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.