by Holly MacKenzie

After a weekend (and week!), of excitement, the NBA slowed things down just a bit last night with only four games on the schedule. None of them really jumping out at me. With David West suspended and no Chris Paul, the Hornets were not their normal selves. With the Sixers struggling to find themselves and the Suns just struggling, that game wasn’t a bunch of excitement. The Bobcats and Clippers, well, they are the Bobcats and Clippers. And Houston/Milwaukee? No Redd, Ridnour or Bogut makes the Bucks a little tough to jump for joy about.

Still, I spent my night flipping, settling on the Clippers for a majority of the evening since I’ve been curious to see how they’ve been playing now that they’ve got some of their main guys healthy. I also wanted to check out Vlad-I-hated-being-a-Laker-Rad in his Charlotte debut as well. Also watched some Suns/Sixers as well. I like Thadd Young a lot, enjoy wating Dre Miller play and of course, Nash, Amare and Barbosa are always an okay choice.

Ramon Sessions is playing himself into some people’s notes, that’s for sure. 26 and 7 last night in the absence of Ridnour.

So….Wanna know how badly the Hornets shot last night? Let me just drop this stat on you: The Grizzlies outrebounded New Orleans 64-38 last night. No, that’s not a typo. That game was hard on my eyes, head and heart.

It’s pretty amazing how horrible it is watching the Hornets without CP3 zooming around the floor directing things. Sure, they were without Tyson Chandler and David West as well, but I think you could have any rang-tag team of four guys paired with Paul and it would be pretty or at least You're bleeding, son.entertaining to watch. I like Antinio Daniels, but, well, the Hornets were horrible minus Chris.

I was pumped to see Hakim Warrick get the start with Rudy Gay out and see him again make the most of it. He’s solid off of the bench, it’s nice to see him put together some nice performances while he’s getting the minutes. O.J. Mayo? Well, you all know what I think about him. The Grizzlies are fun, but frustrating, Like when they miss free throws or give the ball back to the opposition when they’ve got chances to close teams out.

I’m still stunned that the Bucks killed Houston. Tension in the locker room ca be an ugly beast.

It was pretty cool to hear Amare postgame, when asked about Marreese Speights and his many, many dunks on the night. Amare said he wasn’t surprised because he had seen them when Speights had attended Amare’s own basketball camp over the years. That had to have been pretty cool for Speights, to stick it TO Amare and his team. He was flying high for most of the night, head at the rim, it was fun to watch.

I was asked yesterday if I’ve ever played basketball. The simple answer to that question would be no. I have never suited up, practiced, tried out, or participated in a pick up game. I suppose I could make free throws, but my betting would stop there. Instead, I’ve dreamed it, sketched out plays during the final timeouts of games, and worked with basketball teams for nine years of my life before jumping into writing about them so while never being a player, I feel like I’ve played my part to ensure that my life is one that is immersed in the game.

I also chose my school because of the basketball program, deciding to ignore the fact that they did not have a journalism program. Maybe not the smartest decision for an aspiring writer, but it has worked out okay for me so far.

Man, the Clippers were really, really bad last night. When Baron goes 1-7 from the floor, you know you’re in trouble. Thornton struggled mightily as well but the bright spot was once again Zach Randolph who had another double-double since returning from injury. I was able to move back into first place in my fantasy league and I’m attributing it to the return of Randolph.

While I’m disappointed that Jason Terry had to have surgery on his broken hand, I am looking forward to seeing my guy Jose Juan Barea step it up in his absence. As most of you know, he’s one of my favorites in this league, dating back to when I was able to watch him play (and dominate), when he was only 18.

It’s s going to be great to have Barkley back in the studio after All-Star, but he will be missed during TNT’s coverage. Is anyone else starting to get excited for the weekend already? I certainly am. I’m also excited to watch Kevin Durant and the Lakers tonight. It’s pretty amazing how much this guy’s game has grown and how talented he is already. He’s going to be absolutely wild in a few more years, even if he is never able to bulk up. The Thunder have definitely become my favorite “bad” team to watch.

Just so you know, the Warriors are not categorized as bad in my head.

Okay, onto some recaps.

Charlotte 94 LA Clippers 73

With 13 points from Vladamir Radmanovic and a 19-point, 16-rebound performance from Emeka Okafor, the Charlotte Bobcats used a strong second half to cruise to an easy 94-73 victory over the Clippers. With Baron Davis unable to find his shooting touch for the night and shooting just 1–7 from the floor, the Clippers were doomed as they shot only 39% for the game and were limited to 30 points in the second half while giving up 52% shooting to the Bobcats. With Radmanovic dropping in three three-pointers in the final quarter, the Bobcats outscored LA 29-12 in the period to end a five-game losing streak. Zach Randolph had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Clippers while rookie Eric Gordon scored 17 and Steve Novak added 13 off of the bench. DJ Augustin scored 17 for Charlotte while Boris Diaw added 15 points and 9 assists.

Philadelphia 108 Phoenix 91

The Suns struggled mightily to get things going early against the 76ers last night and Philly took advantage behind a career-high 24-point effort from Marreese Speights and 25 points from Thaddeus Young. With Steve Nash limited to only 2 points and Coach Porter playing him only 21 minutes, the Suns offense never found it’s rhythm, and they were outrebounded 54-41 on the night. The Sixers led by double-digits at the half, up 55-44 and they did not look back from there, going up by as many as 18 points in the fourth before earning their 26th victory of the season. Andre Iguodala scored 22 points to go with 7 assists for the Sixers and Andre Miller had 7 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Amare Stoudemire led the Suns with 19 points as Jason Richadson added 16 in the loss.

Milwaukee 124 Houston 112

The Bucks must have heard myself and the rest of the NBA world talking about how unentertaining they can be to watch. They came out blazing last night, torching the Rockets 124-112 in a game that really wasn’t even close. Leading by 20 for much of the second half, the Bucks topped 30 in the first three quarters and won handily, despite giving up a 36-point fourth quarter to the Rockets. A 14-0 run in the third busted the game open in the Bucks favor and Ramon Sessions continued his strong play, finishing with 26 points and 7 assists as he started in place of the injured Luke Ridnour. Charlie Villanueva and Richard Jefferson each scored 25 points for Milwaukee and Charlie Bell added 21 off of the bench. The Rockets were led by Luis Scola’s 20 points on 7-8 shooting while Aaron Brooks scored 23 and Ron Artest added 20 off of the bench in the loss.

Memphis 85 New Orleans 80

While NO were without Chris Paul, Tyson Chandler and David West, the Grizzlies were shorthanded as well, playing without Rudy Gay. Still, the Grizz were able to take down the Hornets, holding them off, 85-80 last night. They didn’t win pretty and blew lots of chances to put away the Hornets by missing free throws and turning over the ball in the fourth, but when it mattered most, they grabbed the rebounds and got the necessary stops to escape with the W. OJ Mayo had 12points, 16 rebounds and 5 assists to lead his team while Hakim Warrick was big in the victory, getting the start for the injured Gay. Warrick finished with 15 points, 14 rebounds and 3 blocked shots for Memphis as Mike Conley Jr. added 18 points. Peja Stojakovic led New Orleans with 23 points while Antonio Daniels and James Posey each added 11 for the Hornets who shot only 29% for the game and were outrebounded 64-38.