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Saturday, March 23rd, 2013 at 9:00 am  |  23 responses

Post Up: Heat Win Again

25 straight. What else is there to say?

by Leo Sepkowitz | @LeoSepkowitz

On Saturday night, Melo dropped 37 in Toronto, Brandon Jennings showed why he’s not a max player, the Lakers lost a bad game and San Antonio won in the fifth period.

Knicks (41-26) 99, Raptors (26-43) 94
The Knicks led by 11 with 2:53 left, but the Raptors were able to cut the deficit in the final minute. The game was never really in doubt, though, and NYK picked up the road win.

Carmelo Anthony made only 14-of-31 shots (2-of-8 threes), but finished with 37 points and 6 boards. He had a 1-to-7 assist-to-turnover ratio, but was solid in the fourth. Kenyon Martin double-doubled with 19 and 11 in 36 minutes and JR Smith came off the bench for 14 points.

Alan Anderson, who’s having a breakout year while nobody is looking at him in Toronto, scored 35 for the Raptors. He needed only 18 shots to get there. The 30-year-old is having a great season as a semi-reliable scorer off the Raptors’ bench. DeMar DeRozan scored 18 and Kyle Lowry continued his offensive struggles with 9 points on 3-of-8 shooting. Rudy Gay was only 2-of-7 from the field.

Thunder (51-19) 97, Magic (18-52) 89
Give Orlando credit for hanging in there. The two teams were tied up with under three minutes left before OKC closed the game on an 11-3 run.

Kevin Durant led the team with 25, Russell Westbrook scored 19 and Serge Ibaka went for 14 points, 13 boards and 5 blocks. Kevin Martin added 15 off the bench.

Orlando was led by rookie Mo Harkless’ 25. Tobias Harris, who has been unleashed since coming over for JJ Redick, went for 10 points and 15 rebounds. What a pickup he’s turned out to be. Jameer Nelson double-doubled and second-round pick Kyle O’Quinn just missed a double-double with 10 points and 9 boards.

Pacers (43-26) 102, Bucks (34-34) 78
Indiana blew the Bucks out in the third (28-11), leading to a lopsided final score. Paul George (20 points, 8 boards, 6 dimes) and Tyler Hansbrough (22 & 12) led the Pacers. Four other guys joined them in double-figures, including Roy Hibbert, who scored 11 points, grabbed 8 boards and stuffed a massive 7 shots.

Monta Ellis scored 22 for Milwaukee. Larry Sanders double-doubled with 22 and 13, and added 2 blocks. The rebounding and blocking is no surprise from The Show, but Sanders’ scoring has come out of nowhere this season. He’s averaging nearly 10 points on over 50 percent shooting this year. Last season, he shot 46 percent and averaged 3.6 points in about half the minutes he sees now.

Brandon Jennings was awful, making just 1-of-15 shots (0-of-7 from deep) for 4 points. I’m convinced he’s trying to sway the Bucks into thinking that he’s not a max player so that they’ll let him walk to Dallas when Mark Cuban decides to splurge on the overrated guard. His field goal percentage and points are down from last season, while his turnovers are up. He’s incredibly unreliable, and any team that offers him the max contract this summer will regret it almost immediately. My money is on the Bucks matching any offer for the restricted free agent, no matter how ridiculous.

Blazers (33-36) 104, Hawks (38-31) 93
Atlanta was within a point with under 4:30 left before Portland pulled away.

Wesley Matthews (28), Damian Lillard (22) and LaMarcus Aldridge (20 and 13) led Portland to the W. JJ Hickson (15 & 10) double-doubled. Per usual, they got very little production out of their bench. Until they upgrade the second unit, they can’t be taken seriously. I’m surprised they didn’t make a serious push for JJ Redick at the deadline, especially considering the Magic ended up taking a deal that didn’t net them a first-round pick for the guard and the Blazers could have had two JJs on the same roster. What a missed opportunity.

Josh Smith scored 24 for the Hawks. Al Horford posted 15 and 17 with 3 blocks, and Jeff Teague scored 21 points with 7 dimes. Kyle Korver and DeShawn Stevenson combined to shoot 3-of-12 overall. You have to be prepared for nights like that if you start a pair of streaky long-range shooters.

Heat (54-14) 103, Pistons (23-47) 89
Detroit led at halftime before Miami predictably dominated the second half. LeBron James shot 12-of-15 for 29 points to go with 8 boards and 8 assists. He’s on a completely different level from the rest of the NBA. Dwyane Wade added 19. Chris Bosh was terrible, shooting 1-of-7 for 5 points. Miami is unstoppable right now. Absolutely amazing.

Greg Monroe led the Pistons with 23 points and 15 rebounds. Kyle Singler added 18 and 8, and has had a pretty solid rookie campaign. He’s averaging roughly 9 and 4 on the year. Jose Calderon scored 18 points, but committed an uncharacteristic 7 turnovers.

Hornets (24-46) 90, Grizzlies (46-22) 83
A Greivis Vasquez triple put NOLA up five with 1:50 left, and from there they hung on for an upset win at home. Robin Lopez (23 & 10) and Anthony Davis (18 & 15) were dominant down low. Vasquez scored 12 with 9 dimes.

The Grizzlies’ high-man was Mike Conley, who scored 20 with 4 assists. Marc Gasol scored 16 with 6 boards, 4 dimes and 4 steals. That’s his version of an off-night—he’s a great player.

Rockets (38-31) 116, Cavaliers (22-47) 78
Not exactly a close game. The Rockets won the second, third and fourth quarters each by at least 11 points. Six Houston players were in double figures. James Harden led the way with 20 points on just 9 shots. He made 7-of-9 free throws in only 31 minutes. Rookie Thomas Robinson got real minutes (22) and posted 15 points and 6 boards. He hasn’t been great since coming over from Sacto in a classically miserable Kings deal, but has massive upside moving forward.

Only three Cavs scored more than eight points. Shaun Livingston led a team without starting guards Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters in scoring with 14. Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller were unusually silent, combining for 10 points.

Mavericks (33-36) 104, Celtics (36-32) 94
Dallas led pretty comfortably for most of the fourth quarter. Dirk Nowitzi scored 22 on 8-of-15 shooting, but it was Brandan Wright who led the team in scoring with 23. Vince Carter came off the bench for 19 despite hitting only 1-of-7 threes. He’s been having a pretty sweet season for the Mavs. I don’t think they have a realistic chance of pulling it out, but quietly Dallas is only a game behind the Lakers for the eighth seed in the West.

Kevin Garnett played well for Boston, collecting 16 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists. Paul Pierce and Brandon Bass (11 boards) also scored 16.

Spurs (53-16) 104, Jazz (34-35) 97
A pair of Tony Parker free throws put San Antonio ahead by three with 10 seconds left in regulation. On the following possession, Marvin Williams knocked down a huge trey for Utah to send the game into OT.

In the extra period, the Spurs went ahead by six with 1:24 left and Utah couldn’t recover.

Parker led San Antonio in scoring with 22. Tim Duncan double-doubled with 19 and 16 and Tiago Splitter grabbed 10 boards with 4 blocks. I really only mentioned that to lead to this: if you haven’t heard Stephen A Smith pronounce Splitter’s name, you need to do it immediately (here).

Mo Williams led Utah with 23 points and 8 dimes. Paul Millsap has been disappointing lately, and scored just 11 points with 6 boards on Friday. The free-agent-to-be is having a letdown season (15.5 & 7, even worse since the All-Star break). Al Jefferson went for 18 and 13.

Timberwolves (24-43) 117, Suns (23-47) 86
Ouch. Minnesota won the first quarter by 13 and the second quarter by 15.

Seven T-Wolves scored in double figures. Andrei Kirilenko was the high-man with 20, and added 7 boards. Dante Cunningham added 18 and 8 off the bench. Greg Stiemsma double-doubled with 14 and 10, and rejected 3 shots.

Luis Scola led Phoenix with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Goran Dragic also double-doubled with 13 and 10. Wesley Johnson continued his comic inconsistency with 7 points.

Wizards (25-43) 103, Lakers (36-34) 100
The Lakers led 97-94 with under two minutes left. Then Washington went on a 5-0 run, putting them ahead by two with 43 seconds left. LA couldn’t convert on their late opportunities—and there were a bunch of them—leading to a bad home loss.

John Wall scored 24 with a massive 16 dimes for the Wiz. Trevor Ariza drained 7 treys off the bench and finished with 25 in a revenge game against his former team.

Pau Gasol returned for the Lake Show, but scored only 4 points (2/10) with 8 boards. Kobe Bryant scored 21 (8/18) with 11 dimes. Dwight Howard posted 20 and 15. The loss allowed Dallas to pickup a much-needed game on Yellow LA. Side note: one day my Yellow LA/Red LA nicknames for the Lakers and Clippers will catch on. It’ll happen. I guarantee it.

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  • Dagger

    As a Raptors fan, the only thing that gives me hope right now is the rapid development of Jonas Valanciunas. He can be out of position on D, but even there he’s improving quickly. On offense he makes great decisions, has nice moves, decent athleticism, and works hard. If he got more touches I think he could have averaged 20 PPG after the all-star break, and I actually think he could develop into a Bogut-caliber center. His attitude is also refreshing for a guy who’s spent too many years watching Bargnani coast through the NBA. Plays like this are becoming routine:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdSCKskW_og

  • Perry the PlatyPteranodon

    Anthony Davis does not get enough credit, he’s been the best rookie this year. He’s already excellent on D, and his offense is rounding into form. He’s going to be a monster in a few years.

  • KevinJohnsonFan

    Damian Lillard has been the best rookie. Started every game he’s played. Davis didn’t start a few of the games he’s played. 19 points and 7 assists a game. Davis started out slow.

  • spit hot fiyah

    first positive raptors i have seen you write, i agree on jonas. even though tristan thompson has had a pretty good year, passing on jonas will come back to bite them

  • spit hot fiyah

    thanks Georgetown smh

  • Perry the PlatyPteranodon

    The only reason that Lillard looks better is because he gets more minutes, and a better group of teammates to compliment him. Per 36, Davis 16.7 and 10 with 2 blocks and a steal, per 36 Lillard averages about 18 and 6. Davis allows about 9 less points per 100 possessions than Lillard, and about 2 less points. As long as he’s been on the court, Davis has been the better rookie, the only difference is that Lillards been on the better team. I’m not trying to take away from Lillard, he’s a stud, I won’t even be mad if he won ROY, it’s just that Davis has been better, and will be better if he continues his growth, whilst I think Lillards capped out.

    References:
    Davis: http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/d/davisan02.html
    Lillard: http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/l/lillada01.html

  • KevinJohnsonFan

    You could look at Lillard having the better team that way or you could look at it this way. Lillard has Aldridge and Batum who also need their shots yet he still gets his points. Davis has only Eric Gordon who’s been in and out of the lineup (mostly out) and really no one else. He’s going to get rebounds because there’s no one on that roster who’s really capable of getting more than 5 or 6 rebounds a game. He’s going to get his points because with Gordon out so much, there’s no one else who really needs the ball. You could look at Lillard’s 19 and 7 a game and say he’s capped out or you could look at it and say he came into the league getting 19 and 7 which is pretty special. It’s not like he played against the greatest competition in college. If he pushes that to 20 and 8 a game with a better field goal percentage, you’re looking at a top 5 PG in a league full of so many special PGs. He deserves ROY and Davis has only recently deserved to have his name mentioned in the discussion. In those 36 minutes you talk about, Davis has maybe done more because he has less to play with. Lillard has done more with more help meaning he’s more prepared right now for the NBA going against a special player at his position almost every night.

  • Max

    Okc gets so much help from the refs.

  • KipSmithers

    I must admit, I wish Lillard would play some defense. Lillard will get ROY, but I do think it’s closer than people are saying.

  • KipSmithers

    Let’s go Wall!

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

    Man John Thompson III may have to go. I was so hurt.

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

    Good win Wizards

  • spit hot fiyah

    i really doubt it, he got a lot out of that team. porter was their star but the rest of the roster was full of marginal roleplayers. the team wasn’t in any pre-season top 25s and ended up ranked 2 at one point. i think they surpassed expectations. really tough way to go out though

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

    This is the 4th or 5th year where Georgetown has had a great seed and lost to an inferior team. Not to take anything from FGCU. They dominated/outplayed Georgetown. Another early exit shows that coach Thompson was tight thus his players we’re not ready to play. The bright lights got to Otto last night which was a surprise cause he’s a player. But at times he is to passive and needs to be more aggressive. I pray he doesn’t go pro. He can’t go out like that. But then again if they we’re to get rid of him, who is out there. I’m just tired of losing in the first round when Georgetown has such a great pedigree. Emotional post from before.

  • john lee

    please go watch some D Lill highlight at least. he’s been on fire all season long and perhap the best pick blazers ever took since 2000..

  • spit hot fiyah

    i hear you. unfortunatly for the program i think he leaves. i don’t think he slipps out of the lottery

  • spit hot fiyah

    mitch mcgary just had VCU for lunch

  • Leo Sepkowitz

    I think Lillard’s reliability has been the key. It’s no surprise that his numbers are better since he’s a volume shooter and the Blazers have had next to no bench production all season so he gets big minutes. So that’s not really what sways it for me—rather it’s that Lillard came in and immediately made a big impact and has stayed hot. AD has had a typically up-and-down rookie campaign. Lillard for ROY!

  • RKJ92

    Couldn’t agree more! nice post

  • RKJ92

    Who still thinks John Wall shouldn’t get that max? this kid is playing unbelievable crazy people even doubted his worth.. :S

  • Drig

    These Lakers really piss me off at times…..Kobe screwed up the Lakers pretty bad near the end of the game. Definitely one that I’d like to forget as soon as possible.

    I also didn’t like the way the Lakers missed so many damn rotations and left the SAME DAMN SPOT open in all 4 quarters. Both the players and the coach should be held accountable for that.

    I like the fact that Mike D has come out and blasted the Lakers. It’s things like this that really gets them going. As superstars, the last thing they want is to see is others laughing at them.

    Atleast the Jazz lost. As long as we match up with the Spurs, I’ll be happy enough.

    BTW, fun fact : The Lakers 7 best players i.e. Kobe,Pau,Nash,Dwight,Metta,Blake, Jamison/Hill ( depending on what you value more ) have played only 2 full games together…….

  • Drig

    Still don’t think he deserves the max. He’s a bad shooter. Until he fixes that, he ain’t ever gonna get a max.

    IMO, there’s only 6 players in the L who do deserve it : Kobe, LBJ, Durant, Dwight and CP3 and Wade. Marc, DWill ( yeah, I still believe in him), Russ, Melo are borderline cases.

    Am gonna hold out about Rose and Rondo till they return.

  • C.pizzle

    Davis also has one of the best assisting pg’s in the underated greivis vasquez fyi NOT only the overated Eric Gordon but yeah cool cool cool

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