The final few weeks of an NBA regular season is simply a feeding frenzy for those given the green light to hoist shots at will. Case in point: Al Harrington. I think Harrington was the kid in school who started the ol’ ‘one for you, one for me… two for you, one-two for me’ routine at the corner candy store. But he is also the guy who is leading many a fantasy team to a championship.
Last night he erupted for 26 points (3-9 3-pt fg) and 17 rebounds in New York’s 103-98 loss at Utah and has averaged 24.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.0 3-pointers per contest over his last three. And the best thing about Big Al is that his owners never have to worry about him deferring to a teammate.
Harrington was not alone in the monster game department last night. Let’s take a look-see.
Carlos Boozer: For some reason, Boozer never gets talked about as being an elite power forward. When healthy, he not only dominates the glass, he is also a force offensively in the interior. Last night he was healthy enough to dismantle the Knicks with 26 points (11-16 fg) and 14 rebounds. A free agent at season’s end, he could find himself with a max contract in July.
Deron Williams: Boozer’s partner in crime posted a cool 23 points (5-8 3-pt fg) and 14 assists against the defensively challenged ‘bockers last night. The Jazz are fighting for playoff position and have a leader in Jerry Sloan, who coaches every game as if it were Game Seven.
Andrea Bargnani: Oh those big men who shoot threes and block shots. Bargnani is in elite company with the Anthony Tollivers of the world. Last night he racked up 16 points, nine boards and added three 3-pointers and a block as the Raptors scored an all-important 103-101 win in Charlotte.
Ray Felton: I can always count on Felton to post huge lines when I don’t have him in my lineup. Last night he tortured me with 18 points, five rebounds and seven assists while knocking down a season-high four 3-pointers.
Brook Lopez: Led the Nets to their third win in four tries with 22 points and 12 boards over a stunned San Antonio team. To be fair, the Spurs were playing without Manu Ginobili in this one and fell asleep in the calming environs of Izod Center during the six-minute timeout of the third quarter.
Courtney Lee: It’s not every day that a smoking hot Asian woman can tally 19 points and six rebounds in an NBA game, but the proof is in the pudding.
DeJuan Blair: The rookie dominated the backboards to the tune of 11 points and 11 caroms in only 17 minutes of work. The question is, why did he only clock in for 17 minutes, Gregg Popovich?
Pau Gasol: Gasol took his life in his own hands by registering 26 points, 22 rebounds and two blocks in a 108-100 loss to the stumbling Hornets last night. Kobe will not put up with any teammate of his posting those kinds of numbers and promises to freeze the big Spaniard out of the next three games.
Chris Paul: The Chris Paul we drafted with a top 2 pick finally gave a Chris Paul performance with 15 points, four boards and 13 assists in the win over the Lakers. Paul could win many fantasy championships over the course of the next two weeks.
Dirk Nowitzki: Nowitzki’s night was a thing of beauty as he finished with 34 points (4-5 3-pt fg, 16-17 ft), 10 rebounds and 10 assists as the Mavs defeated the Nuggets 109-93 and have flown past them into the #2 spot in the Western Conference.
Shawn Marion: Marion, a first round pick by many as little as three seasons ago, is kind of a forgotten man. He has been playing well of late and last night finished with 21 points (9-13 fg) and two steals. He and Andrei Kirilenko should go bowling together and talk about the good old days.
J.R. Smith: While Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups combined on a foul 6-for-30 from the floor, Smith gave the Nuggets a puncher’s chance with 27 points (10-16 fg), a steal and a block. Smith, not known for his court vision, could help teams in need of threes down the stretch.