The Post Up: Cool Jazz

by Holly MacKenzie

And tonight, the Toronto Raptors shocked the hell out of everyone in Toronto by defeating the San Antonio Spurs. Without Chris Bosh. Or Jose Calderon. And also Joey Graham for the final three quarters. 91-89 and I’m still a little stunned. Roko Ukic (who is LOVED by his teammates), came out of nowhere to show us he can play. Finishing with a career-high 22 points on 9-13 shooting, Ukic also hit the go ahead basket for the Raptors to put them up 90-89 with 20.8 seconds remaining. After a Toronto free throw, the Spurs were unable to score on their final play, which ended with a last second shot from Tony Parker. Andrea Bargnani had 23 points and 8 rebounds and Jason Kapono added 21. The Spurs had 32 points from Manu Ginobili, 22 from Parker and a 20/13/7 line from Tim Duncan.

I didn’t get to watch anything else besides the final 6 minutes or so of the Lakers/Jazz game and then I saw the New York/LA Clips game. It was nice to see Baron get his 20 assists and Eric Gordon is a whilrwind to watch. A good whirlwind.

I was pleasantly surprised at the Raptors win and even more surprised with how well Gregg Popovich dealt with the loss afterwards. Calm, cool and relaxed after the game, he simply said that while his guys busted their asses, the Raptors deserved to win that game.

Okay, I know lots of games last night but to be honest, I’m pretty jacked for today. And tomorrow, and Saturday and then finally Sunday! While I wish with all of my heart that I was in Phoenix, I will be camped out at home watching every second of the action. I’m sure you guys will be, too. Our guys, Ryne, Lang and Ben will be heading to Phoenix today and I for one, can’t wait for the coverage they’ll be bringing to us. From the parties and festivites to the competitions and finally the game, I’ll be checking early and often for new content. Make sure you do as well!

The Cavs had 44 points from he who must now be referred to as All-Star Mo Williams in their 109-92 victory over the Suns last night. Phoenix rested Steve Nash, so this one wasn’t much of a battle after the first quarter. While the two teams were tied at 29 at the end of the first, the Suns fell off in the second quarter, getting outscored 35-23 as the Cavs rolled from there, making up for their loss to the Pacers the night before. Besides Mo’s 44 on 18-26 shooting, LeBron James had 26/6/6, and Anderson Varejao added 13 off of the bench. Amare Stoudemire had 27 for the Suns in the loss as Grant Hill had 14 and Shaquille O’Neal added 11.

The Nuggets took down the Magic 82-73 last night as Orlando struggled to find it’s offensive rhythm without Jameer Nelson. While the Magic were shorthanded, the Nuggets continued to get used to the return of Carmelo Anthony who led his team with 29. Kenyon Martin had 13 points and Nene added 12. Dwight Howard led the Magic with a line of 16 points and 15 rebounds. Rashard Lewis scored 12 points and Hedo Turkoglu added 11.

The Hornets were happy to have Chris Paul back, but it wasn’t enough against the Celtics as Boston took down New Orleans 89-77 thanks to a fourth quarter that saw the Hornets get outscored 25-13. While the score was tied at 64-all at the start of the fourth, the Hornets opened the quarter with Paul on the bench and Boston took advantage, jumping out to a 12-point lead that they would not relenquish. The Celtics won despite losing Ray Allen with a hyperextended thumb in the first half. Paul Pierce finished with 30 points for the C’s while Kevin Garnett had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Eddie House added 12. The Hornets were led by David West’s 15 points while Hilton Armstrong added 14.

The Lakers slipped up in Utah, thanks to the wizardry of Deron Williams, who finished with 31 and 11 as the Jazz took down the Lakers 111-107 last night. This one was a tight game throughout but in the final minutes, it was Utah who kept their heads and made the right plays, including a Williams to Millsap pass for the basket and the foul on Pau Gasol to put the Jazz up, followed by a three-pointer from Mehmet Okur that sealed the deal. The Jazz shot 58% from the floor while holding the Lakers to 47%. Okur had 22 points, CJ Miles, 17 and Ronnie Brewer, 16. Kobe Bryant led the Lakers wth 37, as Lamar Odom again was a beast, with 19 points and 19 rebounds in the loss.

The Clipps held on to take down the Knicks, it just took overtime to do it. One day after giving up 144 points to the Warriors, the Knicks found themselves in another high-scoring overtime battle, this one going to the Clippers, 128-124. While the Clippers were down by as many as 10 in the fourth, they found a way to will overtime and then let their rookie, Eric Gordon steal the show. Gordon finished with 30 points, Zach Randolph added 22 points and 15 rebounds and Baron Davis dished 20 assists to go with his 13 points. Nate Robinson scored 33 for the Knicks as David Lee had a 17-point, 12-rebound double-double and Wilson Chandler added 27.