Post Up: Beast of the East
Can anyone stop the Heat?
by Peter Walsh
The Celtics hung with the Thunder through three quarters but OKC pulled way in the fourth for the win. The Thunder opened up the fourth quarter with an 11-2 run that pushed their three point lead to 12. OKC shot 50 percent in the fourth quarter and their defense held Boston to just 14 points over the final 12 minutes. Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 23 points, 11 boards and 5 assists and Russ Westbrook added 15. Paul Pierce scored 20 for Boston.
Yesterday’s win over the Bulls pushed Los Angeles into the eight spot in the West and LA is now officially in the hunt. Chicago took a 36-34 lead late in the second quarter but the Lakers rallied to take the lead into the half. In the third, the Bulls went ice cold from the field and missed 11 straight shot attempts during a 12-0 Laker run that put them up 65-47. Chicago eventually cut the deficit to eight with eight minutes left but again went ice cold from the field and went scoreless for four minutes to allow the Lakers to hold on. Kobe scored 19 and dropped 9 dimes while Dwight Howard went for 16 and 21 boards. Joakim Noah scored 18 and grabbed 17 boards for Chicago.
Toronto trailed by nine with eight minutes left in the third quarter before going on a 27-13 run to take a five point lead into the fourth. During that run, Jonas Valanciunas and Kyrie Irving collided and Irving was taken to the locker room with the Cavs up four. With their leader sidelined due to a shoulder injury, the Cavs fell apart and relinquished their lead to Toronto. All five Raptor starters scored in double figures with Amir Johnson leading the way with 17 and 16 boards. Dion Waiters led cleveland with 21 points.
Philadelphia’s season is officially in the pits after a loss to Orlando last night. The game was tied up at 85 with 4:30 left when Beno Udrih, Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo each hit 3′s and the Magic were able to pull away. Philly was down 91-89 with 2:15 left when Jrue Holiday stepped to the line with a chance to tie. He missed both and the Sixers lost all momentum. Nelson led the Magic with 24 points and 10 dimes and Nic Vucevic finished with 14 points and 17 boards.
With last night’s win over Indiana, the Heat have now won at least once against every team in the League. After losing the first two games in the regular season series against Indiana, Miami came out and made a statement by beating down the Pacers. Miami led by as many as 23 and started the second half on a 15-3 run to pull away. Mario Chalmers scored a game-high 26 points, Chris Bosh scored 24 points, DWade scored 23 and had a season-high 6 steals and LeBron finished with 14 points, 7 dimes and 6 boards. David West led the Pacers with 24 points.
Nicolas Batum nailed a 22-footer late in the fourth quarter to give Portland a 93-92 lead and Greivis Vasquez missed a jumper on the other end and it looked like New Orleans was going to let this one slip out of their grasp after building a double-digit lead. But, Anthony Davis chased down the loose ball and saved the rock. Ryan Anderson then hit a 3-pointer to give New Orleans the lead. Anderson also hit a layup and free throw with 1.6 seconds left to seal the deal. Vasquez finished with 20 points, 7 boards, and 5 dimes, Ryan Anderson scored 20 and grabbed 13 boards and Davis scored 18 and grabbed 10 boards. Dame Lillard finished with 20 points and 8 dimes.
The Mavs scored the first 14 points of the second quarter and went on a 24-5 run that gave them an 18-point lead. From there Dallas cruised to the finish as the Wolves never got closer than 10. Vince Carter scored 22 off the bench and Dirk finished with 16 and 9 boards.
Monta Ellis scored 29 and dished out 9 assists, and Brandon Jennings scored 16 and dropped 8 dimes to lead the Bucks to a close win over Sacramento. With three and a half minutes left in the third quarter, Boogie Cousins was ejected after elbowing Mike Dunleavy Jr. in the head. Dunleavy responded by scoring 14 of his 16 points after being hit and helped Milwaukee build a 15-point lead in the fourth. The Kings came back but Tyreke Evans’ buzzer beater just missed and Sacramento dropped another. Cousins scored 24 and grabbed 10 boards in the loss.