By: Holly MacKenzie
There were some good games around the league last night and the New Orleans/Phoenix contest was one of the most intriguing blowouts I have watched in awhile. Just to try and figure out what in the hell is going on with the Suns, it was entertaining. After New Orleans had struggled and came into the contest with Phoenix dropping three straight, they certainly took it to the Suns. They have now won all four meetings between the two this season.
I bet the Suns don’t want to meet New Orleans in the playoffs. Chris Paul, David West and Tyson Chandler kill the Suns. Paul to Chandler on the break for the dunk had to be the play of the night. At least of what I have seen. Everything was just too easy for New Orleans.
Amare has been fantastic offensively for the Suns, it is just that they look completely out of sorts.
LeBron became the youngest player to reach 10,000 points in the Cavs loss to the Celtics last night. Bron also re-injured that annoying ankle and is probably going to be really sore today. He played the second half of the game against Boston, but it didn’t matter as the Celtics feasted on the new-look Cavaliers.
Mickael Gelebale continued to get time in Seattle and he led Seattle in scoring again after now stringing together four games with 10 or more points. The Denver blowout was definitely one of the most lopsided games I have ever seen. Let’s see what they can do against some better competition as they try to secure themselves a playoff spot.
Bad news for Caron and the Wizards. An examination of his injured hip showed a small labral tear in the left joint after he had previously been diagnosed with a strained hip flexor. Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery Caron.
Another big night in a victory for Al Horford and the Hawks. Dropping 16 points, 14 rebounds and 4 assists, Horford was looking smooth again.
Larry Hughes had 29 points for the Bulls in their 113-107 victory against the Pacers. I will be watching to see if he can keep it up. I had been a Hughes fan and while he struggled mightily at times this season, I didn’t agree with the way the fans in Cleveland had turned on him.
It’s TNT time tonight and I can’t wait. Dallas @ San Antonio will be an intriguing match up and the Lakers and Miami should at least be entertaining. Maybe the Heat will be flying high after their big victory the other night? I most want to see JKidd and Dallas go up against Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan and the Spurs. The more I think about them, the tougher the Spurs look.
Utah 103 Detroit 95
After a disappointing loss to the Timberwolves on Tuesday the Jazz were home and refocused against the Pistons last night, dropping them 103-95. While the Pistons would lead big early and go up by as many as 18 points in the first half, the Jazz weren’t about to lose a second consecutive game. After being down 53-41 at the break, Utah used a strong third quarter where they outscored Detroit 25-18 to cut the deficit to 71-67 at the start of the fourth. By the time the final period rolled around, Utah’s offense was clicking and they dropped in a 36-point effort in the final quarter while Detroit managed only 24 points after going scoreless for almost 12 minutes spanning the third and fourth quarters. Mehmet Okur provided a burst in the period, scoring 11 of his 24 points in the final 12 minutes of action. Besides Okur’s 24 points, Carlos Boozer scored 18 points to go with 16 rebounds, Paul Millsap scored 19 points and Deron Williams had a 14-point 14-assist double-double. The Pistons were led by Richard Hamilton’s 22 points as Chauncey Billups scored 21, Rasheed Wallace had 11 points and 9 rebounds and Tayshaun Prince added 11.
Boston 92 Cleveland 87
In a match up between two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference LeBron James became the youngest player to score 10,000 points and the Celtics got the victory. With James spraining an ankle and sitting out the final five minutes of the first half, the Cavs went into the break trailing 47-40. While they had their superstar back in the second half, things only got worse for them as they shot a dismal 38% from the floor as compared to the Celtics 52%. James was included in this bad shooting, finishing only 7-24 from the floor for his 26 points. After Boston opened the fourth with consecutive baskets, they extended their lead into double-digits and the advantage was not in doubt as they would stay up by double-figures until the final minute of the game. The Celtics were led by Ray Allen’s 22 points while Kevin Garnett scored 18 points, pulled down 11 rebounds, dished 5 assists and grabbed 4 steals. Paul Pierce scored 12 points and Leon Powe added 13. James finished with 26 points and 8 rebounds for Cleveland, Delonte West scored 20 points on 8-13 field goals as Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 8 points and 12 rebounds and Wally Szczerbiak added 12 points, on 13 shot attempts.
New Orleans 120 Phoenix 103
With each of these teams coming into the contest off of big losses, the intensity was high from the tip. The only problem for Phoenix was that they were unable to sustain that energy level while the Hornets excelled in the running game and ended up running the Suns out of the gym. While Phoenix led by as many as eight points in the first half, New Orleans used a late push in the second quarter to take a 59-55 advantage into the break. The third quarter was all theirs as they shot almost 70% in the period and outscored Phoenix 38-22 to turn the game into a blowout before the fourth quarter where they rolled to their fourth victory against the Suns in as many contests this season. Chris Paul was fantastic for the Hornets, finishing with 25 points and 15 assists as David West had 27 points and Tyson Chandler added 12 points and 15 boards. Peja Stojakovic added 17 points and Jannero Pargo dropped in 22 off of the bench. The Suns were led by Amare Stoudemire’s 34 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 blocked shots. Leandro Barbosa added 17 off of the bench, Shaquille O’Neal had 15 points, Raja Bell scored 14 and Steve Nash had 13 assists but managed only 8 points in the loss.
Denver 138 Seattle 96
After losing three straight games the Nuggets came in to Seattle hungry for a win. Shooting 67% for the game, they ended up torching Seattle from beginning to end. With Denver topping 30 in each of their four quarters, they took an 11-point lead after the first quarter and then turned that into a 64-45 advantage at the half. The second half was even worse for the Sonics who shot only 36% for the game after playing Golden State the night before and defensively had no answer for the surging Nuggets. George Karl pulled his starters at the end of the third and the Nuggets went into the fourth up 100-75. In the final period the lead only got larger as they topped their highest point-total of the season. Allen Iverson had 31 points to lead the Nuggets as Carmelo Anthony scored 16, Kenyon Martin had 23 points, Marcus Camby scored 12 points to go along with 14 rebounds and 5 blocked shots and Linas Kleiza and JR Smith added 15 points apiece. Kevin Durant and Michael Gelebale had 16 points apiece for the Sonics while Jeff Green and Johan Petro added 15 each in the loss.
Atlanta 123 Sacramento 117
In a match up against his former team Mike Bibby made sure to get the victory this time around after losing to the Kings in Sacramento last week. Thanks to a 24-point, 12-assist performance from Bibby, the Hawks dropped the Kings 123-117 as they continue their push to make the playoffs. After opening the game with a 40-point first quarter, the Hawks led by 12. This lead was short lived as the Kings came back to cut the deficit to 59-58 at the break. In the third, the Hawks would put together a run of their own and outscore Sacramento 34-27 in the period to go into the final period up 93-85. In the fourth it was a close race to the final buzzer with Bibby finding Zaza Pachulia in the final minute to extend their lead back into a three possession game. Besides Bibby’s 24 and 12 night, Joe Johnson scored 26 points, Josh Childress had 25 and Al Horford added a 16-point, 14-rebound double-double. Brad Miller had 25 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists for the Kings, while Beno Udrih also scored 25 points, Ron Artest scored 23 points and Francicso Garcia added 14 in the loss.
Toronto 107 Minnesota 85
One night after their surprising take down of the Utah Jazz, Minnesota was in Toronto to face the Raptors. Things didn’t go quite as smoothly as the Jazz game as they were blown out 107-85 on the road. While the game started off alright for the TWolves with them going up by as man as 10 points in the first quarter, the Raptors came back from the deficit to trail by only two at the end of the first period. It was in the second and third quarters that Toronto blew the game open, outscoring Minnesota 58-37 over the span of the two quarters. The Raptors opened the third by going on a 10-3 run and Chris Bosh scored 14 of his 28 points in the quarter to help Toronto put the game out of reach. At the start of the fourth the Raptors led 84-65 and the Timberwolves never threatened in the final minutes. Bosh finished with 28 points and 7 rebounds, TJ Ford had 16 points off of the bench, Andrea Bargnani scored 12 and Jamario Moon added 11 points. Al Jefferson led the Wolves with 23 points, Randy Foye scored 18 and Rashad McCants added 19 off of the bench.
Philadelphia 101 Orlando 89
One night after their big road win in New Jersey, the Orlando Magic found themselves on the other side of the story in a blowout loss to Philadelphia. Philly’s home court was not kind to the Magic as they ended the first quarter being down eight, by a score of 33-25. Thanks to Andre Miller dropping in 22 of his 26 points in the first half of the game, the 76er’s held a 61-42 advantage at the break as Orlando never led in the game. During the second quarter, the Magic went scoreless for almost 10 minutes while Philadelphia ran circles around them, building their lead. The second half saw Orlando go on a 13-6 run to cut the Philly lead down to 13, but they would not be able to get any closer than nine over the final 12 minutes of the game. Besides Miller’s 26 points he dished 9 assists while Willie Green scored 26 points as well. Andre Iguodala added 24 points and 7 assists while Samuel Dalembert added 9 points and 12 boards. Hedo Turkoglu led the Magic in the losing effort with 20 points. Rashard Lewis scored 19, Dwight Howard added 14 points and 16 rebounds and Keith Bogans scored 13.