by Holly MacKenzie / @stackmack
It’s a weird night in the NBA when you are more amped for the Wiz are gunning for their first victory since a February 28 win over the Nets than anything else, including playoff positioning races. Please, tell me someone else was watching that carrying call on Kyle Lowry and the ensuing flip out by the man who just wanted his Rockets to get a fair shake? He was awesome. I love insane fans. Except for when they sit behind my media seat and are hurling mean insults at players. I’m not good at being mean. I know, I know, all is fair in love and basketball, but my heart can’t take it.
Anyway, Chase Budinger had himself a game and hit a jumper to put the Rockets ahead before corralling the most important rebound of the game, hitting two free throws and finishing with 24 points on 9-for-13 shooting as he helped the Rockets pull out the 98-94 victory on their home court. I can’t lie, I was pulling for the Wiz. Over a month straight of losing. Losing Josh Howard for the rest of the season. Picking up my man Shaun Livingston for the rest of the season. Surviving the Gil Arenas situation. I wanted those guys to have a reason to smile as they walked off of the floor.
In Milwaukee, the Bucks continue to ball, taking down the Clippers, 107-89. This one got a little chippy when Steve Blake took exception to a screen set by Andrew Bogut and immediately got in his face. Yeah, I thought he should have been mad at his teammates for not having his back, but had to love him stepping to Bogut, despite the obvious physical disadvantage. Now, here’s where I have the problem. When Blake and Bogut stand face to face, Travis Outlaw comes flying in to Boguts chest, pushing him away from his teammate. Okay, cool. When Brandon Jennings sees this, he comes over to have Bogut’s back. The refs take their sweet ass time to review and decide what they are calling and they finally settle upon double-techs for Bogut and Blake and then, a technical on Brandon Jennings. Now, if you’re going to be tossing out technicals, you’d best give Outlaw one as well since he was the first person other than the two involved to make himself a part of things.
Agree or disagree?
Anyway, the Bucks pulled away thanks to Rasual Butler getting Rondo’d by Jennings immediately after the technical and suddenly the Bucks look like their coach. They are playing hard, tough and mean. I love it. I mean, I really, really love it. They’ve got a rookie pg who lost his shot for half of the season. They’ve got a big man who simply doesn’t get enough love and who tweets with our boy Russ on the regular. John Salmons playing like a star, Jerry Stackhouse coming out of retirement and singing the praises of P90X, Ilyasova making Hammond look like a genius and all-star tweeter Charlie Bell. In my world, it doesn’t get much better than the Milwaukee Bucks. We’re talking the OKC of the Eastern Conference in my books. Yeah. Kinda like a big deal.
Brandon finished with 17 points, Stack had 16 and Ilyasova scored 20 off of the bench. Drew Gooden put in 20 points and 11 rebounds and Chris Kaman had 17 points and 10 boards in the loss. Bogut had the best face ever after he finished an alley oop. Bucks. Seriously. 4th best record in the L since February 1st and I love it.
Russ Westbrook to KD for the slam is one of my favorite NBA things. Andre Iguodala going hard to the hoop, too. I’d like him on my team. Yes, yess, I would. Iguodala is one of those players who does so many things and yet, we look at his turnovers or missed shots more than the positive impact he has on the game. I’d really, really like him on a team I was building. Even if the team he is on just lost by 17 to the Thunder, 111-93. Love seeing the Thunder jerseys in the stands during road games. Especially after hearing why KD chose his number. Durant finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds for Oklahoma City while Russ W. had 10 points and 14 assists and Jeff Green added 16. Iguodala finished with 21 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and three steals in the loss. Elton Brand had 22 points as well.
In Chicago, the Bulls nearly gave me a heart attack, hanging on until the final seconds, before the Suns got some hot shooting and Steve Nash-ness to escape with the 111-105 road win. Channing Frye hit a huge three, Nash made a layup then fed Grant Hill for an open dunk and suddenly the Suns had the lead and enabled the Raptors to move to 1.5 games ahead of Chicago for the eighth and final eastern conference playoff spot. Nash finished with 22 points and 10 assists, JRich had 27 (including a huge three, himself) and Amare added 21 and 11. Flip Murray was all over the place for the Bulls, scoring 23 points on 9-for-12 shooting and Derrick Rose had 23 points and 10 assists in the loss.
In Indy, the Pacers stole another game, this time taking down the Kings, 102-95. 17 points, seven rebounds, 10 assists and four steals for Tyreke Evans in his return. Damn, that guy is good. Missing five games didn’t slow him down, but unfortunately for the Kings, they were unable to slow down the Pacers who won their eighth straight at home behind 33 points from Danny Granger.
Clippers are in town tonight. Hoping the Raps get the win to extend my season a little more. I just wanna see a playoff game, guys!