1. 4-1 in their last five against SA; too bad it’s not a playoff series
The Spurs came into Dallas as a sizzling hot team, but it didn’t take long for the Mavericks to toss a bucket of ice water all over San Antonio’s flames. Behind runs of 17-1 and 11-0, the Mavs hit the court running and never bothered to check their rearview mirrors, toasting the Spurs, 105-92. Tim Duncan (24 pts) and Manu Ginobili (25 pts, 9 reb, 7 ast, 3 stl) showed up to play for SA, but they were about the only ones. Mr. Longoria was 1-of-11 for seven points and Michael Finely went 0-of-6. Outside of four rebounds, Finely put up zeros across the stat sheet in 25 minutes against his former club. Meanwhile, Dallas was scoring at will with four players finishing the game with at least 17 points. Josh Howard had a team-high 23 and Dirk Nowitzki was solid with 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
2. Bulls get bullied, again
Chicago did what they could, but that wasn’t good enough to knock off the Suns. Grant Hill had a game-high tying 24 points to pace Phoenix as six of the eight Suns to record minutes finished with double-digits in the 112-102 win. What’s amazing about this team is that they continue to roll with just a seven man rotation. The only question surrounding Phoenix at the moment is if they have enough depth for when the playoffs roll around. But there’s plenty of time for that to develop, it’s Chicago that is running out of time. The Bulls are 1-6 now after having four full days to prepare for this game. They’ve got the Clippers, Lakers and Nuggets coming up on the schedule, so, like the old Flintstones Vitamins commercials, the Pistons division lead is at 4 ½ games…and growing.
3. Houston can exhale now
Good news for Rockets fans. After taking a shot to the right elbow, Tracy McGrady couldn’t even shoot a pair of free throws with the arm during Houston’s loss to the Lakers. Turns out that that there’s no damage to the elbow and it’s just a sprain. He’ll probably miss a week or so and then he’ll be putting up 40 on fools like nothing ever happened. Bad news for Rockets fans. Houston heads to San Antonio tonight for their second contest of the season against the Spurs. But it is not the end of the world. Back on the 6th, the Rockets survived a 4-for-14 shooting performance by T-Mac to beat their instate rivals 89-81. In fact, the Rockets might get through this without too much damage. Considering the Spurs got roughed up by Dirk & Co. last night, with a big effort, they might steal one on the road. They have to turn right around and host the Suns on Saturday, but after that they’re off until next Wednesday. Meaning McGrady could be ready to go just in time for a huge game against the Mavs.
Thursday’s Player of the Day: Manu Ginobili @ Dallas 31 min, 25 pts (FG: 7-15, 3FG: 1-4, FT: 10-13), 9 reb, 7 ast, 3 stl
Friday’s Game to Watch: Miami (1-7) @ Boston (7-0)
It’s not too often that you’ll see a team as bad as the Heat make our Game to Watch, but today’s a little different. Pat Riley is on the edge of insanity after enduring the most embarrassing start of his career. Following getting drummed by the Sonics, he threatened to make “a massive shakeup” in his lineup. Well, “massive” really only describes one man on the Heat. So, don’t be surprised when Shaquille O’Neal isn’t jumping for the opening tip against the Celtics. And if Riley follows through, don’t expect Shaq’s absence to be the only new wrinkle in the starting five. So, will his tinkering pay off? Eh, probably not. We all know that Boston is on top of their game and the NBA at the moment. Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce are about as nasty a trio as the league has ever seen. All we know is that if this trick doesn’t smack some life into the Heat then Riley is probably going to be curled up in the corner of the visitors’ showers, mumbling and sucking his thumb after the game.
Buzzer Beater: Leave it to ESP-freakin’-N to go totally overboard with the Celtics quick start out of the gate. Now, we know that Boston has looked pretty darn good over their first seven games, but are we really doing this already?
NBA Best Teams Ever Comparison
2007-08 Celtics vs. 1995-96 Bulls
Twelve years ago, the Chicago Bulls set a standard of success that many think will never be matched: 72-10 in the regular season. Almost a perfect season.
Well, now we have another fast-starting team, and so far they are running with the Bulls. The Boston Celtics are on pace to surpass the Bulls’ 72 wins and become the second team to win 70 in a season.
Imagine that, they’re on pace to “become the second team to win 70 in a season.” Actually, right now, they’re on pace to win 82 games this season. This is so stupid; can’t we at least wait 10, 20, 30, dare we say, 40 games before we start clearing the pedestal for the new greatest team ever. These guys aren’t even the best Celtic team ever!