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What Happened Last Night: The Heat Got Back On Track, And The Bizarre Manti Te’o Saga Continued
Is the Manti Te’o fake girlfriend story all you can think about? Well then you’re pretty much like us. But other things are happening in sports too, so onward we march.
LeBron gets milestones, Heat get win.
Sure, it was big personally for LeBron to record his 20,000th career point – making him the youngest player ever to reach that milestone – and 5,000th assist on the same night. His career accomplishments are already staggering, and will only be more so by the time he’s done playing. But it was a much bigger deal for his Heat to play as well as they did in dominating a good Warriors team on the road last night, winning 92-75 (and the lead was 80-50 after three quarters). This was Heat basketball at its best, especially on the defensive end, as they limited Golden State to 36.3 percent shooting. The Heat actually only shot 40 percent as a team themselves, though LeBron – who finished with a 25/7/10 – and Dwyane Wade combined to go 17-for-32 from the field.
The Heat hadn’t been playing too well lately, losing three of four on their West Coast road trip, and Brian Windhorst documented what appeared to be significant unrest among Heat players (this unrest would have been more troubling than lethargic play on a midseason road trip, which was nothing new for the Heat). They needed a good performance not only to help ease whatever internal tension there might have been, but ward off external scrutiny – not to mention hold on to the top spot in the East. A game like last night’s will go a long way toward doing all of that… and if they beat a Lakers team that’s showing some signs of life at the Stap[les Center tonight, everyone just might forget that the recent mediocre stretch even happened.
Around the Association...
Other title contenders enjoyed strong nights too - the Thunder routed the Nuggets 117-97 led by Russell Westbrook's 32, and the Spurs easily handled the Grizzlies, 103-82. Teams in the East who've been hot lately didn't fare as well - the Pacers fell to the Magic 97-86, and the Nets, previously winners of seven straight, lost 109-95 to a Hawks team we have to assume was humiliated over how they played the other night.
Elsewhere: in the Battle of the Rivers Clan, Austin's Hornets continued their strong stretch, beating Doc's Celtics 90-78 (Austin scored eight points). The Bulls edged the Raptors in overtime 107-105 thanks to Carlos Boozer losing his mind (36 points, 12 rebounds). The Mavs took advantage of a terrible game from James Harden (5-for-23 shooting) to beat the Rocket 105-100 and earn Texas bragging rights for the night. The Kings edged the Wizards 95-94, dropping the Wiz to 1-16 on the road, and thanks to Kyrie bein' Kyrie (31 points), the Cavs beat the Blazers 93-88 in Portland. Admit it - the idea of a LeBron-Kyrie pairing has you mighty intrigued.
College basketball upset watch:
The nation's 14th- and 15th-ranked teams both fell, with Maryland edging No. 14 N.C. State 51-50, and UNLV beating No. 15 San Diego State 82-75. Both Maryland and UNLV are putting together solid seasons, so these aren't seismic upsets, but each game like this does its small part to throw college basketball deeper into the chaos we love.
Aussie Open update:
Everything's going according to plan... mostly. The big-name players continued to roll - Roger Federer, Andy Murray, and Serena Williams all won in straight sets, but women's eighth seed Petra Kvitova got knocked out by 18-year-old Brit Laura Robson, so we haven't been totally devoid of upsets. We're still on track to have some clashes of the titans in later rounds, which is the most important thing.
Fine, here are some Manti Te'o updates.
You didn't think we'd let you go without bringing him up at all, did you? Developments to happen last night: 1) Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick held a news conference in which he laid out a chain of events that convinced some that Te'o really was victimized by a hoax - and on the complete other side of things, an Arizona Cardinals player claimed he actually met the supposedly-fictional girlfriend in question. Te'o's doing an interview today. Much, much more to come on this front, obviously.
Hey, it's Thirsty Thursday!
And you should celebrate by quenching that thirst with a tall, refreshing glass of water. Really hits the spot.
Photos via Getty
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