Staples has certainly been the place to be in NBA basketball over the past couple of days. The shot pictured above was responsible for the fifth overtime in just two nights at Staples. Not only has the building hosted two of the season’s most exciting finishes, but also some intriguing individual performances. You’ve had John Wall drop a career-high, Kobe Bryant score 42, and Blake Griffin get his first ever triple-double. The highlights have also been off the chain, as you’ll find as soon as you scroll down just a bit further…
- Highlight Recap, Javale McGee Edition:
- If you haven’t seen Javale McGee’s block on Wes Matthews from Tuesday night, then watch this right now. Matthews goes up for a dunk, and McGee just takes the ball from him… with one hand… and holds on to it. He just snatched the damn thing Laphonso Ellis style. That block by Ellis is legendary… and I think Javale’s is right there on the same level. The two plays are very similar. Both players even posed for a moment after their denials. This block by McGee is the best I’ve seen in a really long time. The most recent block I can come up with off the top of my head that I would even put on it’s level is Maxiell on Chandler. I’m sure there are others that have slipped my mind, but man, that block by Javale is right up there with any swat I’ve ever seen.
- Highlight Recap, Blake’s Revenge Edition:
- Highlight Recap, Everyone Else Edition: Dwyane Wade double-pump reverse jam. DeJuan Blair rocks the rim with a putback. Serge Ibaka does the same thing. Dwight Howard flies in for a putback. Chris Wilcox with a sick… dish? Something you’d expect from Wilcox. Chris needs to bring the braids back if the Pistons are actually going to let him free. The dunks aren’t the same without the hair flying around. Moving right along… Kwame Brown surprisingly managed to catch this over-the-head pass from Stack, and he even finished it too. Tyrus Thomas is..er..was back. He threw down that nasty slam, but then later left the game with a rib injury. The top 10 includes a few of those plays and more.
- The Wizards came within one jumper of achieving their second road victory of the season. Instead, Jordan Crawford missed, the game went to a second OT, and Washington dropped to 1-33 away from the Phone Booth. They’ve got just seven games left to avoid tying the the ’90/91 Sacramento Kings for the worst road record in NBA history. They’ve got a pretty good opportunity to take care of business at Cleveland in the final game of the season. Anyway, back to last night’s contest… I was ready to slap the sh!t out of Chris Kaveman through my television as he started off the first OT with a turnover, and airballed layup, and a bricked jumper. He allowed Javale McGee to score two buckets during that stretch as well. DeAndre Jordan: get well soon. Fortunately, the Wizards missed their last three shots of the OT while Blake Griffin, Mo Williams, and especially Eric Gordon came through in the clutch…
- Excellent shot by Gordon, obviously. It was anything but an easy one, and I’m sure he was feeling the heat because he had just turned the ball over about a minute before. Let’s give some credit to Vinny Del Negro, who rarely gets any credit for anything. It was an excellent play to free Gordon up and put him in position to stick the shot. You can’t see it in the video, but Chris Kaveman made himself useful with a solid screen that forced Javale McGee to switch onto Gordon. That’s obviously a mismatch way out there in three-point land, and Eric easily faked him out of his shoes and knocked the shot down. The second extra period was all Clippers. The Wizards only hit two shots… none of which came in the final three minutes. LA out-scored them 14-6 and made it a 127-119 victory. Blake Griffin went to work and recorded a HUGE triple double in this one (33/17/10). John Wall was almost as nice with his numbers (32/5/10), and he hit the shot that forced the initial overtime. The Wizards were down 10 with nine minutes left in the third, so credit Wall and company for making a great come-from-behind effort… it just wasn’t quite enough. Yi Jianlian had his second double-figure outing since being placed in the starting lineup five games ago. Don’t expect him to keep it up… the guy has never done anything consistently in his life.
- Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks had a chance to beat the Magic, which may have given them a moment to breathe. I think Melo’s face has been plastered on Yahoo!’s NBA page for a solid week straight. In today’s “what have you done for me lately?” sports world, a win over the Magic probably would’ve had people finding someone else to diss on for a day or two. It didn’t go down like that, though… not at all. The Knicks had another awful second half, choked a late-third-quarter lead, and ended up losing 99-111. New York has now lost seven of eight, they’ve failed to score 100 in their last four games, and in three of those four they’ve put up fewer than 45 points in the second half. They’re averaging just 19.5 fourth-quarter PPG during this stretch. To me, this could indicate a few things. Mike D’Antoni feels that Amare Stoudemire is tired. Poor fourth quarters tell us that the entire team may be feeling fatigued. It also shows that they may be crumbling under all of this pressure. These guys know they’re all over ESPN for all of the wrong reasons, and I’m sure they’re dying to get the hell out of the media’s focus. All of these second-half duds and fourth-quarter chokes are an indication of that. Dwight Howard was huge in last night’s game (as he should be against a small team like NY) with 33 points and 11 boards. He made 11 of his 15 shots and 11 of 13 freethrows. I still feel like 15 shots for Dwight was too few, even with 13 freethrows, and 25 Orlando triples were a few too many… but 12 of them dropped on this occasion. There was a Hedo Turkeyglue sighting: he was responsible for four of those threes as he put up 16 points and 11 boards. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 24 on 6-12. Amare Stoudemire scored just 13… his third game with fewer than 20 points in his last five. Fun fact: Dwight Howard is a better freethrow shooter than Steve Nash this week. Dwight has knocked down 21 of 25 (84 percent) while Nash is just 7-10 (70 percent). Did anyone else see Quentin Richardson pretend to use a defibrillator on Dwight Howard after he hit the deck around the 8:20 mark of the fourth? Unfortunately I can’t record it from the League Pass archives because the game was on ESPN. It was pretty funny.
- A couple of former NBA-Champion Celtics helped the Grizzlies beat Boston 90-87 in Bean Town. No single Grizzly scored over 13 points, but six of ‘em recorded double-figures, including Leon Powe, one of the aforementioned former Cs. Powe’s 13 came on 5-6 shooting in just 17 minutes off the bench. Leon is a guy who should be playing minutes in the NBA. He’s had his share of injury problems, but there’s no reason that this dude should be wasting away on someone’s bench… he’s better than a lot of power forwards who play very consistent minutes. Said Doc Rivers: “Leon Powe was the baddest man on the planet tonight.” The other former Celtic, Tony Allen, scored eight points, grabbed seven boards, came up with a steal, and blocked a shot. Not a huge statistical night, but you best believe his energy and defense were a factor in this victory. This was a big one for the Grizz because Houston won too. Memphis remains two games in front of the Rockets for that eighth and final playoff position. It was another poor performance from the Celtics. They shot 42 percent and turned the ball over 18 times. Chemistry… they currently lack it. Fun fact: Boston is 21-0 at home against the East, but they’re just 6-7 against the West. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. This play pretty much sums up why I don’t like Rajon Rondo…
- C’mon son. You’ve got to go up with that. Your team isn’t going to get a better look. I’m not sure if he’s avoiding the freethrow line or what… but there’s no excuse to dribble that out. The guy just needs to shoot more often when he penetrates into the paint.
- Kenyon Martin remains quite possibly the league’s most underrated defender, but he showed his value on national TV last night. Martin was assigned to stop Manu Ginobili from getting off a clean potential game-tying three with 6.5 seconds on the clock. First of all, Martin did an excellent job of forcing Ginobili to go all the way into the backcourt to receive the inbound pass. Martin then stuck to Manu like glue, moving his feet well as Ginobili crossed over, and even staying right on top of him as he stopped on a dime at the three-point line. Kenyon’s hand was about an inch from the ball/Manu’s grill as he air-mailed a fade-away three. K-Mart only blocked one shot in the game, though, so the box-score-watching All-Defense team voters will continue to snub my main man. Six Nuggets scored in double figures in the 115-112 victory. A combined 25 threes were nailed in this game… six of which were courtesy of Gary neal, who scored a career-best 25 points off the bench. Al Harrington, who has done next to nothing all season long, followed up a 15-point night with a game-high 27 points. Wilson Chandler hit the go-ahead bucket with 29 seconds on the clock.
- Everyone thank the Sacramento Kings for delivering a huge blow to the playoff hopes of the Milwaukee Bucks. The Deer are now three games behind the Pacers with fewer than a month to go after this 90-97 home loss. Marcus Thornton continues to put up numbers… he led the Queens with 27 points. Carlos Delfino scored 30 points, but he didn’t get a whole lot of help. Brandon Jennings went 2-7, John Salmons finished 3-14… just a typical Bucks game. I don’t think anyone outside of Wisconsin cares to see this team get swept by the Celtics, Bulls, or Heat. I’d prefer to watch that happen to Indiana (or possibly New York, LOL)… they’d make it watchable.
- The Other Games: Kris Humphries scored 18 points and grabbed 23 boards as the Nets beat the Cavs 98-94 (in OT) in the Byron Scott bowl. Said Hump after the game: “I’m tired, man.” I’m sure Kim took good care of the lucky bastard. Josh Smith put up 33/12, but Atlanta got out-scored 31-20 in the fourth and lost 100-105 to Philly. Seven Sixers scored in double-figures. Danny Granger dropped 33 as the Pace Makers beat the fur off of the Bobcats 111-88. Kwame Brown recorded 16/9 in defeat. The Heat held the Pistons to 13 fourth-quarter points and picked up a 100-94 victory. Rip Hamilton scored a game-high 27 points. The Jazz are pretty much toast… they’ve fallen four games out of the playoffs with their latest 94-106 loss to the Thunder. Russell Westbrook dropped 31 on 17 shots. Chuck Hayes put a triple-double (13/14/11) on the Warriors as Houston got a 131-112 win. My main man Dorell Wright came up with a career-high 34 points. Steve Nash and his Suns defeated his home nation’s Craptors 114-106. Andrea Bargnani’s total of four rebounds was matched by Hakim Warrick in eight minutes of play.
Quote of the Day: Thank you, Basketball Gods…
Photo of the Day: