By Sam Rubenstein

The office is closed tomorrow for Good Friday, so consider this Thurs-day! Payyyy-day!

Not the best d.a.y. in the life of Gilbert Arenas. First, he’s ordered to come off the bench for being late to shootaround. Then, he plays one minute against the Bobcats, and in that minute his knee bent the wrong way, and well, thanks for playing Wizards have fun getting swept by Toronto. Maybe the injury is nothing and he’ll bounce back, but in this season where injuries to the best of the best have been unescapeable, Gil is the latest victim. With no Caron, no Gilbert, and no defense anyways, Eddie Jordan is going to have to really come up with some sneaky plays to win a game in their series. Maybe the whole superstar thing is overrated and the Wizards will be okay. That is very unlikely though. Here is a link to some video of the end of Washington’s season. Where is Johnny Mann by the way? He’s been their good luck charm all year. He hasn’t been to a game in a minute, and they get hit with the Caron-Gil 1-2 death combo.

CHARLOTTE 108 WASHINGTON 100
Gerald Wallace went off again ($$$$$$$), abusing the Wiz for the second straight game. 27-12-8. Antonio Daniels had 18 and 17 assists starting in place of the late arriving and early leaving Arenas. The Cats are feisty!

LA CLIPPERS 90 LA LAKERS 82
Battle of L.A.? Sure. The Clippers won’t go away, and are still holding the Warriors off, blocking the revenge of Nellie series, as well as the first Golden State playoff berth in 13 years. It’s dare I say poetic that the Los Angeles Clippers would be the team to stubbornly not allow a long struggling franchise to make it to the playoffs. The Lakers loss, combined with the Nuggets win over Sacramento, has those two teams in a tight race for the honor of playing either San Antonio or Phoenix in the first round. I assume we all want Denver and Phoenix to play, and we’ll take another Lakers-Spurs if we have to, the first one since 0.4. I should talk about the Clippers-Lakers game itself, I guess. Kobe, who was blazing hot during his 50+ run, is not so hot right now. I really strongly dislike that Mims song, so I won’t make the forced Hip Hop reference. Kobe scored 29 on 34 shots, while the Clips continue to just get it done even without their two top point guards. Jason (Hart) lives!

T.C.B.
As I mentioned, the Nuggets won, with Coach Karl returning from spending time with his son. Carmelo is back to his early season form of scoring 30+ every night. Ron Artest had 32 for the Kings in the loss. He is still a pretty good NBA player. We’ll miss him wherever he goes. Boston played Milwaukee, and I refuse to mention anything more about that game. Brandon Roy scored a career-high 29 against Utah, as the Blazers pulled off the upset without LaMarcus Aldridge and Zach Randolph. Luther Head hit seven threes and scored 30 for the Rockets, but he was playing because, believe it or not Tracy McGrady had to leave the game with a stiff back. The Warriors took advantage by smothering Yao (not literally) to keep their playoff hopes alive. J-Rich and Baron combined for 52 points. Chris Paul nearly had a triple double as the Hornets beat Seattle 101-92, outrebounding the Sonics 55-38. Lang went all the way out to Jersey to see his Hawks get smacked around by the Nets 101-86. Bostjan Nachbar hit 7 of 10 threes for a game-high 26 points.

(And by the way, calling that paragraph T.C.B. meant “taking care of business”, which is notable because there was an 80′s movie starring Jim not John Belushi by that title which was always a slept on classic. I recently found out that J.J. Abrams, the brilliant mind behind Lost among other things wrote that movie. And since I have mentioned Lost, let me just say that last night’s episode was okay, even if they got a little too cute with the Sawyer comic relief stuff, but as for next week why don’t they understand that Sayid is NEVER WRONG! He is the only one that knows who you are supposed to trust or not trust. Jack, you fool. Okay, back to basketball).

PHILLY 92 NEW YORK 90
Philly beat the Knicks by 2, on what could possibly be considered a controversial call. Does Isiah have another $50 grand he wants to unload? Marbury scored 28 points in the second half. Everyone made a big deal about the two Kobes this year, team leader and dominant scorer, fighting through his teammates injuries and inexperience. Stephon has had a similar season, with the main difference being that when he has put up a lot of points, his team loses. Very frustrating, but then again… it is baseball season and after three games, the New York Mets have the National League ON SMASH!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry, got a little overexcited there. Unlike the Knicks, the Mets are not a huge waste of time. They (we?!?) play the Braves in Atlanta this weekend. Thank you to Lang and the Braves for sending the Sillydelphia fans into full-scale panic mode already. Great work, my friends and long time nemeses. Now we may resume our roles as enemies.

TORONTO 111 ORLANDO 108
The Raptors are a playoff team, and act accordingly by winning games. The Orlando Magic could be such a team, and odds are will be. They are so lucky to be in the East. Turkoglu gave them 37 points and it still wasn’t enough. Chris Bosh sealed the win with some free throws on his way to a 28 and 10 night. The Raptors are cruising towards that first round series against the Wizards who could be without Arenas and Butler. So, it looks like it will be Toronto-Cleveland or Toronto-Jersey in round 2. Oooooh. Vince against his old team or Bosh reminding the world that he was in the LeBron-Melo-Wade draft too.

CHICAGO 106 DETROIT 88
Recently I mentioned that half the league seems to have the flu or some type of bacteria. Ben Wallace missed this game with a sinus inflammation or something like that. Great. The Bulls won easily without him. Detroit has to be the most bored team in the league. They still have to play hard a few times to hold off Cleveland, who is three games behind them, and the Bulls are right behind those Cavs. Still, you don’t get that sense of urgency from these Pistons. Hinrich scored 29, Luol Deng scored 22, easy win.