By: Holly MacKenzie

Games like the New Orleans/ Phoenix game are gifts that we should all be thankful for. Considering that no one knows how the Shaquille experiment will turn out, if this is the last game with the Suns running and gunning as usual, it was a perfect one to remember them with even if Peja stole it in the end.

Nash vs. Paul. Stevie wanted this one badly but, there was no way CP3 is going to give it up. 42 points, 1 turnover, 50 minutes, 8 steals? Yup.<.p>

How have I not realized that Miami has only 9 wins? I knew they have been having the nightmare season but, damn. Can’t wait to see what Marion does in the East. Looking forward to the press conference introducing Shaq too.
Jarrett Jack!!!! Love seeing him in at the end of the game.

Between Pargo and Lue, these ex-laker pg’s are killing me tonight.

Sasha, you are sweet and all, but, make sure you look at the time and score in the final seconds of a game, please. That was tough… Kobe shooting 4-16 was rough too. Not as rough as when he lost the ball on that chance to tie. Get that finger healed Kob!

Josh Smith was absolutely wild, again. 17 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists, 5 blocks and 2 steals. He is insane and I love watching him play. Horford was nice with the 20 rebounds and you guys all called it, he looks like Azubuike’s little brother with the lashes he has got going on.

Hard to believe Dirk had his first triple-double last night. Even harder to believe they did not blow out the Bucks who were without Redd, Yi and Bobby Simmons.Mo was looking really good for them again last night.

Earl Watson with his first ever triple-double as well as the Sonics defeated the Kings. To make this week of crazy trades complete, the Kings have to sent Artest somewhere and we need to get Rodman back in the NBA (Russ would take him on the Bulls right now).
DJ Strawberry on the bench, loving it. Glad to see him get some time early on in this game.

The thought of Shaquille joining this Suns squad makes me uneasy. Not saying it is great or horrible, but, I don’t want the Suns to lose their “Sun-ness”.

Saw a piece with Jamario Moon where he talks about his rookie duties. The Raptors make the 27 year-old rookie carry a pink “High School Musical” mini-backpack with him on the road. He really isn’t thrilled with it but, he is on top of the world so it all appears to be good.
Notice Bavetta preventing Sefolosha from trash-talking Jack at the free throw line? Where was he when Gil was being abused by Bron in the playoffs?

Tonight it is the Golden State Warriors and C-Webb’s big return. You know I can’t wait for that. Thursdays with TNT are always the best night of the week. Can’t wait to see what Barkley has to say about the Shaq-Marion trade. I also want to hear Marion speak.
Atlanta 98 LA Lakers 95

Coming off of a win in New Jersey the night before, the new-look Lakers looked a step slow against the Hawks in the final minutes of their 98-95 loss last night. After leading by eight at the start of the fourth quarter, it appeared as though the Lakers would go on to their third consecutive road victory but, the Hawks dug in and came back, taking a one-point lead on free throws by rookie Al Horford with 3:40 left in the game. Kobe Bryant tied the game at 91 before the Lakers went cold and Tyronn Lue stepped up against his former team as Joe Johnson was solid at the line, knocking down four free throws in the final minutes. When the Lakers had a chance to tie, Bryant was forced into his only turnover of the game by Johnson’s defense. After Johnson hit the free throws, Derek Fisher missed a long three at the buzzer. It was a big night for Al Horford as the rookie finished with 15 points and career-high 20 rebounds. Josh Smith continued his fantastic play with 17 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists, 5 blocks and 2 steals. Johnson had 28 points, Lue scored 16 and Marvin Williams added 12. Lamar Odom was the high-scorer for LA, with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Pau Gasol finished with 12 points, Vladamir Radmanovic scored 13 and Fisher added 17. Bryant finished with 10 assists but only 11 points as he shot just 4-16 from the floor.

Orlando 100 New Jersey 84

After trailing by 11 points early in the first quarter in their game against the Nets, the Orlando Magic reeled off an 18-7 run to tie the game up at 22 points apiece. In the second quarter the Magic had another shooting drought as they went scoreless for over four minutes while the Nets built their lead back up to eight. From there it was all Orlando the rest of the way through as they outscored New Jersey 25-14 in the quarter to take a 47-38 halftime advantage into the locker room. In the second half they kept on coming at the Nets and went up by as many as 20 points, turning the game into a rout before the fourth quarter. DwightHoward had 21 points and 13 rebounds for Orlando while Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis added 19 points apiece and Keyon Dooling, Brian Cook and Jameer Nelson each added 11 points off of the bench. Vince Carter scored 18 points for the Nets as Jason Kidd and Bostjan Nachbar each added 13.

San Antonio 85 Washington 77

Without Caron Butler the Washington Wizards dropped their fifth consecutive game with a loss to the Spurs last night. Although they kept the game close throughout and were leading 58-53 in the third quarter, the Wizards ran out of steam as the Spurs put together a 17-4 run spanning the end of the third and start of the fourth to take an eight point lead early in the final quarter and they would not trail again. Washington continued to fight and had their opportunities to take the lead in the final minutes of the game but simply could not convert as the Spurs finished strong on the offensive end with TimDuncan sealing the game by converting a three-point play with 1:51 on the clock. He would finish with 23 points and 9 rebounds while Fabricio Oberto had 10 points and 11 boards and Manu Ginobili added 9 points and 10 assists. AntawnJamison had 18 points for Washington as Andray Blatche scored 16 points to go along with 15 rebounds and DeShawnStevenson added 11.

Detroit 100 Miami 95

Despite leading by as many as nine early on Miami was unable to contain the Detroit Pistons the rest of the way through as they dropped a 100-95 decision on the road. Going down by as many as 11 in the third quarter, the Heat continued to go at Detroit and the Pistons were unable to fully shake Miami as they went up by two with 21 seconds remaining thanks to a Ricky Davis three-pointer. Detroit would regain control at the foul line to escape with the victory as Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton would close out the game knocking down 6-6 from the line. Rasheed Wallace finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds for Detroit as Billups added 15 points and 10 assists, Richard Hamilton scored 19 and Antonio McDyess had 10 points and 13 rebounds. Dwyane Wade had 30 points and 12 assists in the loss, Davis added 20 off of the bench and Dorell Wright and Mark Blount each added 14.

Dallas 107 Milwaukee 96

Thanks to a first-time triple-double from Dirk Nowitzki, the Dallas Mavericks used a big fourth quarter to take control of their game against the Bucks and go on to the 107-96 victory. While the Bucks were without Michael Redd, Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons, a 36-point effort from Mo Williams kept them in the game even after the Mavericks went on a 12-3 run in the fourth to extend their lead to 87-80 midway through the final period. After going down by seven the Bucks roared back to tie the game on a three-pointer by Charlie Bell with 2:39 on the clock. Dallas finished the game strong with Nowitzki hitting back-to-back baskets and then dunks from Brandon Bass and Jason Terry to shut out the Bucks. Nowitzki finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists. Josh Howard had 17 points and Terry scored 23. Jose Juan Barea had 13 points in the start for Devin Harris. Besides Mo and his 36 points, Andrew Bogut scored 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as Charlie Villanueva added 16 in the loss.

Utah 118 Denver 115 OT

After winning their previous overtime contest against Portland, the Nuggets were unable to do it again against Utah last night. Utah was lucky to escape with the victory after giving up a 15-point halftime advantage to Denver as the Nuggets took a two point lead early in the fourth on a three-pointer by Carmelo Anthony. The game was back and forth from there and Deron Williams sent the game into overtime on a three-pointer with 17 seconds remaining as Anthony missed a jumper at the buzzer. In the overtime Williams and Korver assisted on or scored each of the Utah baskets and Korver knocked down four straight free throws in the final 19 seconds to clinch the win. It was all Iverson and Anthony for Denver and Anthony fouled out midway through the extra session. On their final possession the Nuggets had a chance to tie, but AnthonyCarter missed a three-point attempt at the buzzer. Williams finished with 29 points and 11 assists for Utah, Carlos Boozer had 8 points and 11 rebounds and Korver exploded for 27 points off of the bench. Mehmet Okur added 15 points and 10 rebounds. Anthony had 29 points before fouling out as Iverson poured in 34 points to go along with 10 assists and MarcusCamby had 11 points and 17 rebounds. Kenyon Martin scored 18 points and pulled down 10 boards for the Nuggets.

Portland 100 Chicago 97

After throwing the ball away in the final minutes of their last game, Jarrett Jack was given a chance to redeem himself in a starting role in Portland’s game against Chicago. He more than made up for the other night as he made some huge free throws to help the Blazers hold on to the win against the undermanned Bulls who were without Kirk Hinrich and BenGordon. While the Blazers led 49-43 at the half, Chicago came back to cut the lead to 91-88 on a Ben Wallace dunk and the teams would trade baskets and free throws from there until the Blazers were able to take the win after Roy hit two clutch free throws with less than a second on the clock to win it. Roy finished with 28 points and 6 assists for Portland as Jack had 17 points and 6 assists of his own. LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points and Travis Outlaw added 14 off of the bench. Andres Nocioni and Thabo Sefolosha each had 22 points for the Bulls, Joe Smith had 16 and Chris Duhon added 9 points and 9 assists.

Seattle 105 Sacramento 92

After three solid quarters saw the Sonics go into the fourth holding an eight point lead against Sacramento, they went on to score the first 13 points of the period to go up by as many as 21-points and shake free of the Kings for good in their 105-92 road win last night. While Seattle shot 52% for the game the Kings connected on only 36% of their shots and were out-rebounded 54-42 by the Sonics. In the victory, Earl Watson had his first career triple-double with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, Kevin Durant had 17 points and Chris Wilcox scored 15 points to go with 10 boards. Ron Artest had 20 points for the Kings, John Salmons and Francisco Garcia each had 11 and Mikki Moore, Mike Bibby and Spencer Hawes added 10 points apiece.

New Orleans 132 Phoenix 130 2OT

After trading away Shawn Marion to Miami for Shaquille O’Neal earlier in the day, the Suns had the task of trying to pull out a victory against Chris Paul and the Hornets. The Suns almost were able to complete this task but ultimately were unable to contain all of the New Orleans shooters and Peja Stojakovic knocked down a difficult three to win the game at the buzzer of the double over-time. While Paul was fantastic in the regulation, the Hornets had Jannero Pargo with fresh legs and the hot hand as Pargo scored 12 of his 22 points in the overtimes. It appeared the Hornets had the game with a three-point lead in the final seconds of the first overtime, but Leandro Barbosa knocked down a three to force a second overtime. In the final extra session, it was more back and forth for the two teams and it appeared the game would go into a third extra period after Barbosa hit another three to tie the game at 130 with 3.5 seconds left on the clock, but Stojakovic got the inbounds play and rose up to knock down the longer jumper as time expired. Paul had 42 points, 9 assists, 8 steals and only 1 turnover in 50 minutes of play for the Hornets. Stojakovic added 26 points, DavidWest had 21 points and 13 boards and Pargo finished with 22. Steve Nash had 32 points and 12 assists for the Suns, but, also 10 turnovers. Amare Stoudemire had 26 points, 20 rebounds and 4 blocks, Boris Diaw added 22 points and Leandro Barbosa added 22.