1. Career in question
The Raptors won in Atlanta last night, but nobody really cared. T.J. Ford, in an all too eerily reminiscent manner, was taken off the court on a stretcher after being flagrantly fouled by the Hawks Al Horford with 1:32 left. As Ford drove to the basket for a layup, Horford took a hard swipe for the ball, unintentionally hitting Ford in the face, causing him to fall awkwardly and crack the back of skull on the floor. Ford was in tears as he lay on the court, his career possibly over. It is reported that he has full range of motion, but with his history of spinal cord injuries, his future is defiantly up in the air. You have to feel bad for Horford; after the game, it was obvious he meant no harm. Still, the foul was a big time blow to the Raptors who were finally forming an identity around Ford and superstar Chris Bosh. The duo combined for 46 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists against Atlanta.
2. Return of the King
LeBron James was back in the
starting lineup lineup on Tuesday and, what do you know, the Cavaliers snapped a five game losing streak that started when LBJ was originally injured. James finished with 17 points, three rebounds and five assists off the bench in the 118-105 home win over the Pacers. So, is Mike Brown following in the footsteps of his mentor, Gregg Popovich, and boosting his bench by making LeBron the best sixth man in the league, similar to Popovich’s decision to bring Manu Ginobili off the pine? According to James, no.
That was one and done for me,” James said, smiling. “I will not be coming off the bench anymore.
3. Tim Duncan who?
Tim Duncan missed his third consecutive game on Tuesday after Gregg Popovich considered him to have a “50/50” shot of playing and the Warriors took advantage of the Spurs loss, picking up a 12-point victory in Oakland. Stephen Jackson led Golden State past his former squad, scoring a team-high 20 points while Baron Davis chipped in 18. But the real story of the game, besides SA being outscored 30-12 in the second quarter, came from the Spurs Matt “Red Rocket” Bonner who stepped up in Duncan’s absence. The 6-foot-10 forward/center had the game of his life in the loss, shooting 9-of-16 from the floor, including a trio of treys, for 25 points while grabbing 17 rebounds. Bonner’s career averages are 6.7 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.
Tuesday’s Player of the Day: Chauncey Billups @ Memphis 39 min, 28 pts (FG: 7-15, 3FG: 2-5, FT: 12-12), 5 reb, 14 ast, 3 stl
Wednesday’s Game to Watch: Utah (13-9) @ Phoenix (16-6)
The Jazz and the Suns are two of the favorites to make it out of the West this year and into the Finals, but, amazingly, they are both riding losing streaks into this contest. Phoenix is desperately looking to rebound from a pair of absolutely humiliating defeats at the hands of Minnesota and Miami. On the other side of the court, the Jazz are slipping down a slippery slope, with four consecutive loses, including defeats to conference powerhouses San Antonio and Dallas. Despite the losing skids, there isn’t a bad matchup to be found in this game. Deron Williams vs. Steve Nash, Carlos Boozer vs. Shawn Marion, Mehmet Okur vs. Amare Stoudemire, Andrei Kirilenko vs. Grant Hill. Ding! Ding! Let’s get this heavyweight bout underway already!
Buzzer Beater: Sorry Knicks fans, but you’re going to have to murder Isiah Thomas if you want a new coach in New York. No. Seriously. You must physically kill Zeke to get rid of him.
“I fight till I die,” the embattled Knicks coach said Tuesday after practice. “It’s not about giving up or quitting. To me it’s win or die, and I literally mean death. I don’t mean walk away, I mean death.