1. San Antonio plays the waiting game
The Spurs grabbed their 15th victory of the season, but the win was meaningless as the organization waits patiently for the results of an MRI on Tim Duncan’s right leg on Monday. Duncan was injured in the second quarter when he tried to spin around Portland’s James Jones and then suddenly fell to the floor, clutching his knee. The immediate diagnosis was a bruised right knee and sprained right ankle and the Spurs said their star would defiantly miss some time. The injury couldn’t have occurred at a worse time as the Spurs are looking a stretch that includes six games in 13 days against some of the West’s best, including Dallas, Utah, Golden State, the Lakers, Denver and Phoenix. Ouch!
As for the game itself, SA was winning 34-28 when Duncan departed, but Portland was unable to capitalize, falling down by 13 points at halftime and 20 after three quarters. Tony Parker finished with 27 points and eight assists to lead the Spurs.
2. Boston exacts revenge, kinda
Last Tuesday, LeBron James torched the Celtics for 38 points while handing out 13 assists to give Boston its second loss of the season in an overtime instant classic. On Sunday, the two teams met for a rematch and the Celtics rolled the defending Eastern Conference champs, 80-70. Oh, did we mention LBJ missed the game, his second consecutive, with an injured finger? Cleveland hung tough with the Celtics in the first half, trailing by four at the break, but they displayed serious offensive ineptitude down the stretch without the league’s top scorer. The Cavs could only muster 11 points in the third before scoring 20 in the fourth, 12 coming in garbage time when the game was well in hand. With the King out of the lineup, two of the Leprechauns `Big Three’ basically got to take the afternoon off. Kevin Garnett finished with nine points and eight rebounds in 26 minutes while Paul Pierce had seven points. Ray Allen finished with a game-high 20 points to lead the unusually, unexplosive Celtics.
3. 21 and done
November 1999: That was the last time that New Orleans defeated Dallas; until Saturday. It took overtime, a last-second trey from Peja Stojakovic in regulation and another big-time performance from Chris Paul, but the result was well worth the effort as the Hornets snapped a 21-game losing streak to the Mavs. Thanks to Paul’s near triple-double (33 pts, 9 reb, 12 ast), NOLA is now sitting in second place in the Southwest Division – ahead of Dallas and Houston. But don’t be fooled into thinking this is a one-man show: Stojakovic is killing opponents from behind the arc while David West and Tyson Chandler are providing some seriously underrated post presence. Oh, and the Spurs are the only team in the West that holds opponents to fewer than Nawlins’ 93.3 points per game. Next up for the Hornets is a game against the Pistons in the `Hive,’ followed by contests at home against Memphis and Seattle.
Sunday’s Player of the Day: Chris Kaman vs. Indiana 40 min, 22 pts (FG: 7-14, FT: 8-10), 22 reb, 1 ast, 5 blk
Monday’s Game to Watch: Orlando (15-4) @ Golden State (9-7)
Nobody in the NBA is hotter than the Magic or the Warriors after both picked up victories last night over the Lakers and Sonics, respectively. There were some early season questions surrounding the slow-starting Warriors, but everything fell into place when Stephen Jackson returned from his suspension and Golden State is back to their run-and-run-and-run-and-gun style offense, averaging 108.6 points per game (1st). Of course, those points at the rim won’t be easy to come by with Dwight Howard patrolling the paint. Howard is off to a `Defensive Player of the Year’ start to the season, leading the league in rebounds (15.0 rpg) and ranking third in blocks (2.67 bpg).
Buzzer Beater: Stephon Marbury is known for making outlandish statements, so it was no surprise that he was at it again before the Knicks played the Suns on Sunday.
After all the hoopla, we’ve won three of the last four,” Marbury said. “Normally when that happens, you’re getting praised.
“At the end of the season, we’ll be where we want to be.
Wait, do you guys want to be in the lottery because 5-11 teams that get decimated by 45 points don’t usually make the playoffs. We’re just saying.