Do you believe in Philly now? You should. The 76ers turned the stove temperature up in the third quarter and started grilling Chicago. It was like the visitors got caught up in a storm they couldn’t get out of. The defense was suffocating. Andre Iguodala (19 points) had a cuff dunk that only five or six people in the world could’ve pulled off. And Jrue Holiday (17 points) capped it all with a corner three right before the quarter ended. 26 to 11, they mauled the second-best team in the East in the third, and ended up winning 98-82. Every time you looked up, Philly was on some kind of fast break, whether it be off a turnover or due to the general attack mode they were in all night. It’s honestly one of the best performances we’ve ever seen out of Iguodala. He was loose and having fun … Russell Westbrook did his best to make up for all the playoff screw ups he had in Dallas last year, completely destroying the Mavs with 33 points as OKC got back on track with a big 95-86 win in Big D. This thing would’ve gotten out of hand in the second half if it wasn’t for Jason Terry, who scored 25 to help make up for Dirk hardly showing up (2-for-15 shooting) … If Serge Ibaka could actually score a point or two, he would’ve had a triple-double because dude went OFF with 10 blocks … Rick Carlisle seems like he’s in better shape than half his team. At one point, he kicked the ball out of frustration into the stands and nearly took a few people out behind the basket … Tim Duncan dropped 25 in another one of those “turn back the clocks” nights, but really, it was a stretch in the third quarter where he won it for the Spurs. Houston had been up by as much as 18, but the Big Swim poured in 16 himself during the frame to get the lead back within working distance. From there, it was Gary Neal – who’s come out of nowhere to turn into a fourth quarter assassin – who hit floaters and threes in the fourth (15 points) to finish off the Rockets, 99-91 … Portland got a combined 69 points from LaMarcus Aldridge, Gerald Wallace and Jamal Crawford as they murdered Charlotte bad enough (112-68) that fans should’ve gotten their money back … It was the best and worst of times for Al Jefferson (27 points, 12 rebounds). Down four in the final 30 seconds, Jefferson hit what seemed like his 10th hook shot of the game to cut the Clipper lead to two. But after Blake Griffin broke the press, Big Al didn’t wrap him up hard enough and Griffin’s (31 points, 14 rebounds) three-point play gave the Clippers the space they needed to win, 107-105. L.A. got their third straight big Western Conference win behind a huge fourth quarter from the “basketball genius” (as Chris Mullin said last night) Chris Paul (34 points, 11 assists) … Griffin had enough highlights for an entire hour of Sportscenter within the first few minutes. We swear, after maybe the second dunk, Utah just said forget it and started escorting Griffin to the rim for repeated slams. Seriously, the whole league is now shook after what took place the other night. No one wants to become the next Kendrick Perkins … DeAndre Jordan had one of the sickest follow-up slams we’ve seen this year … Keep reading to hear how Brandon Jennings outplayed LeBron James down the stretch of Milwaukee’s surprise win …
LeBron (40 points) used up all of his rounds in the first 12 minutes last night. The Heat only scored 82 in a home loss to Milwaukee last week, and James looked like he was going for that himself. He scored 24 alone in the first quarter, and scored in every conceivable way possible, eventually lifting Miami to a 14-point lead. But the Bucks started the fourth quarter on a 22-3 run as Brandon Jennings (31 points, eight assists) blasted three threes in a row all off high screen-n-rolls (By the way Brandon, how do you take 14 threes in a game?). From there, Milwaukee finished it off, winning by eight after holding Miami to 37 points in the second half … Danny Granger fired himself up after he and Kevin Love had to be separated, and proceeded to bang out 29 of his 36 points in the second half of Indiana’s 10-point win in Minnesota … The Minnesota play-by-play guys spent a portion of the first quarter fawning over Indiana’s throwbacks – which as we said yesterday are awesome – but then they started openly calling for short shorts to be added to the uniform. Weird. Minnesota’s throwbacks made them look like the University of Washington … Steve Nash (30 points, 10 assists) and Marcin Gortat (23 points, 11 rebounds) did their thing in Phoenix’s 120-103 win over New Orleans, but we can’t forget about our man Greivis Vasquez dropping 20 points, six rebounds and 12 assists … Boston beat the Raptors 100-64 as Toronto must’ve forgot they had a game. When your leading scorer is Jerryd Bayless (14 points), something’s wrong … For the second time this season, Dwight Howard cut JaVale McGee into tiny pieces and served him as an appetizer, going off for 23 points and 18 rebounds in the Tragic’s six-point win. Howard also did this … John Wall had a great night shooting: 1-for-12 for two points … In Jersey, the Nets dressed eight players (and probably only a slightly bigger number than that watched the game) and rode their horse Deron Williams (26 points) to a three-point win over the reeling Pistons, who couldn’t even get a three off in time on their final possession … J.R. Smith just dropped 60 in China, and did it without any of his family members throwing down in the stands. It’ll be interesting to see what Smith does when he comes back to the league. He’s learning how to shoot even more triples over there … And Allen Iverson‘s in another hip-hop song. He’s not behind the mic this time, but he’s the subject. The track is “Allen Iverson” by Don Trip. You might assume it sucks, but the track is actually pretty good … RIP Don Cornelius … We’re out like Egyptian soccer riots.
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