Considering the game was played on New Year’s Eve, Celtics/Hornets was the right matchup scheduled in the wrong city. We’re pretty sure every player involved would rather have spent the night partying in New Orleans instead of Boston — or on a plane headed to another road city … The injury-depleted Celtics rolled out a starting five of Nate Robinson, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Big Baby and Shaq, with Jermaine O’Neal as the sixth man and Luke Harangody getting significant minutes off the bench. They hung in there with the healthy Hornets and were actually leading by seven midway through the fourth quarter before Marco Belinelli sparked an 11-2 run to give N.O. the lead. Trevor Ariza hit a huge three to beat the shot clock a couple possessions later, and with Boston down two in the final seconds, Ray missed a hurried three that could have won it … Proof that athleticism can be overrated: Chris Paul (20 pts, 11 asts, 6 stls) routinely made Nate Robinson look lost with his misdirection, changes of speed and simply knowing how to play the game to compensate for not being on Nate’s level as a pure athlete … Remember that Nike ad a few years back where Pierce and J.O. ruined a pickup 5-on-5 by turning it into a full court 1-on-1? What would happen if that game were played today? Pierce would make quick work of Jermaine … Lakers/Sixers came down to two things: Kobe Bryant making big shots down the stretch, and the Sixers collectively being unable to respond. In a game that was closer than expected without Andre Iguodala in the lineup, Philly hung with L.A. down to the final two minutes, when Kobe (33 pts) hit a jumper to put the Lakers up three, then after Thaddeus Young tied it with a three-point play, Kobe hit the go-ahead J and iced the W with free throws while the Sixers fired up brick after brick … Who said Kobe was getting old? One time he drove down the middle of the lane, elevated and crushed a dunk on Andres Nocioni with two hands and swung on the rim … It sounds silly to say the Sixers are better without Iguodala on the court, but it seems sensible lately. In the win over Phoenix the other night and the Lakers loss, Philly’s ball movement has been much better without Iguodala, and Evan Turner plays like a different person when A.I.2 is out. We saw a stat that said Turner’s production triples when Iguodala doesn’t play … What happens when one of the most entertaining teams in the League meets one of the most sleep-inducing squads? An ultimately forgettable game that goes down to the wire. The Warriors were in control most of the second half before the Bobcats rallied to cut the lead to one late in the fourth quarter. Monta Ellis (25 pts, 5 asts, 3 stls) ran off a couple buckets to push the lead to six with 1:20 remaining, but Stephen Jackson and Boris Diaw got it back to one with about 15 seconds left. Monta got called for an offensive foul on G-State’s inbounds play, giving the ‘Cats a chance to steal a win. S-Jack (22 pts) got off a three, but he bricked it … Davidson College coach Bob McKillop and the entire Davidson team were in the gym to support Stephen Curry (24 pts), who said he had to get about 70 tickets to accommodate all his friends and fam in Charlotte. The other night, Steph had gone back to his alma mater to watch Davidson play Maine … Other stat lines from New Year’s Eve: Kevin Durant dropped 33 points and Russell Westbrook posted a triple-double with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to lead Oklahoma City past Atlanta; Danny Granger and Darren Collison scored 18 apiece as Indiana beat Washington; Carlos Boozer put up 20 points and 15 rebounds in Chicago’s win over New Jersey; Vince Carter had 19 points and 8 boards to help Phoenix knock off Detroit; and DeMar DeRozan scored 37 points, but Toronto lost to Houston … We’re out like 2010 …
Smack / Jan 1, 2011 / 8:00 am
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