Washington Wizards

Gilbert Arenas digs Manila. Milwaukee, not so much

Agent Zero recently went on a 12-day excursion around the world, making stops in Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Manila, Berlin, Amsterdam and Barcelona. From all his blogging, it certainly appears that he had a good time. Luckily, Milwaukee wasn’t one of his destinations because Arenas loathes Milwaukee.

Richard Jefferson going to Milwaukee …. HAHAHA! Oh man, now that is funny. When I heard that, I started laughing. Oh man, did I start laughing. You know why? Because every player hates Milwaukee. Nobody wants to live in Milwaukee. I’m sorry, Milwaukee, to come down hard on you, but no one in the NBA wants to play in Milwaukee. From him going from New Jersey, actually from New York (because he lives in New York), from New York to Milwaukee is like going … let’s just say it’s not going to sit well with you. That was a funny one when I heard that one. I know Yi is happy though.

Nobody wants to live in Milwaukee? Oh, really. What about the Algonquians and the cast of Happy Days, huh? They certainly appear to enjoy it.


[Agent Zero: The Blog File]: Everybody Should Visit Manila

Houston Rockets

Around the Rim: T-Mac bounces back

1. No rocky road for the Rockets
Everyone figured the Jazz would trot into the second round once they made it back home after building a 2-0 series advantage in Houston. Everyone, that is, except the Rockets. Since the final buzzer of the second game sounded, Tracy McGrady has gone through the ringer, being called every synonym of soft in the thesaurus. But after totaling just one point between the first two fourth quarters, T-Mac came through in the clutch, scoring seven of his 27 points in the final 3:29 of the game to give Houston a 94-92 win. For Utah, it was just the fifth home floor lose this year and spoiled some great individual performances. Carlos Boozer (15 pts, 13 reb), Mehmet Okur (12 pts, 11 reb) and Deron Williams (28 pts, 12 ast) all recorded double-doubles. The talk going in was that McGrady simply had no gas left in the tank in crunch time, but Rafer Alston allowed him to coast more in Game 3, scoring 20 points, including four treys, to go with five assists.

2. Wiz kids win

The Wizards weren’t the only ones to gets shots in on LeBron James and the Cavaliers last night; so did the fans. In the third quarter, the Washington crowd began chanting “over-rated!” while LBJ stood at the charity stripe. And the torture didn’t end there as Washington ran off to a 108-72 win, pulling within one game of tying the bad-blood rivalry. James scored 22 points in the blowout, but got virtually no help from the rest of his squad that combined to go 19-of-54 from the floor. DeShawn Stevenson and his beard got a small measure of revenge after getting punked in Cleveland by scoring a team-high 19 points to lead four other Wizards in double-digit scoring. Washington is still trailing 2-1 in the series, but if it continues to force 23 turnovers in a game and shoot over 50 percent, like on Thursday, then we could be see everything get all tied up after Sunday’s Game 4.

3. Raptors roar back from near extinction
Dwight Howard is human after all. Following a pair of 20-point, 20-rebound contests to open the playoffs, Howard fell back to earth on Thursday and the Magic followed. The Raptors were victorious in their playoff home opener, winning 108-94 behind T.J. Ford’s 21 points and Jose Calderon’s 18-point, 13-assist double-double, cutting the Magic’s lead to 2-1 in the series. Howard totaled 19 points and 12 rebounds to compliment Hedo Turkoglu’s 26 and Rashard Lewis’ 19 points, but there was no stopping the hot-handed Raps. Toronto set franchise playoff records for points in a game and a half (61) by connecting on 12-of-34 3-pointers after opening the game with seven consecutive misses from downtown.

Thursday’s Player of the Day: Deron Williams vs. Houston 43 min, 28 pts (FG: 9-17, 3FG: 3-5, FT: 7-8), 3 reb, 12 ast

Buzzer Beater: After becoming the laughing stock of college basketball for getting fired from two different jobs for the same violations, Kelvin Sampson is taking his game to the pros. Rumor has it that the former Oklahoma/Indiana coach is heading to Milwaukee where he will attempt to pull the Bucks out of the gutter as an assistant to the newly hired Scott Skiles. There is still a ton of red tape for the leagues to sort through before the hire can be made, but after his multiple embarrassments in the NCAA, the pros are about the only people who will hire the joke of a coach.

LA Lakers

Around the Rim: Kobe + Pau = Kapow!

1. Gasol watches as Bryant shows off
Just because the Lakers traded for Pau Gasol doesn’t mean they need him; at least, not against the Wizards. Kobe Bryant exploded upon tipoff, scoring 19 points in the first quarter and leading Los Angeles to a 30-15 lead after 12 minutes. By the end of the game, Bryant scored 30 points and the Lakers left D.C. with a 103-91 victory. Gasol was picked up on Friday, but Lakers coach Phil Jackson isn’t rushing the former All-Star into the lineup, choosing instead to let Gasol get some practice team with the team first while simultaneously healing a nagging injury. Antawn Jamison finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds while Caron Butler scored 15 in defeat.

2. Bad Boy beatdown

The Mavericks are trying to catch up with the Hornets in the Southwest Division, but Detroit didn’t do Dallas any favors on Sunday, whooping them by 23 points, 90-67. The Mavericks were pathetic on offense, scoring just 29 points in the entire second half. Perhaps the Pistons defense played a role in Dallas’ defeat. Detroit held the Mavs to 23-of-76 from the field (2-14 3FG) while stealing five balls and blocking eight shots. Rasheed Wallace recorded four blocks to go with 21 points and nine rebounds. Dirk Nowitzki shot three-of-18 from the field, including missing all five of his three-point attempts and he didn’t do much better on defense. In fact, Sheed let the entire Dallas bench know exactly what he thought of Dirk’s Irk’s defense, yelling “He can’t guard me!” after dropping a bucket on Nowitzki’s head.

3. Somebody’s gonna have one heck of a 4th of July this year
There were plenty of fireworks on the court for the Pistons on Sunday, but it didn’t matter how badly Detroit spanked Dallas, the team would still be looking for more.

Officials say a trailer has been stolen that was carrying pyrotechnics to be set off before the Detroit Pistons game against the Dallas Mavericks at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

The theft was discovered Sunday morning by employees of Windsor, Ontario-based Band-Ayd Systems International Inc. at a company facility in Warren.

Band-Ayd President Nino De Benedetti says the trailer contains about $75,000 worth of pyrotechnics and gear, and the trailer itself is worth $8,000. The trailer held liquid propane and noisemaking devices.

The company is offering a $5,000 reward for the return of the equipment, no questions asked.

Sunday’s Player of the Day: Rasheed Wallace vs. Dallas 34 min, 21 pts (FG: 9-18, 3FG: 3-4), 9 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl, 4 blk

Monday’s Game to Watch: New Orleans (32-14) @ Utah (30-18)
Utah was slipping down a slippery slope a month or so ago, but that was before they signed Kyle Korver. Since Korver and his deadeye from behind the arc joined the Jazz, they have won 14 of their last 16 games, including their current eight game winning streak. The Hornets know all about winning streaks, but recently they’ve been getting an education of losing spells. After winning 17-of-19 games and earning the best record in the Western Conference, the Hornets lost their last two games, allowing Phoenix to slide into the top spot. New Orleans has been stewing over their pair of defeats since Friday and should be ready to make a statement against the hottest team in the NBA.

Buzzer Beater: To Americans, when the Rockets and the Bucks get together it serves as a perfect opportunity to clear a few hours of American Idol off their DVRs. But to China, it is must see TV. An estimated 200 million people tuned in on Saturday evening to watch the Rockets escape Milwaukee with a 91-83 victory. The main attractions were rather mundane as Yao Ming finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds while Yi Jianlian went one-of-10 from the field for six points and seven rebounds.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Around the Rim: It’s gotta be the shoes

1. Tongue in cheek
LeBron James loves the Yankees. In fact, he loves them so much that his latest shoe, James’ Air Zoom V, are dedicated to the pinstripes.

Dominated by the team’s traditional blue-and-white color scheme, the Air Zoom LeBron V shoe features New York’s famed pinstripes as well as James’ No. 23. Under the tongue are the words: “Le-Bron Ja-Mes. Clap. Clap. Clap Clap Clap,” a nod to the cheer New York fans reserve for the Yankees; and on the strap is the phrase: “Fresh for ’08. Suckers!

2. Pass happy Nash gets offensive

Steve Nash is known for his passing prowess, but on Tuesday night it was his scoring that took center stage. The two-time MVP went off for a season-high 37 points on 13-of-23 shooting to go along with his traditional double-digit assist total (10). Nash scored 15 of his points in the fourth quarter, almost single-handedly matching the 22 points scored by the entire Bucks team during the final period of their 114-105 loss. The win improved Phoenix’s record to 30-5 against Milwaukee since the 1990-91 season, the best record by any team against another in that time frame.

3. Sactown rebound
For the first time this year, Sacramento had all their stars in the starting lineup and, boy, did it show. The Kings whooped up on the Nets 128-94 thanks to the on-court reunion between Ron Artest, Kevin Martin and Mike Bibby. All three were in the starting five for Sactown, combining for 61 points in the win. Artest led the way, scoring 27 while Martin put in 19 points and Bibby finished with 15 and seven assists. The Kings still have a long, long way to go before they start making noise in an unbelievable competitive Western Conference, but this game could be the start of an interesting second half of the season for Sacramento.

Tuesday’s Player of the Day: Steve Nash @ Milwaukee 37 min, 37 pts (FG: 13-23, 3FG: 5-9, FT: 6-7), 4 reb, 10 ast, 2 stl

Wednesday’s Game to Watch: Los Angeles Lakers (27-12) @ San Antonio (26-13)
This isn’t the rivalry it used to be, but it is defiantly on the rebound. With the Spurs suffering through a minor slump and the Lakers playing their best ball since the Diesel drove cross country to Miami, this is once again a statement game for both clubs. Kobe Bryant continues to shock and awe fans by seemingly growing into a leader before our very eyes, making pedestrian players a vital part of the game plan. Of course, the loss of Andrew Bynum will play a major part in this contest as Los Angeles will be severely undermanned against Tim Duncan in the paint. San Antonio is currently sitting at sixth in the West, dangerously close to sliding out of the playoff picture after losing five of their previous 10 games.

Buzzer Beater: Talk about going from bad to worse. The Heat found out on Tuesday that Shaquille O’Neal will miss at least the next two weeks with acute inflammation in his hip and his quadriceps muscle. Just a former shell of himself, Shaq’s presence wasn’t exactly doing the Heat any favors, but his absence still hurts. With Alonzo Mourning done and Shaq riding the injury list, Mark Blount will most likely take over the starting center spot. Can you say 15-game losing streak?

Miami Heat

Around the Rim: How low can you go?

1. Miami Heatless
Dwyane Wade scored 42 points against the Cavs, but it just didn’t matter. For the 14th consecutive game, the Heat found themselves on the losing side of things as Cleveland turned a three-point halftime deficit into a seven-point road victory, 97-90. D-Wade put on a offensive clinic down the stretch, setting franchise records by scoring 32 in the second half, including the team’s final 18 points. Unfortunately, the rest of the fellas didn’t even bother to come out of the locker room for the final 24 minutes, combing for an embarrassing six points on three-of-21 shooting. LeBron James put in 28 points for the defending Eastern Conference champs and beat his draft classmate in Miami for the first time in his career (1-9).

2. Outwit, outplay, outlast, Outlaw

Before the season began, a Portland/Atlanta matchup on the schedule had about as much appeal as a Hanson reunion tour. With Greg Oden sidelined for the season and the Hawks being, well, the Hawks, nobody would have expected to see an overtime thriller on MLK day, but these aren’t your granddaddy’s conference doormats. It took a team-high 23 points from Travis Outlaw off the bench, including the last-second backbreaker in overtime to finally finish off a new look, face-paced Hotlanta squad, 111-109. Joe Johnson hoisted an unsuccessful 30-foot attempt to win at the buzzer and finished with 37 points and seven assists in a losing effort.

3. Road warriors
Even the T-Wolves got to sit back and chuckle at Miami’s miseries on Monday because they snatched their sixth victory of the season and snapped a 16-game road losing streak by beating the Warriors 109-108 in Oakland. Ryan Gomes scored a career-high 35 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in just the second road victory of the season for Minnesota. Marko Jaric also had a huge game for the Timberwolves, finishing two rebounds shy of a triple-double with 16 points, 10 assists and eight boards. After the game, Warriors coach Don Nelson summed up a disappointing and humiliating loss by saying “We’ve been playing very well but we laid an egg tonight. What can I tell you.”

Monday’s Player of the Day: Dwyane Wade vs. Cleveland 40 min, 42 pts (FG: 17-29, 3FG: 1-3, FT: 7-8), 6 reb, 7 ast, 3 stl, 1 blk

Tuesday’s Game to Watch: Phoenix (29-12) @ Milwaukee (16-25)
Look, we could try and sell you this game until we’re blue in the face, but we really don’t need to. After a full day of basketball on Monday there are just two games on the slate for Tuesday and your other option is New Jersey at Sacramento. So, `nuf said.

Buzzer Beater: Good, everyday people are known to turn into gore gawkers when coming across the scene of a car crash and we’re no different. That’s why we’re already looking ahead to what could be one of the biggest mangles of metal the NBA produces this year. Miami and Seattle are scheduled to meet on Feb. 29 and if both teams remain on their current losing skids until this epic contest then the Heat will take a 29-game losing streak into Seattle to play a Sonics team that would have a 27-game nosedive under their belts. Sound impossible? Well, consider the two teams only play a combined 12 games, six apiece, against teams under .500 before they meet and none of those are against Minnesota, the only team with a worse record than these two league whipping boys’.

Houston Rockets

Around the Rim: Wow-wee, Yao, Yi!

Yup, it’s that big.

1. Big players, big audience
The most anticipated game in the world will go down tonight as two of the league’s giants match-up. To Americans it’s the Rockets and the Bucks, but to the Chinese it’s Yao Ming vs. Yi Jianlian. The two sensations from China go head-to-head for the first time tonight and the game is expected to be seen by more than 200 million people in China. Over there it will be early Saturday morning and instead of cartoons, 19 different TV stations will broadcast the game, including the country’s government-run station, and it will be offered on the web. People can even watch the game on their cell phones. Of course, here in the States, ESPN is showing Denver and Washington. Nice call guys.

2. Mavs beat Warriors a few months too late

Sure, it doesn’t matter, but the Mavericks finally got a small measure of revenge against the Warriors. It was another nail-biting, down-to-the-wire contest between the clubs with Jerry Stackhouse hitting a dagger shot in the final minute that led to Dallas’ 120-115 victory. Barron Davis did everything he could to try and carry his team, including a sweet reverse slam off the backboard, but his 37 points just weren’t enough and Golden States slips to 0-5. Davis had a shot late to tie the game up, but it didn’t fall. Stephen Jackson missed the game due to a suspension and it’s arguable that , had he played, the Warriors might not be winless. Of course that’s making the huge assumption that he could actually stay on the court for an entire game and not get slapped with a pair of techs.

3. Seattle’s permanent road trip
There’s been much speculation around the future of the Seattle SuperSonics and their possible relocation to become the Oklahoma SuperSonics. David Stern weighed in on the situation Thursday and he pretty much told the Seattle faithful that they are screwed should the team bolt. “I’d love to find a way to keep the team there,” Stern said, “because if the team moves, there’s not going to be another team there, not in any conceivable future plan that I could envision, and that would be too bad.” Those are pretty harsh words, but it shouldn’t be that difficult of an adjustment for the fans. After all, Seattle hasn’t really had a team since Gary Payton was lobbing alley-oops to Shawn Kemp in the 90s.

Thursday’s Player of the Day: Baron Davis vs. Dallas 48 min, 37 pts (FG: 14-26, 3FG: 3-6, FT: 6-9), 5 reb, 5 ast, 1 stl

Friday’s Game to Watch: San Antonio (4-1) @ New Orleans (4-1)
We know that all of China will be watching Milwaukee @ Houston, but we’re telling you that SA/NO is where the action will be. We know exactly what to expect on one side of the ball; the Spurs are still the Spurs and they are still playing Spurs ball with the same Spurs cast. It’s the Hornets who are turning heads early in the year. Chris Paul is playing lights-out, averaging 18.6 points and 12.4 assists to go along with the team’s emerging duo of Tyson Chandler and Peja Stojakovic who serve as the inside/outside threats. New Orleans should give the Spurs a run for their money in this game and possibly the entire season as they both race toward the Southwest Division championship.

Buzzer Beater: Going into last night’s game, the Bulls were winless and their rivals, the Pistons, were lossless. So, of course, both streaks would be snapped by the end of the night as Chicago beat Detroit 97-93. Nobody actually thought that the Bulls were a 0-4 caliber team after starting the season slowly and they proved everyone right as they rallied around a huge night from Tyrus Thomas (19 pts, 14 reb). Luol Deng chipped in 17 points, Ben Gordon had 16 and Kirk Hinrich dished out 14 assists. Joakim Noah even shut his trap long enough to score the third and fourth points of his career. The Pistons aren’t washed up by any stretch of the imagination, but this could be the beginning of a big year for the Bulls as they look to shed the final pounds from their Baby Bulls image.

NBA General

Odds and Ends: More on the NBA ref racial bias study

Should we call it on the black guy?

A couple of weeks ago, we told you about a study that concluded that there was a racial bias in foul calls in the NBA. One of the major flaws in that study was that the data was based on box scores and only the racial makeup of the three member crews could be used in the analysis instead of which ref made which call. Well, after the NBA criticized the study, they released actual person by person foul call data to Justin Wolfers, the professor who penned the study.

After reviewing the new data, Wolfers found that the NBA’s data actually confirms racial bias in officiating. Doh! An independent analysis of both Wolfer’s and the NBA’s study confirmed the findings in Wolfer’s study. The NBA is taking an ostrich approach: “It’s done. It’s over. We have nothing to add to what we have said already.”

In other news…

[NY Times]: Some people think an amputee sprinter might actually has an unfair advantae in the Olympics.

[]: Colts say no to car honoring team in the Indy 500.

[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]: Hey, Ruben Patterson, don’t forget: you’re a sex offender.

[Off Color Commentary]: Pam Oliver sucks

[One More Dying Quail]: Baseball’s All-Height Team

And finally, we have two stories on why ESPN sucks donkey. First, is Fantasy Fishing. Boy, we can’t wait to get our office ready for this thing. Second, the National Spelling Bee will be hosted by Mike and Mike. How many Golic is so dumb, he can’t spell cat jokes will there be? 200? ESPN really is ruining everything holy in sports/almost sports.

NBA General

Around the Rim: The Human Torch

1. He did it again!
Only three players in the history of the NBA have scored 50 points or more in three consecutive games; make that four players. Last night Kobe Bryant joined Michael Jordan, Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain in annals of the league after he scored 60 points against Memphis last night to give him a three game total of 175 points (65 versus Portland; 50 versus Minnesota). Nobody has scored more points in a trio of games in the last 40 years and that was his second 60 point game in his last three outings, giving him four for his career which ties Michael Jordan for the second most ever. Only Wilt the Stilt has more with 32 games of at least 60. Bryant was on fire as he drained 20-of-37 from the field and 17-of-18 from the line as he scored 24 points by the half and 43 after three quarters. It’s a disgrace that Bryant probably won’t sniff the MVP because he’s not on the best team in the league.

2. One day closer to the slammer

Some predictable news was handed down to Ron Artest on Thursday as a Placer County Superior Court judge ordered Artest to stay at least 100 yards away from his wife and children until further notice is given. That should be more than enough space to keep his old lady out of slapping range. One of the only things that Artest said during yesterday’s official proceedings was “no” to the question of if he owns any firearms. You do know what being “under oath” means, right Ron? And talk about a bad day, after getting out of court Artest had planned to meet up with his team in Phoenix for a game against the Suns but his plane was diverted because of thunderstorms. Then after some more delays, Artest was told to just go home by Kings GM Geoff Petrie. The team found out shortly before tip off that they would be without Artest and then promptly got blown out by 18 points.

3. Looking for a top pick or just crappy?
Milwaukee needs some victories; they just don’t want to get any until next year. In a late season lottery push, the Bucks have sidelined two of their most important pieces for the remainder of the season. Andrew Bogut has been told his season is over because of a sprained left foot while Charlie Villanueva will have to have surgery on a nagging right shoulder injury. There’s not a lot you can do about needing surgery, but automatically benching a player for the remainder of the season based on a sprain is a bit odd. Currently only Boston and Memphis are more pathetic than Milwaukee, but not by much. In fact, the loss of two starters could be just the thing the Bucks need to slide all the way to the bottom of the list.

Thursday’s Player of the Day: Amare Stoudemire vs. Sacramento 37 min, 33 pts (FG: 12-17, FT: 9-16), 21 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl, 3 blk

Friday’s Game to Watch: Detroit (43-24) @ San Antonio (47-20) This is the third time that the Pistons will be playing a Texas team in their last four games with losses to both Dallas and Houston. But Detroit is still playing some great ball and they have won six of their last eight games as they enter into the rematch of the 2005 Finals. But the Bad Boys are going to have their hands full against the Spurs who are 23-9 at home this year. After winning a season-high 13 straight games, SA has been on a bit of a slide losing two of three since. But Tim Duncan is in playoff form as he is back to his old ways with great post play and defense.

Buzzer Beater: If Phil Jackson is turning down the services of his old superstar as the team enters the end of the season, then it’s probably time for Scottie Pippen to give up his dream of ever playing professionally again. Seems like Jackson would know better than anybody whether Pip was in game shape, after all he did win six rings with guy. Somebody out there still might give Pippen a shot, but the decision by Jackson will probably be a big factor to look at for all the other interested franchises.

NBA General

Around the Rim: Welcome to the neighborhood

1. San Antonio just got bucked
Last night was one of the greatest games that Coach K has ever been a part of. No, not the Coach K that choked away Duke’s first round game of the big dance for the first time since 1996. We’re talking about coach Larry Krystkowiak who snapped San Antonio’s 13 game winning streak in his first game as head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks after Terry Stotts was fired on Wednesday. Well, a little credit has to go to Michael Redd who chipped in 29 points, five rebounds and five assists in the upset. Stotts was even able to make Andrew Bogut keep his fingers to himself. The win is nice but when a team has only won nine of their last 36 games, there’s really nowhere to go but up.

2. Miami’s heat check

Dallas’ 17 game winning streak is long gone and has since been replaced with a two game losing streak, and San Antonio had their 13 game win streak snapped by the Bucks last night which leaves Miami as the possessor of the league’s longest consecutive string of victories. The Heat were supposed to struggle without their superstar point guard in the lineup. But instead of flaming out (insert your own John Amaechi reference here), Miami has been torching opponents and have slowly worked their way up the playoff ladder in the East. With a win over Sacramento tomorrow, the Heat can grab the lead in their division via a 2-1 head-to-head tiebreaker with Washington and vault all the way from their current seed (sixth) to either third or fourth in the Eastern Conference.

3. Say cheese!
Scot Pollard took a brief moment during a 20 second timeout in the midst of Cleveland’s decimation of Indiana on Sunday to let the world in on his personal message to the future of America. As a camera passed, Pollard moved into frame and said, “Hey kids, do drugs.” There’s been no confirmation on if Pollard was actually inebriated at the time of the remarks but we’re guessing he probably had a nice buzz going. The white Dennis Rodman minus the skills has since apologized and said the comment was a “bad joke.” But we really know that the guy with the dyed locks, funny hairdos and ridiculous facial hair is the most comical punch line.

In other camera related news, the last time Mark Cuban was seen he was shoving a camera after storming across the court following the Mavs double overtime heartbreaker to the Suns. So far, the league has not come down on Cubes for the incident but you know that David Stern is frantically thumbing through all the latest manuals on rules, regulations, policies and procedures just scanning for a fine or suspension to slap on the league’s most annoying owner.

Thursday’s Player of the Day: Kobe Bryant @ Denver 38 min, 25 pts (FG: 9-19, 3FG: 0-5, FT: 7-8), 5 reb, 9 ast

Friday’s Game to Watch: Detroit (41-22) @ Phoenix (50-14) This could be a preview of the championship series later this year. The Suns are hotter than they have been all year after pulling out the biggest game of the season against Dallas earlier in the week and the euphoria from such an epic contest could be the momentum that sends Phoenix off on another long win streak. But the Pistons will be no pushover as they hold an impressive 22-10 record away from Detroit. The Pistons have so many people who can step up when it counts and now Chris Webber has become a valuable offensive contributor to the cohesive unit. But it will take a trademark Detroit defensive effort to shut down the trio of Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion.

Buzzer Beater: You have to believe in yourself in order to achieve your goals and nobody personifies this idea better than Shawn Marion. After the double overtime instant classic against Dallas on Wednesday, Marion was more than happy to share his opinion about his performance. “I think I should be the defensive player of the year,” he said. “I’m going to do my own publicity.” At least he’ll be endorsing a quality candidate. Marion guards everyone from Kobe Bryant to Kevin Garnett and averages two blocks and two steals to go along with 10 rebounds. But just so there’s no confusion, Marion is more than willing to clarify his stance on the matter. “Defensive player of the year, hands down,” Marion said of himself.

NBA General

Around the Rim: Milwaukee’s Best

1. Redd Hot
Despite losing to the Utah Jazz on Saturday by a score of 113-111, thanks to a shot with less than two seconds remaining, the Bucks front office is feeling much better about giving Michael Redd a truly unprecedented contract last year. Redd’s six-year, $91 million contract was the most lucrative in Bucks’ history and proved to be a valuable investment after Redd dropped a franchise record 57 on the Jazz. It was the most points in a game by a losing player since some guy named Jordan scored 64 in an overtime loss to Orlando in 1993. Redd also became only the third player in the last 40 years to score 57 or more without an assist. Sure, it’s pretty selfish, but when you’re stroking it like he was, why pass? Redd had 39 in the second half to erase a 24 point deficit and ended the night with an incredible shooting performance to boast; 18 of 32 field goals, 6 of 12 from behind the arc and 15 of 17 at the charity stripe.

2. Don’t Quit Your Day Job
Ron Artest might want to reconsider his future career in the hip-hop industry. That’s because according to SoundScan, Artest’s debut album sold a paltry 343 copies during its first week on the shelves. Apparently, the “Malice in the Palace” did nothing to help his street cred. While it’s obvious that Artest’s record, entitled “My World”, is an utter flop; it takes a rapping white boy known for leeching his way to success to prove it. That’s right, Kevin Federline, Britney Spears’ soon to be ex-husband, released his new album on Halloween and it, somehow, managed to move 6,000 units during its first week. And that’s after getting body slammed by WWE Champion John Cena on national television. Maybe Artest could compete if Hulk Hogan were to deliver a boot to his face during halftime of the next Kings home game.

3. If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say

New York and San Antonio continued a bitter rivalry on Saturday. Lots of current bad blood resides within these teams for one another, luckily they only play twice a year. A bit of a squabble broke out when Bruce Bowen and Isiah Thomas both received technical fouls during the first quarter. The incident occurred after Thomas yelled something to Bowen. Gregg Popovich was also involved in the verbal altercation but did not receive a technical for his part. Several factors contributed toward this outburst between the teams. Earlier in the season, Bruce Bowen upset many Knick players when his foot slid underneath Steve Francis on a jumper, leading to a sprained ankle. Apparently, Thomas felt Bowen was attempting to do the same to guard Jamal Crawford. Popovich’s interjection probably had to do with, not only Thomas accusing his player of being dirty, but with the role Thomas played, as GM of the Knicks, in what Popovich believes has been poor treatment of his good friend Larry Brown. Another not-so-memorable moment between these two 1999 Finals teams occurred in 2001 when, then Knick, Marcus Camby threw a blindsided punch at Danny Ferry which eventually led to his coach, Jeff van Gundy, receiving a cut over his eye.

4. Multidimensional
Jason Kidd recorded his second triple-double of the early season on Sunday versus Washington. Kidd racked up his 77th career triple-dip by scoring 15 points, grabbing 11 boards and dishing out an astounding 18 assists. In the midst of all those assists, Kidd leapfrogged over Rod Strickland for seventh all-time. Kidd has been king of the triple-double since Magic Johnson retired and now sits one behind Wilt Chamberlain for third all-time. Kidd will eventually pass Chamberlain, however he will have to be content with third because he will never catch Magic (138) or Oscar Robertson (181). While Kidd is the current face of the triple-double, he never averaged one over an entire season as Robertson did in 1961-62. In what many believe is the greatest accomplishment in the history of the NBA, Robertson averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists. The closest Kidd came was in 1999-2000 when he had 14.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 10.1 assists. Many believe that the mark set by Robertson will never be matched. Ahem, are you listening LeBron?

Sunday’s Player of the Day: Vince Carter @ Washington 42 min, 34 pts (FG: 10-22, 3FG: 5-8, FT: 9-10), 2 reb, 7 ast, 3 stl, 2 blk

Monday’s Game to Watch: Seattle (3-4) @ New Jersey (3-2) Seattle is bringing a two game winning streak with them to New Jersey where the Nets are 2-1. The Sonics are hoping that Ray Allen, who is averaging 26 points a game, packed enough of his sharp shooting skills to help wrap up a five game, east coast road trip. New Jersey has firepower of its own in “Half-Man, Half-Amazing” Vince Carter and his 29.8 points per game. It looks like the Nets might have to play without Richard Jefferson who missed Sunday’s game due to an ankle sprain.