Around the Rim: Another ESPN Instant Classic was just born



And this was the scene before the game.

1. Phoenix gets burned in the Valley of the Sun
Game 5 between the Spurs and the Suns was a tale of two halves. The first half saw Shawn Marion light up the jumbotron with 20 points and 11 rebounds en route to an 11 point lead at the break as San Antonio was a nonexistent 0-of-7 from behind the arc. Fast forward past the Frisbee catching dog or whatever ridiculous half time gimmick the Suns front office pulled out of the hat for this game and in the second half, the Spurs were a very existent 8-of-16 from three land as Marion could only score four points and grab six boards over the final 12 minutes. Algebra 101 taught us that if you add those two halves together you get an 88-85 San Antonio victory, which is equal to one whole win for the guys in black; giving the Spurs a grand total of a 3-2 lead in the series. And you thought we slept our way through high school. The Suns fought a heck of a fight without their All-NBA first teamer Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw but Manu Ginobili played terrific down the stretch, minus a few unforgivable turnovers, while Bruce Bowen and Michael Finley hit several ginormous shots. Throw in the usual 20 point, 10 rebound, 3 block (21, 12 and 5 to be exact) game from Tim Duncan and the incredibly unyielding NBA rulebook and it all simply added up to odds that Phoenix just couldn’t overcome.

2. Like nats, the Nets just won’t go away

There must be something in the water over in the Eastern Conference because the Nets, like the Bulls, keep finding a way to avoid elimination and keep their postseason hopes alive. Perhaps they’re using the Vitamin Water that failed to get Tracy McGrady out of the first round but allowed him to perform one of the sweetest sheep tosses ever caught on camera. Now, Game 5 between the Nets and Cavs was nowhere near being as interesting as the Highland Games, but how could it when the final score was 83-72 and the Nets won despite scoring just six points in the final quarter on 1-of-15 shooting. Still, what the game lacked in excitement, it certainly made up for in importance as the Nets are now within one game, 3-2, of Cleveland with the series headed back to Jersey for Game 6. Whatever the mystery substance might be that New Jersey is chuggin’, they certainly didn’t share any of it with LeBron James. His royal highness finished the game with just 20 points as he missed nine of his 14 field goal attempts. Thank goodness for free throws.

3. Whoa No Nellie!
He’s only been back behind the clipboard for a year now, but Don Nelson could be done with the Golden State franchise that he rapidly resurrected into the feel-good story of the year. Well, at least until they got eliminated by the Jazz they were. And forget about all their poor sportsmanship that resulted in tons o’ techs and flagrant fouls. But, other than that, totally a feel-good story. Still, Nellie might not be ready to write another chapter in this book because, as he says, he’s “not so sure it’s important that I stay on.” C’mon, Nelson, stop being modest. This team would be on the fast track to a Jailblazers-esque reputation without the Don around to keep this fast paced squad in check, both on and off the court. Talk about a fork in the road! Golden State could grow into a Western Conference contender with Nelson at the helm or they can take their old position alongside the Clippers, Hawks and Bobcats of the league with some other ham-fisted, poor excuse of a coach. Fans of The City better hope Nellie feels like his body can take another yearlong beatdown or they can forget about using those yellow “We Believe” shirts for anything other than wearing to the gym.

Wednesday’s Player of the Day: Shawn Marion vs. San Antonio 46 min, 24 pts (FG: 9-16, 3FG: 2-4, FT: 4-4), 17 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk

Buzzer Beater: Mark Cuban is one of the most annoying, childish and arrogant human beings to ever walk the face of the earth. Oh, and he cries like a baby too! Having said that, he also makes some pretty solid points from time to time. After all, he didn’t become a billionaire by being an idiot. So, as much as it pains us to agree with this jackass, here’s an excerpt of what Cubes had to say about the Spurs/Suns suspensions in his blog.

First, let me go on the record as saying that in the event that a vote comes up to change the rules about suspensions for players leaving the bench, I will vote against changing it.

Why ? Because its incredibly simple to educate players about the rule. Its a rule they fully understand and they understand the consequences of violating the rule. That makes the NBA stronger because it removes uncertainty. Can it result in a game(s) being impacted , yes. However, that impact results from an action a player knew violated the rules and was a mistake. There is no uncertainty about it. All they had to do was not leave the bench.

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