The NBA Closer is written by me, J.E. Skeets, high leader of Canada. When I'm not busy scouring the box scores or part-time modeling, I can be heard on The Basketball Jones daily podcast with some Greek. Enjoy!

Revenge. In the first regular-season game between Kevin Garnett and the bouquet of former Celtics traded for him, Boston struggled to put away Minnesota, 87-86. Kendrick Perkins finished with 21 points, including a go-ahead put-back with 16.6 seconds left, and Garnett added 10 points and 16 boards despite leaving the game for 4 minutes with an abdominal strain. "It felt like I got sniped from the rafters or something, you know," KG said. "I just had a sharp pain come from my stomach and I just wanted the doctors to look at it. They looked at it and said I was fine, so I came back out." Man, for someone who regularly hunts squirrels and shit, Kevin McHale is one bad shot.


What Is "Real"? How Do You Define "Real"? Shawn Marion dropped in a silky baseline floater with 1.1 seconds left for his only field goal as the Suns melted Cleveland with a season-high 17 3-pointers in a 110-108 over the Cavaliers. Raja Bell scored 27 points and Steve Nash added 26 — 21 on 3-pointers. That's real, son.

Flying High. Peja Stojakovic — and his goatee — nailed five 3-pointers in a four-minute span in the third to lead the Hornets over the Clippers 111-92. The win was NO's seventh straight. New Orleans made 14 3-pointers over all, including 12 in the second half. "I don't know how to explain that," said Peja, who finished with 26 points overall. "You always think: 'You never know if you don't try.' You've got to let it fly. Some nights they go in, some nights not." That sounded like poetry.

Mind Boggling. Whatever you do, DON'T look at the Western Conference playoff standings this morning. It's a holy hot mess of crowded. Carlos Boozer made his first 13 shots and scored 33 points to lead the Jazz over the Kings 127-113. And in Portland, Tracy McGrady had 15 points and Carl Landry added 12 and eight as the Rockets snapped the Blazers' 12-game home-winning streak with an 89-79 win. I think the Nuggets won too.