by Holly MacKenzie / @stackmack

How did the Raptors defeat Houston this past Saturday? Watching both teams in action last night, I’m not sure I’ve got an answer to that besides the Rockets having an awful off day.

Before we get any further, my goodness, can you feel the excitement that is rippling through the basketball world as a result of Tracy McGrady returning to the hardwood last night? Yeah, I thought so.

While the Rockets defeated Detroit 107-96, the Raptors lost by 20 to the Heat. It was bad. Not just bad, damn ugly.

More importantly than the Raptors struggles, though, T-Mac was back. Crazy, when you consider Adelman had said playing McGrady would not be an option for them earlier that day. In the end it was an option, he suited up and got into the game in the first quarter. He looked rusted, but he hit a three-pointer, missed some free throws and had a nice ovation from the home crowd. Aaron Brooks and Luis Scola each scored 23 points with Brooks also adding 10 assists. Our boy Hursty has told me I need to mention the Brooks to Budinger alley-oop…. I didn’t see it, but it sounds like it’s an oop that didn’t quite happen?

Fill us in, Hursty!

In Miami, the Raptors were dreadful, getting eaten up inside as Michael Beasley had himself a ballgame, finishing with 28 points and 11 rebounds while Chris Bosh had 28 himself, but just two rebounds. For all of the people who were ready to trash Jose Calderon and start Jarrett Jack, really? I’m a huge Jack fan, as a player and also as a person, but Calderon is stability. Defensively, he’s a definite liability, but on the offensive end, he knows how to settle things down, get guys the ball where they need it to excell and do it without turning the ball over.

I love the jolt of energy and aggressive play of Jack, but I really prefer having Jose to bring into the game when the Raptors need to be calmed down.

Tracy McGrady played last night. I still can’t believe that. I wonder how many All-Star votes he’ll receive today.

My personal favorite quote of the night:

I had attitude. I’ve still got attitude. I think it’s been long enough for me playing average. I’m just kind of mad at myself for not stepping out of the box. I’m kind of angry right now.” – Michael Beasley

I’m not a fan of the latest hairstyle he’s rocking but I am a fan of this attitude. I hope he keeps up the aggressive play. I also hope Mario Chalmers learns to be on time for team functions. Because he was late to shootaround, he came off of the bench for the first time in his NBA career. Crazy.

The Cavs defeated the Nets by 10, dropping New Jersey to 2-23 on the season. Devin Harris was ejected from this one after he was called for the flagrant-2 on Jamario Moon, trying to prevent him from getting the easy hoop and almost taking his head off in the process. Now, I do not think Harris was trying to be dirty, but I do think guys need to know they can’t be grabbing opponents around the neck/head. It’s too dangerous. I think the suspension was the right call.

I don’t really think LeBron running to the rescue and wrapping Harris up was a smart play. Even with the best intentions, that could have started a fight of it’s own, if Harris didn’t realize Bron was just trying to make sure nothing happened after the play.

In other Nets news, Brook Lopez continues to be solid.

Oh, and Bron-watch: 23/6/7

Kobe-watch: 42 points. He had eight turnovers and he missed four free throws, but he was there to help his team get over their early struggles against the Bulls. With a broken hand. I get so many messages and emails, tweets and various other forms of communication of people proclaiming their love for Kobe or LeBron and telling me exactly why their guy is the best.

You all know who my “best player in the NBA” is, but can we all just stop for a moment and enjoy the sweetness that is watching each of these guys do their thing on the court?

The Lakers looked lame-o against the Bulls through three. Phil looked like he was going to snap on someone.

Don’t look now, but the Bobcats are currently sitting at 10-13. Almost at .500, baby. Last night they found themselves in a really close one with the Knicks (who had Jonathan Bender in a suit on the bench), but they pushed through and got the victory behind 21 and eight from GWall while Tyson Chandler pulled down 12 boards and my boy Stack Jack scored 24, but needed 22 shots to do it.

Suns rollling. 116-104 victory over the Spurs and they are 17-8 on the year. Loved every one of the 13 assists Nash had to go with his 25 points and Amar’e’s 28 and 14 to go with three steals were nice, too. It just feels really nice when the Suns win against San Antonio at home, doesn’t it? It’s like a little bit of payback for that damn playoff series that I’m sure so many of their fans still can’t quite let go of.

Oh… 34, 14  and three blocked shots for TD in the loss. Again, lucky. That’s what we are. So many special players in this league right now. So happy they are still here.

The Kings lost to the Blazers in Portland last night, but they couldn’t have asked for much more from their rookie, except, perhaps more shooting. Evans finished with 19 points and shot 7-for-9 from from the floor with one of those misses coming on a three-point heave at the end of the shot clock. Guy was feeling it. He’s really fun to watch. I had said a few weeks ago that I hadn’t caught much of him yet this season. I made it a point to and am really, really glad I did because I would have hated finding out how talented he is in March or April when I’d already missed so much of his rookie season.

Have I mentioned how much I love rookies?

Can you blame me? With everyone calling this class weak, I think it’s proving to have a lot more talent than most were ready to believe. It makes me happy, I can tell you that.

Also, Bayless was awesome for Portland down the stretch. I’ve been rooting for him to get more playing time, so that really made my night.