For about 15 minutes, the Mavericks looked like they’d been playing with its new roster for months, building a double-digit lead in Oklahoma City while starting two-guard Caron Butler (13 pts, 4-16 FG) wasn’t shy at all about getting involved in the offense right away. Over on the bench Brendan Haywood appeared not miserable for the first time since Chapel Hill, DeShawn Stevenson had a serene “I’m probably not gonna play but that’s OK” vibe about him, and the trade seemed a rousing success. By the end, Dallas had shot a season-worst 32% from the field, they’d lost the game, and now they’ve got to figure out exactly how Caron will fit into the system … Russell Westbrook is a smart guy. First quarter, he got the ball all alone on a breakaway, but instead of making his own highlight, he let Kevin Durant (25 pts, 14 rebs, 3 blks) catch up and gave him the wide-open dunk. Young point guards should follow Westbrook’s example: Not only are you getting your superstar an easy bucket to help him get in a rhythm, you’re also ensuring said superstar is appreciative and wants to pick up the check at post-game dinner … There was a point during Rockets/Jazz when Chase Budinger, Kyle Korver, David Andersen and AK-47‘s “Scooby-Doo” hair were on the court at the same time. Throw Chris Quinn in there, and you could’ve had Kentucky’s starting five from Glory Road … Andersen (18 pts) was raining threes in the fourth — he’s like Mehmet Okur except he actually jumps sometimes — but Houston couldn’t hang onto the ball, get defensive stops or make shots when it mattered most. Korver got loose from Trevor Ariza and hit the go-ahead J with three minutes left, then Kirilenko jumped the passing lane and got a breakaway dunk to make it a three-point game. The Rockets proceeded to go 1-for-8 the rest of the way with one backbreaking turnover, while Deron Williams (17 pts, 15 asts) and crew closed it out at the line … After an Aaron Brooks late-game airball on a crucial possession where he didn’t give them time to set anything up, Utah’s announcer described the look on Rick Adelman‘s face as, “What was that, and why?” … One time AK-47 made an two-hand underhand pass between Luis Scola‘s legs. Only problem was that AK’s mitts wound up way too close to Reggie Evans territory … Here’s a crazy idea we got from Doc Rivers last night: When you’re up three in the final seconds and the other team has the ball, foul before they can get off a shot. After Tyreke Evans (17 pts, 11 rebs, 7 asts) hit a trey to bring Sacramento within one with six seconds left, then Ray Allen‘s free throws put Boston up three, Doc had them foul Omri Casspi before he, Tyreke or Kevin Martin could force overtime. Casspi made the freebies, and after Paul Pierce hit two at the line, the Celtics fouled Casspi again before he could take a three-pointer. This time he bricked one FT with 0.7 on the clock, and that was the end … Other stat lines from Tuesday: Derrick Rose dropped 29 points (14-18 FG) as Chicago 30-pieced the Knicks; Dwyane Wade put up 24 points, six boards and six assists to beat the Sixers, while Allen Iverson had four points (1-7 FG) and three steals off the bench in his first game back after taking some sick baby days; Kevin Love posted 22 points and 15 boards, but the Wolves lost to Detroit; Shannon Brown had 27 points and 10 boards as the Kobe-less Lakers beat Golden State; and Jason Richardson scored 27 in Phoenix’s win at Memphis … The Marcus Camby trade officially went down before the Blazers/Clippers tip-off, but not in time for everybody to get their physicals and suit up for their new teams. In a pre-game interview, Camby bluntly said the Clips “gave up on their season” by trading him, and he looked like a genius when L.A. went out and got smashed. (Without Camby by his side, All-Star Chris Kaman went 1-for-6 with seven turnovers.) Brandon Roy had four points in a 15-minute cameo … Roy tweaked his hamstring in the game, the same hamstring that he’s been struggling with for a while now. Word is that he may have to shut it down for a bit … THE NETS WON! It helped that the Bobcats didn’t even try to show up, as Jersey outplayed them from start to finish for that landmark fifth victory. With the shot clock running down late in the fourth, Brook Lopez went back-to-the-basket on Tyson Chandler and dropped a crazy turnaround J at the buzzer. Nets announcer Ian Eagle yelled “Mazeltov!” Two seconds later the refs took the basket away … We’re out like going 4-78 …
Caron Butler’s Dallas debut; Iverson, B-Roy struggle to return; Nets win!
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