The D.A.Y. the Basketball Gods turned on Pat Riley

by February 22, 2007

By Sam Rubenstein

Dwyane Wade left the court in a WHEELCHAIR!!! Who gets wheeled off a basketball court?!? The glaring flaw in Wade’s game, if you want to call it that, is that he goes so hard he puts himself in life threatening danger out there. You have to respect/love that about him, but this is always the fear. Pat Riley, hope you enjoyed your sabbatical while Dwyane was arguably playing better than anyone else in the game. This is a bolt of lightning from the Basketball Gods, possibly more potent than any we have ever seen. Pat Riley, you are not allowed to slither away from this one. Ron Rothstein navigated the ship through the murky water, and Riles showed up when the storm was over. Yesterday he said that they needed Shaq to step up and reclaim his spot as the best center in the game. Be careful what you wish for. I apologize for dwelling on this for so long on a night when there were some great performances and games, but it’s just so amazing that this would happen to Pat Riley in his first game back. I hope DWade is okay, because when a guy with that type of level of tolerance for pain is in tears, it hurts to watch. Tonight’s Finals rematch and the Dirk-Dwyane leadership showdown? Dead.

Michael Redd and Charlie Bell combined to give Indiana a taste of the Reggie Miller experience. A layup, a steal, a three, and we’re going to OT and then double OT. The Pacers didn’t panic despite their inability to close the win out twice, and finished off the Bucks in Double OT. A balanced effort rom Indy led by Jermaine O’Neal’s 29 and 15, 26 from Granger and 22 from Marquis Daniels off the bench. Michael Redd is back. 13 of 28 for 38 points, firing away from three hitting 6 of 13. Mo Wiliams had 24 and 10.

LeBron was content to set up his teammates in crunch time, and he was lucky that Sideshow Varaejo bailed him out with a tremendous follow-up slam that won the game. The fourth quarter had borderline playoff intensity, and the low score is a result of that. Varaejo, who has been a part of trade rumors forever, dunked over Chris Bosh for the win. With 24 and 10 from Chris and 18 and 7 from Bargnani, the Raptors were in position to win. LeBron led Cleveland with 29, but Varaejo’s 16 and 15 saved them.

That is 5 losses in a row for the Lakers. They are in a freefall, and people really think that Jason Kidd is on his way out there to save them. People want to make them all about Kobe and check in on his state of mind and wonder if he’s shooting too much or not enough or leading or not, being tough on his teammates or not… but the problem is that they are just not playing well as a team right now. Maurice Evans gave them 23 on 9 of 12 shooting off the bench and Smush had 18 and 8, but the Lakers lost at home to Portland. Portland. Zach did his usual 22 and 9, while Jarret Jack went off for 30 and their second best rookie Lamarcus Aldridge scored 18 off the bench. The Lakers have to make a move today.

And Kidd was shooting blanks in what many believe to be his last game as a Net. He found other ways to contribute, such as his 14 assists and 9 boards, but it was Vince’s 46 point night that helped him get many of those assists. This kind of loss tells you that the Nets should just blow it up, send both Jason and Vince somewhere else and rebuild for real. It’s just not their year. I can’t put it more simply than that. The Hornets were led by David West’s 32, and 19 and 11 from Chris Paul.

GINOBILI!!! 24 straight points for the Spurs on his way to a 40 point night. Even with Manu going nuts, hitting everything on his zig zag excursions to the hoop, the Hawks had the game tied going to the fourth. But… come on, it’s the Spurs and the Hawks. Joe Johnson, who had 30 points of his own, was called for a flagrant as the Spurs used a 5 point possession to close the game out. Atlanta shot 21 of 35 from the free throw line for 60%. That’s not right for an NBA team. The Spurs were 29 of 32. Speedy Claxton was quoted as saying “I guess you could say it cost us the game.” Yes Speedy, I guess so. That and GINOBILI!!!

It feels like nobody in the entire league has erupted for a ridiculously large solo performance night in a while as the players looked forward to the break like the rest of us.. On this night, it seems like there was one of those type of individual shows put on in every game. Mike Miller in the loss, hit 9 of 17 threes on his way to 45 points. Pau added 22 and 14, with the trade deadline hanging over the Memphis franchise. Stephen Jackson’s 22 and 12 assists led the Warriors with Andris Biedrins adding 21 and 14 boards. J-Rich played for the first time in a while, but Baron did not. Monta Ellis scored 9 of his 22 in OT when Miller finally cooled off. The Warriors are actually in the playoff picture now, as the eight seed with the same record as New Orleans.

I was watching when Wade separated his shoulder. The game was pretty much over, though the Heat were trying their hardest to pull off the late comeback. Shaq seemed revitalized with 20 and 16 in 27 minutes, but if Wade misses significant time – which he could – then Shaq will have to play like this regularly and he just doesn’t have that type of conditioning. Dwyane had 27 and 9 before hitting the wheel chair, while T-Mac led the Rockets with 32. In a season of injuries to pretty much every star player in the league, this could be the most damaging of all. He hurt his shoulder and needed to be wheeled off. What does that tell you? Good luck Riles. There’s nowhere to hide from this one.

Well, the T-Wolves blew a 17 point lead with Adam “The Vanilla Earthquake?” Morrison erupting for 26 in the second half. Wait, earthquakes don’t erupt. Whatever. Three straight wins for the Cats. A bad loss for the T-Wolves who are now falling out of the playoff picture with Randy Wittman’s 5-9 record so far. I enjoyed Morrison’s quote “I was hot, and that is what the NBA is all about, getting the ball to the right guy.” Superstar. The T-Wolves need to come up with something at the trade deadline today. McCants had been playing the last 10 games. He’s trade bait, why not. Get KG some help. Seriously.

Losing this game by only 10 points is a huge moral victory for the Celtics. Al Jefferson beasted with 23 and 17, Paul Pierce scored 24, and Ryan Gomes had 21. Kurt Thomas is back on the floor for Phoenix, starting and doing Kurt Thomas things like grabbing 12 boards. Amare had 32 and 12, Barbosa scored 26 off the bench, and Nash dished out 13 assists with 7 turnovers. Again, congrats to Boston for only losing by 10.

Then there are teams that get blown out in embarrasing fashion. Kyle Korver scored 31, hitting 6 of 7 threes. David Lee missed the game with flu-like symptoms. The Knicks played like they were missing David Lee. On a night when Toronto lost a heartbreaker and Jersey lost a game that could lead to the detonation of the franchise, the Knicks somehow managed to top them both with their lack of, I don’t want to say effort cause that is too strong of a word. They clearly are afraid of winning the Atlantic. Is it cursed or something?

Dwight Howard 26 and 15, the rest of the Magic, nothing. Remember when the Magic had the best record in the East and were one of the surprise teams of the year? Me neither. CWebb and Rip Hamilton scored 18 a piece in an easy win for the Pistons. Going back to the Wade injury once again, man there could be some smoooooooth sailing for the Pistons come playoff time.