There was a point in the third quarter where you could see it on LeBron James‘ face. New Jersey was flowing. Miami was in a trance. And LeBron was annoyed. A late regular season game in New Jersey isn’t exactly the NBA Finals, but it’ll do for now, especially when he puts together a performance that had shades of 2006, Game 5 in Detroit. LeBron scored 17 straight for Miami to bring the Heat charging back in a 111-108 W, all while everyone in the building screamed “MVP!” James had 37, and outside of the King and Chris Bosh (22 points, 15 rebounds), the rest of the Heat might as well have never shown up. The Nets on the other hand, shot 53 percent in the first half. They also didn’t commit their first turnover until they had MarShon Brooks (24 points) pass once instead of shooting. The ball ended up at the other end of the court. There was 5:02 left in the first half, and yet it was still just a three-point New Jersey lead. It stayed somewhat close until the middle of the third. Then a couple of Gerald Green triples ignited a 12-2 third quarter run to make it 70-58. Also in there: Kris Humphries snuffing the snot out of Udonis Haslem‘s dunk try. How pathetic was Miami in the third? They looked like the sleepwalkers in Step Brothers. In the last 10 seconds of the quarter, Norris Cole fumbled a pass twice, then picked it up and traveled. New Jersey got it back and Green promptly hit a fadeaway triple at the buzzer … Humphries (29 points, eight rebounds) handed out a first-half facial for James Jones AND Haslem, and on the replay it almost looked like he closed his eyes on impact … Just going off the recent observations from national analysts, you would’ve thought Orlando was the more dysfunctional team coming into their matchup last night with Philly. Between the injuries and DwightGate, you could make a case no team was on thinner ice going into the second season. But to do that, you’d have to overlook a 76er squad that’s unraveling faster than Charlie Sheen. With no Dwight Howard or Glen Davis, the Magic won by 13 while shooting 53 percent from the field and a ridiculous 61 percent from the arc. The Sixers lead the league in point-per-possession defense (mostly because they started so quickly this year), but yet still gave up 113 points, and big nights from Ryan Anderson (26 points, 16 rebounds) and Jameer Nelson (16 points, 13 rebounds) … Daniel Orton made his first career start for Orlando, and yet did it for a team looking to build momentum going into the playoffs. Something doesn’t seem right here … Arron Afflalo and Ty Lawson combined for 51 points in Denver’s three-point win in Houston. The loss – the fourth in a row for the Rockets – pushed them just a little closer to the brink of not even getting into the playoffs. Just a week ago, they looked like they might finish with a five seed … At one point, Clyde Drexler really said Chandler Parsons is a future All-Star. And no, we don’t think he was drugged. Parsons had 21 last night, and is a very solid player, but we think future All-Star is pushing it … Marcin Gortat had 20 points and 10 rebounds as Phoenix moved closer to the playoffs by beating the Blazers by 18 … And San Antonio smashed Golden State by 21 despite a combined 59 points from Nate Robinson and Klay Thompson … Keep reading to hear about the two best games of the night …
Utah was desperate for a win, and they got it after overcoming 40 points and a dagger triple from Dirk Nowitzki. Al Jefferson bulldozed everything in his wake, scoring 28 and tying a career-high with 26 rebounds as the Jazz eventually won it in the third extra frame, 123-121 … We never thought we’d see the day when Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook would combine to make one shot in a second half, but they did that last night as the Clippers pulled away, 92-77. Westbrook had a particularly difficult night. Dude shot 4-for-16 and didn’t score a single point after the first quarter, whereas Chris Paul had the best 12-point, 10-assist performance we’ve seen all year … Chicago had been walking a tightrope for a few nights now, forcing themselves to continuously hit clutch triples. But it didn’t happen last night in their three-point loss to the Wizards. Kevin Seraphin had one of those stat lines that you’ll only see in the dead of April: 21 points, 13 rebounds … Derrick Rose didn’t play last night. AGAIN. He was dealing with some soreness in his foot, the same side where he had a problem with his ankle. Does Rose have the worst luck of anyone this season? The injury did rob us of a potential Rose/Wall matchup that would’ve inevitably failed to live up to its expectations … Benny the Bull pulled off another stunt, flying down from the rafters on a cable before nailing a ref in the back of his knee. He’s always pulling some crazy stunt, and this only makes a potential Indiana/Chicago playoff matchup more intriguing. If any mascot is going to get revenge on David West, it’ll be Ol’ Benny … Speaking of West, he led Indiana to a 23-point thumping of Minnesota with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Outside of a late double-digit spurt from the Wolves, the guys in ‘Sota could’ve just told us they were trying to tank and we would’ve had more respect for them … Talk about an odd individual night: Derrick Williams shot 3-for-15, but still had 13 and 10. He also delivered the lone Minnesota highlight. At one point, he caught it in the lane, and drove it home disgustingly hard on half of the Pacers’ roster … Ivan The Terrible erupted for 21 points and eight boards in Atlanta’s 109-87 win over the Raptors. Toronto wore their Brad Miller specials again last night: those heinous camouflage unis that scream “Look at me!” And yes, they were still very ugly. The only one comfortable in those things is Aaron Gray … And Greivis Vasquez dropped 20 while New Orleans was the best of the worst against Charlotte, 75-67 … Did you hear? New Orleans has been awarded the 2014 NBA All-Star Game, the announcement coming just days after the NBA announced Saints owner Tom Benson had purchased the team. David Stern had already announced the Hornets would get the game as long as they got an owner, so at least the conspiracy theorists can climb down off their high horse and relax. It’s only good business to do this … We’re out like D. Rose.
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