The NBA Closer is written by Matt McHale, who is in no way related to Kevin McHale and who has taken the necessary legal steps to ensure that it stays that way. When he's not building a life-sized Dirk Nowitzki out of LEGOs, he can be found making fart jokes at Basketbawful. Enjoy!
• They did the monster mash. What does Mike Dunleavy Jr. think about Rasheed Wallace? "He's one of the most difficult guys in the league to guard. When he wants to be a monster, he's a monster." Well, you can bet junior will be asking his mommy to check in the closet and under his bed for at least a week after Wallace dropped 24 points, 10 rebounds, and about 1.4 metric tons of trash talk on him during the Pistons' 110-104 win over the Pacers. Actually, Dunleavy had a monster game himself (25 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists), but Wallace came up with two big blocks in the final minutes to help extend the Pacers' losing streak to four. P.S. Just exactly what is Larry Bird mutating into?
• Look at me, look at me! Chris Bosh really wants to be an All-Star, and since he couldn't earn a starting role through hilarity, he's trying to take a reserve spot by brute force. To that end, Howard beat on the Wizards like a side of raw beef on his way to 37 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 steals. However, fellow attention whore Antawn Jamison was all like, "Uh, excuse me, I'm All-Star quality too." 'Tawn tossed in 24 points and hauled in 20 [!!] rebounds as the Wizards scored a 108-104 overtime win over the Raptors. Jose Calderon, the "other" All-Star hopeful in Toronto, contributed 23 points and 13 assists, while Andray Blatche impersonated Caron Butler (who's out with something that sounds kind of painful) by scoring 19 points and nabbing 8 boards.
• I've got your Big Three right here, bitches. With Kevin Garnett (sore tummy muscle) and Ray Allen (flu-like symptoms) out of action, Leon Powe, Tony Allen, and Rajon Rondo transformed into the new new Big Three. Powe paced the Celtics with a cool 25 points and 11 boards, Allen had 20 points and 6 assists, and Rondo added 23 points on 8-for-10 shooting as Boston helped Miami start a brand new losing streak by delivering a brutal 117-87 beating. The Heat were led by Mark Bount's 20 points. Yes, Mark Blount was Miami's best player. By far. Meanwhile, Dwyane Wade's 1-for-9 shooting performance sure looked like a desperate cry for help. Either that or for a swift and merciful death.
• NBA action...it's yawn-tastic. Bulls! Timberwolves! It really was scalper's night off in Chicago. Al Jefferson didn't set another career high in scoring, so, not surprisingly, the Bulls trampled over the Timberwolves 96-85. Jefferson still put in 20 and 12, but nobody in blue and green had his back (shame on you, Antoine Walker!). The Bulls are missing four players - Luol Deng, Ben Gordon, Joe Smith, and Chris Duhon - but they were carried by the suddenly unstoppable Kirk Hinrich (27 points, 6 assists) Joakim "The Renegade Rookie" Noah (10 points, 13 rebounds).
• Let the bidding begin. Jason Kidd wants out of New Jersey - he thinks the logo makes him look fat - so he showed potential buyers what they'd be getting by scoring seven points in the final 1:42 to help the Nets break their nine-game skid with an 87-80 win over the Bucks. Kidd had 11 assists, too. But let the buyer beware: this former member of the Fun Police is currently shooting 36 percent from the field, which is 45th among NBA point guards.
• More monster mashing. If the Golden State/Houston game was a foreign horror movie from the 1950s, Yao Ming would have played the part of giant lizard monster and the Warriors would have been the city it stomped all over. Yao belched forth great flame (36 points) and hurled boulders (19 rebounds) while Golden State's front court players ran around screaming in subtitles. Man, it's a good thing the Warriors signed a big man who can't run or play defense! P.S. Tracy McGrady missed the game with flu-like symptoms. Just like Ray Allen. Hmm...I wonder...
• They chose...poorly. Remember in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade how when the bad guy drank out of the wrong Holy Grail, he aged a thousand years in a few seconds and exploded into a cloud of dust? Well, that's what's happening to the Spurs right now. Tony Parker missed the game with a fake injury, leaving Tim Duncan (27 points, 12 rebounds) and Manu Ginobili (29 points, 7 flops) to carry their mummified teammates. Unfortunately, Tim Duncan left his potion of levitation next to his wizard's cloak and 20-sided dice. And the whole 2-on-12 thing helped the Sonics end their 14-game winning streak with an 88-85 win. Kevin Durant scored 19 points and Chris Wilcox added 16 points and 10 boards for Seattle.
• The cure for what ails them. When a team is struggling the way the Lakers have been, there are only two things they want to see on their upcoming schedule: "Happy ending massage" and "New York Knicks." Man, this one has "bounce back game" written all over it. So You know what? I'm just going to assume that Kobe Bryant scores a lot of points and the Lakers win this one.