Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Winners and Losers


The Duke - North Carolina rivalry is one of the best in sports. With a constant influx of talented players on both sides, great coaching, and the fact that more often than not both schools are in the national championship conversation, the games seldom disappoint. Tonight was no exception as the 5th ranked Blue Devils hosted the 21st ranked Tar Heels at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina. North Carolina led by as many as 16 points and took a 43-29 lead into the intermission before Duke started to make their run. Led by senior Nolan Smith and sophomore transfer Seth Curry, Duke outscored North Carolina 50-30 in the second half to give them the 79-73 win and improve to 9-1 in the ACC. Smith finished with a career high 34 points and had 22 of them in the second half. Curry added a season-high 22 off the bench to go along with a team high 5 assists. Kyle Singler had an abysmal night shooting the basketball making just 3 of 17 shots from the field in by far his worst game of the season. North Carolina was led by junior Tyler Zeller's 24 points and career high 13 rebounds, but it wasn't enough as North Carolina lost for the third straight time to the Blue Devils. North Carolina had been 6-2 against the Blue Devils during the Tyler Hansbrough era, including winning all 4 games at Cameron Indoor.


The losing streak is now up to 26 games as Cleveland fell to the Detroit Pistons 103-94 tonight. Detroit won for just the 7th time on the road this year in 28 attempts. Cleveland shot the ball well hitting on over 50% of its field goals, but turned the ball over 17 times and missed 7 of 19 free throws. They also allowed Detroit to grab 17 offensive rebounds. Antawn Jamison led the way with 22 points, J.J. Hickson had 18 points and 15 rebounds and Ramon Sessions had 20 points, 6 rebounds, 12 assists and 5 steals for the Cavs. Sessions is averaging 19.8 points and 10.4 assists over his last 5 games as he had adjusted well to the starting role in place of the injured Mo Williams. Cleveland has one more chance to snap their losing streak before their potential showdown against the Wizards who haven't won a road game yet this year. On the bright side for Cleveland, Williams and Leon Powe are both due to return to practice this week and could be back in action around the all star break.


Dwight Howard helped the Magic earn their second win in as many nights by scoring 30 points and picking up 17 rebounds in 44 minutes as Orlando beat Philadelphia 99-95. This comes on the heels of a 22 point, 20 rebound game against the Clippers last night, Howard's 6th 20 rebound game of the year. The Magic improved to 34-20 on the year with the win, but still find themselves in 5th place in the Eastern Conference behind Boston, Miami, Chicago and Atlanta. Orlando hosts the reeling New Orleans Hornets, losers of six of their last seven, on Friday.


Dallas and San Antonio continued to roll tonight as the Mavericks won their 10th in a row 102-100 over the Sacramento Kings at Arco Arena, and the Spurs improved to 44-8 with a 111-100 win at Toronto. After starting their 9 game road trip with a loss in Portland, San Antonio has won 4 straight. Dallas got significant contributions from their bench as Jason Terry went for 22 points and Jose Juan Barea had 20 points in just 22 minutes including 15 in the 4th quarter. DeMarcus Cousins had 19 points and 15 rebounds, Tyreke Evans had 16 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists in a losing effort. The Spurs meanwhile got a big game out of DeJuan Blair who had 28 points and 11 rebounds. George hill chipped in 18 points 5 rebounds and 6 assists off the bench. For the game the Spurs shot 58%. Andrea Bargnani led Toronto with 29 points.


Lots of international action on the soccer field today. Argentina defeated Portugal 2-1 when Lionel Messi converted a penalty kick in the 89th minute. Cristiano Ronaldo scored the goal for Portugal. Germany and Italy tied at 1 as New Jersey native Giuseppe Rossi equalized in the 81st minute. 32 year old Bayern Munich striker Miroslav Klose had opened the scoring in the 16th minute for the Germans. World Cup runner up Netherlands defeated Austria 3-1 getting goals from Wesley Sneijder, Ibrahim Afellay and Dirk Kuyt. England got goals from Aston Villa teammates Darren Bent and Ashley Young as they overcame an early 1-0 deficit against Denmark. Brazil lost midfielder Hernanes to a red card in the 40th minute and France was able to capitalize on the man advantage getting a goal from Real Madrid's Karim Benzema as France knocked off Brazil 1-0. France has not lost to Brazil since 1992. World Cup Champion Spain needed an 86th minute goal from sub David Silva to beat Colombia 1-0. Spain possessed the ball for 76% of the game.

In tournament action, the Ukraine won the Cyprus International Tournament with a shootout win over Sweden. Romania took 3rd place with a shootout win as well. Both games were tied at 1 during the run of play. And in Carling Cup action, Scotland stomped Northern Ireland 3-0 in their opening match. Kenny Miller, James McArthur and Kris Commons scored goals for the Scots.

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