1. Double overtime
The Suns didn’t appear to miss Shawn Marion in the least on Wednesday night as they ran up and down the court at breakneck speed, scoring 130 points against the Hornets in a pair of overtimes. And Marion certainly didn’t miss being on the Suns because New Orleans managed to score 131 points, winning on a buzzer-beating Peja Stojakovic jumper. Tyson Chandler missed a doozey, sidelined with the flu, but his teammates stepped up on the road. Stojakovic finished with 26 points while David West grabbed 13 rebounds to go with 21 points and even though Peja gets credit for the win, Chris Paul gets the game ball. Paul just missed setting a new career-high with 42 points to go along with nine assists and a career-high eight steals. Shaquille O’Neal wasn’t in uniform for Phoenix yet and it’s a good thing because he probably got winded just watching. Amare Stoudemire did his best `Showtime Shaq’ impression, scoring 26, grabbing 20 and blocking four shots. Former MVP Steve Nash finished with a triple-double the ugly way – 32 points, 12 assists and 10 turnovers
The Kyle Korver trade continues to pay dividends for Utah. Korver scored 27 points against Denver, nailing four big-time free throws in the final 20 seconds of overtime to give Utah a 116-115 victory. Allen Iverson had a shot at winning the game and adding to his game-high 34 points, but his shot wasn’t true. The Jazz are 16-2 since acquiring Korver from Philly, but he can’t get all the credit. Deron Williams finished with 29 points, 11 assists and six rebounds while Mehmet Okur had a double-double with 15 and 10. The Denver starters scored 104 points with A.I. (34 pts, 10 ast) and Carmelo Anthony (29 pts, 8 reb) combining for 63. Marcus Camby (17 reb) and Kenyon Martin (10 reb) yielded a ton of boards, but they also committed some boneheaded fouls down the stretch of both regulation and overtime.
3. Losin’ it
Joe Johnson scored 28 points, leading the Hawks to a 98-95 win over the Lakers, but, in the end, Kobe Bryant gave the game to Atlanta. With eight seconds on the clock, Bryant lost his handle of the ball and got hit with an over-and-back violation, turning the ball and the game over to the Hawks. A pair of clutch Johnson free throws with three seconds left sealed the deal. Josh Smith played an All-Star caliber game with 17 points, nine rebounds, nine assists, five blocks and a pair of steals. Oh, but that wasn’t it for Hotlanta. Rookie Al Horford grabbed a career-high 20 rebounds to go with 15 points. Lamar Odom led the Lakers in defeat with 19 points and 11 rebounds while Bryant struggled with more than just his handle, missing 12-of-14 shots for 11 points.
Wednesday’s Player of the Day: Chris Paul @ Phoenix 50 min, 42 pts (FG: 18-33, 3FG: 4-9, FT: 2-3), 5 reb, 9 ast, 8 stl
Thursday’s Game to Watch: Cleveland (27-20) @ Houston (28-20)
Get ready for a showdown of international superstars when the Cavs and the Rockets hook it up. Nobody in the NBA is currently a hotter commodity than LeBron James. What’s not to like – he’s funny, he’s got sick skillz and he drives like a bat outta hell. On a global scale, Yao Ming’s da man; more importantly, he’s playing like da man. Over his last four games he is averaging 20.3 points, 12.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 blocks per game. Coincidentally, the Rockets are undefeated in that span. Then you got the King. Like Yao, James’ squad is a perfect 4-0 in his last four starts (DNP @ Sea), and like Yao, he’s straight ballin’! LBJ has been good for 34.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 2.8 steals over his last four contests.
Buzzer Beater: Speaking of James; for a guy who’s normally good for a few soundbites a day, we were really disappointed that he didn’t give us more when informed of the blockbuster deal that sent Shaq Daddy to the desert.
“Unbelievable,” James said after practice Wednesday. “That’s all I got. It’s unbelievable.”
We don’t think he was necessarily speechless because Shaq returned to the West, we’re figuring he was just realizing that he’ll be defended by Shawn Marion three or four times every year.