So how many of y’all want to stand up, cuff your palms around your mouth and scream, “I told you so!” That’s what Charles Barkley is doing right now. After countless late-game fumbles, Miami finally smartened up and gave Dwyane Wade the ball down the stretch last night. Wade then went out and beat the champs from L.A. with a number of key plays in the Heat’s 94-88 win … In the TNT studios during pre-game, Chuck was all over Wade and LeBron James to man up. Wade (20 points) got the message and clearly got the better of Kobe Bryant (24 points) down the stretch. Dwyane had three straight buckets late to push Miami ahead and then later ripped Bryant in an iso situation, leading to a James (19 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists) spike dunk. On the other side, could Bryant have played any worse in crunch time? Yes, he hit a couple of long threes, but he was turning it over, forgetting about his teammates and generally playing like a 2004 Kobe, minus the athleticism. Not cool. And someone needs to explain why Kobe and the Lakers forgot about their big guys again. Andrew Bynum (13 points, 12 rebounds) was finishing everything inside, but got only five shots. And Pau Gasol (20 points) should never, ever get outshined by Chris Bosh (24 points, 9 rebounds) … For Miami, it was clear from the start they were ready, getting themselves second-chance points and creating turnovers. Who would’ve ever thought the Lakers’ largest problem against the Heat would be an inability to grab rebounds? The team that is too big for everyone else couldn’t get it together on the glass against the team that has a group of senior citizens at those spots. The rebounding and turnovers ended up being the difference, especially in the third quarter when the Lakers opened up a six-point lead and looked poised to put the kids to bed. A series of turnovers right around the rim let the Heat hang tight … Before the game, Phil Jackson took a shot at Miami’s style, saying: “Their basketball is very much standing with Xbox games or whatever those games are. Basketball’s not a 1-on-1 game. It’s a team game.” … A tweet from ESPNLA’s Dave McMenamin: “For the second straight year in Miami, Albert Pujols was waiting for Kobe Bryant outside the visitor’s locker room after the game.” After meeting up with baseball’s biggest star, guess what Kobe did? According to the tweets from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Bryant went back out to shoot jumpers, drenched in sweat, in an empty arena for well over an hour after the game. How many guys can you think of that would do that on the road? One of our boys tweeted, “This man is out here working on his game like this. What do you think The Big 3 is doing right now?” … Read more: The Knicks get clocked in Dallas, more on Kemba Walker’s heroics, and Sir Charles is in a war of words with Billy Packer
Did anyone else see this one coming? New York walked into a setup in Dallas as they got crushed by the Mavs 127-109. Kevin Harlan hit it perfectly during the first half when he said the Knicks had the look of a tired team. They did just come off a grueling buzzer-beating win in Memphis the night before so in the first half, guys were giving up driving lanes, weren’t hitting open shots and Amar’e Stoudemire left with a stinger to his shoulder. The Knicks went 22-22 from the free-throw line and scored 51 points in the half and yet were still getting blown out. Dallas had 72 at the break! … Is there a deeper team in the league than the Mavs? Last night, all 10 players who saw legit game action scored at least five points, led by Shawn Marion’s 22 and Dirk Nowitzki’s 23. They had the EZPass working, driving around, through and over the Knicks and were never seriously challenged. Still, the question remains: do they have the go-to offensive players to get them buckets when it gets tight in the playoffs? Outside of Dirk, we aren’t sure if they do … In the third game of the night, Denver blew it open during a crazy third-quarter run to beat Phoenix by 19. Nene (22 points) was a beast for the Nuggets as was Ty Lawson (20 points, 11 assists). Things were going so well in the third quarter that the Nuggets color guys jokingly asked J.R. Smith to hit a buzzer-beater for them to end it. Of course, he did from about 24 feet away … It was interesting to watch two teams with eerily similar styles go at it. They both wanted to do the same things, but the difference in talent levels was obvious. The Suns have three or four players that could get floor time on Denver. For the Nuggets, all 10 of their rotation guys would play big minutes in Phoenix … This was actually Denver’s first win in the Valley of the Sun in almost seven years… Yesterday afternoon, Kemba Walker (24 points) dished out something ferocious against Pitt on the final play of UConn’s two-point Big East Tournament win. One on one with Pitt’s Gary McGhee, Walker put a step-back move on him that had the big man doing the Cupid Shuffle just as Walker’s game-winner was going through the net … The Miami Hurricanes are sitting desperately on the bubble right now and played like it during their seven-point overtime win against Virginia in the ACC Tournament. The ‘Canes somehow forced OT after furiously coming back from 10 down with just one minute left in regulation … We wonder if Billy Packer is going to respond after Barkley called him out for his TNT bashing. The Chuckster heard Packer diss TNT’s tournament coverage, saying they don’t know college ball. Charles and told Packer to “shut the Hell up” and to “stop being a jackass!” … We’re out like playing second fiddle.