At the half of New York’s 87-71 Game 2 win over Boston, Charles Barkley called for Carmelo Anthony to give him more, saying New York doesn’t have enough scorers to have off nights from Anthony and still expect to win. ‘Melo had made just three buckets in the first two quarters, and New York was trailing by six. Mike Woodson must’ve heard him, and quietly changed the offense to run more of it through Raymond Felton (16 points, seven boards) rather than Anthony. Because of that extra freedom, the NBA’s leading scorer exploded after the break, finishing with 34 points as the Knicks’ offense was flowing smoother than Jason Kidd‘s neck fat in the third quarter. A 29-6 run might’ve officially closed the door on Boston’s season. … J.R. Smith (19 points) started the night by receiving the Sixth Man of the Year trophy, and then proceeded to hit his first four shots in the first quarter. The Knicks closed out that quarter by unleashing Swish for five straight points. It really was a microcosm of Smith’s year and his maturity. First, he gets isolated with around 15 seconds left, doesn’t force anything, works himself into a nice, on-balance pull-up and cans it. Then he nearly draws a charge on the Truth, which forces a turnover. After that, just to show Earl Smith III still has a little crazy left in him, he drops a 30-footer while being surrounded by four guys in green, before doing some dance that should’ve stayed in the ’70s. It was so good that later on NBA TV, it forced Baron Davis to bring back the dreaded “YAHTZEE!” call.
Kenyon Martin (11 rebounds, four blocks) was all over the glass, spiked a couple of shots into the stands, and did it all while spending long portions of the game checking Paul Pierce (18 points) 25 feet from the rim. So you’re telling us no one wanted this dude for months? Sometimes we don’t understand NBA GMs. The only thing he did wrong all night was blow a dunk off a pick-n-roll on one of New York’s best sets. … Jason Terry must’ve heard us calling him one of the season’s most disappointing players. The old JET was back last night — at least in the first half — rocking a swagger that was just screaming out for Sam Cassell‘s big nuts dance. He hit three triples in the first half, and two of them came on fast break situations. As for Kevin Garnett, when he picked up his fifth foul (in just 24 minutes), the crowd started serenading the big man with “KG sucks!” chants. For once, Garnett had nothing to say because he was playing uncharacteristically soft.
And Quentin Richardson is barely getting any PT, but at least he looks good with some custom Air Jordans on the bench.
After 24 straight home wins, and not a single L in Denver since January 18, the Nuggets’ homecourt dominance finally ended in Game 2 against the Warriors, 131-117. Stephen Curry was his usual self, dropping 30 points and 13 assists and orchestrating a key 14-3 run towards the end of the second quarter. But that wasn’t what won the Warriors this game — what won it was a career night from Harrison Barnes. With the Warriors going small without David Lee, Barnes (24 points) was consistently left open, and he killed it, hitting jumpers when given space. The rook also had a nasty reverse dunk in the second half that had Golden State’s bench ready to explode. … On the other side Andre Iguodala (16 points, seven assists) and Wilson Chandler (14 points) both started hot — each of them had a nasty slam (like Chandler’s facial below) in the first quarter before completely disappearing the rest of the way.
Remember when the Big Three first got together and everyone predicted they’d be like Wu-Tang with Ghostface, the Chef and ODB, and then a bunch of moveable, “nobody cares” parts, aka three stars with no bench? Well, last night it was that group that jump-started the Heat with a 8-0 run in the early second quarter. And then after Milwaukee closed to three at the end of the third quarter, the Miami bench again played a major part in a lightning-fast 12-0 run to start the fourth, doing it all as some lady launched the most annoying high-pitched scream of all time directly into the broadcast’s microphone. That was all the Heat needed to cruise to a 2-0 series lead, beating the Bucks by 12 despite a subpar game from LeBron James (6-for-14 shooting, 19 points). … Speaking of Miami’s bench, Chris Andersen is saying he wants to become a three-point shooter, and that he has confidence in his shot so the coaches might let him start taking them. Hilarious. … Dwyane Wade (21 points, seven boards) was energized all night, and put down a handful of nasty “2007” Wade dunks. He had a follow-up jam in the middle of the third quarter that’ll surely lead off SportsCenter’s top 10 plays.
It really sucks that Kobe Bryant will no longer be live-tweeting during Lakers games. It really does. We really wanted to see more of him casually prick Mike D’Antoni over his coaching, scold Pau Gasol for playing — at times — like a little girl, and of course, send love letters to Phil Jackson. He’s not the only one who’s pissed about this. Metta World Peace isn’t feeling it, either, and gave ESPNLA.com’s Dave McMenamin a host of incredible quotes. On the whole “Kobe is a fan” thing, MWP said, “That was awesome. Mike is slick, boy.” On Bryant’s Twitter page, he said, “I love when Kobe tweets … I don’t follow him.” Then our personal favorite:
Mamba fans can be happy about this, though: Kobe tweeted a photo of how he has gotten the cast off his foot, writing on Instagram that he has “zero swelling and virtually no pain” and will start therapy this week.