The Knicks Are Back; Kentucky Rolls To The Sweet 16

Mike Woodson might say Linsanity is over, but whatever he’s got going works well for the Knicks. The Knicks won their third straight game under their new coach, blowing out the playoff-bound Pacers by nearly 20 points as Jeremy Lin went for 19 points. While Roy Hibbert went for 24 and 12 and was really the only Pacer who did anything outside of falling asleep, the Knicks got a balanced effort from everyone. No one really blew up and even Carmelo only scored 16 points. The Knicks just have their defense together and are finally willing to sacrifice for each other … Chris Paul dropped 23 points in the Clippers four-point win, but who caught Blake Griffin‘s ridiculous tomahawk? It wasn’t a crazy dunk, just wild because dude basically could’ve done a chin-up on the rim … In the game nobody watched, D.J. Augustin dropped 23 with 11 assists to help the Bobcats to a four-point win over the Raptors … Without Derrick Rose, the Bulls came back from a huge early deficit to win 89-80 over the Sixers behind 20 points from C.J.Watson … We like the Sixers because of their defense and the way they share the ball, but if they’re ever going to do anything in the playoffs, they’ll have to find a way to generate more offense. Jrue Holiday exploded for 30 last night, and the only other person in double figures was Spencer Hawes… who had 10 … New Orleans dominated in the fourth quarter of their win over New Jersey (outscoring the Nets by 20 in those 12 pivotal minutes) as Marco Belinelli led the way with 20 points … Dallas won 106-99 over their homestate rivals from San Antonio. Dirk Nowitzki went off for 27 points … While it didn’t pay dividends last night, another reason why we LOVE the Jackson-for-Jefferson swap between Golden State and San Antonio is that it frees up more time for Kawhi Leonard. He’s going to be a difference-maker for the Spurs down the stretch … Part of the reason the Nuggets were okay with giving away their starting center was because of the emergence of Kenneth Faried … he had 18 and 16 in the Nuggets surprising win over the Celtics … The Jazz beat the Warriors by seven because of Derrick Favors, who went off for a career-high 23 points and 17 reounds. Why he hasn’t gotten more playing time as it is we will never know. Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap are solid, but Favors has All-Star potential and yet has rode the bench for most of his time in Utah. He had one dunk last night off the pick-n-roll that was downright Kemp-like. As long as he plays, the Jazz have an eye towards the future … In the tournament, Kentucky put a beatdown on Iowa St. by 16 despite Royce White (23 points, nine rebounds) balling out and improving his draft stock. The ‘Cats got it done because Marquis Teague scored a career-high 24 points and was finally dominant for the first time all season. If Kentucky has had a weakness this year, it’s been at the point spot, which is crazy when you think about all the blue chippers they’ve had come through that program. But Teague was smart (only missed four shots), aggressive when he needed to be, and dished when he had to (seven dimes) … Syracuse ran all over Kansas St. in the second half of their 75-59 win. Offensively, they were unstoppable, getting any shot they wanted and making any shot they wanted. After another Scoop special in the first half (that is, play unbelievably stupid for no reason at all), Scoop Jardine (16 points, eight dimes) was a beast in the second half, hitting threes and getting to the rim at all. Dion Waiters (18 points) did another perfect Chauncey Billups impersonation, and has the chance to be the breakout star of the tournament. Their problem, still at some point, is the loss of the big man. It’ll come back to haunt them at some point … For once, every one of the higher seeds advanced. Even Baylor. With all of these upsets, who would’ve thought they’d be the ones to make it through to the Sweet 16? … And someone finally beat VCU. Up late on Indiana, they didn’t score over the last two and a half minutes, and after Will Sheehey made a wide-open J off a broken play, the Hoosiers had the lead and it was a wrap for VCU’s Cinderella run. After scoring 42 in the first half, they had just 19 in the final 20 minutes, a sure way to find yourself going home … We’re out like Shaka Smart.

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