Wednesday, March 14th, 2012 at 8:55 am  |  43 responses

Post Up: Please Don’t Go

Dwight beats the Heat in a possible Orlando farewell, plus overtime wins for Denver and L.A.

by Abe Schwadron | @abe_squad

Welcome to the Trade Deadline. Between all the moves—Monta to Milwaukee in exchange for Bogut—and the ever-lingering Dwight Howard saga, we’ve still got real live basketball games to talk about. So let’s do that.

Raptors 96, Cavaliers 88

Jerryd Bayless had heard enough about Kyrie Irving’s fantastic rookie season, it seems. With Jose Calderon sidelined due to a bum ankle, Bayless won the point guard matchup in Cleveland, scoring 20 points and dishing out 7 assists while holding Irving to just 14 points (5-17 shooting) and 7 dimes of his own. In all 3 of the Cavaliers’ losses to Toronto this season, Irving has shot a combined 10-42. Andrea Bargnani, meanwhile, is starting to get his groove back, as he scored 19 points in his 29 minutes. Antawn Jamison led the Cavs with 20 points, but had just 1 assist and not a single rebound, block or steal in the game. The Raptors racked up 9 blocked shots and shot 50 percent, to just 38 percent shooting from Cleveland.

Pacers 92, Trail Blazers 75

It’s tough to win a game when you only make 20 field goals, and such was Portland’s fate last night in Indiana. The Trail Blazers shot 31 percent from the field, making just 9 shots in the first half in what was a forgettable outing. The Pacers, on the other hand, got big performances from their second unit, including a career-high 21 points from Lou Amundson (yes, they were chanting “MVP!” in Indy, sarcastically one would have to hope) and sparkplug play from George Hill, who finished with 11 points and 3 assists, who helped run the show with Danny Granger and Paul George fighting early foul trouble. Portland was led by LaMarcus Aldridge’s 17 points and 10 garbage-time points from Nolan Smith, but no other Blazers scored in double figures. The Blazers recorded an NBA season-low 5 assists for the game (the Pacers had 24) and were outrebounded 50-38, thanks in part to Marcus Camby leaving in the first quarter with a shoulder injury.

Magic 104, Heat 98 (OT)

If it was Dwight Howard’s last home game as a member of the Magic (which, based on his post-game comments it may not be), he certainly made it count. Superman racked up 24 points and 25 rebounds to lead the Magic to a win over the Heat, his 8th 20-20 game of the season. LeBron James had 19 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists—crazy numbers on a night when it would be fair to say he wasn’t playing all that great. Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 28 points, and Chris Bosh added 23, but it wasn’t enough as Miami falls to 31-10 on the year and 1-3 in OT games on the road this season. Jameer Nelson drilled a 3-pointer with 44 seconds left in regulation to break a 91-91 tie, but Dwyane Wade immediately answered with a long-range bomb of his own. DWade had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but missed a step-back and the game went to overtime. Nelson’s scoring (he finished with 25 points) and Dwight’s defense won it in OT for the Magic, who are now 28-15 and No. 3 in the East, 4 games back of Miami.

Rockets 104, Thunder 103

Courtney Lee hit a 3-pointer with 15 seconds left to give the Rockets a 1-point lead, then Kevin Durant missed a jumper with under 10 seconds to play and Serge Ibaka couldn’t convert a point-blank putback and Houston handed Oklahoma City just its third home loss of the season (32-10 overall). Prior to that, after Russell Westbrook went scoreless in the third quarter, he picked up a technical foul and turned the ball over on consecutive possessions in the game’s final minute to give Houston the shot to take the lead, which they did. Durant led the Thunder with 28 points and 12 rebounds, while Westbrook had 19, but shot 7-18 from the field. The Rockets, playing without both Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin, outscored the Thunder 13-3 over the last 2:30 of the game and got big games from Lee and Chandler Parsons, who each dropped 21 points.

Lakers 116, Grizzlies 111 (2OT)

Kobe Bryant got the Lakers to overtime by scoring 11 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter, but it was Andrew Bynum who led the Lakers, going for a season-high 37 points on 15-18 shooting and grabbing 16 rebounds. Each team had a chance to win it in regulation, and Kobe missed at the horn in the first OT, so these teams played two full extra periods before Los Angeles could pull away. With no Rudy Gay in the lineup for Memphis, scoring came from some unusual sources—Mareese Speights led the Grizzlies with 25 points, Marc Gasol had 20 and Tony Allen chipped in 18 points—but they hung tough for 5 quarters until the Lakers finally seized control. L.A. leaned on a huge disparity at the free throw line, where they outscored Memphis 28-5, and the Lakers held the Grizzlies to just 2-19 shooting from beyond the arc. Pau Gasol led the Lakers in assists, with 8 to go with 14 points.

Mavericks 107, Wizards 98

What’s the best way to snap a 3-game losing streak? Welcome the Wizards to town, of course. The sputtering Mavericks looked more like the Champions last night than they have recently, getting 27 points from Dirk Nowitzki, 24 from Jason Terry and 19 from Roddy Beaubois en route to a comfortable win over Washington, which dropped its sixth straight on the road. Trevor Booker scored a season-high 20 points to go with 12 boards, and John Wall had 18 points and 10 assists, but the Dallas bench outscored Washington’s 50-28, the Mavs shot 51 percent from the field and outrebounded the Wiz 51-38. Dallas improves to 24-20, while the Wizards are still in search of win No. 10 on the season. Pray for me, y’all.

Nuggets 118, Hawks 117 (OT)

Josh Smith gave the Hawks a 2-point lead with 30 seconds left in regulation on a ridiculous spin-move on Nene, before Danilo Gallinari drilled one of this season’s most ridiculous clutch shots—a fallaway 3-pointer from the corner with 3.9 ticks on the clock. The Nuggets nearly gave up the 1-point edge when Kirk Hinrich was fouled on a runner in the lane, but he made just 1 of 2 free throws and the game went to overtime. In the extra period, Nene hit a pair of free throws in the final minute and the Hawks missed two chances to win it, including a very makeable layup at the buzzer for Zaza Pachulia that didn’t even draw iron. Denver went on a 6-0 run to finish the game out, improving to 24-19, despite season-highs in points from Smith (33), Joe Johnson (34) and Kirk Hinrich (22). Nene led the Nuggs with 22 points, while Ty Lawson delivered with a 21-6-7 line and Gallo finished with 19 points.

Warriors 115, Kings 89

With Monta Ellis on his way to Milwaukee, rookie Klay Thompson stepped into the starting lineup for the Warriors, and Golden State promptly laid the beatdown on Sacramento, and they’ve now won 4 of their last 5 games. Thompson finished with 14 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds, and Nate Robinson, who started in place of Stephen Curry (still out with that right ankle), scored 17 points—tied for the team-high of the night with David Lee and Brandon Rush. The Warriors shot 12-24 from beyond the arc, to just 7-19 for the Kings, and GSW dropped 50 points in the paint on SacTown, which for most of the game had little interest in defending. Golden State’s bench outscored the Kings’ bench 47-28 on the night, dropping Sacramento to 14-28 on the year despite a double-double from DeMarcus Cousins, who posted 19 points and 12 boards.

Lines of the Night: Bynum’s 37 (on 15-18 FGs) and 16, Dwight’s 24 and 25 or Josh Smith’s 33-13-7.

Moment of the Night: Gallinaaaaaaaaaaari! Danilo hits the ridiculous 3 and the Nuggs win in OT.

Dunk of the Night: Russell Westbrook goes boom to start the game against Houston.

Tonight: A dozen games on Wednesday, the last night before the 2012 Trade Deadline. Among the games you’ll want to take notice of are Sixers-Pacers, a potentially new-look Magic-Spurs matchup, Hawks-Clippers and oh yeah, you may have heard about these two teams from Miami and Chicago in the East—they hook up at 9 on ESPN.

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  • Dirtybird

    Still crushed and bitter.

  • Fat Lever

    Watched the Heat-Orlando game last night. While Lebron was atrocious in OT, at least he took some of the shots. Jameer’s split of the double on 2 possessions in OT was a thing of beauty. It has to be maddening to an Orlando fan to watch Jameer play. When he’s on, he can be a top 10 PG(in the second half of the top 10), but most times he falls into that 15-20 category.

  • Tom

    was nice to see Bynum beasting like everyone know he can, and Kobe and the rest of the team actually looking for him as the 1st option. Gasol is a great passer

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

    “Westbrook picked up a technical foul and turned the ball over on consecutive possessions in the game’s final minute.” This is why I worry about OKC. They have the ability to play lockdown defense but seem to think they can turn it on and turn it off. Can’t do that in the playoffs. Westbrook is the key to them winning the chip or losing it. Can he control his emotions and can he make the right decision (pass to open teammates/give KD the ball.)? Still hope my prediction of OKC/Bulls NBA Finals comes true but I don’t think the Bulls have enough scoring to beat the Heat and I’m not sure OKC has the discipline to play hard every night.

  • seun

    Bynum’s footwork and post moves are just beautiful to watch, i don’t think he is as good as howard but thats because we haven’t seen bynum have his own team yet the magics are howard’d team but bynum isn’t in the same situation;at the same time i think if kobe gives him the keys to the offense and allows the lakers to become bynum’s team then we can truly see what bynum is maade of and whether he has a case for being the best center in the nba.

  • LA Huey

    seun, really? I feel like Bynum still looks a bit awkward in the post. He’s undoubtedly effective but still looks like a puppy that hasn’t grown into its paws.

  • http://slamonline.com Jones

    Who do see in the playoffs, Bucks or Knicks? The Bucks are a bizarre team that seems to do much better after they make a trade (see John Salmons trade) and the Bucks actually play D under Scott Skilles so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Bucks get the 8 spot.

  • http://dsjfkl.com Jukai

    Both OKC and the Heat have the same flaws as always, it showed tonight.
    If Tyson/Melo for Dwight/Hedo doesn’t get pulled tonight, I don’t even know.

  • robb

    Bynum’s a true big man

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Bynum is that dude. Oh wait some people think that “that dude” is a epic legend of the game. So how bout Bynum is the unquestioned 2nd best center in the L. Even if Andrew Bogut was healthy he isn’t as dominant as Bynum can be. Bynum is going for 17.6 points and 12.7 rebounds a game. To go with his Dwight equaling 2 blocks per. He’s a beast and when at his healthiest will contend for the best Center in the League.
    Who was it the other day saying LaMarcus Aldridge is the best PF in the game? I beg to differ and also want to say your wrong. That guy is in no way dominant. He barely rebounds as well as elite small forwards, his defense is completely over rated, his offense is more limited than Loves who’s is also limited. Give me Z-Bo, Dirk, Love, Bosh over LA. Oh…. The Magic are kinda legit…. It’s weird cause no one talks about them, but they could sneak up on teams in the East.

  • LA Huey

    This Magic team is eerily similar to that ’09 Finals squad. In the playoffs, they will send someone home earlier than expected if they catch fire from three, Dwight catches fire from the FT line, and Jameer starts playing like it’s 2009 (pre-injury). Lotta ifs but still…

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    Fat Lever: Yes, it is maddening. Ditto for Turkoglu. And this Magic team is better than advertised (yes, coming from a Magic fan) but we just beat the Bulls and the Heat. I’m not sure how we’d do in a 7 game series (I know y’all will just write them off like you always have) but if the 3′s are falling at better than 35% or (25%, from last year’s horrible failure), the Magic are tough to beat.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Lake, it was I. I still stand by my assertion that he’s a better player than Love but I guess I’m in the minority because Love has been balling out of control this season. I guess we will see just how well Love and Minny do without Rubio in the lineup.

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    JT: If Minny makes the playoffs without Rubio, do we give Adelman COY?

  • http://slamonline Brion

    Am I the only one who wonders why James Jones doesnt get more PT? Why wasnt he jacking the threes in the 4th instead of Battier? I know Battier is out there for D but jeez. Someone enlighten me.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    If Minny makes it, yes but if not, it should go to Lionel Hollins.

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    Hollins? Interesting choice. As of now, I have Pop and SVG 1a and 1b, then Adelman, then Collins, then Hollins.

  • http://gifsoup.com/view/2419491/fat-kid-crash.html LakeShow

    Brion, I think everyone wants JJ to get more PT, but he just isn’t as good of an overall player as Battier is, same with Mike Miller, and he is a SG/SF. Wade is a SG, and Bron is a SF. There’s just no where for him to get mins. He is one of the best 3 point shooters in the L though. Taylor, your gunna have to stop riding the A-Train. He isn’t as good as he was making himself look last year. He’s nice, but he doesn’t have a superior game over the guys I listed IMO.

  • jakethesnake

    so NOBODY is going to mention that the Grizzlies only got 5 free throws in a double overtime game?

  • Kadavour

    JT21, the best PF in the game has to give me 10 REBS/game. Control the boards, and you control the pace. LA needs to step up his glass game a bit before i can say he’s better than Dirk. When you think about it, Dirk doesn’t rebound either, but he gives me a more trusted option when i need buckets.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Is Bynum really better than Marc Gasol?
    I’d rather have Marc Gasol on my team. He makes people better and he doesn’t complain, and he’s rarely injured. I really enjoy his game.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I’ve been saying the same thing about James Jones since the season began. He’s not even that bad on defense. Every time I see him get tick, he is prepared and wetting three pointers.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    And the Heat play the weirdest defense against Orlando. A lot of trapping the pick and roll, which makes their rotations out to the weakside shooters really difficult. Most teams lay off the dribbler against Orlando and force Nelson to make smart decisions about passing or attacking. The Heat give him easy choices and he exploited them.

  • http://slamonline Brion

    Ya i thought the stratedy was to put 3 pt shooters around Bron/Wade. Also, im not sold on the plays coach Spo draws up at end of games. With all those weapons they should get more creative using decoys and what not. I could see a coach like Doc Rivers drawing up all sorts of deceptive plays at end of games IMO.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    AP, An argument can be made. What I don’t see is the “dominant” ability that Bynum has in Gasol. Gasol is smoother on offense, but he doesn’t take opposing centers down to the low block and dunk on them. Bynum is the only center beside Howard who can impose his will on the defensive player. Marc is a triple threat where as Bynum is just gunna kill you. Marc could be better for certain teams as the center, but Bynum is still the better more dominant player than Marc is overall. Marc and Bynum were going at it last night hard and you saw the outcome…. Bynum is better.

  • http://slamonline.com badnewsballer

    @seun- bynum has beautiful footwork? R u kidding me? U must only watch highlights on ESPN.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    badnewsballer Bynum has better footwork than any other Center. Maybe it was the word “beautiful” that you didn’t like. Don’t look for smooth elegance like Hakeem. Your not gunna find that. None-the-less Bynum uses his footwork better than any other center to get around his guys. Although I must say that he is traveling allot and the refs aren’t calling it. Until they do though, that’s good footwork.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I think Gasol can get buckets, but he’s not the scorer that Bynum is. But, he is AMAZING as a passer, and at doing all of the little things that great teams need. If I had to pick between the two for a contender that needed a big, I would take Gasol 9 out of 10 times. Bynum can carry the scoring load, but he’s always injured, and he’s a black hole. And his mind is easily corrupted.

  • Heals

    Bynum might be a little better, but comes with too much BS. The JJ cheapshot, the jersey off, the “I’m the man” showboating he does after routine plays, his immaturity dealing with adversity/officiating, his injury history, etc. Gasol just hoops, game in and game out, with Rudy and Zach, or without…

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Gasol is one of the best passing big men ever. I persoanlly think he is a better passer than Pau and that’s saying something. But as far as who’s the best center… Still going with Bynum. He’s not injured now. He’s a blackhole, but a black hole that is going to score more times than not. His mind…. Well yeah you gotta point. Listen, Gasol is not a wrong choice when choosing which center you’d take on your team, but I think by all measures Bynum is overall the better Center right now. He is a better rim protector and he is offensively more dominant. Gasol is easily third behind Bynum though imo. Followed by DMC, then Hibbert.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Heals summed it up pretty well. I’m willing to deal with the BS a little more than most people.

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    Just to make things clear, Big Al and Greg Monroe have better footwork than Bynum.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Good call Boose. I always toss Jefferson in as a PF even though he’s pretty much a center. Same with Monroe, but i’ll give em to ya.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I think you’re arguing that Bynum has the better scoring skillset, which is more valuable to you and to many in the League.
    I”m saying that the ability to think the game, to play under control and to be a professional are all skills, and Gasol’s skills in those areas complete dwarf Bynum’s.
    So, when you look at them as total players and consider what they bring to the table and what they take off, I feel like Gasol brings more in total to the table and takes less off.

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    True true LS, depends on your classification. And have y’all seen the report that Dwight said he’s going to opt in through 2012-2013 with the Magic? Check WaPo and ESPN.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    All those things you said are true. I’m unsure as to if those truly do make him “better” at basketball or not. I understand what your saying. Gasol is smarter, and more of a professional amoung other intangibles. Agreed. I still know that Bynum is going to score on him while keeping his offense limited. You can’t teach being “unstoppable” and that is what Bynum has over Gasol which I feel is more important to winning games.

  • LA Huey

    Haha. I’m glad LakeShow called out the forays to Expedia that Bynum takes. I’ve only seen about 5 Laker games this year so I wasn’t sure if the traveling was routine.To your point, I don’t mind a blackhole if it’s a big that scores very efficiently. He gets great position on the block and I haven’t seen him losing the rock when he has it.
    I’ll still take Marc over Bynum. Bynum has the edge when healthy but durability goes a long way for me.

  • Heals

    Yeah Lake, I should’ve also added that Bynum could carry a team on a night by night basis in ways Marc just can’t. Drew to his credit has also been “rushed” into his place whereas Marc has been with an excellent team to find his game and develop it in ways Bynum hasn’t been afforded…

  • Justin G.

    Someone should tell Westbrook (and anyone else who does it) that they look like idiots when they snarl like that after a dunk

  • DukeFromDeep

    @Heals…. what?
    “Drew to his credit has also been “rushed” into his place whereas Marc has been with an excellent team” – by implication, you mean of course the ‘excellent’ Grizz team w/ Marc and the ‘rushed’ Lakers… what are you smoking dude? Bynum has/had it easier with the other LA bigs (Odom, Gasol, MWP) and with Kareem’s training with his footwork has slowly developed (some) footwork skills – but as stated earlier – looks like a puppy that hasn’t grown into his feet. Marc, aside from copping s**t from his older brother his whole life (obviously making him an intelligent non-emotional player) while Pau finds his role easier by being in a system of Jackson’s that exploited his and the teams strengths (triangle) Marc is better than Pau. Drew is big, clumsy, undisciplined and emotional. He is getting better though, I will give him that, but Marc is a better centre. There, I said it…

  • Heals

    “excellent team to find his game and develop it in ways Bynum hasn’t been afforded,” finish the quote smart a$$. Marc (until the past 2 1/2 years) has been viewed as Pau’s little bro, played for a team that hadn’t made the playoffs til last year and the Mem media spotlight. Drew is viewed as the next “LA big” in the line of Wilt, Kareem and Shaq (not in greatness, but in concept), has been part of a team trying to win titles, dealt with DH12 trade rumors the last year, plays with a ball-dominant scorer in Kobe and deals with the scrutiny of playing in LA. Check yourself Duke I’m eating at the grown-ups table…

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow


  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Best food is at the grown-ups table.