We had a joke all lined up. With Big Baby rumbling to 23 points and 12 rebounds, and with Dwight Howard in an injury/depressed/look at me funk, Orlando was setting themselves up. In his last three games before last night, Davis was averaging 21.3 points, 11 rebounds and 50 percent from the floor. For once, he WAS more useful than Howard. But somehow after hurting his lower back enough to be stretched out by the team’s physical therapist at midcourt before the third quarter, and with his shot not falling, Dwight didn’t give up. He did work. The Magic came from behind to beat Philly, 88-82, and Howard had 20 points and 22 rebounds. He claimed afterward that he will never give up on his team, and this one was a perfect example. The Sixers hit them with a huge first half run, and were up eight at the half as Howard had tweaked his back and made just two shots. For the Magic to come back and win, even with everything going on around that team, that says a lot … Paul Pierce and the Celtics answered the bell in Indiana. Pierce’s 24 pushed Boston to a 86-72 win against the Pacers just one game after Doc Rivers called them out for playing their worst 48 minutes of the year. They reached out and snatched the victory during the second quarter. They held the hosts without a bucket for basically seven minutes with the Pacers missing 11 straight shots. How did they do it? We actually don’t know. Their lineup was Sasha Pavlovic, Greg Stiemsma, Ray Allen and then Kevin Garnett (who had 10 fourth quarter points) and Avery Bradley. The Pacers went about as meekly as possible against the Celtics, one night after crowning OKC and looking like a legit contender. We’ve given up trying to figure out the East after the obvious top two. The Pacers had won four straight, and now have given the C’s life as far as catching them for playoff seedings. Maybe if Darren Collison would do something, the Pacers might be able to make some moves. Remember when people were actually calling for New Orleans to trade Chris Paul JUST because they had DC? Where are all of them now? … Rajon Rondo has recorded 10-plus assists in the last 16 games, which passes John Stockton (15 straight in 1995) for the longest streak in the last 20 years … We miss the days when Paul Pierce used to go against Indiana and show up to the postgame pressers with head bandages … Kobe didn’t start up the #KobeSystem last night, sitting it out with tenosynovitis of the left shin. So as the Lakers were busy getting throttled by Phoenix, 125-105, Bryant spent the spent joking around and making the #KobeSystem hand signal to fans behind the bench. Shannon Brown had 24 against his old team … Behind 27 and 14 from Blake Griffin, the Clippers won again, 109-94 over Sacramento … In this year’s Nike Hoop Summit, despite 35 from Shabazz Muhammad, the World beat Team USA by nine behind Canada’s Andrew Wiggins (20 points), the youngest player there … And Antoine Walker announced his retirement to his Idaho Stampede teammates last night after their D-League game. We know most of y’all think he retired years ago, but we figured you should know … Keep reading to hear about O.J. Mayo’s JaVale McGee impersonation …
Rudy Gay put one on Dallas last night. Just a few nights after the Mavs took out Memphis, the Grizz came back and returned the favor, winning 94-89 behind Gay’s 25 points. Dallas just didn’t have it from the start, shooting 1-for-12 to start the game. After a Gay LeBron-lite on the break, it was 26-6 Memphis, and they controlled it the rest of the way. Gilbert Arenas had 11 more points in the second half before hurting his ankle. His mojo was back too; one corner three came after he motioned for the team to settle down. Then he immediately fired it. Arenas now has probably made more shots in his last two games than he did in the previous two years (It almost feels that way doesn’t it?) … But the real fun happened with O.J. Mayo. During a jump ball in the second half, Zach Randolph (15 points, 11 rebounds) recovered it on the Mavs’ side of the court. Mayo sprinted back to the opposite end like JaVale McGee. He was calling for the pass from Z-Bo, which would’ve been an obvious backcourt violation. Randolph almost passed it to him too before regaining his senses … We like how Brandon Jennings says the Bucks struggle with plus-.500 teams. Um, that means you’re not very good. Milwaukee still blew out Portland by 22. Somehow, some way, Jennings and Monta Ellis are making it work, and are doing it under Scott Skiles‘ watch. They had a combined 38 against Portland. But maybe we shouldn’t be all that surprised. Skiles made beautiful music with Ben Gordon in Chicago. Now that they’ve broken up, no one’s heard from BG ever since Detroit stole his game and hid it in a garage somewhere … Jason Smith built a grave and buried the T’Wolves’ season last night, going wild with 26 points and 10 rebounds. New Orleans won 99-90 as Minnesota seems content to let Kevin Love get his numbers (29 and 12) and play out the string now that their season is over … How do you know the Hawks destroyed Charlotte? Ivan Johnson, Jannero Pargo, Marvin Williams and Willie Green all scored in double digits. Since it’s quite obvious Charlotte is tanking, who should they go after in the draft? Outside of Anthony Davis, it gets murky. Do you want a swingman (Harrison Barnes)? A project (Andre Drummond)? Or a solid big man (Thomas Robinson)? … Cory Higgins, you know, the guy who’s only on the team because his dad is in management, somehow scored 22 points in 24 minutes. He’ll be recalling this night to his grandkids someday … And Golden State smashed Denver by 15 as they put seven players in double figures … We’re out like ‘Toine’s shimmy.
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