Mike Tirico said it best: “Is it me, or does this feel like a playoff game?” LeBron and ‘Melo played like it was. And so did Chauncey Billups … Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire playing defense? The last people who would’ve ever believed in that statement would be Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. But in yesterday’s three-point statement-win in Miami, the two Knick stars combined for perhaps the biggest play of the game on the defensive end. In the final minute with the Knicks up one, James (27 points) iso’d against ‘Melo (29 points) only to first find his path to the rim blocked by ‘Melo, and then found his shot blocked by Amar’e (16 points, 10 rebounds). Before that, it was Billups (16 points), you know, the guy no one wanted to acknowledge as a huge piece of the trade, who changed the complexion of the game. With under two minutes to go, Billups scored five straight points, including a three from Fort Lauderdale to put New York up one. Then, he picked up a steal on the next Miami possession, leading to a fast break. No one is acting like he was just a throw-in anymore … In case you aren’t a fan of culture, the Oscars were also on last night. If the NBA had their own version, we wonder what awards LeBron would get for his money-time theatrics? Yesterday surely wasn’t one of his better performances. After the aforementioned block by Stoudemire, James missed a top-of-the-key three that would’ve tied it that incited this tweet from @RealSkipBayless: “At least he hit the rim with that last-second three. That’s improvement.” After a first half where LeBron was putting together SportsCenter highlights, like the left-handed alley-oop he caught just a few minutes into the game, Miami built up a 15-point lead. But New York ended the half on a 16-0 to take the slim lead into the break. From there, Miami just broke down offensively in the second half … Maybe the Thunder got wrapped up in the big trade deadline news. Yesterday’s three-point home loss to the Lakers was their third consecutive one. And while they played much better than they did against Orlando on Friday night, it still wasn’t good enough. The Lakers used a couple of big shots in the final few minutes from Kobe Bryant (17 points) and then survived two great looks from deep in the final 10 seconds from Kevin Durant (21 points) and James Harden … Bryant struggled throughout the game, but did enough to move into seventh place on the all-time scoring charts, passing Elvin Hayes in the fourth quarter. ABC’s Mike Breen posed the question: Will Bryant one day becoming the all-time leading scorer? Jeff Van Gundy thinks he will, or will at least be very close. More importantly, if we have to sit through one more argument that Bryant isn’t clutch (he missed three or four shots late yesterday), we might lose it. Shoot, we might start wildin’ if we have another “clutch” argument at all. The only “clutch” stat that matters isn’t even a stat. It’s having the balls to take the tough shots. And no one has bigger ones than Kobe. Pause. …
Smack / Feb 28, 2011 / 7:11 am
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