We hate to keep leading Smack off with LeBron James, but it’s almost like we have to lock him in here on every night he plays. The dude is just too good. Check out some of these numbers. James was 11-for-15 shooting last night in the Heat’s 117-104 flaying of Portland, finishing with 30 points and nine assists. He’s made 60 of his last 80 shots overall. On NBA Coast 2 Coast, they showed a shot chart from his last few games, and every spot outside of the left wing and left corner was blaming red. Antonio Davis said, “The only way you are going to keep him over there is if you build a fence.” You’ll need more than that – maybe a castle wall. On NBA TV, Chris Webber said of ‘Bron: “Has there ever been a better teammate?” Greg Anthony was asked where James was on a scale of 1-10, and he said seven. Seven? We’re not sure the dude can play any better … Despite all that, Portland was up 102-101 with only four minutes left. Coming off maybe the worst game of his season, Damian Lillard (33 points) was coming back harder than LL Cool J, and LaMarcus Aldridge had 29 as well. But then Miami got out on the break and it was a wrap. LeBron caught a lob from Ray Allen that he threw down with the swiftness. Then Jesus and Chalmers canned triples. The best play during the run didn’t even count: Dwyane Wade (24 points, nine rebounds, seven assists) got fouled as he was spinning in the air. With his back to the basket, he just tossed it up and James came from out of nowhere to throw it down … The Jazz’s bigs were making sweet music for so long in the third quarter of their 15-point smackdown of OKC that we figured they eventually needed to cool off. They never did, and Kevin Durant (33 points) just got pissed. He decked Alec Burks with a shoulder at one point, forcing everyone into their “stare and talk junk out of the corner of our mouths, but nobody do anything other than hold each other back” routine. That was all the fight the Thunder had in them, giving up 25 to Al Jefferson and 18 and 10 to Paul Millsap … Kobe Bryant made one basket and scored four points. The Lakers gave up an 18-2 run by Phoenix to end the third quarter. Steve Nash wasn’t aggressive, and Pau Gasol wasn’t dressed. L.A. was really lucky beating Phoenix last night, really lucky the real Dwight Howard (19 points, 18 rebounds) showed up for once and that Antawn Jamison (19 points, 10 rebounds) forgot he’s 57 years old … More announcements for All-Star Weekend: Ke$ha, Ludacris and B.o.B. are tipping off the All-Star Game with a pregame concert for an hour leading up to the game. We didn’t realize people still cared about Luda … And if you missed it yesterday on DimeMag.com, Jordan Brand announced the 22 players who’ll be playing in this year’s Jordan Classic, headlined by pretty much everyone that matters in this year’s class. Between Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, the Harrison twins and Julius Randle, this game tape is gonna get a lot of play someday on ESPN Classic … Keep reading to hear about yet another Rudy Gay game-winner …
Quick, everyone rush to say, “I told ya so!” Rudy Gay‘s start in Toronto left a lot to be desired: big scoring numbers, weak efficiency, a couple of bad shooting nights. That didn’t exactly change last night – Gay was 6-for-14 for 17 points – but the 6-9 wing did do what he does better than just about anyone else: make game-winners. Twice on Toronto’s final possession, they iso-ed Gay on the right wing against Corey Brewer. The first time, he nearly turned it over. But on the second chance, Gay hit a baseline pull-up to give Toronto a one-point lead with 4.8 seconds left. Denver’s last chance was done in when the handoff to Ty Lawson (29 points, nine assists) went all Mark Sanchez, and Lawson was forced into a wild floater that missed at the buzzer … DeMar DeRozan had 22 points to lead the Raptors. He also had a facial on Timofey Mozgov that even impressed Blake Griffin. From now on, whenever Mozgov gets dunked on like this, since it’s becoming a habit, he needs to leave the premises … Once upon a time, Golden State looked like a lock to make the playoffs. Now, they’re still 30-22, but they’ve dropped five in a row after making the Rockets look like a powerhouse in a 116-107 Houston victory. Stephen Curry and James Harden played to a literal standstill with both of them going for 27. The difference was Chandler Parsons (21 points, eight rebounds, nine dimes) … Memphis held off Sacramento by seven behind Marc Gasol, who had 24 points and 12 rebounds, and Mike Conley Jr., who put up 22 points and seven assists … By the end of the game, the Kings’ announcers were resorting to moral victories, like pointing out they were the first team to score 100 in Memphis all season (even though they lost). Yet we can’t blame them for getting excited over a move from Tyreke Evans (20 points, seven boards) in the last 20 seconds. Evans hit Tony Allen with a between-the-legs hesitation that had Allen doing the Superman pose … And in some bad news for Chicago and Boston fans, Leandro Barbosa has a torn left ACL and will miss the rest of the season. Then there’s Derrick Rose, rehabbing his own nasty knee injury. Rose told USA Today he’s “far away” from coming back, and allowed for the first time that he might not play this year. He’s not coming back until he’s 110 percent. The one good part: that means more of the Thibodeau/Nate Robinson odd couple … In college ball, No. 7 Florida took care of business against suddenly hot Kentucky, winning by 17 … And Michigan State DESTROYED No. 4 Michigan by 23 as freshman guard Gary Harris put up 17 points … We’re out like Mozgov’s defense.
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