Three Stars of the Night: Luol Deng looking playoff ready

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Today there were some guys with really nice stat lines that just get an honorable mention. There was Paul Pierce (24 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists), who was one of the only Celtics to show up. For the Knicks Carmelo Anthony (24 points, 10 rebounds) had a good line but it was really Raymond Felton that drove New York to a win. So we’ll go a different direction.

Third Star: Kyrie Irving (31 points, 6 assists)

It was very good to see Irving back on the court and we saw flashes of what makes him great — early on he had a sweet between-the-legs dish to Tristan Thompson, he was hitting shots in traffic and at one point just embarrassed Lou Amundson. He had limited minutes in his first game back from a shoulder injury and still put up big numbers. It just wasn’t near enough for a Cavs team that got blown out by the Hornets.

Second Star: Chris Bosh (23 points, 9 rebounds)

No LeBron James, no Dwyane Wade and the guy who people seemed to forget used to carry Toronto stepped up and carried the Heat for a day. He can do that folks, he’s good. His numbers are good, but it was his aggressiveness and energy from the start that kept the Heat going in a game they could have just rolled over and lost. And of course, there’s that sweet game-winning three.

First Star: Luol Deng (28 points, 9 rebounds)

The last couple years Deng has gotten voted in as an All-Star reserve by the coaches and a lot of fans have questioned that, but he has shown the coaches know what they are talking about. He was fantastic against the Heat and now against the Pistons on Sunday he had 14 of his points in the fourth quarter. We saw an aggressive and attacking Deng who got to the line for 17 free throw attempts (making 11), the one the Bulls are going to need in the playoffs.

Grizzlies’ James Ennis fouls out then hits half-court shot (video)

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Against the Pacers last night, James Ennis missed all three of his 3-point attempts… that counted. And he makes this one after fouling out?

Mike Conley more than picked up the slack to lead the Grizzlies to victory.

Pelicans’ Dante Cunningham jumps on scorer’s table, Anthony Davis jumps on him (video)

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The Pelicans are effectively out of the playoff race, but Dante Cunningham and Anthony Davis are still competing — even if it looks a little silly.

That tone and a big game from DeMarcus Cousins (29 points, 16 rebounds, six assists) led to a 121-118 win over the Mavericks.

Goran Dragic puts alley-oop pass through rim (video)

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Goran Dragic is very good at alley-oops.

Too good.

With a “shot” like that falling, the Heat trounced the Knicks, 105-88.

Hawks’ Tim Hardaway Jr. kneed in the groin while defending 76ers (video)

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Since trading for him, the Hawks have gotten Tim Hardaway Jr. to buy in defensively.

After this help defense on 76ers center Richaun Holmes cost him dearly, I wouldn’t blame Hardaway if he gave up on the endeavor entirely.