NEW ORLEANS -- With a quick step to his left, Anthony Davis bolted from the man he was supposed to guard and launched himself toward the backboard in time to swat away Ty Lawson's driving layup.
As the crowd erupted, Davis knocked the ball off the glass and back into his hands. With 1:14 to go in overtime, Davis' sixth block also became his 17th rebound. That, along with his 32 points -- which tied a career high -- proved too much for Denver to overcome, and the Pelicans held on for their third straight victory, 111-107 on Sunday night.
"I don't think I was supposed to (guard Lawson)," Davis said of his pivotal block. "I just tried to make a basketball play. Coach (Monty Williams) tells us all the time, `If you're going to do something like that, you better go get it.' Thank God I got the rebound. It got us hyped and it was a play that we needed down the stretch."
LOS ANGELES -- From Jodie Meeks' big day to the final result, this was definitely a surprise.
Meeks scored 24 of his career-high 42 points in the second half, and the Los Angeles Lakers beat Oklahoma City 114-110 on Sunday despite a triple-double by Thunder star Kevin Durant.
Pau Gasol added 20 points and 11 rebounds for the injury-ravaged Lakers, who had lost 29 of their previous 37 games. Meeks was 11 of 18 from the field and 14 for 14 at the line while becoming the third player to reach the 30-point mark this season for last-place Los Angeles (22-42).
There's nothing he can do to get Derrick Rose back right now, nothing he can do to reverse the subsequent trade that sent another beloved teammate, Luol Deng, to Cleveland as the Bulls prepared for the long term. But as consolation prizes go, Joakim Noah knows what he values more than anything else he can imagine: beating Miami. They all do, really, every single Bulls player. It doesn't matter to them, this storyline that they can't beat Miami four times in May. They want Miami. Some teams get a collective headache when LeBron James comes to town; the Bulls would happily send a plane for LeBron and the champs. Noah called it "playing with hate," and the Bulls ratcheted up their obsession with Miami to beat the Heat in another regular-season game, this one in OT -- just as they stopped Miami's winning streak at 27 games a year ago, just as they push and shove and annoy the champs like nobody else in the NBA.
The lasting visual from the game that didn't involve Noah had to be the sight of Jimmy Butler and LeBron, tangled on the baseline after a missed shot, kicking and flailing at each other with no real menace intended, just strength and determination. But as often happens in the games between these two, the Bulls somehow got under Miami's skin. And nobody eats at Miami quite like Noah, whose 20 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 blocked shots was another in a string of sublime performances over the past six weeks that has Noah possibly behind only LeBron James and Kevin Durant as MVP of the league.
Taj Gibson might as well have been speaking for the entire team when he said afterward, "We don't like them at all. They've got what we want. This was like a street ballgame. They're talking and we're talking. They're physical and we're physical. Could you hear Jo on the foul line? He was talking to each and every one of them, telling 'em, 'Not tonight, not here! It ain't going down like that tonight!' Jo feels how we all feel about them. ... Look, we're a blue-collar team and we take pride in leaving it out there every single night ... but we see [their] jerseys and there's so much fire ... we see everything they've got that we want ... the rings, the trophies. That's what this league is about, going after the champs."
LOS ANGELES -- With the NBA season heading down the stretch and the MVP race seemingly a two-name toss-up between LeBron James and Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks said Durant could put up even bigger point totals if he chose.
"Let's face it: If he wanted to score a bunch of points or more than he's scoring now, he really could do that," Brooks said before the Thunder played the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. "His assist level has gone up, he impacts the game. Defensively, he impacts the game. He can guard 1 through 5. So a lot of things that he does (are) all about the team."
Durant entered Sunday's game averaging a career-high 31.8 points per game, but his 5.5 assists per game are also a career-best mark for the seven-year veteran.
San Miguel Beer import Josh Boone displayed a high level of professionalism in the Beermen’s first win in the PLDT Home TVolution Commissioner’s Cup.
On Sunday, the import showed much more than that, finishing with 32 points and 21 rebounds in an impressive performance that would leave a strong impression in case this turns out to be his final PBA game.
The San Miguel coaching staff, head coach Biboy Ravanes and coaching consultant Todd Purves in particular, remained tight-lipped on the fate of Boone, though, even as a replacement import has reportedly arrived in the country.
CHICAGO -- Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler understand it.
The real victory for the Chicago Bulls will come when they're knocking the Miami Heat out of the playoffs, not during the regular season -- no matter how charged the atmosphere is.
Even so, they'll take this.
The San Miguel Beermen have now won two straight in the 2014 PBA Commissioner's Cup, most recently destroying Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 112-96, on Sunday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Josh Boone, in what is widely rumored as his last game with the Beermen, led the team with 32 points, 21 rebounds and two blocks. Arwind Santos and Marcio Lassiter had 18 and 16 points, respectively, while Sol Mercado added 14 points and four assists.
"This is the kind of game na gusto namin; ito yung direction na pupuntahan namin," said head coach Biboy Ravanes. "And with this game, na-gauge namin yung level namin because Ginebra is one of the best teams. Thank God our team passed with flying colors." He added that the win was a good way to celebrate Chris Ross' birthday tonight. The point guard put up seven points and six assists.
CHICAGO -- LeBron James simply wanted to support his friend, so the Miami Heat star found himself back in his old stomping grounds.
James couldn't pass up the opportunity to show his support for Zydrunas Ilgauskas. He was back in Cleveland as the Cavaliers retired his longtime teammate's No. 11 jersey Saturday.
"It was special, a special time for 'Z,' and I'm happy I was able to be a part of it," the four-time MVP said before Sunday's game against the Bulls in Chicago.
Sometimes, second choice may just end up being the right choice.
Barako Bull is finding that out it in the ongoing PLDT Home TVolution Commissioner’s Cup by finding a gem of an import in Joshua Dollard, who is making quite an impact in the PBA.
Dollard, a veteran of the Finnish league, scored 44 points and grabbed 19 rebounds in Barako Bull’s win over Rain or Shine on Sunday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum, days after he debuted with 45 points and 18 rebounds in the team’s opener against Ginebra.
LeBron James is no longer a masked man.
The Miami Heat star said before Sunday's game against the Chicago Bulls that he no longer will wear the mask that had been protecting his broken nose -- despite not being medically cleared to do so.
"It's not comfortable," James said.