The Post Up: Detroit Going Strong

By: Holly MacKenzie

After a two-day hiatus, the Post Up is back. And with 12 games on the NBA schedule it’s back in the long-winded sort of way. Kind of crazy that the NBA season is already 1/3 of the way completed, before we know it we will be watching the playoffs. I can’t believe it is 2008 and the Holiday season has come and gone. Now, to make the transition back into the real world. With that being said, I hope everyone’s holiday was filled with friends, family and fun.

As for the games last night, I wanted Golden State to complete the comeback against Dallas really badly, but they just fell apart in the fourth. It was ugly to watch the final quarter. Baron was ice-cold and couldn’t get anything going and the Warriors just looked out of sync. Dirk had a great game, but, I want these two teams to meet in the playoffs again. Could you imagine the Golden State crowd if that happened again? Oh man, it would be insane!

LeBron with another amazing performance. I didn’t catch that game, unfortunately but reading about it reminded me of the playoffs against the Pistons last year. He is too young, too good, it is crazy! This 35,000 square foot house he is building sounds pretty crazy too. A casino IN the house? Also, a barbershop, two bowling alleys, sports bar and recording studio? That is just crazy-talk. I hope the studio is not for him, LBJ just needs to worry about basketball.

Detroit is on quite the run these days, destroying their opponents, usually by halftime. I am pumped to see the Detroit/Boston rematch Saturday night. That will be entertaining for sure. KG stepped up when the Celtics needed him most last night and it makes me even more happy he is on a good team.

Chicago 109 Charlotte 97

Joakim Noah started the new year on a positive note as he was inserted into the line-up in the third quarter and stayed in the game the rest of the way through, punishing the Bobcat’s inside on his way to scoring a career-high 17 points. After trailing by 12 in the third, the Bulls cut the Charlotte lead to 79-78 at the start of the fourth and then went on to outscore the Bobcats 31-18 in the final quarter as they got the 109-97 victory. In addition to Noah’s 17 points, the Bulls had six players in double-figures. Ben Gordon scored 22, Luol Deng had 21 points and 13 rebounds and Joe Smith added 16. Jason Richardson scored a game-high 28 points for Charlotte and Gerald Wallace had a strong game with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists. Raymond Felton added 13 points and 9 assists for the Bobcats.

New Jersey 96 Orlando 95

As so many of their games have this season, New Jersey’s game against the Magic went down to the wire, with the Nets squeaking out another victory on the road. While Orlando lead for most of the game after going on an 18-3 run early, the Nets came back from a 15-point deficit to steal the victory from Orlando when the defense of Jason Kidd, Vince Carter and Darrell Armstrong forced Hedo Turkoglu to lose the ball in the final seconds of the game. After Kidd hit a three to cut the Orlando lead to 84-83, Malik Allen got a jumper to go, giving them the one point lead with 4:32 left in the game. The two teams traded baskets from there and Orlando had two separate opportunities to take the lead with under 50 seconds remaining in the game but on each possession Turkoglu was unable to complete the play as New Jersey outscored Orlando 30-18 in the fourth. Kidd finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists, Carter scored 18 points and the Nets had seven players reach double-figures. Turkoglu scored 23 points in the loss while Dwight Howard had 13 points and 13 rebounds as he shot only 3-10 from the free throw line. Carlos Arroyo added 16 points and 7 assists and Rashard Lewis had 14.

Memphis 90 Indiana 72

After losing five in a row the Grizzlies were looking for someone to take out their frustrations on. Last night, Indiana was on the receiving end and thanks to 30 points from Pau Gasol, the Grizzlies got the 90-72 victory against the Pacers. In addition to the strong play from Gasol, the Grizzlies got a boost from their rookie point guard, Mike Conley Jr. in his first career start. Conley finished with 7 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds and 3 steals in the game as the Grizz held Indiana to only 31% shooting. While Indiana led by one at the half, Memphis used a series of runs in the third to take control of the game and they led 71-63 going into the fourth. The Pacers fell apart in the final quarter as they managed only 9 points, shooting 3-17 in the period as Memphis went on to win big. Indiana was without Jamaal Tinsley (hamstring). Gasol added 12 rebounds to go with his 30 points for Memphis as Rudy Gay had 24 points and Mike Miller had 19 points and 11 rebounds. Mike Dunleavy had 16 points, Troy Murphy had 10 points and 15 rebounds and Jeff Foster had 13 points and 9 rebounds in the loss for Indiana.

Detroit 106 Washington 93

Another second quarter run and another big win for the Pistons. After going on a 10-0 run to take control and go on to the 106-93 victory against the Wizards last night the Pistons have won their 10th straight, blowing out their opponents by an average of 16.8 points per contest. After their scoring burst to start the second quarter Detroit stayed ahead for good and led by double-figures for the entire second half. While the Pistons had seven players in double-figures Washington had only four and the Detroit bench also outscored Washington’s 33-8. Richard Hamilton scored 20 points and dished 9 assists, Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace each scored 16 and Jason Maxiell added 15 off of the bench. Caron Butler had 22 for Washington as they dropped to 15-15 on the season. Antawn Jamison had 21 points and 9 rebounds in the loss, as Brendan Haywood had 15 points and 10 rebounds and Antonio Daniels added 18 in his first game back from a sprained knee.

Cleveland 98 Atlanta 94

While he started off slow LeBron James was hot when it counted, scoring 32 of his 36 points in the second half of the Cavs 98-94 victory over the Hawks last night. 19 of those 36 were in the fourth quarter where Cleveland needed every basket as the pesky Hawks took the game to the wire, forcing James to win the game for the Cavaliers at the free throw line where he was solid, finishing 6-6 in the final seconds of the game. While James was fantastic for Cleveland, Joe Johnson was huge for Atlanta down the stretch, knocking down back-to-back three-pointers with 11.9 seconds remaining to force the issue. In the end, James had 19 of Cleveland’s final 22 points and Cleveland came away with the win. Besides James, the Cavs got 14 points from Larry Hughes, 13 from Drew Gooden and 11 from Daniel Gibson. Johnson finished with 24 points for Atlanta, Josh Smith had 20 and Marvin Williams added 16 in the loss.

Milwaukee 103 Miami 98

After an embarrassment against the Pistons on New Years Eve, Milwaukee added to Miami’s embarrassing record and handed them a 103-98 loss, dropping their record to 8-24 on the season. Without Shaquille O’Neal, Dwyane Wade could not lead the Heat to victory as Milwaukee went into the fourth leading 71-67 and then used a 9-0 run to start the quarter to gain some separation and hold on for the victory. While Wade cut the lead to five points on a three-pointer with under 30 seconds left in the game, they could not get any closer. Mo Williams had 25 points and 9 assists to lead Milwaukee as Michael Redd was held to only 8 points on 3-10 shooting. Andrew Bogut had 13 points and 12 rebounds and Charlie Villanueva added 15 points. Wade had 27 points and 8 assists in the loss, Ricky Davis scored 23 and Chris Quinn had 12.

Boston 97 Houston 91

It isn’t a surprise that when Boston needed a boost from a superstar it was Kevin Garnett who answered the call. While Boston now has three stars on their roster anyone can see that it is Garnett who lights the fire within the Celtics. Last night against the Rockets with the game on the line it was KG versus Yao Ming and Garnett helped Boston come out on top, 97-91. After outscoring the Rockets 30-16 in the first quarter Boston led by as many as 20 early in the game. Houston fought back and after an 11-0 run in the fourth quarter they took an 81-78 lead. After Kendrick Perkins and Scot Pollard each fouled out trying to guard Yao, Garnett stepped in. A three by Shane Battier tied the game at 87 but then the unlikely hero of Rajon Rondo put the Celtics ahead for good with an uncontested layup. Garnett finished with 26 points and 9 rebounds for Boston, while Paul Pierce scored 19 and Rondo added 13 points and 9 assists. Ray Allen had 13 for Boston as well. Bonzi Wells led Houston with 25 points and 9 rebounds, Yao finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds and Rafer Alston had 18.

Sacramento 107 New York 97

Without their best players the Kings were still better than the Knicks last night, handing them a 107-97 loss at MSG. Without Ron Artest, and Kevin Martin, John Salmons had a career-night, scoring 32 points to lead Sacramento over New York as they led 54-40 at the half after taking control of the game late in the second quarter. The outcome of the game was never in doubt in the second half and Eddy Curry was the only Knick starter to finish in double-figures with 24 points. New York had Stephon Marbury back, coming off of the bench to score 16 in the loss while Nate Robinson had 19 off of the bench as well. Sacramento out-rebounded New York 51-42 and hit 35 of their 43 free throws as compared to only 22 of 34 attempts for the Knicks. Besides Salmons and his 32 points, Brad Miller had a big game with 26 points and 16 rebounds and Francisco Garcia added 22 points.

Dallas 121 Golden State 99

Seeking revenge for their playoff shocker at the hands of Golden State, the Mavericks outscored the Warriors 32-14 in the fourth quarter as they blew open a close game and closed the door on the Warriors attempts at a comeback last night. While Dallas led for most of the first three quarters of the game, the Warriors cut the lead to only four going into the fourth but Dallas went on a 19-4 run to start the final period to take control and force Golden State to scramble trying to piece together a run that never came. With Baron Davis struggling and scoring only 10 points in the game, 25 points from Stephen Jackson was not enough to combat the offensive effort of the Mavericks as Dirk Nowitzki finished with 29 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks in leading Dallas. Josh Howard had 19 points and 13 rebounds for Dallas, Devin Harris scored 17 and Jerry Stackhouse added 16. The Mavericks out-rebounded Golden State 50-35 in the contest. Al Harrington had 21 in the loss and Monta Ellis added 13.

Utah 110 Philadelphia 107

It was close, but a win is a win for the Utah Jazz. In the end it was their newest player who was largely responsible for their victory as Kyle Korver sank five free throws in the final seconds to clinch the 110-107 win over Philadelphia. While Philadelphia led through the first three quarters, a half-court heave by Andre Iguodala at the end of the third brought the 76er’s within seven, 78-71. In the fourth the Jazz went up by as many as 10 thanks to a 10-point quarter from CJ Miles but, Philadelphia cut that lead 101-99 with 1:31 left in the game on a three by Iguodala, an Iguodala to Dalembert alley oop and then some Andre Miller free throws. In the final minute of the game Utah was solid, using their perfected Boozer and Williams pick-and-roll on consecutive possessions to keep the lead. With the game winding down and Korver at the line, he made five of six free throws to clinch the win and the Utah Jazz managed to win despite being out-rebounded 40-26. Boozer finished with 22 points and 9 rebounds while Mehmet Okur scored 20 and Deron Williams had 15 points and 20 assists. Iguodala had 30 for the Sixers, Miller finished with 25 points and 8 assists and Dalembert had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.

New Orleans 95 LA Clippers 81

After a first half that had both teams tied up at 41, the New Orleans Hornets used a big third quarter to shake off the Clippers and bust the game open. Thanks to three consecutive three-pointers by Peja Stojakovic to get things rolling the Hornets rolled on to a 24-5 run for the quarter and went up big, leading 71-58 at the start of the fourth. Thanks to almost perfect foul shooting (25-27 as a team), the Hornets overcame their shooting woes as they shot only 41% from the floor. David West had 29 points and 10 rebounds while Chris Paul scored 16 points and dished 13 assists, Tyson Chandler scored 14 points and had 15 rebounds Stojakovic added 16 points. Chandler’s defense on Chris Kaman helped to seal the deal for New Orleans and Kaman finished with 9 points and 11 rebounds but shot only 1-10 from the field. Corey Maggette led LA with 20 points and Al Thornton added 15.

Portland 90 Minnesota 79

After losing their game against Utah and having their 13-game winning streak snapped, the Portland Trailblazers continued to show their growth as they stuck together and overcame a tough start to defeat the Timberwolves 90-79 on the road last night. While Brandon Roy had a bad shooting night he still finished with 24 points as the Blazers shot only 39% as a team for the game. This was still better than the TWolves who finished at 35%. After a shaky first quarter the Blazers rebounded to build a 10-point lead at the half and then cruised to the victory in the second half. Portland had 17 team assists as compared to only 9 for Minnesota as the Wolves lost despite a 29 point, 16 rebound performance from Al Jefferson. LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocked shots for Portland and James Jones added 18. Ryan Gomes had a 10 point, 10 rebound double-double for Minnesota in the loss.