By Holly MacKenzie
After a busy Tuesday even with 6 games on the schedule, last night did not seem as exciting. Maybe it is because I’m relying on boxscores here, I don’t know. If anyone did catch the games and has anything interesting to add, please do. On the injury front, of course I have to mention that Detroit rookie Rodney Stuckey broke his hand in the team’s victory over Washington. Some good news is that Josh Howard’s sprained wrist is not as bad as originally thought. Also, Kevin Durant is listed as day-to-day and has not ruled out being back for opening night. Amare Stoudemire is back and practicing with the Suns, feeling good, looking good and ready to get the year started. Leandro Barbosa will sit the final two-preseason games to rest bruised ribs from a game against the Clippers last week. The Clippers got some good news when Elton Brand was able to take off his walking boot and also be cleared to start cardiovascular training. While this is only the beginning of his recovery process he will be re-evaluated by the team doctor in 6 weeks.
I loved seeing Atlanta move to 7-1 on the preseason. People can say whatever they want about it only being preseason, but they are going to be fun to watch this year. I will say the same for Minnesota. While I think their record will be brutal and I will probably want to stab my eyes with a pencil as I watch their offensive sets break down, Al Jefferson is reason enough to watch. And, LaMarcus Aldridge? Give those people in Portland something to cheer about. I am also looking forward to watching Marc Iavaroni’s debut as a head coach. What are you all looking forward to watching this season? Besides your favorite teams, of course.
New York 103 Philadelphia 90
In two meetings with the 76er’s this preseason, the Knicks are 2-0. In the contest Wednesday night New York won by a score of 103-90 and after going up 50-44 at the half maintained the lead the rest of the way. Backup point guard Nate Robinson came off the bench to score 20 points to lead the Knicks. New York also got big games from two of their new acquisitions this off-season. Zach Randolph and Fred Jones scored 16 points apiece, while Randolph added 10 rebounds as well. Rookie Demetris Nichols scored 10 points for the Knicks who outrebounded Philadelphia 43-34. In the loss, Philadephia’s Andre Miller had a game high 22 points and Reggie Evans added 20. Philadelphia shot only 39.7% for the game compared to 51.5% for the Knicks. While Andre Iguodala had 12 points after a rough shooting night (3-13 field goals), and Samuel Dalembert did not play in the game for Philly, it looks like offense is going to be a nightly struggle for the 76er’s unless they can get big games from Iguodala and Miller every time out.
Detroit 104 Washington 85
Detroit was up 57-46 at the half against Washington before busting the game open in the second half beating the Wizards 104-85. Rookie Rodney Stuckey was on his way to a great game with 10 points in his 14 minutes of play before catching his hand while going through a screen. His fingers bent backwards and he broke his left hand. The Pistons will have more specifics on the injury sometime today. Former Wizard Jarvis Hayes led the Pistons with 21 points while Rasheed Wallace added 17. Chauncey Billups chipped in 12 points and 9 assists as the Detroit starters played most of the first half, helping to give them their halftime lead. For the Wizards, Caron Butler and rookie Nick Young had 12 points apiece. Antawn Jamison scored 14 points to lead the Wizards in the loss. While Gilbert Arenas had a quiet night scoring only 11 points, he shot better than recent games, finishing 4-9 from the floor as he works his way back from knee surgery. Richard Hamilton did not play for the Pistons because of an ankle sprain.
Atlanta 107 New Orleans 98
The Atlanta Hawks continued their winning ways this preseason with yet another victory, boosting their record to an impressive 7-1. After going on a 14-6 run to end the 1st half, Atlanta had a comfortable lead the rest of the way going up by as many as 22 points in the 2nd half. Joe Johnson was the leading scorer for Atlanta with 20 points. Josh Smith added 18 and the Hawks got 11 points each from Marvin Williams and Salim Stoudamire. New Orleans got a monster effort from Hilton Armstrong who finished with 25 points and 14 rebounds. His 25 points came on a ridiculously efficient 5-7 field goals and 15-20 free throws. Melvin Ely added 16 points and Peja Stojakovic continued to work his way back onto the court scoring 10 points on 4-8 shooting in 24 minutes of action. Rookie guard Acie Law sat the game out for the Hawks while Tyson Chandler did not play for the Hornets.
Memphis 96 Houston 90
One night after a contest which saw Kyle Lowry destroy the Houston Rockets and ensure the Grizzlies got a 2OT win, the Grizzlies came out on top again, defeating the Rockets 96-90. Of course, this game was a little different as Houston rested stars Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming as well as point guard Steve Francis. Still, the result was the same as even a 14-2 run in the final minutes could not propel Houston above the Grizzlies. Hakim Warrick had a game-high 17 with Rudy Gay right behind him with 16. Stromile Swift and Tarence Kinsey each added 11 points. Point guard Damon Stoudamire had 11 points, 8 rebounds and 7 asists. On the losing end, Kirk Snyder had 11 for the Rockets and Luis Scola, Aaron Brooks and Carl Landry each scored 11. The Grizzlies were without leading scoring and rebounder Pau Gasol who is recovering from an ankle sprain. Mike Miller also did not play for Memphis despite dressing for the game. Rafer Alston was out of the game for Houston with a thigh bruise.
Seattle 109 Portland 107
After losing their #2 overall draft pick for a few games in the final minutes of a loss last night, the Sonics lost Wednesday night against the team who lost their #1 draft pick for the entire season. In a game that had runs by both teams, the Sonics were up 49-48 at the break after being down by as many as 13 in the 1st half. In the 2nd half, Seattle went up by as many as 10, but behind the play of LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy the Trailblazers managed to narrow the gap in the 4th quarter and in the final seconds, steal the win. LaMarcus Aldridge had a huge game for Portland with 31 points and 13 rebounds while Brandon Roy added 22 points and Martell Webster scored 19. It was on a 3-pointer by Martell with 26 seconds remaining that Seattle took the lead, 106-105. Luke Ridnour hit 2 free throws and Seattle took a one point lead until Roy hit a jumper and Steve Blake connected on a free throw, putting the Blazers up 2 and giving them the win. Nick Collison led Seattle with 17 points and Delonte West had 16. Mickael Gelabale added 15 points and rookie Jeff Green scored 9. The Sonics attempted only 21 free throws as a team (18-21), as compared to the 40 that Portland attempted (27-40). Durant will not play in Seattle’s final games of the preseason but is hoping to be back for the start of season.
Los Angeles Clippers 92 Sacramento 90
It was a close one between the Clippers and the Kings on Wednesday. Waiting for the game to finish to write this recap things went back and forth as I waited for a winner. Ultimately, LA came out on top by a slim margin of 92-90. In the loss, Mike Bibby did his best to keep the kings on top and scored a game high 28 points but it was not enough to keep the Clippers down. With under a minute remaining, Tim Thomas hit a shot for Los Angeles to put them up by two and give them the win. Thomas finished with 11 on the night, while Chris Kaman led the way with 19 points, 9 boards and 3 blocks. Kevin Martin scored 14 points in as many minutes for the Kings while Corey Maggette sat the game out for the Clippers with a bruised tailbone.