Post Up: Revenge Is A Dish…
James Harden drops a career-high 46 to lead the Rockets over the Thunder.
by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad
Before diving in to today’s trade deadline madness (keep it locked to SLAMonline for a live chat discussing every and any move / rumor today around noon) get caught up on the 11 games that went down last night.
The Grizzlies went north of the border and beat their former teammate, Rudy Gay and the Raptors last night. Memphis held a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter when Alan Anderson scored 15 points in the quarter. Behind Anderson, the Raptors were able to tie the score and had hopes of keeping their five-game win streak intact. Despite their best efforts from, the Raptors couldn’t top the Grizzlies as they pulled away down the stretch to win their fifth straight. Gay had a tough night with 13 points (5-15 shooting), 9 boards and 5 turnovers. Zach Randolph led the Grizzlies with 17 points and 18 boards while Mike Conley finished with 17 points, 6 boards and 6 dimes.
My GOODNESS, Mike Kidd-Gilchrist!
Man, this one was ugly for New York. Indiana came out of the All-Star with a full head of steam and made a statement as they completely dismantled the Knicks. Indiana led wire-to-wire and were up by as many as 39 at one point and held their opponent to 33.7 percent shooting while outrebounding them 54-39. It was a total beatdown and just the start Indiana wanted to kick off the final stretch run of the season. Paul George finished with 27 points, 8 boards, 3 dimes and 2 blocks in just 33 minutes. David West scored 18 and grabbed 9 boards while George Hill scored 10 points and dropped 5 dimes. Tyson Chandler finished with 19 points and 11 boards.
Two words: Kyrie Irving. Watch the highlights below and remember to pick your jaw up off the ground when you’re done.
(For more on Kyrie, check out Tzvi Twersky’s cover story from KICKS 15 here)
After trailing by ten after three quarters, the Heat steamrolled the Hawks in the fourth quarter, outscoring them 40-17 to take a 3-0 lead in the season series. In the final quarter, Shane Battier hit a 3-pointer and Ray Allen followed that up with a bucket and the foul to give Miami their first lead of the second half at 74-73. From there, Miami ran the Hawks off the court to notch their season-best eighth straight win. LeBron scored 24 points, dished out 11 dimes and grabbed 6 boards, Dwyane Wade scored 20 and Shane Battier tacked on 20 in the win. Al Horford scored 27 points and grabbed 9 boards and Josh Smith scored 10 points, grabbed 9 boards and dished out 9 assists in what was likely his last game in Atlanta.
The Nets and Bucks met for the second time in as many nights and just like their first matchup earlier in the week, this one came down to the wire. Deron Williams (23 points, 8 dimes) hit a three with 1:50 eft that gave the Nets an 11-point lead and the presumed dagger. But the Bucks held the Nets scoreless over the next 1:35 to get back in the game and make things interesting in the final seconds. Consecutive buckets from Brandon Jennings (31 points, 11 assists) made it a 96-94 game with six seconds left and Gerald Wallace was fouled and hit one of two free throws with 3.5 seconds left to give the Nets a three-point lead. On the ensuing possession, Williams foolishly fouled Monta Ellis (14 points) on a three-point attempt to give the Bucks a chance to tie. Instead, Ellis bricked all three of his attempts and the Nets held on for their fourth straight win against teams in Playoff contention.
After losing to the Thunder earlier this season, James Harden certainly had this one circled on his calendar. Harden was unstoppable against his former team and scored a career-high 46 points to lead the Rockets to a comeback win. The Rockets were down by 14 with seven minutes to go but ripped off a 21-4 run, capped by a Harden 3-pointer that tied the game at 111 with 1:46 remaining. Harden’s backcourt mate, Jeremy Lin, followed up that three with one of his own to give Houston a 114-111 lead–their first of the second half. After a bucket by Harden and two free throws on the other end from Serge Ibaka, Lin hit another three to give the Rockets an insurmountable six point lead. Lin finished with 29 points, 8 dimes and 6 boards. Harden also had 8 boards and 6 dimes to go along with his 46 points. Russ Westbrook and Thabo Sefalosha each scored 28 points and KD finished with a 16-point (4-13 shooting), 12-rebound, 11-assists triple-double.
The Sixers desperately need to turn things around and last night’s loss to a bad Timberwolves team really hurt. Nikola Pekovic dominated inside with 27 points and 18 boards, which was more of an output than the Sixers starting frontcourt had combined (Spencer Hawes went for a combined 17 points and 14 boards). Despite getting destroyed inside and on the boards, Philly was able to cut Minnesota’s lead down to four two separate times in the final three minutes. But both times, their deficincies up front came back to haunt them. First, Pek caught the ball down low, drew a foul and hit both free throws. The next time Philly got close, Pek grabbed two offensive rebounds and found Ricky Rubio, who was fouled and hit both of his free throws to give Minnesota a six-point lead and iced the game. Ev Turner lead the Sixers with 17 points and 6 boards.
The Mavericks came flying out of the gate and scored a season-high 42 points over the first 12 minutes of the game. But it was their defensive prowess down the stretch that carried them to victory. Up 94-90 with 5:16 left in the game, Dallas went on a 17-0 run over the next four plus minutes and put the nail in the coffin of the struggling Magic who are now 1-15 over their last 16 games. Shawn Marion scored 17 points and grabbed 6 boards, Elton Brand scored 17 off the bench and Dirk scored 12 and grabbed 9 boards. Nik Vucevic led the Magic with 16 points and 13 rebounds.
After a heartfelt tribute to Jerry Buss, the Lakers came out and took care of business against the Celtics. Dwight Howard finally looked like the dominant center the Lakers thought they were going to get as he scored 24 points and grabbed 12 boards. The Lakers blew the C’s out in the second half, leading by as many as 22 points and Steve Nash passed Magic Johnson for sole possession of fourth place on the career assist list with 10,144 dimes. Kobe finished with 16 points and 7 assists. Courtney Lee scored 20 points and Paul Pierce scored a game-high 26 points.
The Warriors got a much needed victory over the lowly Suns and snapped their six game losing streak. The Warriors got off to a hot start, hitting 14 of their first 19 shots, and were led by Klay Thompson, who hit his first six shots and finished with 28 points and 8 boards. Steph Curry scored 20 and dished out 11 assists, David Lee finished with 19 points and 11 boards and Jarrett Jack chipped in with 21 off the bench. Goran Dragic led the Suns with 20 points and 10 dimes.