1. The Mamba Strikes
Kobe Bryant is in trouble again for something he claims was unintentional, but at least there is no police involvement in this case. Bryant said that he was shocked to be suspended for last nights game because of an elbow to the face of Manu Ginobili during the Spurs-Lakers game on Sunday. David Stern turned down an appeal hearing that was requested by Bryant yesterday. Last year, Bryant was suspended for two games after a stiff forearm to the throat of Mike Miller. The Mamba says that he felt awful after he realized Ginobili had gone down, but he also felt awful in a tearful press conference after being accused of rape. That doesnt mean he didnt sleep with a gold-digger.
2. Hopeful Hornets
One of the best point guards in the league could be back on the court by Friday; thats because Chris Paul says hes feeling great and ready to get on the floor. The Hornets have been destroyed by injuries this year after having a solid start to the season, but New Orleans has still been able to hold their own of late and win seven of their last ten. Desmond Mason and Tyson Chandler have been impressive in Pauls absence and their numbers could get better when their leader returns. Even though Paul leads the team in scoring, he is much more focused on distributing the rock.
3. The Big Benchwarmer
After missing almost the entire season so far, Shaq made his long awaited return last week. But after playing in only two games, hes been placed back on a very sturdy shelf. The Diesel hurt his calf in practice on Monday and is considered day to day. It looks like this could be the beginning of a series of nagging injuries for the big fella. ONeal use to claim that despite his regular season obstacles, he would always be ready to go when the playoffs rolled around. But his age is catching up with his body and the results have not been pretty. Considering Shaqs current conditioning, hell need to be completely healthy for a full four to six weeks before the postseason begins to be at his best when it counts.
Tuesdays Player of the Day: Gilbert Arenas vs. Detroit 44 min, 36 pts (FG: 10-20, 3FG: 5-12, FT: 11-12), 7 reb, 11 ast
Wednesdays Game to Watch: San Antonio (32-14) @ Utah (29-17) This is a great match-up despite the teams struggles of late. Tim Duncan is currently playing some his best ball of the year, as he usually does during the Spurs yearly rodeo road trip. Utah has only lost six games at home and owns a commanding lead in the Northwest Division behind the play of Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams. The Jazz have been considering moving Andrei Kirilenko and bringing in someone like Ray Allen or Vince Carter since AK-47 just cant seem to play up to his standards. Tonight, Kirilenko will need to step up against Bruce Bowen to possibly save in job in Utah.
Buzzer Beater: In case you hadnt noticed; the Bucks suck. This January, Milwaukee has gone a pathetic 2-12. But things could be changing for the Bucks soon because Michael Redd has said that he could return by next week. That would put Redd in the lineup against Orlando. Currently, the Bucks are four games behind eighth place in the East; which isnt exactly a death sentence in a fairly pathetic conference. Redd has been rehabbing since going down with a strained patellar tendon in his left leg, leaving his team with a 27.7 point hole to crawl out of every night.