Hawks/Heat was only notable last season for being the worst playoff series of ’09: A brutal seven-game stretch of blowouts, dead crowds, a subpar Joe Johnson, an exhausted D-Wade, and some good ol’ Pat Riley-approved ’90s Knicks prison yard basketball sprinkled in here and there. This season it’s been more of the same, as the three Hawks/Heat meetings leading up to last night had been decided by an average of 16 points. And yet Saturday’s matchup turned out to be the best game on the NBA schedule … It was nip/tuck throughout the fourth quarter. Jamal Crawford (24 pts, 5 threes) hit four straight triples during one run — including another four-point play for the NBA’s career leader in that category — but Miami always had an answer. The Hawks were up one with about two minutes to go before Mike Beasley put together a 7-0 run of his own, consisting of an alley-oop from Wade, a tip-in, and a corner three right in front of Atlanta’s bench that shut the door … Miami’s sideline reporter asked Beasley (22 pts) about his late-game explosion. “Number 3 got mad,” Beasley said. “He punched me in the chest and basically said I need to quit feeling sorry for myself.” … Crawford was a beast — one time he unleashed a string of crosses and behind-the-backs on Carlos Arroyo that popped the drawstring on Arroyo’s shorts before sticking a jumper in his eye — but Wade (38 pts, 10 asts) was a highlight factory. Once he knifed through the defense and crammed on Josh Smith, before dropping a halfcourt shot to beat the halftime buzzer. In the second half he was hitting pull-up threes with a hand in his face and scoring like he was in a gym by himself … Something weird is going on with the Cavs, or more specifically, with LeBron‘s ankle. After Friday’s win over Detroit, ESPN’s sideline reporter appeared to get shut down while asking about the ankle (following LBJ’s vague answer), then all of a sudden LeBron gets the night off Saturday against Milwaukee — which Mike Brown swears had nothing to do with the ankle, even though everybody could see LBJ limping on the sideline. In a pre-game interview, Brown said, “It was MY decision” kind of like a guy who was trying to convince himself … As for the game, Brandon Jennings dropped 25 points (5 threes) to lead the Bucks in a win while rocking a dyed-red mohawk. Was it ugly? Yeah, pretty much. But at least it was creative. And for once, Anderson Varejao didn’t have the most ridiculous hair in the building … Terrible news for the Spurs, as Tony Parker broke his right hand during their win at Memphis. Parker got tangled up with Marcus Williams and Manu Ginobili going for a loose ball. He could be out anywhere from a month to the rest of the season. We had just said the other day that San Antonio needs Parker, Manu and Richard Jefferson at the top of their game to do anything in the playoffs. George Hill is nice, but he’s not getting you past the Lakers … Other stat lines from Saturday: Dirk Nowitzki‘s 27 points led Dallas over Chicago, the Mavs’ 11th win in a row; Carlos Boozer hung 17 points and 17 rebounds on the Clippers in a Utah rout; Luis Scola put up 25 and 21 boards to beat the Wolves; Boris Diaw just missed a triple-double with 14 points, 12 boards and 9 assists in Charlotte’s win over Golden State; Devin Harris scored 31 as the Nets picked up win #7 over the Knicks; and Amar’e dropped 30 on the Pacers in a win … Channing Frye got into a fight with Earl Watson. It looked like Frye just shoved Watson from behind for no reason, then threw a punch that caught Danny Granger in the face (and would have made Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson shake their heads). The funniest part was the Phoenix crowd treating Frye like the new heavyweight champion after he got ejected. We know the Suns are notoriously soft, but don’t throw the dude a parade for picking on somebody a foot shorter than him … Duke/Carolina was a massacre. This was just a case of bad timing for the rivalry; UNC lost their key guys from the ’09 championship squad to the pros, while Duke’s key guys all matured as seniors this year. The Tar Heels were throwing up airballs, falling asleep on D, and getting bullied in the paint, while Duke couldn’t miss a shot. Jon Scheyer, Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler combined for 65 points on Senior Night … Was it really necessary for Dick Vitale to hype up his ACC Player of the Year pick for like 45 minutes when all he did was take the easy route and go Co-P.O.Y. with Scheyer and Greivis Vasquez? … We’re out like ‘Bron …
Smack / Mar 7, 2010 / 5:43 am
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