To New Yorkers, last night felt important. The Battle of the Boroughs felt like it mattered. Yes, most of the rest of the country could care less about who owns New York, but to everyone actually in the Big Apple, it’s like choosing between Hova and Nas. That’s probably why the first-ever matchup between the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets, a game that had been nearly a month in the making courtesy of Sandy, featured a college atmosphere and a high-on-life crowd split down the middle. On almost every trip down the floor, Knicks and Nets fans competed, serenading each other with their own chants in an attempt to flesh out the competition. The action on the court lived up to the billing as well. As Brook Lopez went off for 22 points, 11 boards and five blocks, the Nets held off their crosstown rivals in overtime, 96-89. If Lopez is your best player as he was last night – regardless of how nice his numbers looked – we feel like there’s a limit on how good you can be. But when you’re going up against a two-man team, and you’re getting help from just about everyone (Deron Williams dishing 14 assists, Reggie Evans (14 boards) dominating the glass, Gerald Wallace earning his stripes as the team’s energizer, heart and muscle, and Jerry Stackhouse doing everything you wouldn’t expect out of a 94-year-old), it makes a W come a little easier … On the other side, Carmelo Anthony (35 points, 13 boards) was a savage after the opening quarter. Once the Knicks ditched an awkward big lineup to start the game (and it destroyed ‘Melo’s first quarter flow, where he’s been ripping teams apart all season with 11 points a night in that quarter), Anthony was a machine. Also, Tyson Chandler missed one shot, finishing with 28 points, 10 rebounds and one manhood-stealing putback dunk on Lopez’s head where he climbed up the staircase nestled into the Brooklyn center’s back. But other than those two, the rest of the Knicks shot 10-for-47 … Just when we thought about taking the Bobcats seriously, they went out and took a dump on their reputation in a brutal matchup with OKC, losing 114-69. We wanted to tune in – the Bobcats early season run is on the verge of becoming more than just a trendy fad – but after about two minutes of watching Thabo Sefolosha shoot wide open three-pointers and Russell Westbrook tear off the rim with no defenders around him, we’d had enough. And because of the score, which was a 82-31 Thunder lead at one point, we never turned it on again … In Washington, the NBA’s other sorry ass team took their lumps on the chin against San Antonio, losing 118-92. But the one matchup the Wizards did win was Kevin Seraphin‘s duel with Tim Duncan. Early in the third quarter, Seraphin (18 points, seven rebounds) showed a little of his full game in a sequence that included a turnaround jump hook over Duncan, a short jumper that was all water, and then a roll to the rim off a pick-n-roll. Even though we got on him last week for turning into a bum in the final minutes of a recent Washington loss, he’s been one of the few bright spots this season, a surprising performance in an otherwise crummy debacle, like Val Kilmer in Alexander. His third quarter play didn’t matter though: after three quarters, San Antonio was up 22 and coasted from there … Keep reading to hear about Milwaukee’s epic comeback in Chicago …
The Detroit TV announcers likened Brandon Knight‘s night to something they saw out of Rodney Stuckey during Derrick Rose‘s rookie season. At the time, Rose was getting a lot of love as the league’s next backcourt sensation, so Stuckey went out and taught the rook a thing or two in Motown, dropping 40 on him on a December night in 2007. Knight wasn’t quite THAT good against Damian Lillard in the Pistons’ 108-101 win, but he relentlessly attacked Portland’s rookie from the opening tip. Knight finished with 26 points, his third-straight solid game, many of them coming in the lane after leaving Lillard (4-for-18 shooting) in the dust … One of LaMarcus Aldridge‘s best games of the season (32 points, 10 boards) went to waste as he’s still struggling to make shots (43 percent shooting) this year … All season long, the Bucks have been one of the weirdest teams in the NBA, and just a few hours after we wrote about their back-n-forth play this season, they fell behind by 27 in Chicago before riding the bench (a lineup of Beno Udrih, Ersan Ilyasova, Ekpe Udoh, Mike Dunleavy and Doron Lamb was particularly devastating) to an incredible 93-92 comeback win. Ilyasova, one of the year’s biggest disappointments, scored 18 off the pine with most of them coming during a 23-2 second half run that was the difference. In a one-point game in the closing seconds, Carlos Boozer (19 points, 11 rebounds) let a loose ball off a rebound fall right by him out of bounds. Tom Thibodeau looked like he wanted him to hand in his jersey right then and there. The Bulls still got one more chance, but Rip Hamilton‘s (30 points) foul line jumper didn’t fall the way it did 14 years ago against Washington in the NCAA Tournament … In other stat lines from last night: Memphis and Zach Randolph (19 points, eight rebounds) dominated Cleveland in the fourth quarter of the Grizzlies’ six-point win; the Jazz rode 28 points from Al Jefferson in a come-from-behind W against Denver, 105-103; and in a really weird game that saw Blake Griffin score just four points while the Hornets and Clippers combined for 33 three-pointers, the most by both teams in a regulation game in NBA history, Greivis Vasquez erupted for 25 points, six rebounds and ten assists in New Orleans’ 105-98 win over the Clippers … Also, in Kansas’ 13-point win over San Jose St. in college ball, center Jeff Withey had a rare triple-double, racking up 16 points, 12 rebounds and 12 blocks … We’re out like Charlotte’s legitimacy.
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