By: Holly MacKenzie
As Sam said this edition of the Post Up is coming at you a little delayed. Remind me to never ever take a trip to Seattle when it is snowing out. I am currently holed up in a hotel room in downtown Seattle as I write this. I finally got the wireless internet to work, but, because it is so late you are getting fewer recaps than the usual 10. What a long 24 hours it has been!
Apparently, the people of Vancouver think a little snow is the end of the world and my bus which was supposed to get in at 3:20pm (perfect timing for a 6:00pm tip off), did not arrive in Seattle until 7:30pm. Yes, that means the damn trip down here was almost 8 hours on a bus. I finally get here and get myself to the game and there is only 3 minutes remaining on the 3rd. Wow, was I upset. I missed the scoreboard catching fire, the fire fighters, everything. By the time that I had arrived, it was already a 25-point lead for Golden State. I was so pumped to see the Warriors, I wanted to see it all, the intros, warm ups, everything. Anyway, long story short, I watched the game, I’ve got some brief notes that I will post shortly and it was pretty cool getting to talk to Stephen Jax since I’ve loved the guy ever since he started getting some time in San Antonio. While it was hard rooting for him immediately after the Palace fiasco, he has bounced back and proven his worth to the warriors.
The game of the weekend for me was the Orlando/Phoenix matchup. Two of the top teams in the NBA going head to head. It was a great game, but the results left me with more questions. I was happy that Phoenix won. Happy as a fan that Dwight continued to throw it down and happy that Grant Hill is continuing to stomp out all of the doubts, but Amare, where is that D? I was also wondering about Dwight’s turnovers and suspicious free throws. You just never know what you are going to get out of him at the line. It is easy to be picky when the kid is just killng it, isn’t it? Seriously though, Dwight Howard is incredible to watch. That he is still so young and has so much more of his game to develop blows me away.
The Magic bounced back to defeat the Lakers at home and finally, finally, Lamar had a break out game. I don’t care if it was in a loss, I just needed him to come out and have a good showing since the fans have been ruthless lately. I also love that Phil calls Jordan Farmar, “Jordy”. In the Lakers loss to the Jazz, Kirilenko was out of control. That was a crazy line he had. And, the Jazz putting up 120 points with both Boozer and Okur out of the lineup was impressive.
Although it has been mentioned on the site early this morning, I want to send thoughts and prayers out to Stephon Marbury and Ron Artest. As fans, it is so easy to get caught up in the wins and losses and the play of our favorite players that sometimes we forget the things these men have to deal with when they step off of the court. They’ve got the same issues that we all have to deal with in life, both the good and the bad. Within the game and beyond it, thoughts are with two of the league’s most vibrant players.
Denver 115 Miami 89
Last night, the Denver Nuggets wanted to get a win against Miami and they wanted to get it quickly. Jumping onto the Heat in the opening minutes they never surrendered and walked away with more than a victory, they torched Miami 115-89. After the 1st quarter Denver was already up by 20 points, 37-17. The Heat were unable to recover from that deficit and at the half the lead was still 59-42 in favor of the Nuggets. Trying to cut into the lead in the 3rd, Miami managed to get within 12 points early in the quarter, but then Denver came out firing, and went on a 12-2 run to push the lead back up to 20. In the opening minutes of the 4th, the lead had grown to 101-69 and the Denver starters were done for the night. Carmelo Anthony had a game-high 30 points in the victory while Allen Iverson and Kenyon Martin each scored 20 for Denver. Marcus Camby pulled down 21 rebounds for the Nuggets and JR Smith added 11 points. In the loss, Dwyane Wade had a team-high 13 points for Miami while Ricky Davis and Daequan Cook each added 11.
Dallas 108 New Orleans 112 OT
Behind the sharp-shooting of Peja Stojakovic and the all around great play of Chris Paul, the New Orleans Hornets finally managed to overcome the Dallas Mavericks and defeat them for the first time in the last 21 meetings between the two teams. It took an extra period, but the Hornets will gladly take it. New Orleans came out strong from the beginning, jumping out to an early 32-23 lead after one. After the 1st quarter, Dallas seemed to wake up and they cut the lead to 56-51 at the half. The Mavs continued to rally back in the 3rd and going into the 4th, they were up by one, 81-80. In the final period things went back and forth, until it appeared Dallas would close it out, going up by five with under three minutes left in the game. New Orleans was not content to let the game slip away and it was Jannero Pargo who stepped up, knocking down two big shots in the final minutes to cut the Mavs lead to one. After a missed shot by Chris Paul, Nowitzki was placed on the line and he hit both free throws to put Dallas up 102-99 with 5.7 seconds left on the clock. For New Orleans final possession, Stojakovic rose up and hit a three to tie the game and send it into overtime. In the extra period there was more of Pargo, as he opened the session with a three-pointer and then added another layup. Paul led the way for New Orleans with a game-high 33 points, 9 rebounds and 12 assists. Stojakovic added 22 points, Tyson Chandler had 21 points and 13 boards and David West added another double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds. For the Mavericks, Nowitzki, Josh Howard and Jason Terry each scored 19 points, while Jerry Stackhouse added 18.
Phoenix 110 Orlando 106
Phoenix started their game strong on Friday night against the Magic. Good thing, since Orlando rebounded from their dismal 1st quarter and almost had enough to overcome the Suns. In the end, it was that lead that the Suns built up in the 1st period that allowed them to hang onto the 110-10 victory and they never trailed in the contest. After one, the Suns led 31-16 and they were still up by 10 at the half, 60-50. In the 2nd half, Orlando started to look more like themselves as they were even with the Suns in the 3rd, each team scoring 28. Scoring on pace with the Suns was not going to be enough in the game, when they went into the 4th still down 10, 88-78. In the final period, the Magic stepped up their defense and allowed Phoenix only 22 points, but, were unable to complete the comeback and were defeated 110-106. There were plenty of opportunities for Orlando to cut the lead, but turnovers and missed free throws came back to haunt them in a game where their deficit meant there wasn’t room for unforced error. Raja Bell had a strong game for the Suns, finishing with a team-high 20 points, while Amare Stoudemire had 19 points and 10 rebounds and Steve Nash added 15 points and 14 assists. Dwight Howard won the matchup between Stoudemire and finished with 30 points and 23 rebounds, but he also had 8 costly turnovers. Hedo Turkoglu added 25 points for Orlando and Rashard Lewis scored 18 in the loss.
Seattle 95 Indiana 93
Friday night, Seattle became the final team in the league to get a win on their home court. The fans of Seattle can thank Kevin Durant for their 95-93 victory over the Indiana Pacers. It was Durant’s 35-point performance and free throws down the stretch that sealed the victory for the Sonics. While the game was close through the first three quarters, Seattle took a 70-65 lead into the 4th. When Indiana closed the gap to 83-81, Durant took over. The rookie hit a three to extend the Seattle lead to five with under three minutes remaining in the game and then he went on to hit 7-10 free throws in the final 2:34 seconds of the game to keep Indiana at bay. In addition to Durant’s 35 points (22 coming in the 2nd half), Kurt Thomas added 18 rebounds for the Sonics, while Chris Wilcox and Jeff Green each added 12 points. Indiana was led by Danny Granger’s 21 points while Jermaine O’neal had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Mike Dunleavy added 14 points and Jeff Foster had 8 points to go along with 14 rebounds.
Utah 120 LA Lakers 96
Even without Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur the Utah Jazz are proving they are a team to be reckoned with. Friday night, the Lakers learned this as the Jazz torched them in a 120-96 victory. Without their leader scorer, the Jazz knew they would have to play that much harder and they came out gunning from the opening tip, leading 30-22 after the 1st quarter and going on to outscore the Lakers in each of the three remaining quarters. The Laker defense was non-existent as Deron Williams scored a career-high 35 points and Paul Milsap, starting in place of Boozer filled in nicely, scoring 20 points and pulling down 9 rebounds. The biggest problem for the Lakers was the play of Andrei Kirilenko. The stat-stuffer finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, 6 steals and 4 blocks. With a line like that, Kirilenko helped the Jazz roll over the Lakers who had won the night before against Denver. The Lakers were led by Kobe Bryant’s 28 points, while Jordan Farmar scored 21 points off of the bench. Andrew Bynum added 10 points and 8 rebounds for LA and Ronny Turiaf scored 12.
Detroit 118 New Jersey 95
While New Jersey had Vince Carter back in the starting lineup for their game against Detroit, the Pistons had moved Jason Maxiell to the bench and the move worked for both Maxiell and the Pistons as they went on to defeat New Jersey 118-95. While Maxiell has struggled in his starting spot, he excelled coming off of the bench last night, scoring 18 points and pulling down 11 rebounds to help Detroit edge New Jersey. After one quarter of play the teams were even at 27, but the Pistons outscored the Nets by 10 in the 2nd quarter to take a 54-44 halftime lead into the locker room. They continued to pour it on in the 3rd and were up 20, 87-67 to start the final period and come away with the easy victory. In addition to Maxiell’s 18 points, Chauncey Billups added 18 as well and Richard Hamilton scored 19 for the Pistons. Vince Carter led New Jeresy with 22 points as Richard Jefferson added 21 points and Jason Kidd dished 16 assists in the loss.
While New Jersey shot 45.5% in the contest, they gave up 56.3% shooting to Detroit.