The D.A.Y. at the halfway point

by January 25, 2007
18

By Sam Rubenstein

As legendary crooner Eli Manning would sing “Whoa, we’re halfway there.” It’s been a fun-filled first half of the season. I’ve written about pretty much every game that has taken place on Sunday through Thursday. Here now, is a truncated (for all of our sakes) look back at some of the key observations, fun moments, and general nostalgia found within the confines of the D.A.Y. So many things have happened already that seem so long ago. When you hear the expression “It’s a marathon not a sprint”, this is why. Look how the season has progressed, and we’re only halfway done. In the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter what you or I think or what opinions we have and choose to change when nobody’s paying attention. All that matters are the games.
We start with the appropriately titled “The First D.A.Y.”
L.A. LAKERS 114 PHOENIX 106
The most shocking game of the year! The story of the game was that after giving up 41 points in the first quarter, the Lakers settled down and Lamar Odom led the way to a huge comeback win, putting up probably the best numbers of his career 34, 13 and 6.

CHICAGO 108 MIAMI 66
At least the Heat got their rings in a boring ceremony before the game. This was the worst blowout loss for any defending champ in their first meaningful game after winning a title, EVER. The Bulls treated this like a statement game, I suppose.

The D.A.Y. NBA recaps are back

NEW YORK 118 MEMPHIS 117 3OT
Don’t be fooled by the multiple overtimes, this was not a good game. The Knicks had a 19 point lead in the fourth quarter, which they blew. Good news for the Knicks is that Eddy Curry seemed more manly, as instructed.

CLEVELAND 97 WASHINGTON 94
Gilbert Arenas
came off his summer of love with some horrible shooting. As the experts say “He just don’t have it tonight.” I spent part of last night talking to Oscar Robertson. He looks exactly like the old man LeBron character from “The LeBrons.” I think that’s a good thing for Mr. James as he ages.

NEW ORLEANS 91 BOSTON 87
The Celtics have a black clover on their uniforms this year in honor of the passing of Red. This is the only modification to the only real jersey left in the NBA that I respect. Paul Pierce was a BEAST for Boston 29 and 19 boards?!?

MILWAUKEE 105 DETROIT 97
Guess who was tossed by the refs for talking back? Rasheed Wallace! No, I’m serious, why don’t you believe me? This should be an eventful year for Sheed with the refs allowed to T up anything they want.

UTAH 107 HOUSTON 97
Carlos Boozer
put his trade value way up there with a monstrous 24 and 19. Deron Williams joined him with a double-double of his own, and the Jazz got some big shots from quiet off-season acquisition Derek Fisher.

The D.A.Y. of the Tech

LA CLIPPERS 96 DENVER 95
Carmelo
, who hit game winners night after night last season, wasn’t available to take the last shot cause of some BS. I believe the Melo situation is going to receive some coverage in blogs and the mainstream media today. He threw a headband sort of in the vicinity of a ref for his second technical of the game. THAT is extreme.

The D.A.Y. with Philly and Atlanta on top

PHILLY 107 MIAMI 98
Shaq didn’t play, cause he’s fragile these days. Lots of wear and tear on that big body.
How long have we all been wondering what Allen Iverson will do to adjust when the injuries and age take their toll and he’s slowed down? It still hasn’t happened, as he’s scored 30+ in all three games and Philly is a surprising 3-0 to start the season. Oh, he also had 13 assists along with that.

ATLANTA 95 ORLANDO 82
The Hawks held the Magic to 11 points in the first quarter in this battle for future supremacy of the Southeastern division.
Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 31, Zaza chipped in with 17, and Lang is celebrating because the Hawks are in first place and above .500 for the first time since 2002.

The D.A.Y. that Nellie got his revenge

GOLDEN STATE 107 DALLAS 104
Dallas raised their Western Conference champions banner before the game. That was the best part of their night.
Baron Davis played the full 48 minutes, leading the Warriors with 26, 8, and 7. J-Rich had the layup that put them on top, as Golden State got their coach the emotional win. Or as Nellie put it “At 66, you don’t find a lot of emotion except for love and death. But it was a special (night) for me.” Dirk led Dallas with 26 and 11. It’s too early to worry about them being 0-3.

UTAH 103 DETROIT 101
Andrei Kirilenko
allowed Rip Hamilton to blow by him, and Memo Okur saved the day with a blocked shot to seal the win? What planet is this? Not to keep bringing up the technical foul thing, but there was a big call in this game that gave the Jazz a technical free throw. A call against a Detroit coach. Dave Cowens, who isn’t even the head coach. That’s bad. Speaking of techs, Rasheed picked up his fourth of the season.

SAN ANTONIO 105 NEW YORK 93
The Knicks put on a spirited run to get their fans hopes up, only to have them crushed by the cold facts of life. Isiah pulled the billionaires club and went with youth against the Spurs and as Tony Parker was quoted after the game “The second group played harder. That’s for sure.” Great.

CHICAGO 110 MILWAUKEE 85
The Bulls flashed their opening night form again and then some, racking up 110 points. Ben Gordon led the way with 37 and 9.

The D.A.Y. the Hawks looked like a playoff team

ATLANTA 104 CLEVELAND 95 OT
Lang is going to be in a good mood today.
Tryonn Lue got his Tyus Edney on. And he talked trash too. Overtime. Tied at 92, guess who comes running off a screen for the three? Tyronn Lue. In OT the Cavs fans turned their MVP chants for LeBron into boos when he missed even more free throws, finishing the game at 5 for 11 from the line. He also went for 34, 7, and 6 in 47 minutes. The Hawks are flying higher than they ever have in the new millenium.

NEW ORLEANS 97 GOLDEN STATE 93
The Hornets wore their Oklahoma City jerseys for their second straight home opener, this one taking place in… Oklahoma City.
Then there’s that Chris Paul fella. 22, 11, and 6. Point God for an undefeated team. Balling.

LA LAKERS 95 MINNESOTA 88
From the opening tip, Andrew Bynum was changing shots, grabbing boards over shorter players, and even took it to KG in the paint. This kid, and yes I’m calling him kid cause he was born in 1987 (nineteen eighty SEVEN!!!!), is a player. He finished the game with 20, 14, and 3 blocks. The Laker offense was flowing, almost like a triangle. Kobe got his ponts in the flow early and Luke Walton hit some shots to give LA an early lead. The Los Angeles Lakers look like a nice balanced team. They are playing winning basketball.

The D.A.Y. of buzzer beaters and circus shots

SAN ANTONIO 111 PHOENIX 106 OT
Oberto is doing exactly what a Spurs center should do, which is get cheap points (11-11 from the field!) by playing opposite Duncan. In OT, after some back and forth the Suns non-defense reared its ugly head and the San Antonio front line put the game away. The Suns might want to work on holding a lead, just some friendly advice.
Boris Diaw got a fat contract and now he has the body to match. I don’t think there’s really anything wrong with the Suns like you’re about to hear over and over again. I think it was crazy how they were able to be such a good team the past few years, playing free and easy.

LA CLIPPERS 103 DALLAS 85
The Clippers came out sluggish early, but started picking it up in the second quarter when Cat Mobley started hitting shots, and by the third they were… BALLIIINNNGGGG.
Josh Howard is out for two weeks, which is not good. Logic says this is supposed to be a better team than the one that went to the Finals last year. The Mavericks still have not won a game this season.

NEW YORK 109 DENVER 107
Only Jamal Crawford would decide to dribble a ball behind his back for no reason when taking time off the clock for a final shot, leading to a disasterous turnover that could have cost his team the game, then steal the ball back with a play that reminded me of Jason Taylor’s interception TD last Sunday, and then hit a miraculous three.

TORONTO 106 PHILLY 104
Chris Bosh hit a lucky rainbow three with the clock winding down and then made some tough guys faces like he knew it was going in. Who does he think he is, Chris Webber?

SACRAMENTO 99 DETROIT 86
The Pistons miss Ben Wallace, so Rasheed did his best Big Ben impression, grabbing 15 boards and not scoring a single point. Rip and Chauncey both played well, but the much discussed balance of the Pistons when they are going good, was not there. Kevin Martin keeps racking up the points, tying his recent career high of 30.

The D.A.Y. the Mavs finally won and Hornets lost

DALLAS 119 PHOENIX 112
The Suns jumped out to an early lead with one of their trademark bursts of scoring, and they had another burst in them later on, but they just don’t play ANY defense. Not that they ever did.
Steve Nash had a sloppy night with 10 turnovers and the Mavs closed out the game with one final run. The Suns have blown leads of 9 points or more in every one of their losses so far. Leandro Barbosa had a career high 30 points, hitting 5 of 8 threes. TNT ran this stat on the telecast: The Suns have outscored their opponents by 15 points with Amare out of the game but trail by 30 points with him playing. His plus/minus is -45. The Suns play Memphis on Saturday and then have about a week off before an easy stretch. They’ll be okay. The Mavs really needed this win. BADLY.

GOLDEN STATE 121 NEW ORLEANS 116
The back end of a home and home. Once again, the home team wins. Add the Warriors as another team that’s playing its best basketball of the millenium. Golden State vs. Atlanta in the NBA Finals?
This was a game where everyone was hitting, but it came down to the stars and which one was going to win the showdown. I know that sounds like something Magic would say, but it’s true.

The D.A.Y. Vince fell in love with the new ball

NEW JERSEY 105 WASHINGTON 93
Vince Carter got a new ball bounce on a desperation three at the buzzer to force OT and the Nets were in charge from that point on. Very strange. It hit that square piece of iron at the back of the rim, and gently dropped through.
Jason Kidd had a triple double with 18 assists thrown in. He’s still got it. And I was about to post my game notes from a Friday night trip to the swamp where Kidd looked old and slow.

HOUSTON 94 MIAMI 72
Yao was dominant against Shaq, hitting his shot, 13 of 14 free throws, getting layups, and after the game he was quoted saying “Every time I score on him I was happy like a kid, like a kid getting candy on Halloween because it’s really too hard to score on him, too hard. He’s just great.” Wow, a self-applied metaphor! Shaq wasn’t as exuberant, saying “He’s pretty much the same, just big, 7-6. He’s just doing what he’s supposed to do.”

The D.A.Y. from a secret location

SEATTLE 119 NEW JERSEY 113
Luke Ridnour picked and popped his way to a career high 32 with 7 assists, putting the Nets ina 25 point hole they couldn’t overcome. Vince tried his best, scoring 38 while going 5 of 9 from three, and Jason Kidd had 20 and 12, but it was too much Ridnour.

The D.A.Y. Peja went back in time

NEW ORLEANS 94 CHARLOTTE 85
Peja had his best game in a long long long time, scoring a career high 42 and played aggressively while doing it. He had a deflection for a steal and fast break, he was 5 of 10 on threes, and he looked like the guy that was in the MVP discussion in what seems like another lifetime ago. It didn’t even matter that Chris Paul went 0 for 8. Emeka Okafor put up a 25 and 16 in a loss. Charlotte is 1-6.

SAN ANTONIO 92 HOUSTON 84
T-Mac was unstoppable in the first half, going off for 20. Yao was doing his thing. The Rockets built up a 19 point lead, and Pop pulled the starters. Beno Udrih, Robert Horry, and Francisco Elson led a 20-1 explosion, Manu came back in to hit a big three, and the Spurs went on to win. Not fair.

UTAH 112 LA CLIPPERS 90
The Jazz, who have the best record in the NBA at 7-1, got 27 from Memo Okur and 22 from Matt Harpring, turned up the D in the second half and handled the Clips fairly easily. Chris Kaman did not have his best night, with 3 points and 3 boards before fouling out in 18 minutes.

DALLAS 111 CHICAGO 99
A highly paid center that’s been to the NBA Finals was a force of intimidation. That’s right, I’m talking about Erick Dampier! He had 5 dunks and 3 blocks, at least 2 of them were as they say, EMPHATIC. Dirk took on the scoring load, going for 31 and the Mavs picked up their first home win of the season while Scott Skiles began his tinkering with the starting lineup, which is what he does.

The D.A.Y. the Bobcats grew up

CHARLOTTE 95 SAN ANTONIO 92
The one-win Bobcats started off like you’d think they would against the Spurs in San Antonio, shooting 3 of 15. But that’s if you don’t count Adam Morrison, who had the best game of his young career, hitting 6 of his first 7 shots, on the way to a 27 point night.

SACRAMENTO 115 MEMPHIS 111
The Grizzlies went small and tried to outrun the Kings, and they scared them for a minute there, with a 10-0 run in the fourth to take the lead. But… no. Arco. Kevin Martin put the Kings ahead with a three, he hit another one later on to seal the win, and after the game when asked about Ron Artest’s late entrance to the game because of a back that’s been bothering him Kevin said “I thought he just went to the bathroom. You know Ron. You never know what he’s going to do.”

NEW YORK 102 WASHINGTON 82
The Knicks played great defense! Unbelievable. Washington shot a terrible 31% from the field and never hit a three. Gilbert was 0 for 7 from downtown. The Knicks usually let three point shooters have target practice. This was most unexpected. Q Rich hit 5 threes and David Lee bumped and banged his way to 10 and 15.

The D.A.Y. the Rockets held on

HOUSTON 101 CHICAGO 100
The Rockets tried to blow a big lead for the second straight game, and Ben Gordon was happy to take them up on that offer. Houston just barely hung on, and escaped with a one point win. Once again, T-Mac and Yao got the Rockets off to a great start, only to see a big lead shrivel away to nothing. Ben Gordon scored 30 of his 37 in the second half, hitting EVERYTHING, and he finished with an Isiah or Reggie-like 9 points in the final minute. Houston is lucky they got out of this one alive.

GOLDEN STATE 117 SACRAMENTO 105
Oh my God Baron Davis! 11 assists in the first quarter. MVP chants. The Warriors couldn’t miss, and after scoring 40 in the first quarter they never looked back. Kevin Martin scored 26 for the Kings, but enough about them cause they weren’t a part of the game, hitting 1 of 17 from three, unable to stop the Warriors in any way. Baron Davis. 36 points, 18 assists, and 8 boards.

The D.A.Y. of stitches

LA LAKERS 82 CHICAGO 72
Andres Nocioni
could not miss, carrying the Bulls on his back with 30 points, including 6 of 9 threes. Too bad there was nobody else to help him out, other than one Ben Gordon three that made it close. But the Lakers hit some free throws, and that was the ballgame. Kobe didn’t have to do too much, and scored just 18, allowing Andrew Bynum to take the Sunday night spotlight with 12, 13, and 4 blocks.

The D.A.Y. that J.R. Smith outscored Melo

LA LAKERS 105 LA CLIPPERS 101
The Kobe we’re used to seeing returned, and he finally broke 40 points in the #24 jersey, so he doesn’t have to do the old Jordan switch back from #45 to #23 for good luck.

DENVER 113 CHICAGO 109
Something is wrong with the Chicago Bulls. That being said, the Nuggets were clearly the better team on this night, and down the stretch J.R. Smith made some big plays that you must have seen on all the highlight shows by now. George Karl had this to say about JR “There are times that he does what we want. Other times he seems like he’s asleep.” You still got it, Georgie boy. Carmelo had a chance to have his seventh straight 30 point game, breaking Alex English’s club record. But he choked at the fre throw line on two otherwise meaningless free throws and had to settle for a lowly 29. Ten turnovers for Melo by the way, but who’s counting?

DETROIT 97 PHILLY 87
Allen Iverson missed the game because he was having a wisdom tooth removed. I feel your pain Allen. Been there, done that, glad it’s over. Without him, Willie Green stepped up and took 21 shots, scoring 24, while the teammate with the second most shot attempts was Korver with 14. Willie, just because you’re getting minutes in place of AI doesn’t mean you have to play like him. Webber missed the game with lower back stiffness.

The D.A.Y. Nash beat Nellie and Nate blocked Yao

PHOENIX 113 GOLDEN STATE 110
Baron Davis
didn’t play thanks to sore ribcage muscles, so this game is tainted. The MVP casually hit the game winning three to beat the coach that gave him his first real opportunity in the league, just saying hey we’re the Suns and you’re the Warriors.

UTAH 101 TORONTO 96
The Utah Jazz! Paul Millsap changing shots. Deron Williams much improved in year two. Memo Okur continuing his great start to the season with 17 and 13. The Raptors came with balance scoring, but that was because Chris Bosh had an off-night. Carlos Boozer outplayed him, ending up with a beastly 35 and 9 on 14 of 16 shooting. Andrea Bargnani had his best game in the NBA so far, reaching double figures for the first time with 15 points in 27 minutes.

HOUSTON 97 NEW YORK 90
The only thing that matters about this game is that Nate Robinson blocked a shot attempt by Yao. Yao pretended like he got hit in the eye to hide from the shame. Nowhere to hide when a guy that’s 2 feet shorter than you blocks your shot. Who cares about the Rockets winning, Knicks losing, or anything else that happened in this game? NATE ROBINSON blocked a shot by YAO!!!

MEMPHIS 95 ORLANDO 86
The Grizzlies won their second game of the year. Congrats. Hakim Warrick scored 15 in the fourth quarter to lead Memphis to the rare victory. Dwight Howard had the not-so-rare for him 20-20 night. 24 and 23 to be exact.

The D.A.Y. of Nugget revenge

DENVER 103 LA CLIPPERS 88
The Nuggets finally got some revenge against the Clips after the playoff loss and game earlier this season when Melo got tossed for nothing. Chris Kaman didn’t play, which was probably for the best cause his long time friend Reggie Evans grabbed 14 boards. I said grabbed boards, not grabbed… you know. Carmelo scored 33, but he does that every night.

SAN ANTONIO 98 SEATTLE 78
The Sonics hit one three as a team. When that happens, they score something weak like 78 points. Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 18 and 16. Tony Parker scored 12 in the fourth and the Spurs haven’t lost a road game yet.

The D.A.Y. of Orlando and Golden State

ORLANDO 88 UTAH 75
If the Jazz are the surprise early best team in the league, then what’s Orlando? They went out to Utah, and the early leaders in the East got the win. This wasn’t the prettiest game, and the score doesn’t show how the Jazz had to make a 13-0 run to keep it respectable. Memo Okur got tossed with the game out of reach for Nick Nolte-ing a ball into the crowd (with his hand not feet).

GOLDEN STATE 111 SAN ANTONIO 102
Here’s something I wasn’t expecting to write: Andris Biedrins blocked three straight Tim Duncan shots in the fourth quarter, as the Warriors were running and having fun, getting by the Spurs. No Baron Davis, and no Ginobili. So what. Our friends at Golden State of Mind are happy and they have the thorough recap.

MIAMI 103 PHILLY 91
Allen, this is Dwyane. Dwyane, Allen.
The final lines were 45 for AI with 4 assists and 3 steals. Wade had 33, 13, and 7 with 2 blocks and 7 turnovers. Lots of one on five drives through traffic with sick finishes for both of them. Miami came out on top cause Iguodala was the only other Sixer to hit double figures.

DALLAS 93 MINNESOTA 87
The Mavs have now won 10 in a row. Minnesota got a big three from MARK BLOUNT on a play that they actually ran for him, and he hit it. Craziness Mr. Casey, but it worked. The Mavs coughed up a big lead when Minny went to a zone and Dallas couldn’t hit an outside shot. But, the Mavs made just enough plays down the stretch to keep the winning streak alive. Weird game.

The D.A.Y. Utah and Jersey got Ws and Stephen Jackson got lucky

NEW JERSEY 106 BOSTON 103
The Nets, still reeling on that 6 game losing streak, fell apart in the third quarter and watched as Paul Pierce led the Celtics on a 13-0 run. Vince was getting frustrated, but Jason Kidd kept them in the game, and the Nets fought their way back into it.

NEW YORK 101 CLEVELAND 98
A shocking end to the game. Tied with about 45 seconds left, the Knicks put the ball in Jamal Crawford’s hand so he could go one on five and hit a trademark terrible Crawford shot. Before the play, they showed Q Rich and Jamal screaming at Eddy Curry, trying to fire him up for some reason. I didn’t understand why. The reason was that Jamal started to drive, and Eddy cut to the basket, received the pass in motion, dunked it and was fouled. Hit the free throw. Where did that come from?
Highlight of the game was when Nate Robinson was called for travelling on a fast break when he tried to bounce the ball off the floor and backboard for the dunk. That was hilarious.

INDIANA 108 GOLDEN STATE 106
Stephen Jackson is a lucky man. He gets hit by cars and walks away from it, and he hit one of the luckiest game winning shots you’ll ever see. Pacers down by 1, he was just standing at the three point line, and the ball was batted out to him by what looked like Baron Davis. Jackson shot and didn’t miss. L’il Dun was handed the responsibility of inbounding the ball with one second left for the Warriors. t was ugly.

DALLAS 117 TORONTO 98
Dirk left after just 10 minutes with blurred vision. What the hell? The Mavs are just too deep for Toronto – even without Dirk. Josh Howard, Dampier, Stackhouse… 11 wins in a row. Bosh put up 18 and 11 in the loss.

The D.A.Y. Kobe’s knee was better

LA LAKERS 132 UTAH 102
The Player of the D.A.Y. has never been an easier decision. Kobe’s firestorm keyed a 79 point second half for the Lakers.
19 of 26, 4 rebounds, 3 assists. 19 of 26 shooting, 12 of 15 from the line. 30 points in the third quarter alone. Wow. And a high five and hug from Phil. The Jazz are supposed to be the best team in the league now that they beat the Spurs. And he did this to them, shades of the Dallas game from last year when he scored 62.

DETROIT 87 MIAMI 85
This was the most anticipated match-up of the year in the East for the past two years. Right now it’s not as exciting. Dwyane Wade came into this game playing some of the best ball of his young Mr. Perfect career, and um, he continued to play well with 8 assists and no turnovers to go with 5 boards, and he made a key block that gave the Heat a chance to tie on the last possession. Unfortunately Dwyane shot what looked like an airball and he suffered through a 5 for 23 game. Udonis Haslem helped him out with 20 and 10, but the Pistons are starting to roll, and have now won 7 in a row. Rip led the way with 24, Rasheed picked up a tech. It’s like old times for Detroit.

The D.A.Y. of Iverson vs. KG and other depressing events

MINNESOTA 95 PHILLY 84
Two of the big questions of the offseason were 1) Why don’t the Sixers and TWolves ever get real help for Iverson and KG? and 2) When are these two HOFers going to be traded? They’re still around with their original teams, Iverson’s wisdom teeth broke down before his body did, which was unexpected, but other than that its more of the same.

CHARLOTTE 97 DETROIT 89
Weird. The Bobcats had plenty of energy going up against a good team once again, and that was enough. Brevin Knight had 14 assists and Emeka had 18 and 8 with 2 blocks. Chauncey Billups said that jumping out to a 9-0 lead should have been enough for the Pistons “Most times when we’re playing a really young team and we’re an elite team and then we jump on a lead like that, most teams could pretty much give up. They didn’t, to their credit.” Elite? The Pistons would be like the 10th best team in the West.

ATLANTA 107 PORTLAND 96
Joe Johnson 33, 6, and 6. He does that. Zach Randolph, 30 points. Him too. Josh Smith, who was poked in the eye Friday night, wore goggles. They didn’t seem to bother him on his way to 13, 12, and 6, and a Josh Smith block on a Martell Webster shot. I think this says it all about the Hawks of the late 90’s until now: this was their first win at Portland since 1997 and they’d lost nine in a row to the Blazers. Some of those losses were against the Paul Allen fantasy basketball lineups, but not all of them.

The D.A.Y. the Mavs finally lost

WASHINGTON 106 DALLAS 97
The Mavs finally lost after those 12 straight wins. Gilbert Arenas has been calling out the word “Hibachi” when he’s heating up, and that worked for 38 points.
SLAMonline columnist Etan Thomas had a double double, and the Wizards had a big win. They still do not have any road victories.

CHICAGO 100 BOSTON 82
The Bulls are red hot ever since that dumb “controversy.” The Celtics are the opposite, and not even a dumb controversy can save them. Paul Pierce was held to 8 points. Not a winning formula for them. Nocioni led the Bulls with 20 and 7 on 8 of 10 shooting. Luol Deng played D on Pierce for a lot of the game and afterwords he said “You all can give us credit for playing well, but he might be injured.” If he’s not actually injured, then OUCH! Luol, that’s cold.

The D.A.Y. Steve Nash dished out 20

PHOENIX 127 SACRAMENTO 102
Steve Nash had 20 assists. Amare had 17 and 13. Marion scored 23. The Suns hit 14 of 31 threes. That is as good as Phoenix Suns basketball gets. D’Antoni and Nash even picked up techs to ratchet up the intensity. The Kings were a step behind all night.

PORTLAND 88 DETROIT 85
The Pistons are supposed to have one of the great home court advantages in the game. Their players walk around with a swagger earned from a championship and some deep playoff runs. Zach Randolph showed up at The Palace and gave the business to that very same Pistons team. 31 and 13 for him and the go-ahead bucket with 21 seconds left.

LA CLIPPERS 101 MIAMI 97
Elton Brand exploded for 33 points and 17 boards, demanding the ball and carrying the Clippers above .500. Dwyane Wade had 33 points, but he couldn’t get the big basket or draw the key foul for some free throws with the game on the line. Miami fought their way back after falling behind by 14 in the third quarter, but he couldn’t finish the comeback.


The D.A.Y. the Titantic division sunk even lower

THE NBA 4 ATLANTIC DIVISION 0
Washington had no road wins. They played the Knicks in NYC. Problem solved. They shot 14 of 20 from three. Nice D, Knicks. Gilbert had 38 and Jamison had 33, though either one of them could have scored in the 50s is they wanted to. Philly was outscored by Ben Gordon himself in the first quarter 17-16 on the Sixers way to a 121-94 nightmare with the Bulls shooting 62%. Toronto lost to Cleveland, but it took some late game domination from LeBron to make that happen. The Raptors at least fought until the end. Boston lost at home to Memphis, after the Grizz blew a 17 point fourth quarter lead. Rudy Gay hit the winning shot. Gerald Green keyed Boston’s comeback, but he also left Rudy open for the shot. And once again, the Celts lost at home to arguably the worst team in the league. If that doesn’t say ATLANTIC DIVISION BASKETBALL to you, I don’t know what does. So now that we got all of those winners out of the way, let’s move on the NBA.

ATLANTA 98 DENVER 96
First Lang discovers that Barack Obama has the same voice as The Rock, then the Hawks overcome a 15 point defecit to win in Denver. A great night at the Whitaker house. Atlanta scored 37 points in the fourth on their way to the win sealed by Shelden Williams free throws. Linas Kleiza’s dunk gave the Nuggets their 15 point security blanket, before the game fell apart for them. Melo had a rare sub-30 night, though he did have a big bucket to put Denver on top 93-92. Too bad.

INDIANA 94 ORLANDO 80
A few hours after finding out when his date in court will be, Stephen Jackson put up a season high 26 points. After the game he said “It definitely brings everything to your face and makes you more humble about stuff — I appreciate the game of basketball every time I step out there.” Was it his lack of humility that led to someone trying to run him over with a car? Did that lack of humility cause him to shoot his gun in the air? Whoooooooo! February 12th, the trial begins.

The D.A.Y. of the game of the year

PHOENIX 161 NEW JERSEY 157 3OT
If you weren’t watching this game, I feel sorry for you. You have my deepest sympathies. What a game! Lang and Ben were there, and Lang’s got his game notes. This was a classic for the ages. It was a great game for four quarters, but once Vince fouled out and Nash hit that three to tie with a second left, it morphed into an unforgettable night. Amare fouled out, Raja fouled out. There were other significant parties like Boris Diaw hitting the winning basket by backing down on Jason Kidd who received no double team help, Shawn Marion scoring easily, RJ hitting a big three, and an actual lift from the Nets bench. Forget all that. This was an old school showdown between the two best team leading point guards since Magic. Jason Kidd showed so much heart out there, making impossible plays, highlighted by a three point play against all odds. Steve Nash kept responding with a big shot or perfect pass. They kept going back and forth, refusing to allow their team to give in. It ended when Kidd dribbled the ball off his foot, an ironic ending to one of the greatest PG duels of all-time. The Final numbers for the two of them were phantasmagorical. I actually went to a Thesaurus to find the right word to describe them. Kidd had 38, 14, and 14. Nash had 42 and 13, and cold blooded response after response. WHAT A GAME!

The D.A.Y. Phoenix copied Dallas again

PHOENIX 114 CHARLOTTE 84
The Suns copy everything the Mavs do. Dallas played a reckless no D style before the Suns did, and this year the Mavs started out 0-4, then ran off 12 straight wins. The Suns start wasn’t as bad, but now they’ve copied Dallas’s gameplan, racking up 10 in a row, working their way back to the top of the league. Amare’s knee looks pretty good these days. Good enough to keep banging out those double doubles every night. 22 and 12 on 8 of 11 shooting. The Bobcats have been getting blown out every night lately. Sean May keeps topping his career best game, and he did it again with 26 and 10.

LA LAKERS 106 SAN ANTONIO 99
The Lakers turned up the defensive intensity and closed out the third quarter on a 24-6 run. Phil was happy. Pop was not, and after the game said “I thought the Lakers’ pressure was great in the second half and we folded under that pressure — absolutely folded. End of story.”
The Lakers played a great game. Kobe led the way with 34 and Lamar Odom just missed out on a triple double with 18, 11, and 9. If you’re looking for their Michael and Scottie impression, this was the game for you. Lamar even hit a wide open three from the top of the key on a secondary break. A Pippen trademark.

SEATTLE 117 GOLDEN STATE 115
The Sonics gave away another one of their lottery balls, as Luke Ridnour carried them to a come from behind winner over the Warriors. Baron Davis wasn’t on the court for the last shot because… well, there’s no satisfactory explanation. Nellie messed up, and that’s it.
That’s three straight wins for the Sonics since Ray Allen started missing games. The Sonics are really going to regret this winning streak later. Uh, I mean wow they’re showing a lot of heart!

PORTLAND 93 TORONTO 83
Zach Randolph missed this game cause he flipped the bird in the house of Bird, and Chris Bosh missed it with a bruised left knee. So, going from there, Jarrett Jack continued to make the most of his playing time, putting up 22, 9, and 8.

The D.A.Y. the Lakers lost Lamar

LA LAKERS 102 HOUSTON 94
The Lakers nearly blew a 27 point lead over the last 9:45 of the game, which is funny since they were playing the Rockets, a team that tries to blow leads like that every night. T-Mac is out indefinitely with back spasms, which you could see coming this year from 5,000 miles away.
The big news from the game is that Lamar Odom sprained his knee and they’re calling is a moderate MCL sprain. He could miss a month. Lamar has been the glue on the Lakers all year. I have a feeling that one of his teammates is about to start shooting a lot more. He might have to.

GOLDEN STATE 126 SACRAMENTO 113
Matt Barnes is the new Kevin Martin. Barnes, who has spent most of this season playing with incredible efficiency in limited time, is now getting more run and starting to put up numbers. Matt had a 32 and 11 game on 13 of 22 shooting, including 6 of 9 from three. Kevin Martin wasn’t bad himself, matching those 32 on 10 of 18 shooting including 3 of 7 from three.

DENVER 100 ATLANTA 87
Okay, the Nuggets won this game and are obviously the much better team. But give Lang this one moment of happiness: Marvin Williams on Marcus Camby. Chris Paul, Deron Williams, or Bogut will never do it like that.

The D.A.Y. Bargnani surpassed Darko

TORONTO 91 ORLANDO 84
Four for four in the fourth from three. That’s 44 fours. 5 for 8 from three for the game. Andrea Bargnani, sharpshooting #1 overall pick. Chris Bosh missed another game due to injury, so Andrea carried the scoring load with 23 points.
Bargnani and Darko have been the two signature Euromysteries at the top of the NBA draft in recent years. It looks like Andrea will become the better player. Darko had 8 and 7.

NEW JERSEY 108 MILWAUKEE 95
The Nets are starting to slowly turn their season around, now that they are playing bad teams. I’m not impressed yet.

UTAH 105 LA CLIPPERS 86
If Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer played together for any other team, you could still compare them to the way Stockton and Malone played. Deron: 28 and 14 assists. Carlos: 28 and 15 boards. The Clips had a nice year when you could take them seriously as a contender, but I don’t know if that’s still the case.

BOSTON 101 PHILLY 81
The Sixers lost their ninth in a row. The Celtics have won three road games in a row against Atlantic divison teams, and are now a game out of first place. I have to go and find new words to describe just how depressingly bad the Atlantic Division is. If you combined these two teams together right now, it still wouldn’t be a good team.

CHICAGO 99 SEATTLE 84
BIG BEN! 15 points and 20 boards. Yeah! The Sonics somehow outrebounded the Bulls, but they’re still soft. Ben Gordon was the high scorer with 27. Seattle wised up and had Earl Watson join Ray Allen on the DNP list, going hard after those lottery balls.

The D.A.Y. of Baron vs. Yao

GOLDEN STATE 109 HOUSTON 107
Baron vs. Yao. Coming into this season, the consensus was that Yao is an improving player about to hit his prime, and Baron is injured too often to trust, and he shoots too many threes. They’ve both been MVP candidates so far.
Yao for the game had 38 points and 18 boards. With Golden State down by one late, Baron got the ball, flew up court, got a screen from Adonal Foyle to get Yao’s hand out of his face, and cooly drained the game winning three. Houston responded by having Yao take a three that was 3 feet short. Strategic advantage: Nellie. Baron finished with 34 and 8.

SAN ANTONIO 103 NEW ORLEANS 77
An emotional atmosphere in New Orleans. The fans had their beloved Hornets back, here to lift the spirits of the region. Chris Paul came out to center court and got on the mic pregame. He thanked the fans, talked about trying to give them some entertainment and enjoyment in their lives, how they are working to restore the community to some semblance of normalcy, and then he started making excuses about how they were short-handed with Tyson Chandler out with the flu. Tim Duncan has no feelings cause he’s a robot. Gregg Popovich is a bad bad maaaaaan. No sympathy for you, Hornets. Duncan only played 20 minutes, scoring 11. They didn’t even need him, it was that easy. Big easy, you could say?

The D.A.Y. of reflecting on the MSG brawlers

WASHINGTON 147 LA LAKERS 141 OT
Well, I wouldn’t call this normal. Gilbert Arenas and Kobe had themselves a nice little shootout. Gil has been struggling on the road all year, but I guess being back in Cali, where he grew up worked out for him. 60 points, daaaaaaamn. 5 of 12 from three, 21 of 27 free throws. 8 rebounds and 8 assists to go along with that. Kobe had a lowly 45 hitting 7 of 11 threes, adding 10 assists and 8 boards. The Lakers were dead in the proverbial water at the end of regulation, but Kob picked up 3 the old fashioned way, Brian Cook hit a monster three, and Gilbert missed at the buzzer. Good thing he did, cause he had many more points to score. Can you say HIBACHI?!?
The two teams combined to hit 31 of 66 threes. Sunday night Lakers games – that’s where the scoring is. I undestand that Gilbert had the finest game of his career, but please Wizards do not make that an excuse to wear those “special” uniforms any more. I swear they are a different color in photos than they are in TV. They are a prism that sucks in light and shines it back in your eyeball like your’e looking directly at the sun.

HOUSTON 108 LA CLIPPERS 103
Yao Ming put up 32 and 10, numbers that he gets all the time these days. He made a shot late to hold of a Clipper run, blocked a Corey Maggette shot, and they had a Mac-free win. Rafer continued to step up in Tracy’s absence with 26 and 8. 21, 9 boards, and 6 assists for Shaun Livingston, and Kaman continued his healing process with 20 and 11. Tim Thomas left the game with an injury. Twice. Fugazi.

The D.A.Y. the Knicks and Nuggets responded

NEW YORK 97 UTAH 96 OT
David Lee
grabbed 20 boards and hit 8 of 12 shots for 17 points.
the Knicks had a lead and they blew it in the fourth. Utah forced OT when Deron Williams crossed Stephon up and drilled a three. In that overtime, Williams hit step back jumper over Crawford, giving the Jazz a one point lead with 3 seconds left. David Lee threw a perfect lead pass to Starbury, who caught it in stride, got right to the hoop and laid it up with Memo Okur letting him in.

DENVER 117 WASHINGTON 108
In the Wizards defense, they were playing the second game of back to back, and they suck on the road. That’s not really a defense though, it’s a pathetic excuse. The Wizards are now 3-9 on the road. George Karl got his team to respond with one of the top scoring tandems in the league missing. The Nuggets jumped out to a big lead, leading by 20 after the first quarter. Washington made it’s run, but the Nuggets held them off. Gilbert followed up 60 points with 30 shots, hitting 10 of them.

MEMPHIS 134 SEATTLE 126 2OT
Here’s the real test to decide whether every double OT is an exciting classic. Sonics-Grizzlies, double OT? Yeah sure, why not. In the first OT, Rashard Lewis missed a free throw that would have made it a 4 point lead for Seattle, and the game would have been over. Chucky Atkins flew up court, launched a bomb from right inside the half court line. Tie game, double OT, where the Grizz ran away with it. This game kept Philly on top of the race for lottery balls. 36 and 14 for Rashard in the loss. Mike Miller and Chucky Atkins combined for 9 threes and 57 points.

The D.A.Y. games were played after the A.I. trade

PHOENIX 115 TORONTO 98
The Phoenix Suns have now won 15 in a row. Toronto was an innocent bystander that got run over, as they should have been. 19 and 9 for TJ Ford and 18 and 8 for Bargnani off the bench. The Suns are balanced and unstoppable right now.

The D.A.Y. of Dirk’s pain

NEW YORK 111 CHARLOTTE 109 2OT
Take that, MJ. You’ve got your special one in a hundred billion life, your money, the respect of every person on the entire planet. We’ve got this game.
I’ve already written about David Lee’s big tip, right in Michael Jordan’s face. He’s had so many big moments at MSG at the Knicks expense, it was nice to see it go the other way for once.

UTAH 112 ATLANTA 106
As Lang mentioned in The Links, the Hawks utterly collapsed and gave the game away to the Jazz. The Jazz outscored the Hawks 40-13 in the fourth. Mutoni has a link to some Josh Childress video on his Fanhouse blog. Looks like J-Chill is on his way off the chilling list, and they need him.

NBA FANS 1 PHOENIX and DENVER 0
Actually there are no losers here. Iverson needs to be on the floor to make his Denver debut when these two teams meet up. Good lookin’ out with that snowstorm, God.

GOLDEN STATE 96 BOSTON 95
Happy recap from GSoM. The Warriors didn’t blow it. Al Jefferson had 13 and 11 in 28 minutes. Perk is a Beast is getting ready to commit adultery.

MILWAUKEE 121 MIAMI 95
Mo Williams had a triple double and the Heat felt the pain. Blown out. 28 for Michael Redd. A quick thought: Isn’t it funny how the holy trifecta of LeBron-Wade-Melo keeps getting lock of hall of famers added in? Wade got Shaq, Melo got A.I. What’s next for LeBron? KG to Cleveland?

DALLAS 103 SEATTLE 95
Dueling open threads. Maverick Moneyball and Sonics Central. The big news is Dirk’s ankle. X-rays negative, which is a positive.

The D.A.Y. Ron Artest had old man knees

WASHINGTON 126 SACRAMENTO 119
The Wizards have been a horrible road team this season. The Kings are always great at Arco. Naturally the Wiz put up 44 points in the 3rd quarter when Antawn Jamison simply could not miss. Kevin Martin scored a career high 40, and the Kings actually led at halftime. The real story of this game is that Ron Artest claimed to have a knee injury and chose to sit out. He was quoted as saying “It’s not an all-season thing. I guess it’s just being older. I’ve got to take care of my body a little better.” Hmmm… could this be the beginning of Ron’s latest episode of random self-inflicted destruction? Maybe with Gilbert Arenas in the building, Ron wanted to make sure that he is still considered the craziest. The Wizards are starting to heat up. The Kings are very disappointing, and I’ve already mentioned that several times. The clock on Ron is ticking. Keep it together Ron Ron. Keep it together.

DETROIT 87 CLEVELAND 71
A big game. At least, as big as any can be in the Leastern Conference. The Pistons sent a message, getting a vintage Mr. Big Shot performance from Chauncey in the house of LeBron. The Cavs have now lost back to back to the Nets and Pistons, two of the short list of teams that will challenge them for a trip to the Finals. LeBron had 26 and 10 in the loss, Chauncey had 17 and 10 after struggling for most of the first 3 quarters. If this is going to be the Eastern Conference Finals, then all I can say is let’s go Washington and Chicago and Jersey and Orlando!!!

The D.A.Y. saved by Foye

MINNESOTA 100 CHICAGO 98
The T-Wolves blew a 25 point lead, so Randy Foye could hit a game-winner with 1.8 left. Good strategy.

DETROIT 92 NEW JERSEY 91
Some guys whine and complain so much that you learn to just tune it out. Jason Kidd is not one of those guys, and he might be the most politically correct, diplomatic, uncontroversial player in the game – at least since he got in trouble for beating up his wife. After this game he said “We fought, but that doesn’t mean anything when you have the officials take over the game like that. You go with the Three Blind Mice, and it’s just sad that Tom (Washington) screwed up that game for us.” The play he speaks of was Vince initiating contact on Rasheed and not getting a call that should have sent him to the line for free throws. That Rasheed Wallace, a a ref’s darling. The Nets sure have a lot of excuses when they lose. Refs, injuries, blah, blah, blah. They are in third place in the Atlantic.

MILWAUKEE 114 SAN ANTONIO 107
The Bucks went into San Antonio, and came out with their fifth straight win. Michael Redd did his thing with 36 points on 14 of 22 shooting, Bogut grabbed 11 boards, but the Milwaukee winning streak is all about Mo Williams. In their last loss, he scored 18 with 6 turnovers. Since then, he’s had games of 28, 19 with a triple double, 26, 32, and 23 in this game against the Spurs. Duncan had 25 and 12 and Tony Parker had 24 and 10 in the loss. With the Spurs giving up their spot at the top of the Southwest, Pop was cheery as always, “Our players need to make up their minds … that (defense) is what wins games for us, or if they want to make summer plans.”

DENVER 116 BOSTON 105
Remember when AI was the only star on a team that he had to will to victory? In this game the other four starters for his new team were Yakhouba Diawara, Nene, Najera, and DeMarr Johnson. Nene had 12 and 14, Najera grabbed 11 boards, and Reggie Evans pulled down 14 more boards off the bench, but seriously, are established NBA stars allergic to playing with Allen Iverson? He had 28 and 13 assists on 22 shots. Earl Boykins added 28 of his own, taking 19 shots. Al Jefferson continued his young and beastly ways with 16 and 15, his fifth straight double-double.

SEATTLE 102 NEW ORLEANS 94
First of all, Chris Paul hurt his ankle and he’s supposedly going to miss 2-4 games. That is unfortunate. He only played 10 minutes, and managed 7 assists in that time. The Sonics took advantage of the fact that Jannero Pargo would try 21 shots and lead New Orleans with 23. Luke Ridnour, Ray Allen, and Chris Wilcox combined for 69 points. Did I mention that Chris Paul hurt his ankle?

PHOENIX 110 PORTLAND 87
Leandro Barbosa hit 8 straight shots and scored 20 points in a six minute stretch between the third and fourth quarters. If he were to keep that pace up for a whole game, he would score 160. After the game, his quote: “It was hard for me in the beginning, because we had ice under the court. Then I was just running up and down. I saw some space for me to get to the basket and I did.” I assume they played a hockey game there earlier in the day. The Blazers were led by Jarrett Jack’s 18 and Z-Bo’s 18 and 14. Portland had 8 assists as a team. Boris Diaw had 8 assists, with 0 rebounds and 0 points. Weird.

INDIANA 81 HOUSTON 76
T-Mac made his return and led the Rockets with 19 points. Good thing, cause other names in their starting lineup were Mutombo and Juwan Howard. Old school. Ugly score for an ugly defensive game. 76 points with T-Mac. Al Harrington led the Pacers with 23 and 14 on 24 shots.

The D.A.Y. of Dallas and Phoenix playoff intensity

DALLAS 101 PHOENIX 99
The Mavs came into this game on a 21-3 tear and the Suns had won 16 of 17. Somebody had to lose. The first 46 minutes of this game was pretty cool. Entertaining basketball with Jason Terry going off when he was left wide open. Dallas made sure it didn’t turn into a wide open 158-156 shootout. The final 2 minutes or so were playoff atmosphere crunchtime ball at its very best. Dallas down by 2, Josh Howard leading a break, finding Jason Terry wide open for three with a perfectly crisp pass in transition, the Mavs go up by 1. Some free throws were exchanged, Dirk hitting 2, Amare hitting 1. Phoenix down by 2, with 1:07 left, what do they do? Something conservative to make sure they don’t turn it over while getting a quality shot? How about Nash throwing a lob to Amare for the hammer over Josh Howard and his 12 foot long arms? I jumped off the couch on that one and yelled out loud. It’s too bad Steve is so much older than Amare, cause their pick and roll with the bounce pass is absolutely Stockton-Malone perfect. They probably only have 3 or 4 more good years together cause of Steve’s age, but that’s a play that could last a decade plus. After some back and forth turnovers including Raja Bell unable to get the ball to Nash with Howard denying, The Mavs came back with Terry finding Josh with a perfect strike for the layup to give them the lead. The Suns, with one shot to tie or go for the lead put the ball in Nash’s hands. He drove and looked like he had nowhere to go. Nearly trapped on the baseline, he would have been dead on a game-ending turnover if he wasn’t Steve Nash. Intead he threw a perfect bounce pass to a wide open Shawn Marion under the hoop for the layup. Tie game. Not much time left. Dirk had it in his hands, and you’d think he would let the clock go down to the buzzer for the winner. He was open enough to just take the shot in rhythm. Wet. Dallas by 2 with 1.6 left. The best the Suns could do was get it to Amare for a 22 footer that didn’t go. PLAYOFF INTENSITY! The Western Conference Finals are going to be off the proverbial chain. Terry led the Mavs with 35, Dirk had 27 and that game winner. Nash had 24 and 13 and Amare had 25 and 13.

The D.A.Y. of the return of the new old ball

MINNESOTA 102 CHARLOTTE 96
The T-wolves were down by 20 at one point, and down by 12 in the fourth. A 12-0 run helps get rid of those problems. KG hit the winner from 14 feet with 16 seconds on the clock as the capper to his 32 and 14 performance, including 12 points in the fourth. Ricky Davis added 25 and Mark Blount threw in 21. The Bobcats were missing Gerald Wallace and Brevin Knight with assorted injuries, but Matt Carroll stepped in and scored 23, hitting 5 of 8 threes. All the talk afterwards was about the return of the old ball.

BOSTON 89 PORTLAND 81
Oh. These guys are not very good at scoring the basketball. Perhaps they need a synthetic child’s toy ball. Young C’s Ryan Gomes and Al Jefferson both had double-doubles while Z-Bo did not.

The D.A.Y. Iverson lost to Philly

PHILLY 108 DENVER 97
Allen Iverson lost to his ex-team, picking up 2 techs and getting tossed for the exclamation point. After the game, his quote abotu Steve Javie was very interesting. “I thought I got fouled on that play, and I said I thought that he was calling the game personal, and he threw me out. His fuse is real short anyway, and I should have known that I couldn’t say anything anyway. It’s been something personal with me and him since I got in the league. This was just the perfect game for him to try and make me look bad.”
Kyle Korver led Philly with 26 and Andre Miller and Iguodala had 10 assists each. A.I. had 30 and 9 and 7 turnovers in the loss.

CLEVELAND 82 SAN ANTONIO 78
Intriguing matchup, not so intriguing game. The Cleveland fans were going crazy in crunc time when LeBron found Damon Jones for the dagger three, and Larry Hughes was the difference in this game, hitting three threes in the fourth. I should mention that the 3rd quarter score was 11-10. Lots of defense. LeBron had 19 but didn’t dunk on The Robot. Tony Parker led the Spurs with 26.

SACRAMENTO 112 NEW YORK 100
Ron Artest had a career high 39 points. Good way to boost the trade value in front of Isiah’s face. The Knicks really want this west coast trip to end.

DALLAS 112 SEATTLE 88
11 straight wins for the Mavs. The Phoenix-Dallas Western Conference Finals is going to be the real championship series. It needs to go seven games. Dirk had 31 and 15, Josh Howard had 21 and 9, and Seattle got a big first half from Ray Allen on his way to 27. The Mavs are ruthless machine.

The D.A.Y. of Gilbert from 32 feet at the buzzer

WASHINGTON 108 MILWAUKEE 105
Gilbert had 32, 11, and 8. Michael Redd scored 27 on 23 shots, while Caron Butler had 29, 9, and 7. Skip all that and let’s get to the main event. Game tied, Gilbert brings the ball up, has time to get a good shot. Catches Charlie Bell sleeping on the 32 foot bomb. HIBACHI! or GUARANTEED! Or whatever he’s saying these days. Here are some quotes from Gil on that shot. “Once I let it go, I’m like, ‘That’s in. I don’t even need to look at this one.” “I don’t know why this is a surprise to you guys now.” And of course “My swag was phenomenal.” Yes it was. Yes, it was.

PHOENIX 100 TORONTO 98
Chris Bosh came back from his 12 game injury hiatus, which felt like 40 games. The Raptors were tied for first place in their division without him, and now that he’s back, they’re 0-1 and are out of the playoffs. Steve Nash had an off night until the fourth when he scored 13 of his 15 and made about 8 billion huge shots in a row.

MEMPHIS 144 GOLDEN STATE 135
The Grizzlies have a head coach named Tony Barone. He is nothing like Mike Fratello. Observe the score of this game. That was not in triple OT. This was 48 minutes of run and gun and run some more. Nobody was walking the ball up. Nobody was playing defense. Everybody was raining three balls on both sides. Mike Miller, 9 of 12 threes on his way to 33 points. Matt Barnes, 7 of 16 threes on his way to 36 points. Damon Stoudamire had 18 and 16, Baron Davis had 22 and 13.

MINNESOTA 103 SAN ANTONIO 101 OT
KG got the best of Tim Duncan. Rare. Timmy had 23, 13, and 5 with 5 blocks. Kevin with 27, 17, and 7 with 3 blocks. You thought it was all about them? They fooled you. It was about Trenton Hassel playing D on Tony Parker and grabbing a key rebound, as well as Matt Bonner missing a three for the win. Hippie. Mark Blount led all scorers with 28 and Manu had 26.

NEW YORK 99 PORTLAND 81
Eddy Curry. 27 points, 10 rebounds, ZERO assists. So he is the new Patrick Ewing! The Blazers gave up a lot of dunks. A lot

LA CLIPPERS 110 MIAMI 95
The Clippers won a road game in the house of the defending champs. That’s great. Elton Brand had 28. Corey Maggette had 16 and 11, but the best part of the game is simply listing the Heat starting 5.

PG JASON WILLIAMS
SG JASON KAPONO
SF DORELL WRIGHT
PF UDONIS HASLEM
C ALONZO MOURNING

The D.A.Y. Kobe passed for Barkley and Marv

LA LAKERS 132 SACRAMENTO 128
Kobe was trapped near halfcourt, caught a glimpse of the brightest damn yellow sneakers in the universe, got the ball to Smush, and he took it to the rack to tie it up. In OT, Kobe took over, Bibby tried to keep it close, but the Lakers held on. Final numbers for the two stars of the night: Kob with 42 on 11 of 21 shooting and 17 of 20 from the line plus 10 boards and 9 assists. Bibby with 38, 7, and 6.

DETROIT 92 NEW ORLEANS 68
The Pistons handled their biz. 27 for Rip on 18 shots. Chris Paul may have picked up some MVP votes by not playing. When he’s out there, the Hornets could be a playoff team. When he’s not, you have to deal with stuff like Jannero Pargo playing 44 minutes, taking 24 shots and hitting 6 of them. Jannero. Pargo.

LA LAKERS 101 DALLAS 98
13 game win streak for the Mavs? Sasha was not impressed, scoring a career high 16 with game winning three, one of his 4 threes.

MINNESOTA 103 HOUSTON 99 OT
T-Mac had to throw up 29 shots to get 31 points. The Rockets had their 5 game winning streak snapped. The return of Tracy from injury right as Yao went out has really messed up Yao’s MVP year. KG and the Wolves continue to get it done in OT, winning their third straight overtime game. 

The D.A.Y. the Bucks played without Michael Redd

DENVER 104 MILWAUKEE 92
The Bucks were one of the hottest teams in the NBA, and now they are without the fifth leading scorer in the league for 4-6 weeks. How can the East keep getting worse? New prediction for All-Star score: 158-82. In this particular game with the Nugs, Mo Williams who has been one of their more important players this year, left the game with an injury. Iverson was banged up as always, with his toe being the problem this time. Marcus Camby came back from being injured as always to have a 19, 15, and 7 block game. Earl Boykins played 41 minutes and put up 26 and 11.

The D.A.Y. of Dallas Mavilliany

DALLAS 108 UTAH 105
“It’s personal. They don’t like me and I don’t like them.” Those are the words of Jerry Stackhouse about the Jazz, and when quotes like that are generated, you know it was a good game.
How about those physical and feisty Dallas Mavs? Are they becoming the new villains of the NBA? Gotta have villains.

NEW JERSEY 101 TORONTO 86
The funniest part of this game is that first place in a division was on the line. The Nets won, they’re in first place. Jason Kidd had 14 assists with just 2 turnovers, Vince had 32, and the Raptors, well at least Bargnani had a decent game hitting 4 of 7 threes. The Nets are now a half game up on Toronto for first place in the Atlantic. Gross.

CLEVELAND 108 SACRAMENTO 98
The Cavs were down 17, LeBron started nailing threes, and they scored 60 points in the second half, pulling away for an easy win. Do not make LeBron have to play hard, because he will bury you. He’s saving his energy for the playoffs and the Cavs are still winners of 8 of 10 and 5 in a row.

The D.A.Y. of Rockets and Wizards supporting casts

INDIANA 97 BOSTON 84
The Pacers won behind 23 and 15 from Jermaine O’Neal, and they have their first three game winning streak of the season. The unfortuante story of the game is the injury to Tony Allen. So it’s not just the superstars that are getting hurt this year. It’s young rising potential stars too. This really sucks for Boston, though it helps their chances in the race for Oden.

CHARLOTTE 103 DETROIT 96
The Pistons were missing Chauncey with an injury, so Rip Hamilton decided this would be a good time to get tossed for complaining in the fourth quarter. Flip Saunders brought Rasheed of the bench for “basketball reasons.” Or so he said. The Pistons scored 8 points in the second quarter and totally took the Cats for granted. Flip Saunders is going to blow the season for this team. Good, cause I’m sick of them. 

ORLANDO 91 GOLDEN STATE 76
Dwight Howard, 30 points, 25 boards, 21 years on this earth. There is nothing I can possibly say to make those numbers more impressive.

SAN ANTONIO 92 DENVER 83
JR Smith came back from his suspension and was credited with “spreading the floor” for Iverson. A.I. had 33 in the loss, shooting well, but he only got to the line 3 times. Tim Duncan missed 7 free throws and the Spurs shot 43% from the line and they still won easily enough. I guess playing defense helps. Tony Parker had 26 and 7.

NEW ORLEANS 96 ATLANTA 77
Jannero Pargo led all scorers with 24. That’s really all you need to know. Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams took the most and second most shots for the Hawks, combining to go 8 for 37. Reported attendance: 10,120. I admire what the Hawks are doing. There are so many bad teams in the NBA, but the Hawks want us to know that they can still be the worst if they want to.

The D.A.Y. Jason Kidd was NOT distracted

NEW JERSEY 86 CHICAGO 83
The Bulls had an 18 point lead, the Nets overcame. Jason Kidd’s off-court issues were beyond irrelevant as he carried the team with a 23-14-11 triple double.
The Nets took over the game with a 14-0 run in the fourth that included a dunk from RJ, but once again it was JKidd with a huge three and the key defensive play stripping Hinrich when the Bulls were setting up for a chance to tie. Mikki Moore started and had a 13 and 12 game.

PHOENIX 109 CLEVELAND 90
I turned this game on when it was 101-76 Suns. Not what TNT had in mind. LeBron didn’t really get going until the fourth quarter, with Shawn Marion keeping him in check. 
34, 6, and 6 for LeBron, while Steve Nash just picked Cleveland apart with 21 assists and 1 turnover and only needed to score 4 points. His second 20+ assist game of the season. The Suns have won 8 in a row and 9 of 10. Steve Nash after the game said “We played with a lot of concentration, something we haven’t done in the last couple of weeks.” He’s got high standards.

The D.A.Y. that T-Mac, LeBron, and Dwight Howard couldn’t do it all

DALLAS 109 HOUSTON 106
T-Mac had 45 points on 17 of 29 shooting. I noticed those numbers when there was still 2:45 left in the game, which wasn’t close. Devean George of all people hit some clutch threes for the Mavs. 30 and 10 for Dirk and 28 for Josh Howard. The Mavs are on a five game winning streak, which is peanuts for them. As I mentioned earlier, they have won 18 of 19, and while Dirk has been on fire of late and Josh is playing at superstar level, they keep getting big contributions from the Devean George’s of their roster.

The D.A.Y. of Dallas Revenge

DALLAS 114 LA LAKERS 95
Revenge. The Dallas Mavericks are not playing around. If you want to use the back-to-back against the Spurs and Mavs as an excuse for the Lakers, go ahead. I’ll just say that the Mavs are a much better team and they were extra motivated to beat the only team that has beaten them since December 11th. Josh Howard led the team with 29 and 11 while Kobe led L.A. with 26. Avery is not letting them relax. After 41 games, the Mavs are 33-8. Matching that in the second half would make them a 66 win team. The first Shaq-Kobe Lakers championship team won 67 games, including a 19 game win streak as part of a 30-1 spurt. That’s how Avery wants his team playing. Ruthless.

The D.A.Y. of the Dallas-Miami Finals rematch

DALLAS 99 MIAMI 93
Still no Shaquille. He’s taking his time coming back from injury. The Mavs never trailed, but they let the Heat hang around in this game and Wade had a chance to tie it with a three with 5.8 seconds left. He missed. Great effort from Dwyane in the loss, after he briefly left with an injury in the first quarter he came back and played 44 minutes scoring 31 with 6 and 6 and 2 steals. 

PHOENIX 131 MINNESOTA 102
Shawn Marion had 20 rebounds. In three quarters, before sitting out the fourth cause it was too much of a blowout. He needs to be an All-Star. I don’t know who that would knock out of the game, but he needs to be there. The guy spends his whole career overshadowed by teammates, and now he’s the closest thing to being someone that gets to play in front of fans that remember him from his college days in Vegas. Kevin Garnett had to sit this one out because of another punch and run NBA non-fight. The T-Wolves weren’t going to win anyways, so he might as well have missed the game.

The D.A.Y. of Iverson and Carmelo together

DENVER 115 MEMPHIS 98
I don’t know how much we can take from this game, since it was run and run and run and gun Memphis. A.I. and Melo did not have a power struggle, they each had some highlights, there was an oop from Allen to Carmelo, and Marcus Camby grabbed 17 boards and hit a bunch of wide open jumpers for 17 points.

LA LAKERS 108 GOLDEN STATE 103
Kobe hit the key shot, scored 42, and the Lakers absolutely OWN the Warriors, new roster and all. Sarunas Jasikevicius hit a big shot, Al Harrington scored 30, but the Lakers with their depleted front line have been a dominant home team this season. Lamar Odom and Kwame Brown could both play on Friday. 

SACRAMENTO 88 NEW JERSEY 87
Here’s the good news for the Nets: Jason Kidd had another triple double Mikki Moore hit all 8 of his shots on his way to a career high 22, as the Nets built a 20 point lead. That is all for the good news. Mike Bibby, who couldn’t hit the proverbial side of a barn, got hot and carried the Kings with their last 15 points to get them the win. Ron Artest had a shaved head, so the mohawk era is over. Kevin Martin was ice cold, Ron was chucking, and the Nets still found a way to blow it. 

MIAMI 101 NEW YORK 83
The Heat didn’t have Wade or Shaq. Early in the first quarter, they went on a 27-0 run. I’ve got nothing more to say about this game.

ORLANDO 90 CLEVELAND 79
The Cavs are tired from their west coast trip. Many people seem to be accusing LeBron of taking it easy during the first half, saving his energy for the playoffs. You know, like 90% of NBA players. LeBron sees it the other way “It was tough. It was one of those games you try to forget about. We’ve got to get some rest. Everybody’s sleeping pattern is off.” I hear you LeBron. Sleep is underrated.

The D.A.Y. of Phoenix West over Phoenix East

PHOENIX 125 WASHINGTON 105
I watched the whole first quarter of this game, when the Suns ran away with it and toyed with a Washington team that likes to think of itself as the Phoenix of the East. You think Gilbert jacks up shots with no consicence? The Suns are like 7 Gilberts, except they only take wide open shots. 

DENVER 117 SEATTLE 112
Once again, the Nuggets had a chance to work Carmelo back against a bad team that doesn’t play much defense. This was a close game only because Ray Allen caught fire and scored 22 in the fourth quarter, finishing with 44 points, hitting 6 of 17 threes.

And that brings us to the present. I think that was a pretty good summary of what’s happened in the NBA so far on the court, as long as you pretend no games are played on Friday or Saturday night. Some thoughts and opinions are sprinkled in, but for the most part those are the facts.