Around the Rim: Special delivery driver


1. James nets 51
On Tuesday, there were no high speeds recorded or tickets issued to the NBA’s young King, but LeBron James definitely had the throttle down against Memphis. James scored a season-high 51 points in a 132-124 road win over the Grizzlies. In addition to his scoring, James grabbed eight rebounds and dished out nine assists. The last person to go for 50 points, eight boards and eight dimes was Gilbert Arenas (60-8-8) against the Lakers in 2006. With the victory, Cleveland is two games over .500 (20-18) for the first time since going on a horrendous skid in which they lost 10 of 13 games beginning in late November.

2. Suns slide

When Sam Cassell is on top of his game, even the Clippers become tough to beat; just ask Phoenix. Cassell finished with a game-high 32 points to go with seven assists and the Clippers beat Phoenix 97-90. Los Angeles took over in the third quarter, outscoring the Suns 25-17, and managed to hold on over the final 12 minutes. Amare Stoudemire had 29 points, Steve Nash got 13 assists and Shawn Marion finished with a big double-double (14 pts, 17 reb) in a losing effort. The loss knocked Phoenix all the way down from first in the Western Conference to fifth behind Portland, Dallas, San Antonio and the new top dogs out west, the Los Angeles Lakers.

3. 76ers finally show a little heart
The sun shines on a dog’s butt every now and again and on Tuesday, those warm, golden beams landed directly on the 76ers derriere. Philadelphia trailed by 16 points to the Rockets in the second half, but somehow found a way to rip off a 37-22 beatdown in the fourth quarter and snapped their seven-game losing streak with a 111-107 victory in Houston. Their last win was also on the road, against the lowly Sonics on New Years Eve. Andre Miller scored 26 points and Samuel Dalembert finished with 19 while Louis Williams (18 pts) and Andre Iguodala (17 pts) had solid games as well. Yao Ming & Co. hope they just played their final game with Tracy McGrady who has missed the previous 10 contests with an injured knee. T-Mac is expected to be back in the lineup on Saturday against the Spurs.

Tuesday’s Player of the Day: LeBron James @ Memphis 47 min, 51 pts (FG: 18-28, 3FG: 6-12, FT: 9-16), 8 reb, 9 ast, 3 stl, 1 blk

Wednesday’s Game to Watch: Portland (23-14) @ Boston (30-6)
If there is such a thing as a “good” time to play the Boston Celtics then this would be it. Boston is currently riding a two-game losing streak, their first of the year, and has lost three of their previous four games. Before their current slide, the Cs were 29-3. Portland on the other hand is probably dying for an opportunity at the league’s best in order to prove their current 18-2 streak isn’t a fluke. Unlike Boston, the Trail Blazers started the season in a funk, going 5-12 before embarking on their current tear.

Buzzer Beater: The Pistons bounced back from an ugly defeat at the hands of New York and soundly routed the Raptors 103-89. Richard Hamilton scored a season-high 39 points in the game, including a career-high five 3-pointers. After the game, he let everyone know that anything in the corners and behind the arc is his and you gotta pay rent if you wind up there.

That’s my real estate in the corner,” he said. “It’s like Monopoly. I’ve got four houses and a hotel on there. It’s what I do.

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