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Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks Make History; Kobe Bryant Won’t Let the Lakers Die; Outrageous Finish in Houston

#KNICKSTAPE! In NYC, they’re convinced that this Knicks squad is special, and after last night’s 13th consecutive win, who are we to argue? They butchered an outgunned Wizards team, 120-99. New York shot their eyes out, connecting on a franchise-tying 20 three-pointers on the night. Obviously, Carmelo Anthony – hotter than any basketball player on the planet right now – gave the Wiz 36 (on 13-26 shooting) in just 31 minutes, including 21 in the third quarter. With the W, the Knicks clinched the Atlantic Division title for the first time since 1994 (Ewing/Mase/Oak/Starks/Harper/Anthony, etc.) … John Wall was a man on a very lonely island last night. He singlehandly kept his team on the verge of respectability with 33 on 11-19 shooting … The “Celebrity Row” feature on the MSG Network broadcast of the game featured Spike Lee, Gerry Cooney and Ryan Phillippe. Good luck finding someone who could name all three … These are the types of games that have ‘Melo and the Knicks at the top of these two lists … Against the visiting Milwaukee Bucks, the Miami Heat were missing Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, at one point they missed 15 straight threes, they let Milwaukee score 22 points off of their 17 turnovers, and they still breezed to an 11-point win. It helps when you have LeBron James and his 28 points, seven boards and seven assists (as a well as an absurd self-pass off the backboard on the break that we will post this morning). After the game this was the astute post-game recapfrom the Bucks’ Mike Dunleavy: “They didn’t play very well and they still won by a lot. So it’s not the best result for the Bucks.” … Awesome game, Jermaine O’Neal. Let’s look at his work in the final few minutes of his Suns‘s loss to the Houston Rockets. In a game where the lead seemed to change hands on every possession, J.O. was hit with a technical foul for arguing about a call that went against one of his teammates. He then fouled Jeremy Lin with :35 seconds to go and Lin sank the FTs to tie up the game. Then, the masterstroke as the buzzer sounded: With the game tied at 98, James Harden (33 points, six rebounds, six assists) shot a three from the wing. The ball hit the rim, bounced high in the air, and on the way down J.O. goaltended as the buzzer sounded. Ballgame. 101-98, Rockets win … The Rockets’ Patrick Beverley is 6-1 and plays 17 minutes a game. Including last night, he’s recorded 11 blocks in his last 10 games … There was some great content on the site yesterday. We reminisce about the time Gary Payton put the clamps on Michael Jordan, we watch Charles Barkley reminisce about the time a teenage unknown named Dirk lit up Scottie Pippen and MJ, and the Spike Albrecht mixtape

Jump to the next page for Kobe’s superhuman heroics and Isiah Thomas’ pick for the “most underrated player in the NBA” …

Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant (photo. Nike)

 

The Thunder and the Jazz were each playing for something last night in Utah; OKC is looking for the top seed in the West and the Jazz are fighting the Lakers for their playoff lives. The team that absolutely needed to win, the Jazz, just didn’t have enough to overcome the two-headed Russell Westbrook (25 points)/Kevin Durant (21 points) onslaught and succumbed, 90-80 … Something we’ve never seen before: At one point in the game, KD found himself being guarded by Derrick Favors on a switch. Durant pulled the ball out a bit and started to size up Favors to decide which way he’d be delivering buckets. But when Durant tried to shake Favors and then hit him with a pullup J, Favors never left the ground and swatted Durant’s jumper back into his face … And that brings us to those Lakers. Last night’s game against New Orleans was the “easy” one of their final five regular season games as they battle for the 8th seed. N.O. pushed L.A. to the brink, and if not for Kobe Bryant going nuclear in the second half, finishing with 30 points (23 in the fourth), five rebounds, six assists, and five steals, L.A.’s playoff dreams might be without reach. For what seemed like the majority of the stretch run, Kobe would bust out his bag of tricks on the offensive end, working hard to get off deadly pullup jumpers over double-teams over and over again. He would do something amazing and then the Hornets would come down the court and score almost at will in about four seconds, usually right down the middle of the lane. Just horrendous defense … The Golden State Warriors locked up a playoff spot by smacking around the T-Wolves in Oakland, 105-89. For a half, Klay Thompson was a terrifying offensive force, going for 25 points in the first two quarters. He finished with 30 in the route … The Nets destroyed the Sixers in Brooklyn, 104-83. Brook Lopez and Reggie Evans ate Spencer Hawes alive – Brook had 29 and 11, and Reggie had 17 and 24 boards. On NBA TV, Isiah Thomas called Evans “the most underrated player in the NBA.” … Now that the NCAA season is a wrap, the NBA Draft news will start picking up with a swiftness. Yesterday Lottery locks Ben McLemore and Victor Oladipo both indicated that they will be entering the draft. For his part, Kansas coach Bill Self said that he thinks Ben will be a future NBA All-Star … We’re out like killing Kobe.

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