Are they for real? We guess we could’ve said that about either one of the teams taking the floor in Indiana last night. The Pacers beheaded the Heat by 15, and Miami has now lost two in a row by double figures, and are just 8-6 since the All-Star break. Title contenders? They need to get their heads out of the sand first. Then on the other side, the Pacers made a statement: Don’t overlook us. They almost had Miami calling for the mercy rule on the boards, destroying them 49-33. Indiana had everything working. Danny Granger (25 points, nine rebounds) was his usual “perfect number two masquerading as a one,” hitting enough shots to outshine his bigger-name competitors. Paul George (16 points, 10 rebounds) hit a crazy shot from midcourt where the ball seemed to missile at the hoop. Even Darren Collison (20 points) got out on the break and finished with a two-handed, double-pump dunk. Roy Hibbert (11 points, nine rebounds) may be continuing to kill his fantasy owners with his annual second half slumber, but last night he caught our attention. He became one of the first players we can ever remember to hit for the “LeBron cycle.” Dude dunked on James AND blocked his shot at the rim. In one game, we can’t remember the last time that happened … Ryan Anderson, we salute you. You scored 28 and hit eight triples as the Magic clipped the Raptors pretty easily, 117-101. But that’s not why we want to shake that right hand. Anyone who can find a way to put up 13 threes in one game – and you aren’t Jesus, Kobe, Nash or a pre-2005 Peja – gets major love from us. Again, it doesn’t matter that the other team’s best player was Gary Forbes (21 points). 13 triple attempts in one game is like getting rejected by the same girl four times during one recess, and continuously going back for more. Except Anderson was copping digits on every pickup line he used … What else do we love about the Magic? Jameer Nelson (18 points, seven assists) had someone slap the game back into him … The Jazz continued their push to make the playoffs, throttling the Nets by 21 in New Jersey. Paul Millsap, one of the forgotten men this year (he actually has the same exact PER as Kobe Bryant), went off for 24 and 13. We’ll simply stomach most New Jersey losses, but this one was particularly bad. Utah was coming off that four overtime loss in Atlanta that took so long the game probably could’ve made Schindler’s List feel like a CBS sitcom. For the Jazz to come into Jersey, and put the clamps on the Nets, we can only shake our heads … Houston’s Patrick Patterson (24 points) pushed it to overtime with a jumper from about 22 feet away, and once there, Houston did enough to beat the Kings, 113-106 … Welcome back Earl Boykins. The lil’ man hit four big free throws for the Rockets in his first action of the season … “DeMarcus Cousins is a beast” – a text message we received in similar words about seven times last night. He had 38 and 14 in the losing effort … Denver hammered Chicago by 17 behind 49 total points from Arron Afflalo and Ty Lawson … Keep reading to hear about the unexpected thing Carmelo Anthony did …
We could feel bad for Milwaukee. Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings combined to hit just eight of 36 shots last night, including missing all nine of their triples while committing nine turnovers. But we’ll save our sympathy for the Knicks, who didn’t have Jeremy Lin and Amar’e Stoudemire, and yet still beat the Bucks 89-80. Lin isn’t expected to be out long, but Stoudemire could be after an MRI revealed a bulging disk in his lower back. He’s out indefinitely. Meanwhile on the court, Baron Davis filled in admirably for the Knicks’ cash cow and Carmelo Anthony resurfaced with 28 points and 12 rebounds. Get this: he hadn’t scored that many in a game since… Jan. 20. WHAT? ‘Melo has always been a great scorer, but you can’t convince us he’s the best scorer in the world when he goes through a two-month drought like that … If it wasn’t for Mike Dunleavy – yes, him – this game wouldn’t even have been close. Dunleavy had 26 points, including 14 during a four-minute stretch in the first half … It’s obvious. We have to treat the Wizards like children. Can’t give them too much. Can’t spoil them. From now on, no leads, and make them come from behind and earn everything… because it’s obvious they don’t do well with success. Washington fell apart AGAIN last night, and this time it was to Detroit so there’s no excuse. Rodney Stuckey (24 points) buried a J with 0.2 seconds left to stake the Pistons to a 79-77 win after trailing by as many as 13. Stuckey scored half of his 24 in the final period while John Wall had zero in the last 12 minutes … Kevin Garnett‘s career might be closing in on the credits (Actually scratch that. KG pumped in 24 points last night.), and Ray Allen officially started skipping getting lined up in order to razor his own dome a long time ago, but Paul Pierce is still the truth. Through this month, he’s averaged over 22 points a game, and in Boston’s 102-95 win against Charlotte, the boy dropped 36 and 10 while going to the line 18 times. He might not be what he once was, and a month of averaging 22-plus gets highlighted while it used to be ho-hum, but as anyone who’s played in a Y against a decent old timer before, the old man game can last … And the Clippers blew out New Orleans 97-85 behind Chris Paul‘s 25 points and 10 assists … We’re out like Tiger‘s losing streak.
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