NBA General

Around the Rim: Artest gets arraigned

1. What did the five fingers say to the face?
It’s all fun and games for Ron Artest while he’s slapping his wife but now Ron Ron is facing the potential punishment for his lack of anger management. Artest will be arraigned today on charges of battery and corporal injury to a spouse, false imprisonment and dissuading a witness from reporting a crime. That sucks for Artest because each charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in the slammer. Artest should shoot a text over to Stephen Jackson and get some tips on how he’s managed to avoid jail time after his strip club incident. But the NBA’s bad boy has had plenty of time to prepare for this day considering that sheriff’s have made the trip to Artest’s home five times since last August, and two of those responses involved some type of domestic disturbance. In fact, the Tru Warier has been involved with the law so frequently that he will be eligible for a limited edition Pacman Jones bobble-head with just three more arrests!

2. Kids in men’s clothing

Last night was another great battle between two of the league’s most promising big men in Chris Bosh and Dwight Howard but Toronto got more help when it counted and the Raptors ended up on top, 92-85. But back to the individual battle; while Howard had a respectable night with 17 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks and three assists it just wasn’t enough to outdo his fellow Eastern Conference All-Star who racked up 34 points, 16 rebounds and a pair of swats. And TJ Ford didn’t help Orlando out any as he put up 16 points and 12 assists. This Toronto/Orlando rivalry is becoming must watch TV thanks to the new breed superstars. The last time these teams hooked up on Feb. 7, Bosh had a career-high 41 points while Howard had a career-high night of his own with 32 points on 13-for-14 shooting.

3. Three down, 13 to go
With an easy victory over the slumping Pacers last night, the Spurs became the third team to lock up a playoff spot. The 90-72 win couldn’t have come at a better time for San Antonio who went on a two-game losing skid after winning a season-high 13 consecutive games prior to that. Tim Duncan beginning to look very spry with the post season approaching as he torched Indiana for 27 points on 11-of-16 shooting. He even hit five of his eight free throws and for Timmy, that’s pretty darn good. The Spurs have now joined Phoenix and Dallas in the post season with Utah and Houston set to guarantee their slot any day now. It’s really only a matter of which teams grab the final three spots and secure their series with one of the major players in the West.

Wednesday’s Player of the Day: Gilbert Arenas @ Seattle 38 min, 42 pts (FG: 13-24, 3FG: 6-12, FT: 10-12), 4 reb, 7 ast, 2 stl, 1 blk

Thursday’s Game to Watch: Los Angeles Lakers (35-32) @ Memphis (17-51) It’s really hard not to put Detroit at Houston as the game of the day but with the way Kobe Bryant has been stroking it lately you have got to tune in to see what he does next. And c’mon, it’s the Grizz; Bryant could be looking at a “double nickel” by the end of the third quarter if he’s feeling good. Should Kobe top 50 points he would become the first Laker to accomplish that feat since Elgin Baylor did it in December of 1962. That would be pretty freakin’ amazing considering that Kareem, Magic and Shaq have all worn the purple and gold. The Mamba has a two-game total of 115 points which is good for the third highest in the last 40 seasons. Only Michael Jordan and, well, Kobe Bryant have a higher total in two games after each managed to rack up 118 points. In other words, he’s hot.

Buzzer Beater: As pathetic as it sounds, the United States basketball team will have to qualify for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. If the red, white and blue is going to be involved in the Olympic experience they will have to start off by beating Venezuela in the Americas Tournament which will be held in Las Vegas from August 22 to September 2. Also in the same group as the US are Brazil, Canada and the US Virgin Islands. At least Greece isn’t in this tourney, because it was the Greeks that knocked Team USA out of contention for the championship round at the 2006 World Championship. And it was that loss that is now forcing the States to qualify before they can even get invited to the Olympics. As Charles Barkley would say, “Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson must be rollin’ over in their graves.”

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