by Holly MacKenzie

Andddd, I’m wishing it was Friday. The earliest I’ve gone to sleep this week was just before 5 a.m. Yikes.  I was thinking about being in university and pulling all-nighters and have been wondering why I’ve been getting tired and then it hit me. All-nighters happen every few weeks, or during exam periods. Not every night, consecutively for the better part of six months. Still, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Just, be patient with me if I call people the wrong name, like, say, Troy Murphy being called Mike Dunleavy. Yup, did that yesterday. I think it happened because I was watching the Clips/Cavs and was wishing I could be inside Coach Dunleavy’s head as Zach shot that three.

Antonio McDyess with 21 points… and a career-high 22 rebounds. We are in a time-warp. That’s crazy.

Damn Rockets and Lakers were running up and down the court so fast I was having a hard time keeping up. The Lakers ended up taking the game 102-96.

@jeskeets summed it up perfectly on Twitter when he said, “Artest and Kobe talkin’ trash is the perfect example of why I’d pay $59.99/month extra for ‘Mic’d Up NBA League Pass’.”

In the fourth quarter of the LA/Houston game, with the Lakers up two, Kobe took exception to Artest guarding him tightly and threw a little shove. Crazy move against a guy like Artest. Ron got into his face and everyone quickly separated things with memories from the Palace flooding my mind. Ron was great, and the hero was Kyle Lowry who got into Ron’s face and reminded him that they needed him on the floor. He and Kobe were both given double-technicals and from that point, one player soared and the other faltered.

Can you guess who soared?

Kobe finished with 37 points and 6 assists as he led the Lakers in the fourth and hit some daggers late to close out the game. Ron had a tough night, but his Rockets played a great game, especially with Yao being strangely quiet in the second half after starting out strong. It was fun watching Scola/Yao/Pau go at it and Josh Powell was solid for LA. In the start he had 17 points and 9 rebounds. Yao finished with 16 points as Scola added 15 and 9. Aaron Brooks is a tough guy out there on the floor. He had a ridiculous three as he was fouled by Derek Fisher to keep the Rockets in the game and then hit the free-throw to complete the three point play. Brooks finished with 14 points on the night. Von Wafer stuck it to the Lakers, his former team, and dropped in 20 points, including four big ones down the stretch.

The frustrating thing about this game for the Rockets is, they had it. They were up by 11 at the half, and then threw it away in the third when the Lakers went on a 20-6 run to close the third quarter. The fourth one was as good as any that I’ve seen this season. Back and forth, but the Lakers just had that little extra, that comes when you’ve got Kobe on your squad.

Big win for the Lakers without LO. Big game from the Rockets as they proved to me they could take some of the other teams in the West if they get the right situation in the playoffs.

And, if we’re keeping track the Rockets announcers have Kobe as their MVP. I’m just saying. This race is getting better by the day.

This may be the best NBA article I’ve read all year. Please, please, please check it out. It’s also by one of the best NBA journalists in the business. Jackie MacMullan is just so much better than almost everyone else when it comes to writing about basketball. So many good pieces in this article. Just read it.

Syrcuse won last night against Seton Hall, and Jonny Flynn had himself a great game with 19 points and 11 assists. He is my NCAA guy, now that we are getting oh-so-close to the madness, who is yours? Not the best player, or who you think will be the best when they make it to the L, just the guy you root for more than any other? Which player fires you up and gives you something new to appreciate each time you watch them play?

I’ve still got Flynn’s steal, bucket and free throw from the game against Marquette on my mind.

Can we please start a petition asking Doc Rivers to play Leon Powe more, even when KG and Davis return? He had 23 and 13 last night and he produces every time he’s in the game. I’ve been singing this song for awhile now. Let it be, Doc. It’s time.

Chris Paul had 30 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists in a 109-98 win over the Wizards last night. Jones said it yesterday, and it’s true. LeBron had a triple-double Tuesday night and it wasn’t really fawned over yesterday. He really is that good. Crazy.

Laker fans, NBA fans and those who enjoy listening to Phil Jackson: Check this article from Dave McMenamin over at NBA.com. Some nice anecdotes from Phil, including a few I’d never heard him say before. Phil’s the best.

One more link for today, although this one will grab your heart. Scott Fowler speaks with Rodney Rogers about the accident that has left him paralyzed from the shoulders down. The part that got my eyes misty,” He wants you to know his story. He wants you to understand that he has not lost his faith. Or his hope.” A beautiful soul inside that man, to go along with a resolve and a strength that is unbreakable. Thoughts and prayers continue to go out to Rogers, his fiancee and family.

Toronto lost 115-106 in Philly and there isn’t really a story to report there, other than they gave up 67 points over the final two quarters. Yuck. Thaddeus Young had himself a big night with 29 points as Samuel Dalembert had 19 points and 13 boards. Andrea Bargnani had 20 points for the Raptors and Pops Mensah-Bonsu continued to impress on the glass as he led the team with 8 boards in 17 minutes of action.

Orlando killed Chicago, 107-79 as the Bulls shot only 31% for the night. Tony Battie had 18 points and 8 rebounds to lead the Magic as the starters sat for most of the second half and Dwight Howard had 15 points and 9 boards. Courtney Lee added 14 points. John Salmons had 18 points for the Bulls as Derrick Rose and Ben Gordon combined to shoot only 3-22 from the floor.

Denver took down OKC 112-99 and it was Renaldo Balkman who helped the Nuggets stay in front to end a three-game losing streak. Balkman was given the start and finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds to compliment 22 points from Carmelo Anthony and 17 points and 9 assists from Chauncey Billups. The Thunder were led by Jeff Green’s 19 points, Earl Watson’s 18 off of the bench and 13 from Russell Westbrook.

Golden State grabbed the 116-112 victory over the Nets last night, surviving a late push from the Nets as Vince Carter hit a three-pointer to bring the Nets within two, 112-110 with 16 seconds remaining. After free throws from Jamal Crawford, Devin Harris missed a three and then Crawford sealed the game with more free throws in a game that saw Monta Ellis make his return to the floor. Ellis and Crawford each had 19 points as Stephen Jackson led the way with 29 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. Harris led NJ with 31 points 9 assists and 7 rebounds while Vince Carter and Brook Lopez each added 14 points apiece in the loss.

Miami 107 Boston 99

You can tell from his face that Dwyane Wade lives for hitting the game clinching shot. After doing just that in dramatic fashion on Monday night, Wade was able to deliver the final blow to the Celtics last night as his three-pointer with 34 seconds remaining nailed the coffin on Boston to give them their second straight loss. After leading by five at the break, the shorthanded Celtics were helpless against Miami, getting outscored 32-18 in the third. A 16-2 run by the Celtics got them back into the game down the stretch, but Wade refused to allow them the victory as he scored eight points in the final four minutes of the game, including five straight to keep his guys in front.Wade finished with 32 points and 7 assists as Jamario Moon scored 13 to go with 8 rebounds and Jermaine O’Neal added 12. The Celtics were led by Ray Allen with 27 points as Leon Powe had 23 points and 13 rebounds and Paul Pierce added 16 in the loss. The Celtics are now two games behind the Cavs in the race for homecourt.

New York 116 Detroit 111 OT

During my liveblog I couldn’t really watch other games, but thanks to Russ, I did flip to the end of regulation for the Knicks and Pistons and saw Larry Hughes get fouled while attempting a three-pointer. Hughes made all of the free throws to tie the game with 10 seconds remaining and the Pistons screwed themselves out of a final play by losing the ball out of bounds. The Knicks couldn’t convert either and they went into overtime where things stayed close until midway through where the Knicks started to pull away. A huge long two from QRich (that he thought was a three), sealed the game for the Knicks. Nate Robinson scored 30 off of the bench. David Lee had 16 points and 18 rebounds and Hughes added 22. Antonio McDyess had a huge game for the Pistons, with 21 points and 22 rebounds. The rebounds were a career-high. Rip Hamilton scored 27 points to go with 9 rebounds and 5 assists, but he also had 8 turnovers. Rodney Stuckey had 23 points to go with 8 rebounds and 8 assists and TayShaun Prince added 25 points and 10 rebounds.

Dallas 93 Portland 89

The Mavs found themselves in a close one against the Blazers one night after their big win against the Suns. While they outscored Portland 30-19 in the second quarter to take a lead going into the second half, Portland fought back and cut the lead to only two points early in the fourth. With an ailing Brandon Roy there wasn’t a shortage of Blazers to step up, but just when it appeared they may be able to take over the game, as Travis Outlaw used his length to steal the ball from Jason Kidd, rather than scoring as they trailed by two with less than a minute to go, they turned the ball over. On the following possession, Dirk Nowitzki rose and drained a jumper to put the Mavs up four with 17 seconds remaining. After another miss from Portland, the Mavs went up six thanks to two free throws from Brandon Bass, and even a three from Travis Outlaw to cut the lead down to three wasn’t enough for the Blazers. Dirk finished with 29 points and 10 boards, Jason Terry added 24 off of the bench, Erick Dampier added 12 points and 9 rebounds and Jason Kidd added 7 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. LaMarcus Aldridge led the Blazers with 23 points and 15 rebounds, Brandon Roy scored 22 points, Joel Przybila added 9 point and 15 boards and Travis Outlaw added 20 off of the bench.

Atlanta 100 Utah 93

The Utah Jazz knew that eventually their winning streak would come to an end, they just weren’t ready for it to be last night. Falling to the Hawks, 100-93, the Jazz trailed 55-42 at the half, but were able to make a run in the third to take a two-point 75-73 lead into the final quarter. This is where the magic would end for Utah as they were outscored 27-18 in the fourth and were unable to score from the floor for the final five minutes of the game. While a shot from Mehmet Okur put the Jazz up 89-87 with 5:01 remaining, the Jazz wouldn’t hit another field goal as Joe Johnson scored on a short jumper to the Hawks the lead for good. Johnson finished with 31 points and 9 assists for the Hawks as Josh Smith scored 22 points to go with 12 rebounds and Al Horford added 13 points and 12 rebounds. Deron Williams had 20 points and 9 assists for the Jazz in the loss as Okur finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds and Paul Millsap added 16 off of the bench.