The Post Up: Charlotte surprises Celtics

By: Holly MacKenzie

Big night in the NBA and of course the story for me was LA in New Orleans. I think I was in such surprise about how well we were playing that I was scared to mention it, talk to anyone or write about it in fear of jinxing it. The Lakers decided to let CP3 do his damage and stop everyone else and with the exception of David West, they did just that and won by…. 29 points!! 29! On the second night of a back-to-back! My oh my, it’s been an enjoyable evening.

It is only halftime during the Portland/Golden State game, but the statsheet shows why the Blazers are winning like they have been. Steve Blake has got 20 points in the game, on 7-8 shooting, 4-5 from beyond the arc. The other night it was Martell Webster with 10 straight shots in the third quarter. These young guys understand that it isn’t about who is scoring what or when but, that they are scoring. It may be the simplest of concepts but there are not many teams who follow it and will get the ball into the hands of whoever is hot.

It was a little scary to see Roy and Blake each go down, but the injuries are not supposed to be serious. The team is on a serious roll and it looks as though everything has just clicked for them. It’s fun seeing how they overcome each obstacle that is placed in front of them and how the grow as a team each night.

I was surprised with the big Dallas win over Detroit. I wasn’t really surprised that Dallas got the win, but I did not think it would be a blowout like it was. Now having lost two straight look for Detroit to regroup and get their focus on.

Phoenix pulled out the win against Indiana without Grant Hill who had that appendectomy yesterday, but it took them an extra session as they played over half of the game without Steve Nash who left with stomach flu, the same bug that Raja Bell has just came back from and what trainers had originally thought was wrong with Hill when he showed up for practice yesterday feeling ill.

Charlotte taking down Boston was a fun little surprise. I love KG and I don’t really have any hate on for the Celtics and how well they are doing (besides getting annoyed with Pierce and Posey and their cocky confidence), but it’s always fun to see the underdog come out on top. JRich was huge in that game and Nazr Mohammed looked great for the Bobcats.

One day after being signed by the Warriors from the D-League, CJ Watson had a shot to show the team what he was made of in their blowout against Portland and he responded by playing 30 minutes for the team and scoring 11 points in the rout. Not a fun night for the Warriors but it probably felt good to be Watson.

Nothing on the Knicks/Rockets because Sam and Lang were there and they’ll tell you all about it. Besides Isiah getting thrown out, it appeared to be the typical Knicks loss but they shall inform us of what went down.

Jamario Moon had one of those games for Toronto that I love. He didn’t kill in any specific category, but he finished with 8 points, 9 boards, 2 assists and 5 blocks. His energy is immeasurable and I wish you all had RaptorsTV so you could watch his interviews after practice and shootarounds because his excitement is refreshing. I also wish I had a fantasy team this season. Anyway, enough from me, here are the recaps.

Toronto 109 Philadelphia 96

While Philadelphia managed to stay almost even with the Raptors in the first half, Toronto turned a 52-50 halftime advantage into a 109-96 victory as they handed the 76er’s their fifth straight loss. The Raptors were able to hang on in the fourth quarter after they saw their 13 point lead sliced to five when Andre Iguodala scored six points in a one minute span midway through the quarter. Chris Bosh completed a three-point play and Jose Calderon hit a jumper as the Raptors extended their lead back into double-digits to hang on to win the game after dropping their last two. Besides Parker’s 22, Bosh had 21 points but only 1 rebound as Calderon had 17 points and 9 assists. Rookie Jamario Moon added 8 points, 9 rebounds and 5 blocked shots. Willie Green had 18 points to lead Philadelphia while Thaddeus Young and Iguodala each added 16 points and Andre Miller scored 14 points and dished 7 assists.

Atlanta 90 Cleveland 81

After an easy victory in Seattle on Monday, last night Cleveland was given more than they could handle from the Atlanta Hawks and the Hawks defeated them 90-81. While the game was close in the first half Atlanta distanced themselves in the third when they outscored Cleveland 29-20 and went into the fourth up 56-52. In the final period LeBron James tried his usual heroics by scoring 14 in the quarter, but it wasn’t enough as the Hawks were solid down the stretch answering the call when Damon Jones cut the Atlanta lead to 77-72 on a three-pointer with 2:30 left in the game. After turnovers by both team which used up some clock, Joe Johnson got a layup to go with 1:25 left in the game and the Hawks got the win. Johnson led Atlanta with 29 points, Josh Smith scored 19 and Al Horford added 10 points and 15 rebounds. James had 31 points and 10 rebounds for Cleveland, Devin Brown had 12 and Drew Gooden had 10 points to go along with 11 rebounds.

Charlotte 95 Boston 83

Boston was without Ray Allen but they seemed to have lost their shooting touch somewhere along the way as well in their 95-83 loss against Charlotte last night. Shooting only 41% for the game the Celtics dropped only their fourth game of the season and their second game at home. While Charlotte led 45-41 at the half, they extended their lead to 72-65 at the start of the fourth as they came back from a 63-61 deficit late in the third by rattling off an 11-2 run to close out the quarter. In the final period Boston tried their best to cut the lead, but Charlotte answered every attempt at a run and the Celt’s did not get any closer than seven down the stretch. Jason Richardson was huge for Charlotte with 34 points and 9 rebounds, Gerald Wallace scored 15 points to go along with 10 boards and Nazr Mohammed added 18 points and 10 rebounds off of the bench. Raymond Felton scored 16 points and dished 8 assists. Kevin Garnett scored 24 points to lead Boston in the loss while Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce each scored 13 and James Posey added 10.

New Jersey 99 Seattle 88

While Kevin Durant played one night after spraining his ankle in a loss to Cleveland the result was the same for Seattle as they were routed for the second straight night dropping one on the road 99-88 against the Nets. In a game that was close early New Jersey went up and they stayed up big. After turning a two point lead into a 13 point advantage at the half, they maintained their lead and led by 15 at the start of the fourth. In the final period they went up by as many as 20 before the starters got to watch the rest of the game from the bench as they cruised to the victory. Richard Jefferson had 28 points to lead all scorers and Vince Carter scored 18 for New Jersey. Jason Kidd had 16 points and 11 assists and Malik Allen added 15. Johan Petro tied a career-high 22 points to go along with 9 rebounds off of the bench in the loss for Seattle while Nick Collison had 18 points and 13 rebounds, Kevin Durant scored 15 and Damien Wilkins added 13, also off of the bench.

Dallas 102 Detroit 86

In a highly-anticipated match-up between Dallas and Detroit the Pistons led for only the opening 14 seconds when they went up 2-0. The rest of the game was all Dallas as the Mavs cruised to their fifth straight win, going up in the first half thanks to a 21-10 run in the first quarter. Detroit pulled within 48-43 at the half before being outscored 31-22 in the third and they never got closer than six points the rest of the way through. While Dallas shot 56% for the game, the Pistons connected on only 40% of their shots in the loss. Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 23 points and 9 rebounds, Devin Harris scored 19 and Josh Howard had 10 points and 9 rebounds. Jerry Stackhouse and Jason Terry each added 15 off of the bench. Richard Hamilton had 18 points for Detroit as Chauncey Billups scored 16 and Rasheed Wallace added 9 points and 11 rebounds.

Milwaukee 98 Miami 92

While Dwyane Wade had a big game for Miami finishing with 34 points in their contest against Milwaukee, Mo Williams was a bit better, scoring 35 points and helping his team to a 98-92 win last night. Milwaukee was without Michael Redd for his fourth straight game and Williams took advantage of his time to shine, playing all 48 minutes of the game. With a close game on their hands the Bucks went on a 17-5 run to go up by 14 with just over six minutes left in the game but Miami responded with a 12-1 run of their own to cut the lead to three with three minutes remaining. In the final seconds, Williams was solid for Milwaukee at the line, knocking down four straight free throws to keep the Bucks on top. In addition to Williams and his 35 points, Andrew Bogut had 17 points for the Bucks while Bobby Simmons had 12 points and 9 rebounds and Charlie Bell added 11. Wade had 9 rebounds to go along with his 34 points but Jason Williams was the only other Heat player to reach double figures as Ricky Davis added 9 points and 10 rebounds.

Phoenix 129 Indiana 122 OT

As the Suns were without Grant Hill and Indiana was without Jermaine O’neal, Phoenix suffered a blow in the game when they lost Steve Nash to the stomach flu midway through the third quarter and the Pacers appeared poised to pull out the win against the undermanned Suns. Thanks to big scoring nights from Leandro Barbosa and Raja Bell and solid free throw shooting from Amare Stoudemire in the final seconds of the overtime period, Phoenix held on for the come from behind victory. While the Suns were down 14 when Nash went out of the game for good, Barbosa scored 16 of his 27 points in the third quarter as the Suns stormed back and trailed only 92-88 at the start of the fourth. In the overtime Raja Bell hit two three-pointers in the final 2:30 to put Phoenix up and Stoudemire hit five of six free throws in the final 1:18 of overtime. Bell finished with a season-high 27, tying Barbosa for team-high honors. Stoudemire had 25 points and 11 rebounds and Shawn Marion added 23 points and 12 boards. Danny Granger and Shawne Williams each scored 22 points for the Pacers while Jamaal Tinsley scored 19 points and dished 11 assists as he tried to lead the Pacers in the overtime period. Kareem Rush and Mike Dunleavy each added 14 in the loss.

Portland 109 Golden State 91

Another impressive win, this time over the Golden State Warriors and the Trailblazers had yet another player step up and have a big night. Last night it was Steve Blake, scoring 20 points in the first half, helping Portland to go up 56-41. The second half was more of the same as Golden State never led in the game and Portland led by as many as 27 as they rolled to the 109-91 victory. This is the 17th win in 18 games for Portland as Golden State have dropped three of their last four. Baron Davis had an awful night in Portland coming off of a big performance in the overtime game Monday in a win over the Spurs. Davis finished with only 4 points and 1 assist and he played only 14 minutes in the contest. Matt Barnes had 14 points to lead the Warriors, Mickael Pietrus had 13 points and 8 rebounds, CJ Watson scored 11 points and Monta Ellis added 10. Ellis was the only Warriors starter to reach double figures as the team shot only 39% for the game and the benches were cleared early. Blake finished with 24 points for Portland, LaMarcus Aldridge scored 19 points and Joel Przybilla had a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double. Brandon Roy added 8 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists and James Jones scored 16 off of the bench.

LA Lakers 109 New Orleans 90

After winning easily in Memphis the night before the Lakers took their game to New Orleans and stunned the Hornets as they blew them out 109-90. Thanks to hot shooting (55% for the game), dominating inside (52-36 points in the paint), and solid bench scoring (42-9), the Lakers took a double-digit lead early in the first quarter and rolled to the victory. While LA allowed Chris Paul to score they neutralized his efficiency by shutting down his teammates and the Hornets looked out of sorts as they shot only 37% for the contest. After the Hornets had cut a 19-point deficit down to seven early in the third quarter the Lakers answered with a 10-2 run that put them back up by 15 and they then coasted the rest of the way. Kobe Bryant scored 19 points and had 7 rebounds and 7 assists to lead the Lakers while Andrew Bynum had 17 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Luke Walton scored 14, Lamar Odom had 11 and Trevor Ariza added 10 off of the bench. Paul finished with 32 for the Hornets but had only 5 assists in the contest. David West added 19 points and 9 rebounds for New Orleans and Tyson Chandler scored 11.

Orlando 113 LA Clippers 106

Orlando got the victory over the Clippers last night but after going up by as many as 18 in the third quarter, they almost gave it away in the fourth as the Clippers went on a 13-2 run in the final period to cut the lead to 99-98 with just over four minutes left in the game. It was not Orlando who held onto their lead but rather an inability of the Clippers to capitalize on their opportunities to take control down the stretch that saved the Magic. A missed shot and a costly turnover by LA kept Orlando in front and then three-pointers by Rashard Lewis and Jameer Nelson helped to keep Orlando on top in the final seconds as Hedo Turkoglu and Dwight Howard who solid at the line to protect the victory. Turkogu scored 14 of his 28 points in the fourth as Howard had another double-double with 17 points and 17 rebounds as all five Orlando starters reached double-figures. Rashard Lewis scored 20 Maurice Evans had 13 and Jameer Nelson added 14 points to go along with 9 assists. Corey Maggette scored 27 to lead LA while Tim Thomas scored 20 points off of the bench and Chris Kaman added 17 points and 9 rebounds and Sam Cassell had 9 points and 8 assists.