by Holly MacKenzie

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. day everyone!

We don’t technically observe the holiday here in Toronto, but since I’m working from home today I’m happy I’ll get to watch the games. To anyone who will be watching the action this afternoon, or who has an iPhone, check me out where I’ll be liveblogging Denver/Houston and Cleveland/Lakers over at the score.

With today as MLK day and tomorrow Barack’s day, I’m feeling full of light and love and all things good. Even this early morning can’t bring me down.

Seeing Steve Nash dish 18 assists yesterday afternoon put me in a good mood as well.

Seeing Shaq, Amare, Leandro and the rest of the Suns only added to that. Since that very first game in September of ’07, the Suns have been a fun and enjoyable team to cover. I missed Raja, but the addition of Shaq (whom I’ve never covered before), was pretty fun. My mouth definitely Thought Jameer would shoot, eh, Kobe?dropped when I saw him in the locker room. He is just so.. B-I-G. Ha. Words cannot describe.

So, of course, Orlando Magic. Taking down the Lakers, then going into Denver the next night and stretching their winning streak to seven. Jameer Nelson is playing so well, shooting so well and he’s helping that team go above and beyond all of the expectations media people like myself have placed upon them.

Good for them.

Here in Raptor Nation the talk is all on JO and whether or not the trade with Miami to bring Shawn Marion here will go down. After playing in Indiana this past Friday, JO sat out this game while coincidentally, Marion was a late scratch in Oklahoma City against the Thunder because of a groin injury.

Dun-dun-dun.

As much as I love JO as a person, I kinda feel like he needs to be the one to go.

I don’t know how Marion fits here, but the season is half-over and the Raps are now 10 games below .500, something needs to change. It would be interesting if nothing else.

Tell me what’s up, Heat fans. Marion going, staying, what? Are you getting JO or Howard and Stack? This girl wants to know!

I’m pretty pumped for this day of basketball today. Lots of games on the schedule and I fully plan on getting work done early, liveblogging my 2pm game and then watching each game, taking it all in then actually sleeping before 5am tonight! Whoooooo. I won’t know what to do with myself.

And now…. for the big news. Well, this is actually some selfish news, but I feel like if anyone can feel my joy and understand the significance of this, it will be you guys. I booked my flight to… LOS ANGELES. I’m going for a week in March and I will be seeing a Lakers game. At STAPLES. My guys. My team. In LA. Against the Warriors.

Warriors @ Lakers, live from STAPLES. I realize I am probably the only girl on this planet who considers this a dream matchup out of all of the games in the NBA, but you know, that’s me. I’m so ridiculously over the moon, just had to share!

Okay, and let’s recap.

Miami 104 Oklahoma City 94

While the Oklahoma City Thunder have been figuring it out as of late, they hit a roadblock yesterday as they hosted the Miami Heat at home. Despite Shawn Marion missing the game with a mysterious strained groin in the midst of trade rumors, the Heat were able to easily roll to a 104-94 victory over the Thunder, led by Dwyane Wade’s 32 points and 10 assists. Taking care of the offensive load early, he was content to dish to teammates late as he led a balanced attack to keep a scrappy Thunder team at bay.  While the Heat led by as many as 14 in the second half, the Thunder quickly cut the deficit to five in the fourth before Wade responded with back-to-back jumpers and then an assist on  a Chalmers three. The Heat were able to cruise from there. Yakhouba Diawara scored 14 points for the Heat as Udonis Haslem added 11 points and 15 rebounds as Mario Chalmers and Jamaal Magloire each scored 13 points. Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 31 points while Jeff Green scored 22 and Russell Westbrook added 14.

Phoenix 117 Toronto 113

Without Jermaine O’Neal, Jose Calderon and Jason Kapono, the Raptors started Anthony Parker at the point. They also somehow managed to give the Suns a run for their money as they pushed it to the final minutes before falling 117-113. The only problem with this is when you are on a five-game losing streak and now 10 games below .500, moral victories don’t mean anything and a good loss does not exist. What did exist was Steve Nash picking apart the Raptor defense as he had 18 assists to go wtih his nine points. While the Raptors jumped out to a quick 11-point lead, the Suns quickly came back and pushed ahead in the second. The Raps would cut into the deficit in the fourth and played catch up in the final minutes, having a chance to tie the game in regulation on their final possession, but a layup attempt by Parker and a tip in attempt from Bosh both rimmed out. Amare Stoudemire finished with 31 points, the recipient of many of Nash’s assists as Jason Richardson scored 17. The Raptors were led by Anthony Parker’s 26 points while Joey Graham scored 22 and Bosh added 20 points to go with 12 assists in the loss.