If last night’s Thunder/Spurs game was a preview of the Western Conference Finals, we’d be more than ok with it. The Manu-less Spurs made the trip to OKC and fought valiantly, but still got a whole facefull of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant buckets. The NBA’s top dynamic duo combined for 52 of the Thunder’s 100 total points in a 100-88 victory. Russ put in 27 (as well as seven boards and seven assists), despite playing 10 minutes less than KD (25, nine boards, six assists) … We’re not going to lie, after Durant dribbled through half the Spurs’ team and then hit San Antonio with a huge dunk, we 100% laughed out loud when TNT was going to commercial showing a replay and Reggie Miller yelled, “Mommmy has some things for daddy to do!” … Oklahoma City still trails San Antonio by a half game, but pulled even in the loss column and would control the tiebreaker with a better record against the West … The Chicago Bulls, missing pretty much everybody, went into Brooklyn last night and stole one right out from under the Nets, 92-90. While it was Carlos Boozer who did most of the damage in the box score (29 and 18 rebounds), arguably Chicago’s most valuable player was Nazr Mohammed. Don’t laugh, ol’ Nazr’s been a rock for the Bulls in these lean, injury-riddled times, and last night was no different. He didn’t light up the stat sheet (4 points, 9 rebounds), but he basically won the game for Chicago down the stretch. With his team down 90-89 under a minute to go, the Nets went to Brook Lopez, who was strong last night with 28 points. Nazr shut the doors and windows, and with nowhere for Brook to go, he threw it away, leading to a turnover and Nate Robinson floater on the other end. Next time down the court, the Nets went with Deron Williams. When Jimmy Butler shut him down, D-Will kicked it into Lopez again and again Nazr wouldn’t give him a thing. After a Daequon Cook foul shot put the Bulls up two, the Nets called timeout and set up a final play to tie or win the game. Deron Williams drove the lane, but when Nazr slid into help Williams kicked it out to Lopez on the perimeter (Mohammed hustled to close out to contest), the shot rimmed out, game over. We’re not saying Nazr’s why Lopez didn’t sink the shot, but he certainly didn’t make it easy for Brook … Earlier in the day, it was announced that Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau officially signed a four-year contract extension. Seeing the way he gets his guys to compete and play defense without five of their top players, we’d be cool with the Bulls extending him for as many years as he wanted. The funny thing is that Thibodeau and the team actually agreed to the extension back in October, but the contract wasn’t signed until yesterday because “the lawyers had it” … Yesterday we brought you visual evidence of Deron Williams‘ resurrection. Last night he kept it rolling, giving the Bulls 30 points, two boards, 10 assists, one steal and two threes on 9-of-16 shooting in 40 minutes of run …
The Denver Nuggets have been one of the most entertaining/terrifying (for other teams) shows in the NBA this year. When they get rolling and are flying up and down the court raining threes and flying to the rim, they’re a pretty amazing spectacle and a sort of downlow darkhorse to be the last team standing when it is all said and done. That dream took a potentially crippling hit last night in the first half of their two-point win over the Dallas Mavericks. We’re still waiting on more info, but it looked like Danilo Gallinari may have suffered a catastrophic knee injury on a non-contact play in the lane. On a drive, his left knee buckled and twisted pretty badly and Gallo went down in a heap. He looked to be in terrible pain and had to be carried off the floor and taken to the locker room in a cart. Early speculation is that he has a torn ACL and will be getting an MRI in the morning … Hey, jerks. No one thinks you’re cool for being the first to post animated gifs of players’ injuries … As for the game, Dallas dominated the entire thing, until a late Denver spurt put the Nuggets in striking distance. Andre Iguodala put in a tough swooping layup with 2.8 seconds left in the game to put Denver up one. Dallas had a look at the every end, but Corey Brewer got a hand on Anthony Morrow‘s last-second shot … Denver has now won 19 in a row at home … In other knee injury news, the Pacers’ Danny Granger underwent knee surgery (performed by Dr. James Andrews). Danny’s expected to be ready for training camp … Somehow, insanely, the basketball world has been talking about this “Can-Brittney Griner-play-in-the-NBA?” nonsensical debate for two days now. (For what it’s worth, this is where we see her absolute ceiling in a competitive men’s setting.) Yesterday, Shane Battier was asked if he thought she could play in the L â€“ he said no. What was interesting though is that Battier said he believes that we will see a female player in the NBA in our lifetime, and that the type of player to make it would most likely be a quick, athletic female guard, as opposed to a big like Brittney … In some quick college news, Michigan’s Trey Burke has been named the AP Player of the Year, and Miami’s Jim Larranaga is the AP Coach of the Year … We’re out like getting dominated by Nazr.
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