Around the Rim: Distraught in Dallas


1. Big D continues shrinking
The last time Cleveland grabbed a victory in Dallas was in 2000 PJ. To those who don’t know, PJ means pre-James; as in LeBron James. On Thursday night, that streak came to an end as James scored 24 points to lift his squad to an 88-81 victory over the sagging Mavericks. Dallas is now 19-11 on the season with no end in sight for their inconsistencies. Dirk Nowitzki scored 19 points to go with his 20 rebounds, but the tailspin continues for Big D who had just 15 losses in the entire 2006-07 campaign. Regardless of their struggles, you can’t count out the Mavs just yet. After all, this is a team that lost eight consecutive games between the Finals of ’06 through the opening of ’07 before winning 67 of their next 78 games.

2. That’s Amare

When Amare Stoudemire gets going, it’s basically impossible to stop him; just ask the Clippers. The man-child went off for 30 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks against the other L.A. team as the Suns built up a 36-point lead at one point, en route to a 108-88 victory in Los Angeles. Heck, the big man had a double-double by the half (20 pts, 11 reb). Making a good thing even better for Phoenix is the fact that they host the same squad tonight in an Arizona arena after spending their last two games in L.A. playing the Lakers and Clippers. Well, playing the Clippers might be an overstatement. The Suns were up by 19 at the half and 30 after three quarters. And that Chris Kaman guy who is deservedly getting serious All-Star consideration was invisible on Thursday, finishing with nine rebounds and nine points on four-of-17 shooting.

3. Boston’s U turn
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, what a difference a year makes. The Celtics managed to win just 24 games all of last season. One year and two superstars later, Boston has 24 wins in only 27 games! Their latest victory was an easy one as the Cs ran over the Sonics in Seattle 104-96. Ray Allen finished with just 10 points in his return to Seattle, but Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce combined for 60 points and 20 rebounds in the victory. The other Kevin in the other shade of green shot 10-of-23 for 25 points as his team fell to 8-21 in his rookie campaign. Boston’s west coast road trip continues on Saturday when they take on the Jazz, followed by a trip to Tinseltown for a contest against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.

Thursday’s Player of the Day: Amare Stoudemire @ Los Angeles Clippers 27 min, 40 pts (FG: 11-14, FT: 8-10), 15 reb, 1 ast, 4 blk

Friday’s Game to Watch: Denver (17-11) @ Golden State (17-12)
The only teams that score more points per game than the Nuggets are the Warriors and the Suns, so if you like watching teams put the ball in the basket then this is the game for you. Golden State is always worth watching with their small-ball, run-n-fun style. And when you throw in the added benefit of possibly catching a glimpse of a pregnant Jessica Alba sitting courtside then it becomes a `definitely must watch’ contest. Of course, if you prefer the game itself then we guess you could watch Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony do their thing. That might be entertaining as well.

Buzzer Beater: Gilbert Arenas isn’t like most NBAers. He doesn’t need a car or a house or more bling-bling to make him happy at Christmas. Nope, Agent 0 is perfectly satisfied with the lil’ things in life.

Then, I woke up the other day and saw a package at my door. The package was Lil’ Penny in a box, something I’ve wanted since I was little. I was just so happy about it.

It’s Lil’ Penny man!

Whew, for a second there we thought we heard you say it was something else in a box.

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