DimeMag

Celtics vs. Spurs instant classic; The Machine takes Chicago down

Would anybody complain if we altered the NBA schedule so the Spurs and Celtics could play more than twice? We know we wouldn’t mind scrapping another Spurs/Kings or Celtics/Wizards game if that’s what it takes. Last night’s matchup between the current No. 1 seeds in the East and West lived up to its billing as a possible NBA Finals preview … It was tied up with 2:30 to go before Boston ripped off a 9-0 run, which Ray Allen (31 pts, 13-16 FG) capped with a three and an open-court steal on George Hill that he turned into a breakaway layup. But San Antonio didn’t fold that easy. Manu Ginobili hit a quick three, then Tony Parker got a steal and a bucket. Nate Robinson checked in, immediately turned the ball over, and checked back out after Richard Jefferson‘s free throws brought the Spurs within two … Still down two with under 10 seconds left, the Spurs had to put Ray on the line, and somehow he missed BOTH shots. (Around the same time, we heard reports that Lucifer was seen wearing a winter coat, and The Game passed up an opportunity to name-drop a celebrity friend.) On their last possession, the Spurs ran a high screen-and-roll with Ginobili (24 pts, 8 rebs, 5 stls) and Antonio McDyess, and Manu completely ignored a wide-open ‘Dyess, trying to shake Marquis Daniels and Paul Pierce and getting his shot blocked … And what was Ray Allen doing immediately after the final buzzer? Staring 90 feet downcourt at the rim where he missed those free throws, practicing his form a few times before going to the locker room. He is obsessive about this … Rajon Rondo was on another planet. He finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds, 22 assists and 6 steals. Can those last few stragglers just admit he’s nasty on his own merits now? … Line of the night from Tommy Heinsohn: “I tell ya, I do not like the officiating in the last part of this game.” In other news, DMX got arrested again. Does Heinsohn really think the NBA has a conspiracy to keep the Boston Celtics down? … If we’d told you the Nets’ crunch-time lineup as of Jan. 5 would consist of Devin Harris, Sasha Vujacic, Stephen Graham, Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez, would you believe the team was not on pace to challenge the ’73 Sixers (again) for the worst record in NBA history? And yet that’s who was on the court as Jersey notched their 10th win of the season by outlasting the Bulls …

With 30 seconds left, Chicago was down two when Luol Deng was sent to the line on a questionable call going to the rack. He bricked both — funny how announcers only bring up the “Ball doesn’t lie” adage when things work out in their team’s favor — giving the Nets a chance to ice it. Harris (18 pts, 11 asts) did his signature reverse-spin/pull-up from the right elbow, but he airballed badly, then Vujacic fouled C.J. Watson on the other end. Watson hit his free throws to tie it. Jersey ball, Harris and Lopez tried and failed an alley-oop, but Vujacic gathered the rebound and dropped in a layup. Derrick Rose couldn’t shake free of Harris and tossed up a no-chance trey at the buzzer … Carlos Boozer was benched for all of the fourth quarter. “You’ve got to talk to (Tom Thibodeau) about that,” Booz said afterward. “That was a coaching decision.” Also familiar with the bench was Derrick Favors, whose first NBA start fell apart as he racked up four fouls in nine minutes … Kevin Martin tortured the Blazers for 44 and a half minutes, dropping 45 points (13-18 FG, 13-15 FT), before he and the rest of the Rockets went cold at the worst time. K-Mart never scored after his free throws with 3:30 remaining gave Houston a one-point lead, and his team was held to just one bucket the rest of the way as the Blazers eked out a win … Houston’s play-by-play guy is still pining for Yao Ming. “They had LaMarcus Aldridge (27 pts, 13 rebs) inside, and we had no answer,” is how he broke down the loss … Shout-out to the dude in the crowd with the circa 1994 Sam Cassell jersey. That only could have been topped by a Vernon Maxwell or a pinstriped Matt Maloney joint … Speaking of outdated fashion, what was Paul Silas wearing during the Bobcats/Wolves game? The shirt under his blazer looked like something from the Cliff Huxtable Button-Up Collection … As for the game, Tyrus Thomas had 21 points and 11 boards off the bench as Charlotte overcame the absence of Stephen Jackson (knee) and Gerald Wallace (ankle) to pull out an overtime win … Other stat lines from Wednesday: Kobe Bryant scored 24 points to lead the Lakers past Phoenix; Blake Griffin posted 22 points and 18 rebounds, and DeAndre Jordan added 14 points, 20 boards and 6 blocks in the Clippers’ win over Denver; Joe Johnson put up 28 points to help Atlanta rout Utah; Jrue Holiday went for 26 points and 9 assists to lead Philadelphia past Washington; Jose Calderon put up 20 points and 17 assists as Toronto beat Cleveland; Dwight Howard posted 28 points and 13 rebounds as Orlando beat Milwaukee for its 7th straight win; and Monta Ellis dropped 29 points on the Hornets in a Golden State victory … After that Magic game, Dwight was talking about one of his teammates (we think it was Gilbert Arenas) being on a “jungle diet.” Asked to clarify, Dwight said, “It’s all juices and berries.” Anybody else catch the Coming to America reference? … We’re out like Akeem’s tail …

×