You would think a hush would’ve rained over Cleveland. But on top of the constant hum, you could almost hear fans crying and wailing, and even Cleveland’s epic broadcast team sounded like they wanted to go lock themselves in a closet. It’s not every day you blow a 27-point lead… and it’s not every lifetime you can blow that lead against a team on a 23-game winning streak that has one of your city’s most hated athletes ever. Once again: the sports Gods hate Cleveland … Miami won their 24th consecutive game, 98-95 in Cleveland, after getting 25 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists from LeBron James. Cleveland went up 27 before someone hit “engage video game mode” on LeBron’s controller pad. The dude just completely took it over, and Miami had it cut all the way to six before Daniel Gibson hit his first shot since 2007 to end the third. So how did the Heat respond? James scored eight straight at the beginning of the fourth, causing the arena to nearly disintegrate. His three-pointer put Miami up 80-79 with under 10 minutes to go. It was their first lead since the opening moments. A few moments later, a kid ran onto the court wearing a t-shirt saying “We want LeBron in 2014” and ‘Bron could only shake his head and give him dap. The Cavs faithful didn’t seem like they knew whether to cheer or boo. The home team eventually made one final push, but down one, Wayne Ellington (20 points) was short on a jumper with 5.2 seconds left. After two more free throws from LeBron James, C.J. Miles was long on a three … The Knicks hit their most three-pointers (15) in a game in their last 24 matchups, getting 21 from a rejuvenated Carmelo Anthony and 22 from J.R. Smith during an easy 12-point win over Orlando … Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin teamed up for a lob in the second half that’ll probably be replayed on the History Channel in the next few days … Remember the last time Houston played Utah? They were up by 50 at one point. Last night, Houston won again, 100-93, getting 24 from Jeremy Lin and 29 from James Harden. The Beard had 20 at the break, and Houston sliced the Jazz up off the pick-n-roll in the first half. Even as Gordon Hayward (27 points) led a mini run in the fourth quarter, this one was basically over by the middle of the third quarter … The Jazz are now 34-34, and it feels like they’re 4-50 over the past month … It’s good to have young legs: Anthony Davis outjumped Kevin Garnett and tipped in a bucket in the closing seconds of the Hornets’ 87-86 shocker over Boston, spoiling 28 points from the Truth … A couple of big announcements came from the Jordan Brand Classic yesterday. First, they unveiled the uniforms and sneakers for the event. Dime‘s own Sean Sweeney previewed the joints during All-Star Weekend, and both of them look like they came out of Nicki Minaj‘s closet. JB also announced Drake will be performing live after the event, which you probably either love or hate … Hit page 2 to hear about the playoff preview in Memphis …
With Tony Parker nearly back into the Spurs lineup, it’s looking more and more like San Antonio will indeed hold on to the No. 1 seed. That would mean – at least if the standings hold – that OKC and Memphis could matchup in the second round. And it could be even better than the last time if last night was any indication. The Grizzlies survived this one, 90-89 in overtime. Marc Gasol (14 points, 15 rebounds) hit a skyhook to put Memphis up three with 1:37 left in overtime before the Thunder retook the league with two unbelievable individual buckets by Durant (11-for-28, 32 points) and Westbrook (7-for-25, 20 points). From there, Gasol tipped in a miss with 0.8 seconds left and all OKC had in their backpocket was a three-quarter court heave. That was a theme; OKC might not have anything more complex than a playground offense down the stretch, but it helps to have Russell Westbrook. He made two pivotal pull-ups to give the Thunder some breathing room in regulation. When they finally did run a play, Kendrick Perkins threw a crosscourt assist (what?) and Kevin Martin canned a triple to put them up six with 1:26 left. After a number of back-n-forth free throws, Jerryd Bayless (20 points) dropped a three-pointer to tie it with 3.7 seconds left … Zach Randolph (6-for-23, 15 points, 18 rebounds) was getting ruffed up all night inside. But in the fourth quarter, Nick Collison took it to another level and after one possession where he racked Z-Bo across the face like three times and still didn’t get called for a foul, Randolph picked up a technical after it looked like he might decapitate the official … Out in L.A., Caron Butler climbed up and over Spencer Hawes‘ face and put down one of those unexpected facials that takes everyone in the room about 10 seconds to comprehend. It was just a small part of the Clippers’ destruction of Philadelphia, as was the ass kicking that Chris Paul (19 points, nine dimes, five steals) handed out to Jrue Holiday (1-for-8, two points) … Some big stat lines from Wednesday night: while San Antonio smashed Golden State, 104-93, Tim Duncan (25 points, 13 rebounds, six assists) did that thing again where we’re not sure if he actually has blood running through his veins or if it’s some type of chemical from Neverland; Byron Mullens gave Charlotte 25 points in their 107-101 win over the Raptors; John Wall had 19 points and eight assists in Washington’s win over Phoenix, 88-79; Atlanta got huge nights from Jeff Teague (27 points, 11 dimes) and Al Horford (26 points, 15 rebounds) and held off the Bucks by eight; and Brook Lopez cooked Dallas for 38 points, damaging their playoff hopes in the Nets’ 17-point win. Lopez put about three different defenders through the rim in the second half, and Deron Williams (31 points) had everyone in the arena giving Mark Cuban dirty looks … Isiah Thomas called Reggie Evans (22 rebounds) “the most valuable underrated player in the league.” Thoughts? … We’re out like Z-Bo’s superstar calls.
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