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Games of the night: The Spurs and Celtics keep right on winning

Dec 17, 2010, 4:54 AM EDT

Nate Robinson Marquis Daniels

Spurs 113, Nuggets 112. Manu. Flipin. Ginobili.

First Manu hits an acrobatic four-footer — twisting, splitting the double team and kiss it off the glass with English — to give the Spurs a one-point lead with 4.2 seconds left. Then on the other end he makes a perfectly-timed double team — not moving until Carmelo Anthony put his head down then beating him to the spot — to draw the charge on what would have been the Nuggets game winner.

Denver fans, don’t blame the refs for this one, you were fortunate to have the lead at all — remember it was a too-hot in-bound pass from Antonio McDyess to Ginobili which bounced straight to Anthony that gave you the lead in the first place. Then there was the three missed free throws down the stretch, Nene missed a few chippies before fouling out, Arron Afflalo had been hot all night but missed a wide-open look near the end, there was the missed opportunity to foul Tim Duncan. You had your chances before the final call — and that call was the right one anyway.

Tim Duncan had 28 points and 16 boards. Credit the Spurs — the road back-to-back with Denver on the second night (where you are playing at altitude) is one of the toughest in the NBA and they won anyway. This team is legit.

Celtics 102, Hawks 90: This was close for a half in what was a battle of depth — the Hawks were without Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford, the Celtics were without Rajon Rondo and Shaquille O’Neal.

In the end, the discipline of the Celtics to stay with the plan was much better than that of the Hawks. The Celtics had balance. Six Celtics scored in double figures — none with more than 18 — and they shot 53 percent as a team. That is depth. More depth than the Hawks have.

Great game from Jeff Teague off the bench for Atlanta, scoring 18 points on 8 of 11 shooting. How come he doesn’t play like that every night?

Nets 97, Wizards 89: Would the real Washington Wizards please stand up. Please stand up. Was it the disaster of a team from the first half? Or maybe the team that made a game of it until a late 7-0 Nets run sealed it?

Washington’s interior defense remains Nerf soft, but they expanded their flaws to so many new areas in the first half. For example, the Nets are dead last in the league at forcing turnovers — only 13.2 percent of opponent possessions end in a turnover. In the first half the Wizards better than doubled that to 26.5 (13 total turnovers). The Wizards shot 30 percent for the first half and missed all their threes, then they shot 48 percent for the second half and made a real game of it. The defense got better (not good, just less bad). Wasn’t enough.

Good on the Nets for taking advantage of how bad the Wizards are. I guess. It’s a win, so Avery Johnson will take it.

  1. zidanevalor - Dec 17, 2010 at 9:07 AM

    The final score of the Nets-Wizards was Nets 97, Wizards 89 for those reading this that are confused about talking about the Nets’ victory.

  2. thestudiokida - Dec 17, 2010 at 10:26 AM

    The conclusion of the Nuggets/Spurs game was exciting and disappointing. I love seeing Manu make impossible shots and Carmelo is as clutch as you can get in the NBA…. but bad calls nearly ruined the game.

    With the Spurs up 109-107 at 1:00 mark George Hill was called for an offensive foul for extending his elbow into J.R. Smith. While it looked like a good call it should have been a no-call. J.R. Smith flung himself backward and baiting the official. Then the real diva took center stage; as Carmelo Anthony sunk the game winning leaner in the lane Manu Ginobili slid in front of his drive and flung himself backward with such force that I’m surprised he didn’t pull a neck/back muscle. The refs would defend their call but it was another great acting job and should be a no-call.

    No player in the NBA is knocked down by an offensive player unless they want to be knocked down. I wish they’d stop rewarding demonstrative players with game winning foul-calls. Sigh.

    • thestudiokida - Dec 17, 2010 at 10:29 AM

      Playing defense in basketball is now a game of Jenga. Set up the tower and try to bait your opponent into knocking it down.

    • mustbenugs - Dec 17, 2010 at 11:27 AM

      Agreed and it is sad an analyst like Kurt is playing ignorant. The refs blindly called a charge. Like I will keep saying, we need penalty reviews in the game ending minutes.

      • Kurt Helin - Dec 17, 2010 at 12:04 PM

        I disagree. Looking at the stop frames Ginobili is there and before Melo gathers and takes off. Bang-bang play but they got this one right. Remember two officials made the same call, the third who did not is Dick Bavetta and he is old enough to have been there when Naismith invented the game.

  3. thestudiokida - Dec 17, 2010 at 3:44 PM

    I don’t flat out disagree with the call; it was consistent with how they call charging fouls. What I don’t like is Manu’s acting… how he threw himself backward just as J.R. Smith had a minute before to draw the foul. The refs are rewarding that behavior so it just gets worse. I don’t think players should fall down voluntarily and get the call. They are too strong to fall down from light contact. I feel like this all started with Floppy Divac in the late 90’s.

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