Around the Rim: Heat, Thunder finally lose

A look around Monday night in the NBA in case you were watching Chris Jericho’s return to the WWE

Mavericks 100 Thunder 87:  Dirk Nowitzki finally looked like the Finals MVP, scoring 26 points with a barrage of jumpers.  Plus, the Mavs got 47 points off the bench compared to just 25 for the Thunder.   OKC looked sluggish which will happen to every team at least a few times this season.  Dallas has to hope this win will finally get them on track.  Despite the loss, Russell Westbrook provided the most exciting play of the game.

Hawks 100 Heat 92:  This was tight until the fourth quarter when Atlanta outscored Miami 33-21 to secure the victory.  The Hawks got a great performance out of Tracy McGrady who got in the way back machine as he went off for 13 points, five rebounds and four assists in the final quarter.  A big part of the win was the Hawks decision to go with the zone defense throughout the game which the Heat have trouble with.  More and more teams are going to start using it against them until they figure it out too.

Timberwolves 106 Spurs 96:  Youth prevailed on this night as San Antonio found themselves down by 10 after the first quarter and never caught up.  Kevin Love had another big game with 24 points and 15 rebounds and Minny connected on 12-of-21 from downtown.  To make this loss worse for the Spurs, Manu Ginobili broke his left hand and will likely be out for at least the next month.

Pistons 89 Magic 78:  A sluggish performance for Orlando who was playing in their fourth game in five nights.  The Magic scored just 32 points in the second half and the Pistons owned them on the boards.  Ben Gordon was locked in with 26 points.

Raptors 90 Knicks 85:  Carmelo Anthony went into full chucker mode, taking 31 shots with Amare Stoudamire sitting this on out.  He did score 35 but the Knicks shot just 35.9% from the field.  The Raptors broke this one open in the second quarter, outscoring the Knicks 29-11.  Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan each scored 21 in the win.

Celtics 100 Wizards 92:  The Wizards just look bad.  And apparently Flip Saunders didn’t want to see his team as he got ejected just 1:46 into the game.  Actually, the Wiz were in this game until the fourth quarter when the Celtics turned it on just enough to pull away for the victory.  Ray Allen had 27 points and connected on 6-of-7 from beyond the arc.

Pacers 108 Nets 94:  Very efficient effort from the Pacers who shot almost 53% from the field with five players scoring in double digits lead by Paul George with 21.   The Nets are really hurting up front with Brook Lopez out with a broken foot for another month and now Kris Humphries sidelined with a bad shoulder.

Suns 102 Warriors 91:  Steve Nash is back!  Well, he looked much better in this one as he deals with a bad hip as he had 20 points and nine assists including several key buckets to put the Warriors away late.  David Lee missed this one and Stephen Curry is really slowed with his bad ankle.

Nuggets 91 Bucks 86:  This was the third game for the Nuggets in their back-to-back-to-back this season which they finished 2-1 and almost swept if not for some blunders down the stretch against the Lakers on Saturday.  Denver struggled from the field but got it together in the final quarter and held Milwaukee to just 12 points in the fourth.

 Jazz 94 Hornets 90:  Jarrett Jack had 27 but it wasn’t enough as the Hornets faltered in the fourth quarter on the road.  Al Jefferson had a nice game with 22 points while Devin Harris had 19.