By: Holly MacKenzie
Another game, another victory for the Houston Rockets. They are now within a game of both San Antonio and the Lakers in the jam packed Western Conference. 19 wins and they are facing Atlanta and Charlotte before they have a Sunday showdown with the Lakers in a game that could very well give them the top spot in the West if things go their way. Any way you look at it, this run has been impressive.
A lot of boring games last night All blow outs besides the Nuggets/Spurs and Blazers/Cavs match ups. Bron was fantastic with another triple-double, and Tim Duncan came up big for the Spurs. Iverson played with a fractured ring finger last night and he is going the warrior route, opting to play through pain for the rest of the season, just like my guy, Kobe.
Seriously though, hoping the best for Iverson and the finger. Denver has got enough to worry about with these 19 games remaining in their quest for a playoff spot, besides AI’s finger being mangled. While we are talking about Denver, it was wonderful to see Nene sitting on the bench during the game Friday night. Here is a nice article about Nene’s presence and how it may help the Nuggets.
Hedo Turkoglu with the triple-double in Orlando’s game against the Hawks last night. Is there any way the Magic can swap Rashard’s contract for his? He was great all-around and he just looks really comfortable in Orlando. It’s a good fit for him.
RJ finger-wagging Mutombo after a dunk last night? Oh no he didn’t, but yes, he did. I missed the halftime segment of the Houston/NJ game because I had to go to the airport last night. Luckily for me (and for all of you), Ryne had me covered and he sent what was probably the funniest two minutes of my week. Please, please watch the clip. It is definitely worth it. Landry and Brooks make me bust every time. Scola and Hayes are great, too. Rafer is a damn comedian. Actually, they all are. Just watch the clip!!
The Raptors are in Los Angeles to play the Lakers tonight. You know what that makes me think of. 81.81.81.
“It’s almost like Christmas. You’re counting down the days until you can finally open the presents.”
–Antawn Jamison, on the return of Caron Butler and Gilbert Arenas to team practices.
Great to hear that Caron is back practicing with the Wiz. I hope that he will be back before we know it and in time to help right the Wizards ship before playoff time. I am still jealous that Mutoni got to hang out in the Washington locker room. Young and McGuire are hilarious by themselves, throw Gil into the mix and it has got to be non-stop laughter.
Celtics are the first team to 50. I can pretend all I want that they don’t scare me, but they definitely do. I have been having flashbacks lately from the game where the Lakers decided to go retro and rock the short-shorts and really just ended up getting kicked in their faces by Boston.
I know it is only Tuesday, but I am already looking forward to tomorrow’s match up between the Spurs and Hornets. It is crazy how Chris Paul has me watching their each and every move. Manu was great last night, too. He wasn’t shooting the ball very well so he stepped up his assist-game, finishing with 14 and the Spurs get the W. Lets see if NO can get a win against San Anton.
Dallas 108 New York 79
The battle between the Mavericks and the Knicks was a battle in the opening minutes only. Leading by 17 points after the first quarter (32-15), Dallas went on to outscore the Knicks by another six points in the second period and New York finished with one fewer point in the entire first half than the Mavericks put up in that first quarter. At the break the advantage was 54-31 and the game was over before the second half had even began. After the Knicks were unable to cut down the lead at all going into the fourth, the Dallas bench was cleared and still New York was outscored by seven in the period to bring the final margin of victory to 29 points. The Mavericks were led by Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry who scored 18 points apiece. Josh Howard scored 14 points, Malik Allen had 10 and Jason Kidd added 8 points and 9 assists. Zach Randolph had 21 points and 14 rebounds for the Knicks, while David Lee scored 14, Jamal Crawford added 13 and Fred Jones scored 10.
Houston 91 New Jersey 73
Sitting on 19 straight victories, the possibility of the Rockets making the playoffs seemed like a long shot only a few short weeks ago. Now, they are in the position of potentially taking over the number one spot in the Western Conference thanks to their 91-73 rout over the Nets last night. By holding the Nets to only 30% shooting, Houston came out strong and the Nets managed only 28 points in the first half while Houston had 46. The second half was more of the same, with the Rockets going up by as many as 27 points before they cleared their benches in the fourth. The Nets gave up 45% shooting to the Rockets while they went the entire game without a made three-pointer, as compared to Houston’s 10 three-pointers on 20 attempts. Tracy McGrady had 19 points to lead the Rockets, Luis Scola and Rafer Alston each scored 12 points and Steve Novak added 11. Vince Carter had 13 points for New Jersey and Richard Jefferson added 12 as the Nets fell ½ a game back from Atlanta for the final playoff spot in the East.
Boston 100 Philadelphia 86
While the 76er’s have been hot as of late winning 12 of their last 15, they appeared to hit a wall last night. That wall was the Boston Celtics as they were defeated 100-86 on their home court. With Boston gunning for their 50th victory, they put the pressure on in the third quarter and went into the fourth up by 14 points where the 76er’s never threatened their lead. The Celtics led by as many as 19 points in the game and held Philly to only 31% shooting for the game. Point guard Sam Cassell made his Boston debut in the game, but played only five minutes and finished with four fouls. Kevin Garnett finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds for the Celtics, Ray Allen scored 21 points and Paul Pierce added 17 points. The 76er’s were led by Andre Miller and his 22 points while Andre Iguodala scored 17 points and dished 7 assists. Jason Smith scored 12 points and Thaddeus Young added 11.
Cleveland 88 Portland 80
The home crowd in Cleveland is starting to get spoiled by LeBron James. James is playing so well he is even spoiling himself to the point where triple-doubles don’t really impress him anymore. Luckily for James, he also managed to help his Cavs get the win against the Trailblazers by knocking them down 88-80, last night. After trailing by 11 points after a first quarter that saw Cleveland score only 14 points, the Cavs put together a slow and steady comeback the rest of the way through to take their first lead of the game late in the third quarter. After being down by as many as 13 points, the Cavs would go up by as many as 10 points in the final quarter. While the Blazers hung around, the Cavs held onto a six-point advantage with less than two minutes remaining and Portland would not be able to come back after they turned the ball over on two possessions in the final minutes of the game. James finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists while Anderson Varajao scored 16 points and grabbed 9 boards, Joe Smith scored 18 off of the bench and Delonte West added 10 points. LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and 10 boards for the Blazers, Brandon Roy scored 15 points, and Martell Webster added 7 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.
Orlando 123 Atlanta 112
Thanks to Hedo Turkoglu’s second career triple-double, the Magic were able to roll comfortably to the 123-112 victory against the Hawks last night. Leading by 12 after the first quarter, the Magic continued to build on their lead in the second quarter and had amassed a 74-53 advantage at the half. While the Hawks would string together a strong third quarter and outscore the Magic 32-25, it was not nearly enough to threaten the Orlando lead and they would not be able to get the deficit into single-digits, as they never lead in the game. Turkoglu finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists while Dwight Howard had 26 points and 16 rebounds, Rashard Lewis scored 22 points and Keith Bogans added 19 off of the bench. Joe Johnson had 27 points to lead Atlanta in the loss while Mike Bibby scored 23 points, Josh Smith scored 16 points to go with 12 rebounds and 5 assists, as Salim Stoudamire added 16 points as well.
San Antonio 107 Denver 103
After dropping two straight, including a game against the Nuggets on Friday night, the Spurs were not about to lose this one. Thanks to a strong night from Tim Duncan and great distributing from Manu Ginobili, the Spurs were able to hold off the Nuggets, 107-103. With neither team leading by more than seven points throughout the game, the Nuggets led in the third before San Antonio closed out the quarter on a 16-5 run, going into the fourth up by four, 84-80. In the final quarter the two teams battled back and forth with, six ties coming in the period before the Spurs would be able to take a four-point advantage with one minute in the game thanks to free throws from Tim Duncan and a basket by Kurt Thomas. With a chance to come back, Denver was unable as they missed on consecutive possessions while the Spurs continued to make free throws to stretch the lead and close out the game. Duncan finished with 23 points, 18 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocked shots for the Spurs, while Tony Parker scored 16 points and Manu Ginobili added 13 points and 14 assists. Allen Iverson had 28 points for the Nuggets as Carmelo Anthony and Kenyon Martin each scored 18 points and JR Smith scored 22. Marcus Camby pulled down 14 rebounds and Anthony Carter added 10 points in the loss.