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.