1. NBA Action Is Fantastic!
Last night’s game between the Mavs and the Suns was billed as the biggest game of the season. And neither team disappointed, as the game went down to the wire and took a pair of overtimes before Phoenix walked away with a much deserved 129-127 victory in Big D. The loss marked the first time this year that the Suns defeated the Mavs as Dallas has now lost consecutive games for the first time since opening the season with a four game losing streak. The Suns are now only three games behind the Mavs for the best record in the league. Has there ever been a less productive 17 game win streak in the history of the NBA? Despite their long run of victories, both Phoenix and San Antonio are right on the heels of Dallas. Steve Nash had an epic performance in the triumph that consisted of big free throws, big threes and big steals in the most important moments of the game as he put up 32 points, 16 assists and eight rebounds. And Nash wasn’t even the team’s most productive player on offense because Amare Stoudemire torched the Mavs for 41 points on 16 of 19 shooting to go with 10 boards. Only 18 more days until Phoenix vs. Dallas IV!
2. Built Ford Tough
TJ Ford has been playing at a spectacular level of late, but last night might have been his best performance of the season as he racked up 18 points and matched that with a career-high tying 18 assists. About the only thing that didn’t go Ford’s way against the Knicks was his half time buzzer beater that was denied by the officials after reviewing the play. With the way the Atlantic Division is shaking out, Toronto has already locked up the division crown and with it a guaranteed home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. But everyone knows that Chris Bosh is the T-Rex amongst these Raptors, averaging 22.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.38 blocks per game. There are a lot of great point/forward combos in the league right now and these two are right in the midst of the most promising duos out there.
3. This Is Getting To Be Boston Bad
It wasn’t too long ago that Indiana was in the thick of the playoff race with the possibility of pulling down a home court advantage in the first round. Well, those days are long gone now that the Pacers have lost 11 straight, one shy of tying the franchises’ longest streak of futility. Not even the return of Jermaine O’Neal could pull the Pacers out of their funk, but it wasn’t due to a lack of effort on O’Neal’s part (24 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks) in his first game back after missing three games with a sprained knee. With the loss to Washington last night, Indiana has fallen out of the top eight in the conference and now suddenly faces the possibility of making an early draft selection. Hey, Reggie, are you sure you don’t want to come outta retirement?
Wednesday’s Player of the Day: Steve Nash @ Dallas 48 min, 32 pts (FG: 11-25, 3FG: 2-6, FT: 8-8), 8 reb, 16 ast, 1 stl
Thursday’s Game to Watch: Los Angeles Lakers (33-31) @ Denver (31-31) The Lakers are struggling monumentally at the moment but records really don’t matter when the game sports three of the league’s top five scorers. Denver’s dynamic duo is combining for 58 points per game thanks to Melo’s league best 29.8 points per game average and his partner in crime’s 27.9. But that’s still not going to be enough firepower to count out the explosive one man scoring machine known as Kobe Bryant. One of these games, LA is going to break out of their slump and when they do it will probably be due to a huge offensive outing by the Mamba. Tonight is as good as any to drop another 50 point performance.
Buzzer Beater: Kobe Bryant feels that the criticism of his play is “insulting.” Phil Jackson referred to the negative media attention as a “witch hunt.” Bryant said that he doesn’t “need to be a dirty player” and doesn’t “want the image of a dirty player.” Well Kobe, if you don’t want to have your integrity questioned then don’t perform acts that bring your integrity into question. The high elbows, the awkward releases and the flailing forearms are occurring all too frequently to be considered anything but intentional. As a highly skilled athlete and one of the greatest basketball players to ever hit the hardwood, Bryant has complete control over his body’s every movement at almost every moment of every game. He can twist, turn, squeeze and shoot all while in flight, but for some strange reason he loses all control of his arms anytime they come near a player’s face? C’mon, gimme a break.