Carmelo drops 50 in a loss; Cavs lose NBA record 25th straight

Losing was the theme of the day in the NBA. In Denver, Carmelo Anthony turned in his best effort of the season, but just as you’d expect in this strange trip for the Nuggets, his team still lost the game at home to a Lottery-bound opponent … On his way to dropping 50 points (16-24 FG, 16-18 FT) on the Rockets, Carmelo treated Shane Battier like an assistant coach in a practice drill, and when Houston tried to mix it up, ‘Melo made Chuck Hayes look like Chuck E. Cheese. ‘Melo added 11 rebounds and 3 blocks … But somehow it still wasn’t enough. Blame the fact that Chauncey Billups left in the first quarter with a knee injury and that Nene didn’t play, or blame the fact that Denver couldn’t stop Kevin Martin (37 points, 7 assists, 3 steals) and Luis Scola (25 points). The Rockets led pretty much the entire second half after a 13-0 run in the third quarter, and ‘Melo could only get Denver to within four points with 20 seconds left before Kyle Lowry iced it at the line … Between ‘Melo and K-Mart, are there any two NBA players who could combine for 87 points in one game and make it look so easy? The Cavs often can barely score 87 points between their 12 guys, and they have to bust their ass just to do that … Speaking of, Cleveland went into Dallas trying to avoid an NBA-record 25 straight losses. To their credit, they competed incredibly hard against a tough team in a tough arena. But in reality, they’re just not good enough … With 1:40 to go in the fourth quarter, Antawn Jamison (18 points, 11 rebounds) hit a three to make it a one-possession game and swing the momentum Cleveland’s way. With one announcer yelling, “The Cavs can smell it now!” they got a big defensive stop, but Jamison missed an off-balance three, and after another stop, J.J. Hickson (26 points, 12 rebounds) ran over Jason Kidd for a forehead-slapping charge. Jason Terry‘s jumper pushed the Mavs’ lead back to five with 36 seconds left, and Cleveland’s last chance to make something happen — down by three on their final possession — ended with Anthony Parker missing a three and the Cavs unable to get a shot off after getting the offensive rebound … The final buzzer serenaded a gloomy Cleveland squad, and while one Cavs announcer gave an exasperated “That’s not fair!” another delivered the eulogy: “The Cavaliers played the last 90 seconds of the game like a team that doesn’t know how to win.” …Read More>>

Memphis isn’t exactly San Antonio or Boston. But a road win over a potential playoff team will do for now, as the L.A. Lakers try to regain their championship form. Considering the Grizzlies embarrassed the Lake Show at Staples Center the last time they met, and that Ron Artest and Lamar Odom had good games at the same time last night, and that Andrew Bynum walked out of the FedEx Forum (his personal Waterloo) standing on two feet, this amounts to a big win for L.A. … Kobe Bryant (19 points) was locked in, perhaps not in efficiency (6-17 FG), but definitely in competitive spirit. And then in the second half when he matched up with Rudy Gay (18 points), he became even more engaged. For a while, the two went at it. Kobe picked Gay’s pocket on a post-up. Then Gay came back and forced Bryant into a turnover. Gay would make a crazy fallaway jumper before Kobe got himself to the line. For most of the fourth quarter, Gay was doing just enough to keep Memphis within range. The Lakers were clinging to a two-point lead until Gay had to leave with an injury, and back-to-back threes from Odom (15 points, 11 rebounds) and Artest (13 points, 4 steals) helped seal the deal … Despite the loss, Memphis has positioned itself to make a run at the playoffs. And if Sam Young (22 points) continues to play like he has for the past few weeks in giving them another scorer, it’s only going to help ease the load on Zach Randolph and Gay … If Randolph (8 points, 2-14 FG) was looking to prove he was unfairly snubbed in the All-Star voting, he picked a bad time to turn invisible against Pau Gasol, one of the guys chosen ahead of him … Does anyone else want to reconsider whether LaMarcus Aldridge should be an All-Star? Last night in Portland’s win over Chicago, LMA scored 11 straight down the stretch, diversifying his game with jumpers and post moves. He was huge all night (42 points) and got the better of the leading MVP candidate Derrick Rose (36 points) in one of the best duels of the season … After LaMarcus set his new career high, Andre Miller (27 points, 11 assists) was encouraging the crowd to show LMA some love, and all of the Blazers were genuinely excited to see him reach that accomplishment. Aldridge looked legitimately moved … Other headlines around the League: Gerald Wallace had 19 points and 16 rebounds as Charlotte upset Boston; Kevin Love posted 27 points and 17 rebounds for Minnesota while handing New Orleans their third straight loss; Deron Williams put up 21 points and 9 assists as Utah beat Sacramento; and Steve Nash dropped 14 points and 15 assists on Golden State in a Phoenix win … In that Bobcats/Celtics game, Kwame Brown and Kendrick Perkins got into a chest-to-chest confrontation following a hard foul by Perk on Kwame. Not trying to start something, but when Kwame gets pissed, he looks a lot like that bald-headed brotha sitting next to the Charlotte bench … We’re out like W’s in Cleveland …