Look, I think Christmas and Hannukah and New Year’s and St. Patrick’s Day and Take Your Daughter To Work Day are cool and all, but Battle of the Gasols Day is my favorite holiday. Judge accordingly, if you must. Either way, this four-time-per-season spectacle took place last night, with Pau and his Laker friends—as is often the case—coming out on top. Credit the Grizzlies for keeping this close, though, and they would’ve had a real shot had it not been for a late LA surge, led by some big buckets from Kobe Bryant (19 points), Lamar Odom (15 and 11) and Ron Artest (13 points, 4 steals, 1 clutch three). The Lake Show moves to 36-16 with the win.
And the fire-your-coach-and-all-will-be-good trend continues on, as the ‘Cats and Paul Silas kept streaking, defeating the East’s elite. The Celts were outplayed in the fourth quarter, and unable to convert a few key possessions down the stretch, as they fell in front of (what appeared to be, at least) a pumped-up Charlotte crowd. Stephen Jackson was ejected after being called for two technicals early on, while Gerald Wallace put up 19 and 16 for the Bobcats. Ray Allen, now only 2 treys from breaking Reggie Miller’s all-time three-point record, led the C’s with 25 in the loss.
Some bad news for the Wolves: As a team that can’t really afford to lose key players, two guys dropped to injuries last night, including Darko Milicic (who left after just 4 minutes with a left hip flexor strain) and Michael Beasley (who peaced in the fourth with a left ankle sprain). So yeah, here’s to hoping those two can get back, asap. But a little good news: They, um, won, defeating a solid, albeit short-handed, Hornets squad. Without Trevor Ariza (ankle) and Emeka Okafor (oblique), the Bees couldn’t keep up with the TWolves, who were (naturally) led by Kevin Love and his both relatively standard and relatively awesome 27 and 17 stat line. The loss was New Orleans’ third straight.
So the Cavs broke the single-season losing streak record a little while ago, which was rough, but things just keep getting rougher. This was their 25th straight L, which now tops the record of L-runs that span multiple seasons, too. (Unsurprisingly, the Cavs already held that one, when they lost 24 straight from ’81-82 to ’82-83.) Not only that, but the Cavs are just two losses away from, um, earning the record for most losses in a row for a team in all four of the major professional sports. Eek. This was a stinging loss, too—not quite a blow out, but just close enough so that it really burned when the clock hit zeros and the Cavs were only a few points away from a victory. With under 10 seconds remaining, Anthony Parker botched a game-tying three, but the Cavs got the ball back, and passed it around, until…the clock ran out. Interesting strategy. Cleveland hasn’t won a game since December 18, 2010, which means there are 51-day-old children all over the world who have never been alive during a Cavs win.
Despite Carmelo Anthony going off, dropping half a hundred and matching his career high, the Nuggets fell to a Rockets team that received 37 points from Kevin Martin and 25 from Luis Scola. Pretty simply, Melo got zero help, with only Ty Lawson (19 points) and Al Harrington (10 points) going for double figures. After the contest, Anthony tweeted: “I’ll trade this 50 for a W. Anyone, Anyone.” Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Walsh? Anyone?
There was fan holding a sign in Portland that read, “LaMarcus Aldridge You’re Our All-Star.” Well, I guess that’ll have to do, though nights like last make you wonder why he isn’t one of the NBA’s All-Stars as well. Dude dropped a career-high 42 points, including a number of crunch-time hoops, leading the Blazers over the Bulls. Derrick Rose scored 36 for Chicago, so it’d be pretty tough to go ahead and complain about his effort—on this night, Portland was just a little better. Aldridge leading the Blazers over the Bulls is one thing, but leading them to the Playoffs will be a whole ‘nother animal; Portland now stands at 28-24, good for the eighth spot in the West by a measly game and a half.
That whole “Comeback Kids” thing kinda died for a while, but was finally resurrected yesterday, when the Jazz played a really strong fourth quarter to overcome DeMarcus Cousins (25 points, 14 boards) and the Kings. They didn’t do so by much, though, as Omri Casspi missed a late three that would’ve forced overtime. All five starters of both squads scored in double figures, and, interestingly, Utah was able to win despite only hitting a single three-pointer.
The Suns, meanwhile, tossed in 13 threes, easily defeating the Warriors on the road. Steve Nash scored 14 and distributed 15, while Channing Frye drilled 5 deep ones and led Phoenix with 19 points. Don’t look now (OK, screw it; look), but Nash & Co. have won four of five and sit only two and a half games out of Playoff contention. (But still: #FreeSteveNash.)
Actual Stats: Carmelo Anthony: 50 points, 11 boards, 3 blocks, 1 steal
Last Call: LaMarcus Aldridge scored six more points, and did get the win and all, but at least DRose managed to do this: