Only two dozen or so games remain in the NBA regular season and we still don’t fully understand the identity of either the Rockets or the Nets. Brooklyn’s right in the middle of the East’s divide between the upper and lower half of its playoff spots. They’re perpetually like when you see someone leaving a parking space (the Knicks) and you go to move in but get it swiped from you. No matter how many times they put themselves in the right position to move up they get knocked back to square one. Meanwhile the Rockets are the league’s second-most telegenic team behind OKC but they can be as up and down as an EKG rating — no doubt causing coach Kevin McHale some heartburn because of it. Friday in the NBA had all of that in Brooklyn, with the Rockets giving back a 15-point lead and then doubling down on helpings of Harden (22 points) to win it back over the Nets, 106-96 (the 13th straight win by Houston over the Nets). No Joe Johnson (plantar fasciitis) meant no late heroics and Deron Williams — fresh off a third round of painkillers in his ankle — had 15 points and 13 dimes but wasn’t able to find a running mate outside of Brook Lopez (27 points). … Lopez, feet of iron that he is, pulled off two very nice baseline moves on Omer Asik because of a much-improved first step. Twice he went baseline with a wraparound layup, the last cutting it to two in the fourth. But then Carlos Delfino (22 points) hit a shot-clock beating jumper from a sick jab step, and Harden busted a triple, and it was certifiable this may be the most fun team to watch since Baron Davis and the ’07 Warriors were torching Dallas. … Speaking of those Warriors …The Spurs played the opposite of the way Golden State looked, busting a 16-game losing streak to the Spurs in overtime, 107-101, while wearing those sleeved jerseys. If this is what it takes to get the first win over San Antonio in five years, then sure, but something still rubs us the wrong way about the mismatched colors and patterns between the jersey’s top and bottom. While the Spurs were literally laughing at the Warriors in pre-game, the Dubs got the final comment in coming back from 13 points down – though the Spurs’ out-of-bounds give-and-backcut by Manu Ginobili on Harrison Barnes to tie it at 93 entering OT was pure basketball beauty. Jarrett Jack had 30 points and 10 assists in his best “Tony Parker” impress–what’s that? Jack’s statline off the bench was the first of its kind since Magic Johnson did it? Wow. … To understand how one-sided Boston’s rout in Phoenix was in the 113-88 win, just watch this video. Michael Beasley, never change. We couldn’t breathe the first time we saw that we laughed so hard. … Hit the jump to see Paul George pull off the play of the night …
Smack / Feb 23, 2013 / 6:43 am
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