Above The Rim: Fighting Over Two Spots

Sonics 151, Nuggets 147 – Seattle gets the fun of playing spoiler (potentially) for Denver as Kevin Durant turns in a 37-point performance and Jeff Green tosses in 35 in the double-OT slugfest.  Carmelo Anthony led the Nuggets with 36 (after 47 in a loss to the Kings the night before), but this Nuggets team is still hideously flawed on defense if the player’s name isn’t Marcus Camby.

Mavericks 105, Suns 98 – Dallas put together a 16-0 run late, exposing once again, a poor defensive effort by Phoenix in order to create more space between them and Denver in the 8 spot in the Western Conference. Dirk Nowitzki led with 32.

Hornets 108, Warriors 96 – I’m still trying to figure out what Chris Paul can’t do to make the Hornets better. 16 points, 13 assists, and 10 boards say a lot, but watching this game on ABC and the fluidity with which he plays is amazing — it really does have to be viewed on a big screen or in person.  Peja Stojakovic and David West both had 25 points; Monta Ellis led the Warriors with 35 on what was a bad shooting night for the team.

Lakers 114, Kings 92 – Injured and battered, but the Lake Show is still teeing off and trying to get the best position possible. Kobe Bryant led with 29, Vlad Radmanovic had 21 (15 of them on three-pointers) and 14 rebounds after getting cussed out by Phil Jackson.  Kevin Martin led the Kings with 22 as it appeared that Arco Arena was filled with more Lakers fans than Kings fans.

Knicks 100, Magic 90 – New York snaps a five-game losing streak by coming back home and topping the team Patrick Ewing is now an assistant coach for after honoring him.  Rookie Wilson Chandler tossed in 23 points and Zach Randolph had 20 in the team’s first home game since hiring Donnie Walsh to take over basketball operations.

Spurs 72, Blazers 65 – 12th straight win for San Antonio over Portland, as Tim Duncan has 27 points and 11 rebounds. I will never count this team out, no matter had maddeningly efficient and dull the game they play appears to be on TV. It gets the job done and it wins games.

Pistons 95, Heat 71 – Same maddening efficiency and ruthlessness, Eastern Conference edition. Detroit holds Miami to 35% field goal shooting while the underappreciated bench gets guys like Rodney Stuckey, Jarvis Hayes, and Arron Afflalo in double figures for the win.

Photo: AP/John Froschauer

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