Phoenix 133, Golden State 131: Amare Stoudemire (37 points) violently dunked on Anthony Tolliver, and simultaneously vaulted himself into the discussion for dunk of the year. “Amare Stoudemire elevates and detonates! … That was savage,” the announcers raved. It is being dubbed the “Throwdown in Oaktown.” Dwyane Wade, you’ve got competition. (Two factors for Wade: 1) His was at home, 2) Marv Albert had the call.) Tolliver actually had a good game (25-12), but being the recipient of this facial is all anyone will remember. The Warriors were once again unable to overcome the selfish play of Monta Ellis (9-of-27). Reggie Williams, the undrafted D-leaguer, made 10-of-16 and scored 29 points in 33 minutes.
Dallas 99, New Orleans 115: Chris Paul played for the first time since Jan. 29, scoring 11 points in limited action, but once again the story was its scintillating rookie pair of Marcus Thornton (28 points) and Darren Collison (16 points, eight assists, sparked 23-0 run with CP3 on the bench). Paul’s reaction to being kept on a tight leash: “I asked, ‘Could I play more,’ but they was like, ‘No, no way.’ It was like I had a cell phone. At halftime, I kept telling the guys I only had 12 minutes left. That’s all I had left on my daytime minutes.”
Atlanta 95, Milwaukee 98: Still does not compute. The Bucks are 15-2 since acquiring John Salmons? He scored 16 of his 32 in the fourth and the Bucks – the Bucks! – are 39-30 and without question have to be the biggest surprise in the NBA this season. Nobody expected Oklahoma City to flirt with 45 wins, but at least it has players. No NBA pundit on the planet outside of Milwaukee had the Bucks doing anything resembling damage this season. Guess we can forget about applying for the GM job.
San Antonio 99, Oklahoma City 96: George Hill – who? Just another great Spurs’ draft pick – scored 27 points and San Antonio survived 45 from Kevin Durant. The Thunder had risen as high as 5th in the West, but they’ve now they’re tied with the Spurs for 6th, but actually in 7th because San Antonio owns the tiebreaker. In a perfect world, we’d see the old guard (Kobe) vs. the new guard (Durant) in the first round.
Boston 97, Utah 110: Paul Pierce celebrated being named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week with a 3-for-13 performance. The good news is, at least Kevin Garnett didn’t get hurt. This time last year is when he suffered the leg injury in a game at Utah that kept him out of the playoffs. Not that it really matters, this year …