By Holly MacKenzie
Chicago got to breathe a collective sigh of relief last night as they were able to notch their first victory of the season. Washington and Golden State did not. The game of the night between the Warriors and Mavs lived up to expectations as the teams went at each other the whole game, keeping it close down to the wire. Baron looked good and I thought for sure that three was going in, but I guess it wasn’t his night. I really love how well Josh Howard has played so far and Jason Terry is working wonders coming off of the bench for Dallas. Kelenna Azubuike is exciting to watch. Even though the Warriors lost (again), the game last night had them looking like they did in the playoffs. The passion and fire was there and I hope that continues when their opponent is someone other than Dallas.
Big night in the NBA tonight. I can’t wait to catch Phoenix and Miami, of course the Lakers and Minnesota and I am also looking forward to the Atlanta/Boston game. I read last night that Nene tore a ligament in his thumb in Denver’s game against Boston Wednesday night and he will be out for up to six weeks after he has surgery on the thumb today. Denver has been hit hard with the injuries in the opening of this season, lets hope they (along with everyone else), can get healthy.
New Jersey 87 Washington 85
After losing to New Jersey in the final minutes of the game, Washington’s 0-4 start is their worst since the 1992-93 season. While New Jersey appeared to have their 85-79 lead under control with 1:53 left in the game, Washington went on a 6-0 run with all six of those points coming on made free throws to tie the game with 39 seconds on the clock. After Vince Carter missed a jumper with 27 seconds left in the game, Richard Jefferson chased down the offensive rebound and was then fouled by Antonio Daniels, sending him to the line. With the game depending upon him, Jefferson once again placed the Nets on his shoulders and hit both free throws to put New Jersey up 87-85. On the final possession of the game, Gilbert Arenas waited until there were seven seconds left before making his move, which left him in the corner to take an off-balance jumper that missed completely, giving Jersey the win. In addition to hitting the game winning free throws, Jefferson finished with 25 points while Carter had 24 and Jason Kidd had a line of 6 pts, 8 rebounds and 10 assists for the Nets. On the losing side of things, Antawn Jamison led the Wizards with 24 points and 9 rebounds while Caron Butler and Gilbert Arenas each added 21.
Chicago 97 Detroit 93
The Chicago Bulls were able to notch their first victory of the season last night, but it was one that went down to the final play of the game. Led by Tyrus Thomas and his 19 points and 14 rebounds, the Bulls were able to hang onto a 94-93 lead with 1:35 remaining. It was a sloppy finish as each team traded turnovers and then missed shots before Ben Gordon was fouled after pulling down a rebound. Gordon made 1 of 2 free throws to put the Bulls up 95-93 and from there Rasheed Wallace missed on a shot attempt that Joe Smith rebounded with 13 seconds on the clock. He was fouled, but made only 1 of 2 free throws, keeping the window open for the Pistons, three point game, 96-93. The Bulls got lucky as Richard Hamilton threw up a three-point attempt that was short and Thomas was fouled as he grabbed the rebound with 2.9 seconds remaining. While he made only 1 of his 2 free throws, it was enough to put the Bulls up 4 and seal the victory. In addition to the big game from Thomas, Luol Deng had 17 points for the Bulls, Ben Gordon added 16 and Kirk Hinrich had 14 assists. Rasheed Wallace dropped 36 points in the loss, and pulled down 9 boards for the Pistons while Rip had 18. The Bulls out-rebounded Detroit by 11, 47-36.
Dallas 120 Golden State 115
In a rematch of last years first round upset by the Warriors over the Mavericks, tension was high and the game was tight the entire way through. This time around, Dallas came out on the winning end of things as they were able to withstand a 37 point performance by Baron Davis, thanks to a 3rd quarter which saw them outscore the Warriors by 9. After the opening period, the game was tied at 27. At the half, Golden State had managed to build a four-point lead, 61-57. Dallas came out strong in the 3rd and outscored the Warriors 34-25 for the quarter behind a 10-point outburst by Josh Howard. The Mavericks went into the 4th leading by five, 91-86. In the final quarter, each team scored 29 points with the final score being a 120-115 victory for Dallas. With the game on the line, Jerry Stackhouse drilled a huge three with 37 seconds on the clock to put Dallas up 117-113. Baron Davis came right back and answered with a jumper of his own, with 32 seconds remaining. After Nowitzki missed a three-point attempt, the Warriors gave up two huge offensive rebounds to Dallas, fouling Stackhouse and putting him on the line where he hit one of 2, bringing the score to 118-115 Dallas with 7 seconds on the clock. Out of the timeout, Baron Davis got a great look at what would have been a tying three-point shot, but was not able to hit it and after Devin Harris made 2 free throws, the final was 120-115. Josh Howard and Jason Terry each finished with 24 points. Nowitzki had a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds and Devin Harris added 21 points. Brandon Bass came off of the bench to contribute 10 points and 12 rebounds. For the Warriors, Davis was tops with his game-high 37 while Kelenna Azubuike had 27 points and 11 rebounds and Al Harrington added 20. For the game Dallas out-boarded Golden State 49-38 while going 26-30 (86.7%) from the foul line as compared to Golden State’s dismal 16-30 (53.3%). The Warriors were without Mickael Pietrus who was out with the flu. Stephen Jackson still has to sit out two more games before he can join the team as part of his seven game suspension to start the season.