1. Future Roy-alty
If Portland could ever get a healthy roster, they’d be pretty darn good, but, in the meantime, they’re pretty darn good. Led by the continually improving Brandon Roy’s 26 points and 11 assists, the Blazers won their seventh consecutive game on Sunday, downing Denver 116-105. In addition to playing without this year’s top draft pick for the entire season, Portland was missing their second overall pick from a year back as LaMarcus Aldridge sat out for the fourth straight game with a case of plantar fasciitis. Points in the paint are going to extremely hard to come by once Aldridge and Oden team up to become the Pacific Northwest’s version of the Twin Towers. Until then, it’s up to Roy to carry this squad to the playoffs and with a win tonight over the Hornets, Portland will improve to 13-12, putting them on the cusp of moving into the eighth and final postseason slot.
What a difference a year makes. Last season Boston was enduring one of the worst seasons in the history of the NBA and this year they match their longest winning streak since the early `90s. Go figure. 1993 was the last time the Celtics won nine consecutive games until Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce led the mean green to a 90-77 win in Toronto on Sunday. The duo combined for 34 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in the contest, using a 27-17 first quarter advantage to propel Boston to victory. Ray Allen missed his second game with a right ankle injury, but he is expected to be in the lineup when the Pistons come to Beantown on Wednesday.
3. Shelden Williams got jacked up!
Being rich ain’t what it used to be. In fact, the curse of money is at an all-time high right now for athletes with Shelden Williams becoming the latest victim of greedy goons. Williams was carjacked at gunpoint near Atlanta on Saturday by two suspects. Both were arrested in Williams’ car later that night during an attempted robbery. This could have been a lot worse for Williams, who should be thanking his lucky stars he’s not dead over a freakin’ 2008 Chrysler. Williams played two minutes in Atlanta’s Saturday night game against Charlotte, logging zeros across the board. Next up for the baby birds is a home game tonight against Carlos Boozer, Deron Williams and the rest of the Jazz.
Sunday’s Player of the Day: Allen Iverson vs. Portland 46 min, 38 pts (FG: 11-22, 3FG: 3-6, FT: 13-15), 2 reb, 6 ast, 3 stl
Monday’s Games to Watch: Phoenix (17-7) @ San Antonio (18-5) AND Orlando (17-8) @ Dallas (16-9)
You’re going to have to do some serious channel flipping tonight because both of these games are must see TV. You can’t go wrong with one of the most intense rivalries currently going in the NBA. Phoenix is still fuming after getting bounced from last year’s playoffs by the Spurs. San Antonio is hoping to have a full compliment of players, but Tony Parker’s sprained ankle is keeping his status up in the air. With a win, Phoenix can move within half a game of the conference leading Spurs.
Just up the road you’ll find the Magic looking to extend their two game win streak with a victory in Dallas. Dwight Howard is giving opponents sweat-inducing nightmares with his play of late. Howard is fresh off a 31-point, 20-rebound performance against Memphis and is averaging 25.6 points, 16.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.6 blocks per game over the team’s last five contests (4-1). In case Dirk Nowitzki needed any more reason to stay out of the paint, there it is. But regardless of style, Nowitzki is averaging 20.8 points to go with 8.2 boards and 4.1 assists and the Mavs have won four of their last five outings.
Buzzer Beater: More sobering news from the NBA, sorta. A judge tossed out former baller Keon Clark’s two-and-a-half year prison sentence, citing that Clark deserves a new hearing. Afterwards, Clark let loose with some surprisingly honest and bewildering comments.
Clark, 32, of Danville, said in Vermilion County Circuit Court on Friday that he is an alcoholic and was drinking a half pint to a pint of gin daily when he was playing pro basketball.
“I never played a game sober, unfortunately,” said Clark, who last played for the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns.
Clark said in court that he started drinking in high school and, after he was drafted in the NBA by the Orlando Magic in 1998, he drank at games during halftime.
“It just never stopped,” he said.