Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.
THE BIG ONE: NEW YORK'S COMEBACK FALLS SHORT
The Knicks fought back furiously against the Heat Tuesday, cutting a 14-point fourth quarter Miami lead down to three with two minutes left after Raymond Felton knocked down a free throw following a technical on Erik Spoelstra.
The technical is was brought the Knicks within a possession of the Heat, but it's also what may have finally woke Miami back up. After Spoelstra's technical, Miami closed the game on a 9-4 run that sealed the Heat's 24th win and New York's 13th loss.
Dwyane Wade dropped 40, with 15 coming in the fourth quarter. LeBron added 18, eight assists and 10 rebounds and Chris Bosh put up another 18. Amar'e Stoudemire finished with 30.
New York played much better with the Heat this time around doing more of what it's good at. In the first meeting, the Knicks got caught up trying to play too perfectly and too fast, as things unraveled in the third quarter. While they trailed the entire second half, this time the Knicks kept plugging and have themselves a chance.
In the end, too much Wade, too much LeBron.
Really, all the Knicks need is LeBron James. If they can just get him next summ-- ... what's that? Oh.
GO-GO-GADGET LINESDwyane Wade piled up 40 points and nine rebounds against the Knicks.
DeJuan Blair put up a mean double-double for San Antonio with 17 points and 15 rebounds.
Amar'e Stoudemire scored 30 in a losing effort against the Heat.
Derrick Rose had 18 points, 12 assists and six rebounds in a win over the Bucks.
DENVER WINS WITHOUT MELOBalanced scoring did the trick for the Nuggets against Portland Tuesday as the starting five all scored in double-figures. Other than Kenyon Martin's 10, the rest of the starting five scored 15, 17, 17 an 18. The bench only added 18 total, but it was the starters.
It wasn't so much that the Nuggets were outstanding, but more that the Blazers didn't know how to score. Without Brandon Roy, Portland only got scoring from LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum. Other than that, the Blazers just didn't know how to put the ball in the basket.
VIDEO: FACES BLEED IN INDYMike Dunleavy and Nate Robinson got up close and personal, cracking faces in Boston's win. Honestly, it's surprising this doesn't happen more often.
I GUESS DIRK IS ACTUALLY KIND OF IMPORTANTThe Raptors beat the Mavericks 84-76 behind 17 points and 12 rebounds from rookie Ed Davis. Dallas was without Dirk Nowitzki who missed the game because of a "sore knee" he sustained against Oklahoma City Monday night.
Dallas started the game 4-20 from the field, and scored a total of 49 points combined in the first, third and fourth quarters. Against Oklahoma City, the Mavs picked up the slack despite not having Dirk by getting scoring from Shawn Marion, Jason Terry and Caron Butler. Tuesday, those three did OK, combining for 45 points. The problem was, nobody else could score.
So yeah, I guess the Mavs kind of need Dirk.
SPURS TAKE DOWN THE LAKERS; TIME TO WORRY IN L.A.?From the opening tip, you could feel the intensity. This might've been a regular season game on Dec. 28, but it sure seemed like something you'd see April 28.
Two titans of the postseason were playing and even though it's just one more of 82, anytime the Spurs and Lakers hook up, pleasantries don't stay in the arena very long.
Kobe Bryant and George Hill tangoed in the first half, pointing fingers in faces and saying, um, stuff to each other. Ron Artest roped Tony Parker on a fast break for a hard foul. Andrew Bynum clothes-lined Tiago Splitter on the inside. Richard Jefferson and Derek Fisher had an exchange with Fisher picking up a technical after chasing Jefferson down to bump. Hard fouls, technicals, trash talk -- this one just had that extra umph.
But just like a classic Spurs playoff win, San Antonio used stifling defense, smart offense and big plays from role players to overwhelm the Lakers in the fourth quarter, beating the defending champs 97-82 in front of a sold-out AT&T Center crowd.
And here's where we go one of two ways: Is the story how well the Spurs are playing or if the Lakers officially in crisis mode?
Let me hedge here and say both. The Spurs are playing wonderful basketball. They're undefeated at home in December, own the NBA's best record and get something from everybody that steps on the floor. Tim Duncan was just 1-7 from the floor and scored only two points. Manu Ginobili went just 3-12 from the field. So naturally, since this is the Spurs we're talking about, someone stepped up.
Click here to read the rest of how the Spurs dominated the Lakers.