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Wednesday, March 21st, 2012 at 8:35 am  |  55 responses

Post Up: Rocket Launcher

Houston tops the Lakers, Miami survives the Suns and New York and Utah go streaking.

by Abe Schwadron | @abe_squad

Seven games to get to from last night, including losses for both Los Angeles teams, a fourth straight W for New York and a narrow escape for the Heat. Let’s get it started.

Pacers 102, Clippers 89

What’s in the water in Lob City? The Clippers are 4-6 over their last 10 after losing to the Pacers, who used an 11-0 run midway through the third quarter to take charge last night. Danny Granger had 25 points and 8 rebounds while Leandro Barbosa scored 12 in 18 minutes in his Indiana debut—part of a 50-23 advantage in bench points for the Pacers. 17 of those 50 came from Tyler Hansbrough, who relieved David West due to foul trouble and provided a physical presence, even getting chippy with Blake Griffin. BG led the Clips with 23 points and 10 rebounds, Chris Paul had 16 points and 8 dimes and Nick Young scored 13 points on 5-13 shooting in his first start with Lob Angeles (now 26-19).

Knicks 106, Raptors 87

New York had its offense rolling against the Raptors, and is now 4-0 under Mike Woodson, thanks largely to 22 points and 12 boards from Amar’e Stoudemire and 18 points and 10 assists from Jeremy Lin. Toronto made just 2 of 13 three-point attempts, was outrebounded 46 to 30 and trailed by as many as 23 at one point. Meanwhile, the Knicks had four players score at least 17—the number notched by both Tyson Chandler and Carmelo Anthony, who also had 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals on the night. New York has outscored opponents by a combined 90 points during the four-game win streak, and looked to have improved ball movement from start to finish. And Andrea Bargnani’s 5-15 shooting (15 points) and the Raps’ 17 turnovers helped, too.

Heat 99, Suns 95

Chris Bosh scored 29 points on 12-16 shooting and grabbed 8 rebounds for his second straight big game and the Heat used a 17-0 fourth-quarter run to overcome a 10-point deficit late in the final period, ruining what looked to be a nice upset victory for the Suns. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade started the game with poor shooting, but still ended up with 20 and 19 points respectively, including 11 from DWade alone in the fourth quarter, and Miami has now won 14 straight home games. Joel Anthony sat out with a bum ankle, but Udonis Haslem stepped up with 15 points and 9 rebounds in his 31 minutes. Phoenix was led by 19 points from Grant Hill, Steve Nash’s 10 assists (7 turnovers) and 13 and 8 from Marcin Gortat, but the Suns failed to close out a game in which they led by double digits as late as 7:13 in the fourth quarter.

Rockets 107, Lakers 104

Kobe Bryant cut the Rockets’ lead to 1, then tied the game on consecutive jumpers over Chandler Parsons with less than 1:30 to play, but Goran Dragic nailed a corner 3-pointer with under 30 seconds left in the game and the Rockets survived another late three from Kobe to complete a double-digit comeback and improve to 25-22 on the year. The Lakers led 95-83 with just over 6 minutes remaining, but the Rockets finished the game on a 24-9 run, as Los Angeles’ road woes continue—Kobe and company are 9-15 away from Staples Center. Bryant led all scorers with 29 points (albeit on 10-27 shooting), Pau Gasol had 21 and the Lakers shot 51 percent from the field, but Andrew Bynum was ejected after just 23 minutes of action (16 points, 7 rebounds). Houston—still without starting guards Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin—was led by 23 apiece from Courtney Lee and Luis Scola, and Dragic, who posted a sick 16-point, 13-assists, 7-rebound game plus the biggest shot of the game.

Jazz 97, Thunder 90

Six Utah players scored in double figures, including a team-high 20 from Paul Millsap and a 16-6-4 line from Al Jefferson as the Jazz stifled Kevin Durant to win their fourth straight game. Durant shot 6-22 on the night (18 points) and Russell Westbrook had 23—both went scoreless in the second quarter, as Utah took an 8-point lead into halftime. Millsap scored 4 points during a game-ending 10-4 run for the Jazz, who benefitted from 20 Oklahoma City turnovers in the win. The Thunder made just 6 of 21 field goals in the fourth quarter and Durant alone was 0-7, killing any shot of a comeback, and OKC has now dropped 4 of its last 7 games (34-12 overall). Lost in a poor shooting night for KD was Serge Ibaka’s 13 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. Utah, meanwhile, sits at 24-22 but on the outside of the West Playoffs looking in.

Kings 119, Grizzlies 110

Marcus Thornton scored 31 points, DeMarcus Cousins had 23 and Jason Thompson put up 14 points, 13 rebounds and 4 assists as the Kings out-hustled the Grizzlies, jumping out to a 37-28 lead after one quarter and never looking back. In a physical game that was decided in the paint, the Kings scored 74 points in the paint to 64 from Memphis, which was led in scoring by Rudy Gay’s 23 points. Tyreke Evans returned after missing two games due to a sprained ankle, and while he didn’t start, he scored 9 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter, as the Kings held off the Grizz to extend their winning streak to 3 games. 27 fast break points helped the Kings play the uptempo style they thrive in, and while Marc Gasol went for 15 and 10, SacTown’s frontline stood tall.

Bucks 116, Trail Blazers 87

Apparently Drew Gooden heard us making fun of him for that triple-double the other night, so he (of Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors) dropped 19 on the Blazers to lead the Bucks in what was nothing short of a blowout, and Milwaukee stayed a half-game back of New York for the No. 8 seed in the East. Life after Nate McMillan, Gerald Wallace and Marcus Camby is off to a tumultuous start for the Blazers, who shot 35 percent from the field while allowing the Bucks to shoot 58 percent. New Buck Monta Ellis had 14 points and 9 dimes and backcourt mate Brandon Jennings essentially matched him with 15 and 6 of his own. Milwaukee took advantage of 20 Portland turnovers, and held the Blazers’ bench to just 9 points. LaMarcus Aldridge led PDX with 21 points and 12 rebounds in a losing effort.

Line of the Night: Take your pick—Bosh’s 29 points and 8 boards, Dragic’s 16-7-13 night or Thornton’s 31.

Moment of the Night: Goran Dragic drills the clutch to beat the Lake Show. Off a bad pass, too!

Dunk of the Night: LeBron and Harden get honorable mentions, but DMC…it’s going down!

Funnies of the Night: Jamaal Tinsley gets sneaky on Nazr, and DMC makes his coaching debut.

Tonight: Full disclosure, I’ll be in Newark to take in Wizards-Nets as a fan (Nene’s debut!) so you may see an abbreviated version of The Post Up tomorrow morning. Ten games on tap in all tonight, including an ESPN doubleheader of Knicks-Sixers and Lakers-Mavs.

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  • Paul H

    Where you been Amare? Is the 100 million dollar man finely going to start playing well again? That was a night of Steve Nash like efficiency for Lin, guy didn’t even need to play 30 mins. The Knicks are still so Bi-polar I just don’t know how long this will last. When they are maniac, everyone Is high octane, hustle, D and smiles. When they swing the other way the Garden turns Into a funeral home. ‘Melo had a decent all around game but his shooting Is still stinking It up, career worst about to plummet below 40%. The Clip’s free throw shooting continues to be a BIG problem. 45% last night and 68% on the season (2nd last in the league)….that Is going to be a big factor In the Playoffs. Almost makes me think, If they do intend make that jump to the next level they might have to trade for some front court players who can shoot the damn ball. I can’t imagine them giving up Griffin or Jordan (particularly with what Jordan can do on the Defensive end), so how the hell Is this rectified?

  • AD

    demarcus cousins needs to average 25 and 15.

  • Kadavour

    the Clips will go as far as Chris Paul takes them. He has to be more aggressive and make himself the focus of the defense, thereby opening lanes of attack for his team. The second he lets any guy other than Nick or Caron (to a lesser extent because of his diminishing athleticism) go one-on-one, it’s bad possession. Chris needs to be taking 17-20/game for this team to be successful. Also, Griffin needs to shoot better at the line. Teams will keep sending him there until he proves he can make that foul shot.

  • Kadavour

    17-20 shots/game**

  • http://www.slamonline.com Jahmai

    I love how we’re all just a bunch of an unemployed NBA coaches here at slamonline. :P

  • AD

    is it westbrook’s fault when OKC loses?

  • bull22

    well jeremy lin continues to prove himself as future of the franchise while
    playing along with these guys. orange’s loyalty in this team has been rewarded and lin will get a big pay day from someone, true talent always shows.

  • http://caseyvaughn.com AlbertBarr

    DMC!!!! Good Game Kings. Good Game. Kings look like they might be putting it all together. I loved the look on Bobby Jackson’s face when DMC was “coaching”

  • http://twitter.com/niyosimba niyosimba

    I honestly think that the clips need to fire VDN and hire D’Antoni. This is the perfect roster. So much for the death of Linsanity though.

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

    Demarcus definitely will be a perennial all-star

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    What a nice stuff by the athletic beast DeMarcus Cousins. :)

  • Heals

    17 for 47, way to go Kob, while Drew missed what 7 shots his last 2 games. @Kadavour, those Clips are in trouble, I agree that CP3 has to step it up, BUT Blake can’t hit a J or FT to save his life, D’andre can’t post, KMart stil hoists 20footers he can’t hit, MoWill has cooled off. They are getting exposed for wht they truly are. NYK ya’ll better beat Illadelf tonight for the C’s…

  • Heals

    3. LAL, 4. Mem, 5. LAC, 6. Dal. I know 7 and 8 can get a higher spot, but those 4 teams look like they’ll be playing each other in some form. I said it after Tyson left that LAL would beat them if they met up again so that’s my choice (just so I can act like Nostradamus), but curious who LAL fans want to see. Revenge vs Dal or putting the Clips in their place? Either way nobody wants a healthy Mem, and Den (if healthy would be hell for OKC). Ugghhh Western Conf playoffs gonna be wild…

  • http://www.yahoo.com The Fury

    The Dragic make ‘em say “Kyle who?”…word to Jeremy Lin…DMC will coach the Lakers next year…Jazz are big-time killers…wow did I just made a semi-NOYZ comment??..cool

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    The Clippers run entirely too many isolation post ups for Blake Griffin.
    You have two of the best pick and roll players in the League, and you want to have the team stand around while a marginal, undersized power forward posts up?
    THANK YOU VINNY DEL NEGRO!

  • jimmer

    Allen, how in the world is Blake Griffin an undersized power forward? He is literally a ‘prototypical power-forward’.

  • http://www.yahoo.com The Fury

    ^yeah he’s like 6-10 right??

  • Paul H

    He Is listed at 6 10 but I think he Is closer to 6′ 9 or 8. Plus he his wingspan Is not as pronounced as other starting Pf’s also compromising his Defensive abilities:
    http://hoopspeak.com/2012/01/blake-griffin-cant-reach-his-defensive-potential/

  • MUBWAR

    Allen did u inhale that funny smoke?

  • add

    blazers shoulda never fired mcmillan, hes such a tough coach. im impressed monta got 9 assits in his debut though

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    bull22, loyalty is where it’s at.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Yeah, Blake may be alot of things, but undersized isn’t one of them…not that I disagree with the point that you’re making though.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    He’s 6’8″-6’9″ and to me regularly looks short when standing next to other post players. Maybe that’s just me.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    My bad, it says he’s 6’10″. For some reason he looks short to me. Weird.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Heals, Personally, I want it all. I want to beat Dallas and the Clippers and the Heat. Haha. It’s a tie between DAL, and Lob Town. Clippers want to be the main attraction in LA and DAL wants to show they can beat LAL again and that it wasn’t a fluke.
    -Bynum lost that game for them. Kobe shot bad again, but you can’t blame the guy who is trying to will his team to a win over the one who wasn’t there for the second half of the game at all. Plus Kobe nailed 3 shots in a row in the last 3 mins of the game that brought them back into the game after being outscored by double in the 4th.
    -Pau scored at a high FG%, but only had 4 boards which is 2 less than Bynum who only played the first half. LAL lost because they got out rebounded by 10 and had no advantage in the post with Luis Scola out playing the bigs.
    -Sessions is looking good, but he is looking good because he is a good player not because he is meshing well with the team yet. He is lightning quick which is just something I haven’t seen from the PG spot in LA in a minute.

  • AD

    he may be 6’8…. Heights are always adjusted for players to look tall. CP3 is like 5’10 the most.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I just read that his wingspan is sort of small but his height is legit.
    So I was wrong about that height.
    He seems to play small in the post. Plus, while he has some nice head fakes, his moves could use some work.

  • T-Money

    blake only has a 8’9 standing reach… joel anthony has a 9’6 standing reach.

  • T-Money

    miami signed turiaf. that’s a good look.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    ^He’s their best Center now. Not joking..

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Blake Griffin is like 6’7″-6’8″ without shoes on.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Nice nbk, I like that no shoes measurement lol. He is a legit sized PF. It’s just that Pau Gasol makes everyone think they need a 7 footer at the 4.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    How the hell does Miami keep adding players? Shouldn’t they be over the salary cap like 6 times over by now?

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

    Co-sign LakeShow. Also Tim Duncan.

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

    btw is Andrew Bogut a legit 7 footer?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    6’11″ without shoes. So yes he is.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Teddy, Hell yes Bogut is a legit 7 footer. As legit as anyone in the L. He is as big as Bynum.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    All of their pre-draft heights with and without shoes are available online.

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

    It is vexing to watch the Lakers late game recently. Much as I like Bean, I cannot defend him taking all 6 or so final shots for the Lakers while the THOSE Rockets get fairly easier shots time after time. And Mike Brown lets it happen (Not like he has any choice anyway)…fudge muffins!

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    I feel ya Nick. Kobe did nail half of those though.. But I agree that a team play ran by Sessions is the better idea, but he isn’t quite up on plays yet(not that there are allot). Once he is the starting PG(we’re about a week away) I expect better game execution.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com albie1kenobi

    i watched the lakers/rockets game last night, and was really impressed with what Sessions can do on the court. looks exactly like what the doctor ordered.
    i don’t think the lakers lost the game as much as the rockets won it. they made consecutive threes down the stretch, even though lakers were doing ok on the offensive end. this was definitely NOT because kobe shot them out the game.

  • dazzy

    Nbadraft.net

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    AS long as Kobe is Kobe, Sessions knowing the plays won’t change anything. Only Kobe can change things.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/tray24 T-Ray

    I watched the LA game last night and to be honest Kobe had nothing to do with that loss. I can be just as critical of him even being a big fan of the Lakers but it all started when Bynum was ejected. Once he was ejected the flow of the offense was just disrupted. Part of the loss was just the Rockets playing well. Sometimes we get caught up in what the other team did wrong but the Rockets fought hard and executed down the stretch.

  • Heals

    Yeah, looks like you may get both LS and I hear ya, my Mamba blame was more hindsight cause I only caught the last 3 mins and based that off the box score to that point before he hit those big shots. I just think it would really benefit Kob to take his foot off the gas every so slightly for a couple weeks, ride the bigs inside and let Sesh handle to ball more all to help save his legs. He may be doing fine and so I’m just talking armchair nonsense, but the WesternConf Playoffs will be a such a brutal GRIND for each squad, and every player…

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

    Anyone see Robert Horry and Yao courtside at the Lakers/Rockets game? Wouldn’t be great to see some of these senior Houston residents play pick-up ball: Dream, Drexler, Deke, Horry, Yao and throw in Marcus Camby. Bet Dreams OWNS the court!

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    T-Ray be that smartie smart smart. Wow, What do ya know… Watching the game = better grasp on what happened.
    -Heals: Your a good dude. I completely agree with you. KB needs to take his foot off the gas lol. He is trying to hard. It’s just hard for me to get mad at dude for “trying to hard” lol… I’m assuming that since this is Sessions 3rd game and really his first real game (4th qtr minutes) that he is going to slowly hand the reigns over to him. I hope…

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/tray24 T-Ray

    Lakeshow
    I think people are too quick to blame Kobe when they only look at the box score or highlights. Being in LA I get the luxury of watching them every game and the whole game.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    T-Ray i’m in LA also. I still get LP despite not needing it for the Lakers because i’m a bball freak. Dallas tonight :D
    -BTW everyone that likes to rag on Kobe and the Lakers. They are the 6th best team in BBall all while having the worse road record of any top 7 team in each conference, and not gelling at all this year, and having Fisher starting and playing a major role for the first 3/4 of the season. Just want to remind everyone of that.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Oh yeah something else I wanted to share. Drexler last night was commenting for the Rockets game and he said (this is the Laker starting unit mind you)”The Lakers are big, young, and athletic”…. LMAO couldn’t stop laughing. What Clyde? lol. Big? Yes. Young? Hell no. Athletic? *crickets*

  • Heals

    @T-Ray, I hear ya on the boxscore stuff, but I’ve watched your squad all year. LAL barely beat Minny without Love, then without Rubio, barely beat Mem without Z and Rudy, squeeked by a C’s team without any bigs, caught Mia without CB. It’s not the shots in particular as much as it is the style of play that comes along with Kob taking those shots. Last night the ejection forced Kob to shoulder the burden (as ya’ll pointed out to me) They could’ve easily lost all 4 of those previous games (could throw the Hornets game too) to not only lesser teams, but teams they have the size mismatch against, but they didn’t cause those 3 are that talented (to be fair all their losses have been close too so they could’ve just as easily rolled off 7-8 W’s in a row as well). The basketball fan in me just wants to see what would happen if Drew/Pau took around 40 shots to Kob’s 15. I’m overly critical of Mamba because I think his shot selection this year may hurt him and the team in long-run (wait don’t I root for C’s!?!?)…

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/tray24 T-Ray

    Lake you lucky bastard lol I’m only 19 in college so I can’t get LP just yet haha
    Heals
    I think all of those games you mentioned were close due to different circumstances. As you stated CB was out for MIA and they tend to give bigger teams fits when they go small. As far as barely beating teams that are missing key players and/or are sub .500 teams I would say that’s due to playing down to your competition. Which a lot of teams are doing this year. I too would like to see Drew and Pau get more shots while Kobe feeds of their games but that’s just not going to happen as long as Kobe can still play at an elite level.

  • Heals

    Mos def T and remember LP is free 1st week of the season and then 1st week after the Allstar game…

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/tray24 T-Ray

    Yeah I remember I got a few good games I might have to invest in it next season.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    I agree so much with you there Heals. It would be fun to at least see a game where Pau and Drew get 20 shots each. I think it will happen…. It just might be next year. I’ll be honest, Kobe wants that scoring title this season especially since he has had it for 80% of the season. He doesn’t want to miss out on his (most likely) last one.
    -The playoffs baby. That what it’s all about. I want to see them get it together so I know they will perform in the playoffs. None-the-less i’m confident that they will be post season beasts. I think the Celts can still give any team a run for their money/beat them, btw. I have always respected that team. Ya’ll beat us fair and square a few years back. I remember that. I remember it real well. And I never doubt champions.

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