Hopefully you didn’t start throwing back cold ones too early in anticipation of the holiday yesterday, or else you probably missed some really good basketball. Case in point the battle in Florida between the Magic and Heat, which felt like an intra-squad scrimmage because so many Miami “fans” infiltrated the Amway Center. But there was one big difference: the game’s intensity was bordering on Duke/North Carolina levels. Nikola Vucevic, in particular, was balling like the Mayans had put out a hit on his life. He finished the night with 20 points, 29 rebounds (the most by a Heat opponent… ever), and by the middle of the fourth quarter, had reached out Indiana Jones style and tossed Chris Bosh‘s (22 points, but only four rebounds) heart into a bag. Halfway through that period, Vucevic had a play where he tipped offensive rebounds to himself a half dozen times before finally getting one to drop … Yet his career night didn’t matter because LeBron James (36 points, eight boards, 11 assists) played with a permanent “Who Gon Stop Me?” face. He dropped 10 in overtime of the Heat’s 112-110 win, and he needed to because Dwyane Wade (21 points, 3-for-10 from the line) stole the free throw stroke of the drunk, fat guy in the second deck … We were all set to write about how J.J. Redick is the most underrated player in the NBA (he still might be), but on the last play of the overtime with the Heat up two, he got the ball and threw a cross-court pass you wouldn’t even see in a Jets game. Wade picked it off, and finished with a jam on the other end to ice it. Still, Redick is really balling this year, and scored many of his 23 points in crunch time on backdoor cuts and off-the-bounce drives. He can still shoot, too – banging five three-balls … Carlos Delfino was pissed off that his boy Manu Ginobili gave him food poisoning, and took it out on the Hawks, ringing up the birds for 22 points, eight dimes and six triples in Houston’s 123-104 W … Did you know James Harden (28 points) is fifth in the NBA in combined points, rebounds and assists, trailing only LeBron, Kevin Durant, Kobe and ‘Melo? Do you consider him a part of that elite group? … If John Jenkins keeps playing like he did last night (15 points), he won’t have to worry too often about opposing broadcasts calling him by the wrong name – he was “Josh” to Houston’s on-air graphics department last night … Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant continued to unleash Hell on the NBA, this time combining for 54 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists as OKC made quick work of the Suns, 114-96 … Keep reading to hear about the great Paul George/Rudy Gay debate …
Smack / Jan 1, 2013 / 1:14 am
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