Cavaliers get revenge on Lakers; Bosh gets revenge on Toronto

“Get ready for a steady dose of ‘What’s wrong with the Lakers?’ fire-alarm stories today. (Which will promptly be forgotten after they destroy the Cavs on Wednesday.) … So, um, yeah. That was from Smack earlier this week, after the Lake Show lost in Charlotte and spiced up the soap opera when Kobe ducked the post-game media and Phil gave a snippy five seconds of his time. Considering that the last Lakers/Cavs meeting saw L.A. beat Cleveland worse than Sonny Corleone beat Carlo, and considering it’s Kobe and Pau Gasol versus the worst team in the League, you can understand our early prediction. We were wrong … You felt it might be Cleveland’s night when Antawn Jamison (19 pts, 10 rebs) drilled a 35-footer to beat the shot clock in the first quarter, during which the Cavs jumped out to a 10-point lead. Gasol got L.A. back into it in the second quarter, but Jamison and Anthony Parker (18 pts, 9 asts) sparked an 8-0 run to close the first half, after which the Cavs never trailed again. Midway through the fourth quarter, Derek Fisher‘s trey tied it up, but Cleveland ripped off a 9-0 run led by Parker and Ramon Sessions (32 pts, 8 asts, 3 stls), and those two hit the clutch free throws in the end that kept L.A. out of striking distance … Kobe (17 pts, 12 rebs, 8-24 FG) avoided the media again after the loss, while Phil said his team seemed to take its All-Star break early. He also singled out Andrew Bynum for his 2-for-12 shooting night. Even Gasol, who was mostly dominant with 30 points and 20 boards, had his own low points: One time he threw a pass to Shannon Brown when Brown was sitting on the bench, and later Christian Eyenga unleashed a vicious dunk on Pau’s head … Had things gone according to script in Cleveland, last night’s top story would have been Chris Bosh‘s anticipated return to Toronto. The boos were to be expected — they even booed CB1 during the national anthem — but knowing how the Heat react to that kind of thing, it should also have been expected that Bosh would make his ex-home crowd secretly miss him. Bosh put up 25 points in a Miami win, breaking out power dunks, reverse layups, no-look passes and feathery jumpers. He showed the entire skill set and reminded Toronto why they tried to keep him in the first place … The Raptors kept it close, drawing within four points a few times late in the fourth quarter thanks to Andrea Bargnani (38 pts) sticking jumpers. But it seemed like LeBron (23 pts, 13 rebs, 8 asts) always had an answer, usually by getting to the line and making his free throws. At the final buzzer, Bosh blew kisses to the crowd. “It’s a sarcastic (kiss) to all the naysayers and it’s real to all the good supporters,” Bosh explained later …Read More>>

Last night’s Blake Griffin vs. Kevin Love matchup didn’t get as much pre-game hype as the first version, but this one turned out to be more entertaining. Blake (29 pts) did his thing in the Clippers win, including a couple of lefty dunks where he took off from or near the dotted line, and one alley-oop where Anthony Tolliver realized what was happening in mid-air and turned his back from the carnage while Blake dunked over him … Love got his double-double despite hurting his shoulder, finishing with 18 points and 18 boards and pulling within two of Moses Malone‘s record for consecutive double-doubles. Love has 42 straight … Some of the Dime crew was at MSG for Knicks/Hawks, which had a playoff-like atmosphere thanks to the residual bad blood from the Marvin Williams vs. Shawne Williams fight, and the verbal jabs thrown between Amar’e Stoudemire and Al Horford recently. Stoudemire won the individual battle and his team got the W, putting up 23 points, 7 boards and 3 blocks to Horford’s 12 points and 11 boards. Although Horford did run right through Amar’e’s defense a couple times for statement buckets … In the Atlanta locker room pre-game, they were watching film of the last New York game when the Williams vs. Williams fight came up. Mike Bibby, who had moved from his locker to grab a chair two feet from the screen, hit rewind to watch it multiple times while pointing out that he was trying to play peacemaker … Other stat lines from Wednesday: Carmelo Anthony went for 38 points and 12 rebounds to lead Denver past Milwaukee, while John Salmons scored 33 and Andrew Bogut grabbed 20 boards in the loss; Paul Pierce dropped 31 points on New Jersey in a Boston win; Dwight Howard posted 32 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks as Orlando routed Washington; Andre Iguodala had 13 points, 12 boards, 10 assists and 4 steals in Philadelphia’s win over Houston, while Kyle Lowry scored 36 points (15-18 FG) in the loss; Jason Kidd dropped 20 points and 6 threes to lead eight Mavericks in double-figures to beat Sacramento; Monta Ellis had 35 points, 7 dimes and 3 steals to lead Golden State past still-struggling Utah; Tayshaun Prince went for 25 points and 11 boards as Detroit edged Indiana in overtime; and LaMarcus Aldridge‘s 34 points helped Portland knock off New Orleans … In third-quarter garbage time of that Magic/Wizards game — yes, it was garbage time in the third quarter, that’s how bad Washington is on the road — Kirk Hinrich caught J.J. Redick with a hesitation crossover that dropped J.J. on his butt again (Randy Foye flashback). The Orlando bench couldn’t stop cracking up, and during the next timeout Jameer Nelson and Chris Duhon reenacted the play, with Jameer playing the role of Redick and taking a theatrical fall … We’re out like J.J.’s balance …