The Post Up: Denver outlasts Houston.

By: Holly MacKenzie

With only three games on the schedule last night, we were spoiled as all three were fantastic and decided by four points or less. We had an overtime game and then the Denver/Houston marathon needing double-overtime to be completed. It was a good night. Surprise guys (Haslem! Anthony Carter!), hitting game winning/overtime forcing shots, A McGrady-less Houston hung in there with the Nuggets, Dwyane Wade exploded in the second half of the game and Bron guarded Kobe to finish out the game and snatch the game from the Lakers.

LeBron is good. Simply put, too good. He ran circles around everyone out there, Kobe included. Fourth quarter comes and he is ON. I missed some of the third because a friend stopped by, but wow in the fourth he was nothing short of fantastic.

I can only imagine how it felt to be a Pistons fan watching LeBron dismantle their team single-handedly in that game 5 last season. As a basketball fan, I loved watching him go to work last night. As a Laker fan, I just wanted him to go cold.

That foul call on Derek Fisher was brutal and I was yelling at the screen. I am not going to address it anymore than that. I am still bitter about it. Also bitter about that 16-0 run by Cleveland to finish the third and start the fourth.

Wasn’t expecting a double-overtime game from the Denver/Houston match up. Houston looked pretty good without McGrady. Like they TNT guys said at halftime, there was more ball movement and flow to Houston’s offense than I have seen as of late. It is going to be interesting to see how Houston manages without McGrady.Allen Iverson is fun to watch. I hope he doesn’t retire anytime soon.

Dwyane’s performance in the third and fourth quarters was great. I feel badly for the Heat home fans. That was another disappointing performance, giving up the seven-point lead to go on and lose in overtime.

New Jersey 107 Miami 103 OT

In their first game without Alonzo Mourning, the Heat may have been tired on the second night of a back-to-back, but they fought hard before losing another tough game at home, falling to New Jersey 107-103. Dwyane Wade was terrific in the loss, finishing with a season-high 41 points to go along with 6 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocked shots. Big games from Wade and Udonis Haslem (18 points, 12 rebounds and the game-tying shot to send the game into overtime), were not enough to keep up with the Nets who had numerous guys stand up and perform in the overtime period. While Wade started the extra session with a score and a steal, it was all New Jersey the rest of the way, with Josh Boone rebounding from a bad game on Tuesday night to score five of his 11 points in the overtime as New Jersey outscored Miami 13-9 to finish the game. While they were down by seven in the final minutes they rallied back and thought they had the win with a three-pointer by Vince Carter to put them up 94-92 with 10 seconds remaining before Haslem hit the jumper off of a Wade pass as the buzzer sounded. Carter finished with 31 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists for NJ while Richard Jefferson scored 29 points and pulled down 8 rebounds. Josh Boone finished with 11 points and 8 rebounds and Malik Allen came off of the bench to score a season-high 18 points. Besides Wade and Haslem, Dorell Wright finished with 13 points and Shaquille O’Neal added 12 in the loss.

Cleveland 94 LA Lakers 90

Last night Kobe Bryant was good, but not nearly as good as LeBron James who led the Cleveland Cavaliers to the 94-90 victory over the Lakers last night. It was a close game throughout, and while it appeared as though the Lakers were going to stretch their lead when they went up 78-67, with 2:15 left in the third quarter, the Cavs weren’t having it and went on a 16-0 run to finish the period and start the fourth ending up with the 83-78 lead with 9:18 remaining in the game. In the final quarter, the Cavaliers held the Lakers to only 12 points while scoring 21 of their own. The Lakers missed their final eight shots of the game and when Bryant and James guarded each other in the final minutes Bryant went scoreless while James hit a big shot and then connected on both of his free throws to keep the Cavs on top after the Lakers clawed their way back. With 11 seconds remaining in the game, Andrew Bynum drew the foul on Anderson Varajao, went to the line and bricked both. Someway, somehow, Bryant snaked in to grab the offensive board, but it wasn’t enough as he could not connect on a three-pointer on the inbounds play and Derek Fisher was called for a very questionable loose ball foul, sending Daniel Gibson to the line with the Cavs up two and 3.3 seconds on the clock. Gibson hit both shots and Bryant missed a 19-footer at the buzzer. James finished with 33 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists. Gibson scored 15 points; Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 12 and Varajao had 11 points and 15 rebounds, including 6 offensive off of the bench. Bryant finished with 21 points for LA, while Lamar Odom scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, Derek Fisher had 18 points and Andrew Bynum had a 17-point, 11 rebound double-double as the Laker bench disappeared in the loss and were outscored 23-7.

Denver 112 Houston 111 2OT

Without Tracy McGrady the Houston Rockets were supposed to be shorthanded. They ended up giving the Denver Nuggets all that they could handle and took them into double-ovetime before falling 112-111. Despite missing 12 of his first 13 shots, Carmelo Anthony found his stroke after halftime and finished with 37 points and 16 rebounds while Allen Iverson scored 36 in the game. Still, the hero of the game was Anthony Carter, who scored only three baskets but the final one was a floater in the lane with .8 seconds to go to give the Nuggets a one-point lead and the victory in double-overtime. While Yao Ming had 26 points and 19 rebounds, Luther Head was huge in place of Tracy McGrady, scoring a season-high 22 points including the overtime-forcing three that tied the game at 94. Denver had thought their lead was safe when they were up seven points in the final 1:40 of regulation, but Head ensured there would be an overtime. The third quarter was all Carmelo, as he connected on all eight of his shots in the period and helped Denver go into the fourth quarter up 73-69. In the first overtime period, the Nuggets went up by three but Houston got a big free throw by Rafer Alston to tie the game up again and force a second overtime. The second extra session was more back and fourth as Houston hoped they would steal the victory after Yao hit two free throws with 4 seconds left on the clock but Anthony Carter’s big shot allowed Denver to escape with the win. Besides Anthony and Iverson, Chucky Atkins added 13 points off of the bench and Kenyon Martin added 8 points and 10 rebounds before leaving the game in the second half with a leg injury. Marcus Camby pulled down 18 rebounds to help Denver out-rebound Houston 63-56. Rafer Alston had 18 points and 10 assists and 7 rebounds for Houston, Bonzi Wells added 17 off of the bench and Shane Battier scored 12.