MIL @ DAL: As a long-ago Dallas quarterback used to sing on Monday Night Football, “turn out the lights, the party’s over.” The great Dirk Nowitzki (21 PTS, 20 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL) can’t be faulted, but the Mavericks could not afford to lose that game at home. They are now pushing an even larger rock up a steeper hill to make the playoffs. Monta Ellis (22 PTS, 9 AST, 6 STL, 3 REB) led the Bucks, Larry Sanders (13 PTS, 13 REB, 1 BLK) was solid and it was J.J. Redick (14 PTS, 2 REB, 2 AST) on the floor for most of the fourth quarter, as Brandon Jennings (8 PTS, 6 AST, 3 REB) watched in disbelief from the bench. Elton Brand (12 PTS, 14 REB, 3 BLK) did what he could for the Mavs, but Vince Carter (2 PTS) shot a costly 0-for-8; it was a terrible time for his worst game of the season.
CHA @ LAC: After a slow start, the Clippers turned it on and cruised home. Blake Griffin (24 PTS, 7 REB, 6 AST) was unstoppable, Matt Barnes (17 PTS, 7 AST, 4 STL) was terrific off the bench and Chris Paul (7 PTS, 13 AST, 4 REB, 2 STL) didn’t have to do much scoring. For Charlotte, Gerald Henderson (24 PTS, 3 AST, 3 STL, 2 REB) had his way with Chauncey Billups (3 PTS in 25 minutes) and Byron Mullens (13 PTS, 8 REB) made a few shots, but the Cats were badly outclassed.
MIN @ PHO: In this meaningless, mediocre contest, the Suns won in overtime to send the fans home happy. When the winners shoot 40% and the losers 34% there are no fantasy heroes; Nikola Pekovic (18 PTS, 12 REB, 3 STL, 3 BLK) and Derrick Williams (21 PTS, 12 REB) were the best Timberwolves, as Ricky Rubio (5 PTS, 10 AST, 5 REB, 4 STL) missed ten shots and committed six turnovers. The Phoenix bench made the difference with 44 points. Jermaine O’Neal (10 PTS, 13 REB, 4 BLK in 25:36) continues to prove there’s life in those old, creaky knees. Markieff Morris (14 PTS, 6 REB, 3 BLK) moved back ahead of twin brother Marcus on the depth chart and Wesley Johnson (14 PTS, 9 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL) played 36 minutes in relief of ineffective starter Jared Dudley.
February 27 Game Previews
TOR @ CLE: I’m going out on a limb here, combining armchair psychoanalysis with fantasy advice. Both are free services, worth every penny. Andrea Bargnani is deeply hurt by the booing in Toronto and will take out his frustration tonight on the Cavaliers.
DET @ WAS: The new-and-improved Wizards have been beating good teams at home (winning 10 of their last 12) and even surprising a few people on the road. The Pistons are in a deep slump. Will Bynum will be back from his one-game low-blow suspension; Brandon Knight (knee) is questionable. Red-hot rookie Bradley Beal is a must-start for Washington, as he’s become more than just a scoring threat.