1. Sonics boom
The Suns and Sonics put on a heck of a game through three quarters. Unfortunately for Seattle, games last 48 minutes, not 36. Kevin Durant did what he could (27 points, five rebounds) and he got plenty of help from his friends as Chris Wilcox went off for 23 points, 11 rebounds and three steals. But the inexperienced group of diaper dandies just didn’t have the gas or level of execution to close the deal in the fourth and lost 106-99. The fire power of the Suns remains unmatched. Three players finished with double-doubles (Shawn Marion, Amare Stoudemire and Steve Nash) and Grant Hill debuted with an all-around solid performance of 13 points, six rebounds and five assists. We all know that the Suns can and will win games during the regular season, but it’s their inability to win in the postseason that has become their trademark. We’ll have to wait until June to see if this team can break free of the chains that bind them, but in the mean time, just pop open a brew and enjoy the most entertaining brand of ball in the league.
2. No Bull!?!?
The other day, Mark Cuban broke thousands of Mavericks fan’s hearts when he said that there was no way Kobe Bryant would end up in Dallas. Well, Chicago fans, it’s time to break out the tissues because GM John Paxson shot down any hopes of No. 24 becoming the next No. 23 in The Windy City. “There’s not a deal done,” he said Thursday. “There’s not going to be a deal done.” The rumors were that Luol Deng was the one piece that didn’t fit in the trade scenarios: the Bulls were going to have to deal Deng to get Kobe, but Kobe said he didn’t want to go if Deng wouldn’t be on the team. There were even rumors going around that would have landed Kobe in Chi-Town while putting Ben Wallace and Ron Artest in Los Angeles. Bryant for Wallace and Artest??? The Lakers should be ashamed of their front office for even allowing such a rumor to surface. Why not just trade Kobe for Yi Jianlian and a bag of magic beans?
3. Miami Beat
The Miami Heat looked like a team that was missing their leader when they took on the Pistons. Actually, they were missing their leader because Dwyane Wade is still recovering from summer surgeries and he was sitting on the bench in a snappy suit. But, in reality, they were missing both of their leaders because as Wade sat and watched, Shaquille O’Neal was shut down by Detroit double teams. The big fella only had nine points and six shots in the game, none of which came in the first half. Throw in some career-highs from Tayshaun Prince (34 points, 12 rebounds) and you’ve got yourself an easy 91-80 Bad Boy celebration. The one good thing about the game for Miami was that Ricky Davis was solid with 23 points, but we are talking about Ricky Davis. You know, the guy who intentionally missed a shot on his own team’s basket in an attempt to get a triple-double. We know he’s got skills, but that is the last guy in the world you want to have to hitch your trailer up to.
Thursday’s Player of the Day: Tracy McGrady @ Utah 40 min,47 pts (FG:17-27, 3FG: 2-5, FT: 11-14), 4 reb, 4 ast
Friday’s Game to Watch: Washington (0-1) @ Boston (0-0)
The Big Ticket and his new buddies make their long awaited debut tonight. For Kevin Garnett, he’s been waiting for this moment his whole life, even if he doesn’t know it or won’t admit it. He finally has the cast around him to make serious noise in the playoffs and there are far fewer giants lurking in the conference to give him hell on defense. But we don’t want to forget about the other loveable losers in this game. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce can finally relax a bit with some help around them and let their natural skills shine though. This team isn’t overly deep, but, then again, they don’t have to be; at least not yet. It should be interesting to see how these guys share the ball, but considering how hungry they all are to establish some postseason presence in Boston, we don’t foresee a problem. Oh, and the Wizards will be there too.
Buzzer Beater: We love Thursday nights because we love Inside the NBA. It’s one of the highlights to our otherwise drab week. And last night just happened to be a great evening of early season basketball. There were the Suns vs. Kevin Durant, the Pistons and the Heat, McGrady’s explosion against the Jazz. So, how the heck did this guy steal the show?