By Dave McMenamin
SCOREBOARD: March 19, 2006 | AROUND THE ASSOCIATION ARCHIVE
PLAY OF THE DAY
Kirilenko dishes an assist of the no-look, through-the-legs variety:
Video: NBA TV Top 10

Gasol was one assist shy of a triple-double as the Grizz beat the Jazz.
Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images
NBA Photo Exhibit: March 19, 2006

SHOOTING STUDS
Mike Dunleavy, Warriors
98-89 win vs. Sixers
28 pts, 10-17 FG,
3-6 3-pt FG, 5-6 FT

Joe Johnson, Hawks
108-107 win vs. Magic
40 pts, 17-24 FG,
5-5 3-pt FG

Kevin Garnett, Wolves
95-89 win vs. Kings
37 pts, 11-18 FG,
15-17 FT

SHOOTING DUDS
Jamaal Tinsley, Pacers
103-88 loss vs. Celtics
2-12 FG, 1-4 3-pt FG, 7 pts

Ron Artest, Kings
95-89 loss at Wolves
4-15 FG, 0-5 3-pt FG, 13 pts

J. Stackhouse, J. Terry & M. Daniels, Mavericks
100-84 loss at Nets
8-31 FG, 0-4 3-pt FG, 20 pts

STAT SHEET STUFFER
Kevin Garnett was king for a day, and in a frustrating season that seems likely to result in the Timberwolves missing the playoffs for the second straight year, he wanted a little fun at the Sacramento Kings' expense. The Big Ticket scored a season-high 37 points on 11-of-18 shooting and bolstered his stat line with 10 rebounds, four steals, two blocks and an assist in Minnesota's 95-89 home win. Garnett registered his 23rd straight double-double - the longest in the NBA since Charles Barkley also had 23 in a row in 1987. He leads the league in rebounding at 12.4 per game and in double-doubles with 52. "Did we get a monkey off our back?" Garnett asked, after snapping a seven-game losing streak with the victory. "It was a gorilla!"

RICK KAMLA'S FANTASY TAKE
Antonio Daniels had another solid effort as the Wizards' fourth scoring option with 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting on his 31st birthday. It's the ninth time in 10 March games that he's reached double digits and the guy is averaging 14 points and four assists this month.

D-LEAGUE STAR OF THE NIGHT
He only played 18 minutes, but he made them count. Fayetteville's Rick Rickert broke a tie at 101 all with 51 seconds left in the fourth quarter as he banked home a hook shot. The shot gave the Minnesota product 15 points for the game on 7-of-11 shooting and propelled the Patriots to a 106-102 home win over Tulsa. Rickert also grabbed seven rebounds and had three assists - not bad for a big man.

SIXTH MAN OF THE NIGHT
The Celtics were in danger of going 0-for-4 on a crucial late-season road trip on as they battled the Pacers to a deadlock through three quarters on Sunday. Tony Allen changed all that. The super-athletic second-year guard out of Oklahoma State scored 11 of his season-high 14 points in the fourth quarter as the Celtics turned a back-and-forth affair into a 103-88 road rout of Indiana. Allen shot 4-for-5 from the field, and 5-for-6 from the foul line in 11 minutes of work. Boston now trails Philadelphia by 3.5 games for the final playoff spot in the East.
GAME OF THE NIGHT
Kobe Bryant did his thing, (38 points, six rebounds, five assists), and LeBron James kept right with him, (29 points, eight rebounds, seven assists) but what made this Lakers/Cavaliers matchup the game of the night was the supporting casts of those two. Lamar Odom nearly reached a triple-double with 25 points, eight rebounds and nine assists as L.A. jumped out to a 14-point halftime lead. Cleveland began to chip away after intermission, outscoring the Lakers by three in the third, before mounting a serious run in the fourth. Flip Murray (see: Cool/Clutch) sparked a 15-0 run by the Cavs that turned a 11-point deficit with 6:04 left into a four-point lead with 2:32 to go. Two Odom free throws followed by a Bryant jumper tied the game at 95 with 1:33 to play. Both teams shot blanks until Murray found himself on the foul line with 3.4 seconds remaining. He hit one of two to give Cleveland a one-point edge. The Lakers went back to KB8 on their last possession and his 3-point attempt was on line but hit hard off the back rim, giving the hometown Cavaliers a 96-95 victory.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"I saw Kobe cut to the ball, so I threw it to him. We blew another one. Same as the New Jersey game. We've got to find a way to win these games or we're going to be done April 19."

-- Lakers forward Luke Walton, sounding slightly discouraged about his team's postseason chances after their 96-95 road loss in Cleveland. It was the second straight game for the Lakers that ended on a desperation Kobe Bryant missed shot after seeing a fourth-quarter lead disappear.

STORYLINES OF THE NIGHT
1. J.J. Is Dynomite!
Joe Johnson's line from Sunday's 108-107 Hawks OT win over the Magic is about as rare of an occurrence in a basketball game as Tony Soprano passing on seconds at the dinner table. The shooting guard scored 40 points and dished out 11 assists, marking the 12th time this season he's reached double-digit dishes and the fourth time he's surmounted the 40-point plateau this year. With Atlanta down by one with the clock winding down in the extra session, Johnson missed a jumper. But on this night, even his miss turned into a quasi-assist as teammate Zaza Pachulia (15 points, career-high 18 rebounds) converted the tip-in with 2.4 seconds left to seal the win. Meanwhile, the Magic nearly pulled off the victory with more balance than a game of Jenga, as eight of the 10 Orlando players who played scored in double figures, led by Jameer Nelson's 18 points.

2. Hot Hot Heat
Miami continued to roll on Sunday as it won for the 15th time out of the last 16 games with a 111-100 road win over the Knicks. Dwyane Wade scored 30 points on 10-of-17 shooting in the win - the 30th time he's reached 30 this season. It was a banner day for the Heat as they extended their win streak to five and became the second fastest team to clinch a playoff spot in the East, second only to Detroit. Miami is now 45-21 after starting the season 11-10 before Pat Riley took over as head coach on Dec. 12.

3. Good Will Hunter
The Sixers, eighth in the East, have dropped four games in a row after Sunday's 98-89 road loss to the Warriors, but don't blame it on Steven Hunter. The fifth-year big man out of DePaul is playing some of the best ball of his career, witnessed by his 15 points on 7-for-7 shooting, five rebounds and two blocks at Golden State. Hunter, who Philadelphia traded to the Hornets on Feb. 1 before having the transaction rescinded Feb. 8 because Hunter failed a physical, has gone from seldom-used body off the bench to starting center for Philly. Over the last five games, Hunter is averaging 14.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per contest while shooting a downright silly 82 percent from the floor (31-for-38). Unfortunately for the Sixers, Hunter's breakout has coincided with the absence of Allen Iverson from the lineup with injuries to his right foot.

ROOKIE WATCH
You gotta love David Lee. Considering that confidence is probably the biggest asset any rookie can have and that confidence comes from getting playing time and developing a consistent role, Lee really is a marvel. As Larry Brown has shuffled the Knicks' lineup like Aunt Edna on bridge night this season, Lee has always been ready to be an ace once put on the floor. The forward from Florida scored 11 points on 4-for-5 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds in a 111-100 home loss to Miami. More impressive than his numbers was his preparedness - he saw just four minutes of action on Friday against the Pistons but got 20 minutes of burn vs. the Heat.

COOL/CLUTCH PERFORMANCE
The Cavaliers acquired Ronald Murray at the trade deadline in hopes of lifting some of the scoring load off LeBron James' shoulders while Larry Hughes rehabs a fractured finger. Flip is filling his role quite nicely. After bumping up his average from just under 10 points per game for the Sonics to 12.8 for Cleveland so far, Murray had his best night yet for the wine and gold in Sunday's 96-95 home win over the Lakers. The Philadelphia native scored 14 of his 21 points in the fourth as the Cavs launched a ferocious comeback by outscoring L.A. 26-14. Flip went to the foul line with 3.4 seconds left and hit the second of two free throws to complete the comeback, putting the Cavaliers up one. Following the freebie, Kobe Bryant had a chance to win the game and steal the Cool/Clutch moniker from Murray in doing so, but his 3-pointer hit back rim as time expired.
UPSET OF THE NIGHT
New Jersey, currently third in the East, hosted Dallas, fourth in the West, on Sunday. Holding the higher conference ranking and homecourt advantage, the Nets were the favorites, right? Not so fast. Consider NJ's 37-28 record compared to the Mavericks' 52-14 body of work, and the Nets perceived edge seemed to dull a bit. So, enough prognosticating; what decided the game? Not defense, not offense, not coaching, but time of day. New Jersey jumped out to a 21-point halftime lead as Richard Jefferson scored 17 of his 28 points during the surge. New Jersey cruised to a 100-84 victory. "I've never beaten the Dallas Mavericks in my career," Jefferson said. "Maybe the 1 o'clock start helped us. Dirk and the rest of the guys didn't wake up until the second half." Instead of refute R.J.'s time-schedule theory, Dirk Nowitzki (37 points, eight rebounds) concurred. "We have to address (the bad starts)," Nowitzki said. "Maybe we get up at 6 o'clock and run around the block, but I don't know what we have to do. We had a noon game two weeks ago in Toronto where we were down 24 in the first half." The Nets snapped a 12-game slide against the Mavericks with their Sunday matinee.