NBA General

Around the Rim: Wizard’s blizzard of injuries

Well, now he’s got more time
for bloggin’ and video poker.

1. Agent 0 goes undercover
Washington might be the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, but they might as well be sitting on the outside looking in because they are going to make some team the very happy owner of a four game sweep in the first round of the post season. Just days after Caron Butler broke his hand, Gilbert Arenas tore his lateral meniscus and will be sidelined for the remainder of the season. The Wiz are currently only just one game behind Miami for the division crown but nobody’s going to be cheering in Washington anytime soon as the “there’s always next year” mentality begins to take hold. But it was a great season for Arenas while it lasted as he scored 28.4 points per game to go along with 4.6 boards and 6.0 assists. He also made the All-Star team and threw a wicked b-day bash.

2. Losing ground quick

The Cavs looked dead in the water as their game against Miami was drawing to a close last night, but LeBron James rallied the troops for an 11-0 run to force overtime. However, the extra period would belong to the Heat as they clinched a post season berth while handing Cleveland a devastating loss. The Cavaliers fell all the way to the fifth seed in the East with the defeat after going into the game as the second best club in the conference. If the playoffs began today these two teams would be locking up in first round series with the Heat owning the home court advantage. The only difference between then and now is that the Cavs might have to contend with a well rested Dwyane Wade in the lineup. Cleveland is probably not too thrilled about that possibility, but a Wade/James showdown would be great for the fans.

3. Spurs rise, Suns set
Tony Parker scored a season-high 35 points as the Spurs held the Suns to just 85 points in a late season victory that showed why San Antonio will be a serious threat in the post season. Phoenix put together a late game run to make it interesting but the Spurs basically imposed their defensive will onto the Suns who average 111 points per game. Tim Duncan and Michael Finley both chipped in double-doubles and SA now holds the best record in the league since the All-Star break by winning 19 of 22 games. With the victory, the Spurs are now only two games behind Phoenix for the second best record in the league and second seed in the playoffs. The Suns are struggling to gain momentum before the season ends after going 6-4 in their last ten games, and should San Antonio catch Phoenix they also own the tiebreaker with a 2-1 record against the Suns in the regular season.

Thursday’s Player of the Day: LeBron James vs. Miami 49 min, 35 pts (FG: 11-21, 3FG: 2-5, FT: 11-13), 9 reb, 5 ast

Friday’s Game to Watch: Dallas (62-12) @ Denver (38-36) The Nuggets are riding a three game winning streak after knocking of the Sonics, Lakers and Kings since Sunday. Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson are really clicking as Melo has put up at least 30 points in his last four contests while AI has dished out 20 assists in two games. The Mavericks are rolling as usual and have won nine of their last ten games and won their last game against the Kings despite being without their superstar as Dirk Nowitzki who had food poisoning. This could be a preview of a first round match-up in the playoffs between these two since Denver is sitting just one game ahead of the Clippers for the seventh spot in the West.

Buzzer Beater: The Hornets have been surging of late as they have now won three consecutive games in an attempt to push their way into the playoff pack. Well, that task just got a lot harder after Chris Wilcox delivered a wicked, inadvertent elbow to the face of New Orleans’ most consistent player of the season, Desmond Mason. The elbow broke the nose and cheek bones of Mason and will probably keep him out for the remainder of the regular season. Mason was the only player to start every game for New Orleans this year and averaged 14 points and five boards per contest. Looks like it will be up to Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler to pick up the slack if the Hornets are going to extend their season long enough for Mason to attempt a return.

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