Friday, February 29, 2008

Block of the Night: Marcus Banks

Block of the Night: Marcus Banks
Watch as Marcus Banks blocks Derek Fisher's shot for Thursday's Block of the Night.

Harris Shines in Debut
Devin Harris came off the bench for 21 points and five assists in his Nets' debut Thursday. Making New Jersey fans forget all about that other point guard.

Spurs 97, Mavericks 94 (F)
Tim Duncan scored 31 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Spurs past the Mavericks.

Lakers 106, Heat 88 (F)
Kobe Bryant tallied 21 points and eight assists to lead the Lakers in a route of the Heat on Thursday.

Nets 120, Bucks 106 (F)
Devin Harris scored 21 points off the bench to lead the Nets to a win over the Bucks in his debut.

Thursday's Wireless
TNT's Inside Trax takes you behind the scenes for the sights and sounds of the Dallas-San Antonio and Miami-Los Angeles games.

Top 5 of Inside #2: West playoff standings
Kenny and Charles talk about the Western Conference playoff teams.

Top 5 of Inside #4: Charles gets a new contract
Charles gets a new contract.

Assist of the Night: Devin Harris
Devin Harris serves up the lob for Vince Carter in Thursday's Assist of the Night.

Steal of the Night: Jason Kidd
Jason Kidd explodes to pick off the pass and drives coast-to-coast in Thursday's Steal of the Night. has launched many new basketball widgets that offer scores, stats, and news has launched many new basketball widgets that offer scores, stats, and news

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Photo fun: Jarrett Jack believes in his Blazers

Photo fun: Jarrett Jack believes in his Blazers

Jarrett Jack: Sons of Portland! I am Jarrett Jack.

Steve Blake: But Jarrett Jack is over six feet tall!

Jarrett Jack: Yes, I've heard. 6'3". Scores points by the hundreds. And if HE were here, he'd consume the Clippers with fireballs from his eyes, and bolts of lightning from his arse.

[Blazers laugh]

Jarrett Jack: I AM Jarrett Jack! And I see a whole team of my Blazers, here, in defiance of the Western Conference powers. You've come to play as free men, and free men you are. But what will you do with that freedom? Will you make the playoffs?

James Jones: Against the Nuggets, Warriors and Rockets? No, we'll run, and we'll live.

Jarrett Jack: Aye, try and you may lose, run, and you'll live ... at least a while. And then dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin' to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell the West that they may take our rebounds, but they'll never take ... OUR PLAYOFFS!!!!!

[Blazers cheer]

Kobe Bryant's 'Way of the Intercepting Fist'

Not only will Kobe Bryant beat you down on the basketball court, he'll also kick your ass off of it. Yes, according to the embedded NBA correspondent, Elie Seckbach, Kobe trains in Bruce Lee's martial art, Jeet Kune Do -- literal translation, "way of the intercepting fist" -- in order to take his game to the next level.

Man, I can’t wait to watch Kobe do this to Raja Bell or Bruce Bowen in the playoffs.

(Hat-tip to Larry Brown Sports, Seattle PI)

'Genius' continues: Kobe Bryant as George Washington Carver

I realize this is the second Mamba video of the day, and that the official Kobe Bryant Blog Day isn’t scheduled until March, but ... well, I couldn’t resist. Kobe with a mustache makes me happy.

This is the fourth in a series of five "Genius" commercials. In Kobe's first three spots we've seen him personate Leonardo da Vinci, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Albert Einstein.

Any guess what final "genius" Kobe will play? Shakespeare? Darwin? Phil Jackson?

The Indiana Pacers are a public relations nightmare
Over the course of three months, the Pacers' PR team has had to deal with a point guard who dodges bullets ('Pacer's night out ends in shooting'); another guard was linked to a rape incident ('Sex assault reported at home of Pacers' Marquis Daniels'); and now, a forward who houses fugitives ('Cops nab murder suspect at home of Pacers' Williams').

And as SLAMonline points out, this junk all went down AFTER they got rid of "troublemakers" Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson. Jeesh. How does Larry Bird even sleep at night?

So, I figured since the Pacers can't avoid making front-page news, I could just write a few of their headlines in advance. You know, save the newspaper editors the hassle. They'll probably be true by Monday morning, anyway.

* Eye disease linked to Pacers’ David Harrison
* Pacers’ Jermaine O’Neal kills 17,000
* Mexico says drug traffickers, Pacers’ Travis Diener behind bomb
* Pacers’ Jeff Foster indicted on animal cruelty, hamster fighting charges
* Earthquake: Pacers’ Mike Dunleavy Jr. could be to blame
* Caught pants-down in house's chimney, Pacers’ Troy Murphy claims he was stargazing
* Boomer arrested on sex charges
* Some scholars, reassessing Cold War, blame Pacers’ Danny Granger
* Enraged Pacers’ GM injures team with ax

Feel free to leave your inevitable Pacers' headlines below. Some of you are quite creative.

An awkward four minutes with Kyle Korver
KUTV news anchor Shauna Lake went one-on-one with Utah Jazz shooting guard Kyle Korver last week. It is without doubt one of the most awkward interviews I have ever seen. I loved it!

(Note: This is where I'd normally embed the video, but KUTV -- Utah's source for breaking news, weather and sports! -- has included some weird script code in the video that won't allow me to post it here. Computers, man. I give ‘em three more years. Tops. Anyway, click here to watch the interview.)

Lake grills Korver on anything and everything. She asks him about moving to Salt Lake City, his religious ties, his favorite music (Linkin Park, Pearl Jam, Incubus), his three brothers, and whether he's comfortable being considered a sex symbol. (Nope.) Korver clutches a pillow to his chest throughtout the interview.

And then Lake's four-year-old son shows up to hand Korver a squished peanut butter and jelly sandwich from her purse. Seriously. It's wild.

Just watch it, if only for the ridiculously awkward banter between Lake and another host before and after the interview. Cable television is the best.

(Thanks to the My Utah Jazz blog for the tip.)

Behind the boxscore, where the Jazz have the Pistons' number
Detroit Utah 103, Utah Detroit 95

The best game of the night. Detroit's first half defense was outstanding, scoring 53 points in Utah in a low-possession game is pretty impressive, but holding the Jazz to 42 points was quite the accomplishment.

Utah made what had to be termed an "expected" second-half run, and it was a little disappointing to see the Pistons unable to at least come close to matching Utah's energy solutions (not sure where that phrase popped up, because it's not as if ad execs can get to me, by Mennen). The Jazz turned up the heat defensively, and got out in the fast break for easy scores as the Pistons weren't talking in transition.�

Deron Williams was nice, finding teammates on the baseline for quick scores, while matching and eventually exceeding Chauncey Billups' physical play. He didn't shoot well, 4-12 from the floor, but managed 14 assists to two turnovers. Rasheed Wallace had a crummy shooting game until the fourth quarter, but his half-court defense in the first half was huge. In the second, however, he and Antonio McDyess and Jason Maxiell were left pointing at the Jazz wing or big that had beaten one of them down court for the flush.�

Paul Millsap, of all people, was the go-to guy for the Jazz down stretch, scoring 16 points in a 13-minute run on a series of post-ups, jumpers (!), trips to the line, and dunks off of Williams feeds. 19 points in 20 minutes total for Millsap, while Mehmet Okur (in his favorite little spot on the left elbow extended) took over offensively in the final minutes.

36 fourth quarter points for the Jazz. Against the Pistons. Against an interested Pistons team. Nice. �

On another front: look at Carlos Boozer. How does that shot even make it to the rim?

Toronto 107, Minnesota 85

I'm not going to say that Minnesota had a chance to win this one, but they did kind of give up on this game in the second quarter. The Wolves just kept fouling people, reaching, giving up on plays, refusing to move its feet, and sending a Raptors team full of jump shooters to the line.�

Toronto's 107 points may seem like a solid amount, but in a low-possession (85 of ‘em) game, this was a bit of a scoring spree. The Raptors threw in a pro-rated 125.9 points per hundred possessions; and, for comparison's sake, the Phoenix Suns have the best mark in the league with 114.9 points per hundred possessions.

Chris Bosh was great (28 points on 17 shots), while the Toronto point guard tandem of Jose Calderon and T.J. Ford combined for 22 points, ten assists, and one (!) turnover in 48 minutes. Rashad McCants led the Timberwolves with four fouls.�

Philadelphia 101, Orlando 89

As you read this, the Orlando Magic (after having probably spent the night in Philadelphia, and with two days off before playing New York at MSG) are either flying back to Florida, already ensconced at home in Florida, or on its way toward NYC. I'm not sure of the team's travel plans. I called up LaGuardia last night to ask if they'd been, and I quote, "Redick'ed yet?", but nobody wanted to take me seriously. Their loss. �

No, your loss. Because I'm in it to inform you, the reader.

Either way, wherever the team is, you can be sure coach Stan Van Gundy is muttering. �

The Magic came out completely unprepared to compete against a 76ers team that they clearly thought was beneath them, and allowed the Sixer shooters to throw in 33 first quarter points. By the time Orlando started caring defensively, the shots stopped falling. Orlando was +7 in the second half, but all that did was make this blowout appear closer than it was. �

Atlanta 123, Sacramento 117

This game should have been alot more entertaining, it was a pretty cool run, but both these teams have tons of holes, so it wasn't the best 48-minutes of basketball you've ever seen.

Unsurprisingly, Mike Bibby had his best game as a Hawk against the Kings. He better have: you play with a team for almost six and a half years, get traded, and then play your former team twice in a week? Better bring it, yo. 24 points on just 13 shots, five rebounds, 12 assists to just one turnover for Bibby. �

Josh Childress was the man in the second half for Atlanta, he had 25 off the bench on just ten shots. Some team is going to steal him from the Hawks this summer, pundits will claim that the team overpaid, and they'll be way the hell off. This guy is a stud.

Sacramento got its house in order once they stopped turning the ball over, and the team at least knows what to do defensively (in that empty Atlanta gym, each of Reggie Theus' defensive instructions could be heard bouncing off the walls), but the Kings need to keep it together for 48 minutes just to compete against more talented teams. They haven't been up to that task, recently.�

Also, a hint: every few weeks, until something pops up, keep entering "Reggie Theus hunting" into the search bar over at YouTube. Trust me.

Boston 92, Cleveland 87

I've got 30 teams to watch, and yet it felt as if the Celtics were playing their first game at home since Boxing Day. It's only been two weeks since the team's last homer, so I can't imagine what it's felt like for Boston fans.�

The Celtics did well not to overplay defensively, Delonte West snuck in some baskets in half-court and transition, but LeBron James missed 17 of 24 shots, and only managed 26 total points in spite of taking in 15 free throws. �

Wally Szczerbiak (3-13 on Wednesday, 12-41 as a Cav, 29.3 percent) continues to throw up bricks from the baseline, and Ben "we need someone to guard KG" Wallace didn't really seem to matter as Garnett went for 18 points on 14 shots in 33 minutes, with 11 rebounds, five assists, four steals, and one turnover. �

New York 113, Charlotte 89

Any Knick win, even a blowout win, fails to surprise me: this team has a ton of talent. And I don't mean, "Eddy Curry's gonna rise up!"-talent. I mean actually efficient, aggressive talent that should result in more wins. �

David Lee, Jamal Crawford (when penetrating), Nate Robinson, Fred Jones (!); even Quentin Richardson, when his shot is on, gives the team a version of whatever the hell they thought Jared Jeffries was going to be for them. These guys can play. Too bad Isiah Thomas can't coach.

David Lee (four points, 14 rebounds, three assists, no turnovers, two steals, one block in 21 minutes) was a ridiculous +37 on the night. Charlotte lost Jason Richardson in the second quarter after the high-flying wing was smacked in the eye.�

New Orleans 120, Phoenix 103

The Hornets don't like to run much, so 120 points for them is something like 130 points for the Warriors and Suns, but this accomplishment is sort of mitigated by the fact that the Phoenix Suns don't play defense anymore.�

They used to, whether people want to believe it or not. Phoenix was consistently smack dab in the middle of the points allowed per possession stats. The Suns weren't a good defensive team, but they were mediocre; and, when matched with an offense that no team could touch, this was enough to build a championship contender.

Now they're lousy: still stuck at 15th in the NBA at defensive efficiency, but bound to head down after this one. Anyone who wants to pile dirt on the Suns is a fool, I believe, because we have to wait until May to make the final call. That said, things aren't really working out so far. �

Chris Paul (25 points, 15 assists, six rebounds, three steals, just one turnover) is awesome, David West (27 points) was potent, and Jannero Pargo (22 points in about 23 seconds) had one of those Jannero Pargo-type games he seems to have every two weeks.�

Denver 138, Seattle 96

Denver shot 67 percent in this game. This pro basketball game, against an NBA team. They shot 67 percent.�

A pretty ridiculous outing, even when the team was averaging two makes for every three tries, it never felt as if Denver was on fire. You didn't get the feeling that they could make a 23-footer with one eye shut; and, then again, it didn't seem as if Seattle (pathetic as it was defensively) was just handing the Nuggets lay-ups.

Denver just ran its offense, moved the ball (35 assists), and got into the lane long enough for a batch of unknowing SuperSonic youngsters to collapse in a heap. Look at this boxscore: rookie Taurean Green and Linas Kleiza tied for the worst shooting percentage on the Nuggets, and they made half their shots.

Portland 82, Los Angeles Clippers 80

Credit the Clippers for getting back into this one, because the first half of this game was some of the worst offensive basketball I've seen in a while (29 points for L.A.), and I'm a few days removed from watching the Spurs "drop" five points in a quarter.

Portland needed a good scoring game from Jarrett Jack (21 points on 13 shots) to "hold on," because Steve Blake (zero points in almost 19 minutes) was giving them nothing. Also, someone needs to tell LaMarcus Aldridge (nine points on nine shots, six rebounds in almost 33 minutes) that he "needs to stop doing that."

Chicago 113, Indiana 107

The thing about Indiana's drive-and-kick offense is that, eventually, the drivers won't want to drive anymore, and the kick will end up in the hands of a shooter who rarely has the legs or accuracy to squirrel away a win based off of 25-footers alone.

Chicago hung in there, benched its mopey Iowan in the third quarter, held on to the ball, and dominated the paint offensively. Forwards Drew Gooden and Tyrus Thomas combined for a great game; and while newcomer Larry Hughes hit for 29 points on 19 shots, I'm not going to read too much into it because the overwhelming bulk of his attempts were pretty lousy shots, and he seemed lucky to hit a third of them.

Andres Nocioni was Chicago's go-to guy as they pulled away in the fourth, and Joakim Noah righted his own personal ship with 11 points, seven boards, two steals and a block in 26 minutes.

The 10-man rotation, starring the CEO who beat Michael Jordan

A look around the league and the web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out.

C: FanNation. Apparently, CEO John Rogers Jr. once beat a post-Wiz era Jordan in a game of one-on-one.
PF: The Onion, via YAY. Gerald Green's cupcake has been inducted into the Cupcake Hall of Fame.
SF: KnickerBlogger. They don't call Knicks forward David Lee "Mr. Good Things" for nothing.
SG: Mavs Moneyball. An early look at the impact of Shaquille O'neal and Jason Kidd.
PG: Los Angeles Times. Is the Lakers’ bench the best in the West?
6th: Odenized. Quentin Richardson. Words. Short.
7th: Dallas Morning News. Uh-oh. Kidd’s on the cover of this week's SI. Better stretch those hamstrings, Jason.
8th: The Blowtorch. Oh where, oh where has the Suns' three-point shooting gone?
9th: Detroit Bad Boys. Live near Detroit? Then get your 2nd annual Need4Sheed/DBB Blogfest game tickets.
10th: X's & O's. "If the Suns have any hope to win in the playoffs then Steve Nash is going to have to pick up his defense."

Paul, Hornets end slump

Paul, Hornets end slump
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Jack jumps in, helps Blazers end slump vs. Clips
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Iverson, hot-shooting Nuggets burn listless Sonics
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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rockets 94, Wizards 69 (F)

Rockets 94, Wizards 69 (F)
In their first game without Yao Ming, Luther Head had 18 points to lead the Rockets to a win over the Wizards on Tuesday for their 13th straight victory.

Block of the Night: Tracy McGrady
With Yao Ming out for the season, Tracy McGrady does his best to fill in on the inside by coming up with a wicked block on Brendan Haywood on Tuesday night.

Steal of the Night: Baron Davis
Watch as Baron Davis picks off an inbounds pass from the Sonics and takes it the other way to set up Monta Ellis with a sweet alley-oop pass on Tuesday.

Lakers 96, Blazers 83 (F)
Kobe Bryant scored 11 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter and the Lakers beat the Blazers on Tuesday night for their ninth straight victory.

Suns 127, Grizzlies 113 (F)
Steve Nash had 25 points and 13 assists and Shaquille O'Neal added 13 points and 11 boards to lead Suns to a win over the Grizzlies on Tuesday night.

Warriors 105, Sonics 99 (F)
Monta Ellis scored 30 points, Austin Croshere added 14 in the third quarter without missing a shot, and the Warriors beat the SuperSonics on Tuesday night.

NBA TV Fantasy Hoops: Feb. 26
NBA TV's Rick Kamla takes you through all the fantasy action from Tuesday's games.

Dunk of the Night: Ronny Turiaf
Ronny Turiaf takes a dish from Kobe Bryant and finishes with a two-handed throwdown for the hoop and the harm on Tuesday.

Kobe Leads Lakers' Charge
Watch as Kobe Bryant scored 21 of his game-high 30 points in the second half -- including 11 in the fourth quarter -- to help the Lakers beat the Blazers and notch their ninth straight win Tuesday.

Redd's 3 beats buzzer, spoils LeBron's night

Redd's 3 beats buzzer, spoils LeBron's night

Ginobili makes the Spurs go
You need to look beyond the box score — and Manu Ginobili's career-best stats — to see what he means to the Spurs, Mike Kahn says.

Congress raises possibility of drug sports law
Once again, professional sports and their leaders were hauled up to Capitol Hill on Wednesday by lawmakers who say they might try once again to legislate drug-testing policies for U.S. leagues. Facing a House subcommittee that also held hearings on steroids in 2005, commissioners sat side-by-side with their sport's union chief: Bud Selig was inches away from Donald Fehr; the NBA's David Stern was next to Billy Hunter.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dunk of the Night: Josh Powell

Dunk of the Night: Josh Powell
Watch as Josh Powell takes the pass and throws it down despite Leon Powe's protest.

TNT Insider: Trade Deadline Deals
David Aldridge and the TNT crew evaluate the deals that took place at the NBA trade deadline.

NBA Life: Baron Davis
Warriors guard Baron Davis talks about the Boom Dizzle Book Club he created with his teammates.

Block of the Night: Kenyon Martin
Watch as Kenyon Martin flies to the ball and swats Jarvis Hayes.

Steal of the Night: Thabo Sefolosha
Watch as Thabo Sefolosha intercepts the pass and kicks it out to Andres Nocioni for three.

All-Access: Sprite Slam Dunk Contest
Behind the scenes with some of the sights and sounds you didn't see in the broadcast.

NBA TV Top 10: Feb. 25
Watch the Top 10 plays from Monday, including Troy Murphy's baseline drive and reverse dunk.

DeShawn Hits Game-Winner to Cap Career Day
DeShawn Stevenson capped a career-best 33-point performance with a game-winning three at the buzzer on Monday night.

Assist of the Night: T.J. Ford
Watch as T.J. Ford delivers the behind-the-back pass to a backdoor-cutting Jason Kapono for two.

Celtics 104, Clippers 76 (F)
Paul Pierce and James Posey scored 17 points apiece Monday night to lead the Boston Celtics' well-balanced scoring in their 104-76 rout of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Spurs overcome dismal start, win 6th straight

Spurs overcome dismal start, win 6th straight
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Missed FTs doom Nuggets in close loss to Pistons
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Celtics close West trip with victory over Clippers
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Bulls-Mavericks, Halftime

Bulls-Mavericks, Halftime
Watch first-half highlights from Dallas.

Pistons hang on against Nuggets

TNT Doubleheader Preview: Feb. 28
The TNT crew looks ahead to this Thursday's doubleheader, which starts with Dallas at San Antonio at 8 ET followed immediately by Miami visiting the Lakers.

Spurs overcome sluggish start

Jackson in a comfort zone with Rockets
Bobby Jackson felt comfortable in his first game for the red-hot Rockets. That's no surprise given his history with Rick Adelman.

The List: Top 10 Storylines of the Week
Check out the top stories in the NBA this week, including the return of Kevin Garnett and the Celtics' three-game skid.

Wizards win on last-second shot

NBA TV Daily: Feb.24
Watch highlights from Sunday's eight games including the debut of the Cavaliers' newest players in a win over the Grizzlies.

Mavs keep Bulls at bay

Pistons-Nuggets, Halftime
Watch first-half highlights from Denver.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Shaq, Suns send Celtics to third straight defeat

Shaq, Suns send Celtics to third straight defeat

Suns hand C's third straight loss
Phoenix won a hard-fought battle against Boston as the Celtics lose their third straight game, 85-77. Hear from Grant Hill after the home victory.

Time to assess NBA's new order
The flurry of trades, both big and small, affects the balance of power in both conferences. Mike Kahn assesses the NBA landscape.

Shaq, Suns hand Celtics third straight loss
Maybe the Suns are stronger with Shaq. They limited the Celtics to 77 points Friday and won for the first time with the Diesel.

Suns 85, Celtics 77 (F)

Suns 85, Celtics 77 (F)
The Phoenix Suns gave the Celtics their first three-game losing streak of the season with a rugged 85-77 victory.

Block of the Night: Amare Stoudemire
Check out Amare Stoudemire's into-the-ozone block on Paul Pierce on Friday.

Assist of the Night: Luke Ridnour
Watch as Sonics guard Luke Ridnour gives new meaning to the phrase "bounce pass" for a Chris Wilcox jam.

Clippers 114, Jazz 104 (F)
The Clippers shocked the Jazz 114-104 on Friday night, giving them back-to-back wins for the first time in over three months.

NBA TV: DJ Remembered
A year after his tragic death, NBA TV sits down with Larry Bird to remember the life and basketball career of Dennis Johnson.

NBA TV Top 10: Feb. 22
Check out the top 10 plays from all of Friday's action, including a pair of powerful putdowns by Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Garnett.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The 10-man rotation, starring 'Jon Contract'

The 10-man rotation, starring 'Jon Contract'

A look around the league and the web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out.

C: 100% Injury Rate. Hawks' bust Jon Koncak will be honored during a halftime ceremony tomorrow night.
PF: Hey, think you can you rebound the ball a little? Good. Suit up. The Cavs need a few guys.
SF: Sactown Royalty. How much would you pay for Kings' guard Beno Udrih? $4 mil? $5 mil?
SG: Posting & Toasting. Satire for the good! Isiah Thomas, working the trade deadline phones.
PG: Respect Kobe. Yesterday it was Chris Paul. Today? Kobe Bryant for MVP.
6th: Deadspin. D-League dunk champ Brent "Air Georgia" Petway is challenging Superman to a dunk-off.
7th: Pickaxe and Roll. Lots of questions about the Nuggets' quiet trade activity. (And Melo isn't happy.)
8th: The Blowtorch. Things to yell at Larry Hughes, now that he's in Chicago.
9th: Seattle Weekly. A funny send off to Wally Szczerbiak, set to the tune of Elton John's "Candle in the Wind."
10th: VIBE. Amare be blogging: "Shaq brings dominance to the team and a sense of urgency."

Magic Johnson likes his chicken hot and spicy

If you're scoring at home, that's Magic Johnson with the drumstick assist on his own fireball three. Impressive.

And as a bonus, make sure you swing by The Sporting Blog for another 80's Magic moment. It's quite refreshing and will help wash the awesomeness of this all down. Trust me.

Too much Rod Benson: Celebrity game, Shaq and the Sports Guy
It was nice to be in warm weather down in New Orleans. I was sick the whole week before, but I felt like a million bucks when I stepped off that plane with all the "PROBATE" on it. Maybe it was the 70-degree temperature change, or maybe it was all in my head, but I felt more ready to go then ever. I had woken up at 4 a.m., with a terrible sickness that nearly kept me out of the previous game and by 10 a.m. I was living the dream. I was ready like spaghetti.

After a very necessary three-hour nap, we headed over to the convention center for the NBA Jam Session. Most of the guys were to compete in skills challenges such as H.O.R.S.E and the 3-point challenge. I was there as a spectator which I enjoyed more than I would have if I had to compete. I got to sit there and watch the entire celebrity game while the other guys had to go get changed and warm up.

The celebrity game was cool except I didn't know half of those guys. Before the game started we walked past all the celebrities and I couldn't recognize anybody. I mean, I did recognize Chris Tucker who, until recently, used to look like he could be my brother (other look-a-likes include Plaxico Burress, Silkk the Shocker, and Chris Taft if Chris Taft looked better). I also recognized Terry Crews and the former athletes (Floyd Mayweather is the only person that can fit into a Power Wheels who terrifies me), but not the actors. I guess I need to watch more Heroes and American Idol if I want to recognize the celebrities on the court next year.

It would actually be better if guys stayed in character for the game, so that instead of wondering if that was that guy from that show I could be like "oh yea there goes HE-MAN on the blue team and The Human Torch on the red team. Personally, I would have liked to see Michaelangelo (ninja turtle obviously) in the paint, Dwight Schrute at the wing and like, McDreamy at the point. That's entertainment value. We all know who they are.

During the celeb game, Shaq walked in and shook hands with some of the D-League guys. I realized that he is just too big time. There was absolutely no spotlight on me whatsoever and I feel like he still stole it from me. Well dressed, outspoken, and literally larger that life, that's Shaq. I realized right then and there are two things that are just untrue. First, Shaq is way too big to ever jockey a horse, but maybe that was part of the joke. Second, a little Vitamin Water bottle is too small anyway. Shaq could drink it by the gallon. �

After the celebrity game was over, Bill Simmons came and sat right next to me. He was talking with the coach of the Idaho Stampede for a while before I completely interrupted them.� I didn't know exactly what to say, so, remembering what he wrote about last years All-Star weekend, I said "Redbull and vodka is a hell of a drink, huh?"

In retrospect, that was actually really lame of me to say, especially considering the fact that I interrupted one of his sentences and he didn't know who I was. Despite the interruption, he turned around and answered, "Yea, it is."

"I read what you wrote about it last year," I told him. "I completely agree."

He took another long look at me. He still had no clue why he should be talking to me.

"Yea," he finally said. "It's like a heart attack in a glass."

"See, that's why I like them, they nearly kill you, but then they get you hyped up," I told him.

I had his attention for sure, but he still didn't know why. He continued to be polite for a while before asking me what my name was.


"Rod... Benson?"

"Yea, Rod Benson."

He knew my name already? Hell yea! After that, the confused look went away. We spent the next 30 minutes just talking about the D-League and the NBA while watching the H.O.R.S.E. and 3-point competitions. Guy is solid, real solid. I gotta be honest, if The Sports Guy knows my name, I must be doing something right. I'm gonna start big timing people, it's the obvious next step. I can see it now ...

"Look, Tyra, I already told you, I don't just give out my number. If you wanna hook up have your people call my people and we'll try to pencil you in. Gotta be honest though, Halle and Jenna have this weekend locked up and you know how wild Halle gets."

Sports Guy left to go judge the D-League dunk contest while I stayed in my seat and filmed the entire thing. I'm not quite sure if I'm allowed to post the video on here, so I won't just yet. The NBA contest video I had put up on Wednesday was quickly booted off YouTube for violating NBA copyrights. I think I'm the only player ever to have that happen.

Coming up on Monday, the ACTUAL All-Star game and my SportsCenter NOT top-ten moment.

Oh yea, Boom Tho t-shirt info can be found at Hollar.

Rod Benson is a Cal grad who plays for the D-League's Dakota Wizards. He also blogs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on Ball Don't Lie. Read his archive, pay a visit to and always support the Boom Tho movement.

The Internets are alive: Cavs-Bulls-Sonics three-way
Now that the trade dust has settled, here's what they're saying across the blogosphere about Thursday's last-minute Cleveland-Chicago-Seattle blockbuster ...

YAYsports!: "Believe it or not, this actually has me contemplating getting League Pass for the rest of the season. It’s not Gasol-to-the-Lakers or anything, but look at the dynamics of how LeBron plays, and you have be a little curious. Drive and dump to Ben … Ben can handle that, and we’re not entirely convinced (although we’re sure we wrote the opposite in the past) that Ben is completely washed up. Remember, he’ll be playing power forward for CLE, which paired with Z, makes them pretty big upfront."

FreeDarko: "Ferry took a crappy situation and made incremental improvements. Wally is not Larry Hughes, though I would encourage you all to remember—this man once stole a pass from teammate Kevin Garnett. And up in Seattle, he's made an art form out of freezing out Durant. Wallace's brokedown-ness is roughly equivalent to Gooden's poor judgment, but he exudes wisdom and can play center."

Empty the Bench:
"The Cavs have been starved for a real point guard for years, and now the Larry Hughes-as-point experiment mercifully comes to an end. His 2.4/1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio was eye-gougingly bad. Initial reports had Chris Duhon going to Cleveland, which made a lot of sense since he’s a pure point who plays solid defense, doesn’t shoot a lot and can knock down outside shots. Instead they got Delonte West, a guy with less experience and more upside. And while he isn’t a pure point either, he’s a step in the right direction. Delonte is much more comfortable running an offense, taking care of the ball and being unselfish."

Blog a Bull: "This isn't a type of trade that gives [Bulls GM Jim John] Paxson a 'genius' label (or restores it?) but it is officially an end to the jokes about his phone charger being lost, or his 'internet rumors' paranoia. His number one goal was (and should've been) to dump Ben Wallace, and he did it. Along with his fellow superdelegate Adrian Griffin, as well as Joe Smith. ... Wallace and Smith were 'earning' nearly 55 minutes of time in the frontcourt combined. And while Drew Gooden will take some of those minutes at the 4, Noah now starts (and gets most of his minutes) at center, shifting Tyrus Thomas up the depth chart at the 4. Getting more time for those two (and to a-much-lesser extent, Aaron Gray) was always the most important benefit to dealing Wallace."

"glennPDX," commenter at Supersonicsoul:
"Cute. Call it cap space if you want. That's not the game plan, and everyone knows it. Anyone know of a more dramatic example of an owner stripping down a roster of any major sport franchise? Ever? It's stunning, disgusting, and points in two directions: down and out. Adios, boys, see you in OKC (where the living is cheap and so will the basketball team) ..."

And one more ...

Hey Larry Hughes, Please Stop Taking So Many Bad Shots: "I can’t wipe the smile off my face. Did that just happen? Danny Ferry convinced another team to take Larry Hughes?! Ponder that for a moment. ... And now the question: What am I going to do with this site? I’m not sure right now, and I feel like I need a few days to figure it out."

Please Hammer, don't hurt Chris Mullin or Tyrone Hill

I’ve been racking my brain all afternoon trying to decide which players and artist the NBA would pick if they were to remake this public service announcement today. The best I've come up with so far is Hedo Turkoglu for Chris Mullin, Zach Randolph for Tyrone Hill and Soulja Boy for M.C. Hammer.


Behind the boxscore, where Oden's fro-hawk happens
Portland 92, Seattle 88

A good effort for the Trail Blazers. They kept the energy up for the entire game even when the shots weren't falling, and Joel Przybilla (four blocks, 11 rebounds in just 31 minutes) was especially impressive. That said, Greg Oden's new haircut was the most interesting part of the game.

Before you rip me for my blatant love of the superficial, look to the right. That's a beautiful piece of work. Admit it.

Seattle's getting better, and it's nice to see a SuperSonics rotation that is relying almost exclusively on the young talent this team is trying to develop, but it was a pair of vets that wouldn't allow Seattle to turn the corner. Chris Wilcox could have fouled LaMarcus Aldridge out by the third quarter, but his head wasn't into it on Thursday, and Wilcox mustered only two points and two rebounds in 14 foul-plagued minutes.

Earl Watson tried too much, and while his 15 points, eight rebounds and nine assists helped; his five turnovers seemed to come at all the wrong times.

So, faced with a bit of a snoozer, I want to bring something up that flies in the face of what too many cable TV analysts keep turning to when they try to tell you how good or how bad specific teams are defensively: the field goal percentage a team allows its opponents.

Doug Collins is a fine, if exacting, analyst, but it was his turn to bring up this overrated stat tonight; talking about how Seattle (a usually crummy defensive team) is better than people think mainly because they don't let their opponents shoot a good percentage.

Yes, it's great that the SuperSonics hold opponents to a low field goal percentage (44.8 percent, eighth-best in the NBA), but what does that matter if the SuperSonics send teams to the line a lot (13th-most in the league), and allow teams to shoot a high percentage from behind the three point line (37.5 percent, third-worst)?

In the second part of Seattle's home-and-home against Portland on Friday, the SuperSonics could hold the Trail Blazers to 41 percent from the floor, and actually lower their overall defensive field goal percentage. But what if Portland hits 12 of 30 (40 percent) from behind the three-point line? The overall defensive FG percentage improves, but the Blazers might be well on their way to a 110-point game!

Kelly Dwyer used an exclamation point! This could be con-ta-gious!

In another recent instance, the Chicago Bulls led the NBA in field goal percentage defense in 2005 and 2006, but they also sent their opponents to the line about 182 times a game, which doesn't affect that percentage a single bit. And, like Seattle, Chicago also turned the ball over a ton, which allowed the opponents more chances to not shoot well from the floor, but to ultimately put up more points. So while they were great defensively, leading the NBA (or, in Seattle's case, doing surprisingly well) in this particular stat isn't always telling.

You wouldn't call the player with the best individual field goal percentage (this year, Andris Biedrins) the best scorer in the NBA, nor would you assume him to be among the best just off that stat alone. So why do national analysts constantly do the same with defensive field goal percentage? It makes no sense.

Points allowed, people, normalized for pace. There's your answer.

Seattle IS improving defensively, they had a nice game tonight (about 99 points allowed per 100 possessions, ten points less than they usually give up), but this team is still 20th in defensive efficiency.

(Did you see that gorgeous floater in the lane that Durant hit with about three minutes to go? Off the wrong foot? A close second to Oden's haircut.)

Houston 112, Miami 100

Unlike last season (or, worse, the 2001-02 run that saw a boring and lottery-bound Knick team televised twice a month), TNT's gotten pretty lucky with the lineups this year. But you're not going to win all of them, especially when you're in the business of picking late-February's entertainment the previous July, and tonight was an example of such.

Shaq was supposed to be backing down Yao in this contest, while Greg Oden was supposed to be swatting Kevin Durant's floaters into the 13th row during the second pairing.

Good thing the trade deadline deals kept the Turner crew buzzing. Otherwise ... igh. That's right, "igh."

The Rockets got off to a hot start while the Heat adamantly refused to move their feet or talk in transition. Houston then spent the bulk of final three quarters impatiently waiting for the clock to end and the team's tenth-straight win to win itself. Miami wasn't good enough to do much about it, Pat Riley's crew got the deficit down to nine points a few times, but the Rockets were clearly better.

Rookie Carl Landry (19 points, five rebounds, zero turnovers in almost 25 minutes) had another solid game off the bench for Houston. Considering that he played his college ball about 10 minutes away from where I'm typing this, and that I hadn't even heard of this guy's name until he was drafted last June, I might want to start paying attention to this whole En Cee Ay-Ay-thing.


San Antonio 100, Minnesota 99

Gregg Popovich probably isn't happy, but there are going to be games like this, and you can't expect Minnesota's record alone to ease the Spurs into a 25-point victory.

The Timberwolves have talent, lots of it, but youth and inconsistency usually leaves Minnesota coach Randy Wittman (I was halfway into typing Flip Saunders' last name out of muscle memory, but caught myself ...) with just one of his cadre of talented youngsters playing well alongside Al Jefferson.

Wittman's own rotation choices also hamstring his team at times, but that's a story for another, slower, day.

Tonight, however, saw most of the young Wolves were hitting shots. Minnesota's trio of point guard-sized wannabe shooting guards (Rashad McCants, Randy Foye, and Sebastian Telfair) each hit half their looks from the floor, while Jefferson (28 points) was his usual self.

The Wolves defense was pretty lousy. It wasn't the main reason why Manu the Monster went off for 44 points, but both the Timberwolves perimeter and interior defenders consistently tended to forget that Manu is, not sure if you've heard, left-handed. Even Minnesota center Theo Ratliff, who has been chasing after Manu for almost six years now, was still preparing for Ginobili to drive and finish right in the lane. Ridiculous.

Manu's a beast, though. Forty-four points on 18 shots. I should have saved the "ridiculous" line for this paragraph. So it goes.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Kobe-Shaq rematch just one epic possibility

Kobe-Shaq rematch just one epic possibility
After watching Shaq and Kobe's latest skirmish, Jason Whitlock says the NBA's final months are going to be epic.

For Cavaliers, changes may not be for the better
LeBron may be happy the Cavs revamped their roster with an 11-player trade. But was it a shrewd deal? Charley Rosen's not sure.

Cavs, Bulls, Sonics pull off 11-player trade
LeBron James finally got some help to win an NBA title.

Despite losing to Kobe, Shaq's not quite done
Kobe shined late as the Lakers beat the Suns, but not before Shaq showed enough pep to instill hope in Phoenix, Randy Hill says.

Hornets acquire Wells, James from Rockets
The New Orleans Hornets have acquired swingman Bonzi Wells and guard Mike James from Houston. The Rockets are getting guards Bobby Jackson and Adam Haluska in return. Hornets coach Byron Scott said Memphis is also involved in the deal but didn't know to what extent. The deal gives the Western Conference-leading Hornets depth on their bench.

T-Wolves deal Green to Rockets for Snyder
Gerald Green got his wish Thursday, as the Minnesota Timberwolves traded the 2007 slam dunk champion to the Houston Rockets for guard Kirk Snyder, a second-round draft pick in 2010, and cash considerations.

Spurs get Thomas from Sonics for playoff push
The San Antonio Spurs acquired veteran forward Kurt Thomas from the Seattle SuperSonics on Wednesday night for guard Brent Barry, center Francisco Elson and a 2009 first-round draft pick.

Parker returns, Manu hits winner vs. Wolves

Kleiza holdup in Artest deal

Kleiza holdup in Artest deal

As the Denver Nuggets make the hard choice about including Linas Kleiza into the package it will take to pry Ron Artest out of Sacramento, it should be remembered that on several levels parting with Kleiza wouldn't be so simple.

Kleiza isn't just a player for Denver, but part of the ownership's family. Stan Kroenke has known Kleiza since his days at Missouri, when he was a teammate and close friend of Kroenke's son, Josh. The Nuggets traded for Kleiza, a 6-foot-8 Lithuanian, on draft day in 2005 and watched him develop into a terrific young player.

"There's a feeling from ownership that, ‘Hey, we've helped turn this kid into a player, so how can we let him go'" an Eastern Conference executive said.

First of all, Artest can be a free agent this summer, and Kleiza, is signed through 2010. The prospects of losing Artest for nothing in return is unappealing for the Kings.

Before the Spurs made the trade for Seattle's Kurt Thomas on Wednesday, there was rampant speculation that the Spurs were bidding on Artest, too. This wasn't true, said an executive and agent with knowledge of those negotiations. The Spurs and Orlando Magic were the final two suitors for Thomas. The Spurs never offered the package of Brent Barry, Francisco Elson and a 2009 first-round pick to the Kings for Artest.

The Kings are reshaping under coach Reggie Theus, who has been impressive his rookie coaching season. They are expected to re-sign Spurs castoff guard, Beno Udrith, to a long-term deal this summer. has launched many new basketball widgets that offer scores, stats, and news

Visit the ESPN Widget Center.

Nene to undergo single chemotherapy treatment
Nene is scheduled to undergo a single chemotherapy treatment next week as part of his recovery from testicular cancer.

Spurs get Parker back Thursday vs. Timberwolves
Tony Parker will return to the San Antonio Spurs' lineup Thursday night, his first game in about three weeks.

Artest, Kings spoil Bibby's return to Sacramento
Visit for the complete story.

Spurs acquire big man Thomas in deal with Sonics
The Spurs have reportedly acquired Kurt Thomas from the Sonics.

Heat dangling Williams, Davis
GMs and agents say that the Miami Heat have been one of the most active teams approaching the deadline, using the expiring contracts of Jason Williams ($8.9 million) and Ricky Davis ($6.8 million) as bait.

The Heat are still trying to find someone to take suspended guard Smush Parker, but it appears that they'll have to buy out his contract after the deadline.

Also, Denver, Memphis and New Jersey discussed a three-team trade that would've sent Mike Miller to the Nuggets, forward Nene to the Nets and the expiring contracts of Jamaal Magloire and Bostjan Nachbar to the Grizzlies.

Raptors acquire well-traveled Brezec from Pistons
The Toronto Raptors acquired center Primoz Brezec and cash from the Detroit Pistons on Thursday for guard Juan Dixon.

Rockets get Houston native Green from Wolves
The Minnesota Timberwolves traded swingman Gerald Green to the Houston Rockets on Thursday for shooting guard Kirk Snyder.

Hornets acquire Wells, James in three-team trade
Sources have told that the Hornets, Rockets and Grizzlies were in final discussions on a multi-player deal that would send Mike James and Bonzi Wells to New Orleans, with Bobby Jackson, Adam Haluska and a second-round draft pick going to Houston.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Rise and shine? Shaq to start for Suns vs. Lakers

Rise and shine? Shaq to start for Suns vs. Lakers
The dawn of Shaquille O'Neal as a member of the Suns will come Wednesday night, as many had hoped.

Cheeks, Sixers agree to one-year extension
Maurice Cheeks and the 76ers agreed to a contract extension Wednesday, giving the former NBA star more time to reach the postseason for the first time as Philadelphia's coach.

Kidd reintroduced in Dallas
Jason Kidd is a member of the Dallas Mavericks. Again. Finally. The long-discussed, once-scuttled and ultimately reconfigured deal to bring Kidd from New Jersey back to the team that drafted him was finalized Tuesday.

Roundtable: Sizing up Shaq, Kobe and the loaded West
Our NBA analysts tackle seven questions facing Shaq, Kobe and the Western Conference. has launched many new basketball widgets that offer scores, stats, and news

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Lakers are clear trade winners

Lakers are clear trade winners
Now that Jason Kidd is finally a Maverick, Mike Kahn looks at the three blockbuster deals so far and declares a winner.

John Galinsky's NBA power rankings
Will Jameer Nelson improve after the break? The answer may determine how Orlando fares in John Galinsky's power rankings.

Back to Big D: Kidd-to-Mavericks trade done

Nets ship Kidd to Mavs in eight-player deal
This time, it's for real: Jason Kidd is going to Dallas. The All-Star point guard was officially traded on Tuesday in an eight-player deal.

Monday, February 18, 2008

LeBron, Allen lead East to All-Star Game win

LeBron, Allen lead East to All-Star Game win
The East blew a huge All-Star Game lead, but Ray Allen and MVP LeBron James proved to be too much for the West, Mike Kahn says.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

2008 PlayStation Skills Challenge Recap

2008 PlayStation Skills Challenge Recap
Check out highlights of Saturday's PlayStation Skills Challenge and see how Deron Williams came out the winner.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Olajuwon, Ewing, Riley among first-time Hall finalists

Olajuwon, Ewing, Riley among first-time Hall finalists
Hakeem Olajuwon and Patrick Ewing, who battled for NCAA and NBA titles, and Miami Heat coach Pat Riley were selected as finalists Friday for the Basketball Hall of Fame. Holdover candidates Chris Mullin, Adrian Dantley, Dennis Johnson and Golden State coach Don Nelson also are among the 15 candidates for enshrinement. Olajuwon and Ewing both played in three Final Fours, with Ewing's Georgetown team beating Olajuwon's Houston squad for the 1984 national championship.

Stackhouse arrangement may be too shady for Stern
Devean George might not be the only Mav messing up the Jason Kidd trade. Jerry Stackhouse said too much, Peter Vecsey says.

Nash helps Suns pull away late, beat Mavericks

Nash helps Suns pull away late, beat Mavericks

Will Kobe skip ASG?
An injured finger may keep Kobe Bryant out of the All-Star Game. has launched many new basketball widgets that offer scores, stats, and news

Visit the ESPN Widget Center.

Rules changes translate into more offense
You don't need the All-Star Game to see a high-scoring exhibition. The NBA is in a golden age of offense, says Greg Boeck.

In The Paint: Marques picks MVP
Who's the MVP so far? LeBron? Kobe? Nash? KG? Marques Johnson prefers the Hornets' irrepressible point guard.

Ewing, Olajuwon lead Hall finalists
Hakeem Olajuwon and Patrick Ewing head the list of finalists for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Both were nominated in their first year of eligibility.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

BDL in the Easy: All-Star Weekend, here I come!

BDL in the Easy: All-Star Weekend, here I come!

This is a hurried post, so I'll keep it short and sweet.

I'm currently waiting in line to board a plane for New Orleans.

No joke. I'm standing in line right this second. Luckily the person ahead of me has a really bad hunch, so I just propped my laptop right up on his back. He's being extremely cooperative. I'm going to buy him a bagel.

Anyway, yeah, I'm on my way to cover this year's All-Star Weekend. I have no idea what I actually mean by "cover," but man, this site is going to be a blast. Kobe's injured pinky swear!

I'll be in travel for most of today -- first stop: Charlotte's airport! -- but as soon as I hit that Big Easy tarmac the pictures and posts should start coming.

I'm going to tackle the Jam Session tomorrow, play in some media pick-up game on Saturday -- "Throw me the oop, Abbott!" -- ask as many random questions as I possibly can ... OK, wow, I really got to go! This little old man is getting restless.

See you in N'awlins!

Behind the boxscore, where Manu is a monster

San Antonio 112, Cleveland 105

With his team struggling to score (18 points after just one quarter) and the Cavs feasting off of San Antonio's long misses, Manu Ginobili absolutely took things over in the second quarter of this one.

Scoring 13 in the quarter, Manu gave the Spurs a fighting chance (fightin', I say, because the kid's got moxie) heading into the second half, and his dominant touch allowed the Spurs to score 94 points in the final three frames and pull out the win.

Ginobili was incredible, snaking his way through double-teams, giving the ball up early only to get it back in time to score, directing traffic and nailing jumper after tough jumper. Forty-six points on only 20 shots, eight assists, five rebounds, three steals and just ONE turnover in 40 minutes of play for Ginobili on Wednesday.

(But, by all means, enjoy Brandon Roy on Sunday night.)

LeBron James wasn't nearly as good, but did offer an outstanding 39 points, nine assists, six boards and three turnovers. I'm not going to drag out the usual, "he didn't have much help," bit because there wasn't much the Cavs could do with Ginobili last night. LBJ was awesome, the Cavs played a great game, but they didn't have a chance with Manu acting as he did.

Against single-coverage, he'd score. When Cleveland trapped him and forced Manu to give up the ball as he crossed half court, he'd dart his way around a half-court set, watch as the Spurs made a few passes, duck into the open spots, take the pass and score. Brilliant basketball from a monster in his prime.

Toronto 109, New Jersey 91

About what you'd expect. New Jersey started off slowly without Antoine Wright leading the show, Vince Carter was booed every time he touched the ball (which is always nice, cities outside of Toronto should pick this custom up), and the Nets never had a chance.

Toronto did relent a bit in the fourth quarter; the Raptor bench didn't have its best game going, turning this into a semi-respectable blowout.

Boston 111, New York 103

Knick center Eddy Curry had two points, two turnovers and no rebounds in nine minutes of "action."

New York didn't lose by 45, and you get the feeling that Curry's absence (and not Kevin Garnett's) may have been the biggest reason why.

New Orleans 111, Milwaukee 107

The Hornets defense is slipping, and I attribute that solely to the end of a road trip, and the promise of an All-Star break. As it was with a lot of the games we saw this week, there was little of any lasting impact to take from this one.

Philadelphia 102, Memphis 88

The 76ers just toyed with their Memphis counterparts, Andre Iguodala notched 29 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists, and it doesn't appear as if the Grizzlies are having much fun. Hakim Warrick (23 and eight rebounds) went his third game in a row without registering an assist, and this selfish streak just has to end.

On a serious note, there is a definite communication issue with rookie Juan Carlos Navarro and the rest of his Memphis teammates; especially defensively.

We'd heard that Juan had issues with English early in the year, but especially on screen/roll defense, Navarro is rarely where his teammates expect him to be. The same goes for transition pick-ups, covering shooters after the other team grabs an offensive rebound, and on the offensive side of things at times.

Los Angeles Lakers 117, Minnesota 92

After playing and losing in New Jersey the night before, the Timberwolves were dragging in this one: barely able to keep up defensively (giving up 99 points in the first three quarters) and falling short on offense.

The Lakers are a friggin' offensive juggernaut at this point. Also, in five weeks, they'll get another 7-footer with skills, free of charge. Scary.

Charlotte 100, Atlanta 98 (OT)

This is where the Bobcats are: the team needed a furious fourth quarter rally, at home, behind a career night from Emeka Okafor (20 points, 21 rebounds, five blocks) just to force overtime against a Hawks team that was more than ready for the All-Star break.

All-Star snub candidate Josh Smith was an absolute non-factor with six fouls and five turnovers in 15 minutes, Marvin Williams missed 12 of 15 shots, and All-Star Joe Johnson had a completely blah-game with 19 points, four boards and four assists in nearly 48 minutes of action.

(Seriously, All-Stars should be able to contribute quite a bit more in that sort of minute allotment. Why can't voters or coaches ever seem to notice how many minutes Johnson plays?)

And yet, the Hawks were up double-digits in the final quarter. Credit the Bobcats for working toward a tie and eventual win, but this is a Charlotte team that really, really struggles to score.

Detroit 96, Indiana 80

I was blacked out of this one. Usually I'd whine and moan, but on a night with 13 other contests ... yay.

Utah 112, Seattle 93

Tremendous game for Carlos Boozer in this one, he found seams in the Seattle "defense" all night, registering 10 assists, 22 points, 11 rebounds, and five steals.

The Jazz have won 18 of the team's last 21 contests, all without the luxury of trading for someone on the 2006 All-Star team.

Dallas 96, Portland 76

It was obvious back in December that the Trail Blazers weren't as good as their record would indicate, and obvious during this week that Dallas (even with injuries) wasn't as bad a team as the recent record would indicate ... but this seems like an overreaction, no? Regression to the mean is one thing, but this was a little nutty. Portland shouldn't be getting blown out like this.

Brandon Roy (25, six rebounds, six assists, one turnover) needs to get in LaMarcus Aldridge's head, tout bloody suite: "this" ("this" = six points on 10 shots, five rebounds in almost 34 minutes) is not acceptable.

Devean George missed all 11 of his shots. Strange, that.

Golden State 120, Phoenix 118

I'll fully cop to not seeing anything more than highlights of this one, with a dozen other games on last night I had to Tivo some other contests for early-morning viewing, while taping the late showing of this one to look at later on. Apparently, as far as I can tell, the Phoenix Suns were hurting in a way that Shaquille O'Neal can't possibly help to heal. Unless, of course, he sits on Monta Ellis or something.

Ellis played all 48 minutes, registering 37 points, nine rebounds, five assists and only one turnover. That last number might be the most impressive, until I watch the game and realize that the drummer from the Barbarians could probably play 48 minutes against the Phoenix defense and only register a single cough-up.

Orlando 109, Denver 98

Last night we saw "tired," and we saw "looking forward to the All-Star break."

Denver, in spite of a rash of noted late-night types who have reason to look forward to the break, fell in the "tired" camp last night. It wasn't the most grueling of road trips, but they were playing the last of a three-game trek that saw them take wins in Cleveland and Miami. On Wednesday night, the Nugs didn't appear to have a chance, at any point.

Dwight Howard was his old self (lots of points, rebounds, and turnovers: 23, 24 and five); but it was the perimeter play of Brian Cook (18 points on nine shots), Hedo Turkoglu (18 points in only 24 minutes), and Rashard Lewis (25 points on only 14 shots) that won the game for Orlando. That, and the sweet, sweet opium they put in Denver's Gatorade before the game.

Houston 89, Sacramento 87

I don't know what was more frustrating, Sacramento's slow and uninspired start (down 35-20 after one), Houston's inept finish (just 10 points in the fourth quarter), or the fact that these were about the only parts of the game I got to see.

These are two teams that are starting completely over next Tuesday.

Washington 91, Los Angeles Clippers 89

The Wizards had an incredibly easy go of it when they got the ball into Antawn Jamison (29 points, including the game-winning tip-in) or Andray Blatche inside, but the team meandered too often, showing fatigue and making poor decisions defensively.

On the Clipper side, rookie Al Thonton (the guy who could barely make a third of his shots in the first month of the season) nailed jumper after jumper on his way toward 24 points. The 24 year-old is averaging 18.6 points over his last nine games.

Washington was always in control, however, which was impressive for a team finishing a tough road trip; even against a crummy Clipper outfit.

Making sense of Devean George

So let's get this straight:

On Wednesday, a player (Jerry Stackhouse)�said he was about to be traded and�had already decided to re-sign in 30 days with the team that was trading him (Dallas) because the team that was trading for him (New Jersey) only wanted to cut him. He welcomed such a deal because, well, he'd still get paid, he wouldn't have to move and he was excited that the point guard he was being traded for (Jason Kidd) would be a better fit for his original (and soon-to-be future) team (Dallas) than the guy who's currently lockering a couple doors down from him (Devin Harris).

Then while waiting for said trade to be completed, the player (Stackhouse) learned the deal had been blocked by another teammate (Devean George), who only recently, had requested a trade, but now didn't want to be dealt because it possibly would cost him money on the free-agent market. Even though this same player (George) just burped up what little market value he had by going 0 for 11 while some of his own fans criticized him for being "selfish."

Don't you just love the NBA?

Fortunately for us, this drama gets to play out at least one more day. No one involved knows exactly how it will end, but here's betting Kidd eventually ends up in Dallas.


George's agent, in fact, said Wednesday night there's still a chance his client will OK the trade.

"We didn't intend for this to be a line in the sand," Mark Bartelstein said by phone. "They (the Mavericks) brought this to us just before the game and I didn't think there was enough time to discuss it."

George is able to veto the deal because he's on a one-year contract and would lose his "Early Bird" rights – which allow teams to go over the salary cap to sign him – if he's traded.

"That's a big thing for him as a free agent," Bartelstein said. "We just want to sit down and make sure we're making the right decision for him."

One team official, however, said George is seeking a guarantee in playing time from the Nets. Considering he just went 0 for 11, who can blame him?

After all, not everyone is as lucky as Jerry Stackhouse.