By Holly MacKenzie
As usual, I had written up recaps from both Friday and Saturday night so that when Sunday night came, I would only have a few games of the night to cover and then edit before I posted this. I somehow ended up losing my document and now have to start all over and this Lakers/Clippers game is over and it’s 1am. Why does auto recovery never seem to kick in when you have 3000+ words typed? I’ve started re-writing the games I had recapped originally, but I can feel my eyes closing. I do have the notes in point form that I had typed in on my “post-it” thing on my desktop during Friday night’s games, but that is it. Here we go.
Kobe wants this win against the Warriors badly, but the off-balance jumpers and ill-advised decisions on offense are making me crazy here in this final quarter. You are injured, maybe it would be a good time to defer. How about getting the ball to Bynum, maybe? Just like the Warriors taking forever to realize that Harrington was hot, so frustrating to watch.
Jason Kapano killed the pacers. 6-7 on threes and he scored a career-high 29. Humphries great on D again. Defended O’neal to a T.17-point comeback and 39 assists to only 4 turnovers for Calderon in his last 5 games. That is incredible, 16 assists and 2 turnovers in this Pacers game.
The Raptor announcers told a fun story about Humphries running lines after games earlier in the season, still in his uniform, getting in shape and working hard for when his name would be called off of the bench. It is paying off.
Sheldon Williams carjacked at gunpoint? This has got to stop. It makes my stomach turn hearing about another violent episode every week. If we get to a point where all professional athletes need protection and bodyguards on hand at all times, it will be sad.
I love the new Yahoo Boxscores with the +/-‘s and full player minutes. They’ve also included a new “BA” category which shows how many times a player got their shot blocked a game. I noticed it for the first time on Friday night and I am a big fan.
This snowstorm that hit Toronto today is here in full-swing and the weather outside is truly frightful. Tons of snow, rain, and hail. Ick. It was crazy to see the Raps/Celts game. It was something like a 5-point lead for Boston and I was on the phone for maybe 10 minutes, I look back at the score and Boston is now up almost 20. It is crazy how quickly they bust out. Without Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo stepped up and had a great game, but, for a home game, the Raps got zero love from the officials in the game. 20-2 start for the Celtics.
Clipp’s announcer asks, “What is the big difference between Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan’s game?” Answer: “Dean Smith.” I like that answer, because as much as I love Kobe, if only he had had some more time to grow up and learn how to get along with people, how to use your teammates to your advantage earlier on, he might have had a whole fistful of rings rather than the three he currently possesses.
Bynum has been such a pleasant surprise this season. I knew he would improve and be a good player, but, I did not expect this much this soon. He is a nightly double-double if he gets any time at all and his confidence is up and he is starting to demand the ball. In addition to doing it on the offensive end, he is becoming a force on defense and I love watching him block shots.
Ivy with 38 points tonight in the Nuggets loss to Portland. I LOVE seeing Iverson being aggressive on the offensive end, but, I love watching Portland even more. Brandon Roy is taking this team places and Travis Outlaw has come out of nowhere to give crucial contributions each night.
I didn’t know if Kobe would even play in the game against the Clippers last night since the groin injury looked so bad in the Golden State game. Not only did he play, but he scored 32 points and looked pretty great. I should have known not to count out Kobe who claims he did not sleep the night before but did therapy for 24 hours instead, to be ready for the game. Whether or not that is true I don’t know but I do know that I commented to my mom that KB was looking worse for the wear as I marveled that it has been 12 years in the L already.
Golden State Warriors 108 LA Lakers 106
After the Lakers led for the entire first half and put in an impressive 24 minutes they were up only seven at the break as the Warriors started to wake up and play their game. After a horrendous first half, Golden State started the rally from 13 down in the third quarter but, it wasn’t until the fourth quarter where Baron Davis and co. really went to work and turned the game into a battle. It was a game that had lots of drama, with Davis picked up his 5th foul halfway through the third quarter and sat until the 9:45 mark in the fourth quarter. As Davis sat, Al Harrington was hot for the Warriors and finished with 22 points. While the Warriors gained Davis to finish out the game, the Lakers lost Kobe Bryant with a strained groin/quad injury that rendered him ineffective in the quarter and ultimately, with a seat on the bench for the Lakers final two possessions in the game. As Davis returned he went to work immediately for the Warriors, knocking down free throws, three-pointers and assisting on buckets, leading Golden State to tie the game with 1:54 left on the clock. From there, with 16.8 seconds left in the game, Davis jumped behind the three-point line and knocked down the back-breaker and the Clippers stole one from the Lakers, 108-106. Davis led the way, scoring 22 points and dishing 6 assists, while Stephen Jackson added 20 and Monta Ellis had 19. Bryant was tops for the Lakers with 21 points, but shot only 6-23 from the floor, many of those misses coming in the fourth. Andrew Bynum was easily the best player on the court for the Lakers, finishing with 17 points and 16 boards after having a double-double at the half and shooting 8-10 from the floor. Lamar Odom had 18 points and 15 rebounds, but, faltered at the end of the game missing a crucial shot and turning the ball over on the final possession for LA.
Toronto 104 Indiana 93
After being beat by the Pacers in the first half of the game and then going down by as many as 17 points in the third quarter, the Raptors were ready to turn the tides and they looked to Jason Kapono to help them do so. After the Pacers stretched the lead to 66-49 in the quarter, Toronto went on an 11-0 run that cut the lead to six points and at the end of the third, Indiana was up 75-69. In the fourth, Kapono things going and the Raptors outscored Indiana 35-18 to not only come from behind but blow the Pacers out of the water as Kapono connected on 6-7 three-pointers and scored a career-high 29 points in the contest. With nine minutes remaining in the game, Toronto took the lead, 81-80 and the game went back and fourth before back-to-back threes by Calderon and Kapono to put Toronto ahead for good with three minutes left in the game. While Indiana shot only 10 free throws, making 6 of them, the Raptors connected on 20 of their 23 shots and also shot 47.6% from behind the arc for the game. Besides Kapono’s career night, Calderon had a great game filling on for TJ Ford, finishing with 18 points and 16 assists with only 2 turnovers. Chris Bosh added 22 points and 16 rebounds and Kris Humphries continued the great play off of the bench with 17 points and great defense on Jermaine O’neal. Mike Dunleavy led Indiana with 23 points and Jamaal Tinsley had 19 and 10 assists in the loss. Danny Granger added 15 points and 9 rebounds for the Pacers.
New Orleans 101 Phoenix 98
While Steve Nash is the owner of two MVP awards, Saturday night it was all about Chris Paul as the younger point guard won the battle leading his team to a 101-98 victory. New Orleans lead early, going up by as many as 16 points before Phoenix battled back in the second half, outscoring New Orleans 34-21 in the third and then briefly taking a lead at the start of the fourth after Raja Bell connected on a jumper from the top of the key. The teams traded baskets and leads for most of the fourth before a Paul three put the Hornets up 90-88. Paul got a layup to go that put New Orleans up 99-92 with 3:20 on the clock and Phoenix played tough defense, holding New Orleans scoreless until the final second of the game. After Amare Stoudemire cut the lead to 99-98 on two made free throws with 35 seconds left in the game, the Hornets missed and on the Suns final possession, Shawn Marion’s runner in the lane was far short, hitting only air and the Suns were forced to foul Paul with .2 seconds remaining as the Hornets went on to win 101-98. Paul finished with 21 points and 10 assists, Tyson Chandler had 14 points and 18 rebounds and Morris Peterson scored 21 as well. David West finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Leandro Barbosa had a team-high 19 points off of the bench for Phoenix, Grant Hill and Raja Bell each scored 17 and Amare Stoudemire had 16 points as Nash was held to 12 points and 7 assists in the loss.
Memphis 123 Orlando 119
Despite going up by as many as eight in the first half, the Memphis Grizzlies were trailing the Orlando Magic 59-55 at the break. Orlando started the second half on a 5-0 run to go up by as many as nine points but, it didn’t matter in the end, as hot three-point shooting led the Grizzlies to a 123-119 victory. While Orlando led by three at the start of the fourth, it was an 11-4 run by the Grizzlies that was capped off by a three-pointer by Juan Carlos Navarro that gave Memphis a 110-104 lead which was enough for them to go on to the victory. It was a career-night for Rudy Gay who scored 32 points while Navarro added 27, including five three-pointers. Memphis outscored the Magic 38-31 in the final quarter to come out on top. Mike Miller scored 19 points, grabbed 8 rebounds and dished 8 assists for Memphis. Dwight Howard was dominant in the loss with 31 points and 20 rebounds, Hedo Turkoglu added 24 points, Jameer Nelson had 18 points and 8 assists and Keith Bogans added 16 points in the loss. Orlando was without Rashard Lewis who missed the game because of neck spasms and Memphis missed Pau Gasol for the second straight game with a toe injury.
Washington 92 Sacramento 79
Already without Gilbert Arenas, the Washington Wizards have lost backup point guard (who has been their starting point guard in the absence of Arenas), Antonio Daniels for 2-4 weeks with a sprained MCL. Down to nine healthy players, it would be understandable if Washington let the game slip away. Understandable to everyone except those nine available players, who are ready to scrap and fight to grab every victory they can. They did what was needed on Saturday to get the win, and Deshawn Stevenson came up big, two nights after doing the same in Miami. Stevenson had 19 points and connected on five three-pointers in the game, keeping Washington on top for the entirety of the contest. While Washington had fresh legs, the Kings were coming off of a victory in Philadelphia the night before and could not keep up the pace with the Wizards. Washington blew the game out in the third quarter by outscoring Sacramento 28-16 and extending a two-point lead into 14-point advantage in a five-minute span and cruised to the victory from there. In addition to Stevenson’s hot shooting, Antawn Jamison had 16 points and 9 rebounds for the Wizards and Brendan Haywood had a 7-point, 11-rebound double-double. Caron Butler scored only 12 points but dished 8 assists and Roger Mason scored 13 points off of the bench. Brad Miller led Sacramento with 21 points and 9 rebounds, Beno Udrih had 12 points and 10 assists and Francisco Garcia added 11 points in the loss. Sacramento is still without Mike Bibby who has not played yet this season as a result of surgery on his thumb, and they are missing their leading scorer, Kevin Martin, to a strained groin.
Portland 116 Denver 105
Another road game, another game without LaMarcus Aldridge, another victory for the Portland Trailblazers. Last night the Blazers won their seventh straight game, beating the Nuggets 116-105 as they shot their way to a victory. For the game, Portland shot 54.4% from the floor and Denver could not stop them from scoring. The Blazers led by 12 at the break and continued to pour it on in the third, going up by 19 points for the start of the fourth. Allen Iverson was the only player who had their shot going for Denver, and he tried to will the team back into it in the fourth, scoring 16 points in the quarter and cutting the lead to 12, but Denver did not get any closer as Portland responded and stretched their lead back up to 115-97 with 2:30 left on the clock. Channing Frye was the story for the Blazers as he went 7-8 from the floor in the first quarter and scored 18 first half points. Brandon Roy continued his great play with a 26-point, 11-assist performance and Travis Outlaw contributed 17 points off of the bench. Portland out-rebounded the Nuggets by 10 and pulled down 18 offensive rebounds in the game. Iverson was tops for Denver with a 38-point effort on 11-22 shooting from the floor. Carmelo Anthony finished with 19 points, Kenyon Martin had 14 and Linas Klezia added 11.
Atlanta 93 Charlotte 84
After a close first quarter, the Atlanta Hawks led 49-41 at the half against the Charlotte Bobcats. Joe Johnson helped to stretch that lead into a 16-point advantage before newly acquired Nazr Mohammad hit back-to-back shots to help cut the Hawks lead down to eight points midway through the final quarter of the game. As the Hawks felt their lead get smaller, Johnson stepped up and stretched the lead back to 90-77 as he hit on consecutive possessions and broke Charlotte’s back with a long three-pointer with 2:56 on the clock and Atlanta held on for their 11th victory on the season. Johnson finished with 31 points on 12-24 shooting, Marvin Williams scored 20 points and Josh Smith had a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while also dishing 6 assists. Gerald Wallace led Charlotte with 24 points and Emeka Okafor had a 14-point, 14-rebound double-double, but it was not enough. Raymond Felton added 15 points and Jason Richardson had 11.
Indiana 106 Miami 103
Jamaal Tinsley scored 26 points for the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night to lead his team to a 106-103 victory against Miami. Playing on the second night of a back-to-back after a loss at home to Toronto, the Pacers got off to a slow start before putting together a strong second half in the game. Miami led 55-52 at the half, but Indiana managed to rally back and take an 11-point lead midway through the final quarter. The Heat were not ready to give the game up and they cut their deficit to 103-100 with 39 seconds left in the game but, gave up a crucial offensive rebound to Indiana’s Jeff Foster and were unable to stop the clock with a foul fast enough and watched the victory slip away. They were outscored 14-4 in the opening minutes of the fourth as the Pacers took control and ultimately went on to the victory. Besides Tinsley, Jermaine O’neal had 24 points and Danny Granger had 16. Kareem Rush added 14 points off of the bench. Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem each scored 24 points for the Heat, with Wade adding 9 assists. Daequan Cook had 14 points off of the bench and Ricky Davis added 13 points and 9 rebounds.