If you made Carmelo Anthony into a Mortal Kombat character, he’d have it all. You could give him some knives, a couple of devastating 360 kicks, maybe even fire-breathing capabilities. But as all gamers know, no matter how nasty you are at putting characters on their asses, you still have to save your energy… can’t be in there button mashing. That’s the only thing New Yorkers are worried about right now. They want to start the playoffs tomorrow before this energy/run dries up. … After knocking off Milwaukee 101-83 last night, the Knicks have won 11 games in a row and have a firm grasp on the No. 2 seed in the East (1.5 games up on Indiana, two in the loss column). And ‘Melo is on the nastiest killing spree since Patrick Batman in American Psycho. He has 131 points now in his last three games, putting up 41 last night in addition to a season-high 14 rebounds. The Knicks were actually down nine at the half before someone lit a firecracker under them. Fittingly, the quarter ended on a Jason Kidd half-court banker, giving New York 42 points in 12 minutes (their highest-scoring quarter of the entire season). But still, at one point in the third quarter, Anthony and J.R. Smith (30 points, 10 boards) had combined to shoot 21-35 (the rest of the team was 8-29), and had 55 of the team’s 73 points. Where’s the help? … Milwaukee might’ve lost, but at least they looked good doing it, rocking their alternative blood red away jerseys, probably the most underrated uniforms in the league. And did you catch Iman Shumpert? Dude had the adidas logo shaved into the back of his head. Somewhere Anthony Mason is smiling … Anthony is closing in on that scoring title, and the “I don’t want it… no actually, I really want it” back-n-forth between ‘Melo and Kevin Durant will be an interesting subplot to the final weeks of the regular season. KD held up his end as well last night, pumping in 34 as OKC ran away from Indiana in the second half, 97-75. He sparked the 9-0 OKC run that started the fourth and turned the ultimate Pacers special — a slow game with both teams having mud wrestling contests underneath the basket — into a 14-point Thunder runaway. … Twice in the second quarter, Hasheem Thabeet gave Tyler Hansbrough a couple of pimp slaps across the face. The second one happened on a rebound where Tyler fell on the floor with his face all mushed up. Hasheem got a T for it, and Hansbrough had so much blood he had to change his jersey. … On Orlando’s final possession of a one-point loss in Chicago, Beno Udrih (27 points, seven assists) went to the rack and inexplicably tried to spin with two Chicago players on him. The ball ended up in enemy hands, and Beno ended up on his ass looking like a fool. The lesson, as always: don’t be isolating Beno Udrih for game-winners on the road. … We noted during yesterday’s Smack that Michigan’s Trey Burke was named the AP Player of the Year. Yesterday morning, he earned another individual distinction after it was announced he was the Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year. Burke is probably the most important player in the Final Four this weekend — if he doesn’t play well, the Wolverines have no shot — and reminds nearly everyone of Damian Lillard. Too bad Seth Davis says someone else will win Rookie of the Year next season … Speaking of the Final Four, the tip-offs are set for tonight. It’ll be 6:09 ET for Louisville and Wichita State, with Syracuse and Michigan to follow at 8:49 ET. Here’s why we think it’ll be Michigan and Louisville advancing to Monday night … Meanwhile, in some bad injury news, it was confirmed last night that Danilo Gallinari is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Gallinari hurt it during Denver’s Thursday night win over Dallas. … Keep reading to hear what happened when Avery Bradley got all up in Kyrie Irving’s business …
Kobe Bryant (24 points, nine assists) had a couple of chances to be the hero in L.A.’s 86-84 W over Memphis. He didn’t come through on any of them, missing a couple of easy pull-up Js, and instead put the game in Memphis’ hands. The good news for Los Angeles? The Grizzlies coughed it up even worse. On two straight possessions in the last two minutes, Mike Conley (21 points) missed a layup and Jerryd Bayless bricked a wide-open triple. After Kobe and Conley exchanged misses from midrange, Dwight Howard (nine points, 10 boards) was fouled on a defensive rebound by Z-Bo (15 points) with 4.1 seconds left, Lakers up one. He made just one of two, giving Memphis one final shot. In the end, Conley missed again at the rim (and was probably fouled by Howard), leaving the Lakers a half game up for the No. 8 seed. … They desperately needed that W, especially after Utah beatdown New Orleans by a dozen, getting 20 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists from Paul Millsap. … While Cleveland somehow beat Boston to end their 10-game losing streak, 97-91, Avery Bradley got up into Kyrie Irving like we haven’t seen anyone get up in him all year. He was forcing Irving (4-for-20, 11 points) to pick up his dribble 30 feet from the rim, had him shooting airballs, and one time in the fourth quarter when Uncle Drew did get to the tin, Bradley came from behind and volleyball spiked his shot into the fat lady stuffing nachos into her face in the third row. Yet Irving still had enough balls to go one-on-one, break off Brandon Bass and hit a pull-up to officially put it away with about a minute and a half left. … They got it done because Tristan Thompson (29 points, 17 rebounds) was a man, even if Bostonians have no clue who he is. During the halftime show, we heard this: “Cavs don’t have a lot of scoring power. Kyrie Irving, but you kinda got him under wraps. It’s been about Tristice Thomas.” Maybe someday they’ll learn his name, hopefully now after Thompson caught an offensive board in the fourth quarter and scalped Boston’s entire frontline with a nasty put-back. … Is Jeff Green (23 points, nine boards) the biggest x-factor in the entire postseason? He has to be on the short list. … Tommy Heinsohn update after Terrence Williams got called for a hand check on Irving in the third quarter: “This guy’s gotta quit. Get off the floor, this referee!” Heinsohn went into a near soliloquy about how awful the official’s crew was, finishing it off with “This guy is AWFUL!!!” … Minnesota missed three freebies in the last minute of a 95-93 loss to Toronto, with Ricky Rubio (13 points, 12 assists) missing two of them, the second of them rimming out in a one-point game with 1.7 seconds left. On the other side, DeMar DeRozan (who had Rubio on him all game and gave him 25 points) hit a tough three-point play in the lane, and Rudy Gay (26 points) took Dante Cunningham into the torture chamber in the post for a bucket. This would’ve been Rick Adelman‘s 1,000th victory. If he had a single mean bone in his body, he’d have stuffed Rubio into a locker and left him there. … In other scores from last night: Philadelphia snuck up on Atlanta, winning by 11 after getting 24 points and 11 rebounds from Evan Turner; without LeBron or D-Wade, Mike Miller emerged from whatever hole he was hibernating in to drop 26 points (seven triples) in Miami’s 89-79 win over the Bobcats; Dallas beat Sacramento, 117-108, as Shawn Marion turned back the clock for 25 points and 12 boards; Stephen Curry (18 points, 15 dimes) and Golden State won by four over the Suns; while Houston slaughtered Portland, 116-98, as James Harden went for 33 points and seven boards. … And we won’t lie. We were dying after seeing this … We’re out like Gallo.
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