The Post Up: Welcome Back, Caron

By: Holly MacKenzie

Quiet night in the NBA with only three games on the slate. As Always, the doubleheader on TNT was fun. It was great to see Caron back doing his thing and he came out aggressive from the get go. I was happy to see he had his swagger and happy to see Washington get the W.

Gil’s choice of jacket was not really high on my list of things that were good about last night. I guess I’ve been spoiled with the guys wearing such nice suits on the sidelines, I wasn’t feeling that.

I can’t say enough how much fun the Wizards must have with each other. They are all crazy. The good crazy. Nick Young needs to continue to get playing time. He didn’t have a great outing last night, but I’m looking forward to seeing him in the years to come.

Now, to talk about the Cavaliers. Bron on the cover of the April issue of Vogue? Only the third man to grace the cover and he’s got a basketball in one hand and Giselle in the other. Somehow seems appropriate, although the cover itself isn’t that great. If the mag is “The Shape Issue” and they are using Giselle, why have they got her all covered up in a horrible dress that doesn’t even show her shape off? I don’t get it. I still can’t believe Anna Wintour chose LeBron James to grace the cover. THAT is star power. Craziness.

Someone should tell Damon Jones that you don’t make fun of another player’s mannerisms until you have the victory or at least the lead. I know DeShawn’s whole face-waving deal is whatever, but Damon just looked dumb doing it when he was still down by one.

The thing I don’t get about the Suns: I KNOW that playing against a small team like the Warriors is much, much different than playing the Spurs, etc. in the playoffs, but didn’t they look so much better with Shaq on the bench? I’m not saying that he is playing badly, just that the other guys seem so much more free without him on the floor. Of course, it worked against the Spurs last Sunday so, who knows. Maybe I am just cranky because I miss the old Suns, but watching them get up and down the floor in the fourth was fun. Even if I did want Golden State to win.

BaronDavis. He was fantastic. 38 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 steals. Amare was great too. That man is more than just a man, more than a beast, too. How DOES one try to describe Mr. Black Jesus? Those dunks to finish the game off were ferocious. He looked like he would kill anyone who got in his way.

Jax guarding Amare just wasn’t right. Of course he tried to battle him as best as he could. Thats why he is in my top five. Who is in yours? Not your top-five players to have on your team, but your five favorites to watch, to root for, etc.

It killed me when Craig Sager called Monta “Monty”, during the game. He’s a pretty good player guys, we should all know his name by now! Great article about the Lakers from Jack McCallum over at One piece that I found interesting, given all of the Kobe/Bron MVP talk was this:

Asked what his MVP ballot would look like, Bryant says, “I’m not even thinking about that.” But when somebody mentions that the Cleveland Cavaliers’ James is a favorite because he’s a near one-man team, Bryant, who was averaging 28.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists through Sunday, snaps, “Put me in the East and see what happens.”

After watching the great Dikembe video yesterday I spent half of the night looking up NBA stuff on youtube while watching the games. Russ passed this gem along and I’ve been reminiscing all night.

Great news about Greg Oden being back on the practice floor.

Washington 101 Cleveland 99

With the return of Caron Butler, the Wizards outlasted the Cleveland Cavaliers last night, defeating them 101-99 after LeBron James missed a three-pointer at the buzzer. While Washington led early they were outscored 30-19 in the second quarter and went into the locker room trailing at the half, 54-46. They came out strong in the third to take advantage as the Cavs gave up 34 points in the quarter while scoring only 25 of their own. At the start of the fourth quarter the Wizards were up, 80-79. The final period was a battle of wills between the two teams and Washington held the Cavaliers scoreless over the first three and a half minutes of the period, taking an 89-81 lead midway through the quarter. The Cavaliers would come back and have a chance to tie the game with 20 seconds remaining, but James would be called for an offensive foul and the Wizards took advantage, as Antonio Daniels hit three consecutive free throws to extend their lead back to five. After a three-pointer by Damon Jones with eight seconds remaining, a free throw by Daniels had the Wizards up by two and the Cavs with the ball for the final possession. Rising up over DeShawn Stevenson, James missed the three as the buzzer sounded. Caron Butler scored 19 points in his first game back to lead the Wizards while Antawn Jamison had 17 points and 10 rebounds, Darius Songaila scored 15 points and Brendan Haywood added 13. James finished with 25 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists, but he also had 7 turnovers in the game. Sasha Pavlovic scored 24 points, Delonte West had 10 points and 7 assists and Anderson Varajao added 12 rebounds.

Sacramento 96 Portland 85

Coming off of a win against Minnesota, the Trailblazers looked flat against the Sacramento Kings. Never leading in the game, they would play catch up the entire contest and eventually drop the 96-85 decision on the road as the Kings held them to only 38% shooting. After trailing 58-44 at the half, the Blazers continued to scrape away at the lead and got within seven points midway through the fourth quarter. They would not get any closer, as the Kings responded with an 8-0 run to keep their lead in double-figures the rest of the way through to grab the victory. They were led by Ron Artest’s 22 points and 6 steals on the night. Beno Udrih scored 14 points, grabbed 8 boards and dished 7 assists, Mikki Moore scored 10 points and John Salmons added 11. Brandon Roy had 21 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists for the Trailblazers. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 20 points, Travis Outlaw had 13 points and Martell Webster added 10.

Phoenix 123 Golden State 115

Putting the high-scoring, run and gun Golden State Warriors against the Phoenix Suns, who are in the midst of a tempo-makeover promised to make an entertaining game. The match up didn’t disappoint, with the Suns coming from seven down to take a lead late in the third quarter as they outscored the Warriors 38-22. With Shaquille O’Neal in foul trouble the Suns went with their run and gun lineup and they ended up showing they can still play uptempo, beating the Warriors at their own game. The Suns led 95-84 at the start of the fourth and they held onto their lead the rest of the way through despite a late push by the Warriors to cut the lead down to five with 31 seconds left. They would not get any closer as Amare Stoudemire finished the game off with a thunderous dunk to clinch the victory with 14 seconds remaining. Stoudemire finished with 36 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocked shots for the Suns. Steve Nash had 21 points and 13 assists, Raja Bell scored 18 points, Boris Diaw had 16 off of the bench and Leandro Barbosa added 11. Baron Davis was fantastic in the loss, scoring 38 points to go along with 9 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 steals. Monta Ellis had 23 points for the Warriors, Mickael Pietrus scored 16 points and Stephen Jackson added 13.