2/2/11: Cavs Damn Near Get It Done.

Manny Harris’ eyes got big as he went to the basket because he could see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Indiana had things under control early with a 12-0 lead, and it looked like the Cavs were headed to yet another blowout loss.  The Pacers would let them back in the game, though, and even allow them to take a three-point lead with 3:30 left in the fourth quarter.  Danny Granger and company were skating on very thin ice at that point, and would need a couple timely long balls to avoid embarrassment.  Read on to learn how Cleveland blew it.

Random Observations:

  • Highlight Recap: JR Smith with a serious putback slamRaymond Felton lobs to Amare Stoudemire, who rocks the rimAlonzo Gee drives and dunksMy main man Sonny Weems runs and dunksJoe Johnson shakes Amir JohnsonJosh Smith steals and slamsTop 10 plays.  I highly recommend that you mute it today, the guy tries to sing a couple times, it’s just bad.
  • Where were we… oh yeah!  So Cleveland had just taken a 108-105 lead thanks to a Manny Harris bucket, and I’m starting to feel like they’re actually about to get this win.  Danny Granger would then make a couple freethrows… ok, it’s still a one-point lead.  JJ Hickson would then badly miss a 15-footer.  At this point I’m realizing that getting this win is going to be a lot harder than it should be.  Just as that thought is processing in my head, Mike Dunleavy burries a triple to give the Pacers a two-point lead.  Antawn Jamison would tie it back up with one of his signature shots, but once again, the Pacers (Darren Collison) knocked down a three-pointer.  A midrange J by Christian Eyenga would make it a one-point game, and after Danny Granger bricked a triple, the Cavs would have a chance to take the lead with just seconds remaining.  For some reason the ball ended up in the hands of Anthony Parker, who drove and missed a shot that his sister likely would’ve converted.  Danny Granger hit two freethrows, JJ Hickson turned the ball over, Danny Granger hit more freethrows, game over.  The Cavs will go for the tie (23 straight Ls) on Friday in Memphis, which is kind of ironic, because Memphis is one of the franchises who’s futility they’d be matching. 
  • Only two of Wednesday night’s 11 games were decided by single digits, and you just heard about one of them.  The other was Houston at Utah.  Down Deron Williams and Andrei Kirilenko, the Jazz would drop their eighth in the last ten.  Kevin Martin scored a game-high 22 points and played hero with this and-one layup that gave Houston the 97-96 win.  There were seven seconds remaining when he hit the shot, but CJ Miles rimmed out a jumper at the buzzer.  Chuck Hayes had a 13/12 double-double for H-Town, while Al Jefferson and and Paul Millsap led the Jazz with 20 a piece.  Houston made 11 of 22 from long distance while the Jazz only managed to make one three in 11 tries.  After the game, Kevin Martin had this to say: “Shane was the quarterback right there and I was the wide receiver and I was in triple coverage. It was just like the Giants when they beat the Patriots (in Super Bowl). Shane made a great pass and that was the only place he could have put it, and I just threw something up and it went in.”
  • Joe Johnson dropped a season-high 37 points on the Craptors as his Hawks shot 55.3 percent and came away with a 100-87 win.  Atlanta knocked down 10 of 24 triples as they handed the Craptors their 13th loss in a row.  I would like to take a moment to talk about an athletic Craptor who has much potential: Amir Johnson is finally doing what I thought he was going to do all season.  He’s averaging 18/9 with 1.6 blocks per game over his last five, which (surprise surprise) seems to have something to do with an increase in his minutes.  Check to see if he’s available in your fantasy league… according to ESPN, he’s unowned in half of their leagues.
  • The Clippers came into their home game against the Chicago with three straight wins over the Bulls and nine straight wins at Staples… so could they get it done against the team with the league’s third best record?  Blake Griffin had 25 points at halftime, but when he cooled off, the answer was clearly no.  Griffin scored just seven more the rest of the night, and the Clippers were outscored 51-39 in the second half.  With his 32 points and 11 assists, Derrick Rose was in on 22 of Chicago’s 40 buckets.  He knocked down four threes, grabbed a steal, and blocked a shot, pleasing a certain fantasy owner.  LA will now set off on an 11-game roadtrip during which I hope the wheels won’t completely fall off…
  • The Sixers got win number five in their last six tries with a 106-92 victory over the Nets.  Paced by 26 points from Lou Williams and a triple-double from Jrue Holiday, Philly ran New Jersey off the court with 35 fastbreak points.  The Sixers gave themselves a nice boost by knocking down all 18 of their freethrow attempts.  They also turned the ball over just eight times, giving the Nets a mere nine points off of miscues.  Nets coach Avery Johnson, who hadn’t received a technical foul all season long, finally decided he’d had enough and got himself ejected after the officials failed to call a blatant foul on Elton Brand.
  • The Bucks had a shooting night so poor that it was even unusually bad on their standards.  The 28-90 (31%) showing against Phoenix was their worst effort of the season, and resulted in a 77-92 loss in the desert.  Jennings, Mbah A Moute, Douglas-Roberts, and Salmons combined to go 6 for 35.  Marcin Gortat had yet another big game for Phoenix… he scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed 11 boards.  Marcin credits Steve Nash with precisely half of his beastiness: “I already said many times, my confidence is pretty big right now. I have a lot of fun from playing basketball, my mind is really free right now, comparing to the ex-team. It’s just fun. Playing with Steve Nash, he’s going to always find you. I would say he’s 50 percent, at least 50 percent, of the success for me.”
  • The other games: Dirk Nowitzki scored 29 points to lead the Mavs to a 113-97 victory at Madison Square Garden.  Stephen Jackson dropped 39 on the Pistons as the Bobcats picked up a 97-87 victory in Detroit.  Kwame Brown gave it to his former team with a 14/10 double-double.  Kevin Durant continues to light it up… he’s scored 40 plus in three of his last four.  He dropped 43 last night in a 104-93 Thunder win over the Hornets.  Kevin Love had just 10 points and 10 boards as he struggled to contain Zach Randolph, who scored 23 points and grabbed 13 boards.  The Grizzlies got the W, 102-84.  Portland’s going to have to call up a D-Leaguer or two if Wes Matthews has to miss any action.  Wes left last night’s 109-90 loss in Denver a little early with a turned ankle, leaving Portland with LaMarcus Aldridge, Andre Miller, and not much else.  Wes did return, but then left again after bumping his knee.  Nene, Melo, and Chauncey each scored 20 or more for Denver.

Quote of the Day: The Pistons can’t even give seats away…

“Because of a storm that dropped nearly a foot of snow in Metro Detroit on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, the Pistons gave away free “Snow Day” tickets. Despite that, the game drew a smaller-than-normal crowd.”

That’s from the AP’s game recap, by the way.  You know you’re in rough shape when fans won’t show up for free. 

Photo of the Day: Behind the backboard?  Yeah, Blake Griffin can dunk from there.

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