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Wednesday, December 26th, 2012 at 9:00 am  |  75 responses

Post Up: Heat Check

Miami defeats Oklahoma City in a rematch of last year’s Finals.

by Yaron Weitzman | @YaronWeitzman

Happy holidays, everyone! Tuesday’s recaps are coming right up, but first, a Public Service Announcement: If at some point this post abruptly ends it’s because in a sudden outburst of rage triggered by hearing Justin Bieber sing “pa rum pum pum” for the 439th time today I’ve hurled my computer at the TV.

Celtics (14-13) 93, Nets (14-13) 76

Remember when the Nets were 11-4 and the new darlings of the NBA and a team so fun and exciting and cool that some thought they may actually be able to steal some fans away from the Knicks? ‘Twas the time. Now, after suffering their ninth loss in 12 games, the Nets find themselves focusing on smaller things, like staying above .500 and keeping themselves in the Playoff hunt. And keeping their jobs, something that the above tweet from Nets CEO Brett Yormark shows Avery Johnson may want to start worrying about.

Right now, the Nets are just not a very good team. They made that abundantly clear to a national audience Tuesday against the Celtics. They’re average defensively and starting Gerald Wallace at power forward has done nothing to increase the offense’s fluidity. Playing in their home gym, against a relatively mediocre defense (Boston was 12th in the League in defensive efficiency coming into the game) Brooklyn shot just 40.6 percent from the field and turned the ball over 20 times. Deron Williams (10 points on 3-7 shooting, six assists, four turnovers) once again looked average, which is the exact thing a $100 million man is not supposed to look like on the court. The same can be said for Joe Johnson (4-14, 12 points).

As for Boston, Tuesday’s victory over the Nets was sparked by a couple of new contributors: Jared Sullinger (16 points and seven rebounds) and Jeff Green (15 points). Rajon Rondo also had 19 points (including 2-2 from the behind the arc), six assists and five rebounds and Paul Pierce dished out 10 assists to make up for his eight points. But the standouts were Sullinger and Green, two players that are going to have to become consistent contributors if the Celtics plan on making any sort of Playoff noise.

Lakers (14-14) 100, Knicks (20-8) 94

It turns out that getting two future Hall-of-Famers like Steve Nash and Pau Gasol back on the court can actually make a team a lot better and solve many of its issues. Who would have ever guessed? Tuesday at the Staples Center against the Knicks we saw the Lakers play like the team that everyone expected them to be at the beginning of the season as they won their fifth straight game. They shot 48 percent from the field and held the Knicks, one of the best offensive teams in the League, to 43 percent shooting. Kobe scored 34 points on just 24 shots. Dwight Howard had 14 points and 12 rebounds and actually displayed some quickness and athleticism on the defensive end. Steve Nash had a typical Nash game: 16 points, 11 assists, 7-12 from the field and one incredible floater which you can watch below. Metta World Piece added in a surprising 20 points.

The interesting part of the game was the offense that the Lakers ran in crunch time. There were no Kobe isolations or tough fade-aways. Instead, Los Angeles ran pick-and-rolls with Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. Most would agree that putting the ball in Nash’s hands at the end of a game and having him run pick-and-rolls with one of the best rolling big men in the League is a smart strategy. The fact that the Lakers, and, more specifically, Mike D’Antoni, had the marbles to do so is what’s a bit surprising. It’s also something that should excite Lakers fans and make them feel good about where this season is headed.

For the Knicks, it was an ugly game. They were 9-16 from the free-throw line and 9-26 from behind the 3-point line. Tyson Chandler fouled out. Raymond Felton was just 5-19 and was the conductor of a few bonehead late-game possessions that contributed to the Knicks scoring just 16 points in the fourth quarter. Carmelo (34 points on 23 shots) and JR Smith (25 points) shot well, but given the rest of the team’s struggles, their efforts just weren’t enough. Also, about those bright orange uniforms…

Heat (19-6) 103, Thunder (21-6) 97

The two best teams in the NBA and two best players in the NBA faced off in Miami on Tuesday and, just like last summer, LeBron and the Heat walked off the court as winners. For Thunder fans, yesterday’s Christmas loss had to bring back bad memories of justtttt coming up a bit short. The big play came at the end of the game when a defensive lapse by either Kevin Durant or Kevin Martin on the weakside (it was hard to tell which of the two was responsible for that specific rotation) allowed LeBron to find Chris Bosh for a wide open dunk to give the Heat a 98-95 lead with 25 seconds left in the game. The Thunder had a chance to tie—after a Kevin Durant jumper and some Miami foul shots—but both Durant and Westbrook missed 3′s with under 10 seconds left. Westbrook might have been fouled on his attempt—as you can see below, he clearly thought he was—but, well that’s just not a foul you’re going to see called very often in that situation.

LeBron led the Heat with 29 points on 12-20 shooting, nine assists and eight rebounds, or what he calls an average night. The surprise, though, was Mario Chalmers, who finished with 20 points, 12 of which came on four 3-pointers. Miami also continued its strong defensive stretch by holding the Thunder to 42 percent shooting. Kevin Durant led the thunder with 33 points (on 11-21 shooting) and seven rebounds. Russell Westbrook, despite struggling from the field (5-19), managed to get to the foul line 12 times (he was 10-12) and finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds.

Rockets (15-12) 120, Bulls (15-12) 97

And, just like that, the Rockets now find themselves three games above .500 and in sixth place in the Western Conference. What’s most intriguing about Houston is that not only is Jeremy Lin playing really well, but that he and James Harden seem to be figuring out how to play together, something that, just a few weeks ago, many didn’t believe could be done. Lin had 20 points, 11 assists and just two turnovers Tuesday night in Chicago against the Bulls. It was his fourth straight game with over 15 points and the third time in the past four games that he’s shot over 60 percent. (Fun/interesting fact: This streak started last Monday in New York.) James Harden had his typical all around game as he led all scorers with 26 points.

The star for Houston, however, was Omer Asik. The Turkish Hammer finished with 20 points and 18 rebounds and was an incredible +41. 41! Right now the Rockers are playing as well as any team in the League. They’ve won four in a row and seven out of eight. They’ve now scored at least 109 points in four straight games. In their last two games, while facing the two best defensive teams in the League (Memphis and Chicago), Houston has scored 121 points and 120 points, respectively. Clearly, the Rockets are a team that should be competing for a Playoff spot. The question is just how good are they?

Chicago was led by…Nate Robinson? Robinson had 27 points and was the lone bright spot for a Bulls team that continues to show us what we already know: That as hard as they play and as good of a coach as Tom Thibodeau is, the Bulls aren’t going anywhere unless Derrick Rose comes back healthy and ready to go.

Clippers (22-6) 112, Nuggets (15-14) 100

Make that 14 in a row for the Clippers, who now have the best record in the NBA. Give the Nuggets credit for hanging around, but the Clippers were just too fast and athletic and deep for Denver, which, when you consider what Denver’s strengths are supposed to be, is pretty remarkable. Chris Paul was his usual brilliant self (14 points, eight assists and just one turnover in 31 minutes) and Blake Griffin finished with 13 points and 842 dunks.

The leaders for the Clippers, though, as has been the case for most of the season, was the bench. Jamal Crawford had a team high 22 points, Matt Barnes added in 20 points, Lamar Odom—yes, Lamar Odom—had six points and 10 rebounds and the bench as a whole scored an incredible 64 points in total. And remember, this is a group that is eventually going to be receiving contributions from both Chauncey Billups and Grant Hill, too. The Lakers, for good reason, get all the attention in Los Angeles.  But this Clippers team has one of the five best players in the League, two of the top-20 players in the League and a great bench. Sounds like a championship recipe to me.

As for Denver, well, there’s really nothing worth noting about them. They were led by Kosta Koufos, who had 16 points and ten rebounds, and Jordan Hamilton, who had 16 points as well.

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  • Max

    Good win for teh Lakers last night.
    Westbrook had alot of bad luck with his left right eurostep like 3 times.

  • https://twitter.com/Wayne__o BuenoWayno1

    Couple Points.
    1) Blame Westbrook
    2)DWill is looking SHAKY
    3)J Crawford….
    4)Countdown to Lakers Fans overreacting in 5…4…3….2….

  • bill breedley

    westbrook was fouled

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Hi Haters

  • Slick Ric

    There’s no such thing as clipper basketball billy. lol

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    The Knicks were pretty wretched last night. But the Lakers showed they have the ability to be a very good team. With this only being Nash’s 2nd game back, it’s pretty clear they are going to be a threat to some teams.
    .
    Now that’s not to say LA is in the championship picture, cuz right now they aren’t, but i’m pretty confident in saying, when healthy, they are in that second tier.

  • Unforgettable

    MWP went in yesterday lol

  • Otis

    Hahaha totally with you on the Bieber observation

  • RKJ92

    K.. Jamaal Crawford is ILL..

  • The Seed

    Lakers are fine, players were hurt and Please KD gets some heart against your good friend Lebron. I am tire of announcers talking about them working out in the off season. Please KD, stop letting Lebron learn your go to moves. Bron plays with power, so KD will never really be able to stop him. KD plays with finesse, so if Lebron learns his go to spots on the court, he is DODO. Lebron is actually being psychological with KD. Maybe KD needs to cry on his mom shoulders or watch the commercial of his mom believing in him. KD is being branded wrong. LOL

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    These people who think that LeBron has KD under some kind of spell are out of their minds. Period. LeBron is the best. KD is second best. LeBron outplays him. KD shows no fear at all when they play each other. He shows flashes of still being able to score with LeBron on him like he did yesterday in the 2nd half. It’s not about mind games. LeBron didn’t ask KD to come to Akron 2 summers in a row so that he could get into his head. It’s about LeBron being a better player. It’s very simple. All of these theories that people are pulling from nowhere are ridiculous. From the time you’re young, if you played sports, you know that the better players usually form some kind of bond after playing against each other enough. Some bonds turn into friendships. Playing for a lot of money and playing on TV with millions of people watching doesn’t change that. It’s a kid’s game. They’re friends who also happen to be the 2 best players in the world. Get over it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Junior-Taylor/100003121138419 Junior Taylor

    KD scored 33pts on 52% shooting with one of the best perimeter defenders in the L hounding him all game long, WTF are you talking about?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Junior-Taylor/100003121138419 Junior Taylor

    Thank you. Finally some sense.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    really well said.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Junior-Taylor/100003121138419 Junior Taylor

    That is it, I no longer consider DWill a great player. Put CP on that BK nets team and I promise they won’t be hovering around .500. DWill’s more talented than CP but he lacks Paul’s leadership and ability to makes those around him better.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    it’s the Seed.

  • RKJ92

    It’s the seed.. Lol..

  • RKJ92

    THANKYOU!! Wow finally..

  • The Fury

    I’ll say it again, Parker>>>D.Williams

  • RKJ92

    That’s not bad luck talking ferret, it was good defense! Give the Heat the respect they deserve bro they suffocated the Thunder.

  • RKJ92

    No doubt.. Parkers SO underrated..

  • Max

    Ok talking raptors logo?
    I know they had good D, but I’m talking about Westbrook’s go to layup on the fastbreak which usually is money everytime even against good D.

  • LakeShow

    He’s nice…
    16-2-2 on 43% FG’s.

  • The Seed

    To act like KD is mentally tough is hogwash, Bron got KD right where he wants him. KD tries to hard and plays different when he plays against Bron. KD is pressing all game to score on BRon, but Bron just gets his easy on KD. KD is under lock and key, watch how KD goes off next game. KD got a quiet plus 30 points. Friendship crap is hogwash, Why Bron pick KD to workout with. I know the answer, go read and find out. Bron is smarter than he looks.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    lol

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    you used to say similarly stupid sh*t about LeBron.

  • LakeShow

    I don’t think so.
    Imagine Williams in San An with Duncan….

  • LakeShow

    So what “IF” he is mentally weak…

    He puts up on offense and defense, he’s clutch, he’s a good team mate, he’s got a high Bball IQ… What more do you want?

    You just want him to not work out with the best competition in the off season?

    Your dumb dude.

    He scores 30ppg on 50+% FG’s and plays good D, but since he cries on his mom’s shoulder afterward, he’s weak….

    Okay….

  • LakeShow

    “But this Clippers team has one of the five best players in the League, two of the top-20 players in the League and a great bench”

    Is two of the top 20 players referring to CP and Blake, even though CP was just spoken of in the top 5? Such a confusing line…

  • The Philosopher

    LONG… LIVE… THE KING.

  • AQWORD

    Bron was hit on the wrist on his tip dunk on Ibaka & he didn’t B!#(h about it. I’m like Common & ur Ice Cube. I see the B!t(h in YOU !!

  • The Seed

    Bron is, but KD is even weaker, OKC losing to HEat in the FInals, told me alot about KD’s game and his passion, heart, and especailly his fire. KD crying to his mom after game was the most fire he showed the whole NBA Finals. KD was playing like Lebron is his best friend and he cannot do wrong against him. KD needs fire. Russell has the Fire, thats why I like when he leads OKC over KD.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    and what has Kobe going 1-8 in his last 2 second round series told you? he’s a jesus snake? go to sleep man. stop acting like you actually think things out before you say them.

  • AQWORD

    wESTBROOK was 5 FOR 19 . & he really got shut down on that one eurostep where Wade & Batty Boy hounded him beautifully. & keeping him 5 for 19 & 3 assists is great work by the Heat. Clips are rollin.

  • AQWORD

    5 for 19 & 3 assists is great shut down by the heat

  • 23

    By 2 of the top 20 I think they’re referring to Griffin and Odom lol

  • The Seed

    I do, Trust me I am a very smart man. Kobe still plays with FIRE and KD does not have it. You will see, KD will continue to disappoint and trust me Bron got lucky, Ray played like DODO, Rose got hurt, OKC beat a great Spurs team, then choked, to give Bron phone commercials, to spin his rep.

  • RetroActive

    I wonder what happen to “Kobe shouldn’t be higher than Dwight on all lists this year.”…

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    answer what i asked you. what does the last 2 second round series say about Kobe Bryant. stop avoiding the question, and prove “I do, Trust me I am a very smart man”

  • LakeShow

    No….

    Just, NO.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Junior-Taylor/100003121138419 Junior Taylor

    what are you doing? The seed baited you with his stupidity and you fell for it.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    he claimed he was smart!! lol i just wanted to see him say something to back that up because that was gold to my sense of humor.

  • davidR

    yea i was wondering about this too. who’s the 2nd top 20 player? butler? deandre? crawford?

  • Datkid

    Griffin and Deandre

  • Datkid

    Pop would straighten D.will out

  • Datkid

    I might disagree with you there.Nash and a healthy Gasol put them over the top. and once Dwight Howard is himself again? They’re a championship caliber team for sure.

  • Yaron Weitzman

    Apologies to all. Poorly written sentence (it was a long day of basketball).

  • davidR

    no worries! appreciate the write up

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    They gonna have to earn their way into that conversation. They don’t have the depth far as I can tell to threaten Miami or OKC. But that’s not to say my opinion can’t change. Just don’t trust them. Yet.

  • The Fury

    Aight, if you put it that way. Pop>>>>>>>>>>Avery…good? But it didn’t happen, so no ifs or but about this. Well in MY opinion, Parker’s better.

  • The Fury

    no, it should be like this….ITS THE MF SEEEEEEDDDD!!!!

  • Slick Ric

    Bunch of lebron nut huggers….SMH. The seed is absolutely correct.

  • JL

    Yup, the heat are good. Wade is aging a little while Lebron is doing a little more. Bosh is just doing his thing. The balance is great on that team. Thunder have Westbrook who seems to think his 40% shooting is better for the team. Yah his TS% is one of the best, so I can see why he is allowed and should do it, but surely he can improve his shot selection. At least a little?

  • Datkid

    fair.

  • Allenp

    Well, as much as I’ve been a Dwill fan, I’ve been saying that for a while now. That’s why Paul is better.

  • Allenp

    Is DODO supposed to be doo doo?
    And what type of grown man says doo doo outside of a conversation with a child?

  • http://www.facebook.com/qcollingwood Interdico Scriptor

    Bullshit. How often did he win in Cleveland? Lebron has the best talent around him. period. The best TEAM is the Clippers. Miami may well recruit well but they’re boring to watch and i’ll say it again…LBJ is the most overrated player in sports history. Take Wade and Bosh away, replace them with Monta Ellis and Lamar Odom and see what happens.

  • http://www.facebook.com/qcollingwood Interdico Scriptor

    Gee, Nbk agreeing that LBJ is the greatest…whata surprise. Do you even watch BBall?

  • http://www.facebook.com/qcollingwood Interdico Scriptor

    DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE.

  • http://www.facebook.com/qcollingwood Interdico Scriptor

    Finally…truth. Deron’s true colours are showing!

  • http://www.facebook.com/qcollingwood Interdico Scriptor

    and Rondo>Williams

  • http://www.facebook.com/qcollingwood Interdico Scriptor

    How stupid are you? seriously?? CP3 is top 5, BG is top 20, together that means they have two in the top twenty… sheesh

  • http://www.facebook.com/qcollingwood Interdico Scriptor

    Crawford is 6th man of the year thus far…. Lillard is ROY and Farried is most improved.

  • http://www.facebook.com/qcollingwood Interdico Scriptor

    Best record in the L would disagree

  • http://www.facebook.com/qcollingwood Interdico Scriptor

    Their bench is their undoing. Watch on Friday v the Clipps. See!

  • http://www.facebook.com/qcollingwood Interdico Scriptor

    Yup. Is it just me or is the reffing atrocious this year. EVERY game has a couple of terrible calls. Griffin gets two/three fouls for just being in the vicinity!

  • http://www.facebook.com/qcollingwood Interdico Scriptor

    Seed at least attempts to make valid arguments. You should do the same!

  • http://www.facebook.com/qcollingwood Interdico Scriptor

    That’s why they traded Beardo. OKC knows to win it all KD needs to toughen up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/qcollingwood Interdico Scriptor

    Dude… I’d like to buy you a beer sometime and have a good ole chat about a number of things!

  • http://www.facebook.com/qcollingwood Interdico Scriptor

    I wasn’t sure what DODO meant either. I thought it was an acronym. Give Seed a break, all the rest of you guys massage each others ass

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Look at you coming in, criticizing people for not giving a basketball opinion on a few comments, while not offering a basketball opinion. Aren’t you just the cutest little hypocrite. Maybe buy yourself a beer and chat about some stuff with a mirror

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    …Did you just start watching in 2008 or did you casually forget the team he had around him when he got to the Finals in 07? Larry Hughes, Boobie Gibson as a rookie, Donyell Marshall, Big Z, Drew Gooden. Give him Monta Ellis and Lamar Odom in his prime and you still probably have the best team in the East. Watch a basketball game or two.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    3 MVPs in 4 years. The best year a basketball player has had since 92 including regular season MVP, Finals MVP, NBA Championship, his 2nd Olympic Gold Medal. That’s not hype. Those are real results.

  • http://www.facebook.com/qcollingwood Interdico Scriptor

    Meh

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    lol, yeah, i agreed LeBron is the best player in the league, you don’t? Do you even watch basketball?

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