The NBA Closer is written by Canadian weekend maestro J.E. Skeets. When he's not busy scouring the box scores or talking in the third person, he can be heard on The Basketball Jones daily podcast.
• Deja-Blue. See what I did there? Deja-blue. Yeah, that was off the top of my head, too, so ... whatever. No big deal. Rip Hamilton scored 10 of his 24 points in the fourth to help Detroit complete the home-and-home sweep — sorry, Suss — over the Pacers, 98-92. "It's not that odd to play a team back-to-back, you get that every once in a while in this league," Sheed quipped post-game. "You still have to go out there and hoop." Hoop. I like that.
• Thanks For Coming. Props to the AP on this one: "A visit from LeBron James produced the first sellout in New Orleans Arena this season. The 17,623 fans who showed up perhaps noticed there was something else worth watching. Namely, their own team." BURN! David West had 27 points and 15 rebounds as the Hornets beat the Cavs by ten.
• But He Promised Me A Knitted Scarf! Wally Szczerbiak and Jeff Green each scored 18 as the Sonics overcame the loss of Kevin Durant to beat the Wolves 109-90. Durant sprained his left index finger near the end of the first and never returned. The X-rays were negative, though, which I think is good news. I can never really remember. Regardless, he's going to get killed in Madden '08.
• Everything Keeps Coming Up Roses. Believe it or not, I'm starting to notice a trend with Boston-area sports franchises. I can't say what it is — I've got a few more numbers to crunch still — but there is definitely something there. Paul Pierce finished with 24 points and six rebounds — all in the second half — to lead the Celtics' to their fifth straight win, beating the Jazz 104-98.