by Abe Schwadron | @abe_squad
A six-pack of games to get to from last night, including a pair of contests that needed OT and a rare win for Charlotte. No time to waste, so let’s hit it.
When a team’s lost 21 of its last 22, and your team has Dwight Howard, you aren’t supposed to lose. Orlando didn’t get that message, apparently, since the Magic got blown out of the gym in Charlotte by the now 5-31 Bobcats, who shot 48 percent, including a season-high 29 points from Corey Maggette. Head coach Paul Silas got ejected in the second quarter with his team trailing by 18, and the Bobcats proceeded to go on a 20-0 run that lasted through halftime. Oh, and that Howard fella? He finished with 15 points and 17 rebounds (a typical night for DH12) but rookie Bismack Biyombo played him tough, racking up 10 points, 15 rebounds, and 7 blocks—he may not have matched Dwight’s production, but he nearly neutralized it. The Magic shot 39 percent from the field, turned it over 18 times, and had no answer for Gerald Henderson in the fourth quarter (he finished with 16). Charlotte doesn’t win all that often, so we ought to celebrate when they do!
I still don’t get how Josh Smith wasn’t an All-Star. Averaging 27 ppg and 13 rpg in his last 3 games, he came into this matchup with the Pacers and did it again—this time with 27 points on 19 shots, 9 rebounds and had 11 of ATL’s 18 points in the third quarter alone. David West scored a season-high 24 points, and Danny Granger’s 3-point play with under 30 seconds left made it a 1-point game. But after a pair of Jerry Stackhouse (yes, he’s still alive) free throws and the Pacers trailing by 3 with 22 seconds remaining, Granger clanked a 3-pointer, giving the Hawks their third straight win without Joe Johnson. Granger finished with 19 points and 8 rebounds, but Indiana fell to 23-14 on the year. Atlanta meanwhile had 23 assists (9 from Jeff Teague) to just 13 from Indy, and is now 23-15 on the year after taking the season series with the Pacers, 2-1.
No matter how old they get, you can’t hate on the Celtics (okay, you can, but give them some credit every once in a while). Paul Pierce dropped 30 points—7 big ones in overtime—and Kevin Garnett passed Shaquille O’Neal for No. 12 on the all-time rebounding list, and Boston outlasted the Rockets to get to 20-17 on the year. The Cs have now won 5 in a row, while Houston has dropped 4 straight, as the Rockets couldn’t even find a good shot down 3 points with under 30 ticks left in the extra period. Ray Allen added 21 for Boston, KG finished with a 13×13 double-double and the Celtics held H-Town to 39 percent field goal shooting on a night when neither team could get anything to go from downtown. Six players scored in double figures for the Rockets, who got double-doubles from Luis Scola (18×14) and Samuel Dalembert (11×17) and an all-too-typical 18-7-7 line from Kyle Lowry.
Miami made 12 of its first 15 shots, opened up a 30-17 lead after one quarter and never looked back, leaving the recently Brook Lopez-less Nets in the dust as they improved to 29-9 on the year. The Heat shot 58 percent from the field while New Jersey hit on just 37 percent of its field goals, and MIA played 13 players—none better than LeBron James, who finished with 21 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Dwyane Wade (13 points) left the game after rolling his ankle with 1:30 to go in the first half and did not return (why would he?) despite saying that he could have gutted it out if necessary. Frankly, it wasn’t necessary, since Chris Bosh decided to go hard in his first game back from personal leave, dropping 20 points in only 24 minutes of playing time. Even Deron Williams couldn’t stomach this game—he played only 26 minutes, scoring 16 points on 7-13 shooting before bowing out. New Jersey hosts the Clippers tonight at home.
Kobe Bryant went vintage Black Mamba on the Pistons to end regulation, sinking a jumper at the buzzer over Tayshaun Prince to tie the game at 78-78 and send it to overtime, but Rodney Stuckey scored 6 of his 34 in the extra period as Detroit stunned the Lakers at the Palace, dropping L.A. to 23-15. It was Andrew Bynum who led the Lake Show with 30 points, 14 rebounds and 3 blocked shots, while Kobe scored 22 points on 8-26 shooting and Pau Gasol chipped in 20 points, 10 boards and 6 assists. But Stuckey scored 17 in the first quarter, then 17 in the fourth quarter and OT to lead the Pistons, who won despite shooting a worse percentage than the Lakers from the field and finishing up with fewer rebounds and assists. Detroit got just 2 points from Greg Monroe (1-10 shooting) but he had 15 rebounds, and Ben Gordon delivered a 15-5-5 line off the pine.
Amar’e Stoudemire gave the Knicks a 78-77 lead with just under 5 minutes to play. Unfortunately for New York, that’s when the Mavericks decided it was time to play ball—they went on a 16-3 run (including 14 straight) and by the final minute, the game was out of reach for STAT and company. The defending champions took home a 10-point W to improve to 23-17 on the year on the strength of 28 points from Dirk Nowitzki, 18 from Roddy Beaubois and a season-high 15 from Jason Kidd, who also handed out 6 assists. Bothe teams shot under 39 percent for the game, but no one had a worse outing than Carmelo Anthony, who made just 2 of his 12 shot attempts and scored 6 points in his 31 minutes of action. On the night Tyson Chandler was honored for his role in the Mavs’ championship last year, it was Stoudemire who led the Knicks with 26 points, while Jeremy Lin chipped in 14 to go with 7 dimes. Dallas held a 26-15 advantage at the free throw line, and held up in the paint despite being without Brendan Haywood. New York shot 6-23 from beyond the arc, and fell to 18-20.
Line of the Night: Fine, Rodney Stuckey can have it for his 34 points. But I’m not happy about it!
Moment of the Night: Sure, they lost, but this was vintage Kobe Bryant to end regulation. And LeBron puts the exclamation on a blowout of the Nets to end the third quarter.
Dunk of the Night: Chris Bosh back? Chris Bosh back.
Tonight: I’ll be covering Clippers-Nets, so you’ll have to forgive me ahead of time for an abbreviated Post Up tomorrow, but we’ve got 13 games going on, including Boston-Philly, Heat-Hawks, Blazers-Wolves, Knicks-Spurs and more. Thankfully, my presence at the Prudential Center means I’ll probably miss most of Lakers at Wizards.