Spurs hit NBA milestone in beating Houston; Dirk regains MVP form

By: 01.30.11  •  21 Comments

Tony Parker

Sometimes the Spurs make it look so easy. On their way to becoming the first team in the NBA to reach 40 W’s this season, San Antonio’s defense suffocated Houston in the second half, and Manu Ginobili (22 pts) led the offense in a 13-point win … The efficiency was ruthless. In the first quarter, Tony Parker (17 points) threw a lob to Tim Duncan, which was the quietest, most difficult alley-oop we’ve ever seen: Duncan going backdoor, getting a pass that stopped right next to the rim as TD casually laid it in. In the second quarter, DeJuan Blair (14 points, 12 rebounds) had back-to-back dunks off perfectly executed pick-and-rolls that dissected Houston’s defense. The Rockets are usually one of the hardest-playing and best-coached teams in the League, and the Spurs made them look like a Big 12 squad … After throwing punches with the Knicks on Friday, the Hawks had to worry about dodging different kinds of bombs on Saturday. The Mavs had seven players score in double figures on Atlanta and used a 17-1 run in the second half to wrap it up … Dirk Nowitzki (19 points) said recently that he thought he came back a little too early from his injury, but he appears to be rounding back into the MVP form he showed us early in the year. However, when the Mavs are playing their best basketball, Dirk doesn’t have to put up MVP-like numbers. Not that he cares: He already has an MVP, but is still looking for that big trophy … Joe Johnson won’t be getting any MVP votes, but he’s been playing as well as anybody in the League lately, averaging 26 points per game this month. Last night he had 27 in the loss (with just one free throw), getting into the lane for floaters and runners. Everyone knew the Hawks were fugazy as long as Joe was putting up 5-for-17 shooting nights, but if he’s playing like this they can maybe get over the second-round hump … It’s almost comical listening to the Clippers announcers try to bring attention to guys like Randy Foye and Ike Diogu when the only reason anyone is even watching the Clips is Blake Griffin. It’s like when a popular rapper tries to get his boys put on by association … Blake had another big night, finishing with 24 points and 10 rebounds as L.A. steamrolled the Bobcats by 15. In the first half alone, Griffin caught two lobs — one from about 60 feet — had a missed alley-oop that was more spectacular than 90 percent of dunks guys actually make, and made a 360 reverse layup and-one. The guy is just stupid exciting. (And did we mention he’s the Dime #62 cover guy?) If the coaches don’t get it right next week, David Stern should call the goon squad on whoever gets picked in front of Blake for the All-Star Game … In other headlines around the League: Sacramento ended the Hornets’ 10-game winning streak as DeMarcus Cousins (25 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists) had perhaps his best game as a pro; Andrew Bogut had 17 points, 18 rebounds and 7 blocks as Milwaukee beat New Jersey, while Brandon Jennings made his return from foot surgery and scored 2 points in 11 minutes off the bench; Kevin Love‘s 21 points and 12 rebounds helped Minnesota hammer Toronto in a matchup of classroom uglies; Zach Randolph went wild for 24 points and 20 rebounds in Memphis’ blowout of the Wizards; and Carlos Boozer had 24 points and 10 rebounds as Chicago ran away from Indiana. More importantly, who saw Ronnie Brewer crown Josh McRoberts? It was nasty … So Shawne Williams and Marvin Williams get a combined three games suspended for acting like Hank in Me, Myself & Irene, but Kevin Garnett gets nothing for trying to pull a Bruce Bowen on Channing Frye‘s ankle and jabbing him in the jewels? What kind of justice is that? … We’re out like waiting for Boston/L.A. …

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