There’s no grander stage than Madison Square Garden, and Derrick Rose shined like stars should in NYC as Chicago bounced the Knicks, 105-102. The basics first: 32 points, 13 assists. What left you gasping: a blow-by Toney Douglas dunk in the third, a deke of Tyson Chandler at the rim a little later. The capper, however, was a layup where he avoided Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire and Jared Jeffries driving through the lane while playing hide-and-seek with the ball around his head. Spike Lee, dressed to the hilt in a Lawrence Taylor Giants jersey, even stood up for that one. If you broke down the number of fans shaking their head in the “how did he just do that?” variety, Rose would lead the league … We all know the back page of the New York Post will be about the Knicks not coming through, but cheer up Garden fans, STAT went for a season-high 34 points and 11 boards. When he and Chandler (nine points, eight boards) traded power dunks in the second half, all of a sudden you remembered there was a crowd at MSG and that Stoudemire’s knees still have pop. Carmelo (26 points) was less memorable … The Tim Duncan of not so long ago showed up again in San Antonio for the Spurs’ 93-81 win over New Orleans. Gregg Popovich said that after Duncan scored 25 against Houston (he had 19 and nine last night in 22 minutes), he wants to keep some tread on Duncan’s tires by playing him more selectively. Playing the Hornets is the perfect time to do that. Tony Parker continued the vintage south Texas show with 18 points … Yes, Utah’s Gordon Hayward showed his face tonight against Golden State after last night’s ridiculous, fast-break block by Blake Griffin. He even led the Jazz with 21 points, but the Warriors won 119-101 at home. Steph Curry (29 points, 12 assists) was a showman with the ball. He whipped a left-hand no-look to Monta Ellis (33 points) on the break in the second, then threw a three-quarter oop to Ellis in the second half … In Atlanta it was cause to celebrate because Memphis won there for the first time in six years. It’s a little hard to believe considering the Phillips Arena crowd isn’t exactly vocal or full â€” or even have a Clipper Darrell character â€” and the Hawks have been so-so in that stretch. Whatever Lionel Hollins‘ crew said tonight, they made like Sherman’s March to the Sea and burned down the Hawks, off a 4-1 road trip, frighteningly easy, 96-77 … The Grizz were up 30 at one point after the Hawks, down just 10 at the break, didn’t score on their first seven shots of the second half. Meanwhile, Rudy Gay (21 points) and O.J. Mayo (18 points) were dunking all over the place in stretches and made a comfortable win look much worse for Atlanta. Could Rudy’s arm go back any further on his tomahawk in the second quarter? … Keep reading to hear what happened to Timofey Mozgov against Blake Griffin this time …
Call him what you want, be it a spark plug or a 5-Hour Energy can personified, but Nicolas Batum was certainly needed for Portland in Sacramento. The Kings did what they do to win, 95-92, with gunner John Salmons (19 points) and steady Marcus Thornton (20 points) each being more aggressive than any defender from Portland wanted. Batum made four threes in the fourth against Utah on Monday before leaving with a bruised left knee, and he didn’t travel. It showed. Wesley Matthews and Jamal Crawford combined to shoot 10-29, and they’re a good way to tell how Portland’s feeling on a given night … The Kings gave Portland a chance to tie it on the final possession, but Raymond Felton missed a wide-open three from the left wing and Crawford bricked a slightly more contested three from the right side … If MSG is the world’s greatest stage, Clipper night in Hollywood is growing into a decent venue, too. Too bad Denver locked up the place, blowing out L.A. 112-91 on the fourth game in five nights for the Clips. Like a lot of things in SoCal, this game was all about image â€” making you do a double-take at first, then realizing this game was ugly upon further review … Blake Griffin (18 points) showed things early that he’ll need to improve once he can’t rely on his hops. A left-wing J from 19 coupled with a turn around, step-back over Nene later in the first quarter got the nervous energy going in a building poised for a slam. When he dialed up a couple standard (standard means filthy for 99 percent of the league) right-handed strike dunks, it got everyone thinking L.A. could click on all cylinders. Well, then Denver outscored them 67-35 during the second and third quarters, led by Danilo Gallinari (21 points, 5-of-5 from distance) and â€” this was awesome â€” Timofey Mozgov. The Revenge of Moz featured turn around J’s, and baby hooks in the lane as he finished with 5-of-5 shooting for 11 points. On a night t-shirts were being sold with “The Poster Child” screeprinted on them (with Blake’s assault over Kendrick Perkins), the original victim of a Griffin superdunk got a nice taste of revenge. No doubt they were cheering back in St. Petersburg for that one, Timofey … And the All-Star starters were announced last night with no surprises. Rose, Wade, LeBron, ‘Melo and Howard for the East. CP, Kobe, Durant, Griffin (Amazingly, Griffin and CP will be the first Clippers to EVER start in an All-Star Game.) and Bynum for the West. Anyone you would’ve subbed in? … We’re out Shaq‘s All-Star picks.
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