The Post Up: Chauncey is Clutch.

by December 20, 2007

By: Holly MacKenzie

Rondo looked great in the first half of the game against the Pistons last night and then he disappeared. In the beginning I thought Boston was going to take the game as they were quicker to the loose balls and had more effort, but in the end it was all about Chauncey. It was a great game and I look forward to the rematches this season and probably in the playoffs.

I felt really awful about Alonzo Mourning going down. That sucks for the Heat, but, Zo looked indestructible and has so much heart. It made me sad and it’s awful if this is the way his career will end. He deserved better than that.

What is going on in Utah? The breakdown is in full-swing and Sloan banishing Giricek to the locker room is messed up. Something is really brewing and looks like it is going to blow up. I didn’t expect them to fold like they have as of late.

Portland racks up another win. Roy continues the great play. This kid needs some more recognition than back-to-back player of the week honors. I love watching them play. I also loved seeing New Orleans and Chris Paul create last night. He makes Morris Peterson look good.

I don’t even have any words for what happened in the Garden last night. I should know by now to expect the unexpected, but I was not expecting that. Of course, the Lakers would face this Cleveland team who probably isn’t feeling too good about the NY blowout. I’m sure Russ will have more to say on that and will say it much better than I can. The shots of Marbury on the bench broke my heart. I can only imagine grieving with everyone watching. I hope he stays strong through all of his offcourt issues. David Lee was so sincere in addressing the fans after the game, it’s easy to see why he is such a favorite there.

When Nash and Amare connect like they did in the fourth quarter last night, it is beautiful to watch. Too bad Amare did not wake up until that final quarter. It was a classic case of too late for Phoenix and they had better figure themselves out soon or someone isn’t going to be there much longer. How is it that Nash is always getitng stitches or taped up during the important games? He had a bunch of stitches in the fourth last night to close a gash under his chin. With all of his injuries and his ever-present back problems, he is a warrior.

I’ve got too much to say this morning and this is already getting too long. I’m sure you’ve all got thoughts on last night’s games, so comment away.

Atlanta 117 Miami 111

Dwyane Wade had another night spent at the free throw line, finishing with 36 points. It still wasn’t enough for the Heat to take the win on the road against the Atlanta Hawks who are suddenly one game above .500 with the 117-111 overtime victory. The two teams battled one another until the end, and Miami went on a 6-0 run to tie the game in the final minutes of regulation, when Joe Johnson tied things again at 104, taking it to overtime. In the extra period it appeared Miami was in control of the game when they went up 111-108 on a Wade three-point play, but Johnson’s star shone brighter as he hit a free throw and then finished with a three-point play of his own to give Atlanta the lead and they would go on to the win. Johnson finished with 26 points and 9 assists while Marvin Williams scored 26 points to go along with 10 rebounds for the Hawks. Anthony Johnson continued his strong play with 21 points and 9 assists and Zaza Pachuila added 13 points off of the bench. In addition to his 36 points, Wade dished 10 assists, while Shaquille O’Neal and Ricky Davis scored 16 points apiece in the loss. The Heat suffered a huge blow when Alonzo Mourning went down in the first quarter with a torn patellar tendon and will be sidelined indefinitely.

Detroit 87 Boston 85

The matchup of the night was a good one and the Detroit Pistons handed the Celtics their first home loss of the season. While it was Boston on top early, the Pistons outscored the Celtics 42-33 in the second half to take the win. It was a game that went down the wire, with Ray Allen hitting a huge three to tie the game at 85 with 18.8 seconds left in the game, then both teams being unable to score and on the final possession of the game, with .1 remaining on the clock Chauncey Billups drew the foul and made his free throws so that the Pistons would walk off of the court victorious, surviving a late push by the Celtics. Billups finished with 28 points and 8 assists while Richard Hamilton contributed 21, Rasheed Wallace added 9 points and 13 rebounds and Antonio McDyess had a 13-point, 10-rebound double-double. Kevin Garnett had 26 points and 12 rebounds for the Celtics, Ray Allen had 24 points and Paul Pierce added 11. Rajon Rondo had 14 points on 7-10 shooting, scoring them all in the first half of the game.

Indiana 102 Philadelphia 85

While the Pacers were without Jamaal Tinsley they used a big push in the third quarter to bust the game open against the 76er’s and go on for the 102-85 victory. The win was due in large part to the play of Marquis Daniels who stepped up in the absence of Tinsley and scored 26 points. The Pacers used a 10-1 run in the opening minutes of the third quarter to take a 13 point lead and they held onto it, leading by 14 at the start of the fourth. The final period was more of the same, as Indiana held Philadelphia to only 34% shooting for the game, and Andre Iguodala to 3-12 field goals. Jermaine Oneal had 19 points, 9 rebounds and 5 blocked shots for Indiana while Mike Dunleavy added 19 and Danny Granger scored 13. Andre Miller and Iguodala finished with 16 points apiece for Philadelphia, Reggie Evans had 9 points and 16 rebounds and Samuel Dalembert had 15 points and 14 rebounds to go along with 6 blocks in the loss.

Chicago 95 Washington 84

Despite a triple-double from Caron Butler, Washington lost to the Chicago Bulls last night. Rookie Aaron Gray was a big reason why. Playing a career-high 29 minutes, Gray finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists. While Washington led by as many as 13 points in the first quarter, the second quarter was all Chicago as they outscored the Wizards 25-13 to take a halftime lead. going into the fourth, Chicago was up 65-63 to start the fourth and they went on a 12-0 run in the final four minutes to clinch the game and down the Wizards. Ben Gordon had 22 points for Chicago, Luol Deng added 20 and Tyrus Thomas scored 14 off of the bench. Butler’s triple-double consisted of 29 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the loss. Antawn Jamison scored 24 points and pulled down 12 rebounds while Brendan Haywood scored 8 points and had 9 rebounds.

Charlotte 98 Utah 92

After a hot start to the season, the Jazz have fallen hard. Last night the Charlotte Bobcats took advantage and used a big fourth quarter to get the come from behind win. While Utah led by 12 points midway through the final quarter of the game, they could not contain the Bobcats who went on a 24-6 run to finish the game and outscore the Jazz 31-23 in the period. After taking a lead on free throws by Raymond Felton, the Bobcats were solid down the stretch, making free throws, blocking shots and playing tight defense on the Jazz to nab the victory. In the fourth, the Bobcats used a zone defense to rattle the Jazz and they took the ball to the hoop, going to the free throw line 21 times in the quarter. Most importantly, they connected on 19 of their 21 free throw attempts to seal the deal. Gerald Wallace had 26 points to lead the Bobcats, Jason Richardson added 24, Raymond Felton scored 17 and dished 7 assists and newly acquired Nazr Mohammad had 17 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. Carlos Boozer led Utah with 21 points and 10 rebounds in their seventh straight loss on the road. Deron Williams scored 20 points, Ronnie Brewer and Andrei Kirilenko had 12 points apiece for the Jazz.

Sacramento 102 Milwaukee 89

After hitting 12-16 shots in the fourth quarter, the Sacramento Kings were able to finish off the Bucks with ease to get the 102-89 victory last night. Despite 10 straight from Michael Redd, Sacramento came out on top thanks to a solid quarter from Beno Udrih and his 11-point quarter. In the final minutes of the game Redd was careless with the ball, committing two turnovers that helped Sacramento stretch their lead on the way to their victory. The Kings hit 10-20 three-pointers in the game and committed only 11 turnovers as compared to 20 for the Bucks. Ron Artest led the way with 26 points, 8 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks while Beno Udrih added 24 as he went 6-7 on three-pointers and John Salmons scored 17. Redd finished with 27 points for Milwaukee, Andrew Bogut had a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double and Mo Williams added 17 points.

Golden State 111 Minnesota 98

While the Minnesota Timberwolves came out firing in the first half of their game against the Warriors, they faltered when it mattered and Golden State reeled off a second half that had the Wolves on their heels, unable to sustain the push. Golden State outscored the Timberwolves 37-17 in the third quarter to take control after being down 62-54 at the half. Going into the fourth up 91-79 the Golden State lead was never in question and they rolled to the win from there. Al Harrington finished with 25 points, including 14 in the third. Monta Ellis scored 24 points, Baron Davis added 18 points and 10 assists and Stephen Jackson scored 20. Andris Biedrins had only 8 points, but pulled down 15 rebounds . Al Jefferson continued to lead Minnesota with 24 points and 14 rebounds, Rashad McCants scored 23 points, and Gerald Green added 18 points off of the bench.

Memphis 88 San Antonio 85

It seemed impossible to imagine the Memphis Grizzlies going up by 23 points against the Spurs. It seemed even crazier to imagine them giving up that lead and them coming up with a three at the buzzer to stun the Spurs and walk away with the huge win. Both happened last night as Rudy Gay continued his hot play, hitting a three over Tim Duncan as the final horn sounded. Manu Ginobili scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half of the game and the Spurs went on an 11-0 run in the fourth to cut the Memphis lead to 84-83 in the final minute of the game. With 2.4 seconds left on the clock, Ginobili tied the game at 85 with a dunk, but the scene was set for the big finish by Gay. Mike Miller led Memphis with 31 points and Gay had 23 points and 9 assists. Juan Carlos Navarro and Damon Stoudemire scored 10 points apiece for the Grizzlies. In addition to Ginobili, the Parker-less Spurs had 16 points and 14 rebounds from Duncan, 11 points from Michael Finley and 10 from Jaque Vaughn.

Orlando 97 Houston 92

The Rockets have struggled as of late and a sore knee which left Tracy McGrady out of the mix is just another thing added to the list of things wrong in Houston. Without McGrady in the second half, the Orlando Magic were able to control the game and get the 97-92 victory. while McGrady went 1-10 from the floor in the first half, without him, the Rockets were just as bad, hitting only 8-23 shots in the third as Orlando went up by as many as 13 points and did not relinquish the lead the rest of the way through despite a 12-4 run by the Rockets that saw them cut the Magic lead to only one. The Magic were solid in the final seconds, hitting 4-4 free throws to clinch the win. Dwight Howard had 21 points and 11 rebounds for Orlando, Keith Bogans added 14 points and 10 boards while Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis each added 13 points apiece. Yao Ming had 19 points and 17 rebounds in the loss as Rafer Alston and Bonzi Wells each scored 17 and McGrady was held to only 3 points in the first half.

Dallas 108 Phoenix 105

If only Amare Stoudemire had woken up in the first half of the game for Phoenix. The Mavericks were happy he was in a fog for those opening 24 minutes as it allowed them to get out to an early lead and hold on for the 108-105 victory over the Suns, weathering a push that nearly broke them in the final minutes. The Mavs came out running and outscored the Suns 37-20 in the opening quarter of the game and the Suns were not able to erase that deficit. While Dallas went up by as many as 17 in that quarter, the Suns responded in the second half and cut the lead to one early in the third. While Stoudemire was perfect in the final quarter, 5-5 on field goals and 4-4 from the foul line, he was only 2-10 to start the game. In comparison, Dirk Nowitzki had 31 points on 10-20 field goals, the final eight points scored by the Mavericks, and a three-pointer that broke Phoenix’s back with 2:31 remaining. Josh Howard had 23 points, Devin Harris added 21 and Erick Dampier had 8 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocks for the Mavericks. Despite the slow start, Stoudemire finished with 25 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocked shots, Nash had 21 points and 18 assists, Shawn Marion finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds and Raja Bell added 11.

Portland 101 Toronto 96

Toronto had played the night before. Still, they thought they were going to be able to put an end to this winning streak the Trailblazers have been on. Portland had different things in mind and held on to take a 101-96 victory and stretch their streak to nine games straight. While Toronto led for three quarters, Portland pushed back in the second half and tied the game midway through the fourth. Up 99-94 with 11.7 seconds remaining in the game, the Raptors would get a dunk form Bosh for their final points of the night, with James Jones hitting late free throws to ice the game. The Blazers outscored Toronto 25-13 in the final period. Brandon Roy finished with 25 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists in the victory. LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 points in his return, Martell Webster also scored 15. Jose Calderon had a 19-point 9-assist effort to lead Toronto. Chris Bosh had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Anthony Parker added 16 in the loss.

New Orleans 107 Seattle 93

The Hornets know how good Chris Paul can be. Last night he showed how good his teammate, Morris Peterson can be when he is feeling it. Paul fed Peterson time and time again in the game against the Sonics and Peterson responded, finishing with 25 points, including a 7-10 outing on three-pointers to help the Hornets run to a 107-93 victory against Seattle. The Hornets came out firing and got out to a quick lead, leading by 19 at the half and they did not get any closer than 11 for the rest of the game. All five of the New Orleans starters finished in double figures with Paul adding 21 points and 15 assists. Tyson Chandler had 16 points and 17 rebounds while Rasual Butler and and David West each scored 17 points with West adding 11 rebounds. Kevin Durant had 18 points in the loss for Seattle, while Nick Collison, Wally Szczerbiak and Luke Ridnour each added 13 points off of the bench.