chipped in with 12 points and 8 boards. Gerald Henderson led all scorers with 21 and the aforementioned Maggette tallied 19 points, 6 boards and 4 dimes.

Hawks 100, Knicks 90

Mike Woodson’s return to Atlanta didn’t go as well as he had hoped as the injury-riddled Knicks ran out of gas at the end of the game, dropping an important one in the ATL. Add Willie Green to the ever growing list of random players to kill the Knicks. The eight year veteran, who has been averaging a cool 7 points per this season, scored 15 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, including a huge 3-pointer, to down the Knicks who had stormed back from a double-digit deficit. Outside of Melo’s 36 and Iman Shumpert’s 25, the Knicks got nothing offensively as Landry Fields was the third-leading scorer with 7 points. For the Hawks, Joe Johnson killed the Knicks with 28 points and Josh Smith finished with 23 but also had 7 turnovers.

Bucks 121, Cavaliers 84

This one was ugly from the start as Milwaukee blew the game wide open with a 16-0 run to start the second quarter which gave them a 51-26 lead. The 37-point loss was the second worst home loss in Cavaliers history and everyone from the top of the organization to the last player on the bench was visibly disgusted with the loss during post-game interviews. The Bucks shot 57 percent from the field en route to their season-high 121 points. Brandon Jennings led the Bucks with 28 points, Ersan Illyasova had a double-double of 20 and 10, Mike Dunleavy had 16, and Beno Udrih chipped in with 10 assists in the drubbing. Kyrie Irving’s game-high 29 points (including an impressive 6 three-pointers) will most likely get lost in the shuffle, but the rookie’s shoulder injury, which forced him to leave the game early, will surely keep Cavalier fans up at night.

Mavs 100, Magic 98

All it took was a headband to get Jason Terry going. After losing a bet earlier this week to Jameer Nelson, Terry started the game without his signature headband. Jet lived up to his end of the deal for the first half, but threw it on in the third quarter and it proved to be the remedy for his shooting woes. The Mavs, who are now 2-19 on the season when trailing heading into the fourth quarter, were ignited by Terry’s 10 fourth quarter points and used his momentum to steal a victory on the road. Jet may have been instrumental in the win, but it was Dirk who came through in the clutch once again to seal the deal. With the game tied at 98, Dirk caught the ball and posted up Hedo Turkoglu. After a few dribbles, Nowitzki hit a turnaround fadeaway jumper off glass with six seconds left to win the game. The Magic had two chances to tie it up, but couldn’t find the bottom of the net despite two good looks. Nowitzki finished with a game-high 28 and Delonte West gave his team great minutes, finishing with 15 off the bench. Jameer Nelson had a team high 17, Ryan Anderson had 21 and D12 had a double-double with 19 and 14.

Bulls 83, Pistons 71

The Pistons hung around for most of the game, but the Bulls defense proved to be too suffocating as Chicago held Detroit to just ten points in the final quarter. Chicago outrebounded the Pistons 53-37 and grabbed 10 of their 20 offensive rebounds in the fourth. With Rose delegated to the bench, the Bulls have been wearing their opponents down all game with hard-nosed defense and ball controlling offense, then capitalizing in the fourth. I like that. Luol Deng finished with 20 and 9 boards, and the frountcourt duo of Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah each had double-doubles as the Bulls continue their winning ways without Derrick Rose. For Detroit, Brandon Knight had 16 points, Greg Monroe had 14 and 10 and Tayshaun Prince had 14 and 6 assists, but the Pistons couldn’t find their offense when they needed it most.

Rockets 98, Grizzlies 89

With Kyle Lowry on the bench with a nasty infection, Goran Dragic has really siezed his opportunity (don’t be surprised if he gets PAID this summer). The young point guard continued his hot streak with a season-high 25 points and seven dimes as the Rockets won another one at home to put them four games over .500. Dragic was clutch down the stretch, too. After O.J. Mayo cut the lead to three late in the game, Dragic responded with a pretty one-handed runner to put the Rockets back up by five, killing the Grizzlies’ momentum. The Rockets turned the ball over 16 times and gave up 23 fast break points, but the Grizzlies couldn’t stop Houston as Memphis allowed them to shoot 52 percent from the floor. Courtney Lee had 17 and Marcus Camby finished with 16 boards and a season-high 6 swats. For the Griz, Rudy Gay led the way with 20 points and Marc Gasol finished with 19 and 9 boards.

Celtics 100, Timberwolves 79

Kevin Garnett didn’t have many nice things to say about his former team heading into the game, and showed that disdain by coming out and scoring a game-high 24 points and grabbing 10 boards in an easy road victory. KG, who was once the cornerstone of the Minnesota franchise, outplayed the new face of the franchise in the fourth quarter by hitting a few key buckets right over the young superstar. Ray Allen missed his fourth straight game with an ankle injury, and Rajon Rondo continued his offensive struggles, this time only scoring 6 points. But, Paul Pierce picked up with the slack with 21 and 9 boards and Avery Bradley, who got the start in lieu of Allen’s injury, finished with 17 points. For the T’Wolves, KLove finished with 22 and 11 and Derrick Williams finished with 14, but the team shot a dismal 34 percent from the field in the loss.

Kings 104, Jazz 103

Despite having no chance to make the playoffs, Sacramento came out last night, played hard and disrupted Utah’s playoff hopes with a one-point road victory. DeMarcus Cousins, who has been playing tremendous basketball during this last stretch of the season, converted a three-point play to tie the score at 101, then hit the game-winning free throw with 4 seconds remaining. Cousins finished with 27 points and 14 boards. Marcus Thornton finished with 26 points and Isaiah Thomas, who got the start last night while Tyreke Evans nursed a bad back, finished with 19 points and 6 dimes. For the Jazz, Al Jefferson had a monster game with 27 points and 16 boards and Gordon Hayward finished with 19, but the Jazz only shot 35 percent from the field and had no answer for Boogie Cousins down the stretch.

Clippers 98, Blazers 97

The Clippers notched their fourth straight win in LA last night thanks to 20-point performances from Blake Griffin, Randy Foye and Chris Paul. CP3, who also had 14 dimes, drove to the hole and hit a layup with five seconds remaining to put the Clippers up for good. The Clippers and Blazers traded clutch shots down the stretch during an entertaining fourth quarter. First, it was Randy Foye who hit a 3-pointer with 47 seconds left, then Jamal Crawford responded with a deep jumper to put the Blazers. But Chris Paul stole the show by hitting the game-winning layup in the closing seconds. J.J. Hickson got his first start as a Blazer and responded with a season-high 29 points and 13 rebounds with an injured LaMarcus Aldridge looking on from the bench.

Nets 102, Warriors 100

Gerald Wallace scored 10 points over the final six minutes of play and made a pair of key defensive stops as the Nets stormed back after being down 19 to steal a victory out in the Bay last night. Wallace finished with a team-high 24 points and 18 boards while teammate Deron Williams only had 9 points, but dropped 20 dimes. Kris Humphries had another strong performance with 20 points an 9 boards. The Nets victory marked the first time that they had won a game in Oakland since November 21, 2005. The Warriors led 76-56 midway through the third quarter but completely shut down offensively and allowed the Nets to come back–it has been a frustrating first year for head coach Mark Jackson. David Lee led all scorers with 27 points.

Stat Line of the Night: A lot of big numbers, but I’m going with Boogie Cousin’s dominating 27-point, 14-rebound performance.

Play of the Night: Dirk hits the game winner with arguably the most indefensible shot in NBA history.

Dunk of the Night: JaVale McGee welcomes Bismack Biyombo to the league.

Tonight: Eight games on the slate including a big Eastern Conference matchup between Atlanta and Philly, plus an intriguing contest between the Pacers and the Spurs.

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  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    Where Willie Green happens.

  • MookieBlaylock

    Dirk flashing that tongue swag!

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    Goran Dragic has really *seized* his opportunity.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    Dirk really likes to leave his tongue out… :D

  • Myung

    Felt good beating Mike Woodson (couldn’t stand him when he was our coach). He’s used to big losses at Philips Arena so last night’s result was fitting for him. Great team effort, Hawks. Very proud of how they played last night, especially in front of thousands of Knicks/Lin fans. NBK, you still got Doug Collins as your coach of the year? First of all, I have a feeling the Hawks are going to lose to Philly tonight so I need to get that out of the way (we really struggle vs. Philly so I hate our chances tonight). But if you look at the remaining schedule (home vs. away games) for ATL, BOS, PHI, IND, NYK, and MIL, the team with the hardest schedule is Philly. I don’t envision Philly winning the Atlantic… and I don’t envision the writers giving COY to a guy whose team finishes 2nd or 3rd in his own division. Like I told you 2 weeks ago, I respect Collins as a coach and he deserves to be in the conversation (and maybe at this point, it’s “deserved”) but even you have to admit there’s no way your guy wins COY now, right?

  • http://theillustrationboard.tumblr.com/ Stepfan

    Dirk with most non-fundamental clutch shot that I ever seen. What a shot. Clippers are Chris Paul or bust.

  • ripslam

    That shot by Dirk was just ridiculous.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Nick Tha Quick

    You do know if that over-the-hill shooting guard did the tongue thing, it would be blasphemous to many folks here.

  • MookieBlaylock

    Stepfan
    Pretty much bang on, Paul needs to have a big game every night just to give the clips a chance. How far do you think they go this year? I dont see them getting out of the 2nd round.

  • Myung

    I was listening to the BS Report when Simmons interviewed Dirk, and Dirk was talking about how his coach in Germany taught him about angles and particularly the arc of his shots and how shooting high rainbow J’s like that are much more likely to go in than less high arc-ing ones. While that’s kind of like common sense, if you think about, most players don’t shoot it with nearly the same trajectory. Dude has absolutely mastered the rainbow shot. As ugly as his shot was, I think he knew it was going in when it left his hands.

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

    Suns should have kept Goran Dragic to replace Steve Nash once he leaves or retires. But no complaints here, he’s killing it in Houston.

  • Heals

    Yeah myung that was a good listen, but I disagree ever so slightly with ya as my C’s have a nasty stretch of games to finish the year (highest opponent win %) so hopefully your hawks can help us out tonight…

  • Heals

    Yeah Teddy, kinda weird they always been looking for someone to pass the torch to and then they trade him before the hand-off. Anyway since it hasn’t been commented on thus far Kevin “Da Kid,” “Big Ticket” mutha-ucking Garnett! Funny both Kev’s had butterflies early on and Minny’s announcer even called KG “Love” a couple times…

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    A 35yr old KG (24/10/4 on 12-18 shooting) throughly outplayed a 23yr old Love (22/11/3 on 5-18 shooting) but hey since he dropped 40/19 on the Bobcats, who cares. He’s still the “best” PF this season.

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

    ^ Okay, but name me one power forward you can envision dropping 40 and 19 on the Charlotte Bobcats, or any other team for that matter. Besides Kevin Love.

  • Myung

    heals, I would love for the Hawks to beat Philly tonight, but for some reason, that’s one team that seems to have our number the past few years. We’ll see. As for remaining schedule, I didn’t take into account strength of schedule. Sorry. I was just looking at home games. The C’s have 7 left. After tonight’s home game vs. ATL, Philly has just FOUR home games left on its schedule. In April, that’s TEN road games vs. 4 home games. They finish with 6 of their last 7 on the road, including their last 5 games of the year (brutal way to end the year). Their season ends on 4/26, but their home finale is on 4/17. Has anyone ever ended the season with 5 staight road games? That almost seems unfair. And their April road games aren’t exactly cake walks. Among them are Boston, ORL, MIA, the Bucks, and Indiana. There’s a legit chance that Milwaukee and New York can both pass Philly for the 8th spot in the Playoffs. I’m not predicting it will happen, but it’s not impossible either. Again, Philly can go from the 3 seed (which they were just 1.5 weeks ago, right?) to the 9th seed in just a 5 week span. In just one night (last night), Philly went from #4 to #7. That Atlantic division title is possibly good for THREE seeds (you automatically jump Atlanta and Indiana). I said this nearly two months ago… but the reason Atlanta and Philly had the two of the three best records in the East as early as the first week of February (hard to believe those two teams were above Miami and Boston and Orlando, right?) was a function of their easy schedules to start off the year. Atlanta will now wrap up its hardest 2 week stretch of the season tonight in Philly… and starting next week, we’ve finally got a much easier load.

  • Mike from Spain

    Kevin Love is still putting up better numbers than anyone in his position. You can try to deny that out of spite or think that a single game is more representative than the statistics of a whole season. I am obviously not going to sound convincging to anyone who is a KG fan or not a stats guy.

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    KLove is a fantasy league gem! But if I’m looking to win a playoff series I’d still take Dirk, Pau, and Bosh over him. Possibly even ZBO at 100%.

  • LA Huey

    In Love’s defense, a motivated Boston is one of the worst teams a player in Love’s position (a team’s sole offensive option) can go against. And KG goes into “Sun-version-Barkley-vs-Philly” mode whenever he smells wolves.

  • LA Huey

    Last night’s ESPN double-header was a treat. Can’t ask for more when both games come down to the final possession and the best player on the floor seals the deal.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Slick Ric

    Jtaylor21 forgot to mention the other times he dropped 40 and the last game against okc when he had 51 that makes him the best pf in the game right now.

  • LA Huey

    Slick Ric, flimsy arguments are built better upon tiny sample sizes.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Just because the guy is considered by many to be the best PF doesn’t mean that he’s immune to criticism. Cats like LeBron and Kobe get way more criticism from fans and media than someone like Love, who hasn’t even achieved 1/10th of those guys accomplishments.

  • Heals

    @myung, ha I did just the opposite, I only looked at strength of sched and where they were playing, yeah 5 on the road to end the season is mean. Ditto Huey about a motivated C’s squad. With that said I imagine Ticket would’ve been furious/crushed had things turn out otherwise cause he was sooo amped ALL game (he also has some antimosity for BMiller)…

  • Heals

    and NOT where they were playing

  • niio

    Nobody want to talk bout wades bro getting shot by black guys wearin hoodies

  • Mike Mihalow

    Anyone got a vid of Haywood punching Dwight Howard?

  • http://slamonline.com The Philosopher

    Offensive foul by Dirk…
    He kneed Hedo in the mid-section. lol

  • http://www.slamonline.com Slick Ric

    la huey, its not an argument, anybody with a brain can see he’s the best pf right now, he has outplayed his competition consistently. kg having a slightly better game than him does not erase the other games where he has made guys look second-class. He has flaws, particularly his defense but so does lebron and he is known as the best player and kobe being the best sg in the league does not know what a good shot is if it slapped him in the face and he has won chips and in his 16th season.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Man, that was one ballsy shot by Dirk. Turkoglu didn’t really fall for the fake and stayed put.
    Dirk stays being IN SWAG TO THE SYMPHONY!

  • http://theillustrationboard.tumblr.com/ Stepfan

    @MookieBlaylock The Clippers aint getting out of the first round. Can’t run your offense through Blake Griffin and just shoot threes.

  • Justin G.

    Once again in the Kevin Love debate, too many guys blinded by just offensive numbers

  • LA Huey

    Slick Ric, I was actually agreeing with you. JTaylor cited one game against a motivated Boston team (which I had complimented earlier). There isn’t a PF that carries his team more than Kevin Love (this season). I know his team defense leaves a lot to be desired but his individual defense is solid. His rebounding numbers show he doesn’t lack effort but just prioritizes boards over help defense. I can’t fault him too much for that.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Slick Ric

    aw, my bad.

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