The Post Up: 20,000 points and almost a big loss.

By: Holly MacKenzie

Since it is Christmas Eve and I am on my way to my grandparents to spend Christmas with the family, this is a condensed version of the games this weekend. I’m sure most of you will not be frequenting SLAMonline today, but if you are reading this and you do celebrate Christmas, have a great one. There are no games tonight, so we will be breaking from the Post Up tomorrow obviously, but I will be back on Boxing Day to recap the Christmas Day triple-header. Suns….Lakers.. dun dun dun. My poor heart is conflicted.

Kobe youngest to get to 20,000 and then the Lakers almost give me a damn heart attack by potentially losing the game to the Knicks. ahhh. There was a lot of cursing at the TV yesterday. Phil cracked me up with the sub of Critt for Farmar and Fisher in the final minutes of the game. He won’t give the guy minutes when we are up by 20+, but then throws him out there at MSG, with the game on the line after the starters have screwed up and lost the lead and all momentum.

Bynum’s post-game was funny too, when asked what it says about the ability of the team to weather the Knicks comeback, he says, “Not good, our team has to learn that no lead is safe and learn to play the game for 48 minutes”. I like this kid and his attitude more and more every game. It’s pretty funny to see him get angry when he doesn’t get the ball (and rightfully so, when he is shooting like 80% from the floor some games), and it is cool to watch him grow as a player.

What was up with Nellie playing his starters such huge minutes in the game against the Pistons last night? Last game of a road trip and playing Baron and Monta all 48 minutes and SJax 44 of them? They were up big most of the game, so I didn’t understand it.

While watching the Raptors/Suns game on Saturday night one of the announcers gave a stat that shouldn’t have surprised me, but did. In each of the past seven seasons, Steve Nash has been the point guard on the highest-scoring team in the league. Just goes to show his impact on a team. Oh, I can’t wait for the game tomorrow night, I just hope Raja’s back is feeling better and he is able to play.

It continues to feel good to see Dwyane Wade get his game back. I hope he gets back to his amazing self completely and we get some good action from him tomorrow.

McGrady and Yao both injured in Houston’s loss to Detroit last night. Yao should be fine, McGrady, who knows. Trouble continues in Houston.

Okay, well it is time for me to get packing and check and re-check to make sure I have everything for this Christmas affair. Wherever you are, whatever the weather, enjoy watching the triple-header as much as I will and try to check in on Wednesday!

Phoenix 122 Toronto 103

After dropping 136 points on the Raptors back on December 5th in Toronto this game figured to be a high-scoring affair, at least on the Phoenix side. As expected, the Suns dropped a 122-103 victory on the Raptors overshadowing a career-high 42-point performance by Chris Bosh who did everything in his power to try and give the Raps the win. While Phoenix was without Raja Bell who missed the game due to back spasms, they had Leandro Barbosa starting in his place and he did not disappoint scoring 18 first-half points before finishing with a team-high 31. The game was won in the third quarter, as the Suns turned a five-point advantage into a 20-point advantage as they outscored the Raptors 37-22 in the period and went on a 20-6 run to take control and cruise to the win. Besides Barbosa’s 31 points, Amare Stoudemire had 28 points and 11 rebounds, Grant Hill scored 25 points and Steve Nash added 16 assists without any turnovers. While Bosh had the career-high 42 points for Toronto, Andrea Bargnani came out of his shooting slump to add 13 points and Jose Calderon added 15 points but was held to only 4 assists as the Raptors finished the game with just 10 team assists to the Suns 32.

LA Lakers 95 New York 90

Yesterday afternoon, on a three-pointer in the second half of a game against the New York Knicks, Kobe Bryant became the youngest player to reach 20,000 points. Almost immediately afterwards, his team gave up a 25-point lead to the Knicks and found themselves grasping at the seams to pull out the win. In the fourth, Jamal Crawford got hot, the Lakers went cold and the Knicks cut the LA lead to 91-90 on free throws by David Lee with 1:55 remaining. Bryant put the Lakers up by three with a jumper that bounced around the rim before falling and on the Knicks final possession they had a chance to tie with 4.6 seconds on the clock, but, Laker guard Jordan Farmar stole the inbounds pass and got the uncontested dunk to clinch the game. Bryant finished with 39 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists while Andrew Bynum added 13 points and 8 rebounds. Despite the slow start, Crawford finished with 31 points for the Knicks, Nate Robinson had 16 points and 9 rebounds, Zach Randolph had 11 points and 10 rebounds and David Lee scored 12 points and pulled down 13 rebounds. The Knicks out-rebounded the Lakers 52-38, but shot only 39.5% for the game, while they turned the ball over 17 times as compared to only 8 by the Lakers.

Boston 103 Orlando 91

Boston had their big three come up big in their victory against the Magic last night, but it may have been the performance by Rajon Rondo that led them to their 22nd victory of the season. Rondo scored 23 points for the Celtics and shot 8-10 from the floor while the Celtics held on to a 20 point lead in the third quarter after Orlando cut the lead to single-digits twice in the fourth. On each occasion, Ray Allen responded with three-pointers to extend the lead back into double-digits. After leading 49-42 at the half, the Celtics outscored the Magic 29-22 in the third quarter to extend their lead and the 23-point 14-rebound performance by Dwight Howard was not enough for Orlando as the Celtics had four players finish with more than 20 points. Paul Pierce finished with 24 points, Ray Allen had 22 and Kevin Garnett had 21 points and 12 rebounds. Besides Howard’s big night, Hedo Turkoglu had 19 points and Rashard Lewis added 15 points in the loss.

Miami 104 Utah 102

Dwyane Wade had 20 points on Saturday night. It was his final two of the night that mattered most, as he hit a game winning 20-foot jumper to put the Heat over the Jazz and give the Miami crowd something to cheer for. After giving up a 16-point lead in the second half, the Heat needed big performances by Wade and rookie Daequan Cook who hit a huge three-pointer with 28.2 seconds left. Utah outscored Miami 39-30 in the fourth quarter and took their first lead of the half and shot 43 free throws as compared to the 23 that Miami attempted. Wade had help in the game as Shaquille O’Neal scored 17 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for Miami and Cook finished with 15. Deron Williams led Utah with 22 points, while Carlos Boozer was held to only 10 points to go along with his 10 rebounds as he shot only 4-16 from the floor. CJ Miles had 20 points and Andrei Kirilenko added 21 as Utah dropped to 15-15 on the season.

Atlanta 97 Washington 92

Atlanta came into Washington on a roll and they continued to roll against the Wizards as they took them down, 97-92 on Friday night. Joe Johnson scored 16 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter, where the two teams battled back and fourth, leading Atlanta to their fourth-consecutive victory. While Washington was up 47-45 at the half, Atlanta went into the fourth quarter up one. In the final 12 minutes with the lead flip-flopping Johnson set up Josh Smith for a three-pointer that put Atlanta on top by three and they did not relinquish the lead from there. Nick Young had eight points in the final quarter for Washington, including a layup with 18.3 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 91-90 but, Johnson hit two free-throws to extend the Atlanta lead to three and on the Wizards next possession of the game Young’s three-pointer bounced out. Atlanta hit four free throws to finish out the game as Antawn Jamison hit a shot with four seconds remaining, but it was too late. Besides Johnson’s 32 points and 8 assists, Marvin Williams had 22 points for Atlanta, Josh Smith added 16 points and 14 rebounds and Al Horford had 13. Jamison had 30 to lead Washington, Deshawn Stevenson scored 18 points and Young finished with 14 as Caron Butler was held to only 13 for the night.

Portland 99 Denver 96

It was a tough game and their winning streak was in jeopardy until the final seconds. Still, the Trailblazers found a way to win on Friday night and they stretched their streak to 10 consecutive victories. It was a game that was close throughout, with neither team going up by more than nine points, and Denver building on their lead in the third quarter, extending it to 60-53 before a Blazer run saw them score seven straight to cut the Denver lead to two at the start of the fourth. With the lead down to two, Travis Outlaw tied the game at 76 and the lead would change hands for the rest of the fourth, with James Jones hitting a free throw to put Portland up by one with 36 seconds remaining in the game. Brandon Roy blocked a jumper by Iverson and then Outlaw connected on two free throws to extend the Portland lead to three before Iverson drove in and got a layup to go with 6.9 seconds on the clock to cut the lead to one. Jarrett Jack was clutch from the line and hit two free throws, making the lead three again and then Linas Klezia had his three-point attempt blocked by Outlaw to finish the game. Martell Webster had 19 points in the victory, while Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge each scored 18 points. Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson each scored 34 points for Denver, and Klezia added 11.