Nets eliminated from Carmelo chase; Griffin vs. K-Love in L.A.

Crazy night in the NBA, with overtime finishes, upsets, comebacks, a head-to-head matchup of two of the best players in the League, another head-to-head matchup of two of the most talked-about players in the League, and (maybe) some kind of resolution on the Carmelo Anthony situation … Hours before Nuggets/Thunder tipped off, ‘Melo learned he won’t be playing for the Nets — at least not this season. Remember that scene in The Untouchables when Sean Connery is chasing one of Al Capone‘s guys through an open field and eventually shoots at the guy to make him stop? “Alright,” Connery snarled. “That’s enough of this running s***.” That’s basically what Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov did. His franchise has been chasing Carmelo for months, and finally Prokhorov just put an end to it. And you have to respect him for that. A lot of owners would be so seduced by the prospect of getting a bankable superstar like Carmelo that they wouldn’t notice or care if the constant trade talk brought a negative atmosphere to their current roster … At the end of the day, though, was anybody surprised that Billy King and Denver’s rookie GM couldn’t get a deal worked out? Those negotiations must have been like watching Hamed Haddadi and Aaron Gray play 1-on-1 … Meanwhile, the end of the ‘Melo ordeal (for now) seemed to liberate Chauncey Billups. He’s been playing at less than an All-Star level as the trade rumors swirled, but last night he was back to being “Mr. Big Shot.” In the final three minutes Chauncey (16 pts, 6 asts) dimed Carmelo (35 pts) on a bucket, hit a long two-pointer and a short jumper of his own, then set Nene up for the and-one that pretty much sealed the win … Kevin Durant struggled to keep up in his head-to-head with Carmelo, shooting 6-for-18 and finishing with 22 points … Don’t feel bad if you blinked and missed the part when Clippers/Wolves became a must-watch game. For a while it looked like Blake Griffin was going to dominate the matchup with Kevin Love, as Blake scored 14 in the first quarter and K-Love found himself on the bench in foul trouble. Love actually finished the first half with ZERO rebounds, which is like Lil Wayne walking past a tattoo shop and not getting any ink … In the second half it was more competitive, although the Clippers won the actual game convincingly. Griffin finished with 29 points and 8 rebounds, while Love had 26 points and 11 boards. Blake’s signature highlight? Probably the one where he was stuck in a scrum of defenders in the paint, tossed the ball to himself off the backboard and dunked it with two hands … The Pistons were only up by four on the Celtics with three minutes left in the fourth quarter, but for some reason it just seemed Detroit had the W in hand. Greg Monroe (13 pts, 9 rebs) was giving Boston’s front line problems with his athleticism, T-Mac (7 asts) was quietly yet efficiently running the offense, and three of the Celtics’ Big Five had been relatively quiet. And then the Pistons didn’t score the rest of the way … Kevin Garnett scored, Paul Pierce (22 pts) hit a pull-up J going to his right, and with a lid firmly placed on Detroit’s basket, Ray Allen hit the go-ahead shot with 24 seconds left. Garnett added a free throw, and the Pistons couldn’t even make the token layup when they tried to score quick and foul … Funny moment after Ray’s big shot: The Celtics broadcast was going to commercial, so the camera focused on a cute girl in the crowd for the standard “honey shot.” Right when it moved to a guy sitting in front of the girl who seemed like he might do something crazy, we found out the girl also had a nice rack, and on cue the camera moved back to her. But then it seemed the cameraman realized that looked kinda pervy, so for a few seconds he hovered in no-man’s land between the two fans until mercifully they finally went to commercial …Read More>>

The Hornets had come almost all the way back from a 16-point second half deficit to the Grizzlies, so when Chris Paul (20 pts, 12 asts) dropped a three late in the fourth quarter that cut the lead to one, the N.O. scorekeeper got so excited he accidentally gave the points to Memphis. After that was taken care of and Emeka Okafor hit a free throw to tie it, Memphis had the ball with 15 seconds left. Mike Conley tried to run a pick-and-something with Marc Gasol, but David West stripped him, then Trevor Ariza stripped him a second time as the clock ran out. Hornets commentator Gil McGregor was cold about it, too: “We talked about how Conley may not be the right point guard for them. This looked like proof.” … The Grizzlies led by four with 30 seconds left in overtime, and it appeared to be over until CP3 hit a Majerle-range trey, and then Marcus Thornton broke up an inbounds pass that led to his own game-winning layup with six seconds left … Warriors/Pacers was, as expected, an instructional tape on how not to play defense — e.g., Mike Dunleavy getting wide open swing-on-the-rim dunks in halfcourt sets — but some of the decisions down the stretch were especially bad. Most notably, Golden State was up three with 20 seconds left when Stephen Curry decided to foul Darren Collison on a driving layup and allowed Collison to tie it up. Warriors ball, Monta Ellis (36 pts, 5 rebs, 6 asts) went 1-on-1 with Brandon Rush and dropped a jumper in his eye to win it … Sometimes life imitates art that imitates art. Josh McRoberts has been making these White Men Can’t Jump parodies to push himself for the Slam Dunk contest, then last night he caught the ball on the break with a full head of steam, elevated — and missed a layup. It was a straight Billy Hoyle moment. After the game we heard McRoberts was strolling the streets of Oakland trying to buy his girl a hoochie-mama dress which was obviously a ploy to cover up the fact that he f***** up again … The Blazers have shown some awful late-game execution lately, but they had the right idea in Sacramento by running the same pick-and-roll whenever they needed a bucket. It allowed Andre Miller (20 pts, 6 rebs, 6 asts) to hit the game-winning jumper in overtime … If you missed it yesterday, be sure to read Sean Sweeney’s great feature on Tyreke Evans from Dime #61 … Other stat lines from Wednesday: Jason Kidd put up 21 points (5 threes) and 10 assists to lead Dallas past the Lakers; Brook Lopez‘s 20 points helped New Jersey upset Utah; Kevin Martin scored 21 points to help Houston beat New York; DeJuan Blair posted 22 points and 11 rebounds (8 offensive) in San Antonio’s win over Toronto; Keyon Dooling had 23 points to lead Milwaukee past Washington; Ryan Anderson‘s 20 points off the bench helped Orlando beat Philly in overtime; and Grant Hill had 27 points and 12 boards in Phoenix’s win over Cleveland … That was the 14th straight loss for the Cavs, dropping them to 8-33 on the season. During the last two years LeBron was in town, the Cavs lost 37 regular-season games combined … We’re out like Carmelo in Brooklyn …