Spurs hang on to beat toughest rival; Cavs go from bad to worse

By: 01.10.11
LeBron James

LeBron James (photo. David Alvarez)

After Wade started the game hotter than a firecracker — scoring 15 of Miami’s first 19 points on 7-for-7 shooting — the Blazers stayed close thanks to Batum getting buckets on LeBron and playing solid D on the MVP. Portland took its first lead in the third quarter, and to start the fourth, Wade and Bosh (18 pts) were on the bench while LeBron ran with the “other guys.” Which was significant because through the first three quarters, the non-James/Wade/Bosh contingent had made all of three field goals. Wes Matthews (13 pts, 6-20 FG) knocked down a triple with two minutes left that seemed like a dagger, but LeBron answered with a layup and a three, Wade (34 pts) added an acrobatic layup, and James Jones tied it at the stripe with 50 seconds left on a play where LeBron double-dribbled twice but wasn’t called for it. Aldridge, who was torturing Bosh in the post all night, did it one more time to give Portland the lead, but LeBron hit two free throws with 24 seconds left for the tie. Next possession, Andre Miller had two open jumpers after LeBron slipped trying to guard him, but both were short … In overtime it was still the Wade/LeBron/Bosh show, as Miami built a cushion despite Aldridge’s best efforts (31 pts, 14 rebs, 7 asts). The Blazers were down four with about 30 seconds left and had the ball, but LeBron scared Aldridge into traveling on an attempted outlet pass, then LeBron knocked down a three that really was the dagger. When Portland took a timeout, LeBron (44 pts, 13 rebs, 6 asts) walked up to the Blazers crowd and made the “bring it on” gesture. “Wow,” said one Portland announcer. “No wonder so many people like him.” … The “Three Goggles” is the coolest celebration to hit Portland since Darius Miles was doing the head-tap … Is it just us or does Wes Matthews kind of look like D-Wade on human growth hormone? Maybe it’s a Marquette thing … It says here the Knicks are a big deal again, but the most intriguing part of last night’s Knicks/Lakers game at Staples Center was seeing if Clyde Frazier‘s leopard jacket was actually going to come alive and claw Mike Breen’s eyes out … The defending champs administered a thorough beating to extend their win streak to four and snap New York’s at three. It was all about rebounding: Kobe (27 pts) had 10 rebounds, Pau Gasol (20 pts) had 14 boards, Lamar Odom had 18, and Ron Artest had 9. In total, L.A. out-rebounded NY 61-42, which especially hurt considering the Knicks shot a season-low 38 percent from the floor … Other stat lines from Sunday: Blake Griffin put up 23 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Clippers past Golden State; Dave West posted 19 points and 8 boards to lead New Orleans past Denver, while Carmelo Anthony had a curiously quiet 8 points (3-11 FG) in what a lot of people are now saying was his last game with the Nuggets; Andrea Bargnani dropped 30 points on Sacramento in a Toronto win; and Steve Nash had 20 points, 17 assists and 3 steals as Phoenix edged Cleveland, while J.J. Hickson had 23 points and 17 boards in the loss … Before the game, the Cavs learned they will lose Anderson Varejao for the rest of the season due to a torn tendon in his ankle. Varejao got hurt in practice, according to Byron Scott, when he was running a harmless drill and crumpled to the ground after planting his foot wrong. “It’s a big blow,” Scott told the Associated Press. “Arguably, he’s been our best player.” That last line tells you how bad things have become for the Cavs … We’re out like Marquette doppelgangers …

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