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Saturday, April 7th, 2012 at 9:00 am  |  35 responses

Post Up: The Hype Machine

The Griz beat the Heat in South Beach and the Rockets steal a dub in L.A.

by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad

After last night’s victory over the Heat, it’s the perfect time to jump on the Grizzlies bandwagon as the Playoffs are right around the corner. All I know is it’s awesome to have Gilbert Arenas back in the league and seeing him produce for a playoff team. Eleven games went down last night, catch up on all of ‘em below…

Pacers 103, Thunder 98

Kevin Durant dropped 44 and nearly won the game by himself after scoring 24 in the fourth and bringing his team back from a 24-point deficit. But, the Pacers hung tough and won their fourth straight. After the Thunder cut the lead to 11 with 11 minutes remaining, Leandro Barbosa and Danny Granger hit back-to-back three-pointers to get some much needed breathing room. Granger scored 13 of his 26 points in the final quarter to go along with 6 boards and 0 turnovers. Roy Hibbert earned a double-double with 21 points and 12 boards and Paul George scored 8 points and grabbed a team-high 16 boards. Russell Westbrook had 21 and 11, but shot a dismal 7-23 from the field while James Harden scored 10 off the bench. With the exception of Durant, Harden and Westbrook, no other OKC player scored in double-digits.

Cavaliers 84, Raptors 80

With Kyrie Irving and Anthony Parker out with injuries, the Cavs ended their nine-game losing streak by outscoring the Raptors 33-17 in the final quarter. Cleveland came out on fire in the fourth, jumping all over T.Dot with a quick 17-6 run. The Cavs then buckled down defensively, holding Toronto to only three field goals in the last six minutes of play, all of which came in the final 30 seconds. Lester Hudson, who is signed to a 10-day contract with Cleveland, had career highs of 23 points and 7 assists while Antawn Jamison scored 16 of his 25 points in the fourth to go along with 8 boards. DeMar DeRozan had 28 points and a rare team-high 4 assists.

Nets 110, Wizards 98

New Wizard Nene looked on from the sideline as the Nets led from wire-to-wire and never felt threatened against a beat up Washington team. Five Nets players scored in double-figures, including DWill who had 19 points and 13 assists and Gerald Wallace had 19 and 5 boards. For the Wiz, John Wall led the way with 18 points, 6 boards and 4 assists and teammate Kevin Seraphin, who got the start for Nene, had 15 and 9.

Hawks 100, Pistons 96

With the Pistons focused on shutting down Josh Smith and Joe Johnson, Jeff Teague took full advantage of his opportunity and tied a career-high with 24 points and dropped a season-high 11 dimes. The Hawks led by 12 with a minute left in the third before the Pistons responded with a 17-2 run that gave them an 83-80 lead with seven and a half minutes to go. Teague then took over with consecutive clean assists to JSmoove (22 points, 12 boards) and Marvin Williams (12 points) for dunks. Teague then hit a layup with three minutes left to put the Hawks up five. To cap it off, the young point guard hit Ivan Johnson (16 points) with a beautiful pass for a dunk that put the exclamation point on the game. The Pistons were led by Rodney Stuckey’s 27 points (on 8-22 shooting) and Will Bynum’s 15. ATL has now won two straight and three out of four to hold down the five seed in the Eastern Conference.

Grizzlies 97, Heat 82

Let the “Grizzlies will be a problem in the playoffs” chatter begin. Memphis jumped out to an early lead and led the Heat by double-digits the entire second half as they cruised to an easy victory down in South Beach. The Griz led by as many as 19 in the first half and eventually led by 21 midway through the fourth quarter. The Heat did cut it to ten with five minutes left in the third quarter, but the Grizzlies firepower was too much for them and Miami never got within single digits. Seven Memphis players scored in double-figures, including Gilbert Arenas who hit four 3′s off the bench to score 12 points. Rudy Gay led the way with 17 points and Zach Randolph had a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds. LeBron had 21, 6 boards and 6 assists, DWade chipped in with 20 and seven boards and Chris Bosh had 19. Last night’s loss was the first time the Heat have trailed wire-to-wire since November of 2010.

Bucks 95, Bobcats 90

Milwaukee finds themselves in a heated battle with the Knicks for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs and nearly let one slip through the cracks against the lowly Bobcats. The Bucks found themselves trailing by one with under four minutes to go, but the backcourt duo of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings sparked an 8-0 run that gave the Bucks a seven point lead with one minute and thirty seconds to go. Ellis finished with 25 points, Jennings had 18 and 9 dimes and Ersan Illyasova finished with a double-double of 12 points and 15 boards as the Bucks pulled to within a game of the Knicks for the eighth seed in the East. Despite a career high 31 points and 14 boards from Byron Mullens and Kemba Walker’s 18 points, 8 dimes and 7 boards, the Bobcats couldn’t pull off the victory and dropped their tenth straight game.

Blazers 99, Mavs 97

Ray Felton led the Blazers with 30 points, including 16 during a ridiculous third quarter that saw the much maligned Felton hit three 3′s and score a three-point play all during a 16-0 run Portland run. Despite Felton’s tremendous performance, it was LaMarcus Aldridge who played the hero in overtime. After Dirk Nowitzki grabbed a missed Felton 3-pointer, the reigning Finals MVP committed a costly turnover that gave the Blazers the ball back with 3.7 seconds left in the overtime period. After a timeout, Aldridge caught the ball on the inbounds took a few dribbles then did his best Dirk impression with a 16-foot step back jumper over Brendan Haywood that gave the Blazers the win. Aldridge finished with a double-double of 25 points and 12 boards and Jamal Crawford chipped in with 14 off the pine. For Dallas, Dirk led the way with 23 points, 14 boards and a single, untimely turnover. Portland has now won two in a row for the first time since January 23 and 24.

Spurs 128, Hornets 103

With last night’s 25-point drubbing of the Hornets, the Spurs have now won ten straight games and find themselves in first place in the West after OKC dropped one to Indiana earlier in the evening. The Spurs absolutely dominated New Orleans and shot just under 61 percent from the field and had six players score in double-figures. Tim Duncan scored 19 points and grabbed 6 boards while Manu Ginobili had 14 off the bench. The Spurs’ bench combined for 64 points in the victory. In his second game back from a knee injury, Eric Gordon scored 31 points.

Nuggets 105, Suns 99

The Nuggets scored the last nine points of the fourth quarter to earn an important home victory over the Suns. With the win, Denver now owns the tiebreaker against Phoenix and has sole possession of the seventh seed in the West. Denver went on a 16-6 run to start the second half to take a double-digit lead, but the Suns clawed their way back and regained the lead after a pair of free throws from Steve Nash. Al Harrington (23 points), who has taken a leadership role on this young Nuggets team, then scored the last five points of the third before hitting two straight 3′s to give his team a seven-point cushion. Phoenix then responded with a 13-1 run that gave them a 92-87 lead midway through the fourth before the Nuggets buckled down defensively and outscored the Suns 18-7 down the stretch. Aaron Afflalo led all scorers with 30 points and Andre Miller finished with 15 points and 7 assists off the bench. Shannon Brown finished with 18 points and Steve Nash had a double-double with 14 points and 11 dimes.

Jazz 104, Warriors 98

After missing the last game with a sprained ankle, Devin Harris returned to the Jazz lineup and scored a season-high 28 points while dishing out 5 dimes. Harris hit back-to-back three-pointers in the fourth to trigger a 12-3 run that helped the Jazz pull away from the Warriors in Salt Lake City. Al Jefferson finished with 30 points and 11 boards and Gordon Hayward chipped in with 14. For the Warriors, David Lee had a double-double with 26 points and 12 boards and Klay Thompson finished with 23 points and 5 boards.

Rockets 112, Lakers 107

The Lakers gave the Rockets everything they had, but Houston kept responding and eventually gutted out a tough victory on the road. Six Rockets players scored in double figures including Luis Scola who had 25, Marcus Camby who finished with 12 points and 11 boards and Goran Dragic who bested Ramon Sessions with 26 points and 11 dimes. The Rockets were up 80-75 in the third when Andrew Bynum (19 points, 7 boards) earned himself a tech after being upset over a hard Samuel Dalembert foul. In the fourth, Bynum was assessed another tech after running his mouth to the Rockets bench and was ejected from the game. After being ejected, the Rockets took full advantage and Scola dropped 10 points over the last two minutes and forty seconds to propel the Rockets to victory. For the Lakers, Kobe dropped 28 points on 8-20 shooting, Metta World Peace finished with 23 and Pau Gasol had a double-double with 14 points and 10 boards.

Stat Line of the Night: A lot of big numbers but I’m showing love to Jeff Teague who had a career-high 24 points and a season-high 11 dimes.

Play of the Night: LaMarcus Aldridge with the step-back game winner.

Dunks of the Night: Brandan Wright with the sick windmill alley.

Durantula puts it on Roy Hibbert’s head.

Tonight: Nine games on deck, including some big ones between Boston and Indiana, Dallas and Memphis and Orlando and Philly. Catch y’all tomorrow, Peace!

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  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    Props to LaMarcus Aldridge for hitting that game winner right in Brendan Haywood’s face.

  • Drig

    The more pressing issue here for LA is Bynum’s immaturity and a lot more importantly, Kobe’s shins. Dude was limping by the time Q4 almost ended. That would mean a lot of pain for Kobe, who doesn’t mind playing through them. MikeB, LA’s paying you to keep Kobe fresh for the POs AND WIN. Not run Kobe into the ground and WIN in the regular season. Sigh.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Jahmai

    I thought the Grizzlies weren’t even playing that well, Miama was just flat out terrible. My eyes were hurting in the 1st half, so many misses…

  • http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/39910/knicks-will-miss-lin-during-playoff-push Paul H

    Cosign Jahmai. I know Memphis are a top ten defensive team, but the Heat just have to be asking questions. Getting held to 82 on your home court, with the playoffs a sniff away, Is alarming. We are only a week Into April and already the heat have more losses In March and April (8) than they had In ALL of Feb and Jan (7). If this team falls apart before nipping a ring again this season, at least one of the big three will be wearing a new uniform by next year.

  • Fat Lever

    Chicago and Miami better be paying attention to what Indiana is doing. They are playing real well at the right time. To me, I wouldn’t be surprised if they made the ecf.

  • MUBWAR

    the first q that the heat was probably 1 of the worst q ever. 11to 8 missed layups. the best front-line in the league showed up last night Gay-Randolph-Gasol

  • MUBWAR

    well Paul if the heat don’t win this season Wade is shipped 4 Howard

  • 23

    @paul, that sounds like it would be an espn rumor. you know, the ones that are started without any reason. basically something to hype up the nba season. lets just wait and see what happens and stop stirring up the pot instead of putting more ideas in it.

  • http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/39910/knicks-will-miss-lin-during-playoff-push Paul H

    I was not starting a rumor, or stirring the pot. I was simply stating my conviction that If the Heat don’t win a championship (a very real possibility) that I think there Is not a chance they will leave that big three Intact. Which Is a very justified hypothesis In my opinion.

  • http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/39910/knicks-will-miss-lin-during-playoff-push Paul H

    The Heat have not given me any reason to believe that this years playoffs will play out any different to last year. The Bulls have. Provided Rose I healthy come playoff time, I’m picking the Bulls out of the East.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Abe Schwadron

    That KD dunk was filthy.

  • Otis

    That Durant dunk was sick. Straight up, straight down (and over a seven-footer, too). Quite the contrast to Blake’s leading elbows.

  • bike

    Exactly what advantage do the Bulls have over the Heat this year that they didn’t last year? Oh wait, I already know the answer. NOTHING.

  • http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/39910/knicks-will-miss-lin-during-playoff-push Paul H

    This was the year the Heat were supposed to steamroll the league. They have not. They can’t even wrestle the leagues best record off the Bulls despite Rose missing 22 games. The Bulls have grown way more as a team, they can win without Rose and more importantly score the ball without him. Provided Rose can, as I have said, round into injury free form I think the Bulls will take them In 7 game series. Not trying to sound prophetic,just giving my opinion.

  • Nguyen-Luan

    We will have to wait until playoffs arrive.
    Everyone knows its a different level of play.
    For sure though, no ones wants to play Grizzlies or Pacers in playoffs if they continue to play like this.
    As it stands, in the first round the match-ups for those teams will be Grizzlies-Clippers and Magic-Pacers.

  • bike

    They couldn’t overtake the Bulls’ record last year either. We all see how that went.

  • CDaTyrant

    My Spurs puttin in work while nabbing the #1 seed in the west AND flying under the radar yup, just another year down in San Antonio.

  • Heals

    Sorry bike and PaulH, but I can’t help either of ya on this one. I agree with Paul that Mia seems to have the same issues they did last year (have they decided what their “best 5″ is yet?). That said last week they just crushed Indy, Phi (possible playoff match-ups) and beat OKC. I don’t trust Chi’s over-reliance on Rose, but when they put the clamps on (see Th vs Bos) you, you’re not going to score anything easy. I guess I like Mia over Chi, but would take Chi over everybpdy else before I took Mia? Chi is more tightly knit and Mia is more explosive, tough call either way…

  • http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/39910/knicks-will-miss-lin-during-playoff-push Paul H

    @Bike. Yes but Derrick Rose missed 1 game of a 82 game season and was playing 37.5 mins a game. This season he has already missed 22 games of a 66 game season, playing two less mins a game. And they are still clear by three games ontop the eastern conference. If that does not prove, conclusively, that 1)This Bulls team Is a better, stronger team than last year and 2)that they are less dependent on Derrick Rose, I don’t know what will.

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

    LOL @ Andrew Bynum… Would anyone still rather have him over Marc Gasol??

  • BuzzerBeater

    LAC actually match up pretty well to MEM – they are 2:0 against them this year.. and their strongest positions in PG and PF are MEM’s weakest defensively.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF30WneDtQc Datkid

    Yeah Paul I’m not buying it. one very close loss to a bulls team w/o D.rose from a tired miami team really does mean nothing. This bulls team has shown impressive toughness, but that was never their problem. Their issue is still structural. and you know this;

  • http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/39910/knicks-will-miss-lin-during-playoff-push Paul H

    Chicago Is a much better team this year In terms of offensive efficiency (11th last year to 5th this year), shooting the three ball better (37.7% up to fifth this year, 16th last year) and passing (assisting on 23 baskets good for 4th In the L up from 9th last year) and they still remain elite at their two biggest strengths from last year, Rebounding and defense. They have made strides In ever aspect of the game and have a better win% WITH THE REIGNING MVP missing a third of the total games. Anyone who has not seen massive strides, facilitated by the masterful Thibs, must be watching a different Bulls team to me.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF30WneDtQc Datkid

    which is cool and all, but come playoff time, ESPECIALLY if they don’t have rose they’ll still get stomped.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF30WneDtQc Datkid

    By the heat.

  • http://fkjlf.com Jukai

    Paul: I think it would be closer and I wouldn’t be surprised if Chicago toppled Miami, and I do agree the key factor is a well rested Rose.
    But Miami beat Chicago in five last year and have a slightly deeper cast.
    Miami’s got some problems though. Wade really isn’t performing the way he should, Lebron is reverting back to his old habits, both Chalmers and Cole are clanking everything and they still need a true big man at their center spot to deal with teams with a big front court like Memphis.
    I’m HOPING the lockout’d season is just taking its toll on Miami and that Wade/Lebron are purposefully taking it easy, but I’m not so sure.
    I’d like to see Cole get a lot more burn than he is, he needs confidence. If he improves, you have him for the playoffs, great. If he doesn’t, sit him in the playoffs, play Chalmers more minutes and have Wade take his spot during the off minutes.
    The team… kinda needs Miller, sadly.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF30WneDtQc Datkid

    look chicago’s always had good players.. even when people said they didn’t. They always had ELITE defensive players who would fight night in and night out. and I see their improvement. but the thing is IMO a deep defensive team can beat much of the league on any given night. but the heat in the early playoffs isn’t the majority of the league. AT ALL. honestly I think they could’ve beaten miami last year if they had only gotten one more creator(someone who could create their own shot, or create for others) so the heat couldn’t triple team rose but they DIDNT… they got a guy who ran off screens for mid-range shots and have proceeded to run their entire supporting cast ragged on a shortened, jam-packed schedule.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF30WneDtQc Datkid

    not too mention there might be chemistry issues when rose reappears… I think chicago is a dope team but they’re looking more and more like a dope regular season team. although for the reasons jukai said…. I’m VERY worried about the heat too. hopefully this is all just a REALLY stupid plan by the heat to save their energy for the playoffs, chris paul style…

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

    I’m with PaulH, people are overlooking the improvements the bulls have made, particularly on offense.

  • Heals

    All those stats are based off performances vs other teams and although they show Chi has made improvements, they aren’t as useful when all that will matter is how they play vs Mia…

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF30WneDtQc Datkid

    ^^ which is what people are missing. show me some improved stats vs miami and I’ll consider believing you. Otherwise your pipe dreams about getting to the finals don’t interest me.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF30WneDtQc Datkid

    but for the record, I do think it will be an INCREDIBLY contested series. I’m almost not looking forward to it bc I’m sure the heat will figure out a way to give me an aneurism mid way through

  • http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/39910/knicks-will-miss-lin-during-playoff-push Paul H

    @Datkid, I’m not a Chicago supporter, In fact I’m not from the states and have no real fixed allegiance to any team, so your claims that I’m having “pipedreams” are baseless and clearly a reaction to me having the audacity to pick against a team that has yet to win anything. Chi/Miami WILL be a tightly contested series this year, mainly because of the improvement I have noted. I might well be wrong but my gut says the Bulls will take It. I think you are right Jukai, Millers absence Is significant. The reason Miami are so volatile Is because they are still so top heavy talent wise, It just makes them that little bit less predictable. Nearly two years In and they still have yet to sustain that INVINCIBILITY that just about everyone thought would inevitably come. They may get back to the finals and they may just win It. But, and this Is a tired old sentiment at this stage, until LBJ proves that he won’t wilt under the lights, I just can’t bet the farm on It. And a team with that talent, you SHOULD be able to.

  • http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/39910/knicks-will-miss-lin-during-playoff-push Paul H

    Oh and they have shared the two regular season games thus far, with each being won by four points. So the stats between the two don’t really enlighten us much. The overall stats In the box score and the win column point to a better CHI team.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF30WneDtQc Datkid

    Paul I don’t care which team you pick. Like I really don’t. don’t get mad. that was a general statement…. it wasn’t even directed at you homie.

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