The Post Up: Celtics top Texas Trio

by March 21, 2008
9

By: Holly MacKenzie

Only three games on the schedule last night, but the double-header on TNT was great. A close battle between Boston and Dallas to start us off and then the Lakers blowing out the Jazz in the first quarter and rolling from there. I guess it may not have been great for non-Laker fans who were looking for another close game but it was pretty great from where I was watching.

Watching Ray Allen knock down that shot to give the Celtics the lead with 31 seconds remaining was huge. I’m officially scared of Boston and what they have the potential and power to do. Allen’s three was one of those delicious plays where you know the shot is going down well before it does. As a fan, I live for those moments.

I think my favorite moment in the Laker/Jazz game was after a Laker turnover when Fish busted it up the court and stole the ball back. Their defensive intensity set the tone early and they maintained it until the final buzzer sounded, never wavering for an instant.

Looks like Rajon left his fire back in Houston where he was fuming at Rafer. Guy was looking a little lost last night.

The segment on Inside the NBA recapping Iverson’s return to Philly was great. How is it possible to love the guy any more? Seeing the appreciation that the Phialdelphia employees, fans and everyone else in that building had for him, it is really special. We are blessed to have watch his evolution.

The highlight of my day yesterday was seeing my love for Iverson displayed over at nba.com. Ben Couch, I appreciate you!

Quote of the night
“Hurry up and pump that puppy out”
Charles Barkley on-air to Kenny Smith’s wife who was at a hospital somewhere, in labor.

Keeping it classy, as always.

A thank you goes out to Mr. Michael Beasley for screwing up my bracket already. I should have known better than to count you out. Your cover was absolute fire and definitely my personal favorite of the three. I apologize for not giving you the love that you deserved. Now, go run through that tournament.

Speaking of March Madness, we’ve got more coming on the games yesterday, so be patient. I’d like to say Duke did not deserve to win their contest with Belmont. And, UCLA? That was harsh holding a team to 29 points in a game. Madness, baby.

Apparently Ira Newble is expected to sign with the Lakers. More defense and another body. It’ll be a good thing if the reports are correct.

If anyone was wondering, as it stands right now, I am flipping from the Pistons to the Celtics. Of course, my pick was Detroit to make it to the finals but at this point I am most scared of Boston in the East and I’m rolling with my Lakers in the West. Each of these teams is just so dangerous.

It really impressed to me how the Celtics have found a way to win these three Texas games. Without Allen, coming from behind against the Spurs, running over the Rockets and their streak and then last night with both Rajon and Sam Cassell seriously struggling. The combo of Pierce/Allen/Garnett is fantastic. Much, much better than I gave them credit for this offseason when the deals went down. I thought they would be good always, great at times and have opportunities to take their team far, but I did not think the three would be able to gel so quickly and so well. I love seeing these three put everything else aside besides their respect for each other, their team and the game. They all want to win and nothing else matters. I really respect that and I appreciate that desire for winning and for the game. They’ve got something good going on in Boston.

Huge win, huge for the Lakers in Utah last night. Not so much the victory itself, where they stopped a 19-game home winning streak and did so without Bynum and Gasol, but the way in which they won the game. My boys came out with fire in their eyes and hunger in their hearts and did not let up for an instant. I knew they were looking to wreck shop, with the way the Jazz had kicked them earlier this season and also for the way their fans had booed Derek Fisher for choosing to leave Utah to be with his daughter. Kobe had said they took personally what the fans did to Derek and this was for him. It’s too bad the fan who threw the beer on the court in the closing seconds still hasn’t learn that ticking Kobe off really doesn’t work in your favor. Last night was one of those special games. The defensive effort, the offensive flow, the desire, focus and drive, Kobe Bryant has made his mark on this Laker team, his Laker team, and a team full of guys with hearts like Kobe is always a good thing.

Bron needs only five points to take over as Cleveland’s all-time leading scorer. I’m looking forward to seeing how they recognize this accomplishment.

Houston and Golden State is going to be a good match up as well. Can the Rockets stop before they drop three straight or will the Warriors grab another much needed win in their quest to remain in the playoff picture?

Philadelphia has also become a team I find myself seeking out to watch. They are in Orlando tonight and after that horrible offensive showing Dwight had against Washington, I’m curious to see how he responds tonight.

San Antonio 102 Chicago 80

While the Bulls managed to stay with the Spurs for the first quarter, it didn’t last long as they were outscored 33-14 in the second period with San Antonio blowing the game open before halftime. The Spurs went on a 22-4 run in the second period before going on to the 102-80 victory. At the break, the Spurs led 55-37 and things would not get any better for the Bulls in the second half, as they went into the fourth trailing 86-64. The Spurs were able to sit their starters for most of the final quarter and extend their lead to as many as 28 points while the Bulls could not trim down their deficit to anything less than 19. The victory ended a four-game losing streak for the Spurs, their longest of the season. Tony Parker had 23 points and 6 assists for the Spurs while Tim Duncan scored 22 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked 3 shots. Michael Finley scored 10 points and Ime Udoka added 13 off of the bench. Luol Deng led the Bulls with 18 points, Drew Gooden scored 17 points, Ben Gordon had 12 points and Larry Hughes and Andres Nocioni each added 10.

Boston 94 Dallas 90

After surviving in San Antonio and tearing through Houston, the Celtics were in Dallas and ready to down the Mavericks to complete their sweep of the Texas trio. Unfortunately for them, the Mavericks were not feeling that plan and came out ready to fight for the win. With neither team leading by more than seven points in the contest the two teams traded leads in the first half with the Mavericks using a 13-5 run to close out the second quarter as they held onto a 48-46 lead at the break. Things stayed tight in the third quarter and the Mavericks led 70-66 at the start of the fourth. In the final quarter, the Celtics continued their push and Ray Allen was the hero, playing in his first game back from injury. With the Celtics trailing 88-87, Allen came into the game and dropped a three-pointer with 31 seconds remaining to put the Celtics up 90-88. After Dirk Nowitki missed a game-tying layup, Kevin Garnett made two free throws to extend the lead to four, 92-88. With six seconds in the game, Erick Dampier made a layup, but it was too late as Garnett hit two more free throws to ice the game, making it a two possession contest, 94-90. Paul Pierce had 22 points and 13 rebounds for the Celtics. Garnett scored 20 points and also grabbed 13 boards while Allen finished with 21 points and James Posey scored 12 off of the bench. Nowitzki had a huge line with 22 points and 19 rebounds in the loss. Josh Howard had 24 points, Jerry Stackhouse scored 17 and Jason Kidd had 11 boards and 9 assists but only two points on 1-8 shooting.

LA Lakers 106 Utah 95

With the Jazz looking to grab their 20th-straight home victory and set a franchise record for a home winning streak, the Lakers came into their contest against Utah with something of their own to play for. After the last meeting between the two teams where Utah fans booed ex-Jazz player Derek Fisher, the Lakers made it a point to ensure that the fans had little to cheer about with regard to their own team. From the opening tip until the final buzzer the Lakers played with an intensity that the Jazz were simply unable to match. Never trailing, the Lakers all but ended the game at the end of the first quarter where they had turned it into a blowout in their favor with the score standing at 38-18. For the rest of the game, the Lakers turned away every Utah attempt at a run, usually with a three-pointer. The Jazz would get no closer than eight for the rest of the game and when they did manage to cut the deficit to eight with less than five minutes remaining in the game, Kobe Bryant got to work, knocking down shots, hitting free throws and punctuating their lead and victory with an assist on a Lamar Odom dunk. By the end of the game a large section of the crowd was in Laker gear and the “MVP” chants started as the Lakers walked off of the court victorious in accomplishing what no other team has managed so far in 2008. They left Utah with the victory and climbed once again atop the crowded Western Conference. Only playing an eight-man rotation, the Lakers were led by Bryant’s 27 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists. Odom had 21 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists, Ronny Turiaf added 9 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists and Vladamir Radmanovic scored 13. Deron Williams led Utah with 26 points and 12 assists while Carlos Boozer scored 23 points to go with 15 rebounds. Andrei Kirilenko scored 15 points and Ronnie Brewer added 12 in the loss.