Around the Rim: Second half, second wind


1. Dirk shows why he’s an MVP
The Mavericks looked dead in the water when they fell down by 24 points to the Raptors last night, but Dirk Nowitzki led a furious comeback that ended with Dallas on top by six, 105-99. This was the second time the Mavericks erased a 24-point Raptor advantage and it was the biggest comeback in franchise history that ended in regulation. The last time Dallas came back big on Toronto, they needed overtime to seal the deal. Nowitzki nailed four consecutive 3-pointers during the last 1:41 of the third en route to 18 points for the quarter. He finished the game with a season-high 32 points to go with seven rebounds. The Mavs turn right around for another tough test, traveling to Houston for a game tonight in which Tracy McGrady might be reinserted into the starting five after missing a week with an elbow injury.

2. Devolution

The Baby Bulls are back and it’s not pretty for Chicago fans. The once proud franchise is now sitting in a 2-8 hole to start the season, their worst beginning since going 0-9 in 2004-05. The Nuggets rolled over them in the Mile High City last night 112-91. The Bulls played a pretty solid game statistically, but their 40 percent shooting (38-95) killed them, along with their 24 fouls which translated into 28 points for Denver from the charity stripe. Perhaps most disturbing was the fact that goof-ball Joakim Noah led the way offensively with 16 points off the bench. Ben Gordon was a pitiful 2-of-14 from the floor for six points and the rest of starting crew brought a whopping 32 points to the table. If Chicago can’t turn this around over the next four games then they’ll never turn it around. Coming up are back-to-back road games with the Knicks and Raptors before a home stand against Atlanta and Charlotte.

3. Who he play for?
We didn’t know who Andray Blatche was before last night, but now we sure do. The 6-foot-11-inch, 248-pound forward from South Kent Prep in Connecticut came off the bench for game-high/career-high 26 points on 12-of-14 shooting while grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out four assists. Of course, Gilbert Arenas was out of the lineup with a knee injury and remains a gametime decision for the near future. But, don’t worry; Blatche is doing an excellent job of filling in for the big-mouthed Arenas, both on and off the court.

I’m getting me a blog,” said Blatche, referencing Arenas’ popular offbeat Internet journal. “Y’all stay tuned. Coming to a town near y’all, I’m getting my blog. It’s going to be: ‘When keeping it real goes wrong.’

Tuesday’s Player of the Day: Michael Redd @ Cleveland 39 min, 34 pts (FG: 8-15, 3FG: 3-5, FT: 15-20), 7 reb, 6 ast, 3 stl, 2 blk

Wednesday’s Game to Watch: Orlando (10-2) @ San Antonio (9-2)
Orlando’s play has been incredible to say the least. The Magic are off to one of the greatest starts in club history and with just 12 games under their belts, they have already amassed a three game advantage over their closest division rival. And even though all the praise in the East is going to the Celtics, the Magic actually hold a ½ game lead in the standings and they are the only team in the league with a victory over Boston. San Antonio is on a two-game win streak after falling to the Mavs last week. Something has to give tonight as the Spurs are a perfect 6-0 at home while Orlando is undefeated through seven contests on the road.

Buzzer Beater: We knew the Wizards were a so-so organization on the court, but we never knew they were complete imbeciles in the front office (other than the Kwame Brown fiasco, of course). The Wiz finally decided to honor the greatest player in team history (MJ doesn’t count) and it only took them 36 years! Earl “The Pearl” Monroe’s jersey will be hoisted into the rafters on Dec. 1, and it’s just 27 years after his retirement. The Pearl spent nine years in New York after the Wizards Bullets traded him in 1971, where he remained until calling it quits, but once Monroe said he wanted to go into the Hall of Fame wearing a Bullets jersey, the organization should have sprung into action. Unfortunately, that was in 1990. You hearin’ this Agent 0?

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