8 Takeaways from Sunday's High-Flying NBA Action

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2013

A St. Patrick's Day full of basketball did little to disappoint fans, as there was plenty of luck on display, along with plenty of high-flying action from around the NBA.

With the Miami Heat looking to extend their historic streak, the Oklahoma City Thunder riding high and hot, and the Los Angeles Lakers continuing to put games between themselves and the Utah Jazz, there really was something for everyone.

A few things became apparent throughout the day, as streaks continued, alleys were ooped and injuries rattled around in people's minds.

Shane Battier and Chris Andersen Are Lucky Charms

The Miami Heat extended their winning streak to 22 games with a 108-91 win over the Toronto Raptors in the first game of the day, but there was much more than that to be had from this blowout.

Sure, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade had good games. They always do. But two other players have become proven lucky charms.

Shane Battier is now a part of the second 22-game winning streak of his career, while the Heat have barely lost with Chris Andersen on the team:

The Heat are 25-2 since signing the Birdman. His old lady's mom's shrimp fried rice must be bang on.

— Leigh Ellis (@LeighEllis) March 18, 2013

With that much good mojo going on, it'll be surprising if they lose another game all season.

Golden State and Houston Have a Weird Rivalry

Sunday was one of the two most important matchups between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets this season, but their most important games weren't the close ones.

Golden State won 108-78, completely dismantling the Rockets in their first win over Houston this season.

Not only did this put an additional game between themselves and the Rockets, but it gave them a bit of revenge over a previous loss. It wasn't payback for either of the single-digit wins Houston had, but for the 31-point strumming they gave GS the first time these two teams met this season.

There was so much bad blood from that beating that a close loss in the next two games was almost meaningless to Golden State, while this dominant win was point-proving.

These two are forming a rivalry around blowouts, which is more strange than anything.

Felton-Smith is not a Dreamy Tandem

The New York Knicks played their second straight game without Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony or Amar'e Stoudemire, and neither game ended very favorably for the Knicks.

They lost a 15-point tilt against the Portland Trail Blazers, and now a 13-point chucking contest with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Most upsetting about the two losses has been the inconsistency in the two players they need to fill the scoring void.

Raymond Felton had an ugly 4-of-12 shooting, 11-point night against the Trail Blazers, while J.R. Smith shot 20 percent (4-of-20 shooting) against the Clippers.

New York needs Carmelo back in the worst way.

Antawn Jamison is an Intriguing X-Factor

Antawn Jamison has not worked out as well as the Lakers would have hoped, but he's had his moments.

It's those moments that really turn the Lakers into a dangerous squad, as they actually do have a player capable of unexpectedly exploding for a huge night.

Jamison hasn't floated along all season as a steady role player. He's either a decent floor spacer or completely horrific.

In L.A.'s 113-102 win over the Sacramento Kings, Jamison scored 29 points and pulled down nine rebounds, making it just the 13th time he's scored more than 15 points and the sixth time he's grabbed at least nine rebounds.

Quite Nearly the Dirk of Old

The Dallas Mavericks very nearly pulled off a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, but a late-game lull gave them a 107-101 loss.

Most impressive in the loss was Dirk Nowitzki's throwback night, as he went eye-to-eye with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.

Nowitzki has had some great games in the past few weeks, but none have come against the top-tier teams in the league like the Thunder.

He ended up shooting 8-of-10 from the field, scoring 23 points and forcing the issue down the stretch.

Dirk didn't put together a 30-point game like his Thunder counterparts, but he got to the line twice with the minutes waning, and if it weren't for his ball-dominating teammates, Dirk could have found a way to bring this one home for Dallas.

Monta Ellis Has it AllSometimes

We've spent so much time making fun of Monta Ellis recently that we completely forget how good he can be in specific instances.

Coming into the fourth quarter against the Orlando Magic, he was having a normal Ellis game, with 14 points on 12 shots—not great, not terrible.

Twenty-five points, 10 shots and a dominant fourth quarter later, and the Milwaukee Bucks had won 115-109:

Monta Ellis is the basketball version of that line about broken clocks.

— Evan Dunlap (@BQRMagic) March 17, 2013

It was an awesome night, but he's still Monta Ellis.

Andrei Kirilenko is Always Unexpectedly Missed

We were without Andrei Kirilenko for the entirety of the 2012 season, and it wasn't until he came back this year that we realized what we were missing.

His all-around, unselfish and determined style of basketball is thrilling to watch, no matter what he's doing.

Injuries kept him out of 15 of Minnesota's past 19 games, with the Timberwolves winning just three games without him.

Against the New Orleans Hornets, Kirilenko didn't have a flashy game, but he did make a late free throw to extend the lead and blocked the Hornets' final two shot attempts.

Celtics Become Sunday's Big Winners

The Boston Celtics spent their St. Patrick's Day throwing back pints of Guinness', but they came out the big winners of Sunday's games.

Losses by the Knicks and Brooklyn Nets saw them a half-game up in the race for the Atlantic Division, of which they're now only two-and-a-half games behind.

Beyond that, they've now got the opportunity to end the Heat's 22-game winning streak in their own building on Monday night.

Boston will get Miami on the second night of a back-to-back, at home, with the knowledge that they were the last team to beat another squad that had just won 22 games in a row.

We'll all look forward to seeing this matchup of two very different, yet very determined teams.


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