By: Holly MacKenzie
Pretty quiet night in the league last night. Six games were played, but nothing of crazy importance jumping out at you. The Pistons, Celtics and Hornets continued to win as usual. David West and Chris Paul continue to be All-Stars and keep the Hornets atop the West, only one half game behind Phoenix.
The Celtics became the first team to reach 40 victories on the season. It was mentioned the other day but I am going to mention it again. They are 16-0 against the Western Conference.
Marcus Camby showed again why he SHOULD be an All-Star. 12 points, 16 rebounds, 7 blocks.
Two games in and Marion looks good in Miami. With the amount of shots the Heat miss, he will be able to get near double-figure rebounds just on the offensive end. Okay, not really, but it is fun seeing him so energized and hyped again. They dropped another close one against Denver last night in OT. It was really cool to see Dwyane address the crowd before the game and reassure them things won’t be this bad forever. Nice move, Mr. Wade.
Hakim Warrick! Season-high in points and rebounds against the Kings. Also, Iavaroni, where was Javaris Crittenton? If you’ve got two minutes for Kwame, I’m just saying.
Another nice game from Al Horford with 12 points and 16 boards in the loss to Detroit.
Sucks to hear that Josh Howard is questionable for the Mavs match up with Portland tonight because of that back injury he sustained in the game against Philadelphia Monday night. Get well soon, Josh. Things are not looking too pretty for the Mavericks and their banged up crew right now.
It’s also too bad to hear that Caron may sit out the all-star game in order to speed up his recovery from the strained hip flexor. Of course I want him back with the Wizards and healthy, I was just excited for him to be named to the team and thought he really deserved it. Ah well, whatever gets him back out there because Jamison cannot hold it down on his own.
Speaking of All-Star weekend, I’m getting excited for the dunk contest. Jamario Moon sounds like he has got some creative ideas in his back pocket and we’ve all seen the video that came out a week or so ago. Kind of lame that the league won’t allow the net to be moved to twelve feet like Dwight asked, but I’m excited regardless.
Not about the NBA, but two members of the Montreal Canadians were arrested in Tampa Monday night after one stole a woman’s purse and the other resisted a police officer. Apparently, the team was having a “rookies-pay-for-dinner” type initiation and then went out afterwards and the rookie was caught with the woman’s purse. After returning it, she said it was short 20 dollars. The craziest part is that this all happened the night before their game in Tampa and when questioned their coach said, “They’re adults. They can do what they want”, before saying they would not be disciplined by the team. What a disaster that team must be.
We’ve got a ridiculous night lined up, with 14 games on the schedule. 14, Whooo! San Anton and Cleveland, Vince and Jersey back in Toronto. I love seeing the fans react. Denver @ Orlando where we can watch to see how Dwight responds to SVG’s criticism as he goes up against Camby. New York is back in Boston for a rematch of that horror show from a few months ago, the Lakers are in Minnesota finishing up the road-trip (Myles will be there and I am very excited for him and jealous for me), and the game of the night has got to be Phoenix @ Golden State. Cannot wait for those last two match ups. Countdown is on, I love this game.
Detroit 94 Atlanta 90
After leading 25-18 at the end of the first quarter and going up by as many as 15 points in their game last night, the Detroit Pistons allowed the Hawks to get back into the game and needed a strong fourth quarter effort from Chauncey Billups to get the win. Billups scored 12 of his 16 points in the final period as the Pistons held Atlanta to only 14 points while they scored 20 in the fourth. The Hawks shot only 3-19 in the fourth and they were unable to escape Detroit’s smothering defense. When the Pistons fell behind by three points in the final quarter it was Billups who led them back as he scored 10 straight points for Detroit, putting them back up top by three points at the end of his run with less than three minutes remaining. His 11th and 12th points of the quarter came with 22 seconds remaining as he drained a shot to keep the Detroit lead at three. Besides Billups and his 16 points, he added 8 assists, Rasheed Wallace scored 21 points and 5 steals, as Richard Hamilton and Rodney Stuckey scored 12 points apiece. Josh Smith continued his great play, scoring 30 points for the Hawks while Al Horford had 12 points to go with his 16 rebounds. Josh Childress had 12 points and Joe Johnson added 11 points and 9 rebounds.
Boston 104 Indiana 97
Still without Kevin Garnett, the Boston Celtics continued to roll on to their fourth straight victory by downing the Pacers 104-97. It was a close game throughout and the biggest lead in the game was held by Boston at 11 points. In the fourth the Pacers trailed early but went on to took a two point lead on a three by Shawne Williams. The Celtics responded quickly with a 9-0 run of their own to go back up by seven and while the Pacers would get within one point with three minutes remaining, they would not be able to stop Boston as a jumper by Paul Pierce extended the lead to six points with less than a minute remaining. The Celtics were led by Pierce and his 28-point, 12-rebound, 5-assist performance while Ray Allen scored 23 points, Leon Powe had 16 points and 9 rebounds and Rajon Rondo added 12 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. Danny Granger had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Pacers as Mike Dunleavy, Troy Murphy and Kareem Rush all scored 13 points apiece and Shawne Williams added 14.
Memphis 107 Sacramento 94
After opening the first quarter by scoring 34 points and going up by nine, the Kings managed only 35 points in the entire second half last night against the Grizzlies as Memphis came back from 12 down to take the 107-94 victory.. While the Kings started out strong they finished the game shooting only 37% from the floor while Memphis finished at 50%. While the Kings led 59-54 at the half, the Grizzlies used the third to outscore Sacramento 32-20 and take an 86-79 lead into the fourth where the Kings were unable to get any closer than seven the rest of the way. Hakim Warrick had 24 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Grizz, both season-high totals for him. Rudy Gay scored 21 points, Mike Miller added 17 points and 10 rebounds and Juan Carlos Navarro had 19 points off of the bench. Kevin Martin had 33 points in the loss, Ron Artest and Mike Bibby scored 18 points apiece and Brad Miller had 10 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists.
New Jersey 92 Minnesota 88
It wasn’t the prettiest of wins but it was one that the Nets were happy to have. After being locked in a grind-it-out game with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Bostjan Nachbar led the Nets in a decisive third quarter that allowed them to pull away from the TWolves and then hang on for the 92-88 victory. Clinging to a three-point lead in the third, Nachbar came off of the bench to score 10 points in the period as the Nets outscored Minnesota 28-21 in the quarter to take a 10-point advantage into the fourth. The TWolves would not get any closer than four points in the final quarter as the Nets escaped with the ugly victory. Vince Carter scored 17 points and had 10 assists in the contest, Jason Kidd had 9 points, 9 assists and 10 rebounds, Richard Jefferson scored 13 points and Nenad Krstic added 10 points. Minnesota was led by Sebastian Telfair with 24 points and 7 assists as Al Jefferson had 16 points and 11 rebounds. Antoine Walker added 12 off of the bench.
Denver 114 Miami 113 OT
The new-look Miami Heat continue to play with the focus and energy that has been lacking all season. While they lost yet another game they took the Denver Nuggets all the way into overtime where they fell by only one, 114-113. While the Heat led by as many as 14 in the first half, Denver turned it on in the third as they outscored Miami by 12 to take an 84-78 lead into the fourth. JR Smith knocked down four three-pointers in the opening minutes of the fourth but the Heat came back and Mark Blount tied the game with 17 seconds remaining in regulation. After Allen Iverson’s final shot to tie it the game was blocked, they went into overtime. Carmelo Anthony scored six of the Nuggets 12 points in the extra session as they could not shake the Heat until Dwyane Wade missed on the Miami’s final possession. Smith finished with 28 points as he connected on eight three-pointers in the game for Denver. Kenyon Martin had 24 points, Anthony finished with 22 and 11 rebounds, Iverson had 16 points (5-20 field goals), and Marcus Camby added 12 points to go with his 16 rebounds and 7 blocks. Wade had 29 points and 10 assists, Shawn Marion had 23 points and 18 rebounds, Mark Blount had 18 points and 13 rebounds and Dorell Wright added 19 points.
New Orleans 100 Chicago 86
After the Hornets found themselves in a close game against the Bulls, they used a strong second half to move on to the 100-86 victory over Chicago. After trailing 50-43 at the half, they were ready to shake the Bulls and did so in a hurry, upping their intensity on the defensive end as they held the Bulls to only 36 second half points while they committed to pushing the ball on offense as they found their rhythm. Once they started playing their way, they were able to take a 72-68 lead into the fourth quarter where they continued to roll to the victory. Their push in the third was due in large part to Peja Stojakovic’s 13-point effort in the period. The Hornets were led Stojakovic and David West with 27 points apiece, Chris Paul with 25 points and 14 assists and Tyson Chandler added 16 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. Andres Nocioni led the Bulls with 28 points, Kirk Hinrich had 15 points, Thabo Sefolosha scored 12 points and Ben Wallace added 9 points and 16 rebounds