First, the battle: Kevin Love (12 points, 24 rebounds) won that, absolutely obliterating Glen Davis (17 points, but only 1 rebound)—or all of the Celtics for that matter—on the boards. As per the usual, dude was a beast, grabbing every lose ball in sight. Boston finished with 30 rebounds, just a few more than Love himself, and to top it off, the TWolves forward didn’t pick up a single foul. Big Baby, on the contrary, had five by the first few minutes of the final quarter.
But the war went to the Celts, who played a strong fourth and held off the TWolves in the last minute. Michael Beasley put his team on his back and scored Minny’s last four buckets, but a Luke Ridnour traveling violation in the final seconds ended any chances of an upset. It seems safe to say that Rajon Rondo (6 points, 16 assists) is now officially back, while Paul Pierce led the team in scoring with 23. But if the KLove rebounding fiasco is of any indication, the C’s are gonna need a Kevin Garnett return ASAP.
I’ve used this space before to write about a key stat in defeating the Heat: the total number of points managed by Miami’s Three. The goal is to keep it closer to 60, and further away from 80, if you’re to stand any chance. Well last night LeBron James (38 points), Dwyane Wade (31) and Chris Bosh (11) combined for 80 on the dot—and that just about did it. The already-offensively-shaky Bobcats played without Gerald Wallace (bruised ankle), and were led by Captain Jack (22 points), who was one of only two double-digit scorers on the Cats. The Heat have now won 18 of 19, and will host Milwaukee tonight as they attempt to keep rolling along.
These are two of my favorite teams to watch, but I guess I would’ve been dreaming had I actuallyy thought they’d fight down to the wire. The Magic ran away with it in the second half, as Dwight Howard (22 points, 17 boards) played well down-low and Hedo Turkoglu (10 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists) played well everywhere to earn the victory. Can you imagine how happy Hedo is right now? It took a year and some change, but he got paid and still ended up right back where he wanted to be. The new-look Magic have now won six in a row, and they’ve got two more home games this week before they hit the road.
Still without Andre Iguodala (who’s out for a few more games with tendinitis in his Achilles), the Sixers got a big night from, OK, nobody, as they went on to fall to the Hornets on the road. Philly shot just 34.1 percent (Evan Turner shot for 2-14 himself), and they had little-to-no offensive firepower whatsoever. It was still no runaway, and was close to the end, but a late Chris Paul basket caused the necessary separation and the Bees took it from there. New Orleans has now won three straight, and it looks like they’re trying to hold onto that playoff spot before it’s too late.
As two Western Conference squads who have certainly had their ups and down this season, this pair battled to the end, but the slightly-hotter Nuggets ended up taking it. Carmelo Anthony (33 points, 11 boards) has been getting going as of late, while Nene scored 16 and snatched 11 rebounds. The Nugs are in LA tomorrow night to face the Clips, while Houston will try to get its first win in a few games when the Rockets host the Trail Blazers Wednesday.
Another close one. The Jazz fought off the Pistons late to get the W, needing crucial buckets from Deron Williams (22 points, 10 dimes) and a missed three from Tracy McGrady (11 points, 9 rebounds, 11 dimes) to squeeze out the win and take down Detroit at home. The Pistons haven’t defeated Utah in six years, and, well, that didn’t change yesterday.
Actual Stats: Hedo Turkoglu: 10 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists, 5 steals, 1 three.
Moment of the Night: TMac came just one rebound from a triple-double, and was even closer—just a few inches—to hitting a game-tying three-pointer in the game’s final seconds. The below video is a full highlight, but if you click this it should take you to the exact point.