NBA General

Around the Rim: Heat Check

Too much Stackhouse

1. Finals Rematch
Thanks to some clutch shooting in the fourth quarter by Jerry Stackhouse, the Mavericks were able to defeat the Heat 99-93 on Sunday. Dallas continues to mow down opponents, winning seven games in a row and 20 of their last 21. But Miami put up a decent fight as they wait for Shaq’s return to action. The Heat’s starting backcourt went off for 48 points and Udonis Haslem came close to a double-double with 15 and eight. Even the recently pudgy Antoine Walker got into the act with 11 points. Miami’s record isn’t pretty but if they can make the playoffs with a healthy O’Neal, then they can’t be counted out simply because of a low seed.

2. Wishful Thinking
Phoenix is like the Energizer Bunny; they just keep winning and winning. And they do so in fast breaking fashion. Last night, the Suns put up a whopping 131 points against Minnesota in regulation. Steve Nash has led the Suns to 13 straight victories, scoring over 105 points in ten of the contests. The Suns have three legitimate All-Stars who are capable of going off on an opponent on any night, which can be bad enough, but when the trio of Nash, Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion are all clicking at the same time, it turns into to 120+ point night quite easily. If only the NBA would arrange a mid-season seven game series between the Suns and Mavs. Oh, what a series it would be.

3. Hairy Situation
It’s not just the Suns win streak that continues to grow longer with each victory. The team’s facial hair is beginning to get out of control as well. Steve Nash isn’t even sure how the trend got started but sometime during Phoenix’s current win streak, some of the players on the team decided to avoid the razor and let their beards appear. Nash admitted to hating the look but like most athletes, he’s just superstitious enough to buy into the routine. Shawn Marion, on the other hand, isn’t giving in to temptation. “I can’t do it, man,” Marion said. “My face gets too itchy.”

Sunday’s Player of the Day: Dwyane Wade vs. Dallas 44 min, 31 pts (FG: 12-21, 3FG:1-4, FT: 6-9), 6 reb, 6 ast, 2 stl

Monday’s Game to Watch: Memphis (10-31) @ Denver (20-17) Memphis sucks but who cares, after all, he’s baaaack!! Carmelo Anthony will be in Denver’s lineup for the first time in 36 days after being suspended 15 games for his part in the mayhem that occurred between the Nuggets and the Knicks in mid December. Finally, after all the speculation and anticipation, we will get to see if Melo and Allen Iverson can coexist when Memphis makes the trip to The Mile High City tonight. Since A.I. joined the club, the Nuggets have gone 5-8, which included several double-digit losses. Anthony’s presence on the floor can do nothing but help as he remains the league’s best scorer with 31.6 points per game.

Buzzer Beater: Josh Smith gave a double barreled salute to the crowd as he walked to the locker room after being ejected in the second quarter of a 104-85 blowout loss in Charlotte on Saturday. There must be something in Atlanta’s water, or should I say in Atlanta’s water bottles, to make this Hawk think throwing the bird would fly in Mr. Stern’s NBA. Expect the commish to dish out some punishment early this week, possibly today.

NBA General

Around the Rim: Purple and Gold vs. Black and Gold

Uglier than the Sabres uni?

1. Must Be the New Uni’s
Washington guard Gilbert Arenas has been extremely flammable this season and last night he decided to torch the Los Angeles Lakers by scoring a franchise record 60 points. The Wizards have now won eight out of their last ten games. Last night was the fifth time this season that Arenas has scored at least 40 points and it only took him a half to do it. He had 43 points after halftime, including the overtime. Arenas had been struggling to score on the road, but in his last three road games he has averaged 43.3 points. And Arenas wasn’t the only hot player on the court as Kobe Bryant went off for 45 points, including 7 of 11 from behind the arc.

2. Cheap Shot
Carmelo Anthony recently donated $1 million to a recreation center in downtown Baltimore. The facility’s goal is to help kids find a healthy alternative to the criminal element that plagues the area. While the center has a gym and offers sports and recreational activities, it is unknown if there is a ring set up where children can practice throwing sucker punches just like their hero. Maybe they offer classes in how to back peddle as the league’s leading scorer has been doing since his pathetic behavior in the Garden. After watching the video, it’s obvious why Anthony is in the NBA and not a pro boxer. He’s a flyer, not a fighter.

3. Back on Top
It took a while for somebody to catch the Jazz who started off the season so hot, but the league has a new best team. San Antonio has been consistently winning and now owns the NBA’s best record at 19-6. With the best road record in the league, the Spurs have been able to hold on to the Southwest Division’s top spot for the entire season despite impressive winning streaks from both Houston and Dallas. San Antonio has the best defense as they only give up 90.6 points per game and, unlike other seasons; the Spurs are averaging over 100 points a night. The Spurs have a solid core that has been together for several years and they have a ton of playoff experience together. Throw in the teams trademark defensive capabilities and they are a team that will be hard to beat in the postseason. Injuries could be the only things to slow this team down in 2006-07.

Sunday’s Player of the Day: Gilbert Arenas @ Los Angeles Lakers 49 min, 60 pts (FG: 17-32, 3FG: 5-12, FT: 21-27), 8 reb, 8 ast, 2 stl

Monday’s Game to Watch: Dallas (17-7) @ Sacramento (10-12) This match-up might not have the intensity that it use to, but it is still a great rivalry. The Kings have been sporadic this season and you can never be sure which team will show up, but when they play at their best they can hang with any team in the league. Dallas is building on new winning streak after struggling for a bit after they won 12 in a row. The Mavericks’ role players have been the ones to excel recently as Josh Howard and Jason Terry have picked up their scoring.

Buzzer Beater: Pau Gasol is finally back and while his numbers aren’t up to his old standards, he is showing why he is so important to his team. Gasol is one of the most complete seven-footers in the league. The only column this guy doesn’t fill up on a stat sheet is three-pointers. Gasol can single handedly make Memphis a playoff team again. Obviously, this season is out of the question but if he can be 100 percent for next year then Memphis will be back on the NBA map.

General Sports

Odds and Ends for Tues Apr 25: NASCAR catfight odds

Proving that you really can bet on anything, has put out odds on the next catfight in NASCAR. They are putting 25-1 odds that Nicole Lunders and Eva Bryan will get into a physical altercation. The odds are only 5-1 that Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch will mix it up.

Also, drivers should keep their girlfriends/wives away from Tony Stewart, who is 25-1 odds to have an affair with one of them. Sweet.

In other news…

[Fox Sports]: Is Carmello making a name for himself as choke artist?

[News & Observer]: Because of his assault charge in D.C., Colin Finnerty now has a curfew of 9 PM to 6 AM.

[MSNBC]: Reggie Bush said that family house controversy is blown out of proportion.

[NY Daily News]: 8 out of 15 players on the Knicks blame Larry Brown for piss poor season.

[Armchair GM]: 8 mascots that need to die

[Off Wing Opinion]: NHL Playoff Roundup (’cause we’re too lazy to do it ourselves.)

[Texans Rock]: Another dumb athlete injures himself in a motorcycle accident

Real Odd of the Day: 29-1 Alex Rodriguez will admit to having a love child. (Boston fans wonder shouldn’t this be higher since A-Rod is gay?)