As is typical for Thursday nights, most of the NBA action last night was allocated to TNT, and way back in the summer when the schedule was made I’m sure the two games the NBA picked to be aired on national television were a great idea on paper. The battle of Los Angeles as the Lakers played the Clippers in Staples Center and the Finals rematch between the Heat and Spurs in San Antonio. Well, that didn’t work out so well for TNT.
In the first game of the night, the Heat lost to the Spurs 111-87, and barely showed up for the first and fourth quarters in the process. LeBron James has followed up his career-high 61-point game Monday with two sluggish games in a row, and last night was the worst of the two. An uncharacteristically bad shooting night from LBJ (6-18 from the field, including 1-11 from outside the paint) led him to complain about the sleeved jerseys that both teams wore and the mask that he didn’t wear in the second half.
After winning eight consecutively, Miami has now dropped two straight games, which when compounded with the fact that the Pacers have also lost two straight, is more worrisome news than the typical sluggish Miami loss that we’re treated to once or twice a month.
The Spurs meanwhile are getting healthier, and rounding themselves into playoff form. Winners of five straight, and eight of their last 10 games, the win brings the Spurs to just a half game behind the Thunder for first in the West. Same ol’ same ol’ in San Antonio.
After that the Clippers beat the Lakers 142-94, yes, by FOURTY EIGHT POINTS. There were a lot of crazy things going, so let’s go through them with a mini-list:
1. 48 points is the Lakers largest loss ever.
2. 48 points is also the Clippers largest margin of victory ever.
3. The Lakers were outscored by Darren Collison alone in the second quarter 14-13.
The caption for the above pic: “The game is such a blowout a Clipper fan took Jack Nicholson’s seat.” Seriously, the less said about this game the better. Just watch the highlights so you can see Blake dunk…and the fan’s reaction vs. Mitch Kupchak’s. A study in contrasts for the game and the season.
The lone game that was relegated to local TV and League Pass subscribers was one of the best of the season. The Suns beat the Thunder 128-122 in Phoenix. Russell Westbrook scored a season-high 36 points, and just missed his second triple double in a row. Kevin Durant continued to be Kevin Durant and scored 34, but even still it wasn’t enough to beat the Suns.
That’s because for the second time in a month, Gerald Green scored a career-high, this time 41 points, including 25 in the third quarter. Green shot 6-6 from three in the quarter, all after going scoreless in the first quarter. The 41 point outburst from Green is the most points ever scored by a player who has played in the D-League.
Playing for his seventh team in seven NBA seasons (not including a two-year stint playing ball in Russia) Green is as big a redemption story as there has ever been in the league. Once a blue chip prospect who entered the draft straight out of high school, Green played himself out of the league in three years, then back into it two years later.
Now looking, like a lock for the Most Improved Player award this season, Green capped off his night by blowing by Durant for a huge two-handed dunk and a win of the leagues best team.