The Post Up: Denver continues to roll, Lakers win big.

By: Holly MacKenzie
You may notice there are only 6 of the 8 games recapped below. This is because you lucky readers will be treated to game notes from Lang who attended the Hawks/Spurs game and Russ/Sam who were at the Garden. Can’t wait to see that train wreck recapped. As for last night? Lakers. 134 points. 20-point win. Even though Indiana attempted 31 more shots. That is crazy. It just sounds ridiculous every time I say it. I know, I know, their past few opponents have been less than stellar competition but damn, the boys are looking great. Bynum made me very, very happy we didn’t do a trade for JO and Farmar is just continuing to roll. He can do that soulja boy dance every night if he keeps on performing like that.

Dirk came up huge in the Mavericks win over the Raptors. As a fan of both teams I wasn’t overly committed to either, but seeing Toronto roll over like that was tough to swallow. They are a team who look like they’ve lost their identity and they need to get it back. It doesn’t help that Jorge Garbajosa will be sidelined indefinitely with what the team is calling an “unusual” find on an MRI of his left leg. Not good.

Huge lineup on the schedule tonight with13 games before the Thanksgiving break. Sacramento faces against Phoenix again, it should be interesting to see if the Suns can put together a full 48 minutes tonight. Grant Hill continues to look great in the Phoenix uniform and Amare came up huge in the final minutes of the game last night, knocking down free throws and blocking a potential game-winner. Artest was on for Sacramento and he was doing everything he could to try and will the Kings to victory. I am also looking forward to the Orlando/Spurs and I can’t wait to see how Dwight plays.

Milwaukee 111 Cleveland 107

While the Cavaliers had another great game from LeBron James their defense shut down in the 3rd quarter and they were unable to withstand the come from behind effort from Milwaukee as they were defeated 111-107 last night. Cleveland led early but it was Milwaukee who took the lead after coming out strong in the 3rd quarter, outscoring the Cavs 35-27 in the period behind Michael Redd’s 13 straight to put the Bucks ahead going into the 4th. In the final quarter the Bucks remained aggressive and took advantage of the shorthanded Cavs, going inside for many of their baskets. Cleveland was without Donyell Marshall, Larry Hughes, and Cedric Simmons as they were led by LeBron and his 34-point, 7 rebound, 7-assist effort in the loss. Daniel Gibson had 26 points and the Cavs got double-doubles from Zydrunas Ilgauskas (16 points, 12 boards), and Drew Gooden (11 points, 13 boards). Redd finished with 34 as the Bucks spread the scoring around. Mo Williams had 20 points and 9 assists, Andrew Bogut scored 12 while Charlie Villanueva had 17 points off of the bench and Royal Ivey also added 15 points off of the bench.

Washington 116 Philadephia 101

If Andray Blatche can continue to have nights like he did last night, Gilbert Arenas may be to rest that sore knee longer than he thought. While the Wizards were without Arenas for the second consecutive game last night, they were able to defeat the 76er’s 116-101, thanks in large part to the 26-point contribution from Blatche off of the bench. While the Wizards led throughout, Philly fell apart in the 3rd, when they watched helplessly as Washington went on a 27-6 run to extend their lead to 36 points. Washington had already led by 16 at the half (60-44) after outscoring the 76er’s 36-18 in the 2nd quarter. After their 3rd quarter explosion, Washington rolled the rest of the way to their fifth straight victory. Blatche’s career-high 26 points led the Wizards who had six players in double-figures. Deshawn Stevenson scored 19 points and Antonio Daniels added 15 for Washington who lost Brendan Haywood in the 3rd quarter to an ankle sprain. Louis Williams scored 25 points off of the bench for Philly who also had 14 points from rookie Thaddeus Young.

Dallas 105 Toronto 99

After going up by 24 the Toronto Raptors thought they had the game in hand against the Mavericks. This wasn’t the case as Dirk Nowitzki shook them off in the 3rd quarter, single-handedly outscoring the Toronto team 18-17 in the period. As a team, Dallas scored 38 in the quarter, outscoring the Raptors by 21. With the lead cut to 68-65 for Toronto, Nowitzki went to work and finished the quarter hitting four consecutive three-pointers in the final 1:41 seconds of the 3rd to give the Mavs a 79-72 lead going into the 4th where they maintained their lead and overcame a 31-point performance by Chris Bosh. Nowitzki finished with 32 points while Devin Harris and Jason Terry scored 19 points apiece and Josh Howard added 15 for the Mavs. Besides Bosh’s season-high 31 points and 12 boards, Andrea Bargnani had 20 points, Jose Calderon added 14 and TJ Ford had scored 13 before leaving the game in the 3rd quarter after taking a knee to the chest on a Howard drive.

Denver 112 Chicago 91

The Bulls were without Luol Deng last night, but they held on to something else that has become routine; a blowout. This time at the hands of the surging Denver Nuggets who dismantled Chicago 112-91 after taking an 11-point lead in the first quarter. Denver stretched that lead to 19 at the half and as soon as Chicago showed the slightest signs of life in the 3rd by scoring six unanswered to start the quarter, Denver sprang into action. From there they increased their lead and went into the 4th with a 94-69 advantage. Their 72-53 halftime edge was Denver’s season-high for points in a half as the Nuggets are averaging 109.3 points per contest. Carmelo Anthony had 26 points to lead Denver while Allen Iverson scored 22 and Marcus Camby had 12 points and 20 huge rebounds. Rookie Joakim Noah had 16 points off of the bench to lead Chicago, as Thomas Gardner and Kirk Hinrich each added 14 points as the Bulls fell to 2-8 on the season. This was the Nuggets sixth straight win. Denver finished 28-34 (82.4%) from the foul line while Chicago attempted only 15 free throws, hitting 9 of them (60.0%).
Phoenix 100 Sacramento 98

The Phoenix Suns were lucky to come out of their game against Sacramento with a victory after getting outscored 24-14 in the final period. Luckily, their defense came through in the final minutes just as Amare Stoudemire stepped up his offense to help them pull out the win and withstand a 33-point effort from Ron Artest. While the Suns led by as many as 19 in the game, they lost their shooting touch for most of the 4th quarter as Ron Artest led the Kings, tying the game at 94 with 3:07 left in the game. From there, Stoudemire had seen enough and went to work, hitting two free throws to put Phoenix up 96-94. He followed that with a jumper and then hit two more free throws, extending the lead to 100-94 with just over a minute and a half remaining. While John Salmons made a layup and then Artest followed with one of his own, after getting within 2 points the Kings could not close the gap completely. With 2 seconds left in the game, Stoudemire blocked Salmons three-point attempt and after Salmons got his own offensive board he missed on a desperation attempt at the buzzer. Stoudemire led the Suns with 26 points, 13 boards and 4 blocks, while Leandro Barbosa had 22 starting again in place of the injured Raja Bell (ankle). Grant Hill finished with 19 and a scoring-average of 21 points over the Suns last three games and Steve Nash had 14 points and 12 assists. Shawn Marion pulled down 13 rebounds but scored only 2 points, attempting only 5 shots. In addition to scoring 33 points, Artest snagged 12 boards for the Kings while leading-scorer Kevin Martin was held to only 15 points in the game.

LA Lakers 134 Indiana 114

Amid the Kobe Bryant trade rumors the Lakers finally made a move last night. It didn’t involve Kobe and it did not serve as a distraction for the Lakers who exploded for a league-high 134 points in their 20-point victory against the Pacers. This is their 4th straight victory and after holding a 71-63 halftime lead, it came easily for the Lakers with Kobe Bryant spending most of the 4th quarter watching from the bench as his teammates went on a 12-0 run to start the final period. That halftime lead was due in large part to LA shooting 61% for the first half, as well as the 26 points Bryant had in the 1st half, including five three-pointers. Andrew Bynum started in place of the injured Kwame Brown (MCL) and he won the battle against Indiana’s Jermaine Oneal, scoring 17 points and pulling down 10 boards as compared to Oneal’s 14-point, 3 rebound effort. Point guard Jordan Farmar scored a career-high 18 points for LA, who had eight players score in double-figures and managed to win by 20 despite Indiana attempting 31 more shots than the Lakers. LA shot 58.3% for the game as compared to 40.8% shooting from Indiana. Shawne Williams had 24 points off the bench for the Pacers while Danny Granger had 17 and Jamaal Tinsley had a double-double of 10 points and 10 assists.