The NBA Closer is written by our own Canadian weekend maestro J.E. Skeets. When he's not busy scouring the box scores or fixing 'Nightmare Ant' dinner, he can be heard on The Basketball Jones daily podcast. Except for today. Today is a snow day! Enjoy!
• Ay, Caramba! Denver looked lost from the get-go in this one, and with good reason. The Nuggets had to dress in the visitors' locker room — I know! — because of a fire in their locker room Sunday morning. Coach Karl said a dryer "blew up" in the home locker room around 2am. No perpetrator stepped forward, but I'm guessing Najera's flowing locks had something to do with it. Brandon Roy dropped a team-high 26 points and 11 assists as the Blazers continued blazing with a 116-105 road win. Portland (12-12) led most of the way in running its "triumph streak" to seven. As Ziller points out: "Now when the Blazers end the year with 37 or so wins, we can add Oden in our mind's calculator and overrate Portland completely next October!"
• Stone Cold Nuts. Kobe scored 32 points to lead the Lakers to a 113-92 victory over the hallway visiting Clippers. Listed as a game-time decision after injuring his groin on Friday, Kobe decided he could play through the pain. "I didn't sleep," he said. "I was doing therapy for 24 hours, iced it down, had a weight-training session for my legs, kept stretching and doing what I needed to do." That cackle you hear in the background? LeBron James.
• On Sunday Morning. I literally punched myself in the neck for not betting on the Pistons in this one. Why? Because a 12:30pm start time — on the first game of a road trip, no less — is absolutely hell for a West Coast team like the Warriors. I bet they didn't even have their Froot Loops in 'em by tip. Gah. I should be rich right now. Tayshaun Prince scored 23 points and Antonio McDyess posted 14 and 11 as the Pistons beat the hungry Warriors 109-87. Detroit has now won nine of their last 11.
• Ring The Bells And Sound The Alarm! The current chances of Boston posting a 72-10 record or better are 8.1 percent. They also have a 100% chance at making the playoffs. I think they just might. Paul Pierce scored 18 points, Kevin Garnett had 16 and the Celtics extended their winning streak to nine games by beating the Raptors 90-77. The start of the second half was delayed because of a leaky vent in the ceiling of the Air Canada Centre, leaving water dripping onto the floor. But don't worry; Raptors Mop Girl mopped that shit up like she had never mopped before!