By Holly MacKenzie
It was a weird night in the NBA last night. Knicks over the Jazz, Golden State ending Phoenix’s eight-game winning streak, Minnesota over New Orleans and the King’s knocking down San Antonio. Washington over Dallas was my favorite of the night though. I love Caron Butler and it is fun to see him playing so well. Stephen Jackson is looking like all of the difference for the Warriors as his energy is immeasurable for them. They looked great last night, dropping 45 points in the opening period and forcing 8 turnovers out of Nash. Even though nights like this would frustrate me as a fantasy owner, when my players would seem to have off nights at the same time, as a fan I love the nights of the underdog. Even if I can’t make myself get excited about the Knicks at all anymore. Also Marko Jaric is dating Adriana Lima? These pro athlete/model/celebrity pairings are always interesting, and this one is no exception. Marko Jaric, really?
New York 113 Utah 109
Amid the booing and jeering, Stephon Marbury threw down a big game against the Utah Jazz to quiet the hometown crowd at least momentarily as the Knicks went on to defeat the Utah Jazz 113-109. While the game was close in the 1st half, New York led by six at the break It was in the 3rd that they started to gain separation from the Jazz, as they opened a double-digit lead for most of the quarter and were up 89-80 going into the 4th. Although the Jazz had played like they were on the second game of a back-to-back for the first three quarters of the game, they came out strong in the final period led by 16 4th quarter points from Carlos Boozer. Utah rallied back and went on an 11-3 run that brought them within two, 105-103 with 3:41 left in the game. New York was solid in the final minutes, knocking down their shots, forcing turnovers on the Jazz and holding onto their lead, with Zach Randolph grabbing the biggest offensive rebound of the night, with the Knicks up two and 6.6 seconds on the clock. Jamaal Crawford was given the ball where he was fouled and knocked down both free throws to extend the game to 113-109 and Utah couldn’t come back. For the game, New York shot 53.2% and were able to overcome being out-rebounded by 10 to get the victory. Marbury led the way with 28 points while Zach Randolph had 25 points and 14 rebounds for New York. Boozer finished with 30 points along with 12 rebounds and Deron Williams had 26 points and 8 assists.
Minnesota 103 New Orleans 94
Minnesota’s strong first half was better than New Orleans big second half and it was enough for the Timberwolves to hold onto the win in a 103-94 victory against the Hornets last night. Minnesota jumped on New Orleans from the beginning and were up by 10 after the first quarter. They stretched this lead out and at halftime they were up big, 58-37. While New Orleans attempted to come back in the 2nd half, they fell short. In the 4th they came close, but the TWolves were solid down the stretch, turning a 76-63 lead into a 85-65 lead and New Orleans continued to play catch up for the rest of the game as Minnesota finished shooting 52% while the Hornets connected on only 41.9% of their field goals. Marko Jaric led the TWolves with 21 points while Sebastian Telfair added 20 points and 8 assists and Antoine Walker scored 17 points off of the bench. For New Orleans Chris Paul had 31 points and 11 assists in the loss. Peja Stojakovic added 17 points and David West had a 10-point, 14-rebound effort in the loss.
Washington 110 Dallas 98
The Wizards have shown remarkable grit in their first few games without Gilbert Arenas. This continued last night in a win against the Dallas Mavericks as Caron Butler led a 3rd quarter charge and the Wizards to victory. While Washington led 47-45 at the half it was in the 3rd when they outscored the Mavs 38-27 that the damage was done. Behind Butler’s 14 points in the period, the Wizards led 85-72 heading into the 4th. Dallas continued to push, but they did not get any closer than nine points for the rest of the game as they could not overcome their shooting woes, connecting on only 39.3% of their field goals while Washington finished the game shooting 50.7%. Butler finished with 35 points and 8 rebounds, connecting on all five of his three point-attempts, Antawn Jamison scored 27 and Antonio Daniels had a season-high 16 for the Wizards. Dirk Nowitzki was the leader for Dallas, scoring 31 points, while Josh Howard had 17 and Devin Harris contributed 12 in the loss.
Sacramento 112 San Antonio 99
Beno Udrih had a career-night against his old Spurs team and the Kings snapped the Spurs five-game winning streak last night, coming out on top 112-99. While Sacramento led 52-48 at the half, the Spurs came out to start the 3rd quarter and took the lead, albeit briefly. The Kings countered this brief lead by going on a 15-0 run and extended their lead to as many as 18 points in the quarter. Going into the 4th, they were up 86-73 and the two teams were neck-in-neck in the final period, each scoring 26 points as the road weary Spurs did not have an answer for Beno and his 27-point effort. Ron Artest had 20 points for the Kings and Brad Miller scored 17 points and pulled down 10 rebounds as Mikki Moore added 17 points of his own. Tim Duncan scored 15 points for the Spurs, while Fabricio Oberto added 13 and Tony Parker had 12 in the loss. San Antonio gave up 55.1% shooting to the Kings while connecting on only 44.8% of their own field goals in the game.
Orlando 85 Portland 74
It was a low-scoring affair by Orlando’s standards, but it involved a victory so they were happy to take it. In a test of their defense the Magic came out on top defeating the Trailblazers 85-74 last night. While the Blazers led early, holding a 13-point lead in the 2nd quarter, Orlando stayed calm and went on a 16-0 run to recapture the lead before the game was tied at 42 going into the half. Orlando led by only one 59-58 at the start of the 4th, but opened the final quarter by outscoring Portland 17-6 in the opening minutes as they held the Blazers to only 16 points in the period. Dwight Howard struggled for the Magic, pulling down 14 boards but scoring only 9 points, far below his 22.4 points per game average. The Magic held on behind the play of Hedo Turkoglu who scored 21 and Rashard Lewis who added 20 while Adonal Foyal added 8 points and 10 rebounds off of the bench. LaMarcus Aldridge had 16 points to lead Portland in the loss as Martell Webster added 13 and Brandon Roy managed only 12 points on 4-18 shooting.
Houston 88 LA Clippers 71
Tracy McGrady followed up one strong performance with another last night as he proved the elbow is feeling fine. Scoring 19 of his game-high 36 points in the 4th quarter, he helped the Rockets finally defeat the Clippers who hung around for the first 3 quarters of the game. The Clippers gave a good fight despite losing Sam Cassell in the 1st quarter with a strained calf. Houston led 59-58 going into the 4th, but immediately into the quarter, McGrady got started, pushing the Rockets to open the period with a 22-5 run that broke the Clippers hopes of winning the game. Houston out-rebounded LA 49-37 and they held the Clippers to only 32.9% field goals. Besides McGrady’s 36 points, Rafer Alston added 17 points and 9 assists and Yao Ming had 14 points and 8 rebounds. For the Clippers, Chris Kaman led the way scoring 22 points and pulling down 13 rebounds. Corey Maggette added 21 points and Tim Thomas had 15 in the loss.
Golden State 124 Phoenix 114
The Golden State Warriors continued to impress after a rocky start to the season by taking down the Phoenix Suns and snapping their eight-game winning streak in a 124-114 victory last night. Monta Ellis led the offensive charge, matching a career-high 31 points including 15 consecutive points in the 4th quarter to keep the Suns at Bay. While Phoenix was the team to drop a 47-point first quarter in a victory last week, last night it was Golden State who poured in 45 points in the opening 12 minutes to take a 45-37 point lead into the 2nd quarter. The rest of the game was more of the same as Golden State kept up their frenetic pace and were up by 18 points with under seven minutes left in the game as Phoenix could only struggle to try and stop the Warriors. While each team finished with 31 assists, the Suns had 20 turnovers as compared to only 10 from Golden State. Steve Nash had 8 of those 20 turnovers for Phoenix. Besides the 31 points from Ellis, Stephen Jackson added a season-high 32 points and Baron Davis had 28 points, 6 rebounds and 10 assists for the Warriors. Steve Nash finished with 23 points and 13 assists while Grant Hill and Amare Stoudemire each added 17 points in the loss for the Suns.