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.