The NBA Closer is written by our Canadian weekend maestro J.E. Skeets. When he's not busy scouring the box scores or reading many leather-bound books, he can be heard on The Basketball Jones daily podcast.
• Revenge Of The Nerds. In their first meeting since June's Nielsen ratings bonanza, LeBron James hit a jumper with less than a minute to go to give the Cavaliers a solid 90-88 victory over the Spurs in Texas. James tallied 27 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists for Cleveland, who shot 46 percent from the field. Manu Ginobili, who missed an open jumper at the buzzer that would have forced overtime, led the Spurs with 31 points. Tim Duncan chipped in his usual 20, 11 and incessant whining for the defending champs.
• Sweet Babboo. Linas Kleiza scored a career-high 41 points and grabbed nine rebounds as the Nuggets beat the Jazz 120-109. Um, yeah, one more time, in case you skimmed that: Linas! Kleiza! scored a career-high 41 points and grabbed nine rebounds as the Nuggets beat the Jazz 120-109. This is why we watch the game, folks! Marcus Camby also got into the personal best act, tying his career high in rebounds (24) and blocks (11) to help Denver end a two-game slide.
• Equilibrioception. First off, there is no imagined rift between Suns GM Steve Kerr and coach Mike D'Antoni. They feed each other strawberries, and just saw "P.S. I Love You" together, OK? Case closed. Leandro Barbosa scored 22 points and Shawn Marion added 20 and 16 rebounds as the Suns beat the Andrew Bynum-less Lakers 106-98 to regain the West's number one spot. Boris Diaw scored 19 points, Steve Nash had 13 and a season-high 20 assists, and Linas Kleiza somehow scored 11 for the Suns. Man, he was feelin' it last night.