Larry Sanders Eats Boston Alive; The Bulls Trade Blows With The Knicks

Larry Sanders (17 points, 20 boards) did his best KG impersonation against KG himself, in a one-man demolition of Boston in the Gah-den on Friday night. Sanders was playing bully ball in the post like this was the culmination of all of his impressive improvement this year, including an alley-oop over the top of Garnett in the fourth. He saved a 99-94 Milwaukee win in OT over the Celtics by doing his best “Syracuse Hakim Warrick to beat Kansas” impersonation on Paul Pierce (35 and 12). Truth — whose three that got slapped out to him to get to OT was so similar to Robert Horry‘s Kings-beater that somewhere Doug Christie screamed by reflex — had a look at a three to tie when Sanders blocked it in OT. He jumped over from his man about five feet away for the block. He really was everywhere in that game. … You wouldn’t know it by Philly’s previous run of success playing Atlanta entering Friday, but Jrue Holiday’s return after a four-game absence for a foot injury was huge in a 99-80 win. That was the sixth straight over ATL. He only had 11 points and seven assists but he forced Jeff Teague to stay close when Evan Turner had the ball, among others. That allowed Turner to get 21 points, including a clutch turnaround fade late in the fourth. It was a good day all around, even after breaking a five-game losing streak, because Andrew Bynum got the go-ahead to start riding an exercise bike. Baby steps. … Bad break for Toronto: You win your fifth straight game, 93-90, by beaing Orlando but, bam, your rookie big man Jonas Valanciunas breaks his ring finger. No matter: Jose Calderon is still running circles around opposing guards (13 points, nine assists) and Terrence Ross (13 points) is still making his case to be in the Dunk Contest as a rook, with two huge dunks that are tailor-made for an NBA “BIG” ad campaign in slo-mo. … The Clippers nearly filled up an entire top-10 highlight reel Friday in its 97-85 win over Sacramento that got the Clippers to a dozen straight wins. Blake Griffin (21 points, 13 boards) was knocking down jumpers in the first half even before he was warming up with close shots, which was a bad sign for the Kings. When he got going with the oops — seriously, who doesn’t follow him on a pick-n-roll? — it was the same mind-blowingly routine dunks we’ve come to expect, where he jumps from like 10 feet out off two feet. Eric Bledsoe blew out the candles on this cakewalk when he took an oop on a fast break by reaching behind him about two feet at the very limit of his wingspan, then wrenching down a slam. CP3 had 24 and 13. … Here’s the one statistic you need to know to understand how terrible the Wizards are this season: Jordan Crawford is the only Wizard to score more than 20 points twice this season. It’s just mind-blowing to see how inept this team is offensively (while admittedly being not-terrible in defensive efficiency, ranked No. 15), and seeing how the team hasn’t progressed. Crawford had 20 points in a 100-68 loss to Detroit, but the team shot 33 percent and no one else had more than 10 points. Coach Randy Wittman called it “embarrassing” — he might be the one person in America who wouldn’t have cared if the Mayan prediction came true. Andre Drummond had a nice game with 11 points and 14 points for Detroit. … Gerald Green (14 points) is on a spree like you’d see in a Quentin Tarantino movie. He’s blowing guys up. Tonight he did a hop-step throwdown over Samardo Samuels that you’ll see on replays everywhere soon during Indiana’s 99-89 win over Cleveland. Kyrie Irving had 17 points but six turnovers for Cleveland … Hit the jump to read about Chicago’s late drama in New York …

If the Knicks weren’t one of your favorite teams to watch for the kind of basketball they’re playing this season, you have to love how sometimes they revert back to the “bad Knicks” attitude of the past decade. Chicago was in a groove most of its 110-106 win, thanks to Luol Deng’s season highs of 29 points and 13 boards while checking Carmelo Anthony (29 points on a volume 10-of-25 night) and J.R. Smith (26 points) most the night, too. Joakim Noah (15 points, 12 boards, six dimes) was holding Tyson Chandler to just one shot, and the frustration was palpable, even through the TV, from the New York sideline. Then Noah went up for a jumpball near the rim and ‘Melo hacked him on the way up for a shot, argued a little (keywords: a little) and got ejected. MSG started to murmur a little louder. Then Mike Woodson got ejected for arguing a call the next trip down that was, again, a pretty subjective call. Spike Lee even got up from his seat and dared the ref to look at him or answer him. Only a couple trips later, Chandler and Noah were grappling like a Greco-Roman freestyle match for a board when Chandler got in a two-elbow reverse ‘pop’ to Noah, and the jawing got in each other’s faces. Boom, there go Noah and Chandler. So, yeah, the Knicks kind of imploded but Woodson’s tech was a “I’m fighting for my guys” one when he sensed the game was over. You have to love that, as well as the sense that, even when the game is more lopsided than the score looks, the Knicks will blow up not like the teams of the past five seasons for no reason, but now it’s to have their teammates’ backs. … The Bulls are quietly terrorizing the Atlantic, now 6-1 against those teams. … O.J. Mayo’s return to Memphis was a rare dud, getting just 10 points while the teammate he had drama with while a Grizzly, Tony Allen, shut him down in the 92-82 win. … The Spurs just got deeper. Kawhi Leonard is back after a month with a knee problem, and Stephen Jackson‘s getting more run with his finger injury behind him a couple games, and Tim Duncan (15 points, 10 boards) got a good challenge but ultimately endured Anthony Davis’ (18 points, 11 boards) game in a 99-92 win over New Orleans. … In other action David Lee had 23 points, 11 boards and 11 assists in Golden State’s 115-100 win over Charlotte … We’re out like the Mayan prophecy.

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