If we needed any further proof that New Yorkers are crazed lunatics who are more up and down than Joe Flacco, we got it last night. In just a few short months, Jeremy Lin went from favorite son to Judas, from Linsanity to something quite average, and New Yorkers went from “Raymond Felton?” to “Raymond Felton!” Last year, Knicks fans would’ve have given you the business you had you spoken bad about Lin. Now, they’re reveling in his struggles, and booed him consistently last night after initially showing him some love during introductions. To Lin’s credit, he wasn’t bothered by the crowd – even when they got crazy after Tyson Chandler (18 rebounds) nearly broke him with a flagrant foul, and again when Lin had one of his jumpers get caught in what seemed like some post-Sandy winds – and spearheaded a 109-96 Houston win that wasn’t even that close. Lin had 22 points and eight assists, and James Harden also had a big night (28 points, 10 rebounds) while playing a huge role in a third quarter run that turned a five-point Rocket lead into a 20-point game faster than you can say “Pablo Prigioni.” If it wasn’t for J.R. Smith, who scored 16 points in his first 10 minutes on the floor just before a first half period where the Knicks scored just three times in a string of 18 possessions, this one would’ve gotten really ugly … So how much longer until New York starts to turn on Felton (7-for-18, 14 points), considering you know, the dude hasn’t passed up a shot in about a month and has rebuilt the Yellow Brick Road in the process … In the Clippers’ 12-point win in Detroit, Blake Griffin had the most eventful 15-point, 4-rebound game you can ever hope for. He was heavily involved in possibly the three best plays of the entire night of basketball. In the first quarter, he got out on the break and threw a perfect lob to DeAndre Jordan, who finished it in style. Then later, Griffin had another play where he rotated over and rudely smashed Kyle Singler‘s shot at the rim, gave him the Ice Cube stone cold staredown, then came sprinting down on the other end, caught a lob that was no higher than his belly button, and finished with a nasty dunk. Read that sentence again. Amazingly, he still wasn’t done. In the closing seconds, Griffin finished an off-the-glass lob by almost putting his whole arm through the rim, converting a dozen drunken courtside Detroit fans in the process … It wasn’t on the court, but Griffin also starred in what appeared to be a new NBA TV commercial from Game Fly that was only a little less weird than the one where the guy goes in to trade back a game, gets pissed off and completely destroys the store (you’ve seen that one, right?). At this point, we can’t tell if NBA TV is deliberately trolling everyone with these over-the-top silly commercials, but it certainly feels like it … For the Clippers, Chris Paul (14 points, seven assists) was also making highlights. He had Brandon Knight looking like he was playing Dance Dance Revolution on the perimeter … By the way, Will Bynum is getting into the holiday spirit in a big way. He’s donating $2,500 worth of toys to Detroit’s (CCSS) Cass Community Social Services Christmas Store to help homeless parents give their children something resembling a real Christmas. Detroit’s biggest lil’ man is also donating 175 toys to the Local Advisory Council of Chicago Housing Authority to give to underprivileged children of Chicago’s tough West Side, the area he grew up in. We know how much having that background fuels Bynum on the court – it’s cool to see he’s showing love back to the places that made him … Keep reading to hear about history being made in Syracuse last night …
In their growth from complete garbage to a potential dynasty, OKC skipped over two or three steps. When they beat San Antonio in six in the Western Conference Finals last year, it certainly felt like they bloomed a year earlier than expected. Now, there’s no question: they’re the best team in the Western Conference, and proved it by giving it to the Spurs, 107-93. OKC’s big four scored all but four points for the Thunder in the first half, but it was probably Serge Ibaka (25 points, 17 rebounds) alone who made all of the difference. He made his first six shots, and had the announcers screaming, “Don’t touch him! Don’t speak to him! You might wake him up!” The big fella has really improved this year, being incredibly assertive offensively and not looking lost on the other end (even though he’s a great shotblocker, this is the first season where he’s actually been a decent all-around defender). Does Ibaka become an All-Star soon? It’s certainly possible … Later in the fourth quarter, the OKC cameras honed in on Wade Boggs sitting in the stands. The former 12-time MLB All-Star broke out an impromptu dance session, bussin’ and jivin’ with his fists out in front of him and shoulders moving to the beat. It was definitely strange, not just because it was Wade Boggs, but because it was Wade Boggs trying to cut it up … After seeing the way Kevin Love (23 points, 15 rebounds) and Nikola Pekovic (19 points, 12 boards) dominated in the first half in Orlando, we were surprised to watch them fall apart Jenga-style in the second half against the Magic, ultimately losing 102-93 after a 9-0 Magic run took Minnesota’s heart in the closing minutes. Big Baby exploded for 20 of his 28 in the second half, slapping high fives with fans in the process … When Memphis secured an offensive rebound, kicked it around the perimeter, and then Rudy Gay scored on a driving layup to put the Grizzlies up nine with two and a half minutes left, you knew their night against Chicago was pretty much over. A nine-point lead in this slugfest was insurmountable and in the end, it held up for Mike Conley (17 points) and Memphis, 80-71 … Phoenix stayed hot, beating Sacramento by 11 as everyone in the building was sadly forced to watch the Shannon Brown/Jimmer Fredette show. Both of them scored 22 points to lead everyone, showing once again why these two have no chance of climbing out of the lottery … And in college ball, Jim Boeheim racked up his 900th career win despite the best efforts of his team to blow it for him. Syracuse dominated Detroit, but then went seemingly hours between scores at the end of the game. They ended up holding on by four even as Juwan Howard Jr. – one of the few people in the world who might look older than Juwan Howard – dropped 18 points … We’re out like the Wade Boggs Shuffle.
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