We feel like we’re at a basketball buffet this time of year. Between conference tournaments and early NBA games, we could easily have our fill by 7 p.m., and yet there we go, back for seconds and thirds as the night goes on. Given that many choices it truly means something when a game can hold our attention and Miami’s 21st win in a row, 107-94 over Milwaukee, kept us zoned in. This even though the possible first-round matchup in the East didn’t resemble the usual struggle the Bucks put Miami in (they hold the Heat to their fifth-worst shooting percentage this year). LeBron had 17 points by half en route to his 28 points and 10 boards. Even when Dwyane Wade briefly left the game with a neck injury the Heat pressed the accelerator harder. There was a stretch in the second quarter where the style was decidedly outside-in. Without LeBron playing — he was on the bench after doing this to poor John Henson — and guys such as Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers, J.J. Redick and Mike Dunleavy Jr. on the floor, penetrating the lane was done expressly to kick it out for three. Then again, it’s not like they were going to give it to Birdman down low, either. After LeBron’s 17 points in the first half, he came back and threw a ridiculous outlet pass 50 feet to Chalmers, who before falling out of bounds lobbed it to Wade (20 points) for the slam. … Streak watch: Only the ’71-’72 Lakers (33 games) and ’07-’08 Rockets (22 games) have longer winning streaks than Miami now. … Kobe Bryant started at Indiana after that brutal sprained ankle Wednesday night, but we spent more time talking about it than he actually played. He barely mattered on the court while in for 12 minutes. He didn’t score, and barely broke out of a trot in L.A.’s 99-93 win, but we did see him drawing up plays on the sideline for his teammates like a coach. Roy Hibbert‘s early foul trouble meant the Pacers lost a 19-8 lead and pressed Jeff Pendergraph into duty guarding Dwight Howard (20 points, 12 boards). Howard’s kind of an idiot at times but against the 6-9 Pendergraph he looked like Godzilla vs. Tokyo. His back-to-back dunks were the epitome of ease. Before Howard got a third foul halfway through the second, the only thing to distract Pacers fans was an interview with Tyler and Ben Hansbrough‘s brother in the stands in which he talked about them fighting over the last pizza slice as kids. … Steve Blake’s five threes (for 18 points), Antawn Jamison‘s three (had 17 points) with 50 seconds left and the Lakers’ ridiculously easy press break in the final 35 seconds gave L.A. a big win over a superb Indiana team while playing 36 minutes sans Kobe. This might be the grittiest road win of the year for L.A., which has shown zero heart when Bryant doesn’t play typically. After the game George Hill called out his fans for not having the team’s back, a bold move in hoops-mad Indiana. He needs to realize that in March allegiances are torn in a bunch of different directions with regards to the NCAA Tournament. Those fans will come back soon enough. … Hit the jump to read about a bad night in the Bay Area …
Smack / Mar 16, 2013 / 3:42 am
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