By Dave McMenamin
Dwight Howard looks double-jointed on an insane alley-oop:
Video: NBA TV Top 10

The Knicks donned lucky green in their St. Patrick's Day victory.
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images
NBA Photo Exhibit: March 17, 2006

Mike Miller, Grizzlies
116-102 win vs. Nuggets
41 pts, 15-24 FG,
5-12 3-pt FG, 6-6 FT

Deron Williams, Jazz
111-101 win at Hawks
28 pts, 11-13 FG,
4-4 3-pt FG, 2-2 FT

Carmelo Anthony, Nuggets
116-102 loss at Grizzlies
33 pts, 16-25 FG

Jason Kidd, Nets
92-89 win vs. Lakers
2-12 FG, 1-6 3-pt FG, 5 pts

Delonte West, Celtics
84-77 loss at Magic
3-12 FG, 1-5 3-pt FG, 7 pts

John Salmons, Sixers
99-89 loss at Clippers
4-14 FG, 0-2 3-pt FG, 10 pts

Role players are nice. They have one job, i.e. to play solid defense, or make outside shots, or rebound well. LeBron James plays like a really good role player with multiple personality disorder. That is to say, he does it all and does it well. King James put up down right regal numbers with 27 points, nine rebounds, five assists and six steals in the Cavs' 99-84 home win over the Blazers.

Now may finally be the time for the Blazers to see exactly what they have in Bassy, who scored 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting on Friday - his best game in four months. The high-school prodigy hasn't seen any consistent playing time this season, but it doesn't make much sense for the kid to sit on the bench much longer. Here's hoping Nate McMillan throws him into "the fire."

Roanoke's Isiah Victor had two big quarters on Friday. He scored eight in the opening period and the Dazzle outscored the Toros by 20. He followed that with 11 in the third, and again his team outpaced the competition by 11. Add in the 10 points combined he had in the second and fourth and you get 29 points for the game to go with Victor's 11 rebounds in his team's 94-80 home win over Austin.

New Jersey's Nenad Krstic was having such a great night that it was fitting he got the clinching hoop in Friday's 92-89 home win over the Lakers. The Nets big man had hit 10-of-14 shots, scored 24 points, grabbed five rebounds, and according to Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson, "(He) was way too active for us all night." His tip-in on a Vince Carter miss with 13 seconds left gave New Jersey a three-point edge and gave Krstic totals of 26 and six. Carter defended Kobe Bryant on L.A.'s last chance, forcing Kobe into a deep, off-balanced, 3-point attempt that fell short and Krstic's crew got the win.
The Raptors were headed towards almost certain defeat, down 94-78 to the Bucks with 5:41 remaining in the fourth quarter, but theres a reason the Yogi Berraism, "It ain't over til it's over," rings so true. Matt Bonner nailed a 3-pointer to spark a 19-2 Toronto run that was capped by two Chris Bosh free throws to put the Raps up two with 3.4 ticks left. Michael Redd passed off to Charlie Bell on Milwaukee's last possession, but Bell launched an errant three after the final horn had sounded and Toronto pulled off the improbable 97-96 comeback victory at home. The win was a nice confidence boost for the young Raptor contingent, but the loss was more consequential for Milwaukee, which fell to one game under .500 as they battle for an Eastern Confernce playoff spot. "Your main focus as a team is to win," Buck Bobby Simmons said. "I think collectively as a team, everybody knows that we let this game slip away. Hopefully, it won't come back to haunt us in the end."

"Keep it coming, keep it coming. It's all good. Makes me guess the last time I was here they were booing me, I had 29, and I had a pretty good game tonight. Hopefully they'll continue it next year. It makes me feel like the guy again."

-- Dallas swingman Jerry Stackhouse, on waving to his former fans as he left the court with a 104-94 win over the Wizards. Makes you wonder if Jerry weans that little bit of extra motivation when playing in Detroit and Philly (his other two former teams) as well.

1. Artest Back in Indy
Ron Artest's first return to Indiana since being traded to the Kings for Peja Stojakovic wasn't marked by much fanfare or antics - just boos and missed shots. Artest scored 18 points, but shot 6-for-22 from the field and scored only two points in the fourth quarter of Sacramento's 98-93 road loss to the Pacers. Peja poured in 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds. The Conseco Field House crowd was relentless in letting Artest hear their displeasure for the way his exit went down. "It's cool they booed me," Artest said. "There's still a lot of people out there that were glad to see me. If there was a fight between the fans who love me and the fans who booed me, I think the fans that love me have more heart. I'm not surprised they booed; that's what they're supposed to do. I'm a Sacramento King now."

2. Celtics Out of Luck on St. Patty's Day
The Celtics took to the court in commemerative green and gold uniforms on St. Patrick's Day, but Orlando's Magic was stronger than the luck of the Irish. Paul Pierce, who came into the game scoring 30 points or more in seven out of the last nine games, was held to 19 points on 5-of-18 shooting in Boston's 84-77 road loss. Dwight Howard had 18, 13 rebounds and six blocks while Hedo Turkoglu scored 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter as the Magic outscored the Celtics by eight to secure the seven-point victory. In all fairness, luck had little to do with the outcome - the Celtics were playing the second night of a back-to-back stretch, and the Magic held Boston to just 33 percent shooting. "It was a combination of their defense and our legs not being there," Wally Szczerbiak said.

3. Nazr Makes Like Amaré
It was a rematch of last season's Western Conference Finals but something was distinctly different. Subtracted was the Suns' super forward Amaré Stoudemire and added was the Spurs' utility big guy Nazr Mohammed doing an Amaré impression. Mohammed tied a career high with 30 points on 13-for-21 shooting to go with 16 boards as Stoudemire continued to sit out, yet to play this year after off-season knee surgery. Steve Nash scored 30 of his own, and Shawn Marion added 22 and 12 rebounds but Tim Duncan (20 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists) and the Spurs grabbed the 108-102 home win, just as they claimed the 2005 conference finals. Mohammed averages 5.8 points per game this season while Stoudemire poured in 26.0 a night last year.

Maybe the spirit of March Madness infused Deron Williams on Friday. One year after leading his Fighting Illini through the NCAA Tournament to the Final Four, the rookie point guard had the best offensive output of his young career. Williams scored a season-high 28 points on 11-for-13 shooting in Utah's 111-101 road win over the Hawks. Williams added five assists and three rebounds to complete his solid night. "He played extremely well," Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said of Deron. "He didn't play like a rookie tonight. He made shots, he got the ball where it needed to go. He did a good job defensively. It was a well-rounded game for him."

The Detroit Pistons experienced some technical difficulties and the New York Knicks proved that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Rasheed Wallace received two technical fouls and was summarily tossed while teammate Rip Hamilton was automatically ejected for throwing a ball into the stands. The Knicks, in the midst of a maelstrom of their own thanks to verbal spats between coach Larry Brown and Stephon Marbury, banded together to win their second straight game as they beat the shorthanded Pistons 105-103 at home. Jamal Crawford put the Knicks up by two with 2.2 seconds remaining with a pullup jumper from the foul line extended. The Pistons got a chance to rebuttle and Antonio McDyess was fouled on the elbow as he let go of his last-second shot. Mickey D went to the charity stripe and came up empty on two foul shots leading to a true upset as the last-place Knicks (19-45) beat the first-place Pistons (51-13).

Mike Miller started the game on the bench, but once he got in the game and got going, Mike Fratello wasn't about to take him off the court. The floppy-haired Miller scored a career-high 41 points on 15-of-24 shooting and led Memphis in minutes with 41 as well in the Grizzlies' 116-102 home win over the Nuggets. The six-year veteran eclipsed his previous career best of 37 and tied the franchise mark for most points in a game set by Bryant "Big Country" Reeves on Jan. 15, 1998 when the team was in Vancouver. Miller proved that there just might be some strange link between players with distinctive haircuts and the franchise scoring record.