Awesome finish to the Spurs’ 104-102 win in New Orleans. In a game that could’ve been promoted as Jarrett Jack (26 points, nine assists) versus Tony Parker (20 points, 17 assists), it came down again to Tim Duncan. The Big Swim hit for 28 points, and made the game-winner with only 1.4 seconds left: a ridiculous, running hook shot from the free-throw line that had Tim so excited he did a little high-step back to the bench. Then, Sean Elliott went into his routine where he started comparing and describing Duncan in all types of nonsense that is better left unsaid … Horrible execution from the Hornets on their last shot. They nearly had a five-second call, and then all they got was a 30-footer from Carl Landry that missed by about one full-length Chris Paul. They wasted our boy Emeka Okafor‘s block of the year. Down two with under a minute left, Parker set up Tiago Splitter perfectly off the screen-n-roll. But Okafor sent back his dunk right at the rim … In the third quarter of their game, the Wolves had one of the greatest sequences of passing we’ve seen all year. They had a fastbreak where Luke Ridnour threw a behind-the-back to Ricky Rubio who immediately countered with a touch pass for a bucket. Then Rubio (12 assists) hit Kevin Love (39 points and five threes) with a perfect behind-the-back pass in the half-court for a trey. Then Ridnour countered again by dumping the ball off the dribble to Derrick Williams for an easy dunk. And yet none of it mattered because Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin – by far the most underrated backcourt in the league – took over. Lowry had himself a triple-double (16 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists), and Martin went for 31, the second time in three games he’s had at least 30. Houston won 107-92 and is now officially the hottest team in the NBA (along with Memphis), winners of seven straight … In the previous six games as a starter, Rubio had been averaging 12.3 ppg, 9.0 apg, 5.7 rpg and 3.8 spg while the Wolves won four of six … Atlanta survived in Milwaukee, 97-92 as Joe Johnson had yet another monster night (28 points), taking over down the stretch as a lot of the Bucks’ offense fell into long Brandon Jennings‘ jumpers (21 points, 11 assists). Without Al Horford, we’re still not sure if the Hawks can keep it up. They definitely have the most rag tag group of bench players possible … Philadelphia manhandled the Wizards by 20 yesterday, and it wasn’t even really that close. The first half was a worse debacle than anything going on politically in our Nation’s Capital right now as the Wizards were wheeled into emergency surgery and then had to watch as the Sixers took them apart piece by piece. On 26 first half baskets, the Sixers assisted on 20 on them. Unreal. Philly had six players in double figures, led by Jrue Holiday and Elton Brand‘s 17, and half of those guys came off the bench. That feels like a nightly thing with them now doesn’t it? Maybe a few GMs will sit back after watching Philly this year and realize, “Gosh, maybe we should try to bring back nine or 10 of our guys from year to year instead of functioning like a corrupt AAU club with new faces every season.” At one point earlier this month, 96 percent of Philly’s minutes had been played by returners. They’re better than the sum of their parts because they know each other so well (Or maybe they’re just doing what Miami is: giving their point guards quarterback-like playbooks to wear on their wrists). There’s one other team just like that: OKC … The Thunder murdered Detroit last night 99-79 as James Harden and Russell Westbrook each scored 24 and combined to shoot – along with Kevin Durant – 28-for-41 from the field … The Mavs received a throwback night from Shawn Marion (29 points, four treys) in their 93-87 home win over the Suns … And Chicago got a huge night from Rip Hamilton (22 points, 10 assists) in their easy 15-point win over New Jersey. We got a chance to catch the Bulls’ starting lineup intros again. Those are still the all-time greatest introductions. Don’t underestimate the power of a good introduction. Anyone that can make everyone from Ronnie Brewer to Luc Longley look like a bad ass is dope … And Bill Walton is back healthy and back making crazy predictions. His latest is that we’ll see a Lakers/Heat matchup in the Finals … We’re out like 20 second half points.
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