Post Up: Temperature Rising
The Heat send the Lakers back to the drawing board.
by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad
Across the pond, the Knicks and Pistons squared off in London for the NBA’s third regular season game ever in Europe. Carmelo Anthony must’ve been having flashbacks to the Summer Olympics because he was was lights out from the field once again in London’s O2 Arena. Melo and the Knicks got off to a hot start, going on a 16-0 run and ending the first quarter in the lead for just the second time in thirteen games. New York continued to hold the Pistons at bay in the second and led by 15 at the half. Detroit climbed back in the third quarter by going on a 16-2 run to cut the lead to four, but the Knicks responded with an 8-0 run to put them back up by double-digits heading into the final frame. In the fourth, Will Bynum (22 points) scored seven straight points to cut the lead to eight but it proved to be too little, too late as the Knicks pulled away for the fifteen-point victory. Melo finished with 26 points which marks 25 straight games where he has scored at least 20 points. Iman Shumpert made his return from a torn ACL and finished with 8 points and a steal in just under 15 minutes. J.R. Smith and STAT came off the bench to score 16 and 17, respectively.
The Timberwolves played hard and were within striking distance for much of the contest but the Clippers had too much firepower for the undermanned Wolves. Minnesota lost their fifth straight and possibly Alexey Shved and Nikola Pekovic, who both left the game with injury in the second half. Jamal Crawford dropped 22, Blake Griffin scored 20 and Lamar Odom grabbed 12 boards and dropped 6 dimes in the win. The Wolves only trailed by five heading into the fourth but the Clippers depth (LA’s bench outscored Minny’s 45-23) was just too much for them to handle as LA pushed the lead to 13 with five minutes left to cruise to the victory. Luke Ridnour led the Wolves with 21 points and 5 assists.
Last night’s victory marked the first time that the Bucks defeated the Suns in Phoenix in 26 years. 26! Thirteen of the 30 players on the two rosters hadn’t even been born yet! Anyway, the Bucks reeled off a late 10-0 run that was capped by a Mike Dunleavy three with under a minute to go to give the Bucks the lead for good. Monta Ellis dropped 24 and dropped 6 dimes, Brandon Jennings scored 16 and Larry Sanders finished with 19 points, 15 boards and 2 blocks. Shannon Brown led the Suns with 20 points off the bench.
Think LeBron wanted this one? The best player on Earth put together a helluva performance with 39 points put on a show in Hollywood last night, taking a bow with 39 points, 8 dimes, 7 boards, 3 steals, 1 block and locked up Kobe during crunch time. The Heat set the tone early, exploiting LA’s terrible fast break defense by running the floor and dunking the ball four straight times. The Lakers kept fighting, though and rallied late to take the lead behind 13 fourth quarter points from Kobe. The Lakers threatened but Jesus Shuttlesworth made sure that the Heat would walk away the victors by scoring seven of his nine points over the last five minutes. Allen hit a beautiful floater in the lane which was followed up by a LeBron fadeaway that sealed the deal for the Heat and sent the Lakers searching for answers. Dwyane Wade had a big game with 27 points and 5 assists. Kobe finished with 22 on 8-25 shooting.