LeBron plays with House money to beat Detroit; Durant drops 40

The Big Three was down to the Chosen One for last night’s Heat/Pistons game, which naturally meant for LeBron James that the role of fourth-quarter hero would fall into the hands of — Eddie House? … With five minutes left in the fourth, the Pistons were up three before House tied it with a corner trey. A few possessions later, House hit an off-balance jumper from the wing. Then after Austin Daye‘s triple with one minute left put Detroit up by one, House ended up with the ball in his hands with the final seconds ticking down. When the opportunity wasn’t there for a quick J, you figured House would pass it back to LeBron, but he was really feeling his Arizona State swag and decided to go to the rim, drawing a foul on Ben Gordon. House (15 pts) stepped to the foul line and hit the go-ahead free throws … We get on John Kuester‘s case for mismanaging his lineup and always finding new ways to alienate his team, but give the Pistons coach credit for drawing up a gorgeous play on their last possession. Daye ended up getting wide open for a lob at the rim, which Tayshaun Prince placed perfectly but Daye couldn’t finish … Tracy McGrady deserves some love, too. He was the best player on the floor for the Pistons, recording 14 points, 8 boards, 10 dimes and 4 blocks. In crunch time he was the go-to guy, scoring in the post and on hard cuts when he wasn’t finding open shooters. As one Miami announcer put it, “McGrady has put his footprint, his handprint, every print on this ballgame.” … Oh, and about LeBron (39 pts, 8 rebs, 9 asts): He dominated the game from beginning to end, carrying a squad that didn’t have Dwyane Wade (wrist) or Chris Bosh (ankle) and whose shooters couldn’t shoot. Mike Miller, James Jones and Mario Chalmers went 2-for-16 beyond the arc. It was like watching Barry Sanders work magic with Rodney Peete at quarterback and a crappy O-line … One time LeBron ran a pick-and-roll with Joel Anthony, but when ‘Bron threw an alley-oop guided by the eyes in the back of his head, Anthony never went for it because he was never looking for it. “He thought it was a shot,” said one announcer. “He’s not used to the ball.” … Kevin Durant didn’t have to worry about carrying the Thunder by himself — he had Russell Westbrook‘ 35 points, 13 boards and 13 assists helping him out — but KD did it anyway during the key stretches of a double-OT win over the Wizards. Durant (40 pts) scored five of the team’s seven points in the first overtime, then after OKC fell behind in the second extra frame, Durant went off: He skated past Trevor Booker for a layup and-one, hit a three, and iced two more jumpers to help the Thunder pull away … It probably wouldn’t have gone that far anyway if Thabo Sefolosha (knee) had played. James Harden tried his best to contain Nick Young (32 pts), but he learned that Young collects buckets like 50 Cent collects checks. When Harden fouled out, Scott Brooks dusted off Daequan Cook, who promptly gave Young a wide-open three before Westbrook was switched onto him …Read More>>

Can you say “trap game”? Apparently we’re not the only ones looking forward to Sunday’s big Lakers/Celtics matchup, because both L.A. and Boston played Friday’s respective games like their minds were somewhere else … In Phoenix, the Celtics made the Suns look like they actually know how to play D, scoring just 71 points in an ugly loss that Kevin Garnett at least made interesting by trying to fight everybody in the gym. First, KG got into it with Mickael Pietrus after getting a forearm to the neck. KG went all crazy-eyes Kurt Thomas, but perhaps noticing that Pietrus is kind of yoked, he didn’t step up on him too quickly. Later on, after KG gave Channing Frye the Bruce Bowen step-under and nearly wrecked Frye’s ankle, those two got into a chest-bumping match. Garnett got two techs and was sent to the locker room to join Doc Rivers, who’d been kicked out in the first half for sarcastically clapping at referee Steve Javie … What happened to that impossible-to-score-on Boston interior defense? They made Marcin Gortat look like Moses Malone, as he put up 19 points and 17 boards. Kendrick Perkins and Shaq are supposed to do something about that … In L.A., the Lakers lost to the Kings in a game that started out like just another Kobe Bryant snuff film, but went off the tracks somewhere around the time Sacramento took a 20-point lead in the second half. Kobe dropped 21 points in the first quarter, but whether it was his teammates expecting him to do everything after that — Kobe finished with 38 points on 27 shots — or simply not being focused, the Lakers pretty much stunk the rest of the way. They also had issues defending the paint, as DeMarcus Cousins (27 pts, 10 rebs) and Sam Dalembert (18 pts) did their best Twin Towers impersonation … Other stat lines from Friday: Derrick Rose had 22 points and 12 assists in Chicago’s win over Orlando, while Dwight Howard posted 40 points, 15 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 blocks in the loss; Carmelo Anthony scored 33 points to lead Denver past Cleveland; Zach Randolph put up 22 points and 12 boards as Memphis edged Philadelphia; Paul Millsap had 30 points, 8 boards and 6 steals in Utah’s win over Minnesota; Corey Maggette‘s 29 points, 11 boards and 5 assists helped Milwaukee knock off Toronto in overtime; D.J. Augustin had 27 points, 12 dimes and 4 steals as Charlotte beat Golden State in overtime; Mike Dunleavy Jr. dropped 30 points and 6 threes on the Nets in a Pacers blowout; and Joe Johnson had 34 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists to lead Atlanta past New York … Late in the fourth, Marvin Williams and Shawne Williams were just running downcourt and for some reason decided it was Go time. Before you knew it, one push turned into some yelling, which turned into punches being thrown. Nobody was really hit — as a general rule, NBA players can’t fight worth a damn — but expect suspensions … We’re out like taking it one game at a time …