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NBA Awards 3/21/13

Miami Spots Cleveland 27 Pt Lead, Comes Back for 24th Straight
Miami came into Cleveland where it all started for their star LeBron – childhood, grade-school hoops prodigy, high school fame and glory, and then the first 7 years of his NBA career. They spotted the Cavs a 55-34 halftime lead, then 67-40 with 7 min left in the 3rd, before the Heat went on a unbelievable tear, outscoring the Cavs 40-12 in the next 9:43 of game time to take the lead 80-79 before eventually winning 98-95. LeBron scored the last 11 of those 40 pts on 3 treys and a layup in well under 2 minutes. Miami’s next three games are hosting Det & Charlotte at home, then Orlando on the road – pretty much 3 wins. The major test comes on Easter Sunday when they play at San Antonio, a potential NBA Finals preview. Seldom used SG Wayne Ellington was nice in this game for Cleveland (20/7/4), while Tristan Thompson (18/8/3 stls) did most of his damage early in the game. LeBron didn’t shoot well (8-22) but triple-doubled for 4th time this season, while Ray Allen nabbed 5 stls off the bench to go with his 10 pts.
Other Wednesday Games
Since losing 18 of 20 games, the Bobcats are now 3-2 after beating Toronto 107-101 in Charlotte. Gerald Henderson again impressed with 21/7/5 & 2 blks, while Byron Mullens came off the bench to score 25 pts and block 3 shots (also nab 2 stls) in 28 minutes. Kemba couldn’t shoot straight (4-14) but did contribute 7 rebs, 8 dimes, and 4 steals. Raptor starters, led by Rudy Gay (25/8/3 asst, 2 blk), generally got the job done, but their bench was awful – going 5-21 from the floor while grabbing just 9 rebs and dishing only 4 dimes…..The Thunder have now lost two in a row for only the 3rd time this season after losing a heart-breaker in Memphis 90-89 on Marc Gasol’s tip in with just under a second left. OKC came out ice cold in this game, Durant and Westy combining to go 1-11 out of the gate. The team ended up shooting 35.7% on the night, Durant going 11-28 and Russell making just 7 of 25. Kevin Martin (17) was the only other Thunder to score more than 7 pts as Ibaka again struggled to contribute (2 pts, 6 reb, 2 blk in 22 min…1-4 shooting). Perkins did grab a season-high 16 rebs. Amazingly, that was not the high reb total for the game as Zach R pulled down 18 to go with his 15 pts (but shot a putrid 6 of 23), while Gasol pulled down 15 alongside his 14 pts, 2 blks. Mike Conley was big (24/7/5, 2 stl) as well, while Bayless hit for a Hollow Man Award-winning 20 pts off the bench (just 2 rebs, 1 asst) for the Griz…..Orlando continues to struggle without a ‘main man’ to lead them in scoring, getting a team high 14 pts apiece from rookie PF Andrew Nicholson off the bench as well as 2nd yr SF Tobias Harris as they lost their 5th in a row, 106-94 to the Knicks. Melo came back for NY and had a subdued 21/8 rebs in 33 min, while JR Smith led the team with 22 off the bench to go with his 7 rebs. Little known fact: Smith is averaging 5.1 rebs/gm this year, one of the best guard totals in the league – only Kobe (5.4), Iggy (5.3), and Westy (5.2) ahead of him…..In a large ‘playoff implications’ matchup in Atlanta, the Hawks stopped the bleeding and took care of the Bucks 98-90 behind another nice Jeff Teague effort (27/11 asst) and a  rather monstrous Al Horford night – 26/15, 2 stl/2 blk. The Joshua Tree struggled to score (5-14, 12 pts) but pulled down a season-high 16 boards to go with 6 dimes as well. Larry Sanders (19/14/4 blks…19 pts a surprisingly low career-high) and JJ Reddick (18/3/6 asst) led Milwaukee as Monta Ellis (more below) crashed HARD after his recent run of stellar performances…..In New Orleans, the Hornets got a rare chance to celebrate this season when Anthony Davis put back a missed Eric Gordon layup with under a second left to snatch an 87-86 victory from the Celtics, who welcomed back KG (20/6/3, 3 stl) and got a nice 28 pts from PP, but not much else. Without his heroic putback, it would have been yet another quiet night for Davis (9/8, 2 blks), but Vasquez (13/7/6), Ryan Anderson (21), and Gordon (18) did come through for the Hornets…..The Rockets stayed a game & a half up on the Lakers (7 seed to Lakers’ 8) with a 100-93 win over Utah in Houston as James Harden (28, 17-18 from the stripe) and Jeremy Lin (24/6 asst) were the only Rockets with more than 10 pts. The Jazz got 27/8 rebs from Hayward and 18/11/4, 2 stl from Al-Jeff…..Brook Lopez (season-high 38, 11 rebs, 15-22 FGs) and D-Will (31/6 asst) led Brooklyn to an easy 113-96 win at Dallas as Dirk led the Mavs in scoring (16) & rebounding (6). At 16.4/6.9, 45.9%, Dirk is getting paid a lot of money ($20.9m this year) for very so-so production this year. He jumps to $22.7m next year, one of the worst contracts in the league on a production for pay basis…..The Spurs beat the Warriors 104-93 behind another flashback, monstrous night from Tim Duncan (25/13/6, 4 blks). Tiago Splitter (17/7/4) was also big for San Antonio, while David Lee shot horribly (4-17) for Golden St., who was led by Stephen Curry’s 24 point night…..The Wizards took advantage of the Suns horrible shooting (33.7%) to earn an ugly 88-79 win in Phoenix as Wall (19/8 asst…but 5 T/Os) and Nene (17/8) led Washington. The Wiz bench also helped out with 39 pts and 23 rebs. The Suns got 18 apiece from Wesley Johnson and Dragic (also 11 asst, 3 stl), but very little from everyone else. Beasley was 1-5, 0 rebs in 8 forgettable min off the bench…..Finally, in a complete laugher at Staples Center, the Clippers destroyed the 76ers 101-72, outscoring Philly by 19 in the 2nd half. CP III was golden (19/6/9, 5 stl, 8-10 shooting) as Blake struggled to score (7 pts on 2-9 from the floor) but did have 9 rebs & 6 asst. Spencer Hawes was the only bright light for the 76ers (16/7/7, 2 stl/2 blk) as Jrue made just 1 of 8 shots.
The Akeem Olajuwon Award —  LeBron James  —  25 pts, 12 rebs, 10 asst, 6 FTM, 3 stl, 2 blk, 3 treys, and 8-22 shooting…Now at 26.6, 8.2 rebs, 7.3 dimes, 1.7 stl, .9 blk and 55.1% on the year…and hasn’t missed a game…say hello to the 2013 NBA MVP (would be his 4th).
The Rafael Araujo Award —  Monta Ellis —  5 pts, 1 rebs, 1 asst, 0 FTM, 0 stl, 0 blk, 1 treys, and 2-14 shooting in 40 repulsive minutes…Ellis has been dominating the Awards this week…unfortunately, it’s on the Bozo side of the equation after last night’s stinker. Jameer Nelson (6/3/1, 2-7 FGs) and Arron Aflalo (5/2/0, 2-7 shooting) were also pretty bad yesterday.
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