If you checked out Miami’s 101-92 win against the Hawks last night, then you probably heard this statistic more than once: Atlanta had not allowed a single team to shoot above 50 percent against them all season. Impressive. Fittingly, they went into South Beach and got blitzed by 58 percent shooting from the Heat, including big nights from LeBron James (27 points, six missed shots), Dwyane Wade (26 points, two missed shots) and Norris Cole (10 points and zero missed shots). James, in particular, looked like he was on another planet. At one point, he even jumped to another planet, catching a lob from Cole on the break that looked like a glitch in 2K because he got up so high. He also had a left-handed putback dunk in the first half that would’ve been a top-10 staple on its own. James, and Wade, are a combined 41-for-57 over their last two games … Anytime you rely on three triples from Josh Smith (22 points) and four from DeShawn Stevenson to give yourself a first half lead, as the Hawks did last night, you know you’re walking on thin ice. But shoot, anytime you allow DeShawn Stevenson to attempt 11 three-pointers without someone escorting him off the premises, you probably deserve to lose … Golden State knocked Charlotte out in the first round last night in their eight-point win. The Warriors – the best team no one knows about – made 18 of their first 21 shots as Charlotte was conceding buckets at the rim like Romney did votes. After a while of seeing the Warriors shacking up in his own living room, they had Michael Jordan looking like this. Stephen Curry (27 points, seven boards, seven assists) was flowing, and had four early dimes off the dribble that were sick. He also ripped Kemba Walker (24 points) at one point, and finished on the break with a crazy up-and-under reverse layup … The Walker/Curry matchup was especially interesting to watch, even if they didn’t always check each other. They’re so different, and yet their situations are uniquely similar. Both have something to prove: Curry with his injuries; Kemba with a bad rookie season on a horrible team. But they both have legitimate shots at being All-Stars over the next five years. So who would you take on your franchise? Curry has the jump shot that should prolong a career if his body doesn’t fail him first, and he’s a very creative passer. Walker gets to the tin whenever he wants, and competes so hard that at least twice a game he ends up on the canvas looking like Pacquiao did this weekend. Plus, he has one of the most underrated handles in the league, and is two years younger … And in Portland, the Blazers beat the Raptors so bad (92-74) that one of Toronto’s players (we’re speaking of Amir Johnson here) took out his frustration by getting ejected and then throwing his mouthpiece at the ref. Weird … Keep reading to hear about the return of Linsanity …
Without James Harden, the return of Linsanity (38 points) was so necessary for Houston last night. The explosion of Toney Douglas (17 points) wasn’t exactly what the doctor ordered, but hey, anything from him is a bonus. Houston got contributions from nearly everyone, and it just felt like a game they should’ve won. San Antonio’s announcer Sean Elliott said in the second quarter that “They look more like us than we do.” Houston was moving the ball, hitting threes and not doing anything stupid. It’s too bad they were playing San Antonio. The Spurs brought out their best McKayla Maroney face, clearly not impressed with what the Rockets were doing, and walked out with a win in overtime, 134-126. Because of all the craziness going on, Tony Parker had the quietest 27-point, 12-rebound, 12-assist night we’ve ever seen (also, unbelievably, this was the first triple-double of TP’s career), while Gary Neal had the weirdest stat line we’ve ever seen (35 minutes, seven triples, 29 points, zero rebounds, zero assists) … We love Omer Asik (21 points, 10 boards), but he might be the only player in the league who refuses to dunk. And he’d be a lot better off if someone would just get him to go after the rim like he does rebounds … We’re not sure O.J. Mayo (19 points) can play any better than he has over the last eight quarters. He had a dozen more first quarter points last night, as well as five boards, making everything look so easy. Juice is the best example of a player who looks completely different with confidence and the knowledge of what his role is – even when he missed a shot, like in an isolation on John Salmons to end the first quarter after yo-yoing between-the-legs and crossing over, it felt like it was going to drop no matter what. You could say the same things about Dallas as a whole. They clobbered the Kings at home, 119-96 … And there was another great lead guard matchup in Philly last night between Brandon Knight and Jrue Holiday. Knight had 22, but Holiday (25 points, eight assists) was the difference in the Sixers’ 104-97 win. He had 21 second-half points, a lot of them coming down the stretch on beautiful pull-up jumpers off the dribble. We love his pace. Even when he’s not, it always feels like he’s in control. If the dude doesn’t make the All-Star Game, we might have problems. Philly is now 11-0 this year when leading after three quarters – much of that has to do with Holiday’s big moment balls … We can’t overlook Dime favorite Evan Turner (18 points, 11 boards, seven helpers) either. He had three or four rebounds down the stretch that would’ve made Charles Barkley happy, just ripping them away from everyone else. Remember when he sucked? Not so much anymore … We’re out like the Texans’ swagger.
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