On a night where we all tried to watch a BCS championship that got so bad – think Spike running over the Little Giants – that Brent Musburger needed a hall pass by the end of the first quarter because he was getting distracted by A.J. McCarron‘s girlfriend, we saw more than enough upsets in the NBA to hold over even the most raucous Notre Dame fans. In the Mecca, Paul Pierce oiled up the machine, got the creaky gears working together again, and put on his “professional scorer” face in the fourth quarter of Boston’s 102-96 “don’t believe the hype” win against the Knicks. Pierce had 23 points, and three or four buckets in the fourth quarter that took the life out of the New York crowd, all the while just pleading for someone to start talking junk with him. He should’ve hopped into the Carmelo Anthony/Kevin Garnett beef. Anthony (6-for-26, 20 points) hijacked the New York offense because he got into a showdown trash-talking matchup with Garnett that lasted longer than anything we’ve seen this season. We’re not sure how it started – maybe KG confused ‘Melo with Boris Diaw or some other soft European? – but it included elbows, angry slap-downs and lots of cuss words. They were so into it you could hear them when Garnett went to the line in the last minute – Anthony was promising to see Garnett (19 points, 10 boards) later. Sure enough, after the game ended, Anthony was reportedly yelling outside of Boston’s locker room – he was either trying to fight KG, or he was looking for his jump shot … When New York needed a boost of energy, it wasn’t Carmelo speaking up nor was it Jason Kidd being the voice of reason. It was J.R. Smith (24 points, 20-plus in seven of his last nine games), who brought everyone together at one point to basically say “Get your s— together.” We were never sure we’d see the day when Smith became a leader, but he’s playing like one now. And near the end of the game, Smith got whacked across the head by Avery Bradley and came back in rocking a head bandage that must’ve looked awful to everybody but Paul Pierce … Remember the days when Amar’e Stoudemire and Kevin Garnett used to redefine the power forward position during their heated one-on-one matchups? Neither one of them can jump anymore, but Garnett still has an endless supply of old man tricks, while Amar’e finally showed a few glimpses last night with 13 points off the bench … Heard on Boston’s broadcast: Tommy Heinsohn yelled at referee Violet Palmer, “Violet, you’re a fraud!” At least Tommy didn’t threaten anyone’s life this time. We love League Pass … Down the stretch, Al Jefferson (15 points, 11 rebounds) unleashed the South on Dallas in the Jazz’s come-from-behind 100-94 W, but it was Gordon Hayward who was the difference. With a shaved head making him look like a third grader, Hayward had 18 points in the first half and 27 for the game. He also had the best move we’ve ever seen from him: a behind-the-back spin move that he finished in the lane against Darren Collison … Roddy Beaubois also tried to pack one on Hayward’s head at the start of the fourth quarter. He must’ve forgot Hayward is one of the sneakiest chase-down block artists in the league … And in desperate need of some rebounding, the Miami Heat invited Chris “Birdman” Andersen in for a workout. If this goes through, not only should Andersen give the Heat an extra body in the playoffs, but it’ll reunite Birdman with the original Birdman … Keep reading to hear about how a rookie upstaged Kevin Durant …
Smack / Jan 8, 2013 / 1:24 am
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