The Post Up: Kleiza and Camby Holding it Down

We had a huge day in the Post Up yesterday, after Russ got the ball rolling nice and early. Thanks goes to him for getting the conversation started.

The Lakers at the top of the Western Conference was short but sweet for certain, to quote DMB. One loss and the Lakers drop from 1st in the West to 5th. Had the Spurs won, they’d be at 6th. The West is just insane this year. I can’t say it enough.

I think LeBron holding his mouth guard between his head and his headband during his post-game interview was the grossest thing I saw last night. Does he always do this? I have never noticed it before.

Nash is a good interview. Saying the Suns suck and Diaw sucks too. He’s got a nasty cut on his neck as well. As I typed that I originally typed Nashty. Ick, I hate when I see those “Nashty” signs in the crowd.

The interview with Al Horford and Cheryl Miller on TNT was great. I love the guy and as much as I enjoy Durant and know he will win the ROY, I almost agree with Barkley on Horford because he is helping his team succeed and is playing such a huge role. He is a great kid too and it is awesome to see another side of him besides the TJ replays.

Speaking of Cheryl, could we try replacing her with Reggie for a game just to see how it turns out?

Marcus Camby was 2 points away from another defensive-orientated triple-double last night. 24 rebounds, 11 blocks and 8 points. Love it. Couple that with Kleiza exploding for a career-high 41 points and I am surprised that the Jazz stuck around for as long as they did.

Between Vujacic and Fisher on Barbosa all I could do is cover my eyes.

Kobe was very vocal in his support of Kwame. He was NOT happy with the crowd’s booing of Brown. To steal a quote from my friend’s post-game blog:

“I thought it was terrible actually. I don’t think they should react to that and if they do they should stay home. He’s going to be our center for two months and if anything they should support him. You can’t tear him down. He’s going to be our guy here for two months. We’re going to ride with him. I told him ‘I’ve got his back. I don’t care how many times they boo you.'”

“He’s our guy. We’ve got to continue to pick him. He’s going to do fine. He’s going to play well. He’s going to play well next game – and they should chant his name next game.”

Agree or disagree, I love seeing Kobe stick up for his teammates, even if they may not deserve it. This is pretty much what I said in the Post Up thread from yesterday after the game. Yeah, Kwame may have horrible hands, he may miss dunks, he may make us CRAZY, but he is who we have right now and booing him louder than we boo our opponents is not going to help. It’s only game two without Bynum, but, it is nice to see the Lakers sticking together as they navigate these next few weeks. And, the nine game road trip from hell? Do all teams have stretches that long on the road? It seems excessive.

Also spotted at STAPLES: DJ Mbenga. Perhaps he will be getting a 10-day contract for the Lakers? We shall see.

For those of you who missed the LA/Phoenix game, a funny story about Barbosa. Apparently he received a phone call to his hotel room asking him to come to the front desk and he received “word” from Kerr that he was traded to the Knicks. He immediately went and found assistant coach and mentor Dan D’Antoni who saw how upset Barbosa was and asked him what was wrong. Barbosa responds by saying, “I thought you guys liked me”, and then tells him about the “news”. Dan tells him there is absolutely no truth to the rumor and that the next time he checks into a hotel he should use an alias rather than his real name. I didn’t realize that players checked into their hotel rooms on road trips, but funny story regardless.

Imagine being traded from the Suns (or anywhere, really), to New York? I could almost feel his stomach drop.

The “schedule” they had for Barkley on the inside the NBA absolutely KILLED me. Internet chats with Vescey? Building a franchise with Isiah Thomas? Funny stuff.

If someone could explain the specific’s of TNT taking over NBAtv next year that would be awesome since it is getting too late for me to look it up right now.

And, after all of the Noah rookie drama in Chicago, it seems their other rookie wanted some press. Apparently JamesOn Curry, currently in the NBDL was arrested for urinating in public and resisting arrest last night. How lovely.

Looking forward to the Charlotte/New Orleans match up tonight. Okay, enough commentary from me, lets get to recapping.

Cleveland 90 San Antonio 88

In a rematch between the two teams who made it to the NBA finals last year it went down to the final possession before the Cavaliers were able to knock off the Spurs, getting the 90-88 victory on the road. After trailing by seven at the end of the first quarter Cleveland clamped down on the Spurs and outscored them 31-17 as they took a 50-43 lead at the half. The lead was erased in the fourth as San Antonio took an 86-85 lead on a goal-tending call against James with 1:34 in the game. As usual, it was James who led Cleveland and it was James who broke an 88-all tie with 33.5 seconds left to give Cleveland their final basket of the game. Tony Parker got to the line on the next possession and he missed both of the free throws that would have tied the game but the Cleveland victory would not be complete until Manu Ginobili came up short on the Spurs final possession. James finished with 27 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists for the Cavs. Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 17 points while Anderson Varajao added 12 points and 14 boards and Daniel Gibson added 11. Ginobili led San Antonio with a game-high 31 points as Tony Parker had 23 points and Tim Duncan added 21 points and 11 rebounds.

Denver 120 Utah 109

Thanks to a career-night from Linas Kleiza the Denver Nuggets got the win against Utah last night. Only two short of his previous career-high of 29 by halftime, Kleiza finished with 41 points as the Nuggets turned a 61-59 halftime advantage into a 10-point advantage at the start of the fourth quarter thanks to a third quarter in which they outscored Utah 37-29. While the Jazz had cut the lead to two points midway through the third, Carmelo Anthony changed that as he scored eight points to finish out the quarter and put Denver back up by double-digits. The Nuggets took control at the start of the fourth by extending their lead to 15 points in a hurry and the Jazz did not get any closer than 11 for the rest of the game. While both teams shot identical 41-92 field goals from the floor, the Nuggets were 33-40 from the free throw line while Utah attempted only 25 foul shots, making 18 of them. Besides Kleiza’s 41 points and 9 rebounds, Allen Iverson had 28 points and 9 assists and Carmelo Anthony added 23 points. JR Smith had 13 off of the bench, Anthony Carter had 11 assists and Marcus Camby was fantastic with 8 points to go along with 24 rebounds and 11 blocked shots. The Jazz were led by Deron Williams and his 23 points and 12 assists. Carlos Boozer had 19 and 11 boards and Mehmet Okur and Kyle Korver scored 16 points apiece.

Phoenix 106 LA Lakers 98

After dropping their first two meetings against the Lakers this season the Suns wanted to take advantage against a Bynum-less Laker squad, especially after losing to the Clippers on the STAPLES center court two nights before. With their hot start and the dismal shooting on behalf of the Lakers, maintaining a lead was easy until the fourth quarter when the Lakers bench threatened the Phoenix lead by cutting it to eight. The Suns used an 18-4 run to start the second quarter and go up by as many as 17 in the period. After leading by 14 at the half, Phoenix extended their advantage to 79-61 going into the fourth. Eight quick points by Sasha Vujacic to open the final period cut the Phoenix lead to eight and the Lakers put Kobe Bryant in to try and complete their comeback but they were unable to as Phoenix answered with Steve Nash and he kept the Suns offense flowing. The Suns were solid down the stretch, hitting big shot after big shot to answer the Lakers and LA would get no closer than eight until two free throws by Lamar Odom brought them within six, 102-96 with 46 seconds remaining. Boris Diaw would clinch the game for Phoenix by hitting a jumper, capping off his 19-point performance as Nash drained two free throws in the final seconds to put the game out of reach as well. LA shot only 38% for the game while Phoenix finished at 52% as the two teams combined for 44 turnovers in the contest and the Suns had 37 team assists as compared to only 18 for the stagnant Laker offense. Nash had 13 points and 20 assists to lead the Suns while Leandro Barbosa had 22, Shawn Marion scored 20 and grabbed 16 rebounds and Amare Stoudemire and Raja Bell scored 16 points apiece. Kobe Bryant finished with 30 for LA, Lamar Odom had 19 points and a game-high 19 boards and Jordan Farmar added 16 points off of the bench.