In the fourth quarter in South Beach last night, Tracy McGrady outplayed even LeBron James. We shouldn’t have to remind anyone it’s 2012 and not 2003. But watching T-Mac bang threes (he hit a trio of big ones in the fourth quarter), grab rebounds in traffic and close out the Heat for their first loss of the season, we caught a serious case of deja vu. Miami, after looking invincible at times through their first five games, controlled the game throughout the first three quarters. But with McGrady (16 points, seven rebounds, four assists) turning back the clock, Dwyane Wade (12 points, 10 assists) scoring only three points in the second half, and Atlanta shutting down the fast break with a zone defense, the Hawks walked out with a 100-92 win. Miami better get ready to see a lot more of the zone this year. Once ATL hit them with it, the game changed, the Heat slowed down and eventually with Wade struggling, it cost them. LeBron dropped 28, but was nowhere to be seen at the end of the game … Has there ever been a small-ish dude who was better at snuffing big guys at the rim than D-Wade? He had another last night, stopping Vladimir Radmanovic‘s second quarter dunk try. No idea how he continues to do this … A Dallas win was something we all should’ve seen coming. No way would they lose to OKC again, and no way would the newcomers continue to play like garbage. The Mav bench dropped 47 points, and helped push Dallas to a huge 100-87 win over the Thunder. Vince Carter (14 points) drove to the rim harder then he has all season – he had nine free throw attempts. Shawn Marion (17 points) was cooking. And Dirk was Dirk (26 points). On the other side, Russell Westbrook (18 points) had two first half dunks that were vicious. But nobody outside of James Harden, Kevin Durant and Westbrook did much of anything. KD (27 points) in particular gave his best Nick Young impersonation, finishing with only two rebounds and one blocked shot. For once, Dallas didn’t get destroyed inside, and they finally stepped up and matched their opponent’s punches. Every time OKC dipped into the lead, someone from Dallas would make a shot. Late in the fourth, the Mavs turned it over four straight times, but just as the Thunder closed, Dirk checked back in, hit a J and then Shawn Marion dropped his first three of the season to put it away … Round two of the Celtics-Wizards home-and-home series got off to a wild start, as Washington’s Flip Saunders got tossed before half of Boston’s crowd even had the chance to chug their first beer. 106 seconds in, and he was out at midcourt having to be restrained by Andray Blatche. Even without their head coach, the Wizards, led by Blatche (28 points), hung around, entering the fourth quarter up one. But Jesus Shuttlesworth (despite playing with a cold) was too hot all night, shooting six of seven from beyond the arc for 27 points. Allen’s final trey was the dagger, putting the C’s up 9 with 4:30 to play … Greg Steimsma is quickly becoming a fan favorite in Boston, filling the leprechaun role that has been vacant ever since Brian Scalabrine left town. In his first career NBA start, Steimsma posted 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks … The dirty little secret lost in Washington’s terrible start: JaVale McGee (17 points, 14 rebounds, three blocks) is REALLY coming on. McGee was too athletic for the Celtics, and had two blocks that he had absolutely no business touching. He passed the double-double mark again last night just a minute into the third with a feathery little jumper (Who knew?), and it’s getting to the point where you can book him for an easy double-double every night … Danilo Gallinari (21 points, 10 rebounds) was the key in Denver’s 91-86 win over the Bucks, putting in two tough baskets (that should’ve been and-ones) during a game-deciding 10-0 run late in the fourth. Milwaukee played them tough, but once Al Harrington had back-to-back dunks in the final few minutes, it finally gave the hosts some breathing room. With a chance to tie it in the final minute, Brandon Jennings‘ last-ditch three was off … First San Antonio lost Manu Ginobili for up to two months with a broken fifth metacarpal on his shooting hand after he got his fingers stuck for too long in the cookie jar. Then, Minnesota went out and littered the court with snipers. After not winning a game in what seemed like forever, the Wolves have now won two in a row after lighting up the Spurs on 58 percent shooting in a 106-96 win. Kevin Love (24 points, 15 rebounds, four threes) dominated the old man (Tim Duncan), and even more surprisingly, Luke Ridnour (19 and nine) got the better of the point guard matchup with Tony Parker (11 points, nine assists) … How much longer until New York fans start getting restless? Carmelo Anthony took a ton of shots (13-for-31), scored a lot of points (35 points), but was way off on a rushed potential game-tying three in the final 15 seconds, spoiling the Knicks near 18-point comeback against the Raptors, 90-85. For the Raptors, they twice went to Andrea Bargnani (21 points) in the final minute on pick-n-rolls with Jose Calderon (12 dimes). He came through both times … Phoenix finally got their offense going in a 102-91 win over Golden State. Steve Nash had his best game of the season with 21 points and nine assists … Indiana and Paul George (21 points, five threes) lit up New Jersey, 108-94 … Utah beat New Orleans 92-88 despite Jarrett Jack going off for 27 points and 10 assists … And Ben Gordon had one of his best games since ditching the red, black and white, raining 26 points on Orlando in the Pistons’ 11-point win … We’re out like Flip.
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