Around the Rim: It’s a Ring Thing


1. Lord of the Rings to Be?
Now that the trade deadline has passed, the only interesting move left for teams to make involves the veteran champion, Scottie Pippen. Looks like the two leading candidates in the Pip sweepstakes are the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers. Pippen would be an excellent addition to either team, but he could probably adapt to Phil Jackson’s system a little bit quicker since he has some past experience with the Zen Master. San Antonio would offer a better opportunity for Pippen to get his seventh ring. He’d be joining a veteran team and most likely assume a role similar to the one Robert Horry has filled for the past few years. Pippen can’t be the player he once was, but any team would be happy to acquire a guy who has big game experience as the season is reaching its end.

2. The Nowitzki Experience
The Mavericks franchise tried to give their superstar a push for MVP last night by passing out about 20,000 T-shirts to the crowd. But Dirk didn’t really need any help as he scored 31 to go with 11 rebounds, six rebounds and two blocks. There’s lots and lots of big-time talent in the league this year, but Dirk has outshined them all. The Mavs have been riding on the back of Dirk all year en route to the league’s best record on three separate 10+ game win streaks. With one of the sweetest strokes in the game today, Nowitzki has been shooting the lights out all year long as he is averaging 25 points per game. And considering that the award usually is simply handed to the best player on the league’s best team; Nowitzki is definitely in the driver’s seat for the NBA’s most prestigious individual award.

3. Headbandless Hero
Remember at the beginning of the season when everybody thought that something was wrong with Ben Wallace? Well, that doesn’t seem to a topic of conversation anymore. Big Ben might have had the greatest game of his career last night against the Cavaliers when he had 14 points, 19 rebound, five assists, two steals and seven blocks. After a slow start to the year, Wallace has methodically increased his rebounding average back to double digits (10.5). But the Bulls are still sitting five games behind the Central Division leading Pistons. Chicago could have probably benefited from a trade, but Luol Deng and Ben Gordon just have too much potential for the Bulls to let them go.

Thursday’s Player of the Day: Gilbert Arenas vs. Sacramento 45 min, 43 pts (FG: 12-22, 3FG: 3-8, FT: 16-17), 7 reb, 7 ast, 3 stl

Friday’s Game to Watch: Utah (35-18) @ Denver (26-26) Every game involving the Nuggets is interesting as everybody is waiting to see Carmelo

Anthony and Allen Iverson finally gel. So far, it hasn’t happened. In fact, the two have still yet to even play in a significant number of games together. Overall, the Nuggets are 9-4 over their last 13 games with the latest loss coming while the dynamic duo was intact. Utah hasn’t been the team they were when the season started, but they are still a very dangerous club. The Jazz have won six of their last seven as Mehmet Okur and Deron Williams continue to pick up the slack while forward Carlos Boozer continues to watch from the bench.

Buzzer Beater: As usual, we approached the trade deadline with lots of talk about superstars changing teams. But, as usual, the deadline came and went and nobody of significance was involved in a swap. Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, Pau Gasol, Mike Bibby and Ray Allen were just a few of the names dropped in the weeks leading up to yesterday. And what about Corey Maggette? Trade rumors have been swirling around him for months now as his relationship with Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy seemed to deteriorate daily. Apparently, they are going to have to tolerate each other for a few more months. In the end, only lower tier players got new addresses; Anthony Johnson to Dallas, Fred Jones went to Portland in a deal for Juan Dixon who got sent to Toronto and the Jazz picked up Alan Henderson.

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