The Post Up: Chris Paul leading New Orleans

By: Holly MacKenzie

There were a ton of great games in the NBA this weekend. After reading Mutoni’s Friday afternoon post about the games he wanted to watch I got myself set with a list of games and times I wanted to be sure to catch as well. Somehow, I managed to miss the Utah/San Antonio game, but that Miami/Golden State contest was the perfect ending to a Friday night. At least the perfect ending that involves watching tv. I was shocked to see Miami take their lead into the 4th, but somehow I knew that Golden State was not going to go down to the Heat and I waited impatiently for them to go on their run.

Azubuike has been great for them so far this season. He contributes on the regular, but he has a way of coming up huge when he is needed just as he did in the fourth quarter on Friday night. He just pops out of nowhere and gets it done. Friday he added 11 points in the final period as Golden State came back from an 18-point deficit. I love watching him break out and help his team come out on top. Baron was great in that game too. Banking in that three? Wow, I almost choked during that one. Baron had 13 points in the fourth. Shaquille playing limited minutes is interesting. I can’t see how he is okay with that. Thankfully, they got a win last night against the LA Clippers but things are not good in Miami.

Disappointing news about Jamaal Tinsley, who was targeted in a shooting in the early hours of Sunday morning. Tinsley was not shot, but, the Pacers equipment manager was hit in both elbows, and was taken to the hospital where he has since been released. More information will be trickling out as the days go on, but, there is just so much that is unsettling about this. Thankfully, as far as reported, no one was seriously injured, this time.

It was really fun as a Laker fan to watch Trevor Ariza continue to get time and continue to play well for them. His athleticism and defense are a welcomed addition to the Laker lineup and I love the things he has been doing for them in games of late. Since it was a throwback night, the guys wore some new warm ups pregame, and I saw Kobe rocking the very championship banner zip up that our boy Konate was modeling just a few weeks ago. That jacket is sick and seeing KB chilling in it made me want him to get another ring so badly.
Phoenix 122 Washington 107

After going 3-0 to start their 5-game road trip, the Phoenix Suns were matched up with the Wizards on Friday night, hoping to stretch out their winning streak and continue to push forward in their quest for a perfect road trip. They were successful as their offense continued to flourish and the ball movement spun circles around the Wizards as Phoenix had 50 made field goals and assisted on 42 of them. That statistic in itself showed the level Phoenix was playing on and Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison and the rest of the Wizards could not keep up. Phoenix led 60-55 at the half, but just like in their game against Toronto on Wednesday night, they used a big third quarter to break open the game, outscoring Washington 40-21 as they went up by as many as 24 points in the blowout. In the victory, all of Phoenix’s starters scored in double figures with Amare Stoudemire leading the way, scoring 27 points as Grant Hill finished with 18 rebounds and 8 assists, Shawn Marion added 12 points and 10 boards, Raja Bell had 22 points and Steve Nash scored 12 points and dished a season-high 19 assists. Leandro Barbosa had 20 points and 7 assists off of the bench. In the loss, Andray Blatche had 19 points and 10 rebounds off of the bench, Antawn Jamison had 16 points and 11 rebounds and Brendan Haywood added 14 as the Suns held Caron Butler to only 12 points.

New Orleans 118 Memphis 116 OT

Chris Paul exploded for a career-high 43 points at the right time Friday night. When the Hornets were wrapped up in a nail-biter against Memphis, it was Paul who got a layup to go with 1.8 seconds left in the overtime period to give New Orleans the victory. Paul was instrumental in the regulation as well, hitting a pair of free throws to tie things up at 107 with 33 seconds left on the clock, which is where the game would stand at the start of the overtime. He finished with 43 points, 9 assists and 4 steals, including hitting five three-pointers as he shocked the Grizzlies shot after shot. By the halftime break, the Hornets had lost two starters, as Morris Peterson left with an aggravated strained back and Peja Stojakovic left with a strained groin. Rudy Gay, Pau Gasol and Mike Miller took advantage of the short-handed Hornets with Gay scoring 31 points to lead Memphis while Gasol and Miller each scored 26 points in the loss. It was Gay who tied the game at 116 in the overtime period with 23.8 seconds remaining, setting the score for Paul’s layup. Although short on their starters, New Orleans led for most of the game and started the fourth on a 5-0 run, where they led by as many as five in the final minutes of the game before a Memphis 7-0 run, which was capped off by a free throw that came courtesy of a Paul technical on the same play that gave him the final two free throws to tie the game and force overtime. In addition to Paul’s big night, Tyson Chandler had a fantastic night with 13 points and 19 rebounds and David West added 27 points and 9 rebounds.

Golden State 120 Miami 113

Arriving in Golden State winless on their current road trip, the Miami Heat were desperate for a win and it showed in their play. They took an early lead and hung onto it until the final minutes. While they played a great game for 40 minutes, 8 minutes or so of the Warriors playing small ball did the Heat in and their losing streak was stretched to five games. While the Warriors were down by 18 points in the contest, they used a 21-4 run in the final period to erase the deficit and take a 108-107 lead with 3:16 on the clock, Baron Davis knocked down back-to-back three-pointers to get the lead and he finished with 13 of his 25 points in the quarter. Andris Biedrins had a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Shaquille O’Neal had 13 points on 6-6 shooting in the game, but he played only 21 minutes for Miami. Dwyane Wade had 33 points and 10 assists, but had trouble in the final minutes of the game, turning the ball over twice. Dorell Wright had a big game for Miami with 19 points and 17 rebounds and Ricky Davis added 20 points off of the bench. Stephen Jackson started out slow, but finished with 28 points to lead Golden State and Monta Ellis added 21 points. It was Kelenna Azubuike who came out firing in the fourth quarter and his 11 points in the period were instrumental in the victory.

Dallas 125 Utah 117

Deron Wiliams had a huge night with 41 points. Unfortunately for Utah, Josh Howard had an even bigger night and he led Dallas to the 125-117 victory over the Jazz. It was a game of hot shooting as each team shot 60% from the floor, but it was Dallas who threatened with a blow out, going up by as many as 16 points late in the third before Deron Williams willed the Jazz back into the game, scoring Utah’s final nine points in the quarter and he continued to score in the fourth, adding another 14 points in the final period. With 3:41 left in the game, a pair of Williams free throws got Utah within two, but Dallas went on an 11-3 run to stretch the lead and run away with the victory. Howard finished with 47 points and 10 rebounds, Erick Dampier scored 21 points and Jason Terry added 19. In addition to Williams and his 41-point effort, Carlos Boozer added 24 points and Matt Harpring had 11 in the loss.

Portland 117 Milwaukee 113 OT

The Portland Trailblazers were able to stretch their winning streak to three games after holding on to grab an overtime win against the Milwaukee Bucks last night. While Portland led by as many as 13 in the third quarter, they finished the quarter flat and went into the fourth playing the same. In the fourth quarter of the game, the Bucks took a 91-86 lead on a three-pointer by Mo Williams and it was a wild finish of regulation as the game was close in the final minutes with the overtime being forced by a pair of LaMarus Aldridge free throws with 15.2 seconds on the clock. After Williams missed a long jumper in the final second, the overtime started and Milwaukee pounced in the opening minutes, going up by as many as 112-107 before Aldridge added a jumper and Travis Outlaw hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead 112-111. The Blazers took their first lead of the overtime when Brandon Roy got a layup to go, making the score 113-112, Portland. Williams missed a crucial layup and then Steve Blake was fouled and hit both free throws to extend the Portland lead to 115-112 and the Blazers held on in the final seconds to come away with the victory. Roy finished with 26 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds for Portland while Aldridge had 24 and Travis Outlaw scored 20 points off of the bench. Blake added 19 points. Williams had 33 points in the losing effort, Andrew Bogut scored 21 and Villanueva scored 19 off of the bench as Michael Redd added 18 for the Bucks.

Toronto 93 Houston 80

After a loss in Boston on Friday night, the Toronto Raptors were happy to have Chris Bosh back in their lineup against the Houston Rockets. Bosh was happy to be there, as he scored 21 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to help the Raptors hold off Houston and take the 93-80 victory. After trailing by 13 after the first quarter, Toronto played catch-up the rest of the half but, were still trailing 45-34 at the halftime break. They came out strong in the third quarter, going on a 12-4 run from the get go and going on to outscore Houston 28-11 in the period. After taking a lead with 3:52 remaining in the third quarter, the Raptors held onto the lead and went up by as many as 17. Kris Humphries was big for the Raptors, scoring 10 of his 16 points in the fourth. Anthony Parker had 11 points and Carlos Delfino added 12 as the Raptors held Yao Ming to 15 points in the contest. Tracy McGrady finished with 23 points against his former team and Bonzi Wells added 12 off of the bench for Houston.

Indiana 115 Orlando 109

While Orlando has been the Eastern team to beat so far this season, Indiana did just that Friday night. Using a strong second half effort, the Pacers managed to hold off the Magic and escape with the 115-109 victory. Led by a season-high 27 points from Danny Granger and a balanced scoring effort from the entire team, the Pacers came back from 15 down in the second half. While Orlando led 62-54 at the halftime break, they fell apart in the second half, allowing Indiana to shoot 48% as they were outscored 61-47 in the final two quarters. Even a 30-point, 15-rebound night from Dwight Howard was not enough for the Magic as Jermaine Oneal scored 15, Jamaal Tinsley scored 20 and dished 10 assists, Marquis Daniels scored 13 and Troy Murphy added 12. In addition to Howard’s big numbers in the loss, Rashard Lewis had 24 points, as Hedo Turkoglu, Jameer Nelson and Maurice Evans scored 11 points apiece.

Chicago 98 Detroit 91

In a matchup against his old team, Ben Wallace and his Chicago Bulls got things right for the night and pulled together to get the win in Detroit on Friday evening. It was a game that was not pretty, but the Bulls gladly took it. Playing with heart and hustle, the Bulls were up 45-43 at the half despite out-rebounding the Pistons, out-hustling them and out-shooting them. In the second half of the contest, the Bulls managed to continue to play with that purpose, but, they also got their offense going while Detroit was not able to kick anything into a higher gear and Chicago began to pull away. While they led by only one at the start of the fourth quarter, they opened the period on a 7-0 run. As Chicago’s lead swelled, Chauncey Billups attempted to bring the Pistons back all on his own, but Andres Nocioni had a big three-point play as part of his 22 points to stop the run. Billups finished with 27 points and 7 assists in the loss while Richard Hamilton added 24 points and Rasheed Wallace had 18. Luol Deng had 17 points and 9 rebounds for the Bulls, Ben Wallace had 10 points and 13 rebounds against his former team and Chris Duhon added 12 points off of the bench.