1. Hollywood’s House of Horrors
To borrow a phrase from Tom Jackson; Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson and all of the other Lakers got JACKED UP!! Dallas showed no mercy on Los Angeles as they defeated them by 36 points, 108-72, as Jack Nicholson, Tobey Maguire, Penny Marshall and Dyan Cannon all watched on. Kobe and crew had their worst offensive output of the season in the worst home loss in franchise history. The nastiest pounding the Lakers organization had ever received in Lalaland before last night was a 35 point spanking, 144-109, by the San Francisco Warriors on November 19, 1966.
But the Lakers shouldn’t let the loss get them too distraught since they can still claim a victory over the Mavs this season. That’s more than most teams can say. And they can also lay claim to the longest span of regular season home games without being defeated by 30 points or more. Sunday’s loss marked the end of that 1,521 game period that dated back to November 1969.
2. Late Bloomers
Everyone knows that the NBA’s hottest team is Dallas with 17 consecutive victories. And most know that San Antonio is also riding a double-digit win streak that has reached 12 straight. But a lot of people aren’t aware that two of the teams nipping on the heels of the league’s longest active win streak were on the verge of being in the Greg Oden/Kevin Durant sweepstakes just a few weeks ago. The Allen Iversonless 76ers are just four games away from grabbing the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference after ripping off seven straight wins that included victories over the Suns, Lakers and Pacers. Right behind Philly is Miami who has won six in a row as an invigorated Shaquille O’Neal has carried the Heat since they lost Dwyane Wade to a dislocated shoulder in late February. Thanks to a 106-104 victory over the Wizards on Sunday Miami is only one game behind Washington for the Southeast Division lead which would guarantee them one of the top four spots in the East.
3. Run For The Border
It’s not too often that a coach gets pissed off when an opposing player misses a 3-pointer, but that’s exactly what happened at the end of yesterday’s game between Indiana and Cleveland. With the game firmly in the Cavs hands, 99-84, and the final buzzer buzzing, Sideshow Bob’s biggest fan, Anderson Varejao, launched a 26-foot trey that failed to fall but succeeded in drawing the evil eye from Pacer coach Rick Carlisle. But what sour puss Carlisle didn’t consider was that the last second heave was meant to bring happiness to thousands; not mount more humiliation on a few. See, the three would have put Cleveland over 100 points which would have given everyone in attendance a free chalupa from Taco Bell. Now, don’t you feel silly coach?
Sunday’s Player of the Day: T.J. Ford vs. Seattle 37 min, 25 pts (FG: 11-15, FT: 3-4), 4 reb, 13 ast, 3 stl
Monday’s Game to Watch: Houston (39-24) @ Phoenix (48-14) The All-Star power is off the charts in this contest as five of the league’s elite will make the start between the two clubs. The Suns come into this game with the second best record in the league and, like usual, are riding a nice winning streak; four in a row and nine of their last ten. But Houston is on a three game win streak of their own as Yao Ming is bouncing back into shape way ahead of schedule. Yesterday against the Magic, Yao looked like the dominant player he was before breaking his leg in November as he went off for 37 points, seven rebounds and four blocks in a 103-92 victory. Tracy McGrady didn’t disappoint as he put up 19 points and 10 assists in the game. Nevertheless, no team wants to make the trip to Phoenix for the backside of a back-to-back.
Buzzer Beater: After a weepy Ron Artest apologized to the world on Saturday for his latest random act of stupidity, he came out and played decent ball in his first game since being reinstated. But don’t let the sniffles and tears fool you, it’s only a matter of time before Artest’s name is back in the headlines for some dumb off court decision. Eric Musselman is just hoping to get through the remainder of the regular season and any playoff run that Sacramento might see before Ron-Ron loses his marbles again. It’s like Terrell Owens in Big D; you know he’s gonna screw the franchise eventually, so all you can hope to do is milk him for 150 yards and a pair of TD’s per game until he does.