The star of the night might’ve been the random ice cream guy (more on this later), but the theme of the night had to be based around the Denver Nuggets. Even up until this point — which is now 13 wins in a row for them — no one (and that’s including our Dime readers) believed this team was legit. Now after handling OKC in OKC, it appears they are … The number of the night was 72. In their 114-104 win against the Thunder, Denver scored 72 points in the paint, doing it all without a post-up scorer (which is even more unbelievable), and even as OKC had won 20 straight games at home against the West, things unraveled for the home team in the third quarter. Then in the fourth when Denver was either missing easy shots at the rim (Ty Lawson), tip-ins that they normally make (Kenneth Faried) or they were completely out of it (Danilo Gallinari), it still wasn’t enough, despite getting 59 total points from Durant and Westbrook. Isiah Thomas called the Nuggs out on it: they still don’t have a closer. In close games, we all know how important that is. Thomas seems to think it can work – we’re not entirely sure… unless the situation is perfect, with the perfect point guard. We love Lawson’s game (25 points), but we’re not sure he’s someone who’s going to take you over the top in the playoffs. Ironically, it was his backup, old man Andre Miller (20 points, seven boards, nine dimes), who made two shots in the lane where he jumped a combined 3.2 inches off the ground to push the lead out of reach in the closing minutes. It’s always funny to compare Derek Fisher and Andre Miller. One guy is a fitness freak who probably curls his teammates for fun (Fisher) while the other’s offseason training probably consists completely of fishing. And yet Andre Miller is still out there dominating with his unique skillset, posting Fisher up in the second half, scoring on floaters and offensive rebounds. It just really doesn’t make sense. Yes, Fisher was never as good as Miller but it is interesting how these things work out. Maybe there is hope for Michael Beasley and his “less is more” approach after all … Middle of the third, Andre Iguodala crossed over on Durant and missed a pull-up. This caused the announcers to admit, “Im not convinced Iguodala is an outside shooter. Im going to let him take that outside shot instead of driving.” Ya think? ‘Dre might not be able to shoot, but he can definitely catch lobs. He caught two of them during the second half, the second of the two a baseline reverse that had us spitting out our drinks … The only thing the Thunder could make in the second half of the third was Reggie Jackson putting one on McGee‘s head. Jackson also packed one on Faried’s head later. It probably caught a lot of folks off guard when OKC basically chose Jackson over Eric Maynor (aka one of the league’s more overrated players at one point). But this dude is legit, and is starting to get comfortable on that team. He’s an aggressive offensive player, is physical and has more hops than Russell Westbrook (going by his vertical numbers). He’s not getting crunch time minutes anytime soon but he could win them a playoff game or two … Keep reading to hear about what went down when Charles Barkley showed up out of nowhere in the NBA TV studio …
The Kings and the Clippers will never be known for their physicality, but you could’ve scripted a certain Drowning Pool song to last night’s 116-101 Sacramento win and it would’ve been perfect. The Kings took the lead with 13 straight points in the fourth quarter that were so predictable it was almost funny. Tyreke Evans (17 points) hit the Clippers with his patented spin move, which sometimes feels like it’s the only move he has, and then DeMarcus Cousins (17 points, 11 rebounds) got into a tussle with Lamar Odom that nearly resulted in DMC losing his mind and getting tossed. What happened next could’ve never been predicted: Toney Douglas (19 points) came through with 11 quick points for Sacramento, all of them on long jump shots … Have you watched Monta Ellis lately? He’s been out of his mind, and it continued for Milwaukee in holding off Portland last night, 102-95, after being up by as many as 27. Ellis went for 21 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, and Brandon Jennings had 24 of his own to beat back a career-night from Wes Matthews (28 points, seven triples) … LaMarcus Aldridge (21 points, 15 rebounds) became the third NBA player (joining LeBron and David Lee) this year with five straight 20-point, 10-rebound games … The Pacers really haven’t been playing all that well, and their remedy came in the form of the Magic last night. Indiana won 95-73, and Orlando’s leading scorer had all of 10 points. We don’t want to say the Magic were simply “playing out the string.” But it certainly felt like it … Paul George (19 points) hit some wild shots throughout the night, but none of them were as crazy as his three-point play in the third quarter. George took on about three defenders on a break, got caught up on a foul, and as he was falling to the floor, sort of tossed a shot up without looking. The ball didn’t even look like it would reach the rim, yet it someone spun above the rim and went in … But the best part of the night was how the guys in the NBA TV studio were clowning Charles Barkley. There was a clip from one of the games where a fan got himself a big cone of mint chocolate chip ice cream, and then played it all cool while not allowing his girl to get a taste. She wasn’t feeling it at all. Eventually, NBA TV Photoshop’d Barkley’s face in there to look like he was hogging the ice cream and as the guys were dying laughing, Chuck came from out of nowhere backstage and laid down the law … We’re out like Andre Miller in a dunk contest.
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