The Post Up: Lights, Camera, LeBron

by March 06, 2008
5

By: Holly MacKenzie

Yes, Bron did drop 50 on the Knicks at MSG. I knew it was coming, I said I wouldn’t be surprised and I shouldn’t have been, but how can you not watch in absolute awe when this guy plays like he did last night. So big, so strong, so good. Too good. I almost felt bad for the Knicks, utterly helpless nothing more than pawns on the chessboard as King James called checkmate and showed New York there was only one king in the building and he was wearing a Cleveland uniform.

I can’t even describe how great he was last night. 50 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds, 4 steals and 7 three-pointers. Ridiculous. To steal an adjective from Ben, outrageous. Absurd. Disgustingly fantastic. Unstoppable. That we are going to be able to watch Bron and Kobe finish out this season in such a highly-contested MVP race is like getting a gift that keeps on giving with every game.

To further illustrate how ridiculous his night was: he became the first player with at least 50 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds in a game since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Jan. 19, 1975. Damn LeBron. I can’t hate on that, even if it was against the Knicks, it was sick.

Lets see what he does tonight against Chicago. It could be downright scary.

Chris Paul. Chris Paul. Chris Paul. I don’t think there is a more entertaining guy to watch in the NBA. Sure, KB and LBJ, but besides those two? We all watch them because you never know when history will be made, but from beginning to end, Paul’s minutes are just good, fun basketball to watch. The alleyoops, the drives to the basket, his ability to make everyone around him look so good, while just being so great himself makes him one of my top three to watch. 23 points, 18 assists and only 1 turnover last night? 18 assists and 1 turnover. That’s efficient.

Speaking of Paul, the Hornets had me laughing when they decided to entertain the crowd with their dance moves during a delay in the game as a net was restrung on the basket. Even Byron was smiling.

Melo and AI were fantastic for the Nuggets last night. It’s too bad that Denver can’t face teams who don’t play defense every night. They look really good when it is just an offensive free-for-all. Funny that one of the worst defensive teams in the league has what could be the defensive player of the year on their roster.

Rockets with their 16th straight win. An NBA season-high and they just look really confident in what they are doing. Lets see if they can continue it and grab a huge win over the Mavericks tonight with Dirk sitting out the suspension as a result of the flagrant on Kirilenko.

Rajon Rondooo. I’ve liked him all year and was a little down that the Celtics had picked up Cassell because I didn’t want his minutes to drop. In the game against Detroit last night, he throws down one of the best dunks of the year, blowing by Rip and dunking on Maxiell. It was spectacular and seeing the crowd give him the extended ovation showed how big the game was and got me excited for the playoffs and the intensity that comes along with them.

The dunk by Al Thornton in the second overtime of the Clippers game versus Sacramento was nice. He blew baseline and got the foul call, too. For a rookie he is looking really good, I just can’t handle watching too much of the Clippers.

It almost hurts to see the empty arena in Miami. It just sucks to know so many fans have been disappointed and frustrated by their team. Another game, another loss, this time to the Raptors who were without Chris Bosh. Riley was at a loss after the game, saying he personally should be writing cheques to season-ticket holders because he can’t even get the guys to give an effort anymore. That is depressing.

Quotes of the night

“I’ve dreamed about playing well in this building and it’s overtaken of how I could ever dream about,” James said. “To get a standing ovation in the greatest basketball arena in the world, it was a dream come true for me. It’s one of the best things that ever happened to me.”

LeBron, on his performance last night

“I’m 6-9 and 260,” James said. “I’m all right.”

LeBron, on how he felt when he saw the fan coming towards the bench to speak to him in the final seconds of the
game before he was taken away by security.

Cleveland 119 New York 105

Under the bright lights of MSG, the fans of the Knicks had something to cheer for last night. While it wasn’t the Knicks, LeBron James was in town and he reminded fans why they love this game. While the Knicks kept the game competitive, James left little doubt as to who would win the game as he dropped 16 straight points at one point, 17 in the third quarter alone and he finished victorious, with 50 points, 10 assists and 8 rebounds. While the game was close throughout, the Knicks stepped it up in the fourth, coming as close as 99-98 with under five minutes remaining. James knocked down back-to-back three-pointers to stretch the lead and then hit two more just for good measure. Besides James the Cavaliers hit eight three-pointers in the final quarter. When he walked off of the court to the standing ovation with 23 seconds remaining, the final scored was decided and Cleveland was safe, up 119-105. Besides his big night, Damon Jones finished with 15 points, Devin Brown added 14 points, Delonte West had 10 and Joe Smith scored 8 points while pulling down 11 boards. Jamal Crawford had 25 points to lead New York, Nate Robinson scored 24 points, Eddy Curry had 20 and David Lee added 17 points to go with 8 rebounds.

Denver 126 Phoenix 113

One night after defeating the Portland Trailblazers, the Suns wanted to run against the Nuggets. That wasn’t a problem for Denver, who was more than willing to run and ended up running the Suns off of the floor, 126-113. While the Nuggets led by four after the first period, it was in the second where they outscored Phoenix 36-25 that the Suns were faced with a deficit they would be unable to recover from. In the quarter, the Nuggets rang off 16 straight points as the went into the half up 49-40. While Phoenix would try to stop the Nuggets, their weary legs were unable and they watched helplessly as Denver went up by as many as 19 points in the contest, the lead stretched to 101-89 at the start of the fourth. Allen Iverson led Denver with 31 points, 12 assists and only 1 turnover. Carmelo Anthony had 30 points and 13 rebounds, JR Smith scored 20 off of the bench, Kenyon Martin had 17 points and Anthony Carter added 11 points and 11 assists. Amare Stoudemire had 22 points for the Suns who had a 12-point, 18-rebound performance from Shaquille O’Neal, 12 points and 13 assists from Steve Nash and 17 points from Boris Diaw. Leandro Barbosa scored 15 points and Grant Hill added 13 in the loss.

Boston 90 Detroit 78

In a match up between the top two teams in the East and a preview of what many feel will be the Eastern Conference Finals match up (although, ask LeBron James and you will get a different answer), the Boston Celtics came out with both a win and a playoff berth, becoming the first team in the league to clinch a spot. It was the opening quarter that killed Detroit as they went down 23-13 at the end of the first and were unable to get enough stops against the Celtics as Boston took their second of three games between the two teams,90-78. Shooting only 36% for the game, the Pistons struggled offensively and were unable to get things going in the fourth after a strong third quarter that saw them going into the final period trailing only 69-67. While the Pistons kept it close and were within 78-77 midway through the quarter, Boston clamped down defensively and closed the game out on a 12-1 run. Kevin Garnett led Boston with 31 points and Kendrick Perkins had 10 points and a career-high 20 rebounds as the Celtics out-rebounded Detroit 50-38 in the game. Rajon Rondo had 16 points and Paul Pierce added 15 points as the Celtics overcame a 3-point performance from Ray Allen. Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace scored 23 points apiece to lead Detroit as Richard Hamilton had 15 points and Tayshaun Prince pulled down 10 rebounds.

New Orleans 116 Atlanta 101

The Hornets were without David West who was resting a sore ankle in their game against the Hawks. It didn’t matter because they still had Chris Paul and he knew how to more than make up for West’s absence. With Julius Wright into the rotation with the absence of West, the rookie scored a career-high 13 points and threw down some dunks courtesy of Paul that got the crowd on their feet. The Hornets led from early on in the game and their hot-shooting made it difficult for Atlanta to try to get back into it. While the Hawks were able to get within three points in the third quarter, the Hornets started dropping in threes and finished with 15 on the night as they outscored Atlanta 28-20 in the quarter to take an 88-73 advantage into the fourth where the Hawks simply could not gain any ground. Paul was fantastic for New Orleans, scoring 23 points and dishing 18 assists with only one turnover. Peja Stojakovic had 29 points and 9 rebounds as he connected on 7-11 three-pointers, Jannero Pargo scored 22 points off of the bench, Tyson Chandler had 14 points and pulled down 16 boards.

Houston 117 Indiana 99

The Houston Rockets are getting tired of hearing that their season ended when Yao Ming when down. While Yao has been out the Rockets have continued to win and with a 117-99 drubbing of the Pacers, are now riding an NBA-season high 16-game winning streak. Opening the game by jumping out to a 34-27 advantage after one, the Rockets outscored Indiana by 10 in the second quarter to hold a 17-point advantage at the half. While the Pacers would rally in the third and get within seven points, they were no match for Tracy McGrady and the Rockets who closed out the third on an 11-2 run to keep their lead at 16 entering the fourth where the game was all but decided. The Rockets went up by as many as 26 points early in the fourth thanks to a 14-4 run that knocked the Pacers out of the game completely. McGrady had 25 points to lead the Rockets as Rafer Alston scored 21 points and dished 7 assists, Luther Head had 14 points, Chuck Hayes added 9 points and 11 rebounds while Carl Landry and Luis Scola scored 13 points apiece. Troy Murphy and Danny Granger had 17 points apiece to lead Indiana, with Murphy adding 10 rebounds and 6 assists as Mike Dunleavy scored 13 points and Flip Murray added 14 off of the bench.

Charlotte 118 Golden State 109

In their fight to maintain a playoff spot, losing to the Bobcats was not on the game plan for the Golden State Warriors. Giving up 42 points to ex-Warrior Jason Richardson was also not in the script, but it happened as Richardson led his team to the 118-109 victory on his homecourt. While it was Golden State who jumped out early and led 38-25 after the first quarter, it was the Bobcats that went on to score 30+ in the remaining three quarters as they held Golden State under the 30-point mark in each of the three the rest of the way through. While Charlotte led in the fourth, a run by the Warriors gave them the 106-105 lead midway through the quarter. The Bobcats may have shirked away in this situation a few months ago, but last night they went back at Golden State and closed the game on a 13-3 run of their own to take the lead and the game from the Warriors. Besides Richardson’s 42 points, Raymond Felton scored 22 points, Emeka Okafor had 16 points and 11 rebounds and Jared Dudley was huge off of the bench with 10 points and 18 rebounds. Monta Ellis led Golden State with 32 points, Baron Davis had 30 points and Stephen Jackson added 21 points in the loss.

Orlando 122 Washington 92

Without Caron Butler and Gilbert Arenas, the Washington Wizards simply were unable to keep up with the Magic last night. After leading by 14 at the end of the first quarter (34-20), Orlando proceeded to lay it on the Wizards as they could only wait for the final buzzer to sound. Outscoring the Magic by one in the second quarter would be as close as Washington could get in the game in their hopes of trying to cut the deficit. The Magic extended their lead to as many as 34 points in the second half of the rout as they shot 56% from the floor while the Wizards connected on only 42% of their field goals. Dwight Howard had 20 points and 11 rebounds in the victory for Orlando while Rashard Lewis and Maurice Evans and Keith Bogans each added 17 and Jameer Nelson scored 9 points and dished 10 assists. Antawn Jamison scored 19 points for Washington, DeShawn Stevenson had 17 points and Roger Mason scored 14 while Nick Young and Oleksiy Pecherov each added 15.