Around the Rim: Same ol’ faces in new places


1. Shaq’s back
Shaquille O’Neal finally made his Phoenix debut on Wednesday night in a great game versus his old Lakers squad. Unfortunately, Kobe Bryant didn’t give a flip about his old running mate’s coming out party. Bryant exploded for 41 points to help Los Angeles knock off the Suns 130-124. Shaq finished with 15 points and nine rebounds in 29 minutes and looked surprisingly good. He was even diving for loose balls and running down court on fast break opportunities. All in all, it was a pretty nice debut for the “Big Cactus.” However, someone who always has nice games for Phoenix is Shaq’s understudy, Amare Stoudemire. In the loss, Stoudemire had a monster of a game, scoring 37 and grabbing 15 boards.

2. Some things never change

Jason Kidd didn’t win very many games in his first stint with Dallas. Obviously, today’s Mavs are just a little better, but to Kidd it was déjà vu all over again as the Hornets ran past Dallas 104-93. Kidd recorded eight points, five assists, six rebounds and six turnovers in the defeat, but Dirk Nowitizki managed to put up a nice performance of 31 points and eight rebounds. However, nothing could top Chris Paul’s output on this night. Paul had 31 points of his own to go with 11 assists, five rebounds and nine steals. Kidd might be the future of Dallas, but Paul proved he’s the point guard of the future.

3. Baron beats the buzzer
Boston was perfect against the Western Conference until the other night when they fell to Denver in Kevin Garnett’s return to the lineup. Now, thanks to Baron Davis’ buzzer-beater, you can make that two consecutive losses for the Cs. Davis buried a jumper with .3 seconds remaining to give his Warriors a 119-117 win at home. The point guard scored 29 in the contest while dishing out six assists and grabbing six boards. Monta Ellis had 26 to compliment Davis. For Boston, KG did what he could with a typical double-double of 17 points and 15 boards and he got plenty of help from Paul Pierce (23 pts) and Ray Allen (32 pts), but Davis just wouldn’t let Garnett pick up his first win since healing his injury.

Wednesday’s Player of the Day: LeBron James @ Indiana 43 min, 31 pts (FG: 11-22, 3FG: 1-5, FT: 8-12), 14 reb, 12 ast, 2 stl, 1 blk

Thursday’s Game to Watch: None
Don’t even bother watching any of the crummy games tonight. If anything, just tune into Inside the NBA. We guarantee it will be more entertaining than the on court action.

Buzzer Beater: New York fans were loosening up their vocal chords again on Wednesday, screaming for Isiah Thomas’ head once again as the Knicks were humiliated by the Sixers, losing by 40 points, 124-84. Frankly, we still don’t understand why Zeke has a job. Then again, they are the Knicks and it probably doesn’t matter who you stick into the head coaching seat – they are still going to look awful. Unless NY can pull off a Boston Celtics type trade and get LeBron James or Kobe Bryant before the trade deadline then you can expect at least a few more 35+ point losses this season.

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