1. Double trouble
We’ve heard of unlucky No. 13, but unlucky No. 30 is something new to us. The Celtics (30-6), on the other hand, are learning all about the doomed three-zero. At 29-3, Boston was rolling right along, but then it took them a pair of contests before reaching their 30th victory and now Washington’s will gives the Cs their third loss in four games. After slapping down the Celtics on Saturday, the Wiz traveled to Boston for the back side of the home-and-home and escaped with an 88-83 win. Caron Butler led the way for Washington with 21 points, followed up by Antawn Jamison’s 20 and 10 rebounds. Like usual, the big three showed up for Boston (57 points), but that was about it as Beantown felt their second consecutive defeat for the first time this year.
2. Charlotte surprise
Carmelo Anthony (35 pts) and Allen Iverson (23 pts) combined for over 50 and Marcus Camby went bonkers with 20 points and 23 rebounds, but it still wasn’t enough to beat the Bobcats in Charlotte. Gerald Wallace scored 40 for the Cats who improved to 14-23 with the 119-116 victory. The road doesn’t get any easier for Charlotte who has contests against Orlando, New Orleans, San Antonio and Dallas on the horizon. The loss doesn’t spell disaster for Denver, but coupled with Portland’s beatdown of New Jersey, the Nuggets fell a half game behind the Blazers in the division standings.
3. Kobe is super against the Sonics
The Lakers got some bad news on Monday when they found out Andrew Bynum would be out of action for the next eight weeks with a left kneecap injury. Later on in the day, Kobe Bryant grieved the only way he knows how: by jacking up a ridiculous amount of shots. Bryant went 21-of-44 from the field for 48 points in the Lakers 123-121 overtime victory in Seattle. In addition to the offensive outburst from Bryant, L.A. cleaned the glass better than a homeless guy on the corner as Lamar Odom (14 reb), Luke Walton (10 reb) and Kwame Brown (10 reb) all finished with double-digit boards in Bynum’s absence. The Sonics were able to hang around thanks to seven double-figure scorers, led by Nick Collision’s 24 points to go with 18 rebounds. Kevin Durant couldn’t throw the ball into the ocean, hitting just six of his 26 shot attempts.
Monday’s Player of the Day: Deron Williams vs. Milwaukee 37 min, 33 pts (FG: 8-14, 3FG: 1-3, FT: 16-20), 5 reb, 10 ast, 4 stl
Tuesday’s Game to Watch: Toronto (20-17) @ Detroit (28-10)
The Raptors are beginning to prove they have all the pieces to become a great team in the NBA. They’re young, hungry, talented and they are building the core chemistry that takes teams deep into the playoffs. Nobody is currently considering them as a possible Eastern Conference representative in this year’s Finals, but they could defiantly take a step in the right direction with a road win against the Pistons. Problem is the Bad Boys are ready to unleash their fury on someone after dropping three of their previous five games, including a humiliating blowout loss to the Knicks on Sunday when they could only muster a measly 65 points.
Buzzer Beater: Even with four championship rings, two regular season MVPs and a trio of Finals MVP awards in your back pocket, it can be tough to get a little respect.
During a tight fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers, Tim Duncan twice told San Antonio Spurs teammate Manu Ginobili to pass the ball.
One couldn’t blame Duncan for his advice as Ginobili had gone 0-of-6 from the field through the first three quarters of the game.
Ginobili didn’t listen to the Spurs’ star center.
The Spurs’ super sub hit four 3-pointers in the period, his only field goals of the entire game, to lead the Spurs to an 89-82 victory over the 76ers Monday night.
“I think I was talking in the middle of his shots … two of his shots, telling him to swing the ball,” Duncan said. “And he’s firing away anyway, and they go down for him. So he felt it. And he gets one to go down, he gets two to go down. All of a sudden he’s on a hot streak and you want him taking those shots.”
Ginobili scored 14 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, highlighted by the two pairs of consecutive 3s.
“I heard him,” Ginobili said of Duncan’s counsel. “But I told him that I was feeling good and I was going to take them.”
“He never listens to me,” Duncan joked.