Around the Rim: Scoring royalty


1. The King hits 10,000
You might as well etch LeBron James’ name in stone right now. James scored 26 points against the Celtics on Wednesday to become the youngest player (23 years, 59 days) in league history to accumulate 10,000 points. It’s a record that should last forever considering kids don’t have the luxury of jumping from high school straight to the pros anymore. Unfortunately, the darn game ruined LBJ’s night. First he tweaked his ankle in the second quarter, but luckily the X-rays came back negative, allowing James to return and set the new gold standard. Second and more importantly, Boston basically owned the game from start to finish, winning 92-87 behind Ray Allen’s 22 points and Kevin Garnett’s 18 and 11 boards.

2. Bibby soars like a eagle Hawk in home debut

Mike Bibby finally played his first game as a Hawk in front of the home crowd and he didn’t disappoint. Bibby finished with 24 points and 12 assists, helping Atlanta knock off his old Sacramento squad 123-117. Joe Johnson scored 26 to compliment his new point guard’s production and Josh Childress’ 25 points. Additionally, Al Horford (16 pts, 14 reb) and Josh Smith (14 pts, 10 reb) recorded double-doubles in the victory. Bibby’s replacement in Sactown, Beno Udrih, scored 25 points to go with eight assists, tying Brad Miller (13 reb) for team-high scoring honors.

3. Phoenix’s ups and downs continue
The yo-yoing continues for the Suns and last night they took a big dip, falling to the Hornets by 17 points, 120-103, in New Orleans. Of course, the storyline these days has little to do with the outcome and everything to do with Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq missed out on his second consecutive double-double by scoring 15 and grabbing seven rebounds as Phoenix lost its third game in five tries. The Big Cactus’ understudy looked like Shaq in his prime, minus a whole lotta pounds. Amare Stoudemire scored 32 points while grabbing 14 rebounds and blocking four shots; he even hit a trey in the process. And then we have the winners. Nawlins was led by Chris Paul’s 25-point, 15-assist effort while his fellow teammate/All-Star, David West, tallied a team-high 27 points.

Wednesday’s Player of the Day: Amare Stoudemire @ New Orleans 36 min, 32 pts (FG: 11-19, 3FG: 1-1, FT: 9-10), 14 reb, 4 ast, 1 stl, 4 blk

Thursday’s Game to Watch: Dallas (38-19) @ San Antonio (38-17)
This has easily been the best rivalry in the NBA over the past five years or so and this upcoming round should be another knock-down, drag-out brawl as the teams prepare for an almost inevitable postseason collision. Of course, this time around, the Mavericks have a new secret weapon in Jason Kidd. The Spurs could have acquired Kidd a few years back, but decided that Tony Parker was too valuable to get rid of. So far, it’s been the right decision as the Spurs keep adding jewelry to their fingers and Parker has a Finals MVP trophy with his name on it. However, now that the pair of PGs reside in the same division, it’s time for a true personal rivalry to be born. And if it’s anything like the teams’ competitions with each other then it could blow the roof off the AT&T Center.

Buzzer Beater: Sucks to be Seattle about now. The Sonics scored 96 points on Wednesday night against the Nuggets and lost…by 42 points!!! It was an ugly, ugly showing in Key Arena as the home town zeros shot a paltry 37-of-102 (.363) from the field while Denver hit 59-of-88 (.670). The loss was the fourth biggest in franchise history, falling five points shy of matching the record from back in 1968. Kevin Durant had another horrible night shooting which is becoming an all too common occurrence for the rookie. Durant was 4-of-17 from the floor, earning 16 points in the contest, eight of which came from the charity stripe.

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