Around the Rim: Stayin’ alive in SA


1. Dynamic duo comes through
The Spurs knew they had to win Game 3 or the curtain on their 2008 season would come down. The defending champs weren’t able to stop Chris Paul, but by containing the rest of the Hornets squad, San Antonio grabbed its first win of the series, 110-99, behind the offensive wizardry of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. The Spurs backcourt provided 31 points apiece to offset another tremendous game from the should-be MVP Paul. The Hornets guard was close to yet another 30 and 10 game, finishing with 35 points and nine assists as he torched San Antonio from every possible angle. It was a back and forth contest all night, but the Spurs used and 11-0 run, capped off by a Bruce Bowen trey, to seal the game with 5:57 remaining. Tim Duncan had a big role in the victory as well with 16 points and 13 rebounds, but there’s no doubt who stole the show. Parker and Ginobili became just the third duo in the past 15 seasons to each post 30 points in a playoff game. Dwyane Wade (32 pts) and Damon Jones (30 pts) did it for the Heat in 2005 and ten years earlier, Kenny Smith (32 pts) and Clyde Drexler (30 pts) went off for the Rockets.

2. Shutdown by Beantown

LeBron James is in a serious funk. After missing 16-of-18 shots in Game 1, James had another dreadful shooting performance in Game 2, going 6-for-24 from the field in an 89-73 loss to the Celtics. James finished with 21 points and seven turnovers in the contest. On the other side of the court, Paul Pierce (19 pts) and Ray Allen (16 pts) broke out of their opening game funk, joining Kevin Garnett (13 pts, 12 reb) in double-digits. The Cavs were able to take an early lead despite losing Ben Wallace in the opening minutes after he began experiencing dizziness and had to be taken to the locker room. However, the Cs roared back in the second and third quarters when they combined to outscore Cleveland 53-27. The defense is clicking for Boston in this series and with Allen and Pierce returning to form, so is the offense. Good thing Game 3 is taking place in Cleveland, the Cavs need all the help they can get.

3. Dream team
If you’re wondering what the ultimate fantasy basketball lineup is, wonder no more. The NBA released the players on the All-NBA team and it is a star-studded affair indeed. Led by the only unanimous selection of the first team and current MVP Kobe Bryant, the panel gave its utmost props to Chris Paul, LeBron James, Dwight Howard and Kevin Garnett. Second team honors were issued to Phoenix duo Amare Stoudemire and Steve Nash, as well as Tim Duncan, Deron Williams and Dirk Nowitzki while Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady, Carlos Boozer, Paul Pierce and Manu Ginobili make up the third team. In case you’re wondering, all five first teamers and 10 of the 15 total players are still alive in postseason action.

Thursday’s Player of the Day: Tony Parker vs. New Orleans 41 min, 31 pts (FG: 12-24, 3FG: 0-1, FT: 7-8), 4 reb, 11 ast

Buzzer Beater: Happy birthday Mike D’Antoni. The coach turned 57 years old on Thursday and looks like he might get a giant wad of cash from the Knicks as a gift. New York is poised to offer D’Antoni a five-year deal in the neighborhood of $30 million! D’Antoni has yet to make a decision about his coaching future as he is apparently bouncing between either Chicago or the Big Apple. However, after the Knicks threw down there offer, sources in Phoenix could hear screams of “Yippeee!” and “I’m rich bitch!” emanating from the D’Antoni house.

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