NBA General

Around the Rim: Purple and Gold vs. Black and Gold

Uglier than the Sabres uni?

1. Must Be the New Uni’s
Washington guard Gilbert Arenas has been extremely flammable this season and last night he decided to torch the Los Angeles Lakers by scoring a franchise record 60 points. The Wizards have now won eight out of their last ten games. Last night was the fifth time this season that Arenas has scored at least 40 points and it only took him a half to do it. He had 43 points after halftime, including the overtime. Arenas had been struggling to score on the road, but in his last three road games he has averaged 43.3 points. And Arenas wasn’t the only hot player on the court as Kobe Bryant went off for 45 points, including 7 of 11 from behind the arc.

2. Cheap Shot
Carmelo Anthony recently donated $1 million to a recreation center in downtown Baltimore. The facility’s goal is to help kids find a healthy alternative to the criminal element that plagues the area. While the center has a gym and offers sports and recreational activities, it is unknown if there is a ring set up where children can practice throwing sucker punches just like their hero. Maybe they offer classes in how to back peddle as the league’s leading scorer has been doing since his pathetic behavior in the Garden. After watching the video, it’s obvious why Anthony is in the NBA and not a pro boxer. He’s a flyer, not a fighter.

3. Back on Top
It took a while for somebody to catch the Jazz who started off the season so hot, but the league has a new best team. San Antonio has been consistently winning and now owns the NBA’s best record at 19-6. With the best road record in the league, the Spurs have been able to hold on to the Southwest Division’s top spot for the entire season despite impressive winning streaks from both Houston and Dallas. San Antonio has the best defense as they only give up 90.6 points per game and, unlike other seasons; the Spurs are averaging over 100 points a night. The Spurs have a solid core that has been together for several years and they have a ton of playoff experience together. Throw in the teams trademark defensive capabilities and they are a team that will be hard to beat in the postseason. Injuries could be the only things to slow this team down in 2006-07.

Sunday’s Player of the Day: Gilbert Arenas @ Los Angeles Lakers 49 min, 60 pts (FG: 17-32, 3FG: 5-12, FT: 21-27), 8 reb, 8 ast, 2 stl

Monday’s Game to Watch: Dallas (17-7) @ Sacramento (10-12) This match-up might not have the intensity that it use to, but it is still a great rivalry. The Kings have been sporadic this season and you can never be sure which team will show up, but when they play at their best they can hang with any team in the league. Dallas is building on new winning streak after struggling for a bit after they won 12 in a row. The Mavericks’ role players have been the ones to excel recently as Josh Howard and Jason Terry have picked up their scoring.

Buzzer Beater: Pau Gasol is finally back and while his numbers aren’t up to his old standards, he is showing why he is so important to his team. Gasol is one of the most complete seven-footers in the league. The only column this guy doesn’t fill up on a stat sheet is three-pointers. Gasol can single handedly make Memphis a playoff team again. Obviously, this season is out of the question but if he can be 100 percent for next year then Memphis will be back on the NBA map.

NBA General

Around the Rim: Responsi-Ball

Animal, not player friendly

1. Rocket Power
Rumor has it that the wife of Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander could be to blame for the change from leather basketballs to the new composite balls. Supposedly, Nanci Alexander is good friends with the wife of NBA commissioner, David Stern. Nanci, an animal rights activist, voiced her concerns about the old ball to Stern’s wife who passed the message along to the commish. And just like any smart husband, Stern decided to avoid sleeping on the couch and make his lil’ lady and her best friend happy. League superstars like LeBron James, Ray Allen, Steve Nash, Shaquille O’Neal and Jason Kidd have all complained publicly about the new ball but to no avail. However, when it comes to the happiness of an owner’s wife, the NBA really does cares.

2. Dream Chaser
Yao Ming is rapidly moving up the list of Houston’s most prolific shot blockers. On Saturday, against Cleveland, Yao blocked his 586th rejection which moved him into third place on the list of the team’s all-time greats. Unfortunately for Yao, the man who leads the Rockets in blocks is the same man that leads the league in career blocks, Hakeem Olajuwon. The Dream blocked 3,740 shots during his career. The meat in the middle of the Hakeem-Ming sandwich is legend Moses Malone with 758 swats. At his current pace, Yao can catch Olajuwon in 1, 705 games or about 21 more seasons.

3. Arenas vs. Arena’s
Everybody prefers to play at home but Gilbert Arenas seems have become a bit too comfortable in D.C. In Washington, Arenas is averaging 33.7 points per game but on the road his scoring drops to 17.6. That’s a swing of 16.1 points! As of now, this is the single greatest difference between home and road scoring in the history of the league. Some of Arenas’ more memorable home games include outputs of 40, 44 and 45. On the road, he’s put up miserable games of just three and seven points. And as Gilbert goes, so goes the team. At home the Wizards have gone 7-2, but on the road they are 0-8.

Monday’s Player of the Day: Carlos Boozer vs. Milwaukee 39 min, 30 pts (FG: 12-18, FT: 6-10), 13 reb, 4 ast

Tuesday’s Game to Watch: Dallas (12-5) @ New Jersey (7-9) Dallas comes into this game off of a loss to Washington last night. But winning 12 out of 13 isn’t too bad. New Jersey is on a two game winning streak and leads the Atlantic Division, not at all an impressive feat this season. Still, the Nets have an explosive starting five that can run with Dallas to a certain degree. However, the battle of the benches is where Avery Johnson’s team has a distinct advantage.

Buzzer Beater: Eddie Griffin is the epitome of great talent that is simply thrown away. This guy had so much promise coming out of college that Houston traded away Jason Collins, Brandon Armstrong and Richard Jefferson for Griffin. But since joining the league, he has missed an entire season due to alcoholism, he’s spent time in jail, he beat and shot a gun at his girlfriend, and he was involved in one of the most bizarre car accidents you will ever hear about (DVD porn, alcohol and driving don’t mix). On the court, his game has been progressively declining since he entered the league. At the young age of 24, his career has smashed into a brick wall. At least it didn’t happen when Griffin was behind the wheel.

NBA General

Around the Rim: Mistake in Minnesota

1. One Way Ticket?
The rumors are everywhere. Minnesota should trade Kevin Garnett and begin again with more youth and more talent in return. Sounds like a good idea, but if Garnett doesn’t ask for a trade, then it would be a slap in his face to ship him off. This is a player who has been the face of the T-Wolves for twelve years now. The Big Ticket has won an MVP, an All-Star MVP and has been on multiple All-Star teams, All-NBA First teams and All-Defensive teams. He has meant so much to the franchise over the years, both on and off the court, and he has been a model citizen his entire career. Don’t forget that Garnett was a groundbreaker when he entered the league out of high school as a kid; he was the first player to do so since Moses Malone. Since then, he has bled for this team, suffered for this team and, most importantly, he’s single handedly carried this team. Trading KG is more than a business move at this point. The organization owes him the courtesy of allowing him to finish his career anywhere he desires. He’s earned the right to demand a trade, should he desire. But, if Garnett doesn’t want to leave Minnesota, regardless of reasons, management should respect his wishes.

2. Will the Real Kobe Bryant Please Stand Up?
Kobe Bryant came into this season with a scoring average of 28.5 points per game over the last six seasons. Last year he averaged a career high 35.4. Currently, Bryant is averaging 22 points a game, his lowest average since his first year as a starter in 1998-99 when he was getting 19.9. He’s only averaging 14 shots a game despite being known to jack up 40 shots in a single contest. He did drop 81 on the Raptors, right? Even though Bryant’s scoring is down, the team is 7-3 overall and 5-3 when Kobe has played. Oddly enough, Bryant’s season high of 32 points came in an 11 point loss to Portland. Could it be that Bryant is finally turned the leaf from selfish ball-hog to dedicated leader? Possibly, but the Kobe of old will return if the winning in LA stops and the team begins to struggle. Bryant’s not one to sit back and watch his team fail. If he’s going to go down, he’ll want to go down shooting.

3. Kidd and Carter Combo
As far as guards go, Jason Kidd and Vince Carter might be the best tandem going. The two Nets are attributed with a league high average of points, rebounds and assists by a backcourt. Together they average 69.4 per game. The other teams to average 60 weren’t even close to Kidd and Carter. Phoenix’s Steve Nash and Leandro Barbosa average 61.8, Atlanta’s Joe Johnson and Tyronn Lue get 60.2; Detroit’s Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton are good for 60.2 and Milwaukee’s Michael Redd and Maurice Williams average 60. The Nets duo is the second highest scoring backcourt, the best rebounders and rank third in assists. They are the only backcourt in the league to rank in the top five of all three categories. Both guards are great in their own rights, but together they are simply dominant.

4. Mr. Wizard
Gilbert Arenas is good, in fact, he’s on his way to becoming the one of the greatest scorers ever to not be picked in the first round. Arenas was taken with the 31st pick in 2001-02 by Golden State and currently has 22 games of 40 points or more. That’s good for 4th on the list of non-first rounders with games of 40+ since 1966. Ahead of Arenas is George Gervin with 68, Nate Archibald with 37 and Alex English who has 33. Don’t expect The Assassin to catch Gervin any time soon but at his current pace he could surpass English this season. In nine games this season, Arenas has already scored 40 or more on three occasions. Currently, he ranks fifth in the league in scoring with 28.4 points per game. Health will be the major factor that could keep Arenas from moving up the list, however, over the last two seasons he has missed only a total of four games. At 24, Arenas should have long career ahead of him filled with open jumpers.

Monday’s Player of the Day: Dwight Howard @ Memphis 41 min, 24 pts (FG: 9-12, FT: 6-8), 23 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk

Tuesday’s Game to Watch: Los Angeles Clippers (6-2) @ Los Angeles Lakers (7-3) This is the match-up that many wanted last year during the playoffs. It’s been a long, long time, if ever, since the battle of LA was a competitive contest. Well, those days are over and these two teams now have a genuine feud with one another that is only going to intensify further this year. Not that it really matters, but the Lakers are 6-1 at home this year while the Clippers are 0-2 away from the Staples Center. Despite their record, the Clippers have to love their chances on the “road.”

Washington Wizards

Someone tell Gilbert Arenas that you can turn voicemail off

Gilbert Arenas has always been somewhat of an odd duck but a feature in the latest issue of Esquire might just confirm that he is actually batshit crazy.

When I get a new cell phone, first thing I do is turn it off and call from my house phone and leave stupid little messages to myself. Like: “It’s me.” “It’s me.” “This is Gilbert.” “It’s me.” “It’s Gilbert.” I just fill it up, so no one can leave messages. If you don’t, you leave for an hour and thirteen people have called. So there are thirteen new messages you have to listen to and it’s like, Oh, man. I don’t feel like hearing people’s stories. Most people love leaving messages that they don’t want to tell you in person. So I cut that off.

Here are some other notable stories about Gilbert:

  • He has an idea for a commercial where a kid in a wheelchair clotheslines a girl who catches his shoes
  • He bought a colon cleaner off an informercial
  • Lebron said to him prior to the free throws in last year’s playoffs, “If you miss this shot, you know who’s gonna hit the game winner.”
  • He can beat people by 200 points in NBA 2K6
  • He holds a grudge: he has a list of everyone drafted before him in 2001 and crosses people out when they’re no longer in the league

[Esquire]: The Pathology of Gilbert Arenas

Washington Wizards

Gilbert Arenas’ street name is "Zero Hero"

Our Hero

Gilbert Arenas might be the coolest cat in the NBA. (Except when LeBron whispers in his ear about free throws…) On Monday, it was reported that Arenas was arrested for “resisting without violence” on Miami Beach. And upon being arrested, he said, “You can’t arrest me. I’m a basketball player. I play for the Washington Wizards.”

In today’s Washington Post column by Michael Wilbon, Gilbert defends himself.

I was told it was for resisting arrest without violence.
I still don’t understand what for. I was in a limousine, stuck in really bad traffic going to this restaurant, Ago, when I decided to step out of the car. The limo driver said, ‘The guy who just got out is being arrested.’ I looked over and saw seven police officers arresting Storey. . . .

I didn’t have the chance to say anything; an officer put cuffs on me from behind. . . . When I was taken in, I said, ‘I don’t mean to be rude, but can I talk to the officer who arrested me?’ And the officer says, ‘You were being nosy.’ And I said, ‘Are you putting that in your official police report, that I was being nosy?’ And then he keeps asking me questions:

“‘Do you have tattoos?’ I said, ‘Yes, I have three.’ And then, ‘What is your street name?’ I laughed. Of course I laughed. My street name? What? Okay, it’s Zero Hero. [Arenas wears “0” on his Wizards jersey.]

” ‘And he says, ‘Oh, everything is funny to you, huh?’

Gilbert claims he never said he couldn’t be arrested because he was a basketball player then made a reference to Anchorman and how ludicrous the whole situation was. After the whole ordeal, Arenas is selling his condo in Miami. “They can have their nice beach. They’ve convinced me I do not belong.” Somehow because this is Gilbert Arenas, we’re buying the selling your expensive real estate as social commentary move.

[Washington Post]: Arenas Bummed by the Beach

Washington Wizards

Miami Vice Part 1: Gilbert is a basketball player dammit

What is it about Miami that has everyone getting arrested or robbed? (Dhani Jones, Jason Taylor, Jerome McDougal.) It’s safe to say that if you’re a professional athlete, just stay away from Miami. We understand the Miami Heat dancers are the hottest in the league but it’s probably better to just fly them to you.

On Saturday, Gilbert Arenas was arrested along with teammate Awvee Storey (who?) and charged, respectively, for resisting without violence and failure to obey a command. However, the arresting officer will probably be disciplined because he didn’t understand the rules in Gilbert Arenas’ universe.

You can’t arrest me. I’m a basketball player. I play for the Washington Wizards, and I’m not going to leave my teammate.

Ironically, just a few years ago, playing for the Wizards itself was grounds for arrest.

[Yahoo]: Arenas, Storey arrested on South Beach