After a day watching some of the nastiest rivalries in college sports on the gridiron, we were reminded once Alabama turned Auburn into flattened tire marks that it’s probably still ‘Bama… and then everyone else (although Notre Dame has their chance to complete a storybook season). In the NBA, it’s not quite as simple. But we do know that Miami’s best is better than everyone else’s, particularly if you’re Cleveland and you’re missing your best player. They proved it over the last 1:58 against the Cavs last night in their 110-108 win. Daniel Gibson stroked a wing triple at that point to put the visitors up by seven, yet from that point on, the Heat went to a different level. The final minutes felt like someone tweaked with the game’s difficulty sliders: LeBron (30 points) scored. Then Chris Bosh blocked a shot. Ray Allen notched a three-point play on the other end. After that, Gibson shot an airball for the Cavs. Finally, a few possessions later, Jesus drained a back-breaking triple to put Miami ahead. Dwyane Wade would go on to block Jeremy Pargo on Cleveland’s last chance. Coming into the fourth quarter, Ray Allen had two points. From that point on, he’d score 15, proving once again you never doubt Jesus when it gets to crunch time … The Heat’s poor performance must’ve been somehow related to their awful uniforms. All-white Heat unis? That doesn’t seem right. Some red has to be in there. Someone out there was watching over this one, making sure Miami doesn’t make this same mistake again … Is it now time to acknowledge that Bosh (23 points) is Miami’s second-best player? Too early? D-Wade’s (18 points) injury woes are perhaps more important to the Heat’s season, but so far this year, the debate for No. 2 in Miami isn’t close … In their 116-109 overtime win in Philly, OKC had a somewhat similar outing. They scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, and their execution again boiled down to “Save us, Kevin and Russell.” Thaddeus Young was balling, posting 29 points and 15 boards, while Evan Turner had 26 of his own. But because OKC’s two best players are just better than everyone else, it didn’t matter. Durant was unstoppable in the overtime period, finishing with 37 points, and Westbrook added 30 points and nine assists … After coming back to normalcy a little bit with his hair game over the past few days, Andrew Bynum (who’s now been officially announced as out “indefinitely”) stepped back into his 1920s time machine and brought out the perm again during the pregame last night. Once Adam Silver takes over as commissioner when David Stern retires, his first move should be to put in some type of dress code for Bynum’s hair to make sure he never again goes down this road … Pau Gasol might’ve had another quiet night (13 points, nine boards), Kobe Bryant (19 points) might’ve been running on empty, and the Lakers might’ve been coming off two bad losses on the road, but L.A. still smashed Dallas, 115-89. They jumped out by 10 early in the first quarter as Metta World Peace (19 points) banged four triples in that frame, and the Mavs finished with just 38 in the entire first half (the Lakers had given up 40 against the Kings in one quarter earlier this week). Antawn Jamison provided a sliver of evidence suggesting he’s still alive, posting BY FAR his best game of the year (19 points, 15 boards in a little under 30 minutes of PT) … And in college ball, after knocking off Kentucky earlier this year, Duke also took out their hated rivals from Louisville, 76-71. They did it despite getting all of three points from their bench – all of their starters scored anywhere from 14 to 16 points … Keep reading to hear about the ruthless thing Harrison Barnes did to Nikola Pekovic …
Too often in college football’s BCS circus we annoint teams before they’re ready, and it takes a loss to remind us all that no one is ever as good as they seem when they’re undefeated. Then there are teams like Oregon and Kansas State, failing to set the table before trying to dive in and immediately stuff their faces. That’s essentially the Clippers right now. They couldn’t handle a few weeks of ass kissing and lost again last night, this time by 11 in Atlanta. The Clippers’ East Coast funk continued for most of the first half, and they even missed nine straight shots at one point in the second quarter. Chris Paul (19 points, seven steals) had two consecutive isolations on Zaza Pachulia (19 points, 12 boards), and his flat-footed jumpers were pretty ugly. Defensively, they weren’t giving enough effort. Combine those things with zero off-the-ball offensive movement, and they really looked like someone had fed them a four-course Thanksgiving meal just before tipoff. No one wanted to move. They were all looking at everyone else to pass the remote … Early in the first quarter, Blake Griffin (22 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, and about 67 percent more effort than everyone else with L.A.) pump-faked and went baseline, cramming a reverse dunk on Zaza’s head in one of those instances where the defender tries to go up and contest the shot, but can’t because he just got a mouthful of basketball in his face … And Eric Bledsoe added his own impressive highlight, going up and over Josh Smith on a putback slam … It’s fitting that the new Bobcats (the Wizards) extended their horrendous season by losing their 11th straight game to start the year, this time at home to Charlotte in double-overtime, 108-106. Ramon Sessions dropped 21 points off the pine, but again, it was Byron Mullens driving in the dagger with five more triples and a season-high 27 points … In other stat lines from last night: despite DeMarcus Cousins losing his cool again and getting tossed earlier in the night, Tyreke Evans (27 points, five boards, five dimes) erupted for his fourth-straight solid game after a slow start this year in Sacramento’s 108-97 win over Utah; Chicago got 22 and 19 from Carlos Boozer in their 93-86 W in Milwaukee; while Golden State took down Minnesota by 11 as Klay Thompson led everyone with 24 points … Harrison Barnes had the single best play of the night when he caught a backdoor pass in the lane and turned the grizzled Nikola Pekovic into a teddy bear … And in some college recruiting news, Jabari Parker was scheduled to get a VERY “in your face” welcome upon attending the BYU-Cal State Northridge game last night. BYU fans donated money to create 6,300 t-shirts with the phrase “Chicago to Provo,” framing images of Chicago’s skyline and Provo’s Mount Timpanogos in a direct play off Parker’s CHI-town roots. They were hoping to flood the game’s crowd in an attempt to get the 6-8 Parker to buck conventional wisdom and declare for BYU. Clever, but in this day and age, we’re not sure t-shirts – even customized ones – excite kids the way they used to … We’re out like Lane Kiffin‘s play calling.
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