Mortal Kombat

By: 01.26.10  •  43 Comments

D-Wade (photo. Jeffery Salter)

LeBron vs. Carmelo was the one intended to define the era. LeBron vs. Kobe became the one we’ve been trained to anticipate. But a lot of people will tell you the NBA’s real must-see rivalry is LeBron vs. D-Wade. Last night in Miami they turned in another classic … It took LeBron a whole quarter and a half to make his first field goal, but once he did, the floodgates were open. For one stretch of the second quarter, ‘Bron and Flash combined for 24 consecutive points, blending pull-up threes with and-one drives to the rack. One time Wade got fouled while hitting a three, then popped up yelling something like “Don’t touch me!” or “Don’t f*** with me!” (We’re not too good at reading lips.) Before that, LeBron caught Wade on a transition dunk where he cradled the ball like a running back before rising, and when Wade challenged him in mid-air, LBJ unleashed a two-hander on his dome that caused an explosion on the Cleveland bench … Wade finished the first half with 30 points, and LeBron had 22. Wade mostly guarded ‘Bron, while the Cavs had Jamario Moon, Anthony Parker and Jawad Williams taking turns sticking Wade … In the second half, however, Cleveland began doubling Wade (32 pts, 10 rebs) and shut him down. Ideally that’s when Michael Beasley (16 pts) would step up and make the defense pay, but it didn’t work out that way … Cleveland was down one with 25 seconds left when LeBron (32 pts, 9 rebs) had a jumper blocked by Wade, but then he stole a Wade pass right back and got fouled. LBJ hit both free throws with 4.1 on the clock for the lead, and Wade missed at the buzzer … Anderson Varejao had 13 points and 10 boards in his return to the D-Wade House of Horrors and avoided getting dunked on. It was like seeing Mike Sweetney go back to the Chinese buffet spot in Chicago where they ran out of ham that one time. Sometimes confronting the space itself is like therapy … Who would have thought the winning formula for Chicago would include Derrick Rose‘s reliable jump shot and Joakim Noah sticking crunch-time free throws? Coming off wins at Phoenix and Houston, last night the Bulls picked up another statement W in San Antonio. Rose (27 pts) hit a go-ahead jumper with under a minute to go, then after Manu Ginobili‘s free throws tied it back up, Noah tipped in a Rose miss and added a free throw to make it a three-point game. On the Spurs’ next possession, Ginobili drove and took some contact, but no whistle. Noah added two more free throws to ice it … Sometimes Sean Elliott sounds like he’s out of his mind. On that last Manu drive, Elliott stuck to the old adage that the refs shouldn’t decide the outcome of the game, only he said that’s why they should have blown the whistle this time. In other words, by not calling a foul, the refs were letting themselves decide the outcome. Usually it’s the other way around, but temporarily changing a long-standing unwritten rule of basketball just benefit the Spurs wouldn’t be out of character for Elliott …

Vince Carter, Dime #21

Not that we’re accusing Vince Carter of settling for jumpers, but dude took multiple 30-foot threes in Orlando’s loss to the Grizzlies. Granted, he did hit one of them, and a couple were taken when the Magic were desperate for a bucket in the final seconds, but still. And when did we reach the point where Memphis outplaying Orlando isn’t even a surprise? … The Blazers deserve a lot of credit for winning games despite all their injuries and playing without Brandon Roy (hamstring) lately, but on Monday they suffered without their fourth-quarter closer. Portland led the Hornets by eight with 3:30 to go, and while B-Roy would normally take it from there and seal the deal, Chris Paul and Darren Collison slapped together a quick 8-0 run … After Andre Miller‘s go-ahead free throw, the Hornets were in trouble, mid-possession with eight seconds left: Paul (24 pts, 12 asts, 5 stls) was lying on his back following a collision, and David West looked like a turnover waiting to happen. But then CP got up, and LaMarcus Aldridge inexplicably decided to back off and leave him wide-open around the foul line to hit the game-winner … Other big stat lines from Monday: Chauncey Billups had 27 points and 11 assists to lead Denver past Charlotte; Josh Smith put up 22 points, 10 boards, four steals and four blocks as ATL won in Houston; Danny Granger scored 26 as the Pacers beat Philly; Carlos Boozer stamped 21 points and 20 boards on the Suns; and Rajon Rondo posted 16 points, 12 dimes and four steals in a win over the Clippers … FYI, Big Baby Davis says he doesn’t want to be called “Big Baby” anymore, as he’s trying to be more mature. When a reporter suggested “Uno Uno” (like “Ochocinco”), Davis said he’d be cool with that. We’re gonna stick with “Glen,” how about that? … We’re out like Big Baby …

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