Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 at 9:00 am  |  48 responses

Post Up: 23 Straight

The Heat outlasted Jeff Green’s Celtics to win their 23rd consecutive game on Monday.

by Leo Sepkowitz | @LeoSepkowitz

Fan favorite Pete Walsh will be back tomorrow, but I’ve got Monday night’s games covered. A few games went down to the wire and a bunch guys scored 30+. To the main attraction!

76ers (26-40) 101, Blazers (31-35) 100
This game was neck-and-neck for the entire fourth quarter. Jrue Holiday gave Philly the lead on a jumper with 2:30 left, and they led by four with 13 seconds left. Damian Lillard knocked down a triple to make things interesting, and things got very interesting after a Thaddeus Young turnover. But Portland couldn’t convert on their game-winning opportunity.

Jrue dropped 27 with 8 boards and 6 dimes. Thaddeus scored 19 with 5 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks and Spencer Hawes double-doubled with 18 and 13.

Aldridge was great for the Blazers, hitting 13-of-28 shots for 32 points and 14 boards. He hit a three and all five of his free throw attempts, but couldn’t get the buzzer-beater to fall. Lillard hit 5 threes on his way to 27 points, and added 7 boards and 7 dimes. Wes Matthews and Nicolas Batum were bad, though, combining to shoot 6-of-21. The Blazers are now 9-24 on the road, clearly the reason they’ll likely miss the Playoffs.

Nets (39-28) 119, Pistons (23-46) 82
Brooklyn dominated this one the whole way through. They won the first quarter by 13 and the third quarter by 17 in the blowout.

Deron Williams led the charge with 31 in only three quarters. He’s been playing very well lately, a welcome sight after he battled with bum ankles for the first half-or-so of the year. Brook Lopez scored 18, and Andray Blatche, MarShon Brooks, Jerry Stackhouse and Mirza Teletovic combined for 44 bench points.

Will Bynum (18) and Greg Monroe (17) were Detroit’s leading scorers, but they were each a -28 on the floor. Detroit hit a comical 1-of-18 threes—5.6 percent.

Bobcats (15-52) 119, Wizards (23-43) 114
I’ve grown so accustomed to the Bobcats losing that I started writing this thinking the Wizards had won, only to backtrack midway. Charlotte actually won a game last night behind big shots from Ben Gordon, Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson.

Gordon tied the game at 111 with two minutes left, and a pair of Walker buckets put Charlotte up four late. A Henderson trey iced the game with 55 ticks left.

Henderson was the home team’s high-man with 27. He hit 10-of-11 free throws and added 8 assists. Walker dropped in 18 and Gordon hit 7-of-10 shots for 19 bench points.

John Wall scored 25 for Washington, but committed 6 turnovers and fouled out late. Nene was big with 21 points, 7 boards and 7 assists. Emeka Okafor went for 17 and 9.

I’m an obsessive proponent of maintaining cap flexibility in the NBA. Since the max contract exists (which it shouldn’t), teams can get great bang for their buck. Guys like LeBron get paid about the same as guys like Nene, DeAndre Jordan and Rashard Lewis. So, to me, the Wizards totally screwed up by trading for Nene and Okafor’s big contracts. But, at least, they’ve given them real consistency in the post this season.

Pacers (41-26) 111, Cavaliers (22-45) 90
Indy blew the Cavs out in the middle two quarters and easily held on in the fourth. Gerald Green led the team in scoring with 20 off the bench, and Tyler Hansbrough scored 18 with 11 rebounds with David West out.

Paul George wasn’t huge—14 points, 4 boards, 4 assists—but suddenly games like last night’s count as bad for him. Earlier in his career, he was prone to horrible shooting nights. This year he’s absolutely taken off and is reliably leading a very strong Pacers club.

Four Cavs starters—Alonzo Gee, Dion Waiters, Shaun Livingston and Tyler Zeller—combined for 27 points on 29 shots. Tristan Thompson was big (20 & 11), but it’s nearly impossible to beat a team as good as Indiana without production from 80 percent of your starters.

Mavericks (32-35) 127, Hawks (37-30) 113
The Hawks lost at home despite shooting 56 percent from the field. Pretty pathetic.

Dallas made over 57 percent of its shots, including 13-of-22 from deep, in the win. Dirk Nowitzki hit 7-of-11 shots, and three guys—Mike James, OJ Mayo and Vince Carter—combined to shoot 9-of-13 from downtown. Darren Collison (10/14, 24 & 5) and Brandan Wright (12 & 8 ) were great off the bench.

Atlanta had seven scorers in double-figures. Al Horford was the leading man with 16, and added 11 boards and 4 assists. He’s one of only three guys in the NBA averaging 17+ and 10+ in 50+ games (Cousins and D Lee are the others).

Grizzlies (45-21) 92, Timberwolves (23-42) 77
Not a single T-Wolves starter scored double figures last night. Three guys accomplished the feat off the bench, but nobody eclipsed 12 points. Needless to say, the game wasn’t too close.

Memphis got a massive 12 points and 14 boards from Tayshaun Prince, and Mike Conley led the team with 20 points, 6 assists and just one turnover. Zach Randolph went for 14 and 10, and the NBA’s best center, Marc Gasol, posted 16 points, 8 boards, 5 assists and 4 blocks.

Warriors (39-30) 93, Hornets (22-46) 72
Golden State is starting to play well again. After dominating the Rockets in their last game, they easily handled the Hornets on Monday night.

Stephen Curry dropped 30 in New Orleans, adding 7 boards and 6 threes but 7 turnovers as well. David Lee posted 20 points and 11 boards, and Klay Thompson scored 13.

Ryan Anderson scored 21 off the Hornets’ bench despite shooting just 1-of-6 from deep. Anthony Davis scored 16 points with 7 boards, and seems to be putting up those exact numbers every night. He tacked on 2 steals and a block. Greivis Vasquez scored 14 with 9 assists.

Nuggets (46-22) 119, Bulls (36-30) 118
This was a wild game. Denver led by 11 with seven minutes left and eight with 3:26 left after an Andre Iguodala three. But Nate Robinson answered right back with a three of his own, and with 13 seconds left hit another three to tie the game. A Ty Lawson jumper was off the mark at the buzzer, sending the game into overtime.

Chicago led by two with 18 seconds left in OT when Iguodala put Denver ahead with another trey. With one second left, Marco Bellineli missed a shot, and a Joakim Noah tip-in was called offensive goaltending, ending the game. At first glance it was unclear, but the replay showed the refs made the right call.

Chandler and Robinson, a pair of former Knicks, were both huge for their respective teams. Wilson dropped 35 on 13-of-21 shooting from the floor and 8-of-9 free throws. He added 9 boards, 4 dimes and 2 steals for Denver. So far this month, he’s scored 35 twice and 24 once but fewer than 8 points three times and between 11-13 points three times. That is absurd inconsistency.

Corey Brewer, JaVale McGee, Danilo Gallinari, Ty Lawson and Iguodala joined Chandler in double-figures. Iggy had 10 boards and Andre Miller had 13 assists in 29 minutes off the bench. Denver has now won 12 straight.

Nate led Chicago with 34 points, 6 threes and 7 assists. Luol Deng added 21 and Noah went off for 14 points, 12 boards, 6 assists and 7 blocks. He’s having an amazing season.

Heat (52-14) 105, Celtics (36-30) 103
What an unbelievable game. Jeff Green led the Celtics to a 12-point lead after one, but Miami was within four entering the final quarter.

A 9-0 Miami spurt put them on top 101-100 with 2:40 left, but Avery Bradley responded by connecting on a three from the corner. A quick bucket from LeBron James tied the game with 1:21 left.

Boston missed on consecutive possessions, giving Miami the ball with 31 seconds remaining. LeBron faced up against Green and knocked down a go-ahead 20-footer. Shane Battier made an amazing defensive play on Green on the following play, and a missed three by Paul Pierce with a few seconds left effectively ended the game.

Green was dominant the whole way through. The 6-9 Georgetown product hit 14-of-21 shots overall, including 5-of-7 threes, and 10-of-13 free throws in 40 minutes. Add it all up, and it was a career-high 43 points for Green. He snagged 7 boards and blocked 4 shots, and single-handedly kept Boston in the lead for most of the night. Paul Pierce and Courtney Lee combined for 30 points.

Miami got 37 (16/29), 12 dimes and 7 assists from LeBron. Mario Chalmers hit 4 threes on his way to 21 points, and Dwyane Wade added 16. It seemed like the Celtics were primed to break Miami’s 22-game win streak, but give the Heat tons of credit for turning on the jets late.

Their 23-game stretch is the second-longest in NBA history, and with Cleveland, Detroit, Charlotte and Orlando coming up, they should be at 27 in no time. The only teams with a realistic chance of stopping them from breaking the record for most consecutive wins in a season are the Bulls (March 27), Spurs (March 31) and Knicks (April 2). The first two games are on the road. All three are nationally televised (if you count games on NBA TV as “nationally televised,” which I don’t usually do).

Also, a random stat courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info. A player has scored 31+ against Miami nine times this season, and the Heat are 9-0 in those games. Goes to show that it takes a balanced attack to take down the East’s finest. Unless you have Dirk Nowitzki circa June 2011.

Suns (23-45) 99, Lakers (35-33) 76
The Lakers have visited Steve Nash’s old stomping grounds twice this year and lost both times. Last night, they played a close game before allowing Phoenix to dominate the fourth quarter 28-10. It took Yellow LA three minutes to get their first bucket of the final quarter, and they didn’t make a shot from the floor in the final 4:15.

Six Suns scored double-figures. Wes Johnson went for 14 and 9, Goran Dragic scored 12 points with 10 assists and Luis Scola added 14 off the bench.

Nash led the Lakers with 19 points. Dwight Howard scored 16 with 11 boards and Metta World Peace scored 12. The three of them combined to make just 17/52 shots (32%), right on par with the Lakers’ 33.3 percent night from the floor.

Four more telling stats: 1. Somehow Phoenix won the rebounding battle by 10 without Marcin Gortat. 2. The Lakers shot 5-of-22 from deep. 3. The Lakers combined to block just one shot. 4. Every Lakers starter committed multiple turnovers.

Knicks (39-26) 90, Jazz (34-33) 83
The Knicks were without Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire last night (combined salary this season: $53 million, which is more than Rockets entire team), but still came away with a win in a tough environment.

JR Smith scored 18 second half points, and terrible offensive execution by the Jazz in the last couple of minutes cost them a chance at a win. Ray Felton scored 19 for New York, and Chris Copeland added 14.

The Jazz could have jumped the Lakers for the 8 seed tonight, but couldn’t capitalize on LA’s loss. Gordon Hayward led the team with 17. Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap combined to shoot 8-of-22 from the floor, and Mo Williams connected on only 4 of his 14 attempts overall. Credit Kurt Thomas, who played through a foot injury and was nothing short of stellar defensively. He shut Jefferson down in the fourth.

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  • spit hot fiyah

    grizz’s defense has been terrorizing oponents lately

  • spit hot fiyah

    are we going to have SLAM bracket for the tourney?

  • http://twitter.com/stepfdelaghetto Stepfan Raiford

    Great playoff atmosphere last night. Celtics lost the game off turnovers and missed opportunities at the line which is not like them. But props to the champs for gutting it out. But to play devil’s advocate for a second, it seems like this winning streak is keeping them engaged through the regular season. So my question is are the Heat peaking to early?

  • spit hot fiyah

    that’s a legit question. the spurs rode a big winning streak last year heading into the playoffs, that reached like 19 or 20 i think. i think Pop said that he would have liked to get “a loss out the way” earlier. once they lost to okc, they were done

  • i_ball

    The Nuggets are dangareous. They were lucky today but still 12 in a row is solid. With the Heat streaking on people don’t give Denver’s streak enough love.
    Nuggets – Grizz would be a great mach up the styles are so different.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Brill86 Andrew Woods

    I am a devote Heat fan, but I am sort of down on this streak. I’m nervous that they are expending undue energy on the streak when the playoffs are right around the corner. If Lebron fails the win again this year, this streak will be null in void in some aspects. Disappointed that Skip isn’t on ‘First Take’ so that I could hear him find some negative jab to throw at LeBron’s game, as if he isn’t 28 and already top 8 all time.

  • LeroyShonuff

    I wanna say my Bulls was robbed but that was the right call. The Nuggets tip in shouldn’t have counted either. I don’t get how one play is reviewable when the other isn’t? We need some consistency or a big playoff game will be decided on that. Also I kinda want my Bulls to stay to stay in the 6th seed cause we will sweep the Knicks in the first round… Oh and that team from florida won again

  • J-Ro

    Initially, I wanted the Jazz to pass the Lakers for that 8th spot. The way they are playing though, they don’t deserve it.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    someone would have to put it together (not it). SLAM doesn’t put one together themselves.

  • spit hot fiyah

    they did last year i believe.

  • initbruv

    Jefferson and Milsap sh*t the bed again last night. Jefferson was making Kurt Thomas look like the best defender in the league.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    nah, i don’t think so. just a bracket you can print out, just like this year i’m pretty sure.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    the Spurs streak was 12 games going into the playoffs, and then 8 straight in the first 2 rounds. Popovich said he wished it didn’t last into the playoffs.

  • spit hot fiyah

    i though there was some type of contest last year. maybe i’m mistaken. if they don’t we should make like a Yahoo bracket or something just for fun

  • Max

    Would be sweet.

  • Max

    Man, that would’ve been so nice for Jeff Green if he would’ve beat the Heat and stopped their streak.
    Atleast he would have something to look back on from this dissapointing season.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i don’t think they will, i commented on the SLAM bracket page that they should put a contest together. I doubt they would do it this late in the game. If they haven’t done it by now, they won’t.

  • http://twitter.com/niQknacks niQ

    was going to ask the same.

  • The Fury

    They also won the first 2 games of the WCF that time, so basically they won 22 straight and then lost 4 straight…ughhh!! I remembered it again :(

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ Megatron

    I just made one if people wanna join, on yahoo sports, group id# is 166818 and password is slamily

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ Megatron

    itd be cool if everyone joined

  • spit hot fiyah

    i’m down

  • The Philosopher

    And Jeff Green is helping me look as if I possess some intellect…

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    Agreed but if you probably email Ryne he may be able to pull some strings if not this year then next year.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    I was talking to my parents about that last night. I think this won’t bother them much. Reason being is because they are facing some resistance during this streak so it’s not like they’re just steam rolling.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    Skip actually tweeted some positive sh*t about LBJ last night complimenting him on his game winner and clutch performance.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    ehh, Ryne is a busy dude. And that seems like a lot of work to do in a short amount of time. i’ma let it chill.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    Yea that’s true. I might just email him to plant the seed for next year.

  • LakeShow

    Wouldn’t it be crazy if the Bobcats end the Heats streak.

  • LakeShow

    What did you say about the boy?

  • Max

    Can you post a link to it?

  • The Philosopher

    Nothing too profound. A few weeks ago, I noted how Green’s season was on the upswing, and how his game is rounding into form.
    Same thing that everyone else saw.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ Megatron
  • http://www.slamonline.com/ Megatron

    just follow that link and sign in or create an account and then it will direct you straight to the group page

  • RayJr

    You might be the only Heat fan saying this. So they should lose games to save energy? Any time a team is putting up a historic streak like this is always a good thing. Chill out and enjoy it.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    lol, no doubt.

  • LakeShow

    Haha gotcha. He’s a great third or 4th best player to have on your team. Brings allot of versatility and intangibles.

  • Drig

    That might’ve been the worst I’ve seen the Lakers play this season…..and that’s saying something. I’m hoping the 4th quarter was an aberration. They usually play much better at the end of close games. Kinda goes to show how important Kobe and Pau are gonna be for the Lakers when the POs start.

    To any Suns fan : Why does D’Antoni not play a bigger rotation when the players are tired?? He played the same 7 man rotation two days. Granted the Lakers bench isn’t exactly overflowing with talent but I’d have liked to see some time being given to Ebanks and Morris, even if they’d have wasted it. Also, his rotations have me confused at times. He doesn’t seem to trust players too easily which has made it a pain to watch the Lakers play a B2B this season.

    BTW, looks like my prediction about Kobe being more efficient and shooting around 47% FG% and 34% 3ptfg% and having around 5.2 ast was almost bang on. His points and TOs were higher than what I expected though. Would’ve loved to seen him get near 50% but with all the injuries, that wasn’t possible. So, anyone gonna admit that Kobe’s FG% was hindered due to sizeable post presence in his teams throughout his career or are we gonna continue to exclusively blame it on his shot selection???

  • Max
  • Max

    I said to my friend right before the game started, I feel like Green will have a good game because he’ll play against CB and Haslem.
    Well I was wrong.
    Great game.

  • RayJr

    Obviously tired playing 6 games in 9 days and coming off a traveling back to back. Good thing Utah lost too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Brill86 Andrew Woods

    its a double edged sword. Health and rest vs the groove they are in and the streak. I’m just speaking from the Greg Pop approach. if this was dec or jan i’d be all for the streak. But you have to believe that the pressure of this streak is wearing on them mentally and physically.

  • clydesays

    If Green keeps up the level of play he’s shown in the last couple of months (not a 43pt night…), the C’s are going to be tough out in the Playoffs.

  • RayJr

    I get u but they are a relatively young team so it shouldnt bother them. I think it’s a cop out to use a late streak as an excuse when a team gets knocked out of the playoffs. “Oh we lost in the 2nd round bc we peaked with that streak a couple of weeks ago”…you lost bc the other team is better.

  • Caboose

    Just joined and finished my picks. Gonzaga/Georgetown in the Finals.

  • Drig

    Yeah…….Hoping Houston loses a bunch and lets us have the chance of choosing the Spurs or OKC in 1st round….Don’t want this team to match up with OKC in round 1. Kinda wish the standings would remain as they are.

  • RayJr

    Same here. If Lakers play in SA I’m mos def going to one of those games.

  • Caboose

    Now I really want that to happen….