by Adam Figman | @afigman
Peace, pigskin. It’s officially all-eyes-on-hoops season. Let’s get it.
I was in the building yesterday at MSG for this one, and though the score stayed tight up until the last few minutes, the Knicks looked like they had solid control throughout. Pretty much everything was going right for ‘em—the ball was moving, the shots were falling (59.7 percent from the field!?), Amar’e Stoudemire (41 points) was doing his thing, and so on. It’d be easy to say that this contest was a hugely important one, especially given the opponent, a division rival, but home-and-homes are generally split between teams of equal or similar talent. So the bigger story would’ve been if the Knicks continued to struggle and dropped this one, but, without that being the case, I guess we should bottle the hate and move along. More exciting news: On Wednesday, the Knicks host the Clippers for the first time since Blake Griffin did a terrible, terrible thing to Timofey Mozgov’s ego. After yesterday’s tilt, when a reporter asked Moz what he knows about Griffin, the Russian center simply said: “Too much.” We’ll see if Timofey learns anything new about the high-flying rookie in a few days.
Even worse news for the Sixers than that loss to the Knicks should be this game. Sure, the outcome won’t help Philly, with Indiana on their tail and Charlotte not far behind, but it’s the bigger picture—the fact that the Pacers are red hot and are showing few signs of slowing down—that should scare the 76ers. This win brings Indy to 4-0 under new coach Frank Vogel, as six Pacers scored in double figures and they cruised over the Nets. That’s pretty much all you need to know. Oh, wait. Right. This happened:
Bring a West Coast team to the East, where the time difference tends to mess with the players’ sleep routines and such, then ask them to play a game at noon EST—or 9 a.m. PST—and yeah, they’re gonna be a little off. And so it was, as the Heat rolled over the Clippers. LeBron James did very little, scoring only 12, but it was Dwyane Wade who stepped up and made it happen, putting in 28 and leading the Heat during the fourth. Blake Griffin went for 21 and 16, but neither he nor his squad shot well, and the Clips fell in not-so-dramatic fashion. Their road trip continues tomorrow in Orlando, where they play the Magic before heading north to NYC.
The Magic aren’t in “trouble” in any sense—they’re still a top contender in the Eastern Conference. But, if their goal is to knock off the Heat/Celts and get to the Finals, well, they’ve got a little ways to go, because they just ain’t there yet. The C’s took down the Magic yesterday, holding every non-Dwight Howard Orlando player to 12 points or less and holding the team as a whole to just 80. Rajon Rondo went on a rare scoring tear, dropping 26, while Kendrick Perkins didn’t score at all but snatched 13 rebounds. Also, Marquis Daniels banged his head on the floor and went down real, real hard in the second quarter,needing to be removed by a stretcher. Word is at best he’ll probably miss a couple of months, but given a scare like that, to hear that he’ll be OK sooner or later is good to hear.
Actual Stats: Amar’e Stoudemire: 41 points, 7 boards, 4 dimes, 4 blocks, 1 steal
Last Call: Oh hey, Blake. I didn’t see you over there.