Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Around the NBA


Bit of a surprise here as Toronto stunned the Bulls 118-113 despite the return of Joakim Noah to the Bulls lineup. Noah had 7 points and 16 rebounds and Derrick Rose had 32 points and 10 assists, but Chicago could not get stops on the other side of the ball. Toronto, despite not making a 3-pointer all game, shot 58.1% from the floor and hit 32 of 34 free throws to steal the win. Jose Calderon had 17 assists and DeMar DeRozan and Andrea Bargnani each had 24 points as Toronto won for just the 16th time this season. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that this loss could possibly be attributed to the fact that the Heat travel to Chicago tomorrow for a battle between division leaders and the Bulls may have been looking past the lowly Raptors.

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Utilizing an 8 man rotation, the Knicks started the Chauncey StoudeMelo era with a 114-108 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at the Garden. The Knicks "Big Three" combined to score 67 points and Toney Douglas led the supporting cast with 23 points on 10 of 12 shooting as New York passed their first test post-trade. While Milwaukee certainly isn't Miami, a win is a win. John Salmons led the way for the Bucks with 27 points and 7 assists. New York is now 29-26 following their win and are currently in 6th place in the Eastern Conference, 4 games behind the Hawks.

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Following Jerry Sloan's retirement, Utah has lost 4 games in a row and their best player has been traded. Maybe Jerry Sloan was onto something jumping ship when he did. Al Jefferson scored 30 points, but Dallas shot 57.9% and put 7 players in double figures as they routed the Jazz 118-99. Peja Stokakovic continues to return to form as he scored in double figures for the 4th straight game. During that stretch he's averaging 15.5 points and has hit 12 of 22 3-pointers. Dallas has quietly won 4 in a row and 14 of 15, their only loss during that stretch coming when Aaron Afflalo hit a shot at the buzzer to lead Denver to a 121-120 win back on February 10th.

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Oh wait. It's the same thing he does every night. 15 points. 11 rebounds. 44 double doubles in a row. And like clockwork the Timberwolves lost, 104-95 to Memphis. With the win, Memphis jumps ahead of Utah and into 8th place in the Western Conference.


It doesn't matter how many injuries the Trail Blazers have, when the Lakers come to town, they bring their A game. In fact since February 23, 2005, the Lakers have managed to win in Portland during the regular season just one time and tonight they once again found themselves in trouble. Trailing 87-79 with 4:22 to play, the Lakers closed out regulation on an 8-0 sparked by 4 points from Ron Artest and a pair of shots from Kobe Bryant in the final minute to send the game into overtime. Portland led 97-95 with just a minute and a half to play, but again the Lakers went on a run, scoring the game's next 9 points, 6 by Bryant to take a 7 point lead with just 16 seconds to go. Portland added a pair of baskets late, but it wasn't enough as L.A. won their second in a row after the all star break 106-101. Bryant finished with 37 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists, Pau Gasol had 18 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists, and Ron Artest came up with 24 points to lead the way for the Lakers. LaMarcus Aldridge led the Blazers with 29 points and 14 rebounds, but missed two crucial free throws in overtime that allowed the Lakers to put the game out of reach.

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Chuck Hayes - 17 rebounds (13 offensive)
Dwight Howard - 31 points, 17 rebounds
John Wall - 21 points, 5 rebounds, 12 assists
Kevin Durant - 30 points, 9 rebounds
Blake Griffin - 21 points, 13 rebounds

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