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Wednesday, December 26th, 2007 at 9:15 am  |  69 responses

The Post Up: Suns @ Lakers, the Best Present of All

Bryant and Bynum. Portland Again. LeBron Shines Bright.

By: Holly MacKenzie

“It really doesn’t seem like Christmas. I’m used to sitting in the house and watching Kobe play” –Kevin Durant

It has been a Christmas day filled with family, food and now basketball. The perfect combination in my books. After watching the Cleveland/Miami game it’s Suns@Lakers time and it is the third quarter and this has been such a great game. I love that the Lakers are more than able to keep up with the frenetic pace and I am so thankful Raja’s back is cooperating and he is in the game. He is the craziest jersey-grabbing defender and I love it.

It was cool hearing Durant’s quote about Christmas and Kobe, because the holiday is one that is marked by NBA battles in my mind too.

I missed some of the Cavs/Heat game because I was allowing myself to socialize with family before completely shutting myself off for this match up. I saw the little comparison complete with photos that they had of Wade and Bron. It’s exciting as a fan to have so many great players to watch night in and night out. I say it all the time, but there truly is nothing better than being a basketball fan.

As the Lakers/Suns game got down to the wire, I realized I was cheering louder for the Lakers than Phoenix. Guess that means my heart is still firmly rooted in LA. I was still cheering on the Suns individually but, it was my Lakeshow that had my full urging to “hold on to this, let’s use some clock!”. Speaking of which, I don’t get why Phoenix didn’t really try to trap, steal or foul on LA’s second last possession. It didn’t make sense.

The announcers mentioned Wilt and his 20-20-20 game. I know these stats, I know the facts, and still every time they are mentioned they absolutely blow my mind. All of this talk about Oscar Robertson makes me wish I had a way to experience all of that greatness as it happened but, I am pretty happy taking in what I can in today’s NBA.

Arizaaaaa. I knew I liked the trade immediately because of the defensive upgrade, but I never expected the aggressiveness offensively and it has been exciting watching him play. While Fisher was big for the Lakers, it was all about Ariza. That dunk over Grant Hill was just crazy. Also, Bynum and these ally-oops are something else.

Phil was funny in his interview with Michelle Tafoya between quarters and his bow tie was out of this world.

It is exciting to watch Portland and see how far they are going to take this streak but, what I am looking forward to most is going to be how they bounce back after they get some losses. I love watching the growth and seeing the players start trusting each other and themselves. It was nice seeing Jack step up tonight when Roy was struggling and dealing with the jaw issue.

Cleveland 96 Miami 82

In a match up between superstars, LeBron James managed to outshine Dwyane Wade to lead the Cavs to a 96-82 victory over Miami yesterday afternoon. While the game was close in the first half the Heat appeared poised to take over when they went up by 10 in the third quarter. But, as they have all season, the Heat slowly unraveled and allowed Cleveland to go on a 15-0 run to turn their deficit into a 67-59 lead with 1:50 remaining in the quarter. As a result of the run, the Cavaliers outscored Miami 24-14 in the third. Things continued to go Cleveland’s way at the start of the fourth as Daniel Gibson hit consecutive three’s to start the period. Miami did not pose a threat the rest of the way and thanks to a strong defensive effort Cleveland rolled on to the victory. James finished with 25 points and 12 assists while Drew Gooden had 18 points to go along with 9 rebounds. Daniel Gibson scored 16 points off of the bench for Cleveland, Anderson Varejao added 15 and Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 13. Dwyane Wade scored 22 points and dished 8 assists, but he shot only 7-18 from the floor and 8-16 from the free throw line for Miami. Shaquille O’Neal added 13 points and 9 rebounds as Ricky Davis had 15 off of the benc in the loss.

LA Lakers 122 Phoenix 115

After an embarrassing loss to the Lakers at the start of the season the Phoenix Suns were looking for some pay back yesterday. Unfortunately for them, the Lakers squad they faced are clicking on all cylinders and they were too hot to handle, even for the Suns. After holding Kobe Bryant to 12 points at the half the score was still tied 62 all, due in large part to the great play by Andrew Bynum and Derek Fisher for the Lakers. In the second half, Bryant got hot and the Lakers took a three-point lead into the fourth. Between Bynum and Bryant, the Lakers were strong in the final period and outscored the Suns 30-26 as they secured the 122-115 victory. With under five minutes to play, Bryant hit a shot and then knocked down two free throws to extend the Laker lead to double figures and from there Phoenix tried to play catch-up, but it was too late. Bynum finished with a career-high 28 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists and Bryant finished with a game-high 38 points to go along with 7 assists as all five Laker starters finished with at least 14 points. Fisher scored 19 points, Trevor Ariza had 14 and Lamar Odom had 15 points to go along with 14 rebounds. Steve Nash led Phoenix with 24 points and 14 assists, Amare Stoudemire had 19 points, Shawn Marion had 15 to go along with 10 boards and Raja Bell scored 15 points as well.

Portland 89 Seattle 79

Portland extended their winning streak to 11 games after an 89-79 victory over the Sonics last night. While Brandon Roy struggled early, his teammates held things together until he got his game back on track in the second half of the game. It was a 16-2 run in the third quarter that allowed Portland to take a 70-62 lead into the fourth and the game was never in doubt from that point on. It was an ugly affair with Seattle shooting only 40% from the floor and Portland finishing even worse at 38% but they took care of the ball, committing only 6 turnovers for the game as compared to 13 by Seattle. While Wally Szczerbiak was hot for the Sonics in the first half, he cooled off in the second and the Sonics were no match for Portland and their two point guards, Roy and Jarrett Jack, who each finished with 17 points. Roy had 6 rebounds and 7 assists to go with his 17. Steve Blake and Channing Frye added 12 points apiece and Joel Pryzbilla pulled down 16 rebounds for the Blazers. Kevin Durant scored 23 points for the Sonics, who dropped to 8-20 on the season. Szczerbiak finished with 19 points, 15 of them coming in the first half. Earl Watson scored 8 points and dished 11 assists while Nick Collison had 9 points and 14 rebounds off of the bench in the loss.

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  • http://tadone.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Hey Holly! Hope your Christmas was well. I think that Roy actually had 20 points but let me double check that.

  • Jared

    I’m so jealous that you get to cheer for trevor. He really is the man.

  • Jared

    Roy had 17

  • http://tadone.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Never mind, Roy did score 17. Bynum is really coming of age. Even Kobe was giving him props. We’ll see how long that lasts.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    Happy Boxing Day. Or is it Merry Boxing Day?

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    good morning!! The Lakers/Suns game was the perfect addition to Christmas day. I loved that Kob was miked up and I loved seeing the Suns/Lakers interact. Everyone looked like they were joking and laughing and in the Christmas spirit…until midway through the fourth! ahahahaah

    Great to see DFish’s daughter and the feature on her at the half. SOOO thankful both she and her vision are safe and healthy. When Fisher came into the playoff game after her surgery last year I thought my heart was going to burst for him.

    Ariza is such a great compliment to the Lakers, Jared! He is young, athletic and aggressive as anything. I am so happy with his offense and his D is exactly what we needed. And to think we got him for Mo and Cook?! I really love that part.

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Lakers/Suns was fun to watch and the bow tie was way too funky. But, man, my Heat looks really, really bad. They look lottery-bound, which may not be a bad thing. Dam, look how far we’ve fallen…

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    it’s not called boxing day in the US I am assuming?! I never knew that. Happy works, eboy. How was the day for you and your family?

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    I’m going to the Bucks game, you E?

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    Cheryl, enjoy the game!

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    No Bucks game, I’m on “South of Broward” cutoff until the Heat do something worth a sh*t with their roster. Thanks, Holly, the day was nice, I’m still picking up wrapping paper and empty boxes from all my kid’s gifts. What exactly does Boxing Day entail?

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    TADone, How is home?

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    Cheryl, it’s wierd that the Heat play a 6:00p game tonight, right? I can’t remember the last time a start time was so early on a weeknight.

  • http://tadone.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    So how many people actually have to work today?

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    ahh Eboy, I’m glad to hear your boy was happy and had a great day. I’m not really sure what Boxing day means…It’s just another day of visiting and friends, family and food. Then the Christmas sales begin and it’s like the Thanksgiving sales you have on “Black Friday” in the US.

  • http://tadone.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    LOL…I’m actaully back at work Holly :(
    I’m guessing I may be the only one too. But home was nice. The Pistons absolutely manhandled the Grizzlies on Friday night. Of course on Sunday they had 50 mph wind gusts in the Detroit area and my flight was delayed and had to stay at the Detroit Metro airport over night. No fun.

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    the airport is the worst!!! that sucks about being back to work already. I’m glad you got to catch a game though. I am itching for my next game, it’s been a few weeks and I am getting spoiled with these live games! ahahhaa

  • http://tadone.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    I just wish I would have known ahead of time my flight would be delayed because then I could have went to the Pistons/Rockets game on Sunday night. Oh well.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    Holly, are the Lakers that improved or is Phoenix’s system finally catching up to them? Because I think the Suns shot at a ring is about passed with the squad in place.

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Aww, too bad, E. I though you and I could hook up and drown our Heat sorrows in a bottle of $12 Presidente… ;-)

  • Jared

    I’m back at work too. Isn’t it box-in day. Like it’s the first day after Christmas so people are still feeling the christmas buzz, people are trying to get back home to get back to work and what not, also hurrying to return presents and do things that are hectic during christmas shopping season? I could be very very off.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    When is the Bucks game, Cheryl. If I’m gonna kill myself slowly, I’d rather do it watching another decent team.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    Which would mean, not the Bucks.

  • http://tadone.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    I think your close Jared. I’m glad that I’m not the only poor soul back at work. I’m not going anywhere near a mall or store for at least a week.

  • Tom

    I’m back at work too, but it’s dead and i get time and a half so its not a bad deal. Beats lining up in front of a Best Buy at 6am for some door crashers……but i digress, that Lakers win was beautiful, and can’t tell you how enjoyable it is to watch LA when they play team ball, and Holly Ariza was a steal, maybe Kupchak isn’t totally incompetent after all.

  • http://slamonline.ciom Simone Lawy

    kupchak, i’m sorry for what i’m say in the past, HORRAYYYYYYYYYY.

  • http://slamonline.ciom Simone Lawy

    You actually got something, don’t ya…….great trade for ARIZAAAA, my man.

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com/ H to the izzo

    Hapy St.Stephens Day everyone.And I’m contemplating getting that Kevin Durant quote tattooed onto my body.

  • http://tadone.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    what the heck is St. Stephens Day,Izzo?

  • weedprisoner

    drew `osama`gooden

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com Myles Brown

    [chappelle]“Kobe!”[chappelle]

  • http://myspace.com/2536545 Bryan

    Everyone still recovering from the holiday eh?

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    ahahahh I love it, I izzo. Tom, nothing is better than the Lakers playing like that. Bynum is making me smile from ear-to-ear and Ariza? yessssssss!

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com/ H to the izzo

    TAD:Today

  • http://www.friendster.com/sesa Sesa

    Holly, I’m waiting for the matchups between Blazers and Lakers. That’ll be interesting to watch.

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    Eboy: When the Lakers are on and playing well, they are very tough to beat. When Kobe recognizes the double-threat he and Bynum pose for their opponents, it makes the game so much easier for them. I LOVED Ariza in the starting lineup. I know Walton will be back in there soon enough, but, I hope Ariza continues to prove his worth and gets more and more time. The youth and hunger on the Lakers is apparent. Derek steadies them, while Kobe lights the fire. Bynum is just improving so rapidly. His belief in himself is the best part. Seeing him take it to Amare, getting a huge dunk and then just bouncing up and down, thrilled with himself, you know after the game he is going to work that much harder to ensure there are many more moments like that. THAT is exciting. His +/- was +14, the highest on the team, with Kobe clocking in at +9.

    As for the Suns, the Lakers game was a tough one for them. For one, the Lakers forced them to go big more than usual, so Raja was not in the game as much (I think, partially because it was his first game back from missing time with the back spasms and he looked a little tired). He did his best on Kobe, but there were stretches where it was someone else on him. Not that it is an excuse, but they have played only 11 home games this season, so they will have a big home stretch coming up soon. They are not playing they way they have and can and I don’t know why there is the lack of consistency from them. The game last night was the perfect example; They didn’t foul or really try to get a steal until it was way to late, it was like they had already momentarily given up. I know Bynum was playing well, but the Suns didn’t use Amare enough. He needs more than 11 shots a game. I don’t care if he misses some early, give him the ball! I don’t like the Suns offense as much when Nash scores a lot as opposed to distributing. I love it when he comes up clutch at the end of the game when they need him, I love when he drives in and gets a layup to break a scoring drought, I love when he drops some threes in transition, but for the most part, when Nash takes 18 shots and some other people don’t get to benefit from his distributing I think they get in trouble. I’m definitely not knocking Nash, because sometimes the guys just aren’t hitting their shots, but I think generally speaking, the Suns offense only flourish’s when he is doing more creating rather than scoring.

    That was a lot longer than I had planned. AHAHA sorry for hijacking things, guys. Eboy, sorry I wasn’t around earlier to moderate you. Not sure why your comments are being thrown into moderation this morning.

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    Sesa: I can’t wait for it either. I want to see the Lakes and Golden State again, too!

  • http://myspace.com/2536545 Bryan

    Holly that comment was like another edition of the post up.

  • Tom

    I think the best defense against the Suns is to force Nash to be a scorer, even though he can fill it up, its not his natural instinct, and it messes up the rhythm of the whole team. If i’m an a opposing team, i’d much rather nash drop 30 ppg and limiting the others rather than nash dropping 15-20ppg and 15+ assists and 3 other guys with 20+ points

  • Tom

    Who else here was hoping Shaq would have brought down the basket on that one play yesterday………it’s ridiculous how strong he is.

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    Tom, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Last night the Suns had 7 or 8 players in double figures, but with Kobe at 38 and Bynum at 28, the Lakers only needed their 5 starters in double-figures. Nash as a scorer changes the entire dynamic of their team and takes away their pure point guard, which is what makes them so special.

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    Bryan: It’s why I try to keep my thoughts short on the Post Up. I could go on forever when I get started. How was your holiday? Were you in NY or what?

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com/ H to the izzo

    Holly:Not seeing the game and not having the time to watch it now,I don’t know but what was missing on the Suns end that made Nash turn into a scorer?

  • http://myspace.com/2536545 Bryan

    I’m having fun , yeah I’m still in ny ,I’ll be here til the third.How about you? Good times?

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    Amare got off to a slow start, finished 6-11. There was not a lot of movement, besides Hill and Barbosa getting some fast break baskets. The Lakers just matched their speed and had more intensity. With Bynum playing so well inside and Kobe killing in the second half, it was tough for the Suns to defend and they had Skinner in there longer than they usually play him. Raja wasn’t as effective as he usually is and it looked as though Nash went with the easiest plays, which were getting his own shots. The Lakers athleticism really surprised the Suns, I think. Ariza was the perfect addition to the starting lineup. I do not want to see him go back to the bench when Luke is healthy. He had a dunk over Hill that made me jump out of my seat, literally. He plays hard-nosed D, scraps and fights for lose balls, had some great saves yesterday and he attacks the rim, getting to the line and getting offensive rebounds. Such a steal! Adding Ariza, Fisher and this crazy-Bynum, the Lakers do look different than last season. I just hope they keep it up and the key to that is Kobe continuing to play they way he has.

  • Tom

    Right now Bynum has to be a lock for MIP, his only competition is who, Roy? They had that stat last night that he had 10 double-double in the previous 2 years combined, and so far this year he has 15……he’s come a long way, Kareem has got to be ecstatic that his lessons are paying off……well I don’t think Kareem ever gets ecstatic, but he’s got to at least be cracking a smile.

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    HAA! Kareem kills me. He broke out a smile AND a cheer for Ariza’s dunk. I love seeing Kobe/Kareem and Bynum talking on the bench during timeouts. That is great to see!

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com/ H to the izzo

    Would Bynum be developing like this without Kareem?I doubt it.And Holly,how was your Christmas?

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    I doubt it also. I think Kobe’s comments about Bynum really lit a fire within him and it is so cool to hear Kobe talk about the hours Bynum is putting in after practice with Kobe in the weight room. Kareem has worked wonders with him, and his size, skill and intelligence are quite the combo. He’s got some great hands, he learns quick and he has good footwork. He needs to get better at not fouling and getting caught on stupid fouls, but that will come. Christmas was good, Izzo. Family, food, friends and basketball. Lots of food…….mmmmmm Now, to get back to a routine! ahahah

  • jay
  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    jay, I love it, thanks! Javaris and Andrew crack me up. I love these young guys.

  • http://tadone.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    I have to agree, Holly. I wasn’t really sold on Bynum last year. I couldn’t understand it when the Lakers said he was untouchable in trade rumors. I thought he was soft, mentally and physically. I figured Kobe’s harping on him would break him down like MJ’s harping broke down Kwame. But this kid definitely has the look of a conerstone piece for the Lakers. Kareem has worked wonders with this kid.

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    it is exciting for a Laker fan. I can’t wait to see them in Feb when they play the Raptors. Since the Raptors/Lakers game last Feb was my first NBA game EVER, this is going to be just unreal for me. The Suns were amazing, so were Golden State, Toronto and Seattle, but, the Lakers. I mean, it’s my Lakers! I grew up a fan and I grew up with Kobe’s career. From the press conference, the MJ showdown in the ASG, the airballs in Utah, the emerging of a champion in Indiana when Shaq went out and then the rings and the dark days after the rings to all of this excitement now, ahhh I can’t wait for the game!

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com/ H to the izzo

    Even Kobe doesn’t f*ck with DFish

  • http://myspace.com/mrdyalekt d.Y.

    whatup kids, Joyous Kwanzaa! Umoja.

  • http://myspace.com/mrdyalekt d.Y.

    Hey kids, hope everyone is enjoying their Umoja (1st day of Kwanzaa).

  • http://myspace.com/mrdyalekt d.Y.

    my bad, excuse the spammin.

  • Tom

    I’ll be at that Lakers game too Holly……my first Laker game EVER and I am jacked, this was the team that got me into basketball in the showtime days, and I was down even during the van exel/ceballos/eddie jones days to the shaq/kobe dynasty….So if your looking for me Holly i’ll be the dude decked out in Laker gear from head to toe, even though I love the Raps, Lakers come first.

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    ahaahahah that is GREAT Tom! I’m still not sure how I can be cool and calm when I am in the locker rooms and interviewing some of my favorite players. It’s like, I’ve wanted to be a sportswriter for so long that when I step into the environment, being a fan stops so I can get the information I need and then when I go home and it sinks in, I become a fan again. I won’t lie, at the Laker game last year, I called my mother as soon as the starting lineups were announced and I had tears. Literally tears of joy. Not so much from the Lakers, but, just being there, so close to my dream. ahahahahhah my friend who was with me was so embarrassed, he was like, “Holly, come on!”, but I couldn’t help it. I was so happy and I knew my mom was excited for me and I was sitting in the second row directly up from the Lakers bench and it was kobe, and Phil and Brian Shaw. My first game live, so close, oh it was sensory overload. I could just tell, that even though it was one game and I was a fan like the other 18,000 there, it was my future. It’s in my blood, I guess. ahahahahahaha

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    d.y. enjoy the holiday!

  • Tom

    Thats a awesome story Holly, I don’t know if I’ll cry for this one, but I will be pretty damn happy, and I couldn’t manange seats as awesome as the ones you had, but there supposed to be pretty cool though…….My ultimate dream, like on the list of things to do before i die is courtside at the Staples centre next to Jack, but I think I’m a few years away from that one still. My uncle does a lot of business in LA and one of his clients took him a Lakers/Rockets games a few years back, and he told me it was boring, b/c he’s not a hoops fan………..I almost lost it on him.

  • http://www.oytun.co.uk bootlace

    LA Lakers: The Best TEAM in the world.

  • http://wheeltoheal.blogspot.com Pat Is Five

    there were about 87 highlight reel dunks in that Lakers game. the Hill of old threw a couple down, before getting thrown down by Ariza. standard Marion dunks. Kobe’s blow-by of Raja in a halfcourt set before the reverse slam? Bynum’s dunking of a lob entry pass? Are you kidding?

    Merry Christmas to everyone from the NBA…

  • maio

    Does B. Shaw always sit there with his shades on or is it only for the Suns?
    No, really. Epilepsy?

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    He recently had some eye surgery and he needs to wear the sunglasses for the tmie being. I know I did a double take when I saw them too.

  • JOHN

    yup kobe hade 39 pts again with the 7 assists and andrew bynum turning into kareem

  • http://www.youareafreakingretardifyouclickonthis.com Tarzan Cooper

    funny how phil took fashion tips from mr. pingping

  • underdog

    I love Grant Hill, but I have to give some props to Ariza, because dude is a high flyer. At least Grant knows how Zo felt back in ’98.

  • sheedfan

    Go Portland! next up…T Wolves on the 29th.

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