The Post Up: Suns @ Lakers, the Best Present of All

By: Holly MacKenzie

“It really doesn’t seem like Christmas. I’m used to sitting in the house and watching Kobe play” –Kevin Durant

It has been a Christmas day filled with family, food and now basketball. The perfect combination in my books. After watching the Cleveland/Miami game it’s [email protected] time and it is the third quarter and this has been such a great game. I love that the Lakers are more than able to keep up with the frenetic pace and I am so thankful Raja’s back is cooperating and he is in the game. He is the craziest jersey-grabbing defender and I love it.

It was cool hearing Durant’s quote about Christmas and Kobe, because the holiday is one that is marked by NBA battles in my mind too.

I missed some of the Cavs/Heat game because I was allowing myself to socialize with family before completely shutting myself off for this match up. I saw the little comparison complete with photos that they had of Wade and Bron. It’s exciting as a fan to have so many great players to watch night in and night out. I say it all the time, but there truly is nothing better than being a basketball fan.

As the Lakers/Suns game got down to the wire, I realized I was cheering louder for the Lakers than Phoenix. Guess that means my heart is still firmly rooted in LA. I was still cheering on the Suns individually but, it was my Lakeshow that had my full urging to “hold on to this, let’s use some clock!”. Speaking of which, I don’t get why Phoenix didn’t really try to trap, steal or foul on LA’s second last possession. It didn’t make sense.

The announcers mentioned Wilt and his 20-20-20 game. I know these stats, I know the facts, and still every time they are mentioned they absolutely blow my mind. All of this talk about Oscar Robertson makes me wish I had a way to experience all of that greatness as it happened but, I am pretty happy taking in what I can in today’s NBA.

Arizaaaaa. I knew I liked the trade immediately because of the defensive upgrade, but I never expected the aggressiveness offensively and it has been exciting watching him play. While Fisher was big for the Lakers, it was all about Ariza. That dunk over Grant Hill was just crazy. Also, Bynum and these ally-oops are something else.

Phil was funny in his interview with Michelle Tafoya between quarters and his bow tie was out of this world.

It is exciting to watch Portland and see how far they are going to take this streak but, what I am looking forward to most is going to be how they bounce back after they get some losses. I love watching the growth and seeing the players start trusting each other and themselves. It was nice seeing Jack step up tonight when Roy was struggling and dealing with the jaw issue.

Cleveland 96 Miami 82

In a match up between superstars, LeBron James managed to outshine Dwyane Wade to lead the Cavs to a 96-82 victory over Miami yesterday afternoon. While the game was close in the first half the Heat appeared poised to take over when they went up by 10 in the third quarter. But, as they have all season, the Heat slowly unraveled and allowed Cleveland to go on a 15-0 run to turn their deficit into a 67-59 lead with 1:50 remaining in the quarter. As a result of the run, the Cavaliers outscored Miami 24-14 in the third. Things continued to go Cleveland’s way at the start of the fourth as Daniel Gibson hit consecutive three’s to start the period. Miami did not pose a threat the rest of the way and thanks to a strong defensive effort Cleveland rolled on to the victory. James finished with 25 points and 12 assists while Drew Gooden had 18 points to go along with 9 rebounds. Daniel Gibson scored 16 points off of the bench for Cleveland, Anderson Varejao added 15 and Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 13. Dwyane Wade scored 22 points and dished 8 assists, but he shot only 7-18 from the floor and 8-16 from the free throw line for Miami. Shaquille O’Neal added 13 points and 9 rebounds as Ricky Davis had 15 off of the benc in the loss.

LA Lakers 122 Phoenix 115

After an embarrassing loss to the Lakers at the start of the season the Phoenix Suns were looking for some pay back yesterday. Unfortunately for them, the Lakers squad they faced are clicking on all cylinders and they were too hot to handle, even for the Suns. After holding Kobe Bryant to 12 points at the half the score was still tied 62 all, due in large part to the great play by Andrew Bynum and Derek Fisher for the Lakers. In the second half, Bryant got hot and the Lakers took a three-point lead into the fourth. Between Bynum and Bryant, the Lakers were strong in the final period and outscored the Suns 30-26 as they secured the 122-115 victory. With under five minutes to play, Bryant hit a shot and then knocked down two free throws to extend the Laker lead to double figures and from there Phoenix tried to play catch-up, but it was too late. Bynum finished with a career-high 28 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists and Bryant finished with a game-high 38 points to go along with 7 assists as all five Laker starters finished with at least 14 points. Fisher scored 19 points, Trevor Ariza had 14 and Lamar Odom had 15 points to go along with 14 rebounds. Steve Nash led Phoenix with 24 points and 14 assists, Amare Stoudemire had 19 points, Shawn Marion had 15 to go along with 10 boards and Raja Bell scored 15 points as well.

Portland 89 Seattle 79

Portland extended their winning streak to 11 games after an 89-79 victory over the Sonics last night. While Brandon Roy struggled early, his teammates held things together until he got his game back on track in the second half of the game. It was a 16-2 run in the third quarter that allowed Portland to take a 70-62 lead into the fourth and the game was never in doubt from that point on. It was an ugly affair with Seattle shooting only 40% from the floor and Portland finishing even worse at 38% but they took care of the ball, committing only 6 turnovers for the game as compared to 13 by Seattle. While Wally Szczerbiak was hot for the Sonics in the first half, he cooled off in the second and the Sonics were no match for Portland and their two point guards, Roy and Jarrett Jack, who each finished with 17 points. Roy had 6 rebounds and 7 assists to go with his 17. Steve Blake and Channing Frye added 12 points apiece and Joel Pryzbilla pulled down 16 rebounds for the Blazers. Kevin Durant scored 23 points for the Sonics, who dropped to 8-20 on the season. Szczerbiak finished with 19 points, 15 of them coming in the first half. Earl Watson scored 8 points and dished 11 assists while Nick Collison had 9 points and 14 rebounds off of the bench in the loss.