1. Anthony hits the game winner, Carter not Carmelo
The Rockets and Nuggets played late into the night on Thursday, but the double-overtime thriller ended when Anthony Carter hit the last of his three buckets to give Denver a 112-111 home victory. Carter only scored six points in the contest, but he dished out eight assists, helping Allen Iverson get his 36 points and Carmelo Anthony to a game-high 37. The Rockets were playing without Tracy McGrady, but still looked good in the loss as Yao Ming finished with 26 points and 19 rebounds. But the NBA isn’t about looking good, it’s about wins and losses and, right now, the Rockets have lost three in a row and five of their last six, falling two games under .500. Denver, on the other hand is sitting atop the Northwest Division with Portland and Utah nipping at their heels.
2. Dwyane Wade still believes in Santa too
Dwyane Wade has been on fire for the Heat lately, but it just doesn’t matter in Miami. Wade followed up his 37-point effort on Wednesday with a 41-point explosion on Thursday against the Nets, but the outcomes were identical – a pair of overtime losses. Vince Carter poured in 31 points for Jersey while teammate Richard Jefferson scored 29 in the 107-103 extra innings win. With the loss, Miami falls to 7-19 on the year, the worst record in the East and second worst in the entire Association. But have no fear; D-Wade isn’t giving up all hope for the Heat just yet.
You’ve got to keep believing,” Wade said. “You’ve got to keep playing until you can’t play any more. I hope everyone continues to believe. I know I do.
We’ll cut you some slack because of the holidays, but once the new year rolls around you might as well throw that Christmas miracle mentality right out the window because you guys are cooked.
3. LeBron vs. Kobe
In the battle of the league’s top point producers, LeBron James used his homecourt advantage to squeak out a 94-90 win over Kobe Bryant and his Lakers. James finished the game 33 points, 10 rebounds and five assists while Bryant had 21 points on an eight-of-22 shooting performance. The Cavaliers trailed by five points entering the final period, but opened the quarter with a 13-4 run en route to holding the Lakers to just 12 points in 12 minutes. Cleveland is 3-3 since James returned from an injury that kept him sidelined for five games, all losses, but the King seems to be 110 percent again, scoring 30 points in three consecutive games.
Thursday’s Player of the Day: Carmelo Anthony vs. Houston 51 min, 37 pts (FG: 13-32, FT: 11-17), 16 reb, 2 ast, 3 stl, 2 blk
Friday’s Game to Watch: Denver (15-10) @ Portland (14-12)
No team is hotter than the Portland Trailblazers and no player is hotter than Brandon Roy. The Western Conference player of the week for the second consecutive week has his team on a nine-game winning streak, bringing the Blazers to within 1 ½ games of the Northwest Division’s leader Denver. In addition to Roy’s spectacular play of late, LaMarcus Aldridge returned to the Blazers lineup against Toronto after missing five games with a foot injury. Denver will look to avenge a 116-105 home loss to Portland on the 16th by returning the favor in the Rose Garden where the Blazers are 11-4 on the year. The Iverson/Anthony duo is coming off one of their best games together, combining for 73 points against the Rockets.
Buzzer Beater: Jerry Sloan took it upon himself to eject Gordan Giricek from a game on Wednesday night after the two got into a spat on the sidelines. So was that the last we’ll see of Giricek in a Jazz uniform?
No. I don’t know,” Giricek said after being asked if he wants out of Utah — and before he was informed he would not be permitted to travel with the team to play the Orlando Magic on Friday.
“My agent (Marc Fleisher),” Giricek added, “is going to talk to Kevin (O’Connor, the Jazz’s general manager). … It’s actually gonna be taken care of, right? Everything can be fixed, right? So, we’ll see.
Probably should have asked coach Sloan that question.