1. Hollywood comeback story
The Clippers looked like a team that was ready to start the off season early as fell down to the Lakers by 17 points before ripping off a huge fourth quarter to give the Clips an unbelievable 118-110 victory that breathed life back into their season. Kobe Bryant put up another 50-point performance but he was ice cold in the final quarter to give the Lakers their third consecutive loss. Bryant has now put together nine separate 50-point games this year which matches Wilt Chamberlain’s nine 50’s in the 1964-65 season. But Corey Maggette’s career-high 39 proved to be more important in the contest, and with the win, the Clippers jumped over Golden State to grab the eighth and final spot in the West.
2. Mrs. Ham tried to bring home the bacon illegally
It’s not uncommon for an athlete to smile and wave into the lens of a camera when someone puts it in front of their face. And the two most common words that accompany such an opportunity of national exposure are most certainly “Hi Mom.” Well, former NBAer Darvin Ham might be reduced to buying courtside tickets and dropping the camera guy a 20 dollar bill in order to get a little face time if he wants to converse with his momma after she was charged with arson and insurance fraud. Apparently, instead of trading in her 1986 Mercedes-Benz to the dealership, she decided to torch the car and make a false insurance claim. If that’s not bad enough Darvin’s mom, Wilmer Jones Ham, is the former mayor of Saginaw, Michigan. Hopefully she has a couple of friends who are lenient judges.
3. Cleveland rocks Jersey
The Cleveland Cavaliers might have the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, but thanks to a 94-76 victory over the Nets last night, the Cavs locked up home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Oh, yea, and they have a pretty good player on their squad in LeBron James which lifts Cleveland’s fan’s spirits even higher. LBJ put together a 35 point performance that included a 15 point outburst in the third quarter of the Cavs blowout. The Cavaliers might have been to the post season last year but that doesn’t mean they are familiar with the territory. This will only be the team’s second playoff appearance since 1998.
Thursday’s Player of the Day: Corey Maggette @ Los Angeles Lakers 43 min, 39 pts (FG: 10-15, 3FG: 2-3, FT: 17-24), 8 reb, 9 ast, 4 stl, 1 blk
Friday’s Game to Watch: Detroit (51-27) @ Toronto (45-33) It’s a battle between two of the top clubs in the Eastern Conference and a possible second round preview with a great power forward match-up thrown in as well. The Pistons have won three straight and captured the top seed in the East, giving them home-court advantage all the way through the East finals. Chris Bosh has led the Raptors on a four game winning streak but he will have to contend with the pesky defense of Rasheed Wallace before claiming a fifth straight victory. Toronto is hungry, like Detroit a few years back, but completely inexperienced in playoff situations. Hopefully they can use this big game, late season atmosphere to mentally prepare for what’s to come. Otherwise, this might be a serious make up call to the Raptors that they still have a lot more to prove than simply winning a division crown.
Buzzer Beater: It’s going to be a bittersweet goodbye for the New Orleans Hornets tonight as they host the Denver Nuggets in the final game to be played by the franchise in Oklahoma City. There’s still a slight chance that the Hornets could fill the arena in the postseason but the odds are not with them. So, in all reality, this will be the final game played in a city that took in a team that had no where else to turn. Nobody would have ever considered that Oklahoma could handle a professional sports franchise, but if any good has come out of the relocation of the team it is that it became crystal clear that Oklahoma City loves them some B-ball. And now they are getting mentioned with Las Vegas and St. Louis as possible future franchise destinations. Geez, who woulda thunk it?