Around the Rim: Irish eyes are smiling


1. Boston’s bounce back
Despite falling behind by as many as 22 points, the Celtics came roaring back on in San Antonio on St. Patrick’s day to defeat the Spurs 93-91. Boston was without Ray Allen for the second consecutive game, but luckily they had Sam Cassell who was more than willing to step up and hit a huge 3-pointer in the fourth quarter that put the Cs up 89-87. The Spurs almost pulled off a St. Patty’s day miracle when Bruce Bowen stole an inbounds pass with time expiring, but the normally clutch Robert Horry couldn’t connect on a game-winning trey. Kevin Garnett scored 21 points in the gutsy comeback while Rajon Rondo chipped in 20 and Paul Pierce added 22. Manu Ginobili led San Antonio with a game-high 32 points, but it didn’t prevent the Spurs from losing their fourth consecutive game and the sixth in their last seven outings.

2. Orlando isn’t LeBron’s kingdom

Everything looks pretty meager in comparison to Houston’s super streak, but Orlando is stringing together a nice series of victories as well. Thanks to a 64-point second half , the Magic now own the second longest win streak in the league with five consecutive after beating Cleveland 104-90 in the Magic Kingdom. Dwight Howard finished with a solid double-double of 23 points and 13 rebounds despite shooting just 6-of-14 from the field while Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu connected on three 3-pointers apiece as they combined for an additional 38 points. In all, the Magic converted 14 treys and extended their lead over the Cavaliers to 6 ½ games. Cleveland took a five-point advantage into halftime after Orlando started 1-for-9 from the floor. LeBron James finished with 30 points, but got no help from his inside defender as Ben Wallace ended his night with two points and four rebounds in 23 minutes.

3. Green doesn’t look good on everyone
For some strange reason, the Knicks and the Bulls both decided to break out green uniforms last night. Luckily, the basketball gods were as offended by the hideous jerseys as much as we were and sent both clubs home with double-digit losses. The Knicks lost to Indiana 110-98 and the Bulls got drummed 108-97 by the Hornets. Chris Paul was scary good once again as he tallied 37 points and 13 assists in the outing and after the game he got some MVP love from his buddy Tyson Chandler.

It was all Chris Paul,” said Chandler, who finished with eight points. “The little man was all over the floor. It was incredible. It’s one of the best performances I’ve seen from him yet. He, at least to me, made his bid [Monday night] to consider him the MVP.

Monday’s Player of the Day: Chris Paul vs. Chicago 42 min, 37 pts (FG: 15-21, 3FG: 2-3, FT: 5-7), 4 reb, 13 ast, 3 stl

Tuesday’s Game to Watch: Boston (53-13) @ Houston (46-20)
The Rockets might be the hottest team in the last 30-some-odd years with 22 consecutive wins under their belts, but if anyone can teach a thing or two about winning to Houston it is the Celtics. Boston rushed out to a 29-3 record to start the season and they haven’t let go of the NBA’s top mark yet. While the Rockets were able to slip by the West’s best in Los Angeles, the East’s top dog could be too much to overcome, especially if Ray Allen is cleared to play. However, the Rockets have the added benefit of catching the Celtics on the tail end of a back-to-back situation while playing in front of a rabid home crowd in an arena where they are a solid 26-9.

Buzzer Beater: No disrespect to Mike Dunleavy, but he’s no Kobe Bryant or LeBron James. However, when you’re playing against the Knicks, even guys like Dunleavy get to be like Mike. The coach’s son tied his career-high by scoring 36 points in a 110-98 defeat of New York. The Pacers snapped a two-game losing streak behind Dunleavy’s fourth 36-point outburst of the season. The loss dropped New York to 19-48 on the year, meaning the Knicks best player next year will probably be hooping it up this weekend at the NCAA Tournament.

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