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The Spurs Win One Of The Tightest Games In NBA History; The Nets And Knicks Set Up An Epic Duel

Think about all of those games you remember that came down to a final shot, the ones where you thought you’d pass out if it got any more intense. Technically, San Antonio’s 111-106 win over Toronto on Sunday was the NBA’s most tightly contested win of all time. That the game went into two overtimes is notable, but not as much as this — according to Elias Sports, since 1954 this was the “first double-overtime game in which each of the first five periods was either tied or decided by a single point.” Polar opposites though they may seem, Toronto and San Antonio turned a matinee into 24 minutes of free hoops instead. Something that jumped out after watching most of this game wasn’t how thoroughly annoying Tony Parker (32 points) was to Toronto or how thoroughly ice-cold Andrea Bargnani was (2-of-19 shooting), but how clean the game was: 23 combined turnovers in 72 minutes of action. Bargnani needed a “wanna get away” deal immediately after this one. He didn’t make a single shot between 4:30 left in the first quarter and 2:35 left in second overtime. A jumper here or there would have tilted this toward the Raptors, who really have to be getting tired of this after losing two straight games before Sunday by one point. … Slow clap for Manu Ginobili (15 points), who nutmeg’d DeMar DeRozan on a full-court steal and and-one bucket. In the most Spurs thing ever, Gregg Popovich barely showed any emotion on the ridiculous play. … Any drama of keeping alive Rajon Rondo‘s drive to get Magic Johnson‘s double-digit assist record of 46 was over by halftime of the Celtics’ 116-110 overtime win over Orlando, when he already had nine dimes. He’d wind up finishing with 15 points, 16 assists and nine rebounds to tie John Stockton with his 37th straight double-digit game. Rondo has already said, and Doc Rivers has already proven, he’ll go to extra measures to keep the streak alive and in some ways that’s made him a more predictable player. Going after that record hasn’t blunted his edges too much though; one way his laser assists open his game up was clear as day in OT when he had a 3-on-2 with shooters on each wing. With the far man covered, Jameer Nelson was left between Paul Pierce (23 points) and Rondo’s drive and he jumped what he thought would be the passing lane. It backfired, Rondo strolled down the 15 feet to the hoop untouched and a three-point Boston lead became an insurmountable five. … It really feels like Denver sophomore Kenneth Faried would be the world’s best Black Friday shopper the way his speed and intuitive knowledge of physics lets him get to the right place for the board perfectly. No one would get in his way for the must-have gift the way few stepped up to put a body on him from New Orleans. Without Anthony Davis (looking detached all night in a walking boot on his left foot) to offer resistance the Manimal’s 14 points (7-of-8 shooting) and 12 boards were the physical message that New Orleans wasn’t ready to respond to. Denver’s 102-84 win was over by the third quarter in an ugly win, though Jordan Hamilton‘s nasty finish on a high alley-oop dime was a treat for anyone who stuck around to catch the end. … Rookie years are hard, but it’s hard to watch Austin Rivers and not think that he’s making it difficult on himself. He just forces everything even when it’s within a set. The end product was that even close, he couldn’t finish with the kind of electricity we’ve come to expect since he was 17. He finished just 1-of-8 from shots within four feet, only making one other bucket on the night. … Hit the jump to hear how New York and Brooklyn prepared for their borough battle …

Portland really had no business being even with Brooklyn on the road early in the fourth quarter. After all, LaMarcus Aldridge was bound to the sideline with an injury and Meyers Leonard (12 points) and Damian Lillard (13 points, seven assists, six boards and four TOs) each had four fouls. Brooklyn was sleep-walking through this game and was ripe for an upset but Portland’s needless turnovers were like concrete shoes taking the Blazers to the bottom. A one-point game became a seven-point Nets lead in the fourth in just 90 seconds, a span that Portland only had one shot attempt in while the Nets carved out breathing room in part by — we swear this is right — Reggie Evans making both ends of his free throws. Leonard regressed like Benjamin Button with zero points in the second half after a strong 12 in the first half. J.J. Hickson‘s big dunk on Keith Bogans in the fourth, much like Lillard’s made-for-TiVo 30-foot bounce pass laser to Wesley Matthews on the break, was nice but had little substance otherwise for Portland. … This is actually a nice achievement for the Nets, who could never win with a half-effort in New Jersey. We’re pretty sure they’ll go harder tonight against the Knicks. Deron Williams had 15 points and 12 assists. … Madison Square Garden feels like a fortress this season for the Knicks, who blew out the Pistons 121-100. The Knicks are 5-0 there but you can see something different in Carmelo Anthony at home, like he’s back playing carefree against Nigeria in the London Olympics. He had 29 in 32 minutes and set the tone with three triples in the first quarter. However, it’s not nit-picking to say he has to do more on the glass, (just two boards) and even with a *double-take* 38 percent usage rate, six turnovers won’t cut it against above .500 teams. … Jrue Holiday had 33 points and 13 dimes to beat Phoenix at home, 104-101. He’s becoming a one-man monster for the Sixers. … Very sad news today for Rockets coach Kevin McHale and family after his 23-year-old daughter died. He had taken a leave from coaching since Nov. 10 to be with family. … Cal Poly thoroughly embarrassed UCLA at Pauley Pavilion by coming back from 18 down to beat the Bruins. The No. 11 team in the land now has gone 1-1 against the Big West, and had to go to OT to beat UC Irvine earlier — yikes. … We’re out like Alex Smith‘s starting job in San Francisco.

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