The NBA Closer is written by our own Canadian weekend maestro J.E. Skeets. When he's not busy scouring the box scores or spelunking, he can be heard on The Basketball Jones daily podcast. Enjoy!
• Mano-A-Mamba. LeBron James scored 33 points and shut out Kobe when the NBA's top two scorers went one-on-one in the final minutes as the Cavs bounced back from losing to the Knicks with a 94-90 win over the Lakers. "I didn't even ask [to play defense on Kobe]," James said. "I just told Sasha to go somewhere else." It worked. Bryant finished with 21 points, missed two shots with the King chasing him, and Pavlovic has yet to be seen since. In fact, if you have any information about his whereabouts, please contact Zydrunas Ilgauskas at firstname.lastname@example.org. He's worried sick.
• Bonus Pain. The last thing I want to see when the Nets play the Heat is an extra quarter of basketball. Ugh. I'm pretty sure Baby Jesus hates me. Vincent Lamar Carter scored 31 points and Richard Allen Jefferson added 29 as the Nets overcame a seven-point deficit late in regulation before beating the Heat 107-103 in overtime. D-Wade scored a season-high 41 in the loss. Shaquille O'Neal didn't.
• We're Talking About Who? Anthony Carter hit a leaning jump shot with less than a second to go in the second overtime to give the Nuggets a hard- fought 112-111 victory over the shorthanded Rockets. Anthony Carter? We're sitting here talking about Anthony Carter. Not a 'Melo, not an Iverson, not a Camby ... we're talking about Anthony Carter. The game that we all go out there and watch and pay good money for and we're talking about Anthony Carter, man. How silly is that? Yao Ming had 26 points and 19 rebounds for Houston.