1. Miami Heatless
Dwyane Wade scored 42 points against the Cavs, but it just didn’t matter. For the 14th consecutive game, the Heat found themselves on the losing side of things as Cleveland turned a three-point halftime deficit into a seven-point road victory, 97-90. D-Wade put on a offensive clinic down the stretch, setting franchise records by scoring 32 in the second half, including the team’s final 18 points. Unfortunately, the rest of the fellas didn’t even bother to come out of the locker room for the final 24 minutes, combing for an embarrassing six points on three-of-21 shooting. LeBron James put in 28 points for the defending Eastern Conference champs and beat his draft classmate in Miami for the first time in his career (1-9).
2. Outwit, outplay, outlast, Outlaw
Before the season began, a Portland/Atlanta matchup on the schedule had about as much appeal as a Hanson reunion tour. With Greg Oden sidelined for the season and the Hawks being, well, the Hawks, nobody would have expected to see an overtime thriller on MLK day, but these aren’t your granddaddy’s conference doormats. It took a team-high 23 points from Travis Outlaw off the bench, including the last-second backbreaker in overtime to finally finish off a new look, face-paced Hotlanta squad, 111-109. Joe Johnson hoisted an unsuccessful 30-foot attempt to win at the buzzer and finished with 37 points and seven assists in a losing effort.
3. Road warriors
Even the T-Wolves got to sit back and chuckle at Miami’s miseries on Monday because they snatched their sixth victory of the season and snapped a 16-game road losing streak by beating the Warriors 109-108 in Oakland. Ryan Gomes scored a career-high 35 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in just the second road victory of the season for Minnesota. Marko Jaric also had a huge game for the Timberwolves, finishing two rebounds shy of a triple-double with 16 points, 10 assists and eight boards. After the game, Warriors coach Don Nelson summed up a disappointing and humiliating loss by saying “We’ve been playing very well but we laid an egg tonight. What can I tell you.”
Monday’s Player of the Day: Dwyane Wade vs. Cleveland 40 min, 42 pts (FG: 17-29, 3FG: 1-3, FT: 7-8), 6 reb, 7 ast, 3 stl, 1 blk
Tuesday’s Game to Watch: Phoenix (29-12) @ Milwaukee (16-25)
Look, we could try and sell you this game until we’re blue in the face, but we really don’t need to. After a full day of basketball on Monday there are just two games on the slate for Tuesday and your other option is New Jersey at Sacramento. So, `nuf said.
Buzzer Beater: Good, everyday people are known to turn into gore gawkers when coming across the scene of a car crash and we’re no different. That’s why we’re already looking ahead to what could be one of the biggest mangles of metal the NBA produces this year. Miami and Seattle are scheduled to meet on Feb. 29 and if both teams remain on their current losing skids until this epic contest then the Heat will take a 29-game losing streak into Seattle to play a Sonics team that would have a 27-game nosedive under their belts. Sound impossible? Well, consider the two teams only play a combined 12 games, six apiece, against teams under .500 before they meet and none of those are against Minnesota, the only team with a worse record than these two league whipping boys’.