Oklahoma City Dominates An East-West Battle; Rajon Rondo Drops The Heat

By: 04.02.12
Kevin Durant & Russell Westbrook

Kevin Durant & Russell Westbrook (photo. Rob Hammer)

You can’t disrespect a Derrick Rose-less Chicago team that’s still leading the East despite him being gone for 20 games now this season with injury. The Heat couldn’t stop the Bulls without their MVP a couple weeks back, remember? This is to say that when West-leading Oklahoma City met East beast Chicago on Sunday in OKC, you knew the Thunder were going to give the Bulls a full run no matter what. That run turned out to be a 14-point win that came with serious style points. Russell Westbrook (27 points) and Kevin Durant (26 points) connected on a half-court alley-oop and Russ dropped a coda on the game by lighting up Omer Asik like the Fourth of July on his slam. The debate will be how much of an asterisk to put next to this win, which OKC led by as much as 30, but the defense by the Thunder was beautiful. Lockdown stuff especially came in the third quarter, keeping the Bulls to barely 24 percent shooting. Kyle Korver (14 points) was Chi’s leading scorer AND the only guy in double figures? That’s crazy against a team (with or without the MVP) as talented as Chicago. … Rajon Rondo made the ball an extension of his hands for Boston against Miami, just whipping the ball on dimes to KG and Paul Pierce (the latter with serious English) en route to the win and his fifth triple-double this season. That scoop under Mario Chalmers? Ridiculous. He had 16 points, 14 assists and 11 boards to put the Heat on their biggest loss of the year (Not the worst-looking though, for what it’s worth.). LeBron went for 23. … Kobe heard it all and then some about his horrific shooting night on Saturday (first 15 shots missed), so all he did was get 40 Sunday to beat the Warriors at Staples. We called him Tim Tebow after that and still hitting the game-clincher, so Sunday we’ll have to call him Drew Brees after he scorched the W’s. That’s his 112th career 40-point game. … Gasps were heard all around the greater L.A. area when Andrew Bynum turned his left ankle. He bolted immediately for the locker room and didn’t return after negative X-rays. … Our new favorite H-O-R-S-E shot goes to Dorell Wright (14 points) for his bizarre, bobbling jumper. … Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge (26 points), two of the best and most mild-mannered power forwards, got into it in Portland. Love (26 points, nine boards) took exception to an Aldridge block, then they got verbal on an entry pass turned physical on the other end. Portland won, yeah, but we like that forward matchup, especially with a little more sizzle to it. … The Raymond Felton Rejuvenation Tour continues: 10 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds. … Phoenix decked New Orleans thanks to Jared Dudley‘s 21. We said here last night we love the way the Hornets play but this team was spent after hanging with the Lakers the night before. … Read more to hear about Sunday’s most bizarre finish in the NBA.

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Danny Granger

Danny Granger (photo. Stephen Hill)

After a recent viewing of The Departed it struck us that Houston’s finish (in an ultimately losing effort) against Indiana at home was like that flick’s finale. The one where everyone ends up dead in the end in a crazy stretch you didn’t see coming? Well after being down six with 50 seconds to go Houston’s Goran Dragic (22 points) hit a three, then Chandler Parsons (14 points) got a steal and a bucket. Ten seconds, five points and you’d be forgiven if you thought you were watching a resurrection live. Danny Granger (32 points) thought otherwise, blocking Parsons’ last three to seal it. … Superman can get back spasms, it turns out. So with Dwight out, Big Baby Davis went for 18 and 16 for Orlando. A nice substitute (except for that missed dunk and his suspect post defense on JaVale McGee) but it’s no win, with Denver taking the road win thanks to Ty Lawson‘s 25 points. His speed still takes us off guard, and it clearly did the Magic. Not good news, too, when Ryan Anderson (20 points) injured his foot stepping on Lawson. … Raptors in camouflage is a phrase that should never be said but yup, there was Toronto not blending in with its green unis. They look bad. You know who isn’t, though? Andrea Bargnani. Eighteen points helped lead Toronto past Washington. Be sure to peep Jan Vesely‘s putback slam with the right hand, though. That came with a lot of Eastern European flavor. … It’s Brittney Griner and Baylor taking on Skylar Diggins and Notre Dame in the NCAA women’s championship game, and that’s the matchup even partial observers to women’s hoops know is the right one. Griner and Baylor beat Stanford after looking bad early against the Cardinal’s back cuts. The Irish dropped Connecticut (in OT) for a third time this season to get to the title game a second straight year. Will Wayne be watching Diggins this year again? … Do you think John Calipari will have his team practice more free throws this morning before he plays Bill Self in the title game? Will Self find the next Chalmers to play hero for his team? … We’re out like Bynum.

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