The Post Up: Celtics undefeated, Bobcats over Heat, Darko over Yao?

By Holly MacKenzie

This whole Marbury episode has my head spinning. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all plays out. I’m sure the other guys here at SLAM can contribute to this situation much more than I can as I am by no means a Marbury expert and the Knicks are one of the teams that I follow the least religiously. Still, someone is lying in this whole mess and Isiah’s Cheshire-cat grin is looking more and more shady by the day. With the Knicks losing Mardy Collins and Renaldo Balkman to injury in the game against the Suns last night, it is looking like its going to be hard to be a Knick for awhile.

Lakers in San Antonio last night was…..tough. There was some good: Bynum’s double-double, staying with the Spurs in the beginning, holding Duncan to 2-13 from the floor, Farmar scoring 16, but, the bad made me want to claw my eyes out. It was more Tony Parker than I needed to see. These speedy point guards just kill LA, nothing new there. And people can say what they want about SA being boring to watch, but they are really, really good. Especially when you have Bowen knocking down three after three after three in the corner. It was especially frustrating to see my boys let him get the ball in his favorite spot all….night….long..

Did anyone here catch Paul Pierce drop down to do push-ups between free throws? It must be nice to have the confidence that is rising high in Boston these days. I didn’t get to watch all of the Miami/Charlotte game but, from what I did see the Heat couldn’t buy a bucket. It also hurts when your coach says you’d be better off if he could suit up and play. The Felton to Richardson alley oop was perfection last night and I think my play of the night was seeing Wallace’s huge block on Shaq. Darko Millicic in Memphis? D’ing up Yao (even though Yao still finished with 22), and also scoring 20 points in their impressive win over the Rockets? I didn’t expect to be writing about that today. I was thrilled to see Amare come out strong in the game against the Knicks and I’m hoping his dominance can continue. He was all over the place and he makes the Suns so much better when he is out there. Finally, Portland! Who had them winning their last four games? I hope they can keep on rolling and surprise people. It’s fun watching Aldridge and Roy lead the way.

Boston 101 Indiana 86

Another day, another W for the Celtics. Although this time, Boston came out flat and went down by six points in the first quarter for their biggest deficit this season. After a hard foul by Jamaal Tinsley on Paul Pierce when the game was tied at 38 all, Pierce was fired up and went off for 13 points in the final 3:06 of the first half. Those points helped propel Boston to a 52-43 halftime lead. In the second half the Celtics came out with purpose and poise and they extended their lead to as many as 16 points in the third quarter. Indiana was not going down easy though, and they rallied back in the final minutes of the third and then into the fourth, cutting the lead to 7 with just over four minutes remaining in the game, but they were unable to get any closer for the rest of the game. While Boston shot 44 free throws (hitting 33 of them), the Pacers attempted only 26 (knocking down 20). Pierce led the way for Boston, finishing with 31 points and 11 rebounds while Garnett had 18 points and 11 boards and Ray Allen added 17 points. Danny Granger led Indiana with 24 points on 8-10 field goals while Jamaal Tinsley had 14.

Orlando 103 Seattle 76

Thanks to Orlando going scoreless for the first four minutes of the contest, Seattle was able to go up by seven points, briefly. Once Orlando got on the board however, they continued to ring up the points behind ex-sonic Rashard Lewis and his 22 points as Orlando routed the Sonics 103-76. Despite not scoring for the first four minutes of the game, Orlando still outscored Seattle 28-14 in the 1st quarter and held a 49-26 advantage at the break. Things only got worse in the second half as Seattle was outscored 36-20 in the third on the way to their 8th consecutive loss to start the season. In the game Orlando shot 46.3% as compared to Seattle shooting only 34.4%. Orlando also out-rebounded the Sonics 58-44 as they managed to overcome committing 26 turnovers in the game. Dwight Howard had another double-double for the Magic with 13 points and 12 rebounds, Hedo Turkoglu scored 17 points, Keith Bogans 16 and Trevor Ariza had a double-double with 11 points and 11 boards. Nick Collison was the leading scorer for Seattle with 15 points while rookie Jeff Green had 12 and rookie Kevin Durant had 10 on only 4-13 shooting.

Charlotte 91 Miami 76

In what was the match up of the two lowest scoring teams in the league things were ugly after the 1st quarter. With Charlotte up 17-12 after one, the teams had combined to miss 39 shots in the first period. Thankfully for their fans, Charlotte was able to break out of their slump and generate some offense on their way to destroying the Heat 91-76. The two teams each scored 23 points in the second quarter and the Heat trailed by only five points at the half, 40-35. It was in the third quarter where Miami completely unraveled and the Bobcats jumped on them, outscoring the Heat 31-12 in the period to take a commanding 71-47 lead into the fourth as Miami finished the game being out-rebounded by 11 (47-38), while also shooting only 1-7 from the three-point lead. For the game, Charlotte shot 43% while Miami managed only 38.5%, with that percentage being bolstered by the 29 points the bench players scored in the 4th quarter garbage time. Gerald Wallace had 19 points for the Bobcats, while Emeka Okafor had 13 points and 10 rebounds and Jason Richardson added 18 points. Raymond Felton finished with 9 assists and Matt Carroll had 10. For the Heat, Shaquille O’Neal was the sole bright spot, scoring 17 points on 7-14 field goals while Udonis Haslem added 10.

Memphis 105 Houston 99

The Grizzlies managed to step up their defense in the final minutes to hold on and get the win against the Rockets who were riding a three game winning streak into Memphis last night. At the end of the night, it was Darko Milicic’s defense on Yao Ming that overshadowed a 44-point performance by Tracy McGrady. With the game close the first three quarters; Memphis went on an 8-2 run to start the fourth and take an eight point lead. With Tracy McGrady on the bench for a breather, they extended their lead to 94-85. Once McGrady checked into the game again, he went to work knocking down a three and then leading a Houston rally back, with another lay-up tying the game at 97 with 2:10 remaining. The rest of the way was decided by free throws as Memphis hit eight straight from the line to maintain their lead and get the win. Pau Gasol had 26 points for the Grizzlies, including going 14-17 from the free throw line. Darko scored 20 points, Rudy Gay had 16 and Mike Miller, 17. Besides McGrady’s 44 points, Yao finished with 22 points, and Mike James had 10.

San Antonio 107 LA Lakers 92

While the Lakers boasted one of the highest-scoring offenses going into last night’s game, San Antonio boasted the best defense. In the first match up between the two this season, not only did the defense win, but it also turned on its offense, knocking down 13-27 from beyond the three-point line behind Bruce Bowen’s 6-6 three-pointers as the Spurs took down the Lakers 107-92. While the Lakers started out strong, by the second quarter the three-point shoot-out had begun and the Spurs were up 54-38. In the second half the Lakers were even with the Spurs with San Antonio outscoring them by one, 25-24 in the 3rd quarter and then LA outscoring them by two in the 4th, 30-28, but it was too late. Tony Parker and his 26 point, 9 assists performance was too much for the Lakers to overcome and the offensive spacing and execution of the Spurs took them to their 7th win of the season while dropping LA to 3-3. Besides Parker, Bowen finished with 23 points while holding Kobe Bryant to 18 points. Tim Duncan had a rough night, scoring only 5 points and shooting 2-13 from the floor, but Manu Ginobili added 17 to make up for it. For LA, Andrew Bynum continued his strong play, finishing with another double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds and Jordan Farmar had 16. While the Lakers out-rebounded San Antonio by 10, they had 19 turnovers in the game, leading to San Antonio attempting 9 more field goals in the game.

Dallas 99 Philadelphia 84

After a slow first half from the Mavericks and Jason Terry included, Dallas came out strong in the 2nd half and Terry scored 12 points in the 3rd quarter to help fuel Dallas as they outscored Philadelphia 33-18 in the period to take control of the game again and go into the 4th up 76-68 on their way to a 99-84 victory. While Dallas started out slow offensively they were also lethargic on defense and were out-rebounded in the 1st half. This did not sit well with Coach Johnson who got on his guys at halftime. Things were back to normal in the 2nd half, with Dirk Nowitzki tying a career-high 8 assists to go along with his 21 points and 12 rebounds as Dallas came out aggressive and got Philadelphia on their heels. The Mavericks converted more free throws (19-27) than the 76er’s attempted in the game (13-18). Terry finished with 25 points in the game and Josh Howard had 18 points. Samuel Dalembert had 18 points for Philadelphia while Willie Green had 16 and Andre Iguodala had 15 points, 12 boards and 8 assists as Philly dropped to 2-5 on the season.

Portland 102 Detroit 94

After dropping their first three games of the season the Portland Trailblazers have now won their past four games including their latest contest against the Detroit Pistons last night. LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy led the way for the young team who continues to surprise. The two teams traded leads in the first half with Detroit taking the 53-50 lead at the break and the lead changes continued in the third quarter with Flip Murray knocking down a three at the end of the quarter to tie the game at 74 going into the 4th. The Blazers largest lead in the quarter was seven points but Detroit cut it down to three, 94-91 with 2:11 remaining. From there, Jarrett Jack had a lay up and the Blazers were strong at the line, finishing 5-6 in the final 2 minutes of the game. Aldridge had a game high 22 points to go along with 10 rebounds while Brandon Roy and Jarrett Jack each had 20. Travis Outlaw added 13 for Portland who shot 54.8% for the game. Tayshaun Prince had 20 points for Detroit, while Chauncey Billups added 19. Rasheed Wallace had 15 points and Richard Hamilton added 14.

Phoenix 113 New York 102

Amid the turmoil surrounding the New York Knicks who were playing without their point guard Stephon Marbury, they managed to give a good effort against the Suns in Phoenix, although they came up short in the end, 113-102. While the Suns led by as many as 21 points in the final quarter, the Knicks gave a good fight without three of their regulars, Marbury included. After being outscored 34-29 in the 1st quarter, the Knicks lost each of the three remaining quarters as well as they could not defend the Suns who finished the game shooting 56.2% from the floor. One of the reasons why the Knicks were able to cut the lead in the 4th was the 18 turnovers committed by the Suns in the game. Grant Hill had a big game for Phoenix as he shot 7-8 from the floor and finished with 21 points. Most importantly for the Suns was the big game from Amare Stoudemire who continues to get back into game shape as he returns from sitting out due to a sore knee. Stoudemire finished with 26 points, 12 boards and 4 blocks, including hitting 10-14 free throws. Shawn Marion and Leandro Barbosa each scored 23 points for the Suns while Nash finished with 12 assists. Barbosa started for Raja Bell who is still sidelined with an ankle injury. Jamal Crawford was the leading scorer for New York with 21, while Fred Jones had 19 and Nate Robinson added 18. Eddy Curry had 17 points and 8 rebounds for the Knicks who were without Zach Randolph (death in family) and Quentin Richardson (hyperextended elbow) in addition to Marbury. The Knicks also lost Mardy Collins with a sprained right foot, then later in the game lost Renaldo Balkman to a sprained ankle in the final quarter.