Detroit Pistons

Around the Rim: Now who’s the best in the East?

1. Pistons pack pop for trip to Boston
The Celtics took their first real test of the season on Wednesday, falling a few points shy of a passing grade and a win. The Pistons escaped Boston with a two-point victory, 87-85, thanks to a pair of last-second Chauncey Billups free throws. Mr. Big Shot finished with game-highs of 28 points and eight assists as Detroit’s starting five scored all but 14 of the team’s points. Still, that’s nine more points than Boston got from their bench that shot two-for-nine in a combined 52 minutes of work. Kevin Garnett (26 pts, 12 reb) and Ray Allen (24 pts) took care of business, but the third piece of the triforce, Paul Pierce, shot a pathetic five-of-16 for 11 points. Boston proved they aren’t where they need to be yet and despite their 20-3 overall record, the Bad Boys are still the elite out East.

2. Too little, too late

Things didn’t look good for the Suns after the first quarter of their game against Dallas. With 12 minutes in the books, Phoenix was staring up from a 17-point hole. By the middle of the fourth quarter it wasn’t much better as the Mavericks held a 14-point advantage, but that’s when the Suns turned on the burners, using a 23-12 run over the final 6:56 to get within one Steve Nash 3-point air-ball from forcing overtime. Dirk Nowitzki led all scorers with 31 in the 108-105 shootout, giving the Mavericks their fourth consecutive win. The Suns still hold a half-game advantage over Dallas in the standings and Nash further padded his assists per game lead by handing out 18 dimes to go with his 21 points.

3. End of an era
Miami lost again on Wednesday, this time to Atlanta, but that’s nothing new. The real story of the game was the torn patellar tendon in Alonzo Mourning’s right knee; an injury that will most likely end the career of the 15-year vet. Mourning is a seven-time All-Star, a two-time defensive player of the year and ranks 10th all-time in career blocks. You never want to see a career end on an injury and you really never want to see a career end on a stretcher, which was the original means of transportation to get the big fella and his bum wheel off the court following the injury. But like the rest of his life, Zo was going to do things his way.

That’s not the way I envisioned myself walking off the court for the last time in my career,” he said. “I’ve been through so much in my life. If I had to crawl off the court I would have. Nobody was going to push me off on a stretcher off the court. That wasn’t going to happen.

Wednesday’s Player of the Day: Steve Nash @ Dallas 37 min, 21 pts (FG: 9-15, 3FG: 2-3, FT: 1-2), 3 reb, 18 ast, 1 stl

Thursday’s Game to Watch: Los Angeles Lakers (15-9) @ Cleveland (11-15)
We could sit here and cram records down your throats or talk about bench depth, but we all know why this game gets top billing for the night, it’s LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. The two are sitting at No. 1 and No. 2 in the league in scoring with LBJ scoring 29.6 a night and the Mamba dumping in 26.8 per contest. And for a little more parody, both are also leading their crews in assists and steals. We know that these teams have a ton of work to do if they want to sniff the NBA Finals this year, but, in late December, we don’t really care about teamwork. Until summer rolls around, we’ll take a showdown between a pair of one-man-bands any day of the week.

Buzzer Beater: Even a little blurry, this is one of the sickest moves you’ll ever see by someone not named Skip To My Lou.

Indiana Pacers

Jamaal Tinsley was in the wrong place at defiantly the wrong time

Jamaal Tinsley and his crew were shot at early Sunday morning near a downtown Indianapolis hotel after some apparently jealous thugs took issue with the group at a club. The incident went down around 3:40 a.m. when the unknown assailants opened fire with an assault rifle at the three vehicles Tinsley’s friends were in. The group detoured to the hotel once they realized they were being followed. The Pacers equipment manager, sitting in the back seat of Tinsley’s car, was shot in both elbows.

Jamaal’s brother, James Tinsley, opened fire on a gray Chrysler and a dark pickup as two of the cars chased the shooters approximately two blocks away. Jamaal was not involved in the subsequent chase.

And of course, this whole thing is really based on something completely senseless. According to the Indy Star:

A group was giving members of Tinsley’s crew a hard time about the expensive cars they were driving – a Mercedes, Rolls Royce and Dodge Charger – and the amount of money they made.

So you’re telling us that these morons basically approached Tinsley’s crew and said “You guys are rich and have really nice cars. You’re a bunch of losers!” Whatever happened to just being jealous from afar?

Needless to say, even though Pacers coach Jim O’Brien was happy to hear his player wasn’t hurt and gave him the day off because he “wanted him to get away from basketball for the day,” O’Brien wasn’t exactly sympathetic to Tinsley’s situation.

We leave it up to individuals to be responsible. Was I happy that somebody was out at 3 o’clock in the morning? No, I wasn’t. But that’s a decision that was made, and it was the wrong decision to make.

“It wasn’t on a game night. We had off yesterday and we were practicing at 11 o’clock today.

“I would think as we all suspect, nothing good happens after 1 o’clock if you’re around alcohol or around an environment where there could be weapons. Nothing good can happen in that situation.

But the Heat’s Alonzo Mourning went a step further, blaming the flashy NBA lifestyle for bringing the player haters out.

You’ve got to understand that we all are vulnerable when it comes to putting ourselves in situations where the public has access to us. And if we go out and flaunt and expose our luxuries, there are some jealous people out there who want it and put us in a position where we’re targets,” Mourning said. “I’m not saying you’ve got to hide it, but don’t be flamboyant. Don’t walk into a club with a crowd of people wearing a $250,000 chain around your neck or pull out a wad of hundreds for everybody to see. Pull out a credit card instead. I mean, you’re asking for attention and you’re asking for trouble.

Just think of how much trouble Pacman Jones could have avoided if he had whipped out his Visa card instead of making it rain the old fashioned way.


[]: Shots fired at Pacers’ Jamaal Tinsley
[]: Heat curb Clippers, make Riley third NBA coach with 1,200 wins