Every so often, the teacher becomes the student, and last night in Madison Square Garden, the return of Amar’e Stoudemire was overshadowed by Damian Lillard one-upping the ultimate clutch player, Carmelo Anthony, in winning time. If the NBA ever gets its mind right and puts together a “Rookies Performing Under Pressure 101″ class, they’ll have to bring in Lillard as a guest speaker. Bookended by a Carmelo Anthony triple and a three-point play from ‘Melo courtesy of the dumbest foul of 2013, Lillard (21 points, six assists) hit the biggest shot of the game: a step-back triple in Pablo Prigioni‘s grill. It was all the breathing room the Blazers needed in their 105-100 win, overcoming two monster games from Anthony (45 points) and J.R. Smith (28 points, 11 boards, five dimes, one incredible putback layup) … Apparently, Terry Stotts and the rest of Portland’s bench have never heard of the double team before. They left Wesley Matthews alone on Carmelo to start the game, and the Knicks star warmed up by dropping 10 points within the first five minutes. The Blazers came back with a zone, and ‘Melo promptly trained another triple. By the time they switched up the defense again and put Nic Batum (26 points, six triples) on him, it didn’t matter. Anthony was breathing fire. He’d later make a wild shot with .1 seconds left in the half that had to be 30 feet from the hoop … As for Stoudemire, he entered in all of his knee braces glory with just over three minutes left in the first quarter, receiving a standing ovation in the process. Then he went out and moved like a statue for most of his 16 minutes, finishing with just six points and one board … These days the Wizards are so bad that their fans are doing whatever they can to pass the time, like chanting R-G-3 in the stands and tossing Bradley Beal bobbleheads from the upper deck. Both those things took place as Washington became Dallas’ saving grace yesterday in a 103-94 Mavericks win … The Wizards lost this one in the third quarter, when they threw and fumbled the ball all over the court, giving up easy shots at will on the other end. At one point eight minutes into the third, they had six turnovers and five made baskets … If Vince Carter (23 points) somehow got traded to Washington, he’d probably be the best player on the team. We’re not sure if that’s congratulatory of VC or if it’s just that bad in D.C. The Wizards’ collective intensity level makes VC look like Bane from The Dark Knight Rises … Carter had a dunk down the middle of the lane in the fourth quarter that might’ve been the best slam we’ve seen from him in two or three years. They should make a TV show out of the rare glimpses of the old VC, and model it after “Finding Bigfoot” … And the Hawks took control of their matchup with New Orleans in the third quarter, blowing the Hornets out of the water and then finishing it off, 95-86. Josh Smith had one of the best games of the year, finishing with 23 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, four blocks and three steals … Keep reading to hear about how the Clippers finally lost a game …
Smack / Jan 2, 2013 / 1:23 am
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