1. Detroit outshines Phoenix
In what very well could be a preview of this year’s NBA Finals, the Pistons proved they still got it when it comes to breaking Shaq’s heart. The Suns were on a seven-game winning streak going into Detroit on Monday, but Detroit posted 14 points in overtime to take a 110-105 victory. Since joining Phoenix, the Bad Boys have twice defeated Shaquille O’Neal and the last time the Diesel was sporting a Western Conference uniform, the Pistons sent his Lakers home brokenhearted from the game’s ultimate stage. O’Neal managed to have a solid outing, posting 12 points and 10 rebounds to compliment Amare Stoudemire’s 33 points and Steve Nash’s 23, but Chauncey Billups was too much to handle down the stretch, scoring nine of his 32 points in the extra frame.
2. Beantown letdown
Philadelphia’s shock-n-awe tour continued on Monday night when the Sixers stopped in Boston and knocked off the league’s top dawgs 95-90. Andre Iguodala finished with 28 points and went bonkers in the fourth quarter, going on a personal 10-0 run as part of a 19-0 run to claw out of an 11-point hole. Boston’s “Big 3” combined for 44 points, but only posted five in the final quarter and the Celtics lost their second straight. Philadelphia improved to 8-2 over its last 10 games and now sits in sole possession of sixth place in the Eastern Conference playoff chase.
3. The Nuggets keep rolling
On Sunday, Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony combined for 69 points in a victory over Toronto. On Monday, the dynamic duo posted 49 points, but the results were the same – a win. The Answer finished with 26 points and Carmelo Anthony tallied 23, however neither could hold a candle to J.R. Smith in Denver’s 120-106 win. Smith went nuclear in the final period, ripping off 25 of his 27 points, including seven bombs from downtown. The W was the Nuggets third consecutive as they try to work themselves back into the playoff picture in a stacked West. The Grizzlies got big games out of a pair of blossoming youngsters as Rudy put up a game-high 30 points and Hakim Warrick finished with 29. But don’t let the inexperienced talent fool you, this team stinks. In fact, if it weren’t for Seattle’s current 1-11 streak, Memphis might very well own the conference’s worst mark.
Monday’s Player of the Day: Lamar Odom @ Golden State 53 min, 23 pts (FG: 10-15, FT: 3-5), 21 reb, 5 ast, 2 stl, 5 blk
Tuesday’s Game to Watch: San Antonio (47-23) @ Orlando (46-26)
The last time the Spurs visited Orlando Dwight Howard slam dunked his Magic to a victory with less than one second remaining in the game. Until he went Superman at All-Star Weekend, it was the defining moment of his short career. The Spurs have now won three in a row after dropping six of seven and just added Brent Barry back to the roster to give them some solid perimeter shooting for the playoff push. It’s a strategy the Magic are quite familiar with. Orlando averages the second-most treys in the league (25.1 3FG per game) and Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu and Keith Bogans are amongst the top 12 in the league for 3-point attempts.
Buzzer Beater: Fans in Seattle chanted “Save Our Sonics!” at any chance they could get last night and apparently the players just aren’t used to hearing anything other than boos when they play in front of the home crowd after dropping 11 in a row before beating Portland 97-84 on Monday.
Messed me up a little bit,” [Kevin] Durant said. “But I heard them and that’s something I love. The crowd was into it tonight and that shows they’re going to stick behind us.