The Post Up: Birthday Bron

by Holly MacKenzie / @stackmack

One day back in Toronto and I feel like I’m back into the swing of things. Kinda.

I knew New Years Eve/Day will mess it all up again for the weekend. Not complaining, though.

It was Bron’s 25th Birthday yesterday, so a belated happy day goes out to him. Also, a belated happy Birthday to DJ Mbenga and Kenyon Martin, since it’s not only LeBron’s day.

Weird little piece of info relating to birthdays: I can tell you that today –New Years Eve– is Javaris Crittenton’s birthday because I accidentally texted him a happy birthday text two years ago, when I had meant to text a friend of mine, who had the same birthday. Javaris texted me back to thank me and tell me the birthday was great and I was left thinking about how odd of a coincidence that was.

Seems like a lot, a lot went down last night, but most of my focus was on the Raptors/Bobcats game here in Toronto. It was a pretty wild one. First of all, the Raptors won their fifth straight and are now just a game below .500, which in the East, is a very good thing. Second, the game was I-N-T-E-N-S-E with the Raps looking to avenge a blowout loss to the Bobcats in Charlotte earlier this season. The crowd was into it, the game was close and the officials were letting the players play.

There were technicals (Larry Brown, Stephen Graham, Marcus Banks), double-fouls, missed calls and controversial ones as well. There were also turnovers a-plenty on Charlotte’s side as they finished with 23.

The Raptors pulled out the 107-103 victory and head to Boston on Saturday. Oh, how I’d like them to come back with that victory.

If I haven’t said it a million times already: Gerald Wallace is amazing. He’s fearless, he’s all over the place, he’s averaging 11.9 rebounds per game as a 6-7 everything man and he makes me wonder what the point of having a mouth guard is if it’s never in your mouth. He’s a hustler, he loves the game, he gives up his body and he gives his all every single possession.

He is a joy to watch battling on the basketball court.

LeBron had 48 on his birthday in a Cavs win over the Hawks as Anderson Varejao hit his first career 3-pointer to beat the shot clock buzzer to put the Cavs up three. Didn’t see this one, but sounds exciting and appropriate for the King’s birthday. The 48 points scored by LBJ were the most he’s scored at home. I thought that was interesting.

Also, found this quote from the AP report kind of insane:

He has already been a Sports Illustrated cover subject as a high schooler, a No. 1 overall draft pick, NBA Rookie of the Year, five-time All-Star, Olympic gold medalist, league MVP, multimillionaire and one of the most recognizable sports figures on the planet.

Ridiculous. Happy Birthday, LeBron. Thanks to your mama for giving you the gift of life and us the gift of a phenom. I feel blessed to watch your career and game shape and develop season by season.

sidenote: Apparently there was a little problem with the shot clocks for the Hawks on a crucial possession down the stretch. Hawks-fam, let us know what happened. What is with the Hawks and the shot clock, game clock and statistician issues, even on the road?!

The Magic took down the Bucks, 117-92 as they dominated the fourth quarter, scoring 38 points to Milwaukee’s 18. That hurts. Especially after getting outscored 38-25 in the third. The Bucks fell apart in the second half.

28 points and 13 rebounds for Zach Randolph and the Grizz continue to roll along with him, taking down Indiana, 121-110. Rudy Gay was huge in this one with 31 points, nine rebounds and four assists.

Nets win! Nets win! Nets win!

Okay, it was over the Knicks, but still, it’s a W. Their third of the season. Brook Lopez was solid with 21 and 14, D. Harris had 17/7/8 (but also five turnovers) and my fave Net, Chris Douglas-Roberts added 17. Nets Are Scorching reminded me that six of the eight players who logged time for New Jersey reached double figures.

18/5/9 from Chris Paul was enough for the Hornets to hold off the Heat, 95-91. David West added 21 and 10 and Emeka Okafor scored 15 points to go with 14 rebounds (seven of them offensive), as the Hornets continue to try to inch closer to .500.

Without Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the Suns rolled over the Celtics, 116-98. Big week for Phoenix, taking down the Lakers handily and now taking advantage of the depleted C’s. Amar’e Stoudemire and Channing Frye scored 26 points apiece and the Suns shot 51 percent for the game.

20 points, Allen Iverson. + 19 points, seven rebounds, nine assists, Andre Iguodala. = 116-106 victory for the Sixers over the Sacramento Kings. Lou Williams scored 22 for the Sixers as well, but the two AI’s made me so happy as they worked together to grab the W against the Kings who were without Tyreke Evans.

Also: 14 points and eight assists for Jerrd Bayless off of the bench in a 103-99 Portland win over the Clippers makes me happy. LaMarcus Aldridge spraining his ankle does not. Seriously, karma police, basketball Gods, lets have Portland get healthy in 2010, k?

Everyone, enjoy your New Years Eve. I hope you’re surrounded by people you love and that you all stay safe. Let’s make 2010 a great bball one. Happy New Year!