1. Sun-sational finish
The Suns were supposedly shopping Amare Stoudemire over the summer in hopes of winning the Kevin Garnett lottery. Well, losing out never felt so good. Stoudemire, who was rumored to be an eyelash away from landing in Atlanta, went off in Indy last night, netting 42 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in Phoenix’s 121-117 victory. Of course, with Steve Nash getting the ball to any open player in a purple jersey, even Kwame Brown could thrive in this system. Nashty was on fire, torching the Pacers for an 18-point, 17-rebound double-double. Not enough fat numbers for you? Shawn Marion had 14 points and 12 boards in the win. On the other side of the floor, home fans were thrilled to have a Jermaine O’Neal sighting during the contest as the former All-Star had a big man double-double of 30 and 11, but they could have gone with out the game-high six turnovers.
2. Even nauseous, Kobe’s better 95% of the league
Kobe Bryant spent his Tuesday feeling sicker than a dog. Then on Tuesday night, he took to the court against Minnesota and threw up 20 points, 13 in the first quarter, and a sick 360 dunk as the Lakers killed the T-Wolves 116-95. Andrew Bynum had the same stomach ailment as Kobe, but unlike the team’s sole superstar, the youngster went to the hospital and missed the game. Kobe takes a lot of flack for being selfish, but he’s got more heart and will to win in his pinky finger than most players have in their whole body. We hate when anybody gets compared to Michael Jordan, but we gotta agree with Jerry Sichting on this one.
How are you going to tell if he’s got the flu?” acting Wolves head coach Sichting said. “He’s a lot like Jordan. It doesn’t matter with guys like that. He made ME sick.
Don’t worry coach, he makes opposing coaches ill on a nightly basis.
3. Chalk up another upset for the Kings
The Sacramento Kings don’t exactly instill the same level of fear in their opponents that they once did, but maybe they should. Nobody is expecting the Kings to make it to the Finals or even to get out of the first round, but they have some solid wins over playoff-bound squads of late and they might not be done yet. On Tuesday, Sacramento was clutch down the stretch, scoring 43 points in the fourth quarter to knock off the Jazz by 10, 117-107. Despite being just half a game away from sitting in their division’s cellar, Sactown has wins over the Pistons, Spurs, Rockets and now the Jazz. But Sacramento’s trek is about to become even more of an uphill battle as Kevin Martin, the league’s seventh best scorer (24.5 ppg), is out for the next four to six weeks with a groin tear. Ouch.
Tuesday’s Player of the Day: Amare Stoudemire @ Indiana 36 min, 42 pts (FG: 15-24, FT: 12-13), 13 reb, 4 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk
Wednesday’s Game to Watch: Los Angeles Lakers (10-8) @ Denver (11-7)
One game currently separates the Lakers and the Nuggets in the standings out west, but nobody cares about teams anymore. We’re a superstar society and we want points, points and more points when we tune into the Association. Well, there are three players in this game who are capable of dropping 50 on anyone’s head at any time, so that should satisfy the masses. Bryant is sitting at second in the league in scoring with 27.2 points per contest while Carmelo Anthony is fifth (25.3 ppg) and Allen Iverson comes in at eighth with 23.5 points. And you can expect the Denver duo to be looking for some revenge after the Lakers routed the Nuggets 127-99 on Nov. 29 in L.A.
Buzzer Beater: For a minute there it looked like the NBA’s version of Sideshow Bob was going to quit his gig as sidekick to one of the league’s biggest attractions to waste away in Charlotte. According to Cavs GM Danny Ferry, that isn’t going to be happening. Terms of the contract haven’t been disclosed, but Ferry said on Wednesday morning that the team has matched the Bobcats’ offer, meaning Anderson Varejao and his hair aren’t going anywhere. Unfortunately, is appears the Cavs aren’t going anywhere either until LeBron James gets over his finger injury. James was injured in a loss at Detroit on Nov. 28 and has missed the last three games, all loses, with a sprained left index finger.