I’m sure you’re used to the Tuesday night shift I’ve been working by now, so the Post Up as you know it will return tomorrow. Because Chris O’Leary and I have been sending each other nasty emails all week, he decided to extend the olive branch my way and make a guest appearance for some recapping action today.
Unfortunately, I only got to catch glimpses of a few games last night, even though it was a busy night on the schedule. Fortunately that meant I wasn’t able to give the disaster that was the Raptors anything more than a passing glance. Honestly, they are down five before the half, then the next time I peer up at the TV above me, it’s almost a 30-point game? How the hell does that happen? Bronny and Co. That’s how it happens.
Looking at the upcoming schedule for the Raps: Indiana. New Jersey. New Orleans. New Jersey. Dallas. Then an extended road trip, then home for Denver. That Denver team again. Looks like things could get really bad before they get better in Raptorland. I’m pulling for them though, let me tell you that.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are ridiculous right now. Yup. I didn’t expect it either.
The Los Angeles Lakers look a little shaky right now. Another sentence I didn’t expect to be typing, but it’s true. I missed this game as well, but I had email updates coming in while I was working and I was not amused. Whatever the Lakers problems are defensively, they’d better figure them out. They can be absolutely amazing on D, or they can get lazy and let teams back into the game in the blink of an eye.
The loss to Indiana, the escape of a win in Washington and then this? A 113-103 Laker loss to Sacramento. Yeesh. These Lakers should not have lost to the Kings. No way, no how. Even on a night where Kobe shoots 9-25. While Pau had 25 and 12, there were only three Laker players in double-figures while the Kings had six players, including 21 apiece from John Salmons and Francisco Garcia.
Michael Curry decided to go with his small lineup last night, starting Stuckey at the one, Ivy at the two, Rip at the three, Tayshaun at the four and Sheed at the five. The result was another loss as the WIZARDS defeated the Pistons 107-94. While the Wizards started out slow and managed only 14 points in the first half, they fought back from a 17-point deficit to stun the Pistons and send them further into a tailspin. Caron Butler led the Wiz with 33 points while Juan Dixon scored 16 off of the bench and Darius Songaila added 15. Rip Hamilton scored 29 for the Pistons as Sheed scored 19 points and Stuckey added 10 points and 11 assists in the loss.
Heylarryhughespleasestoptakingsomanybadshots.com has to give the guy a break today. With his team down in NY last night, Hughes knocked down a three with under a minute left to play as he put the Bulls up 100-97 as the Bulls grabbed the 105-100 victory over the Knicks. While the Knicks lost, it has to be said that Al Harrington and his aching back certainly look great in New York. He led the Knicks again with 28 points in the loss while QRich scored 22 and Chris Duhon continues to make me choke on my words as he scored 15 points to go with 14 assists. Drew Gooden led the Bulls with 22 points and 16 rebounds as Ben Gordon scored 17 and Derrick Rose added 15 points and 7 assists,
The D’Antoni offense really does allow point guards to flourish, doesn’t it. I wonder how much Nash misses D’An.
Easily the game of the night, maybe the game of the month, was the Spurs 133-126 2OT victory in a marathon game against the Mavericks. At the beginning of my shift, I said this would be the game I wanted to see, but things happened and it didn’t really happen until I was checking boxscores and noticed we were in overtime. We quickly flipped over and I watched as my boy J.J. Barea was not only in the starting lineup (again), but in the game in overtime and making things happen. I was pumped. I love overtime. I love Barea. I also love Pop’s crazy beard. Double overtime happened and it looked as though we’d be watching these two teams play all night. Then, San Antonio became the Spurs again and they spoiled everyone’s fun, by outscoring Dallas 17-10 in the second extra session. Tim Duncan had 32 points and 14 rebounds in the game and Tony Parker scored 29 to go with 10 assists as Manu Ginobili added 18 points and 8 assists on the night. Dirk had 35 points and 10 rebounds in the loss as Jason Kidd added 24 points, 12 assists and 8 rebounds.
One night after grinding out a win against the Clippers, the Orlando Magic got the back-to-back win in Portland, 109-108. While the Magic led early, the Blazers took control late and lead by as many as eight points in the fourth. Up with less than a second to go, Hedo Turkoglu saved Orlando as he nailed a three-pointer with 0.3 seconds remaining on the clock to give his team the victory. While Dwight Howard had a subpar night with 14 points and 7 rebounds, his guards stepped up. Rashard Lewis scored 27 points and Turkoglu added 24, none bigger than the final three. Brandon Roy scored 30 for the Blazers who also had a 25-point, 10-rebound performance from LaMarcus Aldridge in the loss.
Now, Chris O’Leary busts a recap (or four), on you.
Cleveland 114 Toronto 94
You know when you’re playing pickup at the Y and you end up on the court with a player or two who are on a whole other level than you and everyone on your team? And after they hand you your backside a few times, they start to get that distant look on their faces while they beat you to the hoop, out-rebound you, hit threes on you and force you into turnovers? LeBron James and the Cavs had that look on their faces through the second half in their blowout win over Toronto last night. Yeah, the score says it was a 20-point game, but had LeBron and the Cleveland starters played more than 30 minutes, this could have easily gotten uglier than it was. Two LBJ moments from last night that summed it up for Toronto: the three at the end of the half to crush the Raps’ feeling of accomplishment on cutting the lead down to six points, and the Karl Malone-esque hand-behind-the-head-dunk in the third quarter to make it a 20-point lead, or something. The second half was a blur of dunks and bad Raptors turnovers. I’m hoping to have blocked it out by morning.
And yeah, Flux, the Kool-Aid I was downing by the glass in October is coming back up. It looks like purple and red Jell-O shots and it tastes like grappa. Happy?
*Note from Holly: Two more LBJ moments would include consecutive dunks to begin the game as the Raptors opened things with consecutive turnovers. Nice start, boys.
Utah 99 Minnesota 96
Kevin McHale and his lively wardrobe are back on the sidelines (I need some Cosby sweaters in my life, Kev. Help us out with this) and his legacy from the T-Wolves’ front office made its way down to the floor Tuesday night. Memo Okur’s one-legged runner with 1.7 seconds left killed a good—21 points and seven rebounds from Al Jefferson—but not good enough effort from Minnesota. Ronnie Brewer’s 25 points on 8–12 shooting and 21 and 13 from Okur led the Jazz. The T-Wolves have lost six straight and 16 of their last 19.
Phoenix 125 Milwaukee 110
Rumors that Shaquille O’Neal walked into the US Airways Center wearing a yellow and purple Cross Colors denim outfit and a pair of Shaq Attaq II’s are just that, but the big fella looked like he found the fountain of youth against the Bucks. Thirty-five points, eight rebounds and (AND!) three blocks in 34 minutes, folks. That’s not a typo, or a line pulled off of a box score from 1995. More untrue rumors from the game: Shaq was breakdancing on the court prior to the game; out of habit, he dissed Penny Hardaway and dedicated the win to the people of Orlando. Lost in the shadow of the big man’s game (and to a lesser extent my retro, one-track train of mind) was Charlie Villanueva’s 24-point, nine-rebound effort in the loss.
Houston 92 Atlanta 84
The Rockets jumped out to a 13–0 lead in the first quarter, then had to dig themselves out of an eight-point hole in the fourth to pick up their 14th win of the season. Yao did his thing, going for 24 points and 19 rebounds. Mike Bibby did some things, scoring 15 points in a losing effort for the Hawks. The thing he didn’t do? Distribute. Dude finished with a goose egg for assists on the night, as the Hawks have now dropped two in a row. Zaza Pachulia had five points in 21 minutes. I just wanted to name drop him in this because his name makes me think of that scene in High Fidelity where John Cusack tells the Steven Seagal lookalike to get his patchouli, stink ass out of his store. That’s great stuff.