1. It’s getting hot in here
The series between Dallas and Golden State just keeps getting better and better as the rivalry grows bitterer and bitterer with every dribble of the ball. In game two we saw some real fire between the clubs in a very physical session that was littered with enough trash talk to fill a city dump. And in the end it was the Mavericks who walked away with a 112-99 victory and tied the series at 1-1. Baron Davis got ejected from the game at the end of the third quarter for clapping sarcastically at a call, which basically ended the Warriors chances of leaving Big D with a two game sweep in hand. Then Stephen Jackson took his sweet time leaving the court after he got ejected late in the fourth and gave the refs a nice sized piece of his mind on the way out. But just wait until an arena full of blood thirsty Warriors fans provide the backdrop for a big time game three that could swing momentum into the direction of either team. Hopefully there won’t be any suspensions handed out for the Davis and Jackson incidents or for a brief skirmish that broke out during the third quarter. Maybe all this bad blood stems from the Don Nelson connection but who cares how it originated, it’s producing some freakin’ exciting ballgames; even the one’s that are 13 point blowouts.
2. Carlisle out
In a pretty shocking move, the Pacers decided to axe their coach after the team suffered through a dreadful second half of the season en route to a 35-47 record. Indiana had a horrible season, their worst since 1988-89, and has gotten gradually worse every year under each of Rick Carlisle’s four years. But don’t expect this to be the last thing you hear from Indy this off-season because a complete overhaul could be in store for the Pacers. Stephen Jackson was already traded away and Jamaal Tinsley and Jermaine O’Neal probably aren’t too far behind. Larry Bird is a hardcore winner and he will do anything to get his fix, so a blockbuster deal for Kevin Garnett or Pau Gasol could definitely be in the cards. And, well what do you know; Larry Brown is suddenly interested in coaching again.
3. Gimme that game back!
San Antonio was rolling to an easy victory as game two of their series with Denver entered the fourth quarter but the Spurs almost let a late game slip cost them the victory. With 7:16 remaining in the game, San Antonio grabbed a 17 point lead, 84-67, but by the time the clock struck the 45 second mark, the Nuggets were within three points, 88-91, of a 2-0 lead over the three time champs. But the Spurs held on and evened up the series 1-1 after ripping off six unanswered for a 97-88 victory. The defensive focus was targeted on Denver’s duo of Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson after they torched SA for 61 in the first game; in game two they were held to a combined 46 points on 46 shots. This series will be rockin’ in the Rockies on Saturday when these two hook up for game three.
Wednesday’s Player of the Day: Drew Gooden vs. Washington 32 min, 24 pts (FG: 10-13, FT: 4-5), 14 reb, 2 ast
Buzzer Beater: Earlier this week, Kobe Bryant made an interesting statement when asked about the window closing on his career. He responded by saying “We definitely have to get to that elite level. And we have to get to that level, like, now.” Bryant has been a winner for most of his career and you know that he is just praying for a Shaqless championship ring to go on his pinky finger, so getting bounced in the first round every year is probably not going to cut it for league’s best scorer. Without executing a serious roster overhaul, the Lakers will never reach that “elite level” that Bryant speaks of considering that Dallas, Phoenix, Utah, San Antonio and Houston don’t look like they’ll be giving up their spots any time soon. So, would Kobe consider leaving Tinsel Town for a more championship conducive environment? Hmmmmm.