Boston Celtics 100, Philadelphia 76ers 99
When you are defending a two-point lead, with two seconds left, how does Ray Allen get a wide open shot in the corner?
That is the question Sixers' head coach Tony DiLeo will be asking for a long time.
Don't worry, though, coach DiLeo, you'll get another shot at the defending NBA champions in April, and there is a good chance you will see them in the first round of the playoffs.
Although some teams would look down on a potential series with Boston, it should be a positive for the Sixers. After a disappointing start to the season, Philly has worked their way to seventh in the East—no thanks to offseason signee Elton Brand.
The Sixers are Andre Iguodala's team once again, but his 22 points, six rebounds, six assists, and three steals were not enough to get past the Celtics.
Keep in mind, too, that this was not exactly the Celtics team that won the championship last June.
In fear of contaminating the team, flu-ridden Kevin Garnett did not make the trip to the "City of Brotherly Love".
Glen "Big Baby" Davis, KG's replacement in the lineup, played a career-high 42 minutes and he recorded his first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The Celtics' scoring was done by backcourt trio Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Rajon Rondo, who had 72 combined points. However, none of the first 72 points were bigger than the final three by Allen in the closing seconds.
At 41-9, the Celtics have quietly taken back the lead in the NBA standings from Cleveland and Los Angeles. They are riding a 12-game winning streak as they look to continue against the Lakers on Feb. 5 in Boston.
Garnett will be back by then, but how strong will he be? KG always gives his all, but how much "all" will that turn out to be?
On the flip side, can the Lakers go into Boston and win after losing Center Andrew Bynum to a knee injury?
I do like that Lamar Odom is back in the starting lineup for L.A., but if Boston can get him in foul trouble, it should be a Celtics' victory.
Then again, I can't count Kobe out.
Cleveland Cavaliers 101, Toronto Raptors 83
Quicken Loans Arena is where under-achieving teams go to die.
The Raptors shouldn't have bothered making the flight down to Cleveland—home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—as they got rocked 37-15 in the first quarter, and rolled by 18 points at the end of regulation.
On Tuesday night, Toronto was well below their turnover average, committing only seven in the game. They tied Cleveland in rebounds, and won the assist battle. Their star Chris Bosh had 29 points on 11-19 shooting.
So why the blowout?
Must have been jetlag. Toronto shot a frightening 1-12 from behind the arc while Cleveland hit on 11-24 triple tries.
The Raptors are in the middle of rough stretch, and they desperately want out of. After losses to Orlando and Cleveland, they will face the Lakers on the Feb. 4, and the Hornets on the Feb. 6.
The NBA’s favorite dinosaur was expected to be one of the four best teams in the Eastern Conference this season. They have stars, role players, and a great bench. They have no continuity however, and now all critics can talk about is where Bosh is going in 2010.
Nothing could be further from LeBron James' mind it appears. The NBA Player of the Month in Nov. and Jan. has posted 33 points in both of his Feb. victories.
As NBA stars continue falling with injuries, James and Kobe Bryant remain bright. They will battle Feb. 8 when the two teams meet in Cleveland as the Lakers challenge the Cavs home winning streak.
Denver Nuggets 104, San Antonio Spurs 96
One night after overtime win against Golden State, Spurs' head coach Greg Popovich conceded a victory to the Nuggets by not playing Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, or Michael Finley.
Although the Spurs were playing their second string, things were not as easy as they should have been for Denver.
Chauncey Billups only played 17 minutes before leaving the game with a rolled ankle, which left all of the weight on Carmelo Anthony's shoulders.
Luckily for Denver, 'Melo was ready.
Anthony scored 35 points, including 14-15 on free throws, and he grabbed nine rebounds against the lesser Spurs' lineup.
Coming off of an injury, Anthony not only played very well, surpassing expectations. He's thinner than ever and it shows in his athleticism and stamina.
The Nuggets are poised, and playing their best defense since the Mutombo-days. The emergence of Nene and Chris Anderson has Nuggets fans saying, "Marcus Who?"
Minnesota Timberwolves 116, at Indiana Pacers 111
The T-Wolves rallied to score 38 points in the fourth quarter for a come-from-behind victory in Indianapolis.
Minnesota didn't have anyone score over 20 points but All-Star snub Al Jefferson and rookie Kevin Love both double-doubled.
The T-Wolves were great from the stripe, going 21-22 on the night.
New Jersey Nets 99, Milwaukee Bucks 85
Vince Carter ruined Richard Jefferson's return to Jersey by registering a triple-double in the Nets' victory.
Carter had 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists for a triple-double that reminded Nets fans of Jason Kidd.
Jefferson played 47 minutes and scored a team-high 27 points but injuries have caught-up to the Bucks, and the Nets are primed to take over the eighth spot in the East from them.
Houston Rockets 107, Chicago Bulls 100
In a rare event, all of Houston's top players were available for Rick Adelman Tuesday night.
Yao Ming led the effort with 28 points and Aaron Brooks came off the bench to score 18 points in 24 minutes.
The Bulls played good basketball, limiting turnovers and hitting the glass, but it showed how dominating the Rockets can be when all of their pieces are in place.
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