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 screaming in soulless rage at the merciless Pagan gods, he can be found making fart jokes at Basketbawful. Enjoy!
• I guess he's good enough to be an All-Star reserve. With the New Orleans crowd - all 26 of them - chanting "M-V-P," Chris Paul scored 23 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished 17 assists, each of which created a tiny parallel universe full of Jessica Albas making out with Scarlett Johanssons in an inflatable pool full of JELL-O brand gelatin. I don't impress easily, but even I have to admit that's pretty rad. Paul's teammate Tyson Chandler wasn't half bad either, scoring 10 points and grabbing 16 of the Hornets' 52 rebounds. Denver wasn't quite as good on the boards (33) or in that whole "putting the ball in the basket" thing (42 percent shooting and 19 turnovers), so the the Hornets stung the Nuggets into a lumpy 117-93 submission. Allen Iverson scored 23 and Kenyon Martin had 18, but most of the other Nuggets were barely able to outscore Carmelo Anthony, who, in case you didn't know, is still out with a sprained left ankle.
• A Maverick ain't 'fraid a no Grizzly. Grizzlies are terrifying creatures. It's a scientific fact that the only living things that aren't afraid of them are Bruce Willis and cowboys. A cowboy, he'll just walk up, stare that grizzly bear in the eye, then lasso that sucker and dress it in his sister's prom dress. Because that's how cowboys roll. Anyway, sometimes art (in this case basketball) imitates life (in this case cowboys), and Dallas hogtied Memphis on their way to a 103-84 victory. Josh Howard scored 26 points (and hit his first eight shots!), Dirk Nowitzki had 20 points and 11 rebounds, Erick Dampier added 11 points and 12 rebounds, Jason Terry...you know what? Most of the Mavs played really well, and pretty much everybody on the Grizzlies didn't. (Okay, Rudy Gay looked pretty good in scoring 18 points, but that's it.)
• Tim Duncan misses his comfy chair. My grandpa, he loved his comfy chair. And the older he got, the less he wanted to leave that chair. Similarly, the Spurs - considered "very ancient" by most NBA age experts - don't like leaving their own version of the comfy chair, otherwise known as the Alamodome. Heading into their 9-game "rodeo trip," San Antonio was only 8-9 on the road. And I hate to ruin the ending for you, but their situation didn't improve in Utah. Tim Duncan showed up with 26 and 11, but he lost the ball 7 times. Tony Parker shot 1-for-7, Michael Finley was 2-for-8, and I think Robert Horry was actually embalmed at halftime. The somewhat youthier Jazz, meanwhile, showed a shocking lack of respect for their elders. Carlos Boozer and Andre Kirilenko each scored 23 points, and Deron Williams handed out 14 dimes as Utah scored a 97-91 victory that moved them from ninth place in the Western Conference to fourth!
• Where meaningless games happen. The Bobcats versus the Clippers. Let's face it, unless somebody on these teams can call you "mom," then chances are you really don't care about the outcome of this game. If for some bizarre reason you do care - and in that case I pity you - here are the facts: Charlotte won 107-100 behind Gerald Wallace and his 23 points (8-for-11), 6 rebounds, and 8 assists. Tim Thomas arose from his season-long slumber to score 29 points and grab 13 rebounds for the Clips, proving once again that he is at his absolute best when it really doesn't matter.