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Monday, March 19th, 2012 at 8:35 am  |  32 responses

Post Up: Miami Nights

DWade and the Heat upend Orlando, a rough night for Kobe and OKC rolls past Portland.

by Abe Schwadron | @abe_squad

College basketball is enjoying its finest hour, but the big boys are still playing, too. And as we inch toward the Playoffs, every game gets more important. With that in mind, let’s hit Sunday’s slate of games.

Hawks 103, Cavaliers 87

Joe Johnson scored 28 points on 11-16 shooting, and the Hawks shot 55 percent as a team in the first quarter to jump out to a 31-19 lead, while holding Cleveland to just 39 percent from the floor for the game. Kyrie Irving scored 19 points and handed out 10 assists, but after helping cut Atlanta’s lead to single digits by the end of the third quarter, he took a rest and watched the Hawks lead balloon back to 16 points without him on the court. ATL won despite having just 10 players dressed and available—and only 7 Hawks played double-digit minutes. Jeff Teague scored 18 points, Kirk Hinrich had 14 and Zaza Pachulia pulled down 12 boards to go with his 9 points. The Cavs were led in scoring by 20 points from Alonzo Gee, but Cleveland made just 5 of 20 three-pointers on the afternoon.

Clippers 87, Pistons 83 (OT)

With all the Clippers’ recent struggles, it’s nice knowing Chris Paul is still there to bail them out when need be. CP3 flirted with a triple-double, scored 9 points in overtime including the game-sealing free throws to help Lob City escape what would have been another embarrassing March loss, this time to the suddenly (apparently) competent Pistons. Paul finished with 19 points, 15 assists and 9 rebounds (plus 4 steals), and completely destroyed the point guards he matched up against from Detroit—Brandon Knight shot 3-13 with 6 points and 4 turnovers, Rodney Stuckey was 1-8 from the field (7 points) and even Ben Gordon shot 3-11 (7 points). Young big men for each team had big games, as Blake Griffin went for 17 points and 11 boards and Greg Monroe had 23 points and 15 rebounds.

Kings 115, Timberwolves 99

Jason Thompson notched his third straight double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds) and the Kings used a third-quarter run to break open what was a tie game at halftime. Over his last three games, Thompson has shot a ridiculous 24-29 from the field (and the Kings are 2-1 in those contests). An Isaiah Thomas lay-in gave Sacramento an 8-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, and the Kings held on despite Kevin Love’s 21 points and 11 boards and Minnesota’s 51-42 advantage in the rebounding department. Marcus Thornton led all scorers with 24 points on a night when neither team could hit anything from 3-point range—Minny shot 24 percent from long range, while Sacramento shot a hair better, but still managed just 29 percent from deep.

Grizzlies 97, Wizards 92

Rudy Gay capped off a 27-point performance on a 3-pointer with 24 seconds remaining that extended Memphis’ lead to 93-86 and ended Washington’s hopes of pulling the upset. Gay scored 5 points in the final minute, shot 10-12 from the free throw line in the game and added 9 rebounds for good measure. Zach Randolph nearly had a double-double in just his second game back from injury, racking up 13 points and 9 boards coming off the bench. As for the 10-34 Wizards, there were positives—from John Wall’s continued stellar play, this time with a stat-stuffing 25 points, 6 assists, 6 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocked shots, to young big man Kevin Seraphin’s 12×12 line in a rare start. But the Grizz were just too much on the boards, outrebounding Washington 53 to 40 and 20 to 9 on the offensive glass.

Heat 91, Magic 81

Dwyane Wade scored 14 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter, Chris Bosh burned Ryan Anderson for 23 points and LeBron James put together a 14-point, 12-rebound, 7-assists, 5-steal night as the Heat won their 13th straight home game. Bosh’s 3-point play on a James dish with 3:46 remaining was the dagger that did in the Magic, who at that point fell behind 84-73 and couldn’t claw back into the game, despite team-highs of 18 points and 11 rebounds from Dwight Howard. Orlando shot sub-40 percent from the field and only four Magic players finished in double figures—81 is the fewest points Orlando has scored in 11 games. 20 turnovers didn’t help the Magic’s cause, nor did Anderson, who scored just 5 points and was benched for the fourth quarter after repeatedly letting Bosh score easy buckets. Miami’s rebounding issues were laid to rest for one night, as the Heat held a 42-36 advantage in that area. The Heat (33-11) sit 2.5 games back of Chicago for the top spot in the East.

Suns 99, Rockets 86

It’s time we accept that the myths about the Suns’ training staff are fact. Michael Redd scored 25 points—his biggest scoring night in over two years—and made 3 of his 5 three-pointers to lead the Suns past the Rockets. Phoenix led by as many as 21, and has now won 4 straight games. Channing Frye scored 19 points, Marcin Gortat had 15 points and 10 boards, Steve Nash dropped 11 dimes and the Suns bench outscored Houston’s 47-34. Luis Scola was the high-point man for the Rockets, with 18, but Chandler Parsons and Courtney Lee (both having had career nights recently) combined for just 2-12 shooting and 6 points. In his debut as a Rocket, Marcus Camby scored 8 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in 20 minutes of action.

Jazz 103, Lakers 99

Kobe haters, you’ll want to peep this line from last night: Bryant shot 3-20 from the field for just 15 points and turned the ball over 7 times. Needless to say, the Lakers lost—their first home L since January 22 against Indiana. Kobe wasn’t the only one turning the ball over, as the Lakers racked up 24 turnovers as a team, leading to 22 Jazz points. Paul Millsap led Utah with 24 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals and rookies Enes Kanter (17 points) and Alec Burks (13 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter) came up big, too. For what it’s worth, a significant chunk of Burks’ production came vs. Kobe and his gamble-style defense. In unrelated news, Andrew Bynum was Los Angeles’ most effective offensive player, as he scored 33 points on 12-14 shooting and had 11 rebounds to boot. The loss snap a 5-game winning streak for the Lakers, who are 28-17 on the year and 1.5 games ahead of the Clippers for No. 3 in the West.

Thunder 111, Trail Blazers 95

Oklahoma City closed the first quarter with a late 10-0 run and the Blazers shot 6-23 in the first period as the Thunder jumped out to a 31-15 lead after one. OKC never looked back, leading from start to finish and by as many as 21 behind Russell Westbrook’s 28 points and Kevin Durant’s 26 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. The Thunder shot 55 percent from the field and an insane 61 percent from 3-point range (11-18). Meanwhile, Portland’s two biggest performances came from the two players they tried hardest to unload at last week’s trade deadline, as Raymond Felton finished with 19 points and 7 assists and Jamal Crawford scored 23 points off the bench. New PDX head man Kaleb Canales is now 1-1 at the helm, as the Blazers dipped to 21-24 on the year.

Line of the Night: Chris Paul’s near triple-double of 19 points, 15 assists and 9 rebounds.

Dunks of the Night: Jeremy Pargo and John Wall trade facials, and Donte Greene converts the silly reverse putback.

Tonight: A six-pack of games set to tip, featuring a rare Monday doubleheader on TNT—Bulls at Magic followed by Mavericks at Nuggets.

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  • T-Money

    i didn’t know pargo had that in him! it’s unacceptable to me that mike brown let bynum go 12-14. when a guy has it going like that you feed him every time down the floor, bynum should have had damn near 50 yesterday. good luck to l.a. dealing with kobe in a year or two when he will still be taking 20+ shots a game with that no trade clause. it’s very silly for such a great player to not play the right way on purpose.

  • AD

    cp3 almost had a quadripple double all he needed was one more turnover and ann one more rebound

  • T-Money

    chris bosh doesn’t get enough credit for what he does defensively because he doesn’t have the blocks and the insane rebounding numbers. he was smothering every pick n roll AND guarding dwight very well 1vs1 with little help because of orlando’s shooters. how many other bigs can do that in the nba right now? chandler, noah… that’s about it?

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    Huge props to Lawrence Frank for the job he’s doing in Detroit.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Dagger

    Kind of insane that a bad night for Lebron is still good for 14 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 steals.

  • MUBWAR

    watching the heat game Lebron was nowhere to be found. that bad night happens to be a near triple double with 5 steals and a block

  • http://www.slamonline.com KulchaKris

    @T-Money I’ve said it before in this space, Kobe may be the most maddening superstar in recent NBA memory. After all these years in the league, he must know how the game should best be played, right?? But his single-minded desire to be, I don’t know, whatever, harms his team in games like this. Phil Jackson once commented that he didn’t want to still be coaching Kobe (or MJ for that matter) once his skills diminished to the point where he was no longer effective. Now I know why…..

  • salty

    The Jazz are making their run now…move over OKC.

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    In Kobe’s defense, those weren’t forced shots. They were spots he’d normally hit from without difficulty. Yeah, he should have fed Bynum more, but it wasn’t like he was forcing shots out of triple teams.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    Dagger what’s up with the Mavs? Since my Knicks beat them in NY, the Mavs are 6-9 over a 15 game stretch. Perhaps the Wiz and Bobcats (combined 17-70) were the medicine the Mavs needed to pull out of the funk they’re in.

  • http://www.slamonline.com TADOne

    I honestly did not know Michael Redd was playing in Phoenix.

  • http://www.nesn.com/2012/02/kobe-bryant-says-hes-better-than-michael-jordan-second-to-wilt-chamberlain-as-best-nba-player-ever-v.html shutup

    @tad I cant remember where Stackhouse is playing (i think Atlanta maybe) so dont feel bad. Is it me or does Dwight seem to disappear in the 4th quarter? He still gets his touches but unless he’s spoon fed the baskets its not a pretty picture. The spin move to the weak side two hand dunk was nice, he had some nice post moves early in the game but in the fourth he seemed to stiffen up (pause) maybe he’s thinking about getting fouled idk?

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    Shutup: He’s been doing that for a LONG time…he prefers to pass out in the fourth quarter usually, especially of his free throws haven’t been falling. Which has been all of this season.

  • http://www.nesn.com/2012/02/kobe-bryant-says-hes-better-than-michael-jordan-second-to-wilt-chamberlain-as-best-nba-player-ever-v.html shutup

    Im not talking about him passing it out of the post, but shots that he’s hit all game he’s still taking the shots but they miss bad, like straight bricks from 6 feet, his footwork goes back to being complete crap, he wont repost, its like he just wants to get rid of it

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    him preferring to pass out in the post is an expression of how “its like he just wants to get rid of it”
    .
    Dwight is like the Rajon Rondo of C’s in the 4th quarter. He’s great everywhere but putting the ball in the actual hoop.

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

    Trying to think who Royce White (Iowa State) is projected to be in the NBA. I want to say Lebron but not as athletic or as good a passer( very willing passer though) and probably a better post player at equal stages in their careers. Settled for a super consistent, potential-maximizing Lamar Odom.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    According to NBA draft.net, that Royce fella is the 37th best player in the ’13 draft. LO and LB were both drafted in the Top-5 and are considerably more skilled than Mr. Royce, so I don’t see the comparison.

  • T-Money

    draftexpress has him mid first round in the ’13 draft. i don’t see lebron or odom at all in him. he makes me think of corliss williamson or even a young anthony mason with the way he can bring it up.

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

    @ Jtaylor Fair enough. I haven’t seen enough of him to judge. Seems like he will be a decent pro whenever he comes out. Just hope teams don’t use his depression issues against him. Wonder how he’ll handle road games with his fear of flying. Can’t be driving all over the country. Was it Isaiah(sp?) Rider who hated flying in crop dusters?

  • Cool Dude

    Kobe wants glory more than winning. Whereas Jordan just wants to win, Kobe wants to win his way.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Uhhh, how do you get glory?… = WINNING

  • http://slamonline.com datkid

    Lebron ran a clinc on what to do when you can’t score correctly. pass, rebound and defend well. D.wade was on a TEAR in the 4th quarter. maybe he was angry at something or maybe Orlando doesn’t have anybody who can reasonably guard him but he was disgusting.

  • Justin G.

    LakeShow, I’m pretty sure he meant Kobe wants individual glory over team glory. Stats vs. winning now. It’s hard to tell sometimes because it certainly looks that way in a lot of games. Rest assured, if he wins another title he’s not happy the Lakers won another won. He’s happy HE won another one and tied MJ. And I’m a Kobe fan

  • Justin G.

    Whoops. He’s not happy the Lakers won another *one*

  • tonyknorr

    I honestly don’t know how the hell any Kobe fan can possibly defend this fools play so far this season. Bean is in a glory hogging jack mode that is rarely seen at the pro level, he has admitted that trusting Bynum to lead them and giving him touches is thier best chance of winning yet he still insists on shooting them out of games on the slim chance that his shots will actually start falling and he can climb the all time points list a little more.

  • logues

    AD: chris paul had 0 turnovers

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    TADONE… Oh yeah he is… Mind you, this is the first decent outing he has had since they got him…. that fountain of youth PHX have is amazing…. Have you seen the CRYOGENIC machine the PHX med guys have in the locker?!!??!!??!?!?? check out suns.com to see it.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    I’m hoping that tomorrow in MIAMI, LeBron does his disappearing act against PHX in the fourth quarter and Dudley can break his career high (33).

    PHX making a run at that 8th seed baby!

  • http://www.nesn.com/2012/02/kobe-bryant-says-hes-better-than-michael-jordan-second-to-wilt-chamberlain-as-best-nba-player-ever-v.html shutup

    I was trying to express the fact that his shots seem rushed in the fourth quarter, he reverts back to bad habits, takes his touch off the ball which is why I used “trying to get rid of it” as an example, like a lil kid in the park not trying get his shot punched, not saying Dwight will get blocked but his confidence definitely disappears in the fourth.

  • Matt Park

    Was it just me? Did anyone else see Pau make a three during the game?

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    I know shutup, I was just pointing out y’all are saying basically the same thing. He gets flustered with the ball, he becomes stiff. Preferring to pass or looking mechanical when he does choose not too. Wasn’t saying your wrong at all

  • http://www.nesn.com/2012/02/kobe-bryant-says-hes-better-than-michael-jordan-second-to-wilt-chamberlain-as-best-nba-player-ever-v.html shutup

    I do have to say Allen’s and your assessment of his development was closer to reality than my own, he has definitely improved, and at times looks like the unstoppable force he could be. That being said the frustration returns when watching him in the fourth, and the fact that the last game I watched the team was down by 10 or so and he missed a layup that he was fouled on, and he was smiling ear to ear, then proceeded to miss both free throws and was still smiling, that got me so pissed.

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