Orlando Magic

Around the Rim: It’s no illusion, the Magic are for real

1. Road warriors
It took an extra five minutes to get the job done, but the Magic continued their winning ways by outscoring the league’s highest scoring team in an East vs. West track meet. 240 total points were scored as Orlando downed Golden State 123-117 in Oakland. Dwight Howard almost cost his team the game when he picked up a technical late in the game, but he still gets `Beast of the Game’ honors for collecting 18 points, 23 rebounds and seven blocks. Jameer Nelson almost had himself a triple-dip as he finished with 22 points, eight rebounds and 11 assists. Orlando is still giving Boston a run for their money in conference race. The squads are currently tied for first place, but the Celtics (14-2 – .875) have a better statistical record than the Magic (16-4 – .800)

2. TD’s knee screen is clean

Gregg Popovich felt his heart sink into the pit of his stomach when Tim Duncan crumpled to the parquet on Sunday and was subsequently carried off the floor by his teammates. Well, Pop’s heart started beating again on Monday afternoon when doctors discovered no significant damage to the two-time MVP’s right knee or right ankle. There’s still no concrete timetable for when Duncan will return to the lineup for the silver and black, but the team spokesman confirmed that TD would miss the rivalry game against the Mavericks. We’re figuring that the Spurs are going to sit Duncan until he’s absolutely, undoubtedly, 100 percent healthy. Popovich ain’t no fool; he’d much rather take the extra losses than rush his goldmine back on the court too soon and risk further damage.

3. Score one for the Americans
By many accounts, Steve Nash is just about the best thing to happen to basketball since the shot clock went into effect. Other people can’t believe he has more MVPs than guys like Allen Iverson, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett or David Robinson, to name a few. Either way you look at it, he’s about all Canada’s got when it comes to international competition. Correction: `he’s about all Canada had.

On playing for the Canadians in the 2008 Olympics, should they qualify:

I would say no, but I can’t really talk about it until the situation arrives and this season’s come to a conclusion,” Nash said. “But in my mind right now, I’m not going to play for Canada anymore. I just can’t do both.

Okay, can someone talk Manu Ginobili out of playing now?

Monday’s Player of the Day: Carlos Boozer vs. Miami 40 min, 24 pts (FG: 10-18, FT: 4-6), 15 reb, 5 ast, 4 stl, 1 blk

Tuesday’s Game to Watch: Phoenix (13-4) @ Indiana (9-9)
Phoenix’s three All-Stars have been playing accordingly all year long, but now they’re benefiting from a former All-Star who’s looking a lot like a youngster who use to dazzle in a Detroit uniform. Grant Hill might be 35 years old according to his birth certificate, but 28 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals certainly doesn’t sound like the production of someone who should be using the Clapper and watching The Peoples Court according to young NBA standards. On the other side of the court, the Pacers are sporting a crew of anti-Hills. They’re young and wild and you never know what you’re going to get, good or bad. This has the potential to be a nail-biter or a blowout, just depends on which crew shows up next for coach Jim O’Brien.

Buzzer Beater: We’re seriously starting to worry about Gilbert Arenas. The guy has always been a little loopy, but now that he’s injured and without the mental drain of basketball, there’s a lot of crazy stuff backing up in his cranium. Not only is he pushing a shoe that comes with a dry erase marker so you can write messages on your kicks, but he’s also devoting his time to a project known as GilTV. It’s an interesting endeavor to say the least. Still, those aren’t the oddest tidbits of information that Agent 0 reveals in his blog.

So, Gilbert, why don’t you like to take pain pills?

I didn’t take the pills for two reasons:

1. I’m against pills in general. I think it’s a coward’s way to deal with pain. You take some pills, then the pills get you sleepy.

2. The main reason is though that it blocked my stomach up last time and I couldn’t use the restroom. I couldn’t use the restroom for like five days, and I didn’t want to go through that pain again.


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.

NBA General

Around the Rim: Seattle’s Bust

Still choking after all these years.

1. Missed it by that much
The rooks came out to play last night and gave the Bad Boys all they could handle, outscoring them by eight points over the final 24 minutes, but it wasn’t enough to get the SuperSonics their first win of the season. Kevin Durant struggled again from the field (7-20) but managed to finish with a team-high 19 points while Georgetown’s Jeff Green racked up 17 points and eight rebounds off the bench. But unless you have a guy named Michael on your team, a 15-point deficit at the end of the first quarter is usually pretty tough to overcome. Paced by Rip Hamilton’s 32 points and Antonio McDyess’ 1996esque 15 and 15 double-double, the Pistons held on for a 107-103 victory. And if a 0-7 start, the worst in franchise history, isn’t bad enough, the Sonics can look forward to an upcoming road trip that includes five games in seven days.

2. Badda-Boom! Badda-Ming!

Life is good for Yao Ming. In 2008, the big fella is set to earn close to $14 million in salary alone, on Friday he got the better of end of the deal in the Yao-Yi showdown and on Sunday against the Bobcats he put up a season-high in points. Yao had 34 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three blocks as the Rockets squeaked by Charlotte 85-82 in the Bobcats den. Houston is now 6-1 on the year behind Yao’s double-double average (22.3 pts, 10.8 reb) and his 2.7 blocks per game. Memphis and the Lakers are the only two tune-ups left on the Rockets schedule before they head to San Antonio for a big-time, early-season face-off against the champs.

3. Wizards break losing spell
The Wizards finally got off the losers’ bench as all five starters finished in double figures as Washington rolled over Atlanta 101-90. It took a while for Washington to grab that first victory of the season after losing their first five games, but Atlanta has a way of making every team look like winners (unless you happen to be the Suns or Mavs). Gilbert Arenas was 5-of-15 from the floor for 18 points, but Caron Butler (24 pts, 8 ast) and Antawn Jamison (23 pts, 15 reb) more than made up for his off shooting performance. Unfortunately for Washington, Miami also grabbed their first victory, so the Wiz still own a share of the title “Worst Team in the East.”

Sunday’s Player of the Day: Richard Hamilton @ Seattle 41 min, 32 pts (FG: 11-21, 3FG: 3-6, FT: 7-9), 4 reb, 5 ast, 4 stl

Monday’s Game to Watch: Cleveland (4-3) @ Denver (4-3)
2003 was a pretty good year to be drafting superstars. Well, at least the bookends of the top three selections panned out successfully and on Monday we get to see the old friends renew their rivalry once again. The Nuggets are riding a two-game win streak after dropping three consecutive games. The duo of Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson have led the team in points and assists in every game thus far while Marcus Camby ranks in the top five in rebounds (14.3) and blocks (3.14) per game. LeBron James is coming off the wrong end of a Finals sweep and his team has been a bit funky so far, but other than that, he’s already in postseason form. Last night in a win over the Clips, LBJ had 22 points, five rebounds, eight assists and six steals while Big Z went 18 and 17 upside their heads in a 103-95 win.

Buzzer Beater: Last week, Gilbert Arenas was begging for your vote. No, Agent 0 wasn’t trying to do early All-Star campaigning. He was trying to become the ” Best Celebrity Blogger” at this year’s Weblog Awards and he needed your help to do so. Well, enough NBA fans responded to the Hibachi’s pleas and he just beat out Wil Wheaton of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame by .9 percent of the vote. We’re happy for Arenas’ big victory, but what makes us even more excited is seeing that Mark Cuban only rang up a measly 630 votes (2.4%). Listen Cubes, quit trying to be the best celebrity dancer or the best blogger and just get your boys to stop being the best postseason floppers in the Association.

Washington Wizards

Fall into the rabbit hole that is Gilbert Arena’s mind

There’s really nobody kookier in the NBA than Gilbert Arenas. So, anytime we come across something involving Agent 0, we know that it should be entertaining. Needless to say, we weren’t disappointed when we came across an article on entitled 10 Things Straight From Agent Zero. So, without further ado we pass along to you ten random thoughts from the mind of the man they call the Hibachi.

1. The rehab for my knee injury is going excellent. I’m way, way, way ahead of schedule. I bike, like, 18 miles a day. I’ve started making cuts on the court, slowly. I like to say I’m “keeping a San Antonio pace.” Pretty soon I’ll be able to go full throttle.

2. I’m gonna work out with DC United, the soccer team, this summer. I’m gonna do a lot of stuff with them, conditioning and like on-the-field soccer. I just need to try different things.

3. I shot the cover of NBA Live ’08 with Kevin Durant while he was doing the cover of the NCAA game. Kevin Durant, aka “K-Smooth.” I’m like a big brother, father-type to him. He’s part of the frat now. I’ll give K-Smooth the same type of advice that I give to all young guys: Learn to manage yourself. Learn about business. Get yourself a nickname the kids will like. Stuff like that.

4. Video game curses are a football thing. The year Dwyane Wade was on the cover (of NBA Live), he won a championship. The year Tracy McGrady was on the cover, he played in the the most games he’s ever played in. Same with Vince.

5. The rudest thing someone ever said to me was Gary Payton, my first year in the NBA. He scored 16 straight on me in the first few minutes, so I’m nervous. I’m scared. He says, “You’re lucky I’m not an A.I. type of player. I would score 50 on you in the first half.” To this day, I have to try and score 35 in the first quarter every time against Gary Payton.

6. One time in Dallas, someone said, “We’re gonna treat you like some hoes. We’re gonna get a little [email protected]@ and get on out of here.” I say that now.

7. People say to me all the time, “You guys could have beaten Cleveland if you were able to play.” At the end of the day that doesn’t really mean anything, though. If I was healthy, we probably wouldn’t have even played Cleveland in the first round, you know?

8. I’m the face of my team, but I’m not involved in player personnel decisions at all. I’m really not. I’m just a player. It makes my job and my life easier that I’m not mixed up in that stuff. I’m not going to be one of those “Trade this guy” or “Package these guys for picks” type of guys. That’s how your teammates start to hate you.

9. Right now I’m working on a book. I’ve only been in the League for six years, so there’s no point in doing a biography yet. It will be a funny Gilbertology book.

10. I want to do some type of advertising/business show. That will be funny because I don’t know anything about business. I’ll be like Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie. Or I’ll be saying things like Jessica Simpson, telling people I can’t eat buffalo wings because I don’t eat buffalo.

Don’t worry Gilbo, if you keep spitting out lines like you did in No. 6 then we’re pretty sure that MTV will have a prime spot for you right between Celebrity Rap Superstar and reruns of America’s Next Top Model.


[]: 10 Sense with Gilbert Arenas

NBA General

Around the Rim: Cleveland is starting to look a little silly

3-D disappointment

1. LeBroom??
Dorothy said that there was no place like home but it’s the Cavaliers who are praying that the words are true because after getting hammered in the first two games of the NBA Finals, Cleveland could definitely use a little home court advantage. Thanks to another dominating effort by the Spurs, the three time champions are now only two wins away from becoming four time champs as Tony Parker (30 points), Manu Ginobili (25) and Tim Duncan (23) combined for 78 of the Spurs points in a 103-92 spanking that gives SA a huge 2-0 lead. The Cavs were able to put together another late run but all it did was make it kinda interesting at the end. Unfortunately, LeBron James‘ poor shooting and early foul trouble put them in such a deep hole that not even Big Z could poke his head out. Everybody knew coming into this series that it was going to be a franchise (the Spurs) versus a franchise (LeBron), but this is starting to get ridiculous. The Cavs have got to be able to weather the storm when LBJ is struggling if they are going to win a championship. They better hope that the home crowd can jumpstart this club and energize them to a couple of victories because if things continue at this pace we could be seeing a SA celebration in Cleveland on Thursday night.

2. Arenas wants to stay, but only if you pay

Gilbert Arenas wants you to know that he’s planning on bolting from the Wizards next season. He’s not saying that in so many words but it’s true. But don’t get down on yourself if you’re a Washington fan, it has nothing to do with you; Agent 0 also wants you to know that he’s leaving for the money. At least the guy is honest. Still, his timing could probably use a little work because now this is going to have to be a story for an entire season before it even becomes a story next off-season. We’re guessing that as long as he can manage to stay injury free then he’ll be following his nose all the way to a big time pay day and straight out of D.C. So, enjoy it while it lasts Wizards fans because this is going to be one long, long good-bye tour.

Game 2’s MVP: Tim Duncan vs. Cleveland 36 min, 23 pts (FG: 9-16, FT: 5-7), 9 reb, 8 ast

Buzzer Beater: J.R. Smith was in a nasty car accident on Sunday in which he got tossed from his vehicle but managed to escape without serious injuries, however he is still being treated in the hospital. Unfortunately, his passenger is in much worse condition as he fights for his life. Apparently, Smith drove right through a stop sign and collided with another car in New Jersey and overturned, tossing both Smith and his friend, Andre Bell, from the SUV. And if that isn’t enough bad news for the Nuggets, DerMarr Johnson was charged with resisting arrest and interfering with police at a Colorado nightclub. The boys in blue eventually tasered his ass and took him and two women to jail. Johnson’s lawyer said that DerMarr was just trying to break up a fight between the two ladies. If Johnson was smart he would have taken the Carmelo Anthony approach and just run the hell away from any confrontation.

Washington Wizards

Gilbert Arenas is all giddy over game cover

The All-NBA teams were announced today and after having an outstanding year, the Wizards’ Gilbert Arenas was named to the second team. That’s not too shabby for a guy who was selected 31st overall in the 2001 draft. We figured that nothing could be a bigger thrill for the Hibachi than to make the team, but then we came across this clip of Arenas after he was named to be the cover boy for NBA Live 08.

Talk about being as happy as a little girl! Was that Gilbert Arenas or one of those whacked out contestants on Deal or No Deal?

NBA General

Around the Rim: The great postseason series just keep coming

1. Late night fun in Utah
Well, the excitement has worn off and the Golden State Warriors are now in an unfamiliar position in the postseason; they are losing. Utah got huge nights from almost all of their starters as they squeaked out a late victory in Salt Lake City, 116-111. But the Warriors had a pretty good game from their starting five as well; in fact, four of the five scored at least 20 points in the loss. That’s the first time that has happened in a non-overtime playoff game since the Pacers fell to Celtics, 124-121, back in 1991. Oddly enough, the last time it happened prior to that was in the same series when the Boston lost to Indiana despite four guys racking up 20 or more.

2. Will the real Chicago Bulls please stand up?

It was another game and another spanking on Monday when Detroit handled their business against Chicago with virtually no interruption from the Bulls by beating them, 108-87. The Bulls which looked so ferocious in the first round against Miami are now resorting back to their old baby Bulls tactics of simply running and hiding when the bigger kids come on the court. But what do you expect when their coach is coming out to the public and saying that his team has no chance against the veteran Piston squad. Looks like the ol’ Don Nelson reverse psychology backfired on Scott Skiles.

3. Tweakin’ time
So, what happens when you are the best team in the league with the league’s best player and you immediately get humiliated out of the playoffs? Well, you get desperate and that might be exactly what is happening to the Mavericks after the Warriors sent them on an early vacation. Now there are rumors that Dallas could be looking to go after that interior stopper that could have filled up the lane against guys like Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson. And who’s the biggest guy in the league? Why the disappointed Shaquille O’Neal of course. So, what are the actually odds that Shaq jumps from Miami to Dallas at the age of 36? Probably not too good, but when Mark Cuban’s endless mountains of cash are involved almost anything is possible and desperate times often require desperate measures so don’t be surprised if Dallas starts courting the Diesel.

Monday’s Player of the Day: Carlos Boozer vs. Golden State 42 min, 17 pts (FG: 6-15, FT: 5-8), 20 reb, 3 ast, 3 stl

Buzzer Beater: Apparently the Madden curse has the reverse affect with the NBA Live series of video games. Normally great players appear on the cover of the latest Madden game and then promptly have their careers ended the next season on the field. Well, in the NBA if you get seriously injured during the season you are then placed on the cover of the game. At least, that’s what happened with Gilbert Arenas after he tore a meniscus earlier in the season. LeBron James was reported to be second in the voting. Hopefully for Arenas he’ll be back to carry the name of the game like several of his coworkers have. Tracy McGrady, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan have all made the cover in the past and they have all had pretty stellar careers. Sorry Madden, no curse here.

NBA General

Around the Rim: Wizard’s blizzard of injuries

Well, now he’s got more time
for bloggin’ and video poker.

1. Agent 0 goes undercover
Washington might be the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, but they might as well be sitting on the outside looking in because they are going to make some team the very happy owner of a four game sweep in the first round of the post season. Just days after Caron Butler broke his hand, Gilbert Arenas tore his lateral meniscus and will be sidelined for the remainder of the season. The Wiz are currently only just one game behind Miami for the division crown but nobody’s going to be cheering in Washington anytime soon as the “there’s always next year” mentality begins to take hold. But it was a great season for Arenas while it lasted as he scored 28.4 points per game to go along with 4.6 boards and 6.0 assists. He also made the All-Star team and threw a wicked b-day bash.

2. Losing ground quick

The Cavs looked dead in the water as their game against Miami was drawing to a close last night, but LeBron James rallied the troops for an 11-0 run to force overtime. However, the extra period would belong to the Heat as they clinched a post season berth while handing Cleveland a devastating loss. The Cavaliers fell all the way to the fifth seed in the East with the defeat after going into the game as the second best club in the conference. If the playoffs began today these two teams would be locking up in first round series with the Heat owning the home court advantage. The only difference between then and now is that the Cavs might have to contend with a well rested Dwyane Wade in the lineup. Cleveland is probably not too thrilled about that possibility, but a Wade/James showdown would be great for the fans.

3. Spurs rise, Suns set
Tony Parker scored a season-high 35 points as the Spurs held the Suns to just 85 points in a late season victory that showed why San Antonio will be a serious threat in the post season. Phoenix put together a late game run to make it interesting but the Spurs basically imposed their defensive will onto the Suns who average 111 points per game. Tim Duncan and Michael Finley both chipped in double-doubles and SA now holds the best record in the league since the All-Star break by winning 19 of 22 games. With the victory, the Spurs are now only two games behind Phoenix for the second best record in the league and second seed in the playoffs. The Suns are struggling to gain momentum before the season ends after going 6-4 in their last ten games, and should San Antonio catch Phoenix they also own the tiebreaker with a 2-1 record against the Suns in the regular season.

Thursday’s Player of the Day: LeBron James vs. Miami 49 min, 35 pts (FG: 11-21, 3FG: 2-5, FT: 11-13), 9 reb, 5 ast

Friday’s Game to Watch: Dallas (62-12) @ Denver (38-36) The Nuggets are riding a three game winning streak after knocking of the Sonics, Lakers and Kings since Sunday. Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson are really clicking as Melo has put up at least 30 points in his last four contests while AI has dished out 20 assists in two games. The Mavericks are rolling as usual and have won nine of their last ten games and won their last game against the Kings despite being without their superstar as Dirk Nowitzki who had food poisoning. This could be a preview of a first round match-up in the playoffs between these two since Denver is sitting just one game ahead of the Clippers for the seventh spot in the West.

Buzzer Beater: The Hornets have been surging of late as they have now won three consecutive games in an attempt to push their way into the playoff pack. Well, that task just got a lot harder after Chris Wilcox delivered a wicked, inadvertent elbow to the face of New Orleans’ most consistent player of the season, Desmond Mason. The elbow broke the nose and cheek bones of Mason and will probably keep him out for the remainder of the regular season. Mason was the only player to start every game for New Orleans this year and averaged 14 points and five boards per contest. Looks like it will be up to Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler to pick up the slack if the Hornets are going to extend their season long enough for Mason to attempt a return.

NBA General

Around the Rim: The Battle of Los Angeles

1. Iron unkind
Kobe Bryant kept his hot string going last night as he dropped 29 points on the Clippers but the Lakers still ended up losing the game by eight points, 90-82. But don’t let the big number fool you, last night was one of the ugliest games Bryant put together all year. The Mamba shot a wretched 13-of-34 from the field, including three misses from behind the arc. LA has now lost four of their last five games and if they don’t turn things around pretty quick, it’s not unreasonable to think that they could fall completely out of the playoff picture. Golden State and New Orleans are both riding three game winning streaks and are now pounding on the door to the post season.

2. Wizards need a dose of magic

If the Wizards weren’t in trouble before their game against the Bobcats last night, they are certainly knee deep in it now. Not only did Washington drop a crucial late season game to one of the laughing stocks of the league, but they also lost their best player to an injured left leg. And with only eight games remaining in the Wizards’ season, this couldn’t have come at a worse time. On Sunday, Caron Butler broke his hand while trying to block a shot and is expected to miss at least six weeks of action. The Wiz appeared to have the Southeast Division wrapped up just a few weeks ago, but they are now sitting a game behind Miami in the division and currently hold the sixth spot in the playoffs. Antawn Jamison has finally gotten healthy, but without Arenas and Butler his health is a non-factor.

3. From bad to worse
The Portland Trailblazers don’t have much to cheer about these days, but, as unbelievable as it may sound, thing just got worse. Portland’s promising rookie, LaMarcus Aldridge has been sidelined indefinitely after being diagnosed with a rapid heartbeat and having bouts of dizziness. Aldridge had struggled to find his place in the pros for the majority of the season, but had put together several impressive games after taking over a starting spot when Joel Przybilla went down for the season with knee surgery. Aldridge averaged 15 points, eight rebounds and two blocks during the month of March, and had his best game as a pro against Denver on March 13, when he scored 24 points to go along with 17 rebounds and four blocks.

Wednesday’s Player of the Day: Gerald Wallace @ Washington 44 min, 27 pts (FG: 11-20, 3FG: 1-3, FT: 4-4), 12 reb, 8 ast, 4 stl

Thursday’s Game to Watch: Phoenix (56-18) @ San Antonio (53-21) For the last few weeks everyone has been talking about the games between the Suns and the Mavs. But it’s the Suns/Spurs match-up which has a greater chance of becoming a playoff reality. San Antonio is trying desperately to catch the Suns before the end of the season in order to grab the number two spot in the West. But regardless of who finishes second or third, should both of these teams advance past the first round, they would run into each other in the second round. However, whoever ends up with the second seed will have home court advantage in what could be an epic showdown. Both teams have eight games remaining on their schedules and only three games currently separate the two Western Conference powerhouses. This should be a fiercely contested game.

Buzzer Beater: Everything was going fine for the Hornets as they entered into the fourth quarter of last night’s game with a 13 point lead in their back pocket. By the end of the fourth, New Orleans was staring at the scoreboard as it read 5:00. Yup, the Hornets blew their 13 point lead by only scoring six points in the final quarter, a franchise low. But wait, there’s more. NOKC would explode for 17 points in the extra period behind a seven point outburst by Bobby Jackson to win by nine points, 101-92. Oh, did we mention they were playing the Sonics? That explains the comeback in OT, but there is no excuse for letting Seattle’s sorry D hold you to six points in 12 minutes.

NBA General

Around the Rim: Time for an intervention?

Hi, my name is Gilbert and I’m
addicted to gambling.

1.  Stick to the video poker
The NBA doesn’t like for their players to gamble.  In fact, they don’t even like them mentioning gambling, and that’s not good news for Gilbert Arenas.  Turns out that Arenas made two separate $10 bets with fans in attendance as the Wizards traveled to play Portland last Wednesday.  Agent 0 bet that he would drain the winning shot in the game but he blew his last second chance to pick up an Andrew Jackson.  Arenas, who admittedly plays video poker during halftime of his games, later wrote about the incident in his blog but the NBA removed the references and gave Arenas a stern talking to about his action on the side.  But losing the bets wasn’t the most humiliating part of the game for Arenas.  The big mouthed superstar guaranteed he would drop fity’ on the Blazers but came up just 31 shy.  Oh, so close.  

2.  Phoenix falters as Bibby bombs
It appears that Phoenix might have put it on cruise control against Sacramento yesterday since they have already wrapped up the Pacific Division and Mike Bibby made them pay for it.  Bibby was an assassin from behind the arc as he made it rain in Pacman-esque fashion, hitting 9-of-12 3-pointers en route to 37 points.  With the loss Phoenix is now just three games ahead of San Antonio for the third spot in the West and the Spurs are getting hot as the regular season draws to a close.  SA got 64 points off their bench in a 120-79 routing of the Sonics last night as the starters got to take a majority of the night off.  In fact, the only highlight of this game came when former NFL quarterback Warren Moon threw a couple autographed footballs into the stands during a timeout.  

3.  That’s all you got?
Hey, four consecutive games with at least 50 points is pretty darn impressive, but unfortunately Kobe Bryant’s scoring streak came to an end last night against the Golden State Warriors.  But nobody can complain about a 43 point offensive outing that resulted in a 115-113 victory.   However, this was the first game since the hot span began that the Mamba struggled to strike.  15-of-33 isn’t horrible but most coaches would be content with forcing Kobe to jack up 33 shots for his 43 points.  Still, no matter how you look at it, 268 points in five games is a mind boggling number to wrap your mind around.  But have no fear, when one streak ends for Kobe it is merely a matter of time before another one begins.  

Sunday’s Player of the Day:  Jermaine O’Neal vs. Chicago 40 min, 39 pts (FG: 15-24, FT: 9-12), 14 reb, 2 stl

Monday’s Game to Watch:  Denver (35-33) @ Detroit (44-25)  The Pistons are the best defensive team in the Eastern Conference but they are going to have their hands full as they take on the high scoring duo of Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson.  Luckily, Detroit will have Rasheed Wallace back in their starting lineup after he had to sit out against Milwaukee on Sunday following his 18th technical foul of the season.  Denver is holding on to the 7th spot in the West after Melo racked up 27 points and AI had 18 points and 12 assists in a victory over Cleveland on Sunday.  

Buzzer Beater: In one of the strangest situations in the history of the NBA, Randolph Morris could play a game in the NCAA tournament and a game in the NBA all in the same week.  Morris originally declared for the 2005 draft but was not selected, so he returned to Kentucky and played two more seasons as a free agent who was ineligible to be drafted.  But after Tubby Smith split for Minnesota Morris decided to sign with the New York Knicks and could even see action against Orlando on Monday.  NY is currently only 1 ½ games out of the playoff picture and the sudden addition of Morris could be a big addition for Isiah Thomas and his boys.  Or Morris could be hitting the wall after going through a full college season.  But either way, its gotta be a thrill for Morris.