In the free cable TV classic Face/Off, John Travolta the FBI agent and Nic Cage the criminal switch faces (it’s complicated and corny) and go about their good guy/bad guy business while basically being the other guy. Last night was like the NBA version of Face/Off, only instead of Travolta and Cage, it was starring Kadeem Hardison and Dolph Lundgren. Blazers/Mavs saw one guy drop 52 points and absolutely dominate down the stretch, using awkward herky-jerky moves to beat his defenders between sticking jumper after jumper. Dirk Nowitzki? Nope. It was Andre Miller … Maybe the last starting PG this side of Jason Kidd you’d expect to drop a Curtis Jackson on somebody, ‘Dre was unstoppable, putting on a Dirk mask and hitting 22-of-31 from the field with only one three-pointer. It was the League’s third 50-point effort this season, after Brandon Jennings‘ 55 against Golden State and Carmelo‘s 50 against the Knicks … As you can tell by Miller’s 31 attempts, the Blazers didn’t have Brandon Roy (hamstring). Instead, it was Miller driving the lane, scoring from mid-range, and beasting cats in the post. He was possessed in the fourth quarter, dropping 18 points including a running hook shot while swooping across the lane over Shawn Marion with 14 seconds left that ultimately forced overtime. In the extra frame, Miller hit a three, a jumper and another layup — so with under a minute to go and the game tied up, of course Portland went to Juwan Howard, who hadn’t scored all game long. Juwan knocked down a pull-up J over Dirk that proved to be the game-winner … Dirk scored 28, but compared to Miller, it seemed quiet. Nate McMillan went with the “Throw every kind of look imaginable at him” defensive strategy: Everybody from LaMarcus Aldridge to Nic Batum to Steve Blake guarded Dirk at one time or another … Speaking of ownership, the Hawks followed Friday’s win over the team they apparently own now (Boston) by running into the team that has owned them lately (Orlando). The Hawks actually had a 10-point lead in the first quarter, but the Magic made a 15-2 run to go ahead, and really started turning the screws in during the third. Dwight Howard did a favor for everybody who’s been arguing for David Lee as an All-Star over Al Horford, as Dwight hung 31 points and 19 boards while holding Al to just four points and four rebounds … Despite the win, Vince Carter continued to struggle (6 pts, 2-7 FG). Between last night and the Celtics game on Thursday, at least Orlando is showing they can beat elite teams when Vince isn’t on his game. But if he is playing well, he makes them so much more dangerous … Chris Paul (knee) sat out Hornets/Grizzlies, but Darren Collison made sure it didn’t matter. He owed his team that. When the Hornets lost to Chicago the other night, Collison was a honestly a detriment on both ends of the floor after CP got hurt in the final seconds of the fourth quarter. This time he was the star, finishing with 17 points and 18 dimes. It wasn’t exactly a Magic Johnson-type highlight reel of dimes, either: Collison would just bring the ball up, pass it to somebody — almost always the right pass — and they would score. Simple as that … In overtime, Memphis was down three with about a minute left when they missed four shots on the same possession: two threes by O.J. Mayo, a three by Sam Young and a putback by Rudy Gay. On their fifth chance, O.J. tried to split a double team when Collison picked him from behind, ran down and dunked it just before Rudy could catch up to him. That was basically the dagger with 24 seconds left … Other stat lines from Saturday: Antawn Jamison posted 21 points and 23 boards, and Mike Miller barely missed a triple-double with 25 points (seven threes), nine boards and eight dimes in Washington’s win over the Knicks; Andrew Bogut had 17 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks as Milwaukee beat the Heat; and Gerald Wallace dropped 38 points and 11 boards in Charlotte’s win at Sacramento … Georgetown/Duke was already the marquee college game of the day, and then it got kicked up a notch when President Obama and his crew showed up in the building. Obama offered some quality basketball analysis when he sat in for a few minutes with Clark Kellogg and Verne Lundquist, but we still got the vibe that Vice President Joe Biden would more likely be the one who winds up coaching a team someday … We’re out like CP …
Smack / Jan 31, 2010 / 7:25 am
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