Ibaka Flocka Flame: Durant’s 45 not enough to beat San Antonio; Stoudemire’s best dunk ever

03.23.10 8 years ago 25 Comments

Kevin Durant (photo. Jared McMillen)

Right after Kevin Durant‘s showcase of savage bucketry, it was Serge Ibaka who almost got the Thunder over the hump against the Spurs last night. Throughout the fourth quarter, Ibaka was giving Tim Duncan all kinds of problems on the defensive end: taking charges, poking the ball away, and swatting his shots. And with every big play, Ibaka (10 pts, 8 rebs, 3 blks) would pump up the crowd and had OKC’s arena on the verge of exploding. After the rookie forced Duncan (14 pts) into a big turnover in the final two minutes, one of the announcers yelled, “Get on your feet, folks! Serge Ibaka is in the building!” … Durant (45 pts, 15-24 FG, 14-15 FT) tied it up on a runner, but Manu Ginobili got to the line and put San Antonio back on top with 30 seconds left. Russell Westbrook then appeared to give the game away when he stepped out of bounds on the ensuing inbound play (and cussed out the ref just like Serena Williams), but Ibaka spiked Duncan’s layup off the backboard and bought the Thunder another chance. The Spurs weren’t allowing Durant a clean look, so he hit wide-open Thabo Sefolosha, but his three-pointer rimmed out. Manu (21 pts, 5 rebs, 5 asts, 2 stls) hit another free throw to make it a three-point margin, and Westbrook missed a halfcourt heave at the end … Did you ever think you’d be watching Joe Johnson and John Salmons trade crunch-time buckets in an important NBA game? Don’t look now, but if the East playoff standings hold up, Hawks/Bucks will be a first-round matchup and you’ll get that for multiple games. Johnson (27 pts) and Salmons (32 pts) put on a show Monday, mixing drives, fadeaways and pull-ups down the stretch … The Hawks had the upper hand for most of the fourth quarter, but Salmons tied it up at the line with a minute to go, and after Johnson got caught mugging him trying to deny an entry pass, Salmons gave Milwaukee the lead with two more free throws. Joe missed a short floater, and after Luke Ridnour split a pair of free throws, Atlanta had no timeouts and about five seconds to make something happen. When the Bucks’ color commentator realized Jamal Crawford had the ball, he groaned, “Oh no. Please no!” When Crawford launched a prayer, the same guy screamed “SHORT!” as it fell short …

Chris Paul

Chris Paul is back. He started in the Hornets’ win over Dallas, and while he went scoreless and looked pretty rusty in the first half, CP finished with 11 points and three assists in 20 minutes. Darren Collison put up 16 and 8 in what might be his last time to shine for awhile, but Marcus Thornton is still free to be a beast. Thornton dropped 28 points, and for every one of them it seemed he was either sprinting toward the rim, using his speed to set up a pull-up jumper, or hitting spot-up threes over defenders who gave him too much space because they were worried about his speed … Following Terrence Williams‘ 50-foot bomb, the Nets were actually leading Miami at halftime before eventually/predictably losing again. NBA TV’s Brent Barry was killing ’em for it, too. “Many people are wondering why the New Jersey Nets are struggling,” Bones said after they showed T-Will’s highlight. “Well, this is one of the plays in their offensive set.” Barry also said the Nets should give out prizes to the fans if they’re leading at halftime … D-Wade posted 27 and 12 dimes in the win, while Brook Lopez had 26 points for the losers. It almost feels wrong to bash Lopez for anything this year, but he’s gotta do better than grabbing ONE rebound all night. If Amar’e Stoudemire isn’t above criticism, neither is Brook … Speaking of, PLEASE tell us you saw what Amar’e did to Anthony Tolliver. As Dime’s Austin Burton put it in a text: “Somebody call CSI: Oakland cause he left nothing but body parts on the floor.” Late in the fourth, Amar’e (37 pts, 8 rebs) caught it on the break and just obliterated Tolliver when he tried to challenge the dunk. It was so nasty, half the G-State crowd was in shock while the other half was booing Amar’e. Phoenix won the game in a typical shootout … Other stat lines from Monday: Deron Williams put up 22 points and 11 assists to help Utah snap Boston’s four-game win streak; Dwight Howard posted 23 points and 15 rebounds as Orlando beat Philly; Derrick Rose had 27 points, 7 boards and 8 assists to lead Chicago past Houston; Zach Randolph had 25 and 12 boards as Memphis beat Sacramento; and Chris Bosh went for 21 and 10 in Toronto’s win at Minnesota … Not hoops-related at all, but did you see Pete Rose guest-hosting WWE Raw? Honestly, it was kind of sad. Pete looked like somebody’s grandpa who got lost on his way to the racetrack, and the crowd had zero reaction to him, mostly because anybody under the age of 25 never saw him play and barely knows who he is. Maybe if they’d held the show in Cincinnati or Philly it would have meant something, but otherwise it was a flop … We’re out like Kiki’s playbook …

Around The Web