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Dallas Mavericks

Byron Scott is on Jerry Stackhouse’s hit list


Jerry Stackhouse might want to reconsider pissing off the Hornets. After getting blasted over the first two games of the series and falling into a 2-0 series hole against New Orleans, Stackhouse gave his opponents even more motivation on Wednesday night when he ripped into Hornets coach Byron Scott on a radio show.

I think it’s just about having personalities that mesh and I think Chris (Paul) is such a great guy, I think he’s been able to kind of deal with Byron Scott. I don’t think Byron Scott is the best coach or I don’t think he’s the best guy to deal with — you know what I’m sayin? — from some things that I’ve heard from other players and just some dealings that I had with him earlier in the season. I was about ready to kick his ass — you know what I’m sayin? He was sitting on the sideline and we just got into a little conversation or something and he was going to tell me, you know, ‘Talk to me when you get a ring.’ I was like, I told that fool, ‘If I played with Magic and Worthy and Kareem I’d have a ring, too. So, you know, he’s a sucker in my book, but that’s a whole other story.

Well, guess what Stack; you don’t play with Magic, Worthy or Kareem. Nope, you play with perennial playoff choke artists like Dirk Nowitzki. From collapsing in Game 3 against the Heat to getting smacked down by the last-seeded Warriors to barely making the playoffs before dropping the first two against an inexperienced New Orleans squad; sorry Stackhouse, but you are no Byron Scott.

Good luck handling an angry Chris Paul who will be looking to avenge his coach’s name in Game 3.

Links:

[StarTelegram.com]: Stackhouse no fan of Byron Scott

Categories
Dallas Mavericks

Around the Rim: Dallas is dancing


1. Dirk saves the best for last
Thanks to a last-second dagger from Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavs are in the playoffs. With the scored tied at 94 apiece, Nowitzki got a trey to fall with 0.9 seconds on the clock and Dallas secured a seed in the second season. Nowitzki scored a game-high 32 points in the 97-94 home floor victory to go along with 21 points – all in the second half – from Jason Terry. The twosome was basically impossible to stop down the stretch as they combined for 25 points in the fourth quarter. After picking up a big time road win in New Orleans on Tuesday, the Jazz returned to their disappointing ways away from home. Utah is now 17-23 on the road, but thanks to its division title, it will have homecourt advantage in the opening round regardless of how their regular season ends.

2. Warriors dealt a brutal blow

For the Nuggets and the Warriors, last night’s battle was perhaps the most important game to date for either team. In the end, Allen Iverson and the Nuggets proved too difficult a challenge and laid claim to a one game lead in the home stretch of an intense playoff race. A.I. posted 33 points in the 114-105 win at Golden State and the Nuggets finally have a measure of breathing room. Carmelo Anthony added 25 points, nine rebounds and five steals while J.R. Smith came off the bench to score 24. Led by Baron Davis’ third triple-double of the season (20 pts, 10 reb, 11 ast), all five starters for the Warriors finished in double-figures. But the numbers mean nothing at this point because the loss was devastating for Golden State. The Warriors almost have to win their final three games while praying the Nuggets drop at least two.

3. LA beats LA in LA
The Lakers only got 16 points out of Kobe Bryant last night against the Clippers and that was 16 more than they needed. Los Angeles grabbed a road victory by pounding the Clippers 106-78. What was briefly a rivalry between the two L.A. clubs has again turned into a manhandling. On Thursday, Luke Walton had the honors of personally dismantling the Clips by scoring 18 points while Lamar Odom went off for a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. The Lakers are still trying to catch New Orleans for the top seed in the playoffs, but need to move up another 1 ½ games to do so. Coincidentally, the two just so happen to be playing each other tonight.

Thursday’s Player of the Day: Allen Iverson @ Golden State 48 min, 33 pts (FG: 12-21, 3FG: 1-2, FT: 8-12), 3 reb, 9 ast, 3 stl

Friday’s Game to Watch: New Orleans (55-23) @ Los Angeles Lakers (54-25)
This game has a whole slew of storylines. First off, the clubs are battling it out for conference supremacy with Nawlins currently holding a slight (1 ½ game) lead over the Lakers. To date, the Hornets own a 2-1 advantage in head-to-head battles this season, including a 118-104 victory in Los Angeles back in November. But, perhaps, the most compelling reason to watch this game has to do with the matchup between the two most popular candidates for league MVP. Kobe Bryant is the most explosive scorer in the league and he’s become one of the best team players in the league, averaging 28.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. Meanwhile, Chris Paul is playing out of his mind this season, averaging 21.2 points and posting league-best numbers in assists (11.5) and steals (2.7) per game.

Buzzer Beater: Good news for Miami Heat fans, if there are any left. The team is desperate to get people back into the arena after an embarrassing 14-64 season, which means cheap seats!

The team with the NBA’s worst record is offering $10-per-game season tickets for 2008-09.

The Miami Heat announced the “Ten Gets You In!” promotion on Wednesday. The seats selling for $10 are in the upper deck behind the baselines.

Get ’em while they’re hot!

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Dallas Mavericks

Around the Rim: Welcome back


1. Dirk Nowitzki does his best Willis Reed impersonation
Dirk Nowitzki knew that he team was circling the drain while he rode the pine with a leg injury, so on Wednesday night, the German sharpshooter decided to suit up and help his team climb out of the toilet. It worked. For the first time since acquiring Jason Kidd, the Mavericks defeated a team with a winning record and they did so in convincing fashion, stomping a mud hole in their bitter rivals from Golden State. Nowitzki finished with 18 points and Jason Terry posted a game-high 31 as Dallas cruised to an easy 111-86 victory. The Warriors just could not find their offense, needing 86 attempts to tally 86 points while the Mavs drained 48 percent of their field goals. Led by Kidd’s 17 dimes, Dallas finished with a whopping 35 assists compared to Golden State’s 10 and killed the normally up-tempo Warriors in fastbreak points, 44-16.

2. Brand new

After missing nearly a year of action, Elton Brand is back. The mild-mannered, double-double machine took to the court against the Sonics on Wednesday evening and posted 19 points – 13 in the fourth quarter – and five rebounds to help the Clippers pound Seattle 102-84. Brand went down with a torn left Achilles back on April 18, 2007, and wasn’t expected to return until Thursday, but he felt so good before the game that coach Mike Dunleavy decided to go ahead and give him some minutes; 26 to be exact. Kevin Durant had one of his best games, finishing with 30 points on 13-of-23 shooting, but it couldn’t overshadow the play of Brand. In addition to his points and boards, Brand dished out three assists, blocked a shot and tallied a steal.

3. Lakers get their groove back
The Lakers got a boost of their own last night as Pau Gasol returned to the lineup and posted 10 points, six rebounds and seven assists in a 104-91 victory over Portland. Gasol had been out of action due to a sprained ankle he suffered nearly three weeks ago. Kobe Bryant racked up 14 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter and grabbed 13 rebounds to help his squad pull within 1 ½ games of first place New Orleans. The Lakers lost four of nine games without Gasol after posting a 15-4 record following his acquisition. The return is huge for a relatively small lineup in L.A., but the key for any sort of Lakers postseason success lies in the return of center Andrew Bynum. As of now, Los Angeles is hoping and praying the big man is healthy enough to get some critical minutes before the second season starts.

Wednesday’s Player of the Day: Kobe Bryant vs. Portland 41 min, 36 pts (FG: 10-16, 3FG: 4-5, FT: 12-13), 13 reb, 7 ast, 3 stl

Thursday’s Game to Watch: Houston (49-25) @ Portland (38-37)
Hey, on a night when Cleveland plays Chicago and the Clippers face the Kings, we decided to choose the lesser of three evils. Houston continues to flounder since running off 22 consecutive wins and they are now on a two-game losing streak and have lost five of its last 10 games. Portland isn’t much better, dropping three in a row and six of its last 10. Luckily, Inside the NBA comes on tonight and we’ll get to hear Charles Barkley rip both of these clubs for being as soft as his belly.

Buzzer Beater: On a night when injured players returned left and right, we would be remiss to not mention the comeback of Gilbert Arenas. Agent 0 missed 66 games with a knee injury before scoring 17 points against the Bucks on Wednesday. Unfortunately for Arenas, his return was overshadowed by Ramon Sessions and his buzzer-beater that gave Milwaukee a 110-109 victory. And the bad night didn’t stop there for Washington. Right when it appeared the Wizards were back to full capacity, new injuries to key components took their toll. Antawn Jamison left the game with a sprained right shoulder and the thickly bearded DeShawn Stevenson exited with a sprained right ankle.

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Dallas Mavericks

Around the Rim: Dallas continues to lose its grip on a playoff appearance


1. Free fallin’
Dallas thought trading for Jason Kidd would give them the magic they needed to keep pace with the other big time teams in the West. However, with Dirk Nowitzki riding the pine with an injury, the Mavericks are now in danger of becoming the team to miss the postseason after falling to their rivals in Golden State 114-104. The loss was the second consecutive for Big D and they are now sitting in a three-way tie with Denver and Golden State for the final ticket to the second season. Obviously, one of these three teams will be worrying about ping-pong balls come playoff time instead of looking to grab a ring and at this pace, don’t be surprised if it’s the new-look Mavs. Dallas is 5-5 over its last 10 games and must now prepare for contests against the Warriors (again), the Lakers and the Suns.

2. Rockets need a booster

The Rockets’ big win streak continues to look more and more and more like a fluke everyday. On Sunday, they looked like the team that earned the No. 1 pick to get Yao Ming instead of the team that went on the second-longest successful streak in league history, losing to San Antonio by 21 points. The Spurs dominated from the get-go, rushing out to a 35-24 first quarter lead before winning 109-88 behind 22 points each from Tony Parker and Michael Finley. The victory was the seventh consecutive for SA and put them into second place in the Western Conference race while dropping the Rockets to sixth. Luckily, Houston has an excellent opportunity to increase its stock as they wrap up the regular season with contests against Sacramento, Portland, Seattle and the Clippers coming up; unfortunately they are all on the road.

3. The many faces of Kobe Bryant
Just one game after dropping 53 points in a loss to Memphis, Kobe Bryant decided to be a facilitator against the Wizards and led his team to a 126-120 overtime win. Bryant finished with 26 points and 13 assists to snap a two-game losing streak and move back within one game of the West’s best record. The victory gave LA its 50th of the season for the 29th time in franchise history. Caron Butler went off for a triple-double (17 pts, 12 reb and 12 ast) and his team connected on 17-of-30 treys (.567). But Washington wasn’t alone in its three-point accuracy. Los Angeles hit 14-of-27 (.519) and the game marked the first time in league history that both teams shot over 50 percent from behind the arc, but under 50 percent from the floor (LA: .494, WAS: .466).

Sunday’s Player of the Day: LeBron James vs. Philadelphia 42 min, 26 pts (FG: 11-18, 3FG: 1-2, FT: 3-3), 9 reb, 9 ast, 3 stl, 1 blk

Monday’s Game to Watch: Denver (45-28) @ Phoenix (49-24)
The Nuggets currently own the final playoff spot in the West, but that doesn’t mean anything at the moment.
If they want to hold onto their position then they will have to rise to the occasion once again in an arena where the home team is 26-10. Denver is streaking with five straight wins, however in a super competitive race, all it takes is one loss and the Nuggets will be back on the outside looking in. Barring a complete collapse, the Suns are in, but they are defiantly looking to improve their seed because as it sits now, they would most likely have to play on the road for the opening round against Utah. But like we said, everything can change with one game and this very well could be that one game.

Buzzer Beater: The Miami Heat set another record in futility against the Celtics on Sunday by connecting on a mere 17 field goals – the fewest since the shot clock came into play – in an 88-62 loss. After the game, the Truth told the truth about the horrible, horrible Heat.

They got D-Leaguers out there, so I think we just handled our business,” the Boston forward said (Paul Pierce), listing some of the five Miami players who spent time in the developmental league this season. “We’re supposed to do that. We knew this was a game we were supposed to win, and we just focused from the jump and went out and did it.

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Dallas Mavericks

Dirk Nowitzki starts preparing for life after basketball

Dirk Nowitzki might be out of action, but that doesn’t mean he’s out of reactions.

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Dallas Mavericks

Around the Rim: Down goes Dirk! Down goes Dirk!


1. The M.V.P. is O.U.T.
The Mavericks lost a whole lot more than just the game when they played San Antonio on Sunday, they also lost Dirk Nowitzki. In the third quarter Nowitzki took a nasty fall and his left leg got caught up underneath him, leaving him in pain and the Mavs in misery. The “lower left leg injury” is expected to keep Dirk out of action for at least two weeks which could spell disaster for Dallas’ playoff chances because after falling 88-81 to the Spurs, the Mavericks are now just two games from falling out of the chase as they currently sit in seventh place. The defeat dropped Dallas to 0-8 versus teams with winning records since acquiring Jason Kidd. The Spurs on the other hand are starting to improve, winning their third consecutive game after going through a horrible 1-6 slump.

2. Denver’s playoff push continues

Denver is a tough team to beat when Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony get hot. Just ask Toronto. The duo combined for 69 points in a 109-100 defeat of the Raptors up in Canada. A.I. exploded for 36 points while Anthony posted 33 to help Denver win its second consecutive game. The Nuggets are racing the clock and the competition as they try to claw their way back into the postseason’s elite eight out West. Toronto is slipping and sliding its way to the bottom of its conference with a 2-8 record over the last 10 games. Not even having their superstar back is helping. The Raptors are 1-2 since Chris Bosh returned to the lineup. Against Denver, Bosh was doing it all in the loss, finishing with 17 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.

3. Lakers rally in vain
The Lakers trailed by 26 points at one point against the Warriors on Sunday and damn near rallied all the way back, but Stephen Jackson thwarted the comeback. Jackson made a pair of big treys in the final minute, giving him 31 points on the day and his team a 115-111 road victory. Monta Ellis matched Jackson’s 31 point output and Baron Davis added 18 to help Golden State avoid a total choke job. Kobe Bryant had 36 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists in the loss. Los Angeles is now sitting in second place in the Western Conference, trailing New Orleans via tiebreaker, but has considerably cooled off, going 6-4 in their last 10 contests. However, LA can avenge the loss tonight as it turns around and heads to Golden State for the tail end of the home-and-home.

Sunday’s Player of the Day: Kobe Bryant vs. Golden State 46 min, 36 pts (FG: 13-30, 3FG: 3-9, FT: 7-7), 14 reb, 8 ast, 1 stl,

Monday’s Game to Watch: Phoenix (47-22) @ Detroit (49-20)
Talk about a contrast in styles! The Suns are the second best offensive team in the league, averaging 110.2 points per game while Detroit is the second best defensive unit in the Association, giving up a meager 90.8 points a contest. Tonight, something has to give. The Pistons are riding a two game losing streak after falling to Cleveland and Washington on the road, but they will have the advantage of playing at home against Phoenix where they are 27-6. But home court advantage might not be enough as the Suns are finally clicking with Shaquille O’Neal, winning seven straight. In the last five games, Phoenix has been able to keep O’Neal’s minutes to a minimum (27.6 per game) while getting nearly a double-double (14. ppg, 19.6) out of him.

Buzzer Beater: For the first time in the history of the NBA it appears that we are going to see a 50+ win team miss the playoffs. And, of course, we are talking about the unlucky souls who get the shaft out West. Currently, that team is the Denver Nuggets with a 42-28 record.

I’ve never seen anything like it. I call it the Halley’s Comet year of the NBA,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “Once every 99 years something like this happens. Why I have to be a part of it, I want to know why.

Categories
Dallas Mavericks

Around the Rim: Jason Kidd is getting in the groove


1. Second verse, better than the first
The second round of the Jason Kidd experiment in Dallas got off to a rough start as their new acquisition managed five assists and six turnovers in his debut. In two games since then, Kidd has been well worth the wait, producing 32 dimes in a pair of victories. On Sunday, Kidd kicked out a season-high tying 17 assists to go with 12 points and seven rebounds in a 99-83 Mavericks win in Minnesota. Dirk Nowitzki was on the receiving end of several passes from his new best friend as he racked up 29 points and eight rebounds. The T-Wolves played a fairly decent game, shooting 49.4 percent, but they got absolutely blasted at the charity stripe. Minnesota shot just 5-of-9 from the free throw line while Dallas took 27 trips to the line, connecting on 22 attempts. Al Jefferson scored 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the defeat.

2. Blazers postseason chances take a huge hit

Portland gave Boston a good run for its money on Sunday night, but Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were too much for the Blazers to handle, nailing four 3-pointers apiece in a 112-102 victory. Last game out, the Celtics fell to Shaquille O’Neal and the Suns with Pierce producing a paltry eight points. In Portland, Pierce was on fire, connecting on 12-of-14 shots for 30 points while Allen went 7-for-8 en route to 19 points. The duo was so pinpoint they didn’t even need the third third of the Big Three; Kevin Garnett finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. The loss was bad for Portland who is trying to claw its way back into the playoff picture, but it wasn’t even close to being the worst part of the night. Brandon Roy suffered a right ankle sprain in the third quarter and although he had yet to undergo an MRI, he speculated that he could be out of action for up to two weeks.

3. The Big Disappointment
Just one day after knocking off the best team in the entire NBA, the Suns were absolutely obliterated by the Pistons, losing by 30 points in their own gym. Detroit jumped all over Phoenix early and never let up as they rolled to a 116-86 victory with Rasheed Wallace’s 22 points pacing six Pistons in double-digits. Amare Stoudemire led the Suns in scoring, finishing with 31 points, but Phoenix is now 1-2 during the Shaquille O’Neal era. The Big Cactus crashed the boards, grabbing 11, but only put up seven points on offense while reminding the world he still can’t hit free throws (1-8 FT). The big question now is does this loss say more about Phoenix’s new look or does it help signify Detroit as truly the best team in the East?

Sunday’s Player of the Day: LeBron James vs. Memphis 39 min, 25 pts (FG: 10-17, 3FG: 1-4, FT: 4-5), 7 reb, 11 ast, 3 stl, 1 blk

Sunday’s Game to Watch: Detroit (41-15) @ Denver (33-22)
Detroit has to be feeling pretty good after humiliating the Suns in Phoenix and snapping its 11-game win streak versus Eastern Conference teams, but winning in Denver is no easy task. The Nuggets are 22-6 on their home floor and unlike Detroit, if they extend their current two-game losing streak then they could easily fall out of the playoff race in the West which should provide ample motivation for not only Denver, but every team in the conference. It’s going to be like the All-Star game all over again tonight with five participants from that contest playing in this contest – Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony, Rasheed Wallace, Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton.

Buzzer Beater: There was no real reason why Kobe Bryant needed to stick around, so with about four minutes left in the third quarter and the Lakers enjoying a 31-point lead over Seattle, he decided to take the rest of the evening off. Actually, referee Brian Forte made the decision for him, slapping Bryant with a pair of technicals after the league’s second-leading scorer started popping off at the mouth. Bryant had 21 points and 10 assists when he was tossed, but it didn’t matter in the end as the Lakers cruised to a 111-91 win.

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Dallas Mavericks

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.

Categories
Dallas Mavericks

Around the Rim: Dirk & Co. throw away a golden opportunity


1. Dallas downer
The on-again-off-again Mavericks are back and currently the switch is off. With Gilbert Arenas riding the pine for the next three months, Dallas couldn’t capitalize and allowed the Wizards to come into Big D and post a 110-98 victory inside American Airlines Center. The Mavs have now lost three in a row after winning five consecutive, but Dallas got some help from the Kings who knocked off the Spurs in Sacramento. Still, a half game here and there won’t make a lick of difference in the postseason if Dallas shoots as poorly as they did on Monday. Dirk Nowitzki went 10-of-18 for 31 points and the rest of his crew was a miserable 23-for-66, including a 3-of-21 display from downtown while Caron Butler had a game-high 35 points and Antawn Jamison finished with 27. The Dallas roster can expect more “verbal abuse” to come spewing out of Avery Johnson after this loss.

2. Warriors came out to play

The Warriors’ comeback from a simply despicable start isn’t complete just yet, but it took a gigantic leap forward last night. It only counts as one game, but to Golden State, their 129-114 shootout victory over Phoenix must feel like they just upset a No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Okay, well not that good, but three players finishing with 28 or more points has to be pretty euphoric for the club that basically threw away the first two weeks of the season. Stephen Jackson had 32 points, Monta Ellis finished with 31 and Baron Davis put in 28 to overcome a pair of double-doubles from Shawn Marion and Steve Nash. If the Warriors can defeat Sacramento on Wednesday then they will finally join the .500 club and hopefully we’ll start seeing a whole lot more of Jessica Alba.

3. Orlando. Oregon. It makes no difference to the Magic
We should have seen two of the brightest stars in the league go head to head, but instead we saw Orlando coast to a 85-74 victory over Portland and become the first team to reach the lucky 13th win (nope, Boston is sitting at 11-1). The Trail Blazers could have used Greg Oden’s massive frame in the middle because it didn’t take a whole lot for the Magic to get the job done. Dwight Howard only mustered up nine points of offense, but he grabbed 14 rebounds while Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis combined for 41 points. Teams better enjoy beating up on Portland right now because Oden’s injury is only making this club stronger. LaMarcus Aldridge is becoming the weapon he was drafted to become and despite his rough outing against Orlando, Brandon Roy (4-18, 12 pts) is shaping up to be all that and then some. If the top pick of this year’s rookie class pans out upon his return, there’s going to be a Western Conference red and black attack for years to come.

Monday’s Player of the Day: Chris Paul vs. Minnesota 43 min, 31 pts (FG: 10-19, 3FG: 3-4, FT: 8-8), 1 reb, 11 ast, 4 stl

Tuesday’s Game to Watch: Boston (11-1) @ Cleveland (8-6)
It is arguably the best player on the planet versus arguably the best trio on the planet, but that doesn’t mean this is a clear cut victory for the men in green. The Celtics have looked incredible over their opening frame of the schedule, but everyone saw how LeBron James torched the Pistons last year; he could do it again. LBJ is riding back-to-back triple doubles and his team has now won four of their last five games. Boston has also won four of their last five, of course, they’ve also won 11 of their last 12, but who’s counting? The Cs have been kicking their feet up since narrowing escaping Charlotte with a win on Saturday, but they should get prepared to see a lot of No. 23 flying to the rim because Boston and Cleveland hook up twice in the next six days.

Buzzer Beater: Kobe Bryant might be the only scorer in the league more explosive than Tracy McGrady. T-Mac blew up for 19 of his 36 points during the fourth as the Rockets ran away from LaLa Land (Clippers, not Lakers) with an 88-71 victory. We’ve seen it time and again, but it never ceases to amaze. McGrady’s 13-of-26 performance from the floor followed a 13-for-23 shooting spree against Denver that netted him 35 points. Guess that elbow is feeling a little better.

Categories
Dallas Mavericks

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?