NBA General

Around the Rim: Carmelo-Dramatics

1. Denver’s Expedition
Well, not too many people saw this coming. While missing four players to suspensions from the brawl in New York, including the leagues leading scorer, Denver rallied around the team’s veterans and defeated Washington 117-108. Earl Boykins put up 29 points, Andre Miller had 27, and Marcus Camby finished the night with 25 points, 17 rebounds and seven blocks to fill the void left in the absence of Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith. The also managed to keep Gilbert Arenas in check with only 23 points after he lit up the Lakers for 60. Good job Denver, only 14 more games to go.

2. Points Taken
With only a week left before Christmas, David Stern was in the giving spirit on Monday as he handed out 47 games worth of suspensions and $1 million in fines to the Knicks and Nuggets. In doing so, he eliminated the league’s leading scorer from competition until January 20, 2007. Now, the NBA’s two best scorers in Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson are at home watching and waiting for their returns. The two combine for 62.8 points and what’s ironic is that the duo might be on the verge of teaming up. If the trade is still going to happen, Denver would love to get Iverson suited up sooner rather than later thanks to Melo’s moronic eruption.

3. Just Another Day at the Office
As amazing as his season has been so far, Jason Kidd is beginning to actually make getting a triple-double boring. Kidd now has six triple-doubles on the season and 81 in his career as he put up 10 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists in a 105-97 defeat of Golden State. That gives him four triple-dips in his last seven games. So, for anybody that’s keeping score at home, that’s six for Kidd and four for the rest of the league. Unfortunately for Kidd, his spectacular play still can’t make New Jersey respectable in a pathetic Atlantic Division.

Monday’s Player of the Day: Marcus Camby vs. Washington 34 min, 25 pts (FG: 9-13, FT: 7-10), 17 reb, 5 ast, 7 blk

Tuesday’s Game to Watch: Los Angeles Lakers (16-8) @ Chicago (14-10) The Bulls are as hot as any team in the NBA right now. They’ve won 11 out of their last 12 games, including four in a row, and they own a 10-2 record in Chicago. The Lakers are playing on the road for only the eighth time this season. Kobe Bryant has been abusing defenders to the tune of 43.7 points per game since Lamar Odom went down with an injury. Tonight shouldn’t be any different as Bryant will look to fly in the house that Jordan built.

Buzzer Beater: At 36 years old, Alonzo Mourning is still getting it done in the paint. Last night against the Hornets, Zo played like he did when the Hornets were still in Charlotte. Mourning contributed a solid 11 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks in the game as he continues to fill in for the injured Shaquille O’Neal. While the Heat has never lost faith in their former franchise player, Mourning’s level of production has to be unexpected to say the least. No matter how many players dunk on Zo’s head, he remains a viable defensive force for Miami.

NBA General

Around the Rim: Fun ‘n’ Run

1. What a Game!
No, we’re not in the 1980’s again. And no, you’re not experiencing a flashback. Phoenix actually did beat New Jersey by a score of 161 to 157. It took two overtimes but the Suns won the game that tied for fourth highest in league history. Fans were witnesses to a game that compiled 318 points, 27 three pointers, 89 rebounds and 80 assists! But what would expect from two of the best point guards in the league who both love to run? Jason Kidd picked up his third triple double of the season with 38 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists and tied Wilt Chamberlain for third all-time in triple dips with 78 (its unknown where Kidd ranks on Wilt’s impressive love list), but the reigning MVP wouldn’t let Kidd get the PG glory or the W. Steve Nash ended the game with a career high 42 points to go along with six rebounds and 13 assists while nailing the critical free throws which proved to be the final points of the game.

2. Texas Exes
If you’re a Texas Longhorn fan, then you had to enjoy the game between Cleveland and Toronto on Wednesday evening. That’s because Daniel Gibson got his first start since leaving the Horns for the NBA. Gibson looked good as he hooked his team up with 18 points, hitting three treys, and grabbing five boards. Oh, but Gibson wasn’t the only player to get the Longhorn reunion invitation. The greatest player to ever dawn the burnt orange was starting at point guard for the opposition as T.J. Ford dished out 10 assists. If only P.J. Tucker could have made it into the game.

3. Sub-Par Sonics
Seattle has been struggling through the early part of this season and there luck isn’t going to be changing any time soon. Ray Allen was diagnosed with a bone bruise in his right ankle and will miss at least the next seven games before being reevaluated in two weeks. That’s bad news for the Sonics but there is a small silver lining in the cumulonimbus cloud that hangs over a soggy Seattle. This is a terrific opportunity for Rashard Lewis to fully extend his wings and soar. At 6-10 he’s a tough defensive assignment for any small forward and he has one of the most complete games around. Lewis is scoring a career high 22.9 points and can improve on that number with the increased workload. With trade rumors swirling, Lewis might not be not be in Seattle much longer. It looks like the sun might be starting to shine on Lewis in more ways than one.

Thursday’s Player of the Day: Jason Kidd vs. Phoenix 48 min, 38 pts (FG: 13-26, 3FG: 3-6, FT: 9-9), 14 reb, 14 ast, 1 stl

Friday’s Game to Watch: Detroit (12-7) @ Orlando (14-6) It’s a match-up between the two best teams in the Eastern Conference as Detroit hopes to continue their winning ways after knocking off the Mavericks last night in Dallas. Orlando is 7-1 at home and will be looking forward to some home cookin’ after playing the last six games on the road. Dwight Howard was magical for Orlando as he led the team in both scoring and rebounding during the entire road trip.

Buzzer Beater: Devin Harris is suppose to be the point guard of the Mavericks future, but last night he looked like a point guard from Dallas’ past. And I’m not talking about Kidd, Nash or Derek Harper. More like Ollie Mack or Jim Spanarkel. Harris started the game but did nothing with his floor time. He ended with one point and four assists. Chauncey Billups abused Harris for the 28 minutes that Avery Johnson wasted with him on the court.

New Jersey Nets

The Nets like old people

Old people are funny

The Nets released the names of the 15 members to make up the team’s new dance squad, and then the Nets male fan base rushed off to Google pictures of the new grey haired bombshells. That’s right, grey haired! The Nets new dance team is made up of senior citizens ranging in ages from 59 to 82.

[The Senior Dance Team] will likely be performing to hip-hop once they take the court. That’s because Petra Pope, the Nets’ senior director of entertainment and event marketing who supervises in-game entertainment for the team, has seen how a swinging senior always draws the biggest applause during halfcourt dance contests. “We turn on hip-hop for the senior, to mix it up,” Pope said. “When they start dancing, the crowd goes crazy.

Come on Jay-Z, Jigga, Jay-Hova, Joe Camel, whatever your name is. How did Mr. Roc-A-Fella approve the formation of a group of geriatric gyrators instead of one made up from the normal groupies that can be found “shakin’ like a salt shaker” in all of his videos? Well, management had better make sure the batteries are charged in their medical alert bracelets before they hit the court.

[]: Seniors show they haven’t lost a step

NBA General

Around the Rim: Crisis in Canada

Chris Bosh’s raptor impersonation

1. Immune Deficiency
Chris Bosh has recently been diagnosed with Garnett’s Disease. Named after the most famous patient of the illness, the virus affects the entire franchise and leaves only one player to attempt to defend the well-being of the team as a whole. The human body is not built to withstand such an attack, but Bosh is considered to be an extreme case in which the patient actually defies the medical statistics and proceeds to thrive off of the virus. However, his life span remains in question as long as the infection goes untreated. One method of treatment involves an injection of new coaches, followed by a strict regiment of acquiring appropriate talent and drafting healthy bodies. The more controversial procedure involves transplanting the affected patient to a more stable environment conducive to playoff appearances. In the mean time, Bosh has been ordered to continue scoring 20 points and grabbing 12 rebounds every game.

2. Carmelo’s Juice
Carmelo Anthony has been out-running, out-jumping and out-scoring opponents throughout November, and now we know what’s been giving him that extra edge. It’s his “ghetto Kool-Aid.” That’s how Melo refers to his new Mountain Dew, Red Bull concoction named C1.5 Extreme Energy Drink. The league might want to check into the contents of the beverage because Anthony’s been tweaking up and down the court for over 30 a game. The product is only available in the Syracuse, N.Y. area until late December when it will be unleashed on Denver. Rumor has it that the NBA’s version of Droopy Dog, Jeff Van Gundy, has been eagerly anticipating the national release.

3. Load Bearing Joints
Jason Williams had surgery on his right knee in July and has recently complained of frustration due to lingering pain that has kept him from making a full return. Why is this important? Well, Shaquille O’Neal recently had surgery on his left knee and claims that he will be able to make a full recovery. Now, White Chocolate is 6-1, 180 pounds and his knee can’t take the impact. How is Shaq’s knee going to hold up to 35 minutes of running underneath a 7-1, 325 pound frame? As dominant as the Diesel has been over his career, he is obviously in the declining years, and injuries to the knees have been known to end careers. I’ve heard Shaq say in interviews that he plans to play for at least another five years; unfortunately, I’m not sure his body can make the same long term plans.

Wednesday’s Player of the Day: Joe Johnson vs. Charlotte 43 min, 36 pts (FG: 13-24, 3FG: 5-11, FT: 5-5), 3 reb, 5 ast, 2 stl

Thursday’s Game to Watch: Utah (13-3) @ Los Angeles Lakers (9-5) The Lakers lost to the Jazz last Friday in Salt Lake City but Kobe and crew are a much better team inside the friendly confines of the Staples Center where they are 8-2. The Jazz got a big win last night over the Spurs to snap a two game losing streak; tonight they hope to avoid closing out the month of November losing three of four after starting off 12-1.

Buzzer Beater: Pacers forward Al Harrington will never live up to his potential. Sure, he’ll give you a glimpse of his true ability from time to time, like last night when he scored 28 against Golden State with 6-8 shooting from down town. Or the two games this season when he scored 32 points, both in wins. Or the two games in which he grabbed 18 and 14 rebounds. Inconsistency has always been his downfall; if he could string some of these games together then the All-Star votes would start coming.

NBA General

Around the Rim: Mistake in Minnesota

1. One Way Ticket?
The rumors are everywhere. Minnesota should trade Kevin Garnett and begin again with more youth and more talent in return. Sounds like a good idea, but if Garnett doesn’t ask for a trade, then it would be a slap in his face to ship him off. This is a player who has been the face of the T-Wolves for twelve years now. The Big Ticket has won an MVP, an All-Star MVP and has been on multiple All-Star teams, All-NBA First teams and All-Defensive teams. He has meant so much to the franchise over the years, both on and off the court, and he has been a model citizen his entire career. Don’t forget that Garnett was a groundbreaker when he entered the league out of high school as a kid; he was the first player to do so since Moses Malone. Since then, he has bled for this team, suffered for this team and, most importantly, he’s single handedly carried this team. Trading KG is more than a business move at this point. The organization owes him the courtesy of allowing him to finish his career anywhere he desires. He’s earned the right to demand a trade, should he desire. But, if Garnett doesn’t want to leave Minnesota, regardless of reasons, management should respect his wishes.

2. Will the Real Kobe Bryant Please Stand Up?
Kobe Bryant came into this season with a scoring average of 28.5 points per game over the last six seasons. Last year he averaged a career high 35.4. Currently, Bryant is averaging 22 points a game, his lowest average since his first year as a starter in 1998-99 when he was getting 19.9. He’s only averaging 14 shots a game despite being known to jack up 40 shots in a single contest. He did drop 81 on the Raptors, right? Even though Bryant’s scoring is down, the team is 7-3 overall and 5-3 when Kobe has played. Oddly enough, Bryant’s season high of 32 points came in an 11 point loss to Portland. Could it be that Bryant is finally turned the leaf from selfish ball-hog to dedicated leader? Possibly, but the Kobe of old will return if the winning in LA stops and the team begins to struggle. Bryant’s not one to sit back and watch his team fail. If he’s going to go down, he’ll want to go down shooting.

3. Kidd and Carter Combo
As far as guards go, Jason Kidd and Vince Carter might be the best tandem going. The two Nets are attributed with a league high average of points, rebounds and assists by a backcourt. Together they average 69.4 per game. The other teams to average 60 weren’t even close to Kidd and Carter. Phoenix’s Steve Nash and Leandro Barbosa average 61.8, Atlanta’s Joe Johnson and Tyronn Lue get 60.2; Detroit’s Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton are good for 60.2 and Milwaukee’s Michael Redd and Maurice Williams average 60. The Nets duo is the second highest scoring backcourt, the best rebounders and rank third in assists. They are the only backcourt in the league to rank in the top five of all three categories. Both guards are great in their own rights, but together they are simply dominant.

4. Mr. Wizard
Gilbert Arenas is good, in fact, he’s on his way to becoming the one of the greatest scorers ever to not be picked in the first round. Arenas was taken with the 31st pick in 2001-02 by Golden State and currently has 22 games of 40 points or more. That’s good for 4th on the list of non-first rounders with games of 40+ since 1966. Ahead of Arenas is George Gervin with 68, Nate Archibald with 37 and Alex English who has 33. Don’t expect The Assassin to catch Gervin any time soon but at his current pace he could surpass English this season. In nine games this season, Arenas has already scored 40 or more on three occasions. Currently, he ranks fifth in the league in scoring with 28.4 points per game. Health will be the major factor that could keep Arenas from moving up the list, however, over the last two seasons he has missed only a total of four games. At 24, Arenas should have long career ahead of him filled with open jumpers.

Monday’s Player of the Day: Dwight Howard @ Memphis 41 min, 24 pts (FG: 9-12, FT: 6-8), 23 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk

Tuesday’s Game to Watch: Los Angeles Clippers (6-2) @ Los Angeles Lakers (7-3) This is the match-up that many wanted last year during the playoffs. It’s been a long, long time, if ever, since the battle of LA was a competitive contest. Well, those days are over and these two teams now have a genuine feud with one another that is only going to intensify further this year. Not that it really matters, but the Lakers are 6-1 at home this year while the Clippers are 0-2 away from the Staples Center. Despite their record, the Clippers have to love their chances on the “road.”

NBA General

Around the Rim: Welcome Back, Carter

1. Vinsanity
Vince Carter is chugging along, full steam ahead, and he’s not looking back. In fact, Carter has created a new season high in points for every game he has played this year, including 38 last night in a loss to Seattle. His 31.2 points per game is second in the league to Michael Redd’s 32.4. Besides his scoring output, Carter has increased his accuracy. He’s shooting 50 percent from the field, 43.9 percent from behind the three point line, and 84.1 percent from the free throw stripe, all career highs. To go along with his breakout shooting year, Carter is grabbing five rebounds, dishing out five assists and poking free a steal per game. Unfortunately, the Nets have alternated wins and loses all year and currently only have a 3-3 record. Carter’s numbers are impressive but if New Jersey doesn’t improve as a team then his shot at becoming an MVP will come up well short.

2. I’m Sorry Mrs. Jackson
Indiana Pacer Stephen Jackson pleaded not guilty on Monday to a charge that accuses him of violating his probation during an incident last month outside of a strip club in Indiana. Jackson allegedly fired his gun at least five times into the air, in what he describes as self defense during a fight that occurred outside the club. His probation stems from his role in the altercation between himself and several fans during the melee that occurred last year in Detroit. Jackson’s attorneys claim that he could not have violated his probation during the early October episode because he had already completed his probationary terms and therefore did not violate any of its conditions. Jackson could face three months in jail if found guilty. Furthermore, Jackson is charged with criminal recklessness, a felony, and misdemeanor counts of battery and disorderly conduct. The felony charge carries a prison term of six months to three years.

3. Malpractice
Doc Rivers’ coaching career could be coming to a close in Boston. Why? The team’s GM, Danny Ainge, recently gave Rivers the notoriously dreaded vote of confidence, saying that the team’s poor record would not result in a coaching change. In most cases, that means the team’s acceptance of applications for replacements has already begun. The Celtics are currently 1-6 on the year; this follows a dismal 33-49 2006 season. This season was supposed to be a dedication to the late Red Auerbach, but at this point it is becoming an embarrassment to the organization. Rivers was fired from Orlando eleven games into the 2004 season when the Magic started off by going 1-10. But if Rivers is indeed fired, you could still expect to seem him on the sidelines. Rumor has it that he very well could be the third man in the booth on ABC’s lead broadcast team with Mike Breen and Mark Jackson.

4. The Journeyman
The Charlotte Bobcats are in their third year as a franchise and they are struggling to simply be 1-5. And what’s the first thing to happen when a young team can’t find a way to win? That’s right, the coach gets fired. It certainly appears that Bernie Bickerstaff is not the answer for this club. If so, the logical fit would be to bring in Larry Brown who is free to job hunt, now that his settlement with the Knicks is final. Michael Jordan would love to have a fellow North Carolina alum sitting on the bench and, to his credit, Brown is considered to be one of the best teachers in the game. With a franchise that is still in its infancy, the young Bobcats sure could use some fundamental education from a coach know for “playing the right way.” Brown always said he would like to coach a high school team after his retirement. While the pay won’t indicate it, this would definitely be a step in that direction.

Monday’s Player of the Day: Vince Carter vs. Seattle 43 min, 38 pts (FG: 13-26, 3FG: 5-9, FT: 7-8), 4 reb, 5 ast, 1 stl

Tuesday’s Game to Watch: San Antonio (5-1) @ Houston (5-2) It’s a Texas sized showdown and a division shootout as the Rockets hope their undefeated home record remains intact after the Spurs, 3-0 on the road, pay a visit to Houston. Tracy McGrady’s point production has been down this season, but he still must be considered as one of the most explosive scorers in the NBA. The Spurs learned this firsthand in 2004 when T-Mac lit them up for 13 points in 33 seconds, including the game winning three-pointer.

NBA General

Around the Rim: Milwaukee’s Best

1. Redd Hot
Despite losing to the Utah Jazz on Saturday by a score of 113-111, thanks to a shot with less than two seconds remaining, the Bucks front office is feeling much better about giving Michael Redd a truly unprecedented contract last year. Redd’s six-year, $91 million contract was the most lucrative in Bucks’ history and proved to be a valuable investment after Redd dropped a franchise record 57 on the Jazz. It was the most points in a game by a losing player since some guy named Jordan scored 64 in an overtime loss to Orlando in 1993. Redd also became only the third player in the last 40 years to score 57 or more without an assist. Sure, it’s pretty selfish, but when you’re stroking it like he was, why pass? Redd had 39 in the second half to erase a 24 point deficit and ended the night with an incredible shooting performance to boast; 18 of 32 field goals, 6 of 12 from behind the arc and 15 of 17 at the charity stripe.

2. Don’t Quit Your Day Job
Ron Artest might want to reconsider his future career in the hip-hop industry. That’s because according to SoundScan, Artest’s debut album sold a paltry 343 copies during its first week on the shelves. Apparently, the “Malice in the Palace” did nothing to help his street cred. While it’s obvious that Artest’s record, entitled “My World”, is an utter flop; it takes a rapping white boy known for leeching his way to success to prove it. That’s right, Kevin Federline, Britney Spears’ soon to be ex-husband, released his new album on Halloween and it, somehow, managed to move 6,000 units during its first week. And that’s after getting body slammed by WWE Champion John Cena on national television. Maybe Artest could compete if Hulk Hogan were to deliver a boot to his face during halftime of the next Kings home game.

3. If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say

New York and San Antonio continued a bitter rivalry on Saturday. Lots of current bad blood resides within these teams for one another, luckily they only play twice a year. A bit of a squabble broke out when Bruce Bowen and Isiah Thomas both received technical fouls during the first quarter. The incident occurred after Thomas yelled something to Bowen. Gregg Popovich was also involved in the verbal altercation but did not receive a technical for his part. Several factors contributed toward this outburst between the teams. Earlier in the season, Bruce Bowen upset many Knick players when his foot slid underneath Steve Francis on a jumper, leading to a sprained ankle. Apparently, Thomas felt Bowen was attempting to do the same to guard Jamal Crawford. Popovich’s interjection probably had to do with, not only Thomas accusing his player of being dirty, but with the role Thomas played, as GM of the Knicks, in what Popovich believes has been poor treatment of his good friend Larry Brown. Another not-so-memorable moment between these two 1999 Finals teams occurred in 2001 when, then Knick, Marcus Camby threw a blindsided punch at Danny Ferry which eventually led to his coach, Jeff van Gundy, receiving a cut over his eye.

4. Multidimensional
Jason Kidd recorded his second triple-double of the early season on Sunday versus Washington. Kidd racked up his 77th career triple-dip by scoring 15 points, grabbing 11 boards and dishing out an astounding 18 assists. In the midst of all those assists, Kidd leapfrogged over Rod Strickland for seventh all-time. Kidd has been king of the triple-double since Magic Johnson retired and now sits one behind Wilt Chamberlain for third all-time. Kidd will eventually pass Chamberlain, however he will have to be content with third because he will never catch Magic (138) or Oscar Robertson (181). While Kidd is the current face of the triple-double, he never averaged one over an entire season as Robertson did in 1961-62. In what many believe is the greatest accomplishment in the history of the NBA, Robertson averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists. The closest Kidd came was in 1999-2000 when he had 14.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 10.1 assists. Many believe that the mark set by Robertson will never be matched. Ahem, are you listening LeBron?

Sunday’s Player of the Day: Vince Carter @ Washington 42 min, 34 pts (FG: 10-22, 3FG: 5-8, FT: 9-10), 2 reb, 7 ast, 3 stl, 2 blk

Monday’s Game to Watch: Seattle (3-4) @ New Jersey (3-2) Seattle is bringing a two game winning streak with them to New Jersey where the Nets are 2-1. The Sonics are hoping that Ray Allen, who is averaging 26 points a game, packed enough of his sharp shooting skills to help wrap up a five game, east coast road trip. New Jersey has firepower of its own in “Half-Man, Half-Amazing” Vince Carter and his 29.8 points per game. It looks like the Nets might have to play without Richard Jefferson who missed Sunday’s game due to an ankle sprain.