LeBron’s Giant Half Beats The Knicks; Kobe And The Lakers Scramble Back Into the Picture

By: 03.04.13
LeBron James & The Nike Hyperdunk+

LeBron James & The Nike Hyperdunk+ (photo. Nike)

For the second time in the second half Sunday at Madison Square Garden, J.R. Smith passed the ball a little too casually from above the three-point line, allowing LeBron James to intercept it. The first time, about 16 game minutes earlier, LBJ went to the line for free throws in the middle of Miami’s comeback from 17 down to the Knicks. Uh oh. The second time, no one stopped him. And that was the story of the second half at MSG. Smith (13 points, 12 boards) and Carmelo Anthony (32 points) doubled over immediately knowing the game was now 99-93 with 30 seconds left and Miami had done it again. This time, New York’s reaction was, oh sh**. It’s 14 wins in a row for the Heat, tying their team record thanks to outscoring the Knicks by 20 in the second half. LBJ had 29 and 11 boards, with 19 points in the second half. He hit two triples in a row to end the third and enter the fourth quarters that tied the game and gave MSG pause you could hear through your TV set. He had a follow dunk off Dwyane Wade‘s drive (20 points, eight boards, eight assists that kept Miami afloat in the first half) to start the third and a huge board and bucket with 4:15 left while Tyson Chandler (10 points, eight boards) howled about a non-call at the other end. You could spread the blame around to several Knicks, but Smith’s three-point confidence that kept him shooting even though he was just 3 of 14 stands out. Or, too, how Steve Novak (0-of-3 from distance) was utterly useless in his 12 minutes, just like in last year’s playoff series. … Even though STAT was kept on the bench most of the final quarter we did like how the Knicks fed him three straight times in the third to get him buckets/free throws. It won’t change the bottom line but is encouraging that he’s becoming a legit scoring threat again, not just a decoy for ‘Melo. … Chandler Parsons may have had a superior game and shot 12-of-13 from the field, but his GM still trolled him after Houston’s 136-103 rout of Dallas. Who cares though, when he can drop 32 and James Harden and Jeremy Lin can co-exist for 21 apiece. Combine all three and you get a dominant 44-point third quarter. … Thaddeus Young‘s (14 points) return to Philly’s lineup last Sunday in New York went under the radar because of his coach’s meltdown and Jrue Holiday‘s (14 points) attention-grabbing play, but he’s one of few reasons to be positive in Philly. His throwdown on Sunday against the Wizards after blowing down the baseline was nasty, though it was another 76ers loss, 90-87. The win was two-sided for Washington, which got a 360-layup from John Wall (16 points) that left Spencer Hawes unable to use his motor skills, but also a sprained ankle from Wiz rookie whiz Bradley Beal (14 points before leaving). … Read on to hear about the insanely good doubleheader in L.A. …

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