By Holly MacKenzie
I had a bunch of stuff on the go last night so I only got to catch some of the Orlando/New Orleans game. While they look good with their 10-2 record they really need to work on maintaining leads, after giving up the 20 point lead to Boston Sunday night, they did the same thing again last night to a Hornets team who were without Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler who went down in the second quarter with a hyperextended knee. That is a tough break for NO, but hopefully he will be okay soon.
The Lakers Kwame Brown, who went down in Sunday’s game against Chicago was diagnosed with a sprained MCL and will be out indefinitely for LA. Wolves guard Randy Foye is still at least three weeks from returning as his knee heals from a crack on his kneecap. Sounds painful.
Gil sat out practice again today but is expected to play tonight against Philly. I feel like it is a broken record talking about Gil in the lineup, then out, then resting, ugh! Let’s hope the knee is feeling much better and he is in fact ready to play. I thought it was funny last week when I read that Eddie Jordan called Gil’s father to try to convince him to get his son to take some time off. Of course, he should know enough when to take time off, but I can only imagine the parents who brought a character like Gilbert into the world.
Charlotte 101 Portland 92
Coming off of a win against Seattle on Saturday night, the Charlotte Bobcats came out strong against the road weary Trailblazers and came away with the 101-92 victory. While the game was close in the first three quarters, Charlotte wore Portland down in the final quarter after the Blazers took a brief lead in the opening minutes of the period. By going inside, Charlotte took advantage of the early foul trouble that LaMarcus Aldridge was saddled with in the game. Aldridge played only 20 minutes and finished with only 7 points and 1 rebound as Charlotte made Portland pay for their 18-team turnovers. Gerald Wallace continued his strong play, dropping 27 points on the Blazers while Raymond Felton had a double-double with 24 points and 10 assists. Jason Richardson added 24 points of his own and Emeka Okafor had 12 points and 12 rebounds for Charlotte. Trying to pick up the slack for Portland was Jarrett Jack who had a team-high 18 points, Brandon Roy who scored 17 and Martell Webster who contributed 15. The Blazers went 0-4 on their road trip and will head back to Portland to face New Jersey on Wednesday.
Memphis 125 Seattle 108
Last night the Memphis Grizzlies ripped Seattle 125-108 with Seattle giving up 30+ points in the first three quarters of the game. Despite out-rebounding Memphis 48-35, it was Seattle’s inability to defend the Grizzlies hot shooting and they finished 55.8% from the floor for the game as compared to the 44.8% shooting from Seattle. As a result of their hot shooting, Memphis led early, with their largest lead swelling to 27 points. They led by as many as 16 in the first quarter alone. In the 2nd half, Memphis had the game clearly in hand as they were led by Stromile Swift and his 24 points. Mike Miller scored 19 and Damon Stoudamire and Hakim Warrick scored 16 points apiece. Pau Gasol was a beast, finishing with 14 points, 7 boards and 7 blocked shots. On Seattle’s side, Delonte West tried his best to keep the Sonic’s close, but his 17 points were not enough, even with 16 coming from Chris Wilcox and six others each scoring 11. The victory marked the end of a three game losing skid for Memphis.
Orlando 95 New Orleans 88
While it was Orlando who was on the second night of a back-to-back after being the first team to take down the Boston Celtics, last night it was New Orleans who lacked the energy to keep up to the Magic’s pace as Dwight Howard led his team to their fifth straight victory. The Hornets were struggling to stay afloat without Chris Paul when they lost starter Tyson Chandler in the 2nd quarter to a hyperextended knee. He did not return in the game. While the Magic went up by as many as 21 points, they lost that lead and New Orleans took a five point lead in the beginning of the 4th before Orlando battled back just as they had the night before against Boston. This time it was Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu who came up big in the fourth with Nelson scoring 4 points in the final minutes and Turkoglu adding two three-pointers in the quarter to help propel the Magic to the victory. Howard finished with 24 points and 15 rebounds while Rashard Lewis scored 19 and Nelson added 16. Peja Stojakovic scored a team-high 21 for New Orleans while Jannero Pargo had 18 and David West added 11.
Utah 102 New Jersey 75
Another game without Vince Carter led to another loss for New Jersey. This time, the loss was inevitable from the end of the 1st quarter on as Utah rolled over the Nets from the opening tip until the final buzzer, defeating them 102-75. New Jersey managed only 17 points in 3 quarters of the game, giving up 52.2% shooting from Utah while shooting only 35.2% themselves. The Nets gave up 20 points off of their 19 team turnovers and could not recover from Utah outscoring them 42-28 in the paint. This was the sixth loss in a row for New Jersey who still does not have a timetable for Carter’s return. Deron Williams led the way for the Jazz, scoring 20 points and Carlos Boozer added 17 points as the Jazz got 14-point contributions from Ronnie Brewer and Memhet Okur. The struggling Nets were led by Richard Jefferson who had 22 in the contest. Bostjan Nachbar added 16 while the Nets starting backcourt of Kidd and Wright went only 3-18 from the floor for the game.