The Post Up: Captain Jax

by February 12, 2008
5

By: Holly MacKenzie

To anyone who turned off the Golden State/Washington game, you should have known better. What a game. Captain Jax put in one jaw-dropping performance as he led the Warriors back from 23 down, to take the three-point victory at home. I cannot say enough about his value to the Warriors, how much I wish he had been an All-Star reserve, his being a “Warrior” by playing through the ankle sprain or how great he was last night. Instead, I am sure I will gush a little too much as it is the only way I can begin to express how much I love watching the Warriors play.

Below are some observations I had typed out while I was watching the game and writing out the other recaps. After that awful first half, I knew those boys were coming back. I didn’t think it would be in such dramatic fashion, but I loved every second of it.

Nice sideline interview with Mr. Arenas. I hate seeing him on the bench but he is looking good in that shirt and patterned tie. I see you, Gil! So nice to see him working out at practice, I’m itching to see him get back onto the court. Also nice to see him giving Baron props on his season. He says that when he returns to the lineup he’s the third option until he gets his swagger back. That boy will never lose that swagger and that’s why I love him.

Shoutout to Matt Bonner who joined the Raptors postgame discussion panel. He is loving life in SA and they love him. He is one funny guy.

If anyone ever wanted an example of momentum switching, that second half in the Warrior/Wizards game was it. The closer GS got, the more Washington’s shooters would tense up. The best part is, you can tell Baron, Monta, Biedrins, Al and Jax all live for this. It is why they are so dangerous. Yes, Kobe loves pressure situations for the Lakers, Wade loves them for Miami (although, not the bone-crushing pressure he’s got on him right now), Calderon loves it for the Raptors, the Celtics crew handles themselves well, but there is no team that does underdog like the Warriors.

That left-handed slam by Jax has to be the play of the night.

Either Matt Barnes skin looks lighter or his tatt’s look darker than normal. Must be the lighting but his tattoo’s have never seemed so loud to me before.

The replay of that dunk looked even nicer the second time around.

Dominic McGuire makes his first career-three to end the quarter. We’ve got a big fourth quarter coming up. No way Golden State is losing this game now.

DJ Mbenga got signed by the Lakers for the rest of the season and then got banged on by Emeka Okafor in their game last night. Pau and Kobe combined for 56 and the Lakers continue to piece things together.

Tough to see Josh Howard go down for the Mavs last night. Hopefully he will bounce back quickly because Dallas definitely needs him. They looked horrible in the second half against the 76er’s.

Houston is on a roll. Seven straight and suddenly they are in the playoff race out West where things are getting more complicated by the day.

Larry Hughes! 40-point explosion and then Jax goes and steals his thunder. Still, great to see Bron have some help as the Cavs bounced back from the Denver embarrassment to drop the Magic. Dwight, you’ve gotta be grabbing double-digit rebounds every night. You are too good for anything less. Gooden’s beard is looking wild.

Would you rather play for D’Antoni or Nellie? I’m going with Nellie. That guy is so crazy-brilliant I would just love to hear his halftime speeches.

Nick Young is looking like a vet out there in this fourth quarter and the Warriors are getting screwed out of some calls.

The entire crowd standing in Oracle, the fans are spilling onto the court. Nothing gets better. This atmpsphere reminds me of college ball. Jax misses the free throw, the ball gets back to him and he calmly rises and hits a three. Bad ankle? Whatever. Missed free throw with the game on the line? That’s cool. I take back the dunk being the play of the night, this is it right here.

Kelenna getting subbed in with eight seconds on the clock. hmm… Anyway.

All Star weekend is getting close… I can’t wait. I don’t care if the game doesn’t have defense or is a blow out, it never gets old to me. I love the interactions between the stars, I love the practice/shootaround times and I LOVE All-Star Saturday Night.

Cleveland 118 Orlando 111

One night after being embarrassed by the Denver Nuggets, the Cavaliers bounced back with a strong effort against the Magic and thanks to a big night from Larry Hughes, they were able to defeat Orlando 118-111. The game was close throughout and the Cavs needed a 23-point third quarter from Hughes to go into the fourth tied at 86. In the third, Hughes hit nine of 10 free throws, and shot 6-7 from the floor. It was in the final period that Cleveland was able to gain separation from the Magic as they held Orlando to only two points for more than four minutes to open the quarter. At the end of the Magic drought, they trailed 98-88 and Cleveland rolled from there. It was a game that saw Cleveland being rewarded for their aggressiveness as they shot 43 free throws, making 33 as compared to Orlando’s 29 attempts (making 19). In addition to Hughes and his 40-point night, LeBron James had 29 points, 10 assists and 7 rebounds, Devin Brown had 11 and Ira Newble and Drew Gooden added 10 points apiece. Hedo Turkoglu scored 25 points to led Orlando in the loss as Jameer Nelson had 22 points, Dwight Howard scored 16 points to go along with 9 rebounds and Rashard Lewis added 15.

San Antonio 93 Toronto 88

After dropping a game to the Celtics Sunday afternoon, the Spurs were back to doing what they do best last night in Toronto. After leading by six at the end of the first quarter they extended that lead to 55-40 at the half and continued their push in the third quarter as they held the Raptors to only 13 points in the period while they scored 20, going up by as many as 18 points in the contest before the Raptors would begin their comeback in the final minutes of the third to cut the deficit to eight at the start of the final quarter. In the fourth, Toronto would get as close as four points but then would give up a 9-2 run to the Spurs, falling behind by double-digits again as they were unable to recover. The Raptors were out-rebounded 46-34 in the game and never led. The Spurs were led by Manu Ginobili’s 34 points, 15 rebounds and 6 assists while Tim Duncan had 22 points and 13 rebounds and Michael Finley added 12 off of the bench. Jose Calderon scored a career-high 27 points for Toronto as Chris Bosh was held to only 11 points and 8 rebounds on 3-11 shooting. Andrea Bargnani added 12 points and Carlos Delfino had 11 off of the bench.

Philadelphia 84 Dallas 76

Shorthanded because of a series of injuries to some of their key players, the Mavericks fell against the 76er’s, falling 84-76 in Philadelphia last night. Without Jerry Stackhouse, Erick Dampier and Devin Harris, the Mavericks also lost Josh Howard in the fourth quarter after he injured his back. Undermanned, Dallas simply could not keep up with Philadelphia as they put together a brutal second half. After holding onto a 53-50 lead at the half, the Mavs could scrounge up only 23 second half points while Philadelphia scored 34, and used a late 12-1 run to take control while Dallas floundered and finished the game shooting only 35% from the floor. Andre Miller was solid for Philly, finishing with 21 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists while Andre Iguodala scored 14 points and Willie Green added 12. Howard had 17 points to lead the Mavs before he hurt his back. Dirk Nowitzki was held to only 15 points on 4-15 shooting but, he did add 9 rebounds and 7 assists. Jose Juan Barea had 13 points and Devean George added 11.

LA Lakers 106 Charlotte 97

Nabbing another victory on their nine-game road-trip, the Lakers dropped the Bobcats 106-97 last night. While they led for the game’s entirety their defense looked shaky in the final minutes of the fourth as they struggled to hold off a Charlotte run after watching the Bobcats trim a 13-point advantage to only three midway through the quarter. While the Lakers were unable to stop Raymond Felton and the Bobcats on the offensive end, the Bobcats did not have an answer for LA and the teams traded baskets with the Lakers holding on to take the victory behind four points by Kobe Bryant and an assist to Lamar Odom for a dunk in the final minutes. Bryant finished with 31 points in the game as Pau Gasol had 26 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists, Jordan Farmar and Ronny Turiaf added 10 points apiece and Lamar Odom had 8 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists. Felton finished with 29 points and 8 assists to lead the Bobcats as Nazr Mohammed scored 22 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Emeka Okafor had 9 points to go with 13 rebounds as Jason Richardson was held to only 10 points on 4-14 shooting.

LA Clippers 96 Milwaukee 89

It was a combo of youth and experience that led the Clippers past the Bucks last night, 96-89. While rookie Al Thorton had 25 points in the contest, Sam Cassell scored 21 to go along with 8 assists as the Clippers used a second half push to open up a game that saw them up only one, 51-50 at the half. The Clippers were able to break the game open after Milwaukee opened the fourth by missing 14 of their first 17 shots as they managed to score only 15 points in the period. While the Clippers went up by as many as eight in during the Milwaukee drought, the Bucks fought back and cut the deficit to three points with 20 seconds remaining in the game on a basket by Yi Jianlian. Their push would end there as they would not get any closer as Corey Maggette clinched the game on free throws to close it out. In addition to Thorton’s 25 points and Cassell’s 21, Maggette finished with 20 points and Chris Kaman hauled down 15 rebounds to go with his 6 points for LA. Mo Williams scored 31 points to lead Milwaukee as Desmond Mason had 14 and Jianlian added 13 on a night where Michael Redd struggled from the floor shooting 3-13 for his 11 points and 11 assists. Andrew Bogut added 10 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks in the loss.

Houston 95 Portland 83

With their 95-83 victory against the Trailblazers last night, the Rockets have won seven straight games as well as spoiled Brandon Roy’s return from a two game absence. After holding a one-point advantage at the half, Houston turned things up in the third by outscoring Portland 26-19 in the period behind a 13-point quarter from Rafer Alston. After Yao Ming closed out the period with six free throws, the Rockets went into the fourth up 69-62. The Rockets started the fourth with a 10-1 run and didn’t look back as poor-shooting and bad decisions plagued the Blazers in the loss. Yao Ming had 25 points to lead the Rockets as Rafer Alston finished with 17 points and 7 assists, Tracy McGrady had 12 points and 6 assists and the Rockets had 11-point efforts from both Luis Scola and Shane Battier. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 22 for the Blazers while Brandon Roy added 15 points and 8 assists and Martell Webster added 11.

Golden State 120 Washington 117

Things without Gilbert were tough enough for the Wizards. Take away Caron Butler and Antonio Daniels, give them a meeting with the Golden State Warriors at home and it looked like it was going to be a bad night for the Wizards. Add in a 41-point effort from Stephen Jackson and things turn from bad to worse. The end result was a rough one, as they let a 23-point lead slip away in the second half and dropped a 120-117 decision to the Warriors as their stars stood helplessly on the sidelines. After busting out to a 72-55 halftime lead, things quickly went downhill for Washington as the Warriors found their groove early in the third. Outscoring the Wizards 29-23 in the third they went into the fourth still trailing 95-84. With momentum in their favor the Warriors cut the deficit and came all the way back, outscoring Washington 36-22 in the period, behind Jackson’s 16 points in the quarter. After he made one free throw and missed the second, Andris Biedrins swooped in for the offensive rebound and got it back into Jackson’s hands where he rose and knocked down a huge three with 55 seconds remaining to give the Warriors their first lead since the start of the game. From there, Jackson was solid at the foul line as he knocked down five more free throws to close the game out and cap off the fourth biggest comeback in the league this season. Besides Jackson’s 41 points, Monta Ellis had 22 points, Al Harrington scored 21 points and Baron Davis had 19 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. Roger Mason scored a career-high 32 points in the loss while Antawn Jamison had 26 points, 10 rebounds and 6 steals, Brendan Haywood scored 20 points to go with 10 rebounds and DeShawn Stevenson added 18 points and 7 assists.