Tag:Game Changer
Posted on: January 11, 2011 11:20 am
Edited on: January 11, 2011 12:04 pm
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Game Changer 1.11.11: Rose goes airborne

Game Changer, where Derrick Rose got up, got on up. 

Posted by Matt Moore

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.  

SWEET MAMMAJAMMA: Derrick Rose and the infinite oop-ness

Let us begin with this ending-of-all-life-as-we-know-it dunk from Derrick Rose. 





Note that Rose makes the pass then immediately calls for the alley-oop. For whatever reason, no Pistons give their teammate a heads up on it. Either they didn't see it or couldn't react fast enough. Certainly understandable, considering Rose moves at approximately the speed of sound. 




29 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, 1 block for Rose in the win.

THE BIG ONE: Boston struggles against the high-speed offense again

Remember when we told you that Boston has issues with high-pace offenses ? Houston is fourth in the league in pace. Again, the Boston defense was unable to clamp down on a team that worked early in the shot clock. The obvious excuse is that Boston was without Kevin Garnett. But Boston had its chances and couldn't quite get a grip on a team who is likely unsympathetic to injury concerns in their own right. 

Aaron Brooks was able to hit a series of tough shots to keep the lead extended, and in the meantime, Paul Pierce struggled in the clutch once again. Most perplexing was a pull-up transition three with Glen Davis setting the screen right in front of him. Rondo missed a screen-splitting Ray Allen on a key possession late and threw it out of bounds. When you look at all the things Celtics normally do, they did almost none of them. 

For the Rockets, Kyle Lowry is really showing his value, even playing at off-guard in the absence of Kevin Martin. Patrick Patterson very quietly had a good game with 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists, along with one very well-timed block on Pierce in the fourth. Chase Budinger was huge as a spot-up shooter, which for some reason the Celtics were fine with granting him.

For the Celtics? Marquis Daniels was brilliant, attacking and taking Rockets off the dribble using his length. But too often the Celtics wound up with trusting Glen Davis to hit jumpers. And while Davis has proven he can hit that mid-range, it's not something you want to trust in as many times as the Celtics did. The Celtics also could have used more of Shaquille O'Neal to slow the Rockets down, considering they had no way of stopping him. But the big fella only played twenty minutes and was a -8 in that time regardless. 

GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:

Derrick Rose: 29 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 3 turnovers

RUNNER-UP:

Luis Scola: 12 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals
Posted on: January 10, 2011 12:13 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2011 12:33 pm
 

The Game Changer: LeBron explodes on Portland

LeBron James and the Miami Heat come back to defeat the Trail Blazers in Portland, a star-studded courtside scene in Los Angeles for Lakers vs. Knicks, Nicolas Batum swats James, the latest on the Carmelo Anthony trade rumors, and a whole lot more. Posted by Ben Golliver.

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: LEBRON LEADS HEAT COMEBACK IN PORTLAND

I'm not sure what it is about Portland's Rose Garden this season. The stadium drew a brilliant stretch of play from Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard back in December, an offensive array I didn't think would be matched this season. Silly me, overlooking the team that dominates NBA coverage on a daily basis. 

The Miami Heat strolled into the Rose City on Sunday night, and both Dwyane Wade and LeBron James topped Howard's effort. It was Wade early (he had 20 by halftime) and James late (he finished with 22 of his 44 points in the fourth quarter and overtime), ridiculous bookend performances to cap off an uneven, charged game for Miami.

The rumors about the bad body language, bench disputes and mistreatment of NBA officials? All true. LeBron James spanking himself after making a big three-pointer? Also, sadly, true. Miami plays spoiled and entitled basketball, there's no other way to put it, but they delivered on it, mounting a steady, overwhelming comeback in the last two minutes of regulation to force overtime, then crushing Portland's resolve in the final period.

While the Blazers had two Andre Miller jumpers in the last 10 seconds of regulation to win it, it wasn't meant to be, and the home team found itself scratching its collective head, proud of the defensive job it had done on James and Wade and knowing it hadn't quite been enough.

I recently wrote off James as an MVP candidate this season, based mainly on the idea that he had poisoned the well, but the final seven minutes of his performance on Sunday showed that he is not only the best basketball player in the country, but that he is continuing to do it his way, regardless of the repercussions or response. As boos rained down, James soaked it in, raising his arms to the crowd and mugging as he poured in big shot after big shot. 

God save us all if he ever wins a title.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT:


LeBron James: 44 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, and two steals in 46 minutes in a Miami Heat road win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Dwyane Wade: 34 points, eight rebounds, and five assists in 43 minutes in a Miami Heat road win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

LaMarcus Aldridge: 31 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists in 45 minutes in a Portland Trail Blazers home loss to the Miami Heat.

Kevin Love: 18 points and 17 rebounds in 35 minutes in a Minnesota Timberolves road loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

J.J. Hickson: 23 points,17 three rebounds, three assists, two steals in 35 minutes in a Cleveland Cavaliers Raptors road loss to the Phoenix Suns.

DON'T MISS:

COURTSIDE SCENE:

The stars come out when the Los Angeles Lakers play the New York Knicks, and here actor Denzel Washington and recording artist Will.I.Am rub shoulders with the Lakers' mysterious billionaire minority owner, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong.
denzel-dr

WHIMSY:

Los Angeles Clippers rookie point guard Eric Bledsoe displays an interesting new straightjacket dribbling technique.

eric-bledsoe

HIGHLIGHT REEL:


James decimated the Blazers late, but earlier in the game Portland's young French wing, Nicolas Batum, made a perfectly-timed, perfectly-clean block on a James lay-up attempt, much to the Rose Garden crowd's delight.

 

FINAL THOUGHT:


It may be time to unthink what we thought we knew in the Western Conference. With the Denver Nuggets poised to move Carmelo Anthony and the New Orleans Hornets coming back to Earth, what looked like a four team (Portland, Memphis, Houston, Phoenix) race for the final playoff spot has now expanded into a six team race for the bottom three slots. You might even be able to throw the Golden State Warriors into the mix as well, and call it a seven-team race.
Posted on: January 6, 2011 12:06 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2011 8:09 pm
 

The Game Changer: Celtics survive meltdown

The Boston Celtics escaped from the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night, Kevin Martin put up an absurd shooting performance against the Portland Trail Blazers, Blake Griffin dunked and dunked and dunked, and Birdman's tattoos got spotted up close. Posted by Ben Golliver.

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: CELTICS ESCAPE FROM SPURS

The last few minutes in Boston were beautiful chaos, as the unexpected kept happening in a wild finish between two of the league's premier teams: the Celtics and the San Antonio Spurs. When the dust settled, the Celtics held on for a 105-103 victory, but it wasn't without fireworks.

The Spurs, down nine points late, mounted a furious, and somewhat lucky, comeback thanks to a Manu Ginobili three, a Tony Parker steal-to-layup finish and two Richard Jefferson free throws. Up two with the ball, the Celtics ran the clock, turning the ball over to their late-game savant, Paul Pierce.

Pierce missed the game-icer, but the smallest guy on the court, Celtics guard Nate Robinson, not only came out with the rebound but intelligently shuffled it to Ray Allen, one of the league's premier foul shooters. With less than 10 seconds left on the clock, the Spurs were forced to foul Allen, a career 89.4% free throw shooter, who inexplicably missed both free throws that also would have iced it.

Matt Bonner then secured the defensive rebound for the Spurs, who quickly took timeout to diagram a final, potentially game-winning play. Everyone in the building knew it was going to Manu Ginobili, who had multiple game-winning plays in December, and that included Pierce, who expertly contested a Ginobili jumper at the buzzer, blocking it cleanly without fouling. Rajon Rondo, who finished with an absurd triple-double (see below) then did his best Magic Johnson impersonation, tossing the ball high in the air to burn out the rest of the clock. Ballgame, Celtics.

The result was a little evidence supporting a conclusion made by Celtics center Kendrick Perkins: it will be extremely difficult to beat this group in a seven-game series. Even without Perkins and starting power forward Kevin Garnett, the Celtics managed to make multiple heady, playoff-type plays while in the process of throwing a game away. Robinson's rebound and dish, Pierce's defense and Rondo's clock killing are the kind of time/score plays that come naturally to a tested team, but pretenders always seem to mess up. 

Wednesday night's madness is worth another look. Here's a nice video breakdown, courtesy of NBAHiighlights on YouTube.



GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT:


Rajon Rondo: 12 points, 10 rebounds, 22 assists, six steals, one block in 44 minutes in a Boston Celtics home win over the San Antonio Spurs.

Kevin Martin: 45 points, two rebounds, four assists on 13-18 shooting, 6-8 three-point shooting, 13-15 free throw shooting in 39 minutes in a Houston Rockets home lose to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Dwight Howard: 28 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, two steals, one block in 43 minutes in an Orlando Magic home win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Kevin Love: 35 points, 15 rebounds, five assists in 45 minutes in a Minnesota Timberolves overtime loss on the road to the Charlotte Bobcats.

Jose Calderon: 20 points, three rebounds, 17 assists, two steals in 38 minutes in a Toronto Raptors road win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

DON'T MISS:

WATCH OUT BELOW:

Four Denver Nuggets defenders try as hard as possible to avoid being in another Blake Griffin poster, but they fail. 

blake-griffin-dunk

WHIMSY:

Stephen Dunn, a Getty Images, got a great snap of Chris "Birdman" Andersen's tattooed leg.

birdman-leg

HIGHLIGHT REEL:

We're getting used to Blake Griffin throwing down, but this one-handed tomahawk alley oop jam after leading a 2-on-1 break with Clippers point guard Baron Davis was pretty filthy. And the fact that the break was started by DeAndre Jordan, who apparently blocked a shot with his elbow, is even better.



FINAL THOUGHT:

Since these posts continue to turn into all Blake Griffin all the time, here's Griffin talking about being selected for the NBA's Slam Dunk contest, as quoted by TheRookieWall.com. “I think I’m just gonna try and get up as high as possible and throw it down as hard as possible. You know, put a little show in there, put a little pizazz and see what we can come out with. Hopefully I’ll have the home court advantage, but I don’t know, we got a lot of good guys in there so I’m definitely going to try to play into that a little bit. I’ve got a few things up my sleeve. I’m not showing them yet.”
Posted on: January 5, 2011 12:56 pm
 

The Game Changer: Knicks outgun the Spurs

Posted by Royce Young

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: SAN ANTONIO CAN'T RUN WITH NEW YORK

The Knicks have had quite a turnaround early in this season. However, the major qualm is that they're beating up on average and bad teams, but aren't good enough to actually beat a good team.

Well, you can cross that one off now.

The Knicks completely outran the league's best team with a 128-115 win over the Spurs at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks shot nearly 55 percent from the field and got 31 points from Wilson Chandler, 28 from Amar'e Stoudemire and 28 from Raymond Felton as they pulled away late.

The Spurs have ramped up pace and tempo this season, playing faster than ever. And it's been a large part of their success. But it didn't work against the team that actually lives by running. The Spurs just couldn't keep up and after the game got into an up-and-down flow, they couldn't slow it down and get it into a style they liked. San Antonio tried to grind it out in the fourth, but the Knicks were still running.

One curious move was Gregg Popovich sitting his starters down with three minutes left, only down 10. With a game tonight against the Celtics, I'm sure Coach Pop wanted a little extra rest for his guys and with the way the Knicks were running, his team of veterans were probably gassed. Still a bit curious though, especially considering the 3-point shooters San Antonio has. A 3, a stop and a bucket and it's a five-point game with lots of time left.

Regardless of that, this is New York's biggest win of the season and finally something the Knicks can point to and say, "See! We're good!" Not that they need that validation because their quality record says enough, but any time you beat the league's best team, it helps in every way.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES

Zach Randolph put up a monster double-double, going for 31 points and 16 rebounds against the Thunder.

Marcus Camby had 10 points and 20 rebounds in a loss to Dallas.

Jamal Crawford notched a season-high 31 points and added seven assists in Atlanta's win over Sacramento.

Wilson Chandler deserves a mention with his season-high 31 points against San Antonio.

MIAMI ROLLS AGAIN

I feel like it the season started in December, then yeah, we probably could've started talking about 72 wins for the Heat. Because they are rolling right now.

With their win over the Bucks, that makes 19 of 20 for Miami and most of those have come in impressive fashion. Dwyane Wade notched another big night, dropping 34 as LeBron dished out nine assists. Really, everything is working according to plan right now. Miami has scoring when it needs it. The Heat have defense all the time. And playmakers are all over the floor.

Sometimes, it's honestly a little tough to see how someone can beat them. But the thing about the Heat is that they make themselves vulnerable at times. They lapse, get selfish and don't play defense. It's the reason they've lost nine times.

But lately, everything has been working according to plan. To win 19 of 20 is pretty good, especially because that meant beating some solid teams.

Tony Allen: GOOD AT PUNCHING, BAD AT LAYUPS

The next time O.J. Mayo and Tony Allen get into it, Mayo's got some ammunition to at least make fun of him with. On a solo fast break, Allen streaked toward the rim with his tongue hanging out like he was going to finish big. Instead, he blew the layup. This was actually one of four layups Allen missed on the night. He did finish with 19 points though and hit two crucial 3s.


Lakers VENT A LITTLE, THIS TIME AGAINST THE COMPETITION

Instead of yelling at each other, the Lakers started doing it to their opponent, beating down the Pistons 108-83. It was a blowout so that stats are a bit skewed, but Kobe Bryant only attempted 18 shots as Pau Gasol went for 21 points and Lamar Odom added 16. That's the Laker formula we've seen work this season.

Kobe went just 6-18 from the floor, but had eight assists and grabbed seven rebounds. So maybe there was something to Phil Jackson's critique of his recent play and Bryant came out looking to be more unselfish. He set teammates up and looked a bit passive at times. He didn't have his shot going again, so he let his cast of very talented characters bring him through.

PARTING THOUGHT

In Oklahoma City's 110-105 loss to Memphis, Jeff Green registered zero rebounds in 42 minutes of play. That's only the third time since 1986 a power forward has had that happen. The other two were Cliff Robinson and Pat Garrity. Not exactly wonderful company to be in.
Posted on: January 4, 2011 12:52 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2011 1:11 pm
 

Game Changer 1.4.11: A Minnesotan Comedy

Posted by Matt Moore.

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: A MINNESOTA FAILURE IN THREE PARTS

Act One: The Wolves Seize the Day

The Wolves took control on the back of solid jump shooting and good defense. Kevin Love's 24 rebounds were the most anyone has ever snagged in TD Northbank Gardens, but it was solid defense on Minnesota's part that forced enough misses to allow for those. At least until the fourth quarter. The Wolves' bench outscored Boston's, which doesn't happen very often, even with Boston banged up. Martell Webster and Wesley Johnson were slinging it, and knocking them down, looking very much like a solid jump-shooting component.  The Wolves played solid, the Wolves played strong, the Wolves ... forgot all about those things when the fourth quarter showed up. 

Act Two: The Celtics Do As Celtics Do

You already know the tale, but I'll share it with you, regardless. Ray Allen got open, despite being the one guy on the club you don't ever want open, not if a meteor rips the top half of the arena off. Luke Ridnour turned in a terrible quarter that only got worse, and the Celtics' defense clamped down. The Wolves kept going to Beasley, who kept scoring, but then would let things like Pekovic jumpers happen. The wheels were spinning off pretty fast, but were still on until Paul Pierce hit a pull-up transition three. That made an eight point lead five. When that happens, the Celtics know there's blood in the water. 

Act Three: A Comedy of Likely Errors

Rajon Rondo hit a jumper, prompting Celtics announcer Tommy Heinsohn to yell in mockery "Oh, Rondo can't shoot! Rondo can't score! Sorry!" in quite possibly the most obnoxious impersonation of a drunken buffoon, ever.  In related news, on the possession following Rondo's push of the Celtics' lead to three, he clanged a completely wide open jumper. Heinsohn said nothing. Kevin Love grabbed the rebound (surprise!), and saw a Timberwolf jetting out ahead of the pack in transition. So there's Love, arguably the best outlet passer in the game, with a wide-open layup-maker waiting for him to drop the ball in the lap of.  Kurt Rambis called timeout. 

Rambis did nothing wrong.  That's what you should do there. Advance the ball. Make sure you get a solid shot. Granted, those of us in our comfy chairs would probably say you have a better chance with Kevin Love throwing an outlet in traffic than having Kurt Rambis draw up a good game winning shot. But that's neither here nor there. It just speaks to the sad reality of how doomed the Wolves were in this game. 

After the timeout, Rambis actually called a pretty great play. Drawing the attention on Beasley, Luke Ridnour slipped underneath the wall of coverage the Celtics had put up and had a wide open path to the bucket.  Wide. Open. So of course Ridnour proceeded to have his oft layup blocked into the 9th row by Ray Allen (that's right, Ray Allen), but not before he traveled upon receiving the pass. It would have been painful, were it not so hilarious. 

And that, as they say, is how the West was won. In the East. And not, like, the Western Conference. Just this game. That phrase doesn't really work here.  

Much like the Timberwolves

GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:

LeBron James: 38 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists

Runners-Up:

Monta Ellis: 20 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists

Hedo Turkoglu: 10 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists

THE Warriors SHOULD REALLY JUST STOP AT HALFTIME

See, if the Warriors could just convince the officials to stop the games at halftime, they'd be set. Days after a massive collapse against the Miami Heat, the Warriors were at it again, leading by 9 at half, then losing by a huge margin in the second. They were outscored 66-37 in the second half, as the Magic unloaded from the arc, hitting 12 of 21 threes in the 2nd. It's bizarre to see a team let off the gas that much, to collapse that poorly, in consecutive games. If you're Keith Smart, this is a nightmare, and something difficult to correct. But they need to, and fast. 

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Houston is unable to get any stops when they need to. They had a good lock on their game against the Nuggets, but just kept slipping on banana peels and letting Denver score at will. The feel of the game was Houston's, the shooting percentages were Denver's. 

When Miami  has LeBron James and Dwyane Wade going? It's as fearsome as we predicted. It's the Bobcats, but still. 

As much as everyone's concerned about the Jazz, Al Jefferson is starting to get it. 16 points, 8 rebounds on 7-13 shooting, and every game he and Deron Williams figure out more about one another.
Posted on: January 3, 2011 12:03 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2011 8:08 pm
 

The Game Changer: Memphis mauls the Lakers

Posted by Royce Young

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: MEMPHIS WALKS OVER L.A.

This really was kind of a bizarro game. The Lakers fell behind early to a quicker, more athletic Grizzlies team and never had the firepower to really make up the deficit.

It was basically the formula you see good teams use to beat bad ones. A couple 6-2 runs placed in between bigger 10-2 ones and before you know it, the margin is 20. And that's what the Grizzlies did to the Lakers all night.

Kobe tried to shoot the Lakers back into the game late finishing with a fourth quarter flurry of points, but it was too late. Rudy Gay had already done too much damage, Zach Randolph had already had his way inside and O.J. Mayo had already gotten hot from outside.

Obviously the look here is at the Lakers who have lost again, this time big against a sub-.500 team. But really, shouldn't we be impressed a little with the Grizzlies? They've started playing much better the past few games and take away Tyreke Evans' miracle and they've won four of five. As it stands, they're three below .500 but have three straight tough ones playing the Thunder twice and the Jazz in the middle.

But while the Lakers will gain most of the chatter for getting worked over by Memphis, I think it's at least courteous to give a little credit where credit is due. The Lakers don't lose just by playing bad. Someone had to make them do it. And the Grizzlies did Sunday.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES

Blake Griffin had a very Blake Griffin night. Big highlights and 31 point and 15 rebounds.

DeAndre Jordan was actually quite good as well: six points, 12 rebounds and six blocks

DeMarcus Cousins had the best game of his young career with 28 points, eight rebounds and six assists

Danny Granger finished with 25 points and 17 rebounds in a loss to the Knicks.

Antwan Jamison dropped 35 and pulled in 10 boards, but the Cavs lost to the Mavericks.

RONDO RETURNS, BOSTON WINS

It wasn't against a great team or anything, but the Celtics got Rajon Rondo back and took care of business, dispersing the Raptors. Paul Pierce scored 30 on 15 shots, but it was having Rondo back that was the story. He played 34 minutes, scored four points and ` out eight assists, but just his presence commandeering the Celtics was a huge difference.

With Rondo, there's a different level of execution. The spacing is terrific and the team plays just with a looser, more confident feel to it.

Getting Kevin Garnett back is the next goal, but just having Rondo on the floor again is nice for Boston.

MAVS BEAT CAVS

For Cleveland, that's 17 out of 18 in the loss column. For the Mavericks, it's now one out of four without Dirk Nowitzki. I just thought that was worth pointing out. Plus I wanted to say "Mavs beat Cavs."

PORTLAND GETS A LEG UP

In a battle for the now-getting-more-and-more-interesti
ng eight-seed spot, the Trail Blazers took down the Rockets behind a big game from Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge.

Even without Brandon Roy when the Blazers play in the open floor the way they did, they look like a capable playoff team. They always defend, they always rebound, but it's the offensive execution where sometimes they lack. But against the Rockets, everything was on point especially when the Blazers ran.

Houston has been coming on strong lately, and a team Portland will likely be fighting with for months to come. It's not a statement so much as it's a leg up on the nearest competition. The Blazers are potentially good enough to solidify themselves as an eight-seed or higher contender despite injuries, but winning games against the direct competition is key.

Paul Pierce SMASHY

Blake Griffin had himself another stellar finish yesterday, but Paul Pierce gets the dunk award for the day with this Griffinesque cram.


PARTING THOUGHT

The Clippers did a very Clipper thing by blowing a late lead over the Hawks by surrendering 37 fourth quarter points. This Clipper team has some really nice pieces. But they're obviously one of those young groups that isn't exactly sure how to win or finish. They keep reminding me of the Thunder from two years ago. Clearly talented but just not ready to win consistently. Patience is key here, but I think by April, we're going to have reason to be impressed.
Posted on: December 29, 2010 11:58 am
 

The Game Changer: Miami burns New York again

Posted by Royce Young

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 LINES

Dwyane 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 MELO

Balanced 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 INDY

Mike 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 IMPORTANT

The 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.

PARTING THOUGHT

It's been a rough stretch for Indiana's Danny Granger lately. The Pacer scorer is shooting around 35 percent from the field over the past couple weeks and really punctuated that with a 5-21 performance against the Celtics. It's nothing Granger is doing wrong necessarily, he's just missing shots. And when shooters start missing, they start forcing things. It's a tough cycle to be stuck in, but Granger will break loose at some point.
Posted on: December 28, 2010 12:49 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:52 pm
 

The Game Changer: Blazers finally win in SLC

The Portland Trail Blazers finally won in Salt Lake City, Jason Kidd was one rebound shy of a triple double, Gilbert Arenas hit an incredible buzzer beater, Serge Ibaka had a block-of-the-year candidate, and much more. Posted by Ben Golliver

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: BLAZERS STEAL ONE IN UTAH

Not since Dec. 2007, when an upstart team led by superstar-in-the-making Brandon Roy was in the midst of a 13-game winning streak, have the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Utah Jazz at Energy Solutions Arena. On Tuesday, in Roy's continued absence due to knee pain, no less, the Blazers secured their best victory of the season, 96-91.  The Blazers admit ESA is one of their least favorite places to play, but plenty of teams have struggled in Salt Lake. Over the last two seasons, the Jazz were a combined 66-16 at home, losing just eight games at home during both the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons. Portland's win was Utah's sixth home loss in just 17 home games so far this season, and while the Jazz currently lead the way in a packed Northwest Division race, they'll have to reassert their dominance at home should they want to maintain on their path to a division title. Monday's loss to Portland wasn't heartbreaking, although it did spoil a splendid night from Deron Williams, who finished with 31 points and seemingly couldn't miss. Down the stretch, the Jazz struggled with turnovers and an extra-aggressive Portland defense, which hasn't often been seen this season, made a number of late block shots and deflections. For the Blazers, LaMarcus Aldridge led the way with 26 point, seven rebounds and two blocks, and he continues on a torrid streak in Roy's absence. His game is expanding due to increased touches and, while there have been fits and starts, Aldridge has started to show a new resolve late in games to attack the paint and get buckets. A sweeping hook in the fourth quarter on Monday night had him pounding his chest, and left Blazers fans that have watched him for years enjoying the moment in pleasant surprise.   This was Portland's best win of the season, the first time they have beaten a team that now has 20 or more wins. That it came on the road in a tough environment only makes it that much sweeter. 

GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT:

Andray Blatche: 17 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, three steals, two blocks in 37 minutes in a Washington Wizards road loss to the Houston Rockets. It was Blatche's first game back from a suspension for fighting with teammate JaVale McGee. Jason Kidd: 10 points, nine rebounds, 10 assists, and four steals in 36 minutes in a Dallas Mavericks road win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Chris Paul: 22 points, six rebounds, 13 assists, and five steals in 41 minutes in a New Orleans Hornets road loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Deron Williams: 31 points, six assists, three rebounds, one steal in 38 minutes in a Utah Jazz home loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

DON'T MISS:

OLD FRIENDS:

Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams and former teammate Wesley Matthews, who signed a mega-contract with the Portland Trail Blazers last summer, catch up during Monday night's game in Salt Lake City. It was Matthews' first regular season return trip to Salt Lake City since signing with Utah's division rival and he was met with a standing ovation. williams-matthews

WHIMSY:

Gilbert Arenas hit an unreal 3/4 court buzzer beater off the scoreboard. You must watch it.

GET THAT OUT OF HERE:

Oklahoma City Thunder big man Serge Ibaka rejects Dallas Mavericks big man Tyson Chandler in stone cold fashion. Cue the tape, via 20sadecebirmahluk on YouTube.

FINAL THOUGHT:

Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson were named by Sports Illustrated as this year's best three-man booth. Mama, there goes that man to the podium with his acceptance speech.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com