By: Holly MacKenzie
After a crazy Tuesday and Wednesday in the NBA we had a much calmer Thursday night, even with all of the trades that went down. After last night, Miami still is stuck at nine wins and Houston has now won 10 straight. The TWolves lost a heartbreaker to San Antonio and Portland almost let the game slide away against the Sonics.
I think one of my favorite parts of watching is to see the parts where they have the guys mic’d up. Last night TMac talking to Yao Ming about Craig Sager’s suit was good. It must be so strange to be in a completely new environment where you don’t know the language. I mean, he does now, but it must have been tough when he first got here.
Bassy looked so young last night. I was rooting hard for the Timberwolves and even jumped up when Al Jefferson got his three-point play to give Minny the lead with 40 seconds left. Bummed when Bassy’s three didn’t go down, but holy Ginobili. 44 points on 13-18 shots, hitting seven three-pointers and knocking down 11-12 free throws? Talk about being efficient.
Glad to see Tony Paker back for the Spurs. I hate injuries. Glad to see Kurt Thomas moved to a contender, especially after Phoenix let him go. I wouldn’t be looking forward to facing the Spurs in the playoffs before, add in this guy’s knowledge and experience, Spurs are going to be tough.
Out of the Cavs/Bulls trade, I’m giving the Bulls the highest grade because they managed to pull off the impossible and get rid of Ben Wallace’smammoth contract. I didn’t expect that. Now that the deadline has passed, what are you all saying about what went down yesterday? We’ve discussed the trades in their appropriate posts, but now that it’s all done, who are the winners and losers? Who did you expect to be dealt that stayed put? Who will be the player that makes the difference in the post season? Let me know. I’m still undecided about a few of these moves.
What the hell is Oden doing with that hair? A gross little Mohawk? We’ve got to get this kid back on the court asap because it is obvious he is getting a little too bored for his own good.
I saw Durant look really angry for maybe the second time tonight. Hitting a three he back-peddled down the court, pounding his chest with a determined look on his face. Since the day he was drafted this has been his team. Now, with the veteran presence of both Wally and Kurt gone, the kid’s shine will only be brighter for Seattle.
Classy of Sacramento to take out full-page ad to say thanks and farewell to Bibby. I like when we can have amicable endings and all get along.
Houston and New Orleans face off tonight. Besides the Bonzi/Mike James trade, I am really excited to see how the Rockets try to stop Paul and if the Hornets can neutralize McGrady and Alston. The Rockets offense has been flowing nicely on this win streak and we all know how great the Hornets are playing. Should be a good match up, even with the Rockets on the back-to-back.
Boston and Phoenix is going to be one to watch as well. Will the Celtics drop three-straight on the road after making it undefeated against the WC before this current road tri? How will Shaq look in his second game with the Suns? I will be tuning in to this one for sure.
San Antonio 100 Minnesota 99
Last night at the Target Center Manu Ginobili crushed the TWolves by knocking down a jumper with 6.2 seconds left to cap off a 44-point performance and allow San Antonio to grind out the victory. It was a heartbreaker for the Timberwolves who stayed even with the Spurs the entire way through and appeared poised for victory after Al Jefferson made a layup and also got the foul call with 40 seconds remaining in the game. With the score tied after the basket, Jefferson went to the line with the opportunity to give Minnesota a one-point lead and he calmly sank the shot to complete the three-point play and give the TWolves the lead. After a timeout, the Spurs got the ball to Ginobili and even with Randy Foye playing defense on him, he rose and hit the game winner. While Minnesota would have a chance to win the game, Sebastian Telfair missed on a three-pointer as the buzzer sounded. Ginobili’s 44 points came on an efficient 13-18 field goals and he scored 19 points in the second quarter alone. He hit seven three-points in the game and hit 11-12 free throws. Tim Duncan had 24 points 14 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 blocks and 3 steals for the Spurs and Michael Finley added 13 off of the bench. Jefferson finished with 28 points for the Wolves as Telfair and Rashad McCants scored 15 points apiece and Randy Foye added 13.
Houston 112 Miami 100
With their win against the Heat the Rockets have won their tenth straight game and are rolling as they try to lock up a playoff spot in the wild West. With a shortened bench because of trades earlier in the day, Tracy McGrady led the Rockets over the Heat as they never trailed, led by as many as 20 points early and had the game in control well before the midway point of the final period where a dunk by Carl Landry extended the advantage to 13 points and seemed to make Miami crumble. The Rockets have held their last nine opponents under 90 points and their offense has been clicking on all cylinders. They had 32 team assists last night and were led by McGrady’s 23 points and 10 assists. Yao Ming scored 21 points and pulled down 9 rebounds, Rafer Alston had 16 points and 11 assists and Carl Landry added 19 off of the bench. Dwyane Wade led Miami in the loss with 33 points and 11 assists, Shawn Marion had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Mark Blount scored 11 points and Ricky Davis added 12 points off of the bench.
Portland 92 Seattle 88
After losing five straight games the Trailblazers considered themselves lucky to be able to escape with the 92-88 victory against the Sonics last night. While Portland led early and went up by as many as 14 points in the game, the Sonics stayed focused in the second half and outscored Portland 26-19 in the third quarter as they cut the deficit down to 70-67 going into the fourth quarter. In the final period the Sonics would stay on Portland’s heels and take the lead briefly on free throws by Jeff Green but Portland would come back and then stay ahead. The Trailblazer lead was cut back down to three with 30 seconds left in the game but they would hit enough free throws to keep the Sonics at bay as Brandon Roy led the way with 19 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists. LaMarcus Aldridge was right behind him with 18 points and 12 boards to go along with 5 blocked shots while Travis Outlaw scored 19 points and Jarrett Jack added 15. Kevin Durant had 20 points to lead the Sonics while Nick Collison had 13 points and 14 rebounds, Jeff Green had 13 points and 9 boards and Earl Watson finished with 15 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists in the loss.