Saturday, March 14, 2009

Three random observations ...

1. When can you score 34 points to lead six players in double figures against a conference-leading team and be just a footnote? When you're Kevin Martin, and your Sacramento Kings weren't quite powerful enough to overcome LeBron's 51-point effort that lifted Cleveland to a 126-123 victory in overtime. It wasn't a triple-double for the first time in four outings for LeBron, but it was a stirring performance nonetheless, as he scored 16 points in the fourth quarter to erase what was a 12-point deficit for the Cavs heading into the final period. James intercepted a pass by Bobby Jackson with under a minute to play that led to the tying free throw, and in overtime his 28-foot three-pointer with 3:01 to play gave Cleveland an eight-point lead that proved insurmountable.

2. Yao Ming has to be a big-time scorer if the Rockets are going anywhere in the playoffs, but no one ever said he had to become a clutch three-point shooter. That's exactly what he did Friday at Charlotte, nailing a trey in the closing minutes of a 91-86 comeback win against the Bobcats. Yao, who went 9-for-11 from the floor for a game-high 23 points, followed up his 26-foot three-pointer with a 15-footer moments later, giving Houston a six-point lead with 1:28 to play. Then Ron Artest and Aaron Brooks hit the necessary baskets from there to seal the win at Charlotte, where the Bobcats had a surprisingly good 18-15 record coming into the night.

3. Kevin Garnett is still out with his knee injury, and Glen Davis missed his second game Friday with a sprained ankle. So Leon Powe, the team's third choice at power forward, simply made up for both of them. Powe scored a career-high 30 points and added 11 rebounds to post his second straight double-double as the Celtics finished off the Grizzlies 102-92. He dominated his matchup with rookie Darrell Arthur, who had four points and six rebounds in just 21 minutes, and Boston coach Doc Rivers kept his hot hand on the floor, allowing Powe to play a team-high 41 minutes. Rajon Rondo returned from his sprained ankle to dish out eight assists and grab eight rebounds, but it was the solid play of the bench and Powe's big night that stood out in a game the Celtics couldn't afford to drop at home if they want to avoid falling into third place.

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