Joe Johnson, LeBron ruin Michael Jordan’s night; plus more March Madness drama

03.20.10 8 years ago 16 Comments

Joe Johnson (photo. Zach Wolfe)

While Day 2 of the NCAA Tournament wasn’t as wild and crazy as Day 1, it wasn’t without drama. But we’ll get to that in a little bit … Apparently not worried about the college competition, the NBA had an 11-game schedule that included some good matchups. Hawks/Bobcats featured the return of Joe Johnson, who’d missed a couple games with an Achilles injury. As Michael Jordan (Joe’s boss at Jordan Brand) sat courtside, Joe had only two points through three quarters, then he dropped buckets unexpectedly like bird s***, dominating the fourth and overtime. After Joe’s floater with 35 seconds left in regulation tied it, Charlotte worked the ball around only to get a baseline jumper from Theo Ratliff that looked like one of Shaq‘s free throws. Cut to Jordan, whose face said, “Why the hell did Theo Ratliff shoot that?” … With 13 seconds left in OT, Charlotte was down one with the ball and Stephen Jackson (9-20 FG) had that look in his eye like he wanted the shot. Coming out of the huddle, ATL’s play-by-play guy said, “Stephen Jackson, bless him, but he cannot be the shooter right now.” Dominique Wilkins added, “But you can’t tell him that.” The ‘Cats went to Ray Felton, who hit a floater with three seconds left. Hawks ball, Johnson (18 pts) saw that Felton was guarding him and casually got off an 18-foot fadeaway that went in at the buzzer. Game over, cut again to Jordan, who was just shaking his head … Meanwhile, LeBron went into the arena MJ built and dominated like he’d taken over the lease, scoring 13 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter. The Cavs were down one when LeBron came off the bench with seven minutes left: Dunk, jumper, jumper, assist Anthony Parker‘s three-pointer, two free throws, and-one circus shot, free throw, banker from long range, and that was it. Cleveland wins … One time LeBron had the rock in triple-threat position in front of Chicago’s bench and was talking to the bench before taking James Johnson to the rack and getting fouled. All we could get from reading lips was, “I’ll shoot the ball.” … Whatever momentum the Raptors had following Chris Bosh‘s game-winner the other night, they flushed it down the toilet right along with the deuce they dropped at home against the Thunder. Bosh had 22 and 10 boards, but his team nearly got 30-pieced as Kevin Durant put up 31 points. (On that note, ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights was held in a town called Durant, Oklahoma. If the Thunder ever win a championship, they should hold the parade there.) …

Brandon Jennings (photo. Nicky Woo)

Even before Tyreke Evans (15 pts, 8 TO’s) had to leave in the fourth quarter with what looked like a concussion, he was getting out-gunned by Brandon Jennings (35 pts, 8 threes, 8 asts) in their head-to-head duel. It went to double-overtime, where Milwaukee got the win after John Salmons (27 pts) hit a crazy pull-up banker for the dagger … Other stat lines from Friday: Amar’e Stoudemire dumped 44 points on the Jazz, making 14-of-16 from the field and 16-of-18 from the line; Kobe posted 22 points, 13 dimes and 4 steals to beat the Wolves; Paul Pierce scored 26 points to lead Boston past Houston; Danny Granger put up 29 points to lead Indiana past Detroit, while Rodney Stuckey scored 25 off the bench in his first game back; Danilo Gallinari hit Philly for 25 in New York’s win; Marcus Camby notched 19 boards and 4 blocks as Portland edged Washington; and Monta Ellis‘ 39 wasn’t enough as the Spurs dropped 147 points on the Warriors. Eight guys hit double figures, led by Manu Ginobili‘s 23 and 11 assists … In the NCAA Tournament, the best game wire-to-wire was probably Georgia Tech’s win over Oklahoma State. It seemed neither team was ever up by more than a bucket or two, but the Yellow Jackets eventually sealed it thanks to some clutch free-throw shooting. OK State star James Anderson had a rough night (11 pts, 3-12 FG), but it still felt like his teammates could have gotten him the ball more often. On OK State’s last good chance, they were down three when Anderson tried to get inside and got ripped, setting up Tech’s free throws that iced it … The best finish was Wisconsin beating upset-minded Wofford. Tied up in the final minute, Badgers star Trevon Hughes found big man John Leuer open on the baseline, and he stuck the go-ahead jumper. On the ensuing possession, Leuer got stuck defending Wofford’s quick guards, but he poked the ball away and forced a turnover, then added two free throws to secure the W … Friday’s biggest upset wasn’t really that much of an upset, as 12-seed Cornell knocked off Temple. As they’ve been prone to do ever since the John Chaney era, the Owls shot themselves out of it (5-17 3PA), while Cornell couldn’t miss. You know every announcer loves it when the Ivy League makes noise in the tourney, but they also love scrappy Big Ten squads with animated coaches like Bo “The Grinch” Ryan. It’s gonna be tough for whoever gets the Wisconsin/Cornell game to pick sides … Michigan State narrowly avoided an upset at the hands of Team Goon, a.k.a. New Mexico State, in a controversial finish … Clemson/Missouri was one of the most entertaining games, a furious up-and-down, pressing-and-trapping, dunk and three-fest until Mizzou started to pull away in the second half and won by eight. Maryland/Houston went at the same pace, although the Terrapins never really seemed to be in trouble, and Cal/Louisville had potential to be a barn-barner if only Rick Pitino‘s squad could have made some shots … The top seeds won easily, as Duke routed Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Syracuse cruised past Vermont, Ohio State ran through Cal State-Santa Barbara; West Virginia smacked Morgan State, and Pitt took care of business with Oakland … Now it’s onto the Round of 32, so while the basketball isn’t as wall-to-wall as it’s been these past two days, the cream is slowly rising to the top … We’re out like Pitino …

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