The Best Player In The World Rips Out Houston’s Heart; Utah Wins A 3OT Thriller

If you’re trying to beat Miami, there are a few specific things you can’t do. You can’t let LeBron dominate an entire second half. You can’t let Chris Bosh shoot the same jumpers he takes in the pregame all night long. And if you have a look at a wide open, game-winning triple, you can’t shoot an airball. All of this happened in Houston’s 113-110 loss to the Heat last night, a game that LeBron James just wasn’t going to let South Beach lose. The NBA’s best player had 38 points, 10 boards and six dimes, and 32 of those points came in the second half, including an absurd pull-up from about 30 feet away in the closing minutes, and later the go-ahead layup off a shake of Carlos Delfino. On the other side, the “James Harden is not a max player” camp got plenty of ammunition to add to the arsenal. The Beard (22 points) had a couple of nice dimes, but he took two straight terrible shots with the game in the balance, and then on the final possession – with LeBron checking him – he stood around for about 10 seconds, and then launched a triple that had virtually no chance of going in. One possession earlier, Jeremy Lin had an open three-pointer that nearly killed someone in the stands it was so far off. All of those late-game mistakes led to Houston’s downfall … It really should’ve never been that close. The Rockets fell behind 16-2 and later 20-5. They looked asleep, and Harden looked completely uncomfortable with all of the screen traps Miami used. Meanwhile Bosh (24 points, 10 boards) was eating Omer Asik‘s (19 points, 14 rebounds) dinner with open shot after open shot, and Houston color man Clyde Drexler was close to losing his voice from so many “Wooooos!” during the first quarter. We’re not sure we’ve ever heard a team’s commentator slurping the opponents quite like that before … Behind 33 points and eight dimes from Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee went into Philly and came out as 105-96 winners. Jennings has been up-and-down this year, at times “Katy Perry with makeup on” (like when he hit a buzzer-beating three or when he won a Player of the Week award) and at other times “Katy Perry when she first wakes up” (37 percent shooting). But he spearheaded the game-changing run in this one: a 14-0 burst just before the half where Philly let him walk into two three-pointers, and also gave him a breakaway layup. Jrue Holiday (25 points) shot well but had eight turnovers – three of them in the fourth where he got doubled, left his feet and threw it into the Atlantic Ocean. Killers. Then on the defensive end, Jennings was lighting him up so badly, Royal Ivey A) had to actually play and B) play in the fourth quarter of a close game … Also, do you know Jennings came into last night’s game averaging 3.4 steals a night (he had four more against the Sixers)? That’s incredible … During the second quarter, the Sixers went so small that Thaddeus Young was playing center. We’ll be seeing a lot more small ball from Philly now that their new franchise centerpiece, Andrew Bynum, probably won’t be back until mid-December at the earliest. By that time, who knows how big his Frederick Douglass afro will be, but at least he should be healthy … By the way, imagine if Andrew Bynum was still in L.A. getting the chance to play for Mike D’Antoni? He would love the ability to expand his game, and probably launch threes every night … Speaking of L.A., Phil Jackson issued an official statement on the way things played out between he and the Lakers. According to Zen, Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak showed up to his home over the weekend, and discussed the job before leaving Jackson with the chance to respond once the weekend was over. But before he came to a decision, Kupchak called him and broke the news about D’Antoni. Only preliminary discussions were made, and nothing was set in stone. On the other side, the Lakers say Jackson was asking for too much control. Someone is lying … Keep reading to hear which one of the NBA’s most clutch three-point shooters is a big man …

There wasn’t much more Toronto could’ve expected out of DeMar DeRozan last night. He played one of the games of his life – 37 points, eight boards, six dimes, one clutch facial on Paul Millsap that had every Toronto fan reminiscing about the time he got robbed in the dunk contest, and he did it all in 60 MINUTES OF PT. Add all that up, plus an 11-point second half lead for the Raptors and a tying triple from John Lucas III at the end of the second overtime (his third basket all season) and Toronto should’ve won this one. But yet Utah still found a way to get it done in the third overtime, sneaking out of there with a 140-133 win. How’d they do it? We can start with their dreaded big lineup, which went most of the way during the closing minutes, and featured Millsap (34 points, nine boards), Al Jefferson (24 points, 17 boards) and Derrick Favors (15 points, four blocks) all playing well. Or we could just say Utah made a ton of, some would say, improbable three-pointers. Jefferson made a triple (second one of his career) late. Then, Millsap made three of them in the extra sessions, which would’ve been surprising if we didn’t know he’s 15-39 (nearly 40 percent) on those shots in the last five minutes of fourth quarters and overtimes (courtesy of @kpelton) … It must be fun having Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The two stars saved OKC in Detroit, 92-90, during a night where the Thunder definitely deserved to lose. Luckily, they picked the night they’re playing the travesty that is the Pistons to have their worst game, and Westbrook (33 points, 10 rebounds) and KD (26 points, nine boards) each had one of those “No f-ing way we’re losing to the NBA’s worst team” nights. Down three with 30 seconds left, Brandon Knight had a look at a triple that hit every part of the rim and didn’t go in. The Pistons had been up 13 in the third and 11 going into the fourth … Other stat lines from last night: Boston beat Chicago by six as Rajon Rondo went off for 20 points, nine rebounds, 10 assists and five steals … Nikola Pekovic‘s 20 points powered Minnesota to yet another W, this time by eight in Dallas (after praising their offense as one of the league’s best, Dallas has now lost three games in a row and hasn’t hit 100 in any of them) … Phoenix held off Denver, 110-100, as Goran Dragic (21 points, seven assists) had another nice night … And Atlanta won in Portland by eight behind 19 and 11 from Josh Smith … We’re out like Bynum.

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