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Jesus Saves The Heat; A Rookie Wins A Duel With James Harden

We don’t want to say we called it, but… we kinda did. After Ray Allen splashed his first shot of the season on a wide-open corner triple, we noted that he’s pretty much automatic from that area. If he gets a look from the corner, you might as well start walking down to the other end. Well last night in Miami’s wild 119-116 win over Denver (the Nuggets offense finally showed up for the first time this year), the Nuggets had a one-point lead in the closing seconds before LeBron James (20 points, nine boards, 11 assists) drove hard to the rim and found Jesus wide open in the corner. Not only did Allen (23 points, six triples) make it, Corey Brewer fouled him to help secure the extremely rare clutch four-pointer. It won the game for the Heat after Danilo Gallinari missed a stepback three on Denver’s last chance. Think about that final play for a second. You have the best player in the world going one-on-one. LeBron’s either getting a great shot, or you’re doubling off the greatest three-point shooter of all time in the corner … This was one of those old 1980s showdowns where everyone just runs around, chucks up shots Ricky Davis-style and no one even pretends to care about defense. Not even halfway through the second quarter, the teams had already combined for nearly 100 points. With no one bothering to check anyone on that end, Chris Bosh was free to drop 40 points … After Sandy took out what would’ve been an epic Nets/Knicks showdown in Brooklyn’s season opener, the Nets came back last night and did the next best thing: beat Toronto 107-100 in the first-ever regular season game in the Barclays Center. Everything there is super Brooklyn. The in-game music feels like they just pulled the soundtrack from 2K13. Jay-Z and Beyonce made at least two dozen appearances during the game’s telecast (Although the camera crews did spend WAY too much time observing random drunken fans. You can’t do that during a celebrity watch; we see a guy all smashed up with a drink in his hand, and we get excited thinking it’s a celeb making a fool of themselves.). We wouldn’t be surprised if Avery Johnson was using the Roc signal to call in plays. But they also unveiled their new mascot, the Brooklyn Knight, and that thing is one of the worst tragedies we’ve ever seen in the history of sports mascots. It’s cool that all fans in attendance got a 32-page comic by Marvel to go with it (probably Brook Lopez‘s pregame reading), but the mascot’s still covered in sharp metal and looks like something out of the old Power Rangers show. As for the action, Lopez led the squad with 27, and dug really deep in securing a whole five rebounds. Deron Williams hit for 19 and nine, and fittingly scored the team’s first basket, but it was C.J. Watson (15 points) who was probably the difference … Can we have O.J. Mayo play against the Bobcats every night? Mayo dropped 30 in Dallas’ 27-point W, and hit seven threes. Not surprisingly, given that this was against zone-obsessed Charlotte, pretty much every one of them was wide open. Darren Collison added 18 and 10 dimes for the Mavs … Everyone knows we probably hyped up Lance Stephenson too much when the dude was in high school (let’s not get into that), and we know it’s only a few games into the new season, but could it be… Lance is FINALLY turning into a decent player? After putting in 15 and six boards on Friday night against Charlotte, he played all of the crucial minutes against the Kings ahead of Gerald Green, and hit a corner three (he had 10 in the game) that proved to be one of the game’s biggest shots. Indiana and Sacramento turned the two overtime periods into wrestling matches – there were probably twice as many bodies on the floor than buckets during the extra frames – but the Pacers survived 106-98 behind 35 combined rebounds from Paul George (17) and David West (18) … And Boston barely survived in D.C., holding off the Wizards, 89-86. It was an odd game: the Wizards bench went absolutely crazy in the second half, and had 62 points on the night. However, the game’s wackiest moment came courtesy of Rajon Rondo (12 points, 12 assists). With the shot clock winding down on a fourth quarter possession, Rondo had his shot blocked, but he caught the deflected shot with just one hand, and flung it into the hoop from nearly the foul line … Keep reading to hear about Brandon Jennings’ buzzer-beater …

With the way Damian Lillard is playing this season, we’re starting to think those Chauncey Billups comparisons might be selling him short. He dominated the overtime period in Houston last night, and Portland won because he banged two enormous triples in the extra session, pushing his game numbers to 20 points, six boards and nine dimes. That’s his third-straight game with at least 20. LaMarcus Aldridge (27 points, 12 boards and six assists) had a monster night, as well … On the other side, James Harden was “held” to 24 points on 24 shots. Harden ran out of gas down the stretch, and on the final possession in regulation – tied after Wesley Matthews banged a triple – Matthews stripped him before he could even get a shot up. The coaches said in the postgame that he actually tweaked his ankle, but we think his problems were something else entirely. Houston coaching staff – we’re not positive on this, but we think there’s a problem if your best player is DEAD TIRED and it’s only the third game of the season. Their offense so far this year has been something like this: “Run a gazillion pick-n-rolls with the Beard, occasionally let Jeremy Lin shoot and never let Omer Asik shoot.” You can’t go 82 games that way, not unless you’re Mike D’Antoni and you have the knees of Amar’e Stoudemire to ruin … By the way, we never noticed this but Asik looks like he should be a hobbit from Lord Of The Rings. That is, if he wasn’t so tall … Jeremy Lin dropped a finger roll that turned into a three-point play off a foul to break a tie in the final minute. It’s too bad the Houston announcers had to ruin it by calling it “Lincredible!” There’s a time limit on these things, right? Or are we going to have to listen to Lin puns for the rest of his career? … In what could amount to one long F YOU from Brandon Jennings to Milwaukee management this year (he didn’t get an extension), the Bucks’ point guard was again making a major impression last night, this time against Cleveland. Jennings (13 helpers) canned a straightaway three at the buzzer to beat the Cavs, 105-102. It came immediately after Kyrie Irving (27 points) had gone coast-to-coast and hit a wild double-pump layup to tie it up with under a second to go (Irving actually scored his team’s last 13) … Other scores from last night: Anthony Davis missed what would’ve been a homecoming game, and yet New Orleans still beat Chicago 89-82 as Greivis Vasquez had 18 points; Tony Parker killed the Jazz with 24 points and 10 helpers in San Antonio’s 10-point win; and Carl Landry and Stephen Curry each put in 23 points in a Golden State upset win over the Clippers, 114-110 … And it just keeps getting worse for the Lakers. It was announced Steve Nash has a small leg fracture. He’ll be out for at least a week, and there’s a good chance it’ll be longer. That just means a lot more Steve Blake, and a lot more L.A. fans turning to heavy drinking (or getting cussed out) … We’re out like Brooklyn’s mascot.

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