... about the NBA:
1. It's tough to play the up-tempo Warriors on the second night of a back-to-back. Portland realizes that after a comeback attempt fell short in a 105-98 loss at Golden State. The Blazers got a performance befitting his star from Brandon Roy, who had 37 points, but 23 turnovers and an uncharacteristically poor performance by the Portland's reserves left the door open for the Warriors, who were led by Corey Maggette's 24 points off the bench. Travis Outlaw pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds, but his 3-for-14 shooting performance was a major part of the struggles for the Blazers' second unit, which barely wound up with more made shots (eight) than turnovers (seven).
2. Miami has to find a way to get more playing time for Michael Beasley. Yes, he's a rookie, and prone to mistakes, but that's no excuse for having perhaps your second-best scoring option play just 13 minutes each in back-to-back games, as he did against Charlotte and Denver this week. The Heat was dealt a disappointing loss to a traveling Denver squad that showed they're still a step behind the contenders. Coach Eric Spoelstra, also in his first year, responded by giving Beasley 31 minutes Thursday in a 95-93 win against the Bulls, during which he hit nine of his 10 shots for 21 points, pulled down seven rebounds, had three assists (including a pair in the fourth quarter) and blocked two shots.
3. We hear all kinds of Amare Stoudemire trade rumors these days, but he's not the one the Suns should trade. They got into trouble when they acquired Shaq, and he's the one who should be going out the door. It's not because Shaq is playing poorly, since he's giving Phoenix 17.3 points and 8.9 rebounds a game, his best numbers since he was the second option on the Heat's '06 championship team. It's because the Suns can get his $21 million off the books after this season by swapping him to Cleveland for Wally Szczerbiak ($13.77 million) and Eric Snow ($7.3 million). Snow and Szczerbiak have contracts that expire after this season, so the Suns can begin their rebuilding effort quickly. The Cavs can have the extra big man they lack, not to mention a guy who is still one of the best center in the game, for this year and next to help them win a title before LeBron becomes a free agent in 2010. It's a win-win, and the salaries match. Why don't we hear more about this possibility?
So we're at the All-Star break. No promises, but I'd like to do a special All-Star edition of Three Random Observations ... So we'll probably have something fun up this weekend. Enjoy H-O-R-S-E and the dunks, tolerate the All-Star Game itself, and have a nice nap during the celebrity game tonight!