kobe-bryant-return-raptors-lakers-december-2013What a week in the NBA!

Buzzer beaters, record breakers, great individual performances, streaks continued and broken, as well as one team so hot that the stadium caught fire.

Let’s take a look back at the week that was.

Michael Carter-Williams, Victor Oladipo Have Triple-Doubles In Rookie Shootout

victor-oladipo-michael-carter-williams-magic-vs-76ers-december-2013With so many great games this week, we’ll take a look at a few of the contenders before crowning one as the game of the week.

On Tuesday, the Orlando Magic took on the Sixers in Philadelphia. For two teams expected to finish near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, they sure put on a show.

Two overtime periods and 23 lead changes were needed to settle this one, and in the end the Sixers came away with the win by a score of 126-125.

Granted, they played an extra 10 minutes with the two overtimes, but the box scores were absolutely gaudy. Michael Carter-Williams led the way for Philadelphia with a triple-double of 27 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Not to be outdone, Orlando rookie Victor Oladipo put up a triple-double of his own (26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists).

Carter-Williams and Oladipo made history by becoming the first pair of rookies to record triple-doubles in the same game.

In addition to the production by their young guard, Aaron Aflallo and Glen Davis pitched in with career-high point totals for Orlando with 43 for Afflalo and 33 for Davis.

Warriors Complete Epic Comeback To Beat Raptors

stephen-curry-raptors-vs-warriors-december-2013Also on Tuesday, the Raptors took on the Warriors in Oakland. This game looked like a blowout, as Toronto led 36-19 after the first quarter, and by 17 at the half.

In the third quarter, the Raptors lead swelled to 27 behind sharp shooting from DeMar DeRozen and Kyle Lowry. Heading into the final period, the Raptors had a solid 18-point lead.

But no lead is safe when you have the Super Splash Brothers, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. The two combined for nine threes in the game, with six-of-eight three pointers made by Golden State in the fourth quarter.

David Lee was dominant in the post and in transition in the second half, as he finished with 18 points and eights boards for the Warriors. In the end the Warriors were able to close the fourth quarter gap and then some, winning the game, 112-103.

Afterward, when asked what the turning point was. Many Golden State players said it was Jermaine O’Neal’s halftime speech that was the spark the team needed.

While nobody would confirm exactly what it is O’Neal said to his team, we’re assuming he did more than remind them that the Warriors are 3-0 when Jermaine scores in double digits. He finished the game with 11 points.

Tim Duncan Nails Game-Winner To Beat Hawks


In San Antonio, the Spurs took on the Hawks and needed every last second of regulation to decide the winner.

This was a tight one throughout, with neither team holding more than a one-point lead at the end of any quarter. There were 20 lead changes and 17 ties in the game. The Spurs led 94-87 with 2:48 left in the game, but the Hawks were able to close the gap down the stretch

The Hawks trailed 98-94 in the fourth quarter when Paul Milsap made a 3-pointer over Boris Diaw with 17.5 seconds remaining. Manu Giniobli then hit two free throws for the Spurs to lead, 100-97. Hawks guard Jeff Teague followed that by hitting a 3 over Kawhi Leonard to tie it at 100 with only 4.7 seconds left.

That is when the Spurs turned to the man who had carried them throughout the game just as he has for the last 16 years, Tim Duncan. Off a timeout, Greg Popovich drew up a play for his big man that had him run off a double screen before receiving a pass at the right elbow. Duncan sank the game winner with 0.4 seconds remaining.

Duncan was in vintage form and finished the night with 23 points and 21 rebounds becoming, at age 37, the oldest player to ever record a 20-point, 20-rebound game.

Pelicans, Bulls Have Three-Overtime Thriller Without Their Best Players


The Pelicans were in Chicago on Monday as New Orleans took on the Bulls. The Bulls were, of course, without their star point guard in Derrick Rose, but the Pelicans were also without their budding star in power forward Anthony Davis. With these key players missing, both the Bulls and Pelicans were still able to put on a heck of a show.

This one was a three-overtime thriller that featured a career-high from the sharp-shooting forward Ryan Anderson. Anderson scored 36 points, including seven 3-pointers as the Pelicans were able to prevail.

The game had to be especially exhausting for the Pelicans, as it was the second of a back-to-back.

Jrue Holiday finally put an end to things when, tied at 128 with 4.8 seconds remaining, he took the ball after a New Orleans timeout and hit a shot in the lane while getting fouled. He hit the foul shot and the New Orleans escaped with the victory 131-128.

Pacers Vs Blazers: A Battle Between Eastern And Western Conference Powerhouses

paul-george-wesley-matthews-pacers-vs-blazers-december-2013In a battle of two of the hottest teams in the NBA, the 15-1 Indiana Pacers headed out to Portland to take on the 14-3 Blazers. This game featured a lot of young, up-and-coming talent, and the pregame hype was not overblown.

Indiana held a one-point lead at the half, but was able to extend it in the third quarter behind hot shooting from the bench and budding superstar, Paul George. The Pacers led 64-56 towards the end of the third quarter and looked to be pulling away.

LaMarcus Aldridge was an anchor for the Blazers in the middle, scoring 28 points and gobbling up 10 rebounds. Damian Lillard added 26 points for Portland. Each Blazer starter contributed with at least two assists and each player, except one for the Blazers (Dorell Wright) recorded an assist.

It took a total team effort from the Blazers to keep the lead they had in the fourth quarter and stave off an absolutely phenomenal run from Paul George.

George scored a career-high 43 points on the night and kept Indiana within striking distance all the way to the final buzzer. His effort was not enough on the night, as the Pacers fell to the Blazers, 106-102. It was only the second loss of the year for the Pacers.

It was truly a playoff-type atmosphere, and the Blazers made a statement with the win. The quality of basketball played was quite high, as both teams looked to be completely locked in.

I look forward to seeing the two teams play more of these types of games as the year goes on.

Game Of The Week: Mavericks Vs Blazers

On Saturday night in Portland, the Mavericks took on the Blazers in an epic Western (Bestern) Conference battle that is my pick for game of the week.

Late in the game, the Mavericks were jealously guarding a slim lead and seemed to have an answer every time the Blazers tied things up. Dirk Nowitzki hit two of his patented one-legged fadeaways down the stretch.

Damian Lillard hit a three to tie things at 94 with just under four minutes to play. But with 45 seconds left, Nowitzki hit again from the field, and the Mavericks held a seemingly insurmountable six-point lead. On the other end though, Nicolas Batum hit his fourth three-pointer of the game to draw the Blazers within three.

With 10 seconds left, Monta Ellis received the inbound pass and lost it out of bounds. The Blazers made the most of the extra possession, as Damian Lillard hit a double-clutched 3 to tie things at 106 and to give him a game-high 26 points on the night.

It was then Mavericks’ ball with less than two seconds remaining, as Monta Ellis had a shot at redemption. Ellis received the inbounds pass and cut across the top of the key, launching a fadeaway at the buzzer that connected for the Mavericks win, 108-106.

It was only the Blazers' second loss at home all season, and it was a barn burner.

The New York Knicks Still Suck

New-York-Knicks-December-2013The Knicks, my gosh, the Knicks. Did anyone see this coming?

Their horrendous start to the season has been well chronicled, but the amazing thing about this team is their ability to cause hope that they might be able to turn things around, only to crush that hope with a series of heartbreaking turns. This week provided us with some great examples.

The Knicks came into the week on a nine-game slide. They were able to end the skid by handling the Nets — their geographic neighbor and the only other team that can boast as woefully disappointing start to the season as the Knicks. The Knicks won by 30 points over their area rivals.

Hopes were high that this might signal a change at Madison Square Garden, where the Knicks had lost seven in a row.

The next night, New York faced the Orlando Magic at home. The Knicks prevailed with Carmelo Anthony contributing 28 points and 11 boards, and Andrea Bargnani and JR Smith each adding 17 points. It was a real team win with everyone contributing instead of relying on Melo to outscore the other teams' top three players by himself.

It was the Knicks first back-to-back wins of the season. A winning streak of two had begun. Things were looking up in the Garden.

Then the Celtics came to town on Sunday and handed the Knicks the worst loss in the NBA this season, beating them 114-73. The boo birds were out by the middle of the fourth quarter, as the home team fans expressed their complete frustration with the home team.

Hopefully, the Knicks can get it together soon for the sake of their fans.

3-Point Records Broken


Records were made to be broken, and this week we saw a couple of records shattered.

On Friday in their home game against the Jazz, the Blazers set a team record with 17 three-pointers made. Portland went 17-23 from three for the game and set an NBA record for the highest 3-point percentage (minimum 20 attempts) by shooting 73.9 percent from distance.

Also on Friday, Kyle Korver passed Dana Barros by hitting a three in his 90th consecutive game. Korver has shot 47.6 percent from long range during his streak. Korver will have a chance to continue his streak when the Oklahoma City Thunder head to Atlanta on Tuesday.

Spurs vs T-Wolves Game Gets Cancelled


The Spurs and Timberwolves were set to tip off in Mexico City on Wednesday when a smoking generator forced the game’s cancellation. The game would have been the first regular season game played in Mexico. The game has been rescheduled but will take place in Minneapolis.

Rudy Gay Gets Traded To The Kings

rudy-gay-kings-photoshopRudy Gay was traded from the Toronto Raptors to the Sacramento Kings as part of a deal involving seven players on Sunday evening.

The Kings will be acquiring Gay, Quincy Acy, and Aaron Gray with the Raptors getting John Salmons, Greivis Vasquez, Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes in return.

The trade should be finalized in the next few days with the hope that Gay et al. will be joining the Kings in Salt Lake City in time for their match-up with the Jazz.

Kobe Bryant Finally Returns

kobe-bryant-of-the-los-angeles-lakers-speaks-to-theKobe Bryant made his season debut for the Lakers on Sunday night against the aforementioned Raptors.

Kobe returned from Achilles tendon surgery to score nine points on 2-9 shooting from the field. Kobe hit five of seven free throw attempts and pulled down eight boards to go along with four assists and two steals.

The 18-year veteran graded himself an "F" for his performance that night as the Lakers lost to the Raptors.


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