The Post Up: Clippers, Phoenix down Nets

By: Holly MacKenzie

MLK day. Since he is one of my heroes it has always annoyed me that we do not have a day to observe his birthday here in Canada. Last week Russ had mentioned that the infamous fight ending with Marcus Camby connecting with JVG’s face actually occurred on Martin Luther King day. I doubt we will see anything like this at the Boston/Knicks game today, but I will not count out the Knicks for anything this season.

The Post Up is going to be shorter than usual today because honestly, I did not get to watch a lot of ball this weekend. Between going to some university games and trying to get A LOT of work done (making up for all of the time spent online breaking 800 last week!), I only managed to catch a couple of games. No worries though, full schedule today and we will be back to normal tomorrow.

Congratulations to Sam and all Giants fans reading this today. I got a little nervous when the game went into OT, but his boys pulled it out and I am sure he is still sleeping right now in a state of celebratory bliss.

My NBA story of the weekend was tuning in to the Milwaukee/Golden State game and not seeing any Matt Barnes. Not in the game or on the bench. Turns out that Warriors assistant coach Keith Smart accidentally left Barnes off of the active/inactive roster and instead wrote down Mickael Pietrus twice when he was out sick with the flu. Barnes was unaware of the mistake and was warmed up and ready to go when he was told he would not be eligible to play in the game. Because he did not have the proper dress clothes with him he was not even able to sit on the bench with the team and had to watch the game in the locker room. Tough break for Barnes who was coming off of a strong game the night before in Chicago.

It was nice to hear Tracy McGrady say he would like to give up his all star spot to a more deserving guard. Too bad players don’t have that option if they want to.

And at this exact moment I just received a text informing me that Trevor Ariza has a broken foot. If I could express how I was truly feeling within this column it would not be safe for little ears. For the love of all things, he gets caught up on someone’s foot (Lamar or Fisher’s depending on who you ask), in practice and now he is out. No Ariza, no Bynum. Kobe needs to keep away from everyone for awhile because bad luck is just multiplying. This doesn’t bode well for the game Mutoni and I will be attending in Toronto in 10 days.

Amare looked great in the Suns game against Jersey tonight. So did Raja Bell. At least the Suns are making me happy because all of the injuries in Lakerland is too much stress to think about.

The Bobcats continued to roll this weekend. I didn’t get to catch the game but Gerald Wallace and Jason Richardson combined for big games and were tough to stop as JRich finished with 38 and Wallace added 28 of his own.

Not going to mention much because I am sure it’s painful for Heat fans to read, but their losing streak is now at 13, after a loss to the Knicks on Saturday night. Tough, tough times in Miami.

I read Marcus Camby’s blog earlier and he was talking about the Lakers, being a Kobe fan and being a part of that insane ’96 draft. I remember it well because, of course, it was the year Kobe was drafted and traded (thank God), to my Lakers. I think we all know that draft was ridiculously deep, but looking at the rundown of it again, what a year. I can’t believe it has been 12 years already. I am NOT ready for my favorites to retire any time soon.

And, Lakers vs. Denver tonight. I do not even want to imagine Kwame going to the hoop against Camby. He might just go for 20 blocked shots tonight.

LA Clippers 120 New Jersey 107 OT

After battling their way through three quarters, the Nets forced overtime in their game against the Clippers on a three-pointer by Jason Kidd but in the extra session it was all Los Angeles. The Clippers outscored New Jersey 19-6 in the overtime session and held the Nets to only one field goal in the period, where they shot 1-8 from the floor. In comparison, LA was solid from the floor and attacked the basket, hitting all eight of their free throw attempts in the final 1:08 of the game. While Corey Maggette scored a game-high 31 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists, the Clippers got a boost from the play of rookie Al Thorton who finished with 22 points and Chris Kaman who had a career-high 9 blocked shots to go along with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Sam Cassell had 22 points and Cuttino Mobley added 19. Richard Jefferson had 21 points to lead New Jersey, Vince Carter scored 20 points and Jason Kidd had 10 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds. Josh Boone was huge with 17 points and 16 rebounds, Sean Williams had 17 points and 11 rebounds and Marcus Williams added 17.

Houston 83 San Antonio 81

With the return of Tracy McGrady and the strong play of Yao Ming, the Houston Rockets were able to hang on against the Spurs and take them down 83-81 on Saturday night. In the close fourth quarter the Rockets were in danger of losing after having been up 12. With two minutes to play, Tim Duncan hit a layup to cut the Houston lead to one, 82-81 but on the Spurs chance to take the lead he would miss a shot with 29 seconds on the clock. The Rockets were unable to convert on two free throws in the final seconds, but Shane Battier grabbed an offensive board and Rafer Alston was fouled and hit one of two free throws to secure the victory. Yao finished with 21 points and 14 rebounds, Alston had 16 points and both McGrady and Luther Head finished with 9 points apiece. Tim Duncan had 24 points and 17 rebounds, Manu Ginobili had 21 points and Tony Parker added 16.

Orlando 101 Portland 94

After winning the night before in Miami, the Portland Trailblazers didn’t quite have enough in them to get a victory in Orlando as the Magic used a strong first quarter to take the lead and were able to go on to the 101-94 win. At the end of the first quarter Orlando led 26-18, they maintained that eight-point lead at the half, and going into the fourth the Blazers were only able to cut the deficit down to seven. While Orlando shot 50% for the game, they had strong spurts of defense that helped them in holding the Blazers to only 41% shooting from the field and prevented any comeback from happening. While their lead swelled to 21 in the second quarter Portland managed to cut it to only four towards the end of the third, but Orlando went on an 8-0 run to gain some breathing room and they remained up by 10 until the final seconds of the game. Hedo Turkoglu had 20 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists to lead the Magic, Dwight Howard scored 10 points to go along with 14 rebounds and 4 blocked shots, Rashard Lewis added 16 points and Maurice Evans scored 15. Brandon Roy led Portland in the loss with 25 points and 7 assists while Travis Outlaw had 22 points off of the bench, LaMarcus Aldridge and Martell Webster had 12 points apiece while Aldridge had 4 blocked shots as well.

Sacramento 100 Detroit 93

The Kings shocked the Detroit Pistons on Friday night by stealing away a 100-93 victory on the road thanks to their superb bench, led by Kevin Martin and Ron Artest. Sacramento’s bench outscored Detroit’s 60-5 in the contest as the Kings outscored Detroit 33-19 in the second quarter on their way to taking an eight-point halftime lead. The Pistons were able to cut the lead in the third, but they would go ahead by as many as three points before Sacramento would come back. The Kings got a jumper from Kevin Martin midway through the fourth to take the lead for good. In the final minutes it was Artest who hit a big three to keep the Pistons at bay as the Kings would go on to the victory. Kevin Martin had 24 points off of the bench for Sacramento, Artest had 18, Brad Miller scored 17 points to go along with 9 rebounds and 5 assists. Mike Bibby had 16 points and Beno Udrih added 12 points. Chauncey Billups scored a game-high 28 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 10 assists in the loss as Richard Hamilton had 24 points, Antonio McDyess had 14 points to go with 11 rebounds and Tayshaun Prince added 15 as the Pistons dropped two of their last three games.

Golden State 119 Milwaukee 99

Even without Matt Barnes, the Warriors were okay in their game against Milwaukee. Because of a mistake made by assistant coach Keith Smart on the active/inactive list, Barnes had to watch the game from the locker room as the Warriors were also without Austin Croshere and Mickael Pietrus. While Milwaukee would lead by five at the end of the first quarter, that would be their biggest lead of the game as Golden State went up 53-52 at the half before blowing the game open in the third and turning it into a rout. Outscoring the Bucks 41-22 in the third the Warriors went up by as many as 27 points in the game and went into the fourth up 20 as they rolled to the victory. The Warriors shot 54% and connected on 10 threes as compared to 48% shooting and only five made three-pointers by the Bucks. Al Harrington had 27 points to lead the Warriors in the victory, while Andris Biedrins had 20 points and 10 rebounds, Baron Davis scored 19 to go with 8 assists and CJ Watson added 13 off of the bench. Stephen Jackson had 12 points and 8 assists and Monta Ellis added 12 points as well. Michael Redd had 24 for Milwaukee while Andrew Bogut had 21 points and 10 rebounds, Mo Williams added 19 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists and Royal Ivey scored 14 points to go along with 8 assists.

Phoenix 116 New Jersey 92

One night after dropping a tough overtime loss in Los Angeles, the Nets had to face the surging Suns. It did not end well for New Jersey as the Suns ran away with a 116-92 victory after going ahead by 15 points at the end of the first quarter, leading 35-20. While the Suns went up by as many as 18 points in the first half, the Nets managed to whittle the lead down to 11 at the break before falling behind again in the third, this time being outscored 33-28 in the period as they went down by as many as 26 points and faced an 89-73 deficit going into the fourth. The Suns out-rebounded New Jersey by 10 (48-38) and they grabbed 17 offensive rebounds as compared to only 5 for the Nets. All five starters for Phoenix finished in double figures with Amare Stoudemire leading the way with 28 points, 9 rebounds and blocking 3 shots. Raja Bell had 20 points, Shawn Marion scored 16 to go with 11 rebounds, Steve Nash had 13 points and 9 assists and Boris Diaw added 14 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists. Richard Jefferson had 24 points to lead New Jersey, Sean Williams and Bostjan Nachbar had 12 points apiece, Josh Boone had 9 points and 9 boards, Vince Carter scored 10 points to go with 9 boards and Jason Kidd added 9 points and 8 assists but, also had 6 turnovers in the loss.