The Post Up: Spurs and Lakers. Best of the West

by February 29, 2008
12

By: Holly MacKenzie

What a night in the NBA. There may have only been three games on the schedule, but it was fantastic for any hoops fan. Devin Harris and his NJ debut in the first game of the night, then the ridiculous match up between the Spurs and Mavs and then the nightcap of the surging Lakers. Beautiful night.

Devin Harris was great in his debut for the Nets. 21 points and 5 assists on 7-13 shooting in a win that saw New Jersey score 120 points. 21 minutes of action, coming off of the bench, nice. The best part of the game (besides Harris dunking over Bogut), was the segment during the game that showed Vince Carter being interviewed pregame where he had no idea that Devin Harris had practiced the day before and was going to be playing in the game. Mark Jackson says, “Someone ought to tell Vince Carter that they traded Jason Kidd to Dallas”.

Check out the video courtesy of our own, Ryne.

The match up between the Spurs and Mavericks was everything I had hoped it would be and then some. Intense, two teams battling back and forth the entire way and a close finish that went down to the wire. Crazy how quickly the momentum can shift, after Dallas is up 10, Jason Terry gets a tech, then Avery is thrown one and suddenly the Spurs have control of the game and the crowd is back into it. After Avery’s tech he just closes his mouth and gives the death stare. I sort of love him for it.

Of course in the end, the Spurs win again. When it comes down to it they are just too good. Experienced, cool, calm and collected and you never know who is going to step up when needed, only that any of their top seven has the ability to do so with ease. Last night it was Bowen, member of umpteen All-Defensive teams , blocking Jason Terry’s shot attempt and the Mavs hope of getting a huge win on San Antonio’s floor.

Love that Mark Cuban and Steve Kerr both steal Brent Barry’s thunder with the announcement of who he is signing with. If Kerr and Cuban are to be believed, expect to hear that he will be re-signing with the Spurs in 30 days.

Brandon Bass was looking huge at the free throw line. Popeye sighting on the bench!

Tony Parker is back and looking good for San Anton. The time off seems to have given him the bounce back in his step and the combo of he and Ginobili spells trouble for their opponents trying to keep them out of the paint.

Funny how Kidd didn’t play in the final 30 seconds of the game. Yeah, yeah, yeah, he is new with the team. He is also the captain and the supposed floor leader. I just don’t get why he wasn’t out there. Perhaps the Mavs might have gotten a better shot off than the Terry attempt that was blocked.

To the people who were wondering about Andrew Bynum’s return, there still is not a date (besides Bynum himself giving April 1st as a possibility), but Phil Jackson has said that when Bynum does return he will come off of the bench for 6-8 minute bursts until he gets his conditioning back.

I agreed with Reggie Miller last night. Scared me as much as it scares you to read it. He made the point that by putting Kobe Bryant on the Heat and Dwyane Wade on the Lakers, there is simply no way that the Heat would have lost 27 of their last 29 games. I agree whole-heartedly with this statement. Feel free to discuss below.

Looks like Detroit gets another veteran. After Minny agreed to buy out Theo Ratliff’s contract, he is looking to get signed up with the Pistons. The West gets tougher and the East gets older.

Lakers have now won 10 straight. Saving the Laker love for a future edition of the Post Up. Just know that this feels like Christmas every morning and night to see my team at the top of the West. Kobe for MVP. That’s all I’m saying.

Quote of the night

“Quit hanging on the damn rim and his back wouldn’t hurt”
Charles Barkley on Josh Howard’s sore back

New Jersey 120 Milwaukee 106

After trading Jason Kidd the New Jersey Nets have been waiting to see their new point guard in action. Last night, Devin Harris played his first game as a Net and he didn’t disappoint. Coming off of the bench, Harris entered with the game tied at 22 in the first quarter. His first stint lasted nine minutes and spanned the first and second periods. When he left the game for a breather New Jersey was up 50-35 and he had contributed 16 points in his first nine minutes as a Net. Leading 68-55 at the half, the Nets weathered a push by the Bucks in the third quarter and blew the game open in the fourth as they went ahead by as many as 17 points before easily taking the 120-106 victory. Harris finished with 21 points and 5 assists in 21 minutes for the Nets. Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson each had 19 points and Josh Boone added 14. The Bucks were led by Michael Redd and his 33 points while Mo Williams had 24 points and 7 assists, Andrew Bogut had 22 points and 15 rebounds and Desmond Mason added 10 in the loss.

San Antonio 97 Dallas 94

In a game between two of the top teams in the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs showed the entire NBA that they are for real and they are to be feared as they came back from 10 down against the new-look Mavericks to take the 97-94 victory on their home court. With the two teams matched up evenly for most of the game, Dallas went ahead in the third quarter and used a 16-4 run to go up by ten. With the lead in hand, a technical on Jason Terry and then another on Avery Johnson would allow the momentum to switch in favor of the Spurs and San Antonio would cut the lead and go into the fourth quarter up by one point. Each team battled the other for the lead in the final period. The game was tied at 94 with 34 seconds left when Tim Duncan hit a pair of free throws. The Mavericks had their chances to tie the game or take a lead, but Dirk Nowitzki missed on consecutive shots and then Bruce Bowen blocked an attempt by Terry to give the Spurs the ball back with 3.9 seconds left. After Michael Finley was sent to the free throw line with .4 seconds left, he made the first and intentionally missed the second and the Spurs were victorious. Duncan led the way with 31 points and 15 rebounds. Manu Ginobili had 17 points, Finley scored 16 and Bruce Bowen added 14. For the Mavericks Nowitzki finished with 28 points, Brandon Bass had 16 points off of the bench, Josh Howard also had 16 points to go with 8 rebounds and Jason Kidd added 7 points and 10 assists.

LA Lakers 106 Miami 88

Gunning for their season-high 10th straight victory, the Lakers faced Dwyane Wade and the Heat last night. They were successful in their quest for 10, kicking the Heat while they were down by handing them the 106-88 loss. While the Lakers went up by as many as 16 in the first quarter, the Heat rallied back to come within seven points. The Lakers extended that lead back to 53-41 at the break before going into the fourth quarter up 73-58. In the final period it was all LA, as the Heat would not get any closer than nine points after Wade completed the rare four-point play after being fouled by Kobe Bryant. Bryant had 21 points in the game to go along with 8 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks as he gladly deferred to backup point guard Jordan Farmar. Farmar scored a career-high 24 points after tying his previous career-high of 21 in their last game. The Lakers never trailed in the contest and they out-rebounded Miami 55-40 as the Heat shot only 37% from the floor as compared to LA’s 47%. In addition to Farmar’s 24 points and Bryant’s 21, Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol each scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as Odom added 6 assists and Gasol had 4 blocked shots. Sasha Vujacic scored 12 points, Luke Walton had 9 points and 11 rebounds and Ronny Turiaf pulled down 12 boards. Dwyane Wade led Miami with 18 points but shot only 6-17 from the floor. Shawn Marion had 13 points and 11 rebounds, Ricky Davis scored 14, Marcus Banks added 13 and Mark Blount scored 12.