New York Yankees

Odds and Ends: This whole Alex Rodriguez sex scandal could have easily been avoided

Athletes and infidelity go together like peanut butter and jelly or like athletes and hookers. They’re simply made for each other, but that doesn’t mean that the cheating has to become public. According to, an athlete doesn’t have to keep it in their pants in order to keep their name out of the paper. Simply following this list of The 10 Bona Fide Commandments For The Cheating Athlete should be more than enough.











Learn it. Memorize it. Live by it.

In other news…

[Tirico Suave]: Kerry Collins stars in “God Dammit”

[Kissing Suzy Kolber]: Peter King stars in “Peter King Needs A Latte”

[]: Top 10 old school WWF wrestlers

[Gossip Girls]: Kim Kardashian might be on Dancing With the Stars. Schwing

[Deuce of Davenport]: Crazy-ass NFL merchandise, including the “creepiest sleeping bag ever”

[All Balls]: Just follow the bouncing boobs. Oh, god, we mean breasts. Uh, err, no, balls; wait, ball. Yea, that’s it; just follow the bouncing boobs. Dammit

[Rear Naked News]: Michael Bisping might have a death wish

[NE Patriots Draft]: More of Brett Favre this…

[]: And more of Brett Favre that

[The Associated Press]: Congratulations on becoming the drunkest guy ever, Mr. 0.491 Percent Blood Alcohol Level

[The City of Champions]: The ol `Take off your shirt so we can get a picture of you and Photoshop it onto the cover of a gay porn rag’ trick gets `em every time

[The Redshirt Senior]: College pigskin’s top 10 lids

[Storming the Floor]: Texas set to retire Kevin Durant’s jersey. Sure, it was one heckuva season, but, damn!

[]: UCLA is soooo totally ass-some

[Banned In Hollywood]: What? Allison’s back?? Quick, how’s our hair?

[]: Handsome + Me + Funny = Host

[]: Can you believe The Big Lebowski is already 10 years old?! Our baby’s growing up so quickly

And finally, when “Haha, now you’re dead!” is the absolute best you can do, these are the guys to call on.

See more funny videos and funny pictures at CollegeHumor.
New Orleans Hornets

Around the Rim: Hornets swarm the Spurs

1. Pressure? What pressure?
Just when it looked like the pressures of inexperience were finally catching up with the playoff green New Orleans Hornets, they stepped up again against the veteran defending champs. The Spurs owned a three-point advantage at halftime, just like in Games 1 and 2, but promptly had their socks blown off in the third period, just like in Games 1 and 2, when David West helped led his team on a 28-11 run in the quarter. By the time the final buzzer sounded, New Orleans had a 101-79 victory and a 3-2 lead in the series. The Spurs had no answer for West who recorded playoff career-highs with 38 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks on the same night San Antonio reserve Robert Horry played in his 238th postseason game, the most in league history. The Spurs philosophy of shutting down Peja Stojakovic (3-8 FG, 9 pts) offensively with Bruce Bowen worked once again, but, once again, they had no such luck against West or Chris Paul who finished with a 22-point, 14-assist double-double. Tim Duncan could not find his range, missing 13 of his 18 shots, but still posted 23 rebounds while Manu Ginobili erred his way to a team-high 20 points on 5-of-15 shooting. Game 6 is on Thursday in San Antonio where it will be do-or-die time for the home team.

2. It’s over!

In the final seconds of the game, Hedo Turkoglu went for a dunk that would have brought Orlando within a point of the Pistons. But Tayshaun Prince swooped in to make a game-changing block, forcing the Magic to foul and Detroit strolled into the Eastern Conference Finals with a 91-86 win. The Pistons are playing in their sixth consecutive conference finals, tying them with three other teams for the third most in NBA history after defeating Orlando in five games. Despite playing without Chauncey Billups for the final two contests, the Pistons were still the superior team, led by the starters who combined for all but four of the team’s points in the series closer. Richard Hamilton was perfect from the free-throw line, hitting all 16 of his attempts en route to a game-high 31 points and Antonio McDyess was outstanding with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Hamilton also became the franchise’s all-time leader in postseason points with 2,282 in 110 career games. For the Magic, it’s another disappointing to finish to an impressive season. They continue to take baby steps or in Dwight Howard’s case, man-child steps forward, but until Howard truly becomes the unstoppable offensive threat he is capable of being then these early exits will continue to occur.

3. Pain in the back
Going into Game 5 of the Lakers/Jazz series on Wednesday night, there’s really only one question that matters: How’s Kobe’s back? The MVP was in obvious pain during Game 4, but he still managed to almost record a triple-double in the loss, scoring 33 points to go with eight rebounds and 10 assists. So, in order to make sure their star was as close to 100 percent as possible, the Lakers rested Bryant during practice on Tuesday. Bryant said he would be “fine” for the momentum swinging game tonight which will give the winner a 3-2 advantage. We’re expecting a big game out of Bryant tonight; after all, if he can play with the weight of a sexual-assault trial on his back then a little tweak should be no problem at all.

Tuesday’s Player of the Day: David West vs. San Antonio 44 min, 38 pts (FG: 16-25, FT: 6-7), 14 reb, 5 ast, 2 stl, 5 blk

Buzzer Beater: After carrying bags and bringing in the doughnuts for an entire season, it’s time to give the NBA’s rookies a little love. The league’s All-Rookie teams were announced yesterday and the Hawks Al Horford was the only unanimous selection on the first squad. Surprisingly, the NBA Rookie of the Year Kevin Durant received only 57 of a possible 58 votes. Joining the hands-down best rooks in the game was Luis Scola from Houston, Al Thornton with the Clippers and Durant’s teammate Jeff Green. Second teamers included Jamario Moon (Tor), Juan Carlos Navarro (Mem), Thaddeus Young (Phi), Rodney Stuckey (Det) and Carl Landry (Hou).

NBA General

Around the Rim: West’s best finally sort out the mess

1. Set in stone
While the East has been set for a couple of days now, nearly all the playoff pairings in the wild, wild Western Conference weren’t determined until the season’s final games were played. However, now that the playoff picture is crystal clear, everyone can see this is going to be one heckuva of run to the rings. The one/eight seed matchup between Los Angeles and Denver delivers plenty of firepower with three of the league’s top four scorers going at it in a best of seven series. The seventh seeded Mavericks won’t have far to travel when they go against New Orleans, but they’ll be packing a pitiful 17-24 road record to an arena where the Hornets are 30-11. The No. 3 Spurs are going to have their hands full with the Suns and a championship hungry Shaquille O’Neal while Houston has homecourt advantage against the Jazz in a rematch of the only playoff series to go seven games last year.

2. How it happened

When the Hornets face the Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs, they’ll have revenge on their minds. Dallas spanked the Southwest Division champions 111-98 behind Jason Kidd’s 100th triple-double. Kidd showed Chris Paul that he wasn’t quite ready to give up his crown as one of the league’s top point guards just yet, scoring 27 points to go with 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Dirk Nowitzki only scored 12 points on 4-of-16 shooting, but Jason Terry came off the bench to pour in 30 points, including 10 during a 32-8 run spanning the end of the third and beginning of the fourth quarters. The Hornets were led by David West’s 26 points and got solid numbers out of Paul (20 points, 10 ast). The Dallas victory also ensured that Denver would be traveling to Los Angeles for their opening round matchup.

3. The rematch with a little extra Shaq
Perhaps the biggest game of the night played a big role in setting up the biggest first round matchup in this year’s playoffs between two of the game’s most bitter rivals. The Spurs ensured homecourt advantage in the first round by beating Utah 109-80, locking up the third seed. The game was never close as San Antonio rushed out to a 65-39 halftime lead which, coupled with victories by Houston and Phoenix, sets up another instant classic between Shaquille O’Neal and Tim Duncan. Expect another bloody, bruising series when the Suns and Spurs go at it. San Antonio is 33-7 this year at home and after missing three consecutive games, they have Manu Ginobili healthy. And, oh, what a difference a healthy Manu makes! Ginobili played just 19 minutes off the bench in his return but, posted 12 points (4-4 FG, 4-4 FT), six rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Wednesday’s Player of the Day: Kevin Durant @ Golden State 43 min, 42 pts (FG: 18-25, 3FG: 1-2, FT: 5-6), 13 reb, 6 ast, 1 stl, 2 blk

Buzzer Beater: When Houston defeated the Clippers 93-75 in their season finale, they secured the fifth seed in the playoffs. A couple of hours later, Utah falls to the Spurs and we have a series. Despite having a higher seed, the Jazz must travel to Houston for their postseason opener because they have a worse overall record. Basically it’s a horrible situation for Utah who is 17-24 on the road this year. Luis Scola made Rockets fans say “Yao who?” after he dominated the Clippers with 22 points and 10 rebounds, covering up for Tracy McGrady’s pathetic 2-of-11 shooting performance. People continue to argue about Houston’s legitimacy , but you can’t argue with a record of 35 wins in its last 43 games, including a 22-game win streak.

LA Lakers

Around the Rim: Lakers show off their vertical leap

1. Leaping up the standings
If the Lakers end up with the top seed in the West, nobody can say they don’t deserve it. With just days left in the most highly contested conference race in history, Los Angeles took care of business in a big way by knocking off the Hornets and the Spurs in back-to-back games over the weekend. Kobe Bryant’s boys defeated New Orleans by three points, 107-104, on Friday and then throttled the defending champs 106-85 on Sunday. The Lakers jumped from third to first in the conference with the wins, giving them a half-game lead over New Orleans with their season finale coming on Tuesday against the Kings. Bryant finished with 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in just three quarters of work against the Spurs while Lamar Odom (17 pts, 14 reb) and Pau Gasol (14 pts, 11 reb) each recorded a double-double. San Antonio could have used some of Manu Ginobili’s point production late in the game, but for the second consecutive game, a strained groin kept him on the sideline watching as the Spurs scored just 32 points in the second half.

2. Nuggets get closer

The Nuggets took one step closer to making the playoffs on Sunday when they romped the Rockets 111-94 behind 33 points from Allen Iverson. Denver also got a stellar performance out of sixth man J.R. Smith who scored 23 points. The Rockets dream of grabbing the conference’s top record is still attainable, but it’s defiantly fading fast. In order to grab the top record in the West, Houston must win both of its remaining games and have Los Angeles and New Orleans to lose on Tuesday.

3. Sonics sendoff
If the Sonics played their final game in Seattle last night, then they went out with a bang. With just 12 home victories to their name this season, the Sonics added a 13th on Sunday when they knocked off the Mavericks 99-95, overcoming a six-point deficit in the final three minutes. Led by Earl Watson’s 21 points and Kevin Durant’s 19, four of Seattle’s starters finished in double-figures to outpace the Mavericks who got 32 points and seven rebounds out of Dirk Nowitzki. Jason Terry chipped in 25 for Dallas. The Sonics appear to be heading for Oklahoma after heading out to Golden State for the franchise’s final game.

I almost cried, to be honest with you. People kept saying it might be the last game in Seattle,” Durant said. “It was phenomenal.

Sunday’s Player of the Day: Allen Iverson vs. Houston 41 min, 33 pts (FG: 13-20, 3FG: 1-4, FT: 6-11), 7 reb, 7 ast, 4 stl, 1 blk

Monday’s Game to Watch: Golden State (48-32) @ Phoenix (53-27)
After falling to the Nuggets on Thursday, the Warriors basically sealed their fate. However, nothing is over until it’s officially over in the wild, wild West. But Golden State is in a must-win situation against the Suns tonight, needing a victory to even think about grabbing the conference’s last spot and go on to shock the world once again. Phoenix lost a heartbreaker to Houston on Friday to drop its record to 6-4 over the last games. Their will be no homecourt advantage for the Suns in the opening round of the postseason, so they will be looking to improve their 28-11 record in Phoenix before being forced to hit the road in the second season.

Buzzer Beater: Sitting comfortably in the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race, the Pistons have absolutely nothing to play for as the regular season draws to a close. But that isn’t keeping them from winning. No starter played more than 25 minutes against the Raptors on Sunday and the Pistons till took a 91-84 victory, shoving Toronto into sixth place in the East – a horrible place for a team with a 16-24 road record. As it stands, the Raptors would be looking at a first round matchup against these Pistons. Well, not exactly these exact Pistons; they’d be a much, much better Pistons squad.

We’ve been struggling for a while now — that’s no secret — and tonight we had to go up against one of the best teams in the league,” Rasho Nesterovic said after Toronto dropped to 8-16 in its last 24 games. “Whoever we play in the first round, we’re going to have to change our mentality if we want to have a chance.

Dallas Mavericks

Around the Rim: Welcome back

1. Dirk Nowitzki does his best Willis Reed impersonation
Dirk Nowitzki knew that he team was circling the drain while he rode the pine with a leg injury, so on Wednesday night, the German sharpshooter decided to suit up and help his team climb out of the toilet. It worked. For the first time since acquiring Jason Kidd, the Mavericks defeated a team with a winning record and they did so in convincing fashion, stomping a mud hole in their bitter rivals from Golden State. Nowitzki finished with 18 points and Jason Terry posted a game-high 31 as Dallas cruised to an easy 111-86 victory. The Warriors just could not find their offense, needing 86 attempts to tally 86 points while the Mavs drained 48 percent of their field goals. Led by Kidd’s 17 dimes, Dallas finished with a whopping 35 assists compared to Golden State’s 10 and killed the normally up-tempo Warriors in fastbreak points, 44-16.

2. Brand new

After missing nearly a year of action, Elton Brand is back. The mild-mannered, double-double machine took to the court against the Sonics on Wednesday evening and posted 19 points – 13 in the fourth quarter – and five rebounds to help the Clippers pound Seattle 102-84. Brand went down with a torn left Achilles back on April 18, 2007, and wasn’t expected to return until Thursday, but he felt so good before the game that coach Mike Dunleavy decided to go ahead and give him some minutes; 26 to be exact. Kevin Durant had one of his best games, finishing with 30 points on 13-of-23 shooting, but it couldn’t overshadow the play of Brand. In addition to his points and boards, Brand dished out three assists, blocked a shot and tallied a steal.

3. Lakers get their groove back
The Lakers got a boost of their own last night as Pau Gasol returned to the lineup and posted 10 points, six rebounds and seven assists in a 104-91 victory over Portland. Gasol had been out of action due to a sprained ankle he suffered nearly three weeks ago. Kobe Bryant racked up 14 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter and grabbed 13 rebounds to help his squad pull within 1 ½ games of first place New Orleans. The Lakers lost four of nine games without Gasol after posting a 15-4 record following his acquisition. The return is huge for a relatively small lineup in L.A., but the key for any sort of Lakers postseason success lies in the return of center Andrew Bynum. As of now, Los Angeles is hoping and praying the big man is healthy enough to get some critical minutes before the second season starts.

Wednesday’s Player of the Day: Kobe Bryant vs. Portland 41 min, 36 pts (FG: 10-16, 3FG: 4-5, FT: 12-13), 13 reb, 7 ast, 3 stl

Thursday’s Game to Watch: Houston (49-25) @ Portland (38-37)
Hey, on a night when Cleveland plays Chicago and the Clippers face the Kings, we decided to choose the lesser of three evils. Houston continues to flounder since running off 22 consecutive wins and they are now on a two-game losing streak and have lost five of its last 10 games. Portland isn’t much better, dropping three in a row and six of its last 10. Luckily, Inside the NBA comes on tonight and we’ll get to hear Charles Barkley rip both of these clubs for being as soft as his belly.

Buzzer Beater: On a night when injured players returned left and right, we would be remiss to not mention the comeback of Gilbert Arenas. Agent 0 missed 66 games with a knee injury before scoring 17 points against the Bucks on Wednesday. Unfortunately for Arenas, his return was overshadowed by Ramon Sessions and his buzzer-beater that gave Milwaukee a 110-109 victory. And the bad night didn’t stop there for Washington. Right when it appeared the Wizards were back to full capacity, new injuries to key components took their toll. Antawn Jamison left the game with a sprained right shoulder and the thickly bearded DeShawn Stevenson exited with a sprained right ankle.

Detroit Pistons

Around the Rim: Not in our house!

1. Detroit outshines Phoenix
In what very well could be a preview of this year’s NBA Finals, the Pistons proved they still got it when it comes to breaking Shaq’s heart. The Suns were on a seven-game winning streak going into Detroit on Monday, but Detroit posted 14 points in overtime to take a 110-105 victory. Since joining Phoenix, the Bad Boys have twice defeated Shaquille O’Neal and the last time the Diesel was sporting a Western Conference uniform, the Pistons sent his Lakers home brokenhearted from the game’s ultimate stage. O’Neal managed to have a solid outing, posting 12 points and 10 rebounds to compliment Amare Stoudemire’s 33 points and Steve Nash’s 23, but Chauncey Billups was too much to handle down the stretch, scoring nine of his 32 points in the extra frame.

2. Beantown letdown

Philadelphia’s shock-n-awe tour continued on Monday night when the Sixers stopped in Boston and knocked off the league’s top dawgs 95-90. Andre Iguodala finished with 28 points and went bonkers in the fourth quarter, going on a personal 10-0 run as part of a 19-0 run to claw out of an 11-point hole. Boston’s “Big 3” combined for 44 points, but only posted five in the final quarter and the Celtics lost their second straight. Philadelphia improved to 8-2 over its last 10 games and now sits in sole possession of sixth place in the Eastern Conference playoff chase.

3. The Nuggets keep rolling
On Sunday, Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony combined for 69 points in a victory over Toronto. On Monday, the dynamic duo posted 49 points, but the results were the same – a win. The Answer finished with 26 points and Carmelo Anthony tallied 23, however neither could hold a candle to J.R. Smith in Denver’s 120-106 win. Smith went nuclear in the final period, ripping off 25 of his 27 points, including seven bombs from downtown. The W was the Nuggets third consecutive as they try to work themselves back into the playoff picture in a stacked West. The Grizzlies got big games out of a pair of blossoming youngsters as Rudy put up a game-high 30 points and Hakim Warrick finished with 29. But don’t let the inexperienced talent fool you, this team stinks. In fact, if it weren’t for Seattle’s current 1-11 streak, Memphis might very well own the conference’s worst mark.

Monday’s Player of the Day: Lamar Odom @ Golden State 53 min, 23 pts (FG: 10-15, FT: 3-5), 21 reb, 5 ast, 2 stl, 5 blk

Tuesday’s Game to Watch: San Antonio (47-23) @ Orlando (46-26)
The last time the Spurs visited Orlando Dwight Howard slam dunked his Magic to a victory with less than one second remaining in the game. Until he went Superman at All-Star Weekend, it was the defining moment of his short career. The Spurs have now won three in a row after dropping six of seven and just added Brent Barry back to the roster to give them some solid perimeter shooting for the playoff push. It’s a strategy the Magic are quite familiar with. Orlando averages the second-most treys in the league (25.1 3FG per game) and Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu and Keith Bogans are amongst the top 12 in the league for 3-point attempts.

Buzzer Beater: Fans in Seattle chanted “Save Our Sonics!” at any chance they could get last night and apparently the players just aren’t used to hearing anything other than boos when they play in front of the home crowd after dropping 11 in a row before beating Portland 97-84 on Monday.

Messed me up a little bit,” [Kevin] Durant said. “But I heard them and that’s something I love. The crowd was into it tonight and that shows they’re going to stick behind us.

Houston Rockets

Around the Rim: Eyeing a comeback

1. Rockets taking off without McGrady
The Rockets are finally getting used to playing without Tracy McGrady. In fact, Houston won their third consecutive game by beating Washing 92-84 on Tuesday night. Unfortunately, T-Mac might be back in uniform for Friday’s game at home against the Timberwolves after being sidelined since Dec. 23. Hopefully for Houstonians, McGrady adds to the team’s current success instead of devolving the chemistry. Led by Luther Head’s 24 points, three Rockets reached double-figures against the Wiz, including Yao Ming who finished with 21 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots. With the win, Houston (18-17) jumped above .500 for the first time since being 12-11 almost a month ago.

2. Are you Kidding?

Jason Kidd racking up a triple-double is nothing new, but do it three games in a row and, now, we’ve got something to talk about. On Tuesday, Kidd became the first player since Grant Hill to record a triple-dip in a trio of consecutive games by scoring 13 points, grabbing 11 boards and passing out 12 assists against the Bobcats. And if Kidd hadn’t come up two assists shy in a game against Orlando, he would be looking at four straight triple-doubles. The last person to do that was, you guessed it, Michael Jordan who had seven consecutive way, way back in 1989. Oh, and if you care about things like team play and scores then you might be interested to know that Charlotte defeated the Nets quite easily, 115-99.

3. Fancy meeting you here
LeBron James didn’t have to go pro. Kevin Durant didn’t need to go to college. But regardless of their individual paths, the two superstars (one established and one in the making) met on the hardwood for the first time Tuesday night. Durant played one of the best contests of his rookie campaign, scoring a game-high 24 points on 10-of-20 shooting and grabbed six rebounds before spraining his ankle late in the game. Despite the early exit, Durant won the one-on-one offensive battle against LBJ, but his team lost the war with the Cavs. James finished with 22 points and Cleveland cruised to a 95-79 home victory.

Tuesday’s Player of the Day: Dwight Howard @ Sacramento 38 min, 29 pts (FG: 11-13, FT: 7-8), 15 reb, 1 ast, 2 stl, 1 blk

Wednesday’s Game to Watch: Detroit (26-8) @ Dallas (23-11)
The Pistons have been off since Saturday and in that time, you know the Bad Boys have been stewing over their loss to East’s glitzy favorites, the Beantown Celtics. Unfortunately for the Mavericks, they’re next in line and the Pistons are dying to get back to their winning ways. Before the loss to Boston, Detroit won 11 consecutive games and 18 out of 20, but Dallas is finally catching fire as well. After bouncing back and forth between wins and losses, Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs seem to have found some consistency, winning four straight and nine of their previous 11 contests. Since scoring a season-low seven points against New Orleans on Dec. 14, Nowitzki has topped 19 points in the last ten games, scoring 30 or more four times.

Buzzer Beater: Losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves is pretty much the lowest of low, even for the lowly Miami Heat. But that is exactly what happened on Tuesday when the T-Wolves picked up their fifth win of the season by spanking the Shaqless Heat 101-91. After the game, Dwyane Wade made the understatement of the year.

We’re not exactly 28-5 this year,” Wade said of his 8-27 Heat, who have the worst record in the Eastern Conference. “We’re one of the worst teams in the league as well.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Around the Rim: `He’s more than we thought he was!’

1. `You wanna crown his ass then crown him!’
LeBron James is playing some of the best basketball of his career right now and last night he led the Cleveland charge to knock off the Celtics 109-104. King James followed up his back-to-back triple dips with a 38-point, 13-assist effort to outlast Boston in overtime. The league’s top scorer (31.3 ppg) racked up 11 of Cleveland’s 17 points in overtime and is one outing away from tying Wilt Chamberlain for most consecutive 30-point games against the Leprechauns. That opportunity comes on Dec. 2 in Beantown. And should LBJ end up tying the original love machine, it wouldn’t be anything new. Coming into last night’s contest, James was averaging 37.5 points, 10.2 rebounds and 9.5 assists over his last six pack of games. Hardwood icons Oscar Robertson (1965) and Chamberlain (’64) are the only other players to accomplish such a feat.

2. Kobe and K.D.

Kevin Durant got his first up close and personal glimpse of Kobe Bryant and when the game was over he was weeping at the Mamba’s feet. Not really, but he did get outscored and the Sonics fell to 2-13. Durant put together another nice effort with 25 points on 10-of-19 shooting, but Kobe was Kobe and the crafty vet showed the rookie the definition of well-rounded, scoring 35 points, grabbing eight rebounds and delivering six assists. The Lakers improved to 8-6 with the win, but must now face a tough stretch with games against the Nuggets, Jazz and Magic.

3. How long until the Brooklyn relocation?
The Nets certainly haven’t had much to get excited about this season and last night was no different. Jersey fell to 7-8 after getting beat by the Grizzlies in the IZOD Center (that’s the corny name of the Nets arena in case you didn’t know). While the losing stinks, losing when you know you could be winning is the real kick in the nuts. Jason Kidd got another triple double, the 91st of his career, with 12 points, 15 rebounds and 12 assists while Vince Carter blew up for 32 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Richard Jefferson chipped in 27 points, but the W just wasn’t to be. It should be interesting to see how the squad reacts to the loss. So far, the Nets have gone on a three-game win streak followed by a six-game losing streak which was followed their recently snapped three-game winning streak.

Tuesday’s Player of the Day: LeBron James vs. Boston 46 min, 38 pts (FG: 11-25, 3FG: 2-8, FT: 14-15), 4 reb, 13 ast, 2 stl, 2 blk

Wednesday’s Game to Watch: Houston (8-7) @ Phoenix (11-3)
The Suns just got beat at their own game by Golden State on Monday, but getting back on a winning streak won’t be easy against a healthy Rockets squad. Tracy McGrady is back to his old self after a minor elbow injury and everyday Yao Ming looks more and more like a mighty oak transplanted into the middle of the paint. Surprisingly, one of the weak spots in the Rockets’ framework this year is their record a home, a sorry 4-3. The Suns have equally been opportunity destroyers this season with a 6-2 road record and a 5-1 mark at home. But it really doesn’t matter if the arena is located on Saturn, Mike D’Antoni’s boys are going run up and down the court for 48 minutes and then treat the planet’s rings like a treadmill. The Suns’ big three (that’s Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion if you get confused by the other studs on the roster) alone are averaging a combined 38.5 shots per game. That’s a lotta hustle!

Buzzer Beater: The Heat put together a nice all-around effort against Charlotte and cruised to an easy 110-90 victory, ending a four-game losing streak in the process. Now, we know that Miami has been going through some sobering struggles recently and a win is a win, but, seriously D-Wade, it’s just the Bobcats.

I can’t remember the last victory we had like this,” Wade said. “It feels good.

“Can’t remember the last victory we had like this”??? Was your Game 6 Finals victory over the Mavericks really all that long ago?

NBA General

Around the Rim: The league is upside-down from last year

1. Role reversals
The season is just getting underway and there is still a whole lotta basketball to be played, but we always love looking to see who the last teams to grab victories are and who the final clubs to suffer defeats are. This year is a classic case of “What the …???”

For the undefeateds, we’ve got the Pistons at 3-0 (no shocker there) and then there’s Boston at 3-0. That’s a heck of a turnaround from last year’s routine double-digit losing streaks, but Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and a healthy Paul Pierce make winning much easier; even in Boston. Out West, the lone team without a blemish is the Clippers (4-0). But, give `em time, they’re the Clippers, this can’t last too long, right?

Turning our attention to the big losers of the league and immediately we see some usual suspects: Seattle is 0-5 (Kevin Durant’s still too skinny to carry a team) and Minnesota is sitting at 0-3. But what really caught our eye were all the playoff caliber teams who were anemic in the W column. Chicago (0-4), Washington (0-3), Miami (0-4) and Golden State (0-4) have all dropped into the cellar after making the second season last year. Miami we are willing to barely overlook seeing that D-Wade isn’t breaking ankles, but other than that, these guys should be ashamed of their play. Golden State has the most to worry about, already falling four games back in a division that houses the surprising Clippers, the Suns and the Lakers.

2. The Diesel’s needle broke off

After seeing the Spurs handle Miami with ease last night, 88-78, one thing became glaringly clear and it is not that the Heat desperately needs Dwyane Wade in the lineup. No, as much as it pains us to say it, Shaquille O’Neal’s days are numbered. It’s been clear for some time now that the Diesel is on the decline, but that decline has finally leveled out and Shaq is sitting in the pit of a crater that’s about 10,000 feet below sea level. Say what you want about saving gas for the down the stretch, but in four games this year, Shaq has 51 points, 26 rebounds and six blocks to go with six assists and zero steals. That was a typical game during O’Neal’s heyday. Oh, and the Heat are 0-4. Slow start to the season? No; this is the creeping finish of a career.

3. What’s up with the Hawks?
If the Hawks could ever make it to the finals they’d be set. So far, those wild and wacky Hawks are playing some impassioned ball. Against their Eastern Conference foes, Atlanta is 0-2 with a couple of close losses to Detroit and New Jersey. But against the big boys, the studs from out west, the Hawks are 2-0. They opened the season with a 101-94 victory over the Mavs and last night they set the Suns with a 105-96 win. Granted, Amare Stoudemire wasn’t on the court during the game, but Grant Hill, Shawn Marion, Boris Diaw, Steve Nash and Raja Bell is still an imposing starting five. This Hotlanta crew could be the real deal with Josh Smith, Al Horford, Joe Johnson and Acie Law IV leading the way, but growing pains are inevitable. However, if these guys continue to gel then they could be in contention for a division title against a weakened Southeast.

Wednesday’s Player of the Day: LeBron James @ Utah 41 min, 32 pts (FG: 12-27, 3FG: 1-4, FT: 7-15), 15 reb, 13 ast, 3 stl, 2 blk

Thursday’s Game to Watch: Dallas (3-1) @ Golden State (0-4)
The Warriors are struggling out of the gate and the Mavericks love it. And Dallas is hoping to take advantage of their misery as well. After getting bounced from the postseason by Golden State in humiliating fashion last year, the Mavericks have jumped out to a 3-1 record and look like they could be on course for another top seed in the playoff brackets. Whether they hold onto it this time is yet to be determined. The Warriors, on the other hand, are winless through four games and have been outscored by 54 points during the stretch. But you can never count Golden State out when they take the court against Big D. At least not as long as Don Nelson is calling the shots for the Warriors because if there is a breath left in Nellie’s lungs then he’s dead set on ruining Mark Cuban’s life.

Buzzer Beater: Anybody who is born in 1988 and playing in the NBA in 2007 is a freak. Of course, that freak is still just a kid. So, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that rookie Kevin Durant would hit a wall at some point; it’s just that nobody expected the head-on impact to come so soon. Five games in and K-Smoove finally went flying through the windshield as he finished with 17 points on 3-of-17 shooting and two rebounds in a loss to Memphis. Thank goodness for free-throws, huh Kevin? We know he’ll bounce back and even get better as the year goes on; after all, with a 0-5 record, P.J. Carlesimo can’t allow for too many of those games from Durant, now can he?

Phoenix Suns

Around the Rim: Seattle lets the Suns shine in their town

1. Sonics boom
The Suns and Sonics put on a heck of a game through three quarters. Unfortunately for Seattle, games last 48 minutes, not 36. Kevin Durant did what he could (27 points, five rebounds) and he got plenty of help from his friends as Chris Wilcox went off for 23 points, 11 rebounds and three steals. But the inexperienced group of diaper dandies just didn’t have the gas or level of execution to close the deal in the fourth and lost 106-99. The fire power of the Suns remains unmatched. Three players finished with double-doubles (Shawn Marion, Amare Stoudemire and Steve Nash) and Grant Hill debuted with an all-around solid performance of 13 points, six rebounds and five assists. We all know that the Suns can and will win games during the regular season, but it’s their inability to win in the postseason that has become their trademark. We’ll have to wait until June to see if this team can break free of the chains that bind them, but in the mean time, just pop open a brew and enjoy the most entertaining brand of ball in the league.

2. No Bull!?!?

The other day, Mark Cuban broke thousands of Mavericks fan’s hearts when he said that there was no way Kobe Bryant would end up in Dallas. Well, Chicago fans, it’s time to break out the tissues because GM John Paxson shot down any hopes of No. 24 becoming the next No. 23 in The Windy City. “There’s not a deal done,” he said Thursday. “There’s not going to be a deal done.” The rumors were that Luol Deng was the one piece that didn’t fit in the trade scenarios: the Bulls were going to have to deal Deng to get Kobe, but Kobe said he didn’t want to go if Deng wouldn’t be on the team. There were even rumors going around that would have landed Kobe in Chi-Town while putting Ben Wallace and Ron Artest in Los Angeles. Bryant for Wallace and Artest??? The Lakers should be ashamed of their front office for even allowing such a rumor to surface. Why not just trade Kobe for Yi Jianlian and a bag of magic beans?

3. Miami Beat

The Miami Heat looked like a team that was missing their leader when they took on the Pistons. Actually, they were missing their leader because Dwyane Wade is still recovering from summer surgeries and he was sitting on the bench in a snappy suit. But, in reality, they were missing both of their leaders because as Wade sat and watched, Shaquille O’Neal was shut down by Detroit double teams. The big fella only had nine points and six shots in the game, none of which came in the first half. Throw in some career-highs from Tayshaun Prince (34 points, 12 rebounds) and you’ve got yourself an easy 91-80 Bad Boy celebration. The one good thing about the game for Miami was that Ricky Davis was solid with 23 points, but we are talking about Ricky Davis. You know, the guy who intentionally missed a shot on his own team’s basket in an attempt to get a triple-double. We know he’s got skills, but that is the last guy in the world you want to have to hitch your trailer up to.

Thursday’s Player of the Day: Tracy McGrady @ Utah 40 min,47 pts (FG:17-27, 3FG: 2-5, FT: 11-14), 4 reb, 4 ast

Friday’s Game to Watch: Washington (0-1) @ Boston (0-0)
The Big Ticket and his new buddies make their long awaited debut tonight. For Kevin Garnett, he’s been waiting for this moment his whole life, even if he doesn’t know it or won’t admit it. He finally has the cast around him to make serious noise in the playoffs and there are far fewer giants lurking in the conference to give him hell on defense. But we don’t want to forget about the other loveable losers in this game. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce can finally relax a bit with some help around them and let their natural skills shine though. This team isn’t overly deep, but, then again, they don’t have to be; at least not yet. It should be interesting to see how these guys share the ball, but considering how hungry they all are to establish some postseason presence in Boston, we don’t foresee a problem. Oh, and the Wizards will be there too.

Buzzer Beater: We love Thursday nights because we love Inside the NBA. It’s one of the highlights to our otherwise drab week. And last night just happened to be a great evening of early season basketball. There were the Suns vs. Kevin Durant, the Pistons and the Heat, McGrady’s explosion against the Jazz. So, how the heck did this guy steal the show?