The Post Up: Comeback Kids

by April 03, 2008

By: Holly MacKenzie

It was comeback-central last night as we had people returning all over. It’s not hard to tell the playoffs are near. Gil, Pau, Dirk, EB, and Jermaine O’Neal the other night, it’s good seeing some of the game’s greatest healthy and back on the floor where they need to be.

I definitely could have done without that Mavericks win. That was a huge game for the Warriors and I hyped it up to everyone I knew only to watch Golden State and their road-weary back-to-back-selves fall apart early. The Mavericks simply handed it to them last night. They didn’t let up the entire way through and taught them that two can play the running game. It was not pretty if you are a Warriors fan.

Jax has has two rough nights, I’m pulling for that bounce back game.

I know I should have recapped the Atlanta/Toronto game, but I’ve got a feeling the thing will be wiped away or protested in a week or so anyway. If you didn’t see the game, the Hawks tied things at 107 in regulation with 0.5 remaining on the clock. On the Raptors final possession, Carlos Delfino threw an alley-oop for TJ Ford, who appeared to barely get the shot off of his fingertips as the buzzer sounded. While the officials first said the basket was good, after watching replay the ball was deemed to be on his fingertips as time expired, but the replay also clearly showed the clock starting a full one-tenth of a second before the ball reaches Ford’s hands. The loss stings for Raptor fans, because the play worked to perfection. Could the Hawks end up having another protest on their hands?

Gil. Playing. Making an entrance. I am so thankful Agent Zero is back on the floor and looking okay. Please, for the love of God, give this man a break. If you were wondering why he didn’t come back on the road trip after he was cleared to play, maybe he needed some time to get ready mentally, or perhaps he wanted his return to be on his home court. We don’t know why, all we do know is that Gil loves this game and it is where he belongs so if something is keeping him off of it, I trust that there is a reason for it. If he doesn’t play in the next game, trust that. I feel like every time I turn around someone is on this man as he tries to transition from rehab and watching to getting back to himself and it is making me crazy. Injuries can take a harder toll mentally than physically and sometimes time is the only healer. Give the man his time!

Okay, I feel a little bit better. Some of that good feeling is from the return of Pau last night. So good to see him back out there. Also nice to hear Andrew Bynum participated in practice the other day.

Elton Brand back for the Clippers was fantastic as well. Welcome back, EB, it’s been a long season without you.

Javaris Crittenton with 23 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists off of the bench against the Knicks last night. He may not suit up for the Lakers anymore, but he is still very much on my radar.

Boston with 60 wins!

The Hornets knocking out the Heat was just nasty. While Tyson Chandler was perfect, going 10-10 from the floor, the Heat were pretty much the exact opposite scoring only 11 points in the fourth quarter, after being stuck on seven points for most of the period.

For anyone who is interested, the guy Dwyane wants drafted is still in the tourney.

Speaking of injuries, Candace Parker dislocating her shoulder twice in the same game,going to the locker room to get a brace and then playing the rest of the way through to lead Tennessee to the final four? Crazy.

Dallas 111 Golden State 86

Coming off of a blow out loss to the Spurs, the Warriors arrived in Dallas to play one of their biggest games of the season. Unfortunately for them, the Mavericks were riding high off of the emotional boost of having Dirk Nowitzki return to their lineup after missing time with an ankle/knee injury. The return of their leader allowed the Mavs to come out confident and from the opening tip on, they came at the Warriors, punishing them at their own running game and defeating them 111-86 as they extended their lead over Denver for the 7th spot and pushed Golden State a full game out of the playoff picture. While Dallas led 60-50 at the break, they blew the game open in the third quarter as they outscored Golden state 29-19 and took a 20-point lead into the fourth. While the Warriors played catch up, they were unable to cut the lead and Dallas gladly finished off the victory. Jason Terry led the Mavericks with 31 points, Josh Howard scored 28 points Nowitzki added 18 points in his return and Jason Kidd scored only 5 points but they went with 17 assists. Monta Ellis scored 27 points for the Warriors, Baron Davis had 20 points and Kelenna Azubuike added 10 off of the bench.

Milwaukee 110 Washington 109

During the first quarter in their game against the Bucks the Washington Wizards were surprised. After saying he would not be playing in their home match up against Milwaukee, Gilbert Arenas came out of the locker room in uniform and checked into the game midway through the first quarter. Unfortunately for the Wizards, it was not quite smooth sailing as the Bucks rallied back from an 11-point deficit to take a one-point lead with 15 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. While it was Arenas who was fouled, knocked down two free throws and gave the Wizards the one-point lead, it was a rookie from the D-League who stole the shine. Stealing a loose ball, calling timeout with 1.1 seconds on the clock and then hitting a jumper to win the game, It was Ramon Sessions smiling as the buzzer sounded. The Bucks were led by Charlie Villanueva’s 24 points and 12 rebounds. Andrew Bogut scored 20 points to go with 10 rebounds and 5 assists, Mo Williams scored 13 points and Ramon Sessions scored 8 points to go with 8 assists. Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison had 18 points apiece for the Wizards, while Arenas added 17 in his return.

Cleveland 118 Charlotte 114

With LeBron James fouling out of only the third game of his career, the Cavs were able to hold on and grab the 118-114 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats last night. After the Bobcats led 62-58 at the break, James got to work in the second half and led the Cavaliers on a 16-4 run in the third quarter to erase the Charlotte lead and put Cleveland on top 81-72. With the game close in the fourth, James was called for his sixth foul with 3:56 remaining in the game and Cleveland up 104-101. A shot by Jason Richardson would bring the Bobcats within one, but the Cavs held on, surviving two three-pointers by Richardson in the final minute of the game to grab the victory. James finished with 29 points before his ejection, Devin Brown had 20 points, Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 16 points to go with 12 rebounds and Anderson Varajao had 17 points and 12 rebounds. Richardson led the Bobcats with 31 points and 7 assists while Emeka Okafor scored 25 points and grabbed 9 rebounds. Gerald Wallace added 21 points and Raymond Felton had 9 points to go with 9 assists.

LA Lakers 104 Portland 91

With 10 points, six rebounds and seven assists, the return of Pau Gasol outshone anything anyone else did on the court last night. After missing three weeks Gasol was back for the Lakers and it appears Andrew Bynum’s return is just around the corner as well. With one of their big men back, the Lakers dropped a Brandon Roy-less Portland team 104-91 last night. With the game tied at 50 during the break, the Lakers came out strong to start the third and used a 19-9 run to take a 69-59 lead and maintained that 10-point lead throughout the third, leading 73-63 at the end of it. LA finished off the Blazers in the opening minutes of the final quarter as they put together another run, this one a 15-4 spurt, stretching their lead to 18. The Blazers managed to cut the deficit to seven, but it was too late as Kobe Bryant dropped in seven points in under a minute to extend the lead back into double-figures. Bryant finished with 36 points, 13 rebounds and 7 assists for the Lakers. Lamar Odom scored 12 points to go with 8 rebounds, Derek Fisher scored 13 points while Vladamir Radmanovic and Jordan Farmar each added 10 points. Travis Outlaw and Martell Webster scored 23 points apiece for the Blazers as Steve Blake had 12 points and 10 assists and LaMarcus Aldridge added 11 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.

Boston 92 Indiana 77

With their 92-77 victory over the Pacers last night, the Celtics became the first time in the NBA to notch 60 wins on the season and also tied the record for the largest single-season turnaround at 36 games. Leading by 12 points after the first quarter, the Celtics wasted no time in taking control of the game, holding the Pacers to only 13 second quarter points while outscoring them by seven and holding a 49-30 halftime lead. The second half was more of the same as Boston extended their lead to as many as 26 points in the contest while Indiana never led. After halftime, the Pacers would not get any closer than 10 points the rest of the way through as the Celtics now only have to win two more games to clinch the number one spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Kevin Garnett led the Celtics with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Ray Allen scored 15 points, Paul Pierce had 13 points and Leon Powe added 14 off of the bench. Danny Granger scored 14 points to lead the Pacers as Mike Dunleavy and Jermaine O’Neal each added 12 points and Troy Murphy had an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double in the loss.

The Rest…

New Orleans rolled over the Heat 106-77, after outscoring them 32-11 in the final quarter. Tyson Chandler had 20 points on 10-10 field goals to go with 10 rebounds, David West scored 22 points, Chris Paul had 14 points and 10 assists and Peja Stojakovic added 12 points. Chris Quinn had 18 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists for the Heat while Daequan Cook scored 12 points and Blake Ahearn added 15. The Jazz took down Minnesota 117-100 in Utah last night. After a close first half, they separated themselves in the second thanks to a barrage of three-pointers. Mehmet Okur had 22 points for Utah, Deron Williams had 19 points and 14 rebounds, Andrei Kirilenko scored 13 points and Carlos Boozer and Ronnie Price added 12 points apiece. Marko Jaric had 18 points and 8 assists for the Wolves as Rashad McCants scored 17 off of the bench and Randy Foye added 15. Memphis defeated New York 130-114 behind Javaris Crittenton’s 23 points and 9 rebounds. Rudy Gay scored 21 points, Juan Carlos Navarro scored 16 and Mike Miller added 15 in the loss. With the return of Elton Brand, the Clippers took down Seattle 102-84, outscoring the Sonics 33-14 in the final quarter. Al Thornton had 21 points and 10 rebounds, Corey Maggette scored 20 points and Brand had 19 points in his return. The Sonics were led by Kevin Durant’s 30 points, as Jeff Green scored 17 points and Nick Collison added 12 points and 17 rebounds.