Joe Johnson Makes His All-Star Push; O.J. Mayo Knocks Out Denver

Joe Johnson

Joe Johnson, Dime #37

Joe Johnson is absolutely balling right now. He dropped 24 in the first half of Atlanta’s blowout win in Toronto. After he closed the frame with a rainbow three from the top of the key, the ATL play-by-play guy yelled, “Nothing but the bottom of the sack.” It’s not even a question anymore whether he’s an All-Star. If he keeps this up, we’re only asking for him to give back $30 million to the Hawks, rather than $40 mill. 30 points on 13-for-18 from the field, in only three quarters … Tracy McGrady added 15 off the bench … Looking at the glass half full, the 56 points Atlanta scored in the first 24 minutes was the most the Raptors have given up in a first half all year. Last year, everybody treated Toronto like a Golden Corral … Pau Gasol didn’t really have a chance to back up what he said about players calling him soft. If he’s soft, than what are the Charlotte Bobcats? The Lakers bent them over and spanked them repeatedly, 106-73. Kobe took it so easy, he found time to launch 11 triples. Andrew Bynum was a monster inside (20 points, 11 rebounds) but he was also being checked by people like DeSagana Diop and Byron Mullens, neither of whom know how to do anything anymore on defense besides lift their hands up … The Celtics might have some old legs, but damn. They almost blew another huge lead to Cleveland, this time up 22 before having to fight off the Cavs to win 93-90. Paul Pierce had 20 and Kevin Garnett made a couple of huge run-stopping shots down the stretch to hold off Kyrie Irving (21 points). The rook plays like a vet already, and the numbers prove it. In NBA history, no 19-year-old has ever averaged more points per 40 minutes than Irving is doing right now (25.2). Kobe went for 23.7 and Durant was at 23.5 … Anderson Varejao went Barbara Walters on the Celtics with a 20/20 game. Doc Rivers joked around and called him an All-Star. At least, we think he was joking … With their backcourt oddly quiet again, the Warriors rode their mismatched group of backups to a tight 93-90 win over Sacramento. In the second half, Brandon Rush (15 of his 20 points in the fourth) hit a number of big threes, Ekpe Udoh shut off Sacramento rim transportation and even Nate Robinson was staying away from stupid … Tyreke Evans finished one assist shy of a trip-dub (22 points, 10 rebounds, nine dimes) … Keep reading to hear about O.J. Mayo’s game-winner …

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