By: Holly MacKenzie
I know, I know, we’ve all heard enough about Kobe to last the rest of the season, but he doesn’t make it easy with performances like last night. With the Lakers in trouble against the Kings, he explodes in the final 5:56 of the game to score 17 points as he finishes out the game and finishes off the Kings, taking LA from five-down to up 12. It all happened after a fan said some things to him that really, really ticked him off. The 360 dunk reminded me of Kobe from years past. I don’t think I have ever seen him so angry at a fan and even in the post game interview, he was steamed.
Hearing the MVP chants for Kobe not only during the game but in the postgame interview as all of the fans stayed to cheer him to the locker room, reminded me of someone else. We all know who, but because it offends some people when I make the comparison, I’ll just leave it at that.
I’m almost expecting Bron to end up dropping 70 against the Knicks tonight. Maybe even 82? It’s just that kind of year. I love it.
Phoenix and Portland. Wow. Way to give up the 20-point lead, Suns. Even when they looked good, they looked shaky. I just don’t believe in them anymore. This was a huge improvement from their last 3 games though, so maybe they are piecing it together game by game.
Golden State was just ridiculous agianst the Hawks. I just felt badly for Atlanta because, they shot over 50%, they had a guy drop 38 (Joe Johnson), and two others hit twenty and they still lose. The Warriors just ran them into the ground, dropping 135 on them and giving them way too much Baron and Jax. While Baron and his beard were able to get to the rim with ease, Jax dropped six three-pointers in the game.
It was pretty wild that the Warriors shoot 10 free throws to Atlanta’s 40 and still won the game. It was just that sort of a game for the Hawks.
I want to say that Detroit got lucky in their win against the Sonics, but even when it was a two-point game in the final seconds, I somehow knew the Pistons were going to take it. They are the same as the Spurs and while I enjoy watching them play, it drives me crazy. Too poised and confident, even when Flip has got the bench in, earning valuable experience before the playoffs hit.
The same thing did happen in San Antonio’s game against the Nets. Regardless of how “off” the Spurs looked throughout the game, was there ever any doubt that they would get it figured out before it mattered? They are just good at winning.
The Bobcats won big in Minnesota. Chicago got the large victory over Memphis.
Big night coming up with Detroit in Boston for a potential ECF match up. I am also looking forward to watching the Suns and Nuggets not play defense. It will be interesting to see who wins that one.
Golden State 135 Atlanta 118
Shooting over 50% for the game, having a star score 38 points and three players reach 20 or more, one would think the result was a victory. Not so when the opponent is the Golden State Warriors. Thanks to a 35-point performance by Baron Davis and a hot night beyond the arc, the Warriors burned through Atlanta, 135-118 last night. After the Hawks dropped a 42-point opening quarter, the Warriors topped 30 points in each quarter while Atlanta would not reach 30 in any of the remaining quarters. The Warriors shot 54% from the floor in the game and led by as many as 20 points as they shot 17-32 from the three-point line as compared to 7-16 three-pointers for the Hawks. After a 15-0 run in the third quarter, Golden State was firmly in control and they did not look back as they outscored Atlanta by 10 in the third and then by nine in the fourth. Davis had 35 points and 9 assists and Stephen Jackson finished with 29 points including knocking down six three-pointers. Monta Ellis had 20 points, Mickael Pietrus scored 19 points, hit five three-pointers and pulled down 12 rebounds as Al Harrington added 12 points. Joe Johnson had 38 points for the Hawks, Josh Smith scored 20 points while grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking 4 shots as Marvin Williams scored 20 points of his own and Al Horford had 14 points and 8 rebounds in the loss.
Detroit 100 Seattle 97
The Pistons figured their game against the Sonics should be an easy victory. It was a victory, but anything but easy as Seattle came out strong and busted out to a 41-28 advantage after the first quarter which saw the Sonics shoot a ridiculous 82% from the floor. Detroit came out strong defensively in the second quarter and scored 25 points as they held the Sonics to only 13, cutting into the lead to trim it to 54-53 at the half. A buzzer-beating three by Chauncey Billups at the end of the third quarter kept the Seattle lead at one, 78-77 going into the fourth. In the final period things were even until the final minutes, where Detroit was up by two with less than one minute remaining. Wth an easy basket for Amir Johnson, the Pistons led by four with 32 seconds on the clock and after Tayshaun Prince blocked Kevin Durant’s shot attempt the Sonics had back to back misses and Billups sealed the game at the free throw line. Prince and his 24 points led Detroit while Billups scored 20 and dished 9 assists and Richard Hamilton added 18. Earl Watson scored 23 points and had 7 assists for the Sonics as Durant finished wth 20 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists, Chris Wilcox had 20 points and 10 rebounds and Jeff Green added 15.
San Antonio 81 New Jersey 70
Despite a horrible shooting performance that saw them finish only 33% from the floor, the Spurs rolled past New Jersey last night, defeating them 81-70. While San Antonio couldn’t get a rhythm going offensively, the Nets had trouble on both ends of the floor. While San Antonio relied on their defense to help them when their offense was failing, New Jersey simply struggled. This was a contest that was won at the free throw line with San Antonio attempting 31 shots and connecting on 25 as compared to the 10 makes on 16 tries for New Jersey. After NJ went up by as many as eight early the Spurs pulled ahead in the final minutes of the second quarter as they went on an 18-1 run that spanned the second and third quarters. At the end of their run they were up by 15 points and didn’t look back. Tim Duncan finished with 29 points and 12 rebounds, Manu Ginobili scored 12 points, Tony Parker had 11 points and Bruce Bowen had 10. Vince Carter had 19 points and 9 rebounds for the Nets, Marcus Williams scored 16 points off of the bench and Devin Harris added 13 points and 7 assists in the loss.
Orlando 102 Toronto 87
Without Chris Bosh the Toronto Raptors were able to contain Dwight Howard for three quarters. That final quarter killed them as Howard went off for 16 points in the period to lead the Magic to the 102-87 victory. The game was close throughout and with Howard stuck on the bench in foul trouble the teams went into the fourth with Orlando up 71-68. In the final period, Howard was unstoppable near the basket, as he willed the Magic above the Raptors despite a strong effort from TJ Ford who scored 13 in the quarter for the Raptors. Despite the 13 from Ford, the Raptors did not have an answer for the Magic and they were outscored 31-19 as Orlando finished the game shooting 52% while Toronto came out at 40%. Howard finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds for Orlando, Rashard Lewis had 22 points, Hedo Turkoglu had 24 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists and Jameer Nelson added 13 points. Ford finished with 20 for the Raptors, Anthony Parker scored 19 points, Jose Calderon had 14 points and Kris Humphries added 10.
Charlotte 109 Minnesota 89
The road-weary, undermanned Bobcats came into Minnesota last night on a mission. Behind Jason Richardson and his hot shooting they accomplished their goal, blowing out the Timberwolves 109-89. In a game that saw Charlotte up by six at the half, the Bobcats managed to turn a seven point lead at the start of the fourth quarter into a blowout when they outscored Minnesota 27-14 in the final period thanks to eight in the quarter from Jared Dudley and six from Richardson. It was clear from the tip that the Bobcats really wanted this victory and they were the aggressors throughout, shooting 23-29 from the free throw line as the Wolves attempted only nine free throws, connecting on five of them. Richardson finished with 25 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists for the Bobcats, Emeka Okafor had 19 points and 11 rebounds, Matt Carroll had 18 and Raymond Felton had 14 points and 10 assists. The Wolves were led by Al Jefferson and his 18 points and 11 rebounds while Ryan Gomes scored 17, Randy Foye added 16 points, Craig Smith scored 15 and Sebastian Telfair added 12 points and 9 assists.
Phoenix 97 Portland 92
While the Suns are searching for their identity during this final stretch of the season they managed to get a much needed victory against the Portland Trailblazers while also learning that at this stage of the game, even being up 20 doesn’t mean an easy win. While Phoenix managed to bust out early against the Trailblazers, they were fighting tooth and nail in the final minutes for their victory. After a great first half, the Suns held a 60-41 advantage at the break. The Blazers quickly changed this in the third quarter as they came out running and outscored Phoenix 30-19 to whittle the lead down to 79-71 at the start of the fourth. Midway through the quarter, the Blazers had cut the lead to only two points, but then the Suns were able to knock out six straight to gain just enough space to hold off Portland. The Blazers had their opportunities, but they struggled down the stretch and were haunted by an offensive interference call on Channing Frye that would have gotten them within two points with 41 seconds remaining. The Suns were able to close the game out on free throws to avoid dropping their third-straight. Amare Stoudemire led the Suns with 22 points, Grant Hill scored 18 points, Steve Nash had 19 points and Shaquille O’Neal added 13 rebounds. Brandon Roy did his best for Portland, scoring 25 points, Travis Outlaw scored 14 points, as LaMarcus Aldridge, Jarrett Jack and Channing Frye added 11 points apiece in the loss.
LA Lakers 117 Sacramento 105
In their first of four match ups this season, the Sacramento Kings and LA Lakers found themselves in a battle until the final minutes. With Sacramento coming out aggressive and going at the Lakers, they took an early lead and went ahead by as many as 13 points. LA pulled together and behind the strong play of Pau Gasol, narrowed the gap to five points with just under six minutes remaining in the game. After scoring 17 points through the first three quarters of the game in a rough-shooting night, Kobe Bryant took over. In addition to scoring 11-straight for the Lakers to give them their first lead of the game, he finished the game by taking the Lakers who were down five to the 12-point victory by scoring 17 points in the final 5:56 of the game, punctuating his performance by throwing down a spectacular 360-dunk. As Bryant went on his binge, the Kings were held scoreless for over four minute as the Lakers relied on their defense and Bryant’s offense to get them the win. Bryant finished with 34 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 14-16 from the free throw line. Pau Gasol had 31 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocked shots, Lamar Odom added 19 points and 12 boards and Derek Fisher scored 17. The Kings were led by Ron Artest and Kevin Martin who each scored 23 points as John Salmons scored 17 points, Brad Miller had a 14-point 12-rebound night and Beno Udrih added 15.