We’ll bring back the Roundup tomorrow.
Miami 105, Dallas 94: Not nearly as close as the score indicates. The Heat played benchwarmers in the 4th and were outscored 29-8. When it mattered, it was the D Wade (26-8-6) and LeBron (37-10-6) show. Won’t make any sweeping conclusions based on one game, but the Mavs looked downright ancient and sorely missed the activity of Tyson Chandler inside (outrebounded 51-31, 15-8 on the offensive glass). My jaw dropped when the Heat pulled off the above dunk.
LA Clippers 105, Golden State 86: DeAndre Jordan blocked eight shots and after swallowing one of them, it led to Blake Griffin doing this:
Here are all of Jordan’s blocked shots:
In years’ past, I’ve rode teams like Orlando (huge fan of D12) and Golden State (Steph Curry, baby) hard in Ballin, and I’ll tell you right now – the Clippers will be that team in 2012. I picked them to reach the NBA Finals, and I think in a watered-down West, they’ll do it. I also think they’re going to be straight cash, homey, if that’s your thing (they were only favored by five in the opener). Billups and Butler, two considerably less heralded offseason pickups, were solid vs. the Warriors.
Chicago 88, LA Lakers 87: The Lakers wasted a double-digit lead with just under 4 minutes left, and a 6-point lead with :54 left, as the Bulls scored the game’s final seven points and stole a victory on the road. Luol Deng’s defense was brilliant late (though he did travel with about :12 left – the refs blew the call), including that last second block of Kobe. Derrick Rose’s floater is what he should have done late against the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals … but here he’s blowing by Derek Fisher, not LeBron.
Kobe scored 28 on 23 shots. Afterward, typical Kobe, when asked about having to carry the load this year: “I can get 28 in my sleep” (last quote).
New York 106, Boston 104: Great game, great finish, and hopefully, a one-game suspension is coming to Kevin Garnett for choking Bill Walker after the final horn.
When the media asked Bill Walker about retribution, here’s what he said: “There’s a time and a place for everything. Today is not the place. I don’t look for problems like that. It’s Christmas.’’ I was pleasantly surprised by the aggressiveness of rookie Iman Shumpert (even though he shot 3-of-13). Wonder if another brilliant game in a big spot by Rajon Rondo (31 points, 13 assists, five steals) will silence all the “let’s trade him!” garbage.
Oklahoma City 97, Orlando 89: How does Stan Van Gundy let Jason Richardson get 10 shots, Hedo Turkoglu 10, and Jameer Nelson 13, while Dwight Howard – who played more minutes than all of them – only took 12? If you were watching, you had to be shaking your head. I certainly was. Ryan Anderson had the hot hand (25 points) but it didn’t matter, because when all you do is jack jumpers, and then go cold, a skilled team like the Thunder will pull away easily. Kevin Durant scored 30.