Nuggets Slay The Sleepwalking Lakers; Knicks Beat A Nemesis

Kenyon Martin

Kenyon Martin, Dime #3

You had to see it coming. Anyone who watches enough of the Lakers should’ve seen it coming. Give them nothing and they topple you. Give them a little and they push back. Give them a lot and they all sit around Indian style and start telling campfire stories. Nine wins in a row and not one bad night? They were due. It’s their DNA …
The new hottest team in the West beat the old hottest team in the West yesterday when the Nuggets came from behind in the fourth quarter and walked out of the Staples Center with a 95-90 win over the Lakers. Kenyon Martin (18 points, 8 rebounds) came up with the play of the day when he tipped in a missed free throw in the final seconds to put Denver up five and ice the win. During the first half, when the Nuggets were scoring less than A.C. Green, it was Danilo Gallinari who was in the kitchen cooking up buckets. For the game he finished with 22, but most of them came at critical moments … The Lakers led throughout, but hadn’t looked so bored since they lost to Cleveland before the All-Star break. Besides Andrew Bynum (16 rebounds), it was a sleepy Sunday afternoon for L.A. Even Kobe Bryant was off (10-27 from the field, 28 points) … At one point after a great pass from Lawson led to a Gallinari dunk, Jeff Van Gundy said that he thinks Lawson is as good a fast-break passer as anyone. Jeff, have you ever heard of Rajon Rondo? Or Steve Nash? … Finally, the Spurs ended their mysterious bout with losing, destroying the Suns by 17. Amazingly, none of the Spurs’ best players played well. But one silver lining in all these injuries is that it has brought the best out from George Hill. In the last few games, Hill has had a few duds. But he also went for a combined 57 points in back-to-back games. Against Phoenix, Hill had the complete game working, hitting threes and floaters in the lane. By the end of the first quarter, he had made all eight of his shots and free throws for 16 points (he ended the night with 29 points) … We feel like this is the tip of the iceberg for Phoenix. The team really has no direction, the best player is locked in a “should I stay or should I go?” battle and their star power has completely run dry. Things are about to get ugly in Arizona … In Houston, the Rockets took advantage of the Hawks down the stretch and pushed themselves closer to the playoffs with a 114-109 win behind Kevin Martin (35 points). Twice in the final few minutes, Atlanta left Luis Scola (15 points) open at the free-throw line for jumpers. Twice, he buried them. On the other end, Joe Johnson (25 points) got called for palming, and then Jamal Crawford (15 points) took a wild three over a double team. So down three on the final possession, Jeff Teague dribbled 10 seconds off the clock before launching a running three that barely hit the rim … Read More: We witness antics in the Heat locker room, the Knicks finally beat their nemesis and two titans fall…

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LeBron James, Dwyane Wade & Chris Bosh
Some of the Dime crew was in New Jersey to check out the Heat’s 14-point win over the Nets. LeBron James had another monster night (31 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists), and afterwards, the whole team was giddy in the locker room. There was Dwyane Wade chucking a bag of ice at LeBron, Mario Chalmers serenading reporters talking to James with “Everyone wanna talk to Queen James!” and then when Chris Bosh spotted a couple of reporters chatting up Erick Dampier (who actually played well with 10 points and 14 rebounds), he starting cheering and yelling like a high school girl: “Damp’s being interviewed!”… The Knicks finally beat the Cavs, 123-107 and clinched a playoff spot behind big nights from Chauncey Billups (23 points, 7 assists), Amar’e Stoudemire (28 points) and Carmelo Anthony (25 points) … Mr. Big Shot afterwards: “We knew that this was a game that we needed to get. This team had dominated us the whole season…” We don’t even need to make a joke about that … Other headlines from around the league: Washington dealt the Bobcats a crushing blow to their playoff chances with a six-point win as Andray Blatche (25 points, 17 rebounds) dominated; Kevin Garnett (23 points) and Boston might’ve beaten the Pistons by 11, but Shaquille O’Neal left in his return after just five minutes on the court. They are calling it a mild calf sprain; Sacramento got a big night out of a healthy Tyreke Evans (24 points, 10 assists) while knocking out Utah by nine; New Orleans ran away from the Pacers by 12 as Emeka Okafor (14 points, 17 rebounds) did his thing; despite 31 points from Dwight Howard, the Magic fell apart in the fourth quarter and lost by four to Toronto, who where led by their backcourt tandem of Jerryd Bayless (23 points, 8 assists) and DeMar DeRozan (24 points); and the Mavs continued their free fall with an eight-point loss to Portland, who were led by Gerald Wallace (19 points) … By the way, good for the women’s teams from Notre Dame and Texas A&M knocking off UConn and Stanford respectively in the Final Four last night. In a sport where one team can win almost 100 times in a row and only three or four teams (usually) have any kind of legitimate shot to win a title, it’s refreshing to see it mixed up a bit … We’re out like Cleveland’s dominance.

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