The word of the day yesterday was white smoke (well, technically that’s two words). In the NBA, the word was twenty, as in Miami has now won 20 games in a row after bludgeoning Philly down the stretch in a 98-94 W. LeBron James did his thing (27 points, seven rebounds, eight assists), and Dwyane Wade (21 points, eight rebounds) was pretty good too. But we can’t get over how awful the 76ers looked in the last two minutes. They were lucky to just be in it — CSN Philly’s John Gonzalez put it best when he tweeted: “You know how a big kid can put his hand on a small kid’s forehead & keep him at a distance while the little one flails? That’s this game.” Philly should’ve taken advantage of that. Instead, they blew a beast mode night from Thaddeus Young (24 points, 15 boards). Tied with just over a minute left, LeBron went straight to the rack and took on all of Philly before splitting the freebies. On the other end, Jrue Holiday (21 points, seven rebounds, seven assists) coughed it up off his knee after getting trapped 30 feet from the rim. Back down for Miami, James missed two gimmies right at the rim before D-Wade saved him by tipping in the second miss. Philly still had one more chance to get a bucket, but Spencer Hawes got a wide-open layup and missed. That’s Philly for you … In a second straight homecoming night for Dwight Howard (he grew up in the Atlanta area), everything was going great for the Lakers until the final seconds. The Hawks were folding up faster than Rick Ross‘ stomach, Kobe Bryant had just drilled a miraculous three-pointer, someone must’ve threatened Kyle Korver into missing a free throw, and then down two, Bryant (31 points on 33 shots) got a baseline jumper to tie it with only seconds remaining. Too bad Kobe’s shot was just off. Then he landed, rolled his ankle on Dahntay Jones (Bryant called it a dirty play), and suddenly, Darius Morris had the ultimate struggle face from the bench. The game was right there for the taking, and the Lakers just couldn’t convert. Bryant and Metta World Peace (20 points, eight rebounds) both had shots right at the hoop roll off the rim in the final two minutes. The Lakers had just one turnover in the third quarter after Bryant found his legs (20 points in the third quarter alone) and started making shots, and after the Lakers had erased a 14-point ATL lead. They just were isolating Kobe down the stretch way too often. Where was Dwight Howard (16 rebounds) in all of this? They had him standing off to the side, in the corner, as if they were playing dodgeball and someone had just knocked him out … You know the Lakers can’t play defense on point guards because they let Devin Harris (17 points) dictate the fourth quarter. Everyone and their momma knows Harris only goes right, and yet the Lakers moved out of the way and unveiled the red carpet to the rim for nine points for the Hawks point guard in the first half of the fourth quarter … The Lakers get to hold on to their playoff spot for now because Utah forgot to bring their game on the flight to OKC and got smashed up, 110-87. Yet, the future is cloudy. Bryant was visibly limping after the game and underwent x-rays on his left ankle. He’s being ruled out indefinitely, which — knowing Kobe — could mean just about anything … There wasn’t a more physical game last night than the one that went down in L.A. And since that style favors Memphis rather than the Clippers, the Grizzlies outworked them for yet another win, 96-85. In the fourth quarter, we kept waiting and waiting for L.A. to make a run. They never did because they got beat up at the worst times on the glass, and were manhandled defensively. Even Chris Paul (24 points, nine assists) was completely invisible in the final frame. Tayshaun Prince had a solid 18 points, and Marc Gasol finished with 21. Memphis has won six in a row, 14 of their last 15 games, and now have the inside track on the No. 3 seed. Anyone still say the Rudy Gay trade was a bad move? … Keep reading to hear how Carmelo’s return to Denver went…
Smack / Mar 14, 2013 / 1:33 am
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