4.1 The Cooler

LeBron gets another game-winner; Lakers caught slipping

By 04.01.10

We’ve given Mike Brown a hard time before about his, um, lack of offensive ingenuity, but he deserves credit for drawing up a flawless play at the end of Cavs/Bucks that led to maybe the easiest game-winner LeBron James is ever going to get … Tied up, 30 seconds left in the fourth, LeBron was bringing the ball up when Brown wanted a timeout. At first it seemed pointless because you figured he would just call a clear-out for LeBron anyway, but there was in fact a plan. Out of the huddle, LeBron inbounded to Mo Williams, then walked to midcourt where he stood like a decoy. Mo (21 pts, 6 asts, 3 stls) and J.J. Hickson then ran a pick-and-roll on the left side, and just when the defense allowed itself to forget about LBJ, Antawn Jamison set him a back-pick and LeBron (23 pts, 9 rebs, 7 asts) came flying down the middle as Mo hit him with a pass. Perfect play, executed to perfection, and LeBron got the go-ahead layup. The Bucks had one last-ditch chance, down three in the final seconds, but LeBron picked off the pass intended for Salmons … But hold up with the praise for Coach Brown. After LeBron’s shot, Milwaukee turned it over and the Cavs needed to set something up to make sure Mo got the ball when the Bucks tried to foul. And in that huddle, Brown was literally a bystander as one of the assistants was drawing up the play. Brown might as well have been Danny Green right then. So maybe he didn’t devise that game-winning play after all … Funny moment late in the fourth when one of the Bucks assistants realized the camera was in their huddle, then goes up and puts his hand over the lens. When the cameraman didn’t move, the assistant kept pushing him until the broadcast cut away … If you’re one of those who thinks the NBA is too nice and there are no blood rivalries anymore, Lakers/Hawks was not the game for you. Even beyond the usual pounds and hugs doled out before tip-off, things were extra jokey and smiley for whatever reason. You got the vibe that a bunch of the guys from both teams had hit the ATL clubs the night before and ate pancakes with Prince or something … Once the game started, the Lakers got caught flat again. Mike Bibby had a Sacramento flashback and scored his team’s first seven points on open jumpers, Josh Smith was all over the place getting offensive boards and steals, and then the bench came in to stretch the Hawks’ lead to double-digits by halftime. Zaza Pachulia damn near had a double-double in the second quarter alone on pure effort … You know Kobe (28 pts) chewed somebody out. He scored 20 of L.A.’s 45 points in the first half, but he couldn’t do anything to sway the momentum as the Hawks kept pulling away in the second half and won by 17. By garbage time he was on the bench looking homicidal …

Dirk Nowitzki (photo. Monte Isom)

The Mavs were down 13 to the Grizzlies with 4:30 left in the fourth quarter, and O.J. Mayo and Mike Conley were making Dallas’ backcourt look real geriatric. Then Dirk all of a sudden got hot, scoring 10 points in those last few minutes, including a game-tying fadeaway to eventually force overtime. In the OT, Dirk (28 pts) added another fadeaway and some free throws, and the Mavs were now up three with nine seconds left. Mayo (27 pts) had an open look at a triple, but for what seemed like the first time all night, O.J. missed a jumper. “This one’s gonna hurt,” one Memphis announcer groaned … What the hell happened where the Thunder can go into Boston and win a game and it’s not even considered an upset? Kevin Durant dumped 37 on the C’s, but the biggest shots down the stretch were made by Russell Westbrook — a lefty layup where he went right at Kevin Garnett like he’s never been a DPOY — and Jeff Green, who benefitted from KD being doubled … But on a positive note for Boston, Rasheed Wallace showed up. He scored 18 off the bench, including one huge three in the fourth quarter (fittingly, with 4:20 showing on the clock). It’s April, by the way; isn’t Rasheed supposed to have gotten in playoff shape by now? … Other stat lines from Wednesday: LaMarcus Aldridge scored 21 to lead Portland past New York; Deron Williams handed out 19 assists in Utah’s win over G-State; Al Jefferson had 19 points, 12 boards and 6 blocks as Minnesota beat Sacramento to snap their 16-game losing streak; Mike Miller scored 27 in Washington’s win over New Orleans to snap their 16-game skid; Chris Bosh went for 34 points, 11 boards and 3 blocks as Toronto beat the Clippers; Gerald Wallace posted 24, 12 and 3 steals to lead Charlotte past Philly; Michael Beasley‘s 28 points helped Miami defeat Detroit; George Hill scored 30 as San Antonio beat Houston; and Steve Nash had 24 points and 14 dimes in Phoenix’s win over the Nets … This morning we’re going to drop the new cover of Dime #56, along with a behind-the-scenes video of the photo shoot with our cover guy. One hint: It’s a point guard … Also today, come back to DimeMag.com for Part 1 of our debate with the crew at Raptors Republic about this Chris Bosh free agency situation. Is he staying or going? After LeBron, the choice Bosh makes this summer could make or break his current franchise more than any other free agent in the League … We’re out like Danny Green …


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