By Holly MacKenzie
It was a relatively quiet night in the NBA last night, besides Denver’s big win over Cleveland and the New Orleans/New Jersey game which was awesome to watch. I just love watching Chris Paul play. From college to now (and everything in between), I love everything about this guy’s game. He makes good basketball exciting to watch. Utah does the same with their disciplined play. I like to see good team basketball played in a way so that it does not become boring. That is why I am enjoying the Lakers so much these last few games. The ball movement, contributions from all around, it makes me smile. Back to the Cleveland/Denver game and Larry Hughes. I didn’t get to see why he was ejected but 4 minutes into the game? He must have been fired up from the get-go. Anyone who has seen it, how about a brief recap? Thanks.
It was nice to see Iverson have such a nice game. I miss the finals with LA versus Philly. I saw that clip of Iverson stepping over Tyronn Lue a few days ago and it was good to see him come out and play a great game tonight. Also, JR Smith. Coming off the bench to score 29 and hit 7-8 three-pointers? 29 points on 13 shots? Guy might be crazy but that is just crazy good.
New Orleans 84 New Jersey 82
Chris Paul ensured the Hornets two game skid would go no further last night, as he hit the game winning lay up with 2.6 seconds on the clock to defeat the New Jersey Nets, 84-82 in a come from behind victory. While the Hornets led 49-37 at the half, the Nets outscored New Orleans 30-16 in the 3rd quarter and had an 11-point lead with less than five minutes remaining in the game. The Hornets pulled together and came up strong in the final minutes of the game, going on a 10-1 run to cut the Nets lead to 80-78 with 2:11 on the clock. After New Jersey scored on Antoine Wright’s jumper with 1:52 left in the game to take an 82-78 lead, they did not score for the rest of the game and New Orleans took advantage. With exactly one minute remaining on the clock Jason Collins fouled Morris Peterson and Peterson made the three-point shot. He then went to the line, knocked down the free throw and tied the game up in that one play, 82 all. With 42 seconds on the clock, Nenad Krstic was fouled and went to the line but bricked both before Jason Kidd grabbed the offensive board. Krstic then misfired on a potential game winner with 18 seconds remaining. Paul took control of the Hornets last possession and hit a driving lay up for the game winning points, putting the Hornets up 84-82. In the game, Paul finished with 27 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals, Tyson Chandler had 14 points and 12 boards as all of the Hornets starters were in double-figures. Richard Jefferson continued his strong offensive play for the Nets as he had a game-high 32 points while Jason Kidd was only one rebound short of a triple-double in the loss with a line of 14 points, 9 rebounds and 10 assists. Krstic finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds as the Nets were without Vince Carter who is out indefinitely with a sprained ankle.
Denver 122 Cleveland 100
While the Nuggets have lost Nene for 6 weeks they have refocused and have found their offense along the way. Last night, the Cavaliers were on their second night of a back-to-back, coming off of a win against the Clippers and their road-weary legs could not withstand a season-high 37-point effort from Allen Iverson. Behind Iverson’s big night the Nuggets defeated Cleveland by a score of 122-100. At the end of one the Cavs trailed only 21-18 but they were unable to contain Denver in the 2nd quarter, as the Nuggets went on a 13-2 run and were able to stretch out their lead to 58-43 at the half. Denver continued to pour it on in the 3rd and had their largest lead of the game in the quarter, 78-51. Try as they might, Cleveland could not bridge that gap and they went into the 4th down 20, 88-68. For the rest of the game the closest that they would come would be 16 points as Denver hit 12-22 three-point field goals, always hitting one to break Cleveland’s back after each attempt at a Cavalier run. The trio of Carmelo Anthony, Iverson and JR Smith combined for a total of 88 points for the Nuggets. Anthony finished with 22 while Smith had 29 points off of the bench. For Cleveland, LeBron James had a team-high 27 points, Ira Newble had 17 and Shannon Brown added 12. The Nuggets shot 55% from the floor while holding Cleveland to only 41.9%. Iverson went 14-20 while Smith shot 10-13 to boost that percentage. Denver gave up 17 offensive boards in the win. Larry Hughes was ejected for jawing at an official with 7:41 remaining in the 1st quarter.
Utah 117 Sacramento 93
Until the Kings get Mike Bibby and Ron Artest back, things are going to be shaky at best for Reggie Theus and his guys. Last night, Carlos Boozer had another big night as he led the Jazz over the Kings, 117-93 behind his double-double of 32 points and 10 rebounds. In addition to the absence of Bibby and Artest, Sacramento was also without Brad Miller who was nursing a bruised quad. The Jazz started the game strong and were up 35-18 after the 1st quarter where they went on to lead by 23 at the half, 65-42. After a lackluster 3rd quarter that saw the Kings narrow the gap to 10 points the Jazz were able to get things back on track in the 4th by going on a 13-2 run of their own. Free throws and rebounds were prominent stats in this game, with the Jazz leading in both categories. Utah out-rebounded Sacramento 41-32 and they also shot 37 free throws as a team (finishing 31-38 from the line), while the Kings attempted only 19 free throws in the game (going 14-19 as a team). Besides Boozer’s big night, Utah’s Andrei Kirilenko had 15 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 blocks, while Ronnie Brewer added 13. For the Kings John Salmons had 22 points while Kevin Martin scored 21. Francisco Garcia also added 19 points in the loss for Sacramento.