The Post Up: Groundhog Day

by Holly MacKenzie

Tough loss for Raptors fans last night. While it was a “good” loss in the sense that the team played together and forced overtime against the Celtics, it was so painful to watch their defense disappear in OT. That Paul Pierce is something, isn’t he? Great performance from him, especially in overtime, on his way to 39 points.

I was happy to see my favorite Celtic Leon Powe score 10 off of the bench. I will be really happy when the Ivy issue of SLAM finally arrives in Toronto so that I can read my piece on Powe. Page 32 if anyone is interested. A friend made sure to tell me I was on that page, since you know, anyone who knows my email, knows that is my number for Mr. Magic.

Felt like a good omen.

You know what else was fun? Finally getting linked over at Truehoop yesterday for my Celtics game notes I linked to in here yesterday. I’m still flying high over that one. Thanks to all of you who checked in, read and commented. I got some serious haters. I love it!

I had one of our very own call me out last night via gchat. Ryne Nelson is not happy with the lack of Deron coverage. I’ve got to give it to him, he’s loyal to his guy. As a ridiculously loyal fan You know it's me.myself, I respect that. Honestly, I just haven’t caught a lot of Jazz games, but I saw that beauty 3 he hit at the end of the shot clock last night, to put the Jazz in in the final two minutes. That was picture perfect. I know Ryne was smiling.

The Knicks defeating the Hornets in New Orleans? Can someone tell me what happened? I didn’t catch even a glimpse of this one…. What the hell is going on? I’m going to assume you’ve all seen the horror that is the harrassment suit that Eddy Curry is facing. I’m going to hope and pray for the sake of everyone involved (particularly his family), that this is somehow not true. Goodness.

Never a dull moment in NY. Ever.

Didn’t catch the Bucks defeat the Wiz either, but I notice that Nick Young had 30 to lead Washington. Dark days in D.C., but that guy makes me smile.

Danny. Granger. 30 last night. Another loss and you can see it in his eyes, he’s not having that. Who would have guessed he’d be one of the league leaders in scoring? I love it.

Before I forget, Deron’s three was nice, but Mehmet was the hero in Utah last night. A career-high 43 looks good on him.

The Portland/Chi game was entertaining. I love those Blazers. Even if I’m really hoping Darius can stick it to them and play these two games then continue to build from there.

To echo the front page over at Yahoo! Sports, what’s going to happen in Detroit with the return of Hamilton to the lineup? Go small with Ivy and Rip or sit one of them? Let me know how it’s going to go down, guys. Thanks.

While we’re on the topic of Yahoo! Sports, I noticed that my absolute favorite, number one basketball show/radio show/video podcast, The Basketball Jones, was sponsored by none other than SLAM yesterday. Beautiful. Perfect pairing. No one does it better than Tas and Skeets (and JD). Made me smile.

Boston 115 Toronto 109 OT

Don’t you love those home and away back-to-backs? I do. One day after the Celtics took down the Raptors in Toronto, they returned home to do it again. This time however, they needed overtime and a 39-point effort from Paul Pierce to get the W. Playing without both Jermaine O’Neal and Jose Calderon, it was Andrea Bargnani who again put the Raptors on his back and knocked down a three at the end of regulation to force overtime. In the extra session it was all Pierce, despite his playing on a sore knee that he injured Sunday in Toronto. The Raptors defense died in the overtime as they gave up 22 points to the Celtics in the five minute session. Pierce was 13-26 from the floor for his 39. Kevin Garnett had 20 points and 12 rebounds and Ray Allen had 12 points and 5 assists. Andrea Bargnani scored 23 points for the Raptors while Bosh had 18 and 11 (but was very quiet down the stretch), and Roko Ukic had 16 points off of the bench.

New Jersey 103 Oklahoma City 99

On a night where both Vince Carter and Devin Harris were struggling offensively, rookie Brook Lopez took over, scoring 31 points and saving the Nets from what would have been an embarrassing home loss to the Thunder. Luckily for NJ, Lopez was on fire and guided the Nets to a 103-99 victory. This was an odd one as Vince Carter connected on a three with nine seconds remaining only to have the basket waved off because Coach Frank had stepped onto the court to call a timeout. On their final possession in regulation, Harris missed a jumper and in overtime Carter kicked things off with a three-pointer that did count and the Nets didn’t look back. In addition to his 31 points, Lopez had 13 rebounds. Harris finished with 17 points, on 22 shots and Carter had 21. The Thunder were led by Kevin Durant’s 26 points and 9 rebounds while Russell Westbrook had 19 and Jeff Green added 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Portland 109 Chicago 95

When I flipped over to this one, I was surprised to see a very close game in the opening minutes of the fourth. Tapped a few lines out on this very column and the next thing I know, the Blazers have extended their three-point lead to double-digits and have broken the backs of the Bulls. An 11-0 run by the Blazers in the fourth did the Bulls in as they were unable to get the stops that they needed down the stretch and Travis Outlaw shot his way to victory for the Trailblazers. Outlaw finished with a season-high 33 points while Greg Oden had 17 points and 13 rebounds and Steve Blake had 16 points and 10 assists. The Bulls were led by Drew Gooden’s 22 points as Derrick Rose had 13 points and 10 assists Ben Gordon added 17.

Utah 120 Indiana 113

One night after he scored a career-high 42 in a loss to Golden State, Danny Granger was again on the losing end, this time in Utah as Mehmet Okur led the Jazz to a 120-113 victory on their homecourt. Okur exploded for a career-high of his own, scoring 43 points in the game as the Jazz hung on for the win, despite allowing Indiana to come back from 20 down, thanks to a 16-0 run in the second half. While the Jazz pulled the victory off, Indiana continued to push and it was Deron Williams who saved them late, knocking down a huge three-pointer at the end of the shot clock to put the Jazz up 116-109 with 1:25 left. Besides Okur’s big night, Williams finished with 23 points and 11 assists as Andrei Kirilenko added 23 points and 12 rebounds. Granger had 30 points to lead the Pacers while Troy Murphy had 12 points and 10 rebounds and Mike Dunleavy added 20 off of the bench in the loss.