Monday Morning Point Guard
The first NBA weekend of 2009 couldn't have been much better or more entertaining. It began on Friday, when all 30 NBA teams played on the same night for the first time ever. And, while there were several blowouts, the night was highlighted by three buzzer-beaters.
New Jersey Nets guard Vince Carter struck first, when his three-pointer at the buzzer concluded an incredible rally back from a 20-point halftime deficit to defeat the Atlanta Hawks, 93-91, in overtime. Then, Fort Washington, Md., native Jarrett Jack scored a season-high 29 points and nailed a 19-foot jumper over his cousin, Chris Duhon, with 0.9 seconds remaining to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 105-103 victory over the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden.
And finally, District native Kevin Durant canned a three-pointer over Baltimore native Carmelo Anthony with 2.7 seconds remaining, seemingly giving the Oklahoma City Thunder and upset victory over the Northwest Division-leading Denver Nuggets -- only have Anthony answer with a three-point from the corner with 0.1 seconds left, capping a 31-point performance in Denver's 122-120 victory.
There was even more excitement on Saturday, as two more games were decided on the final possession. The Hawks got a much-needed reversal of fortune against the Houston Rockets, when they responded to a buzzer-beating three-pointer against New Jersey by getting one of their own. Point guard Mike Bibby made a go-ahead three-pointer with 1.5 seconds remaining to give the Hawks a 103-100 win.
Later that evening, the San Antonio Spurs were on the verge of blowing a game in which they held a 21-point lead against the Philadelphia 76ers, before Tony Parker got an offensive rebound with 0.9 seconds and hit a high-arching 15-footer as time expired to lead the Spurs to a 108-106 lead.
Then came Upside-Down Sunday, when the three best teams in the Eastern Conference all lost to teams with losing records. The Washington Wizards beat their chief tormenters the past three postseasons, the Cleveland Cavaliers, in a thrilling, 80-77 victory that included Antawn Jamison hitting a decisive jumper and LeBron James being called for traveling on his "crab dribble."
The New York Knicks then unloaded on their chief tormenter the past two seasons, defeating the conference-leading Boston Celtics, 100-88. It was an important win for the Knicks, who had been humiliated by Boston twice this season and had to hear their former teammate, Stephon Marbury, openly talk last weekend about his desires to play for a championship in Boston.
The Toronto Raptors got payback of sort against the Orlando Magic -- the team that eliminated them in the first round last season -- with a 108-102 victory. And later that afternoon, one of the best teams in the Western Conference went down to one of the worst, as the Memphis Grizzlies ended a 13-game losing streak against one of their noted bullies - the Dallas Mavericks - with a 102-82 victory. So, four teams with a combined 45-87 (.341) record, defeated four teams with a combined 102-33 (.756) record. Some afternoon. Some weekend.
The weekly awards are coming soon . . .
Posted by: twigmuffin | January 5, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse
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