Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Three random observations ...

... about the NBA:

1. A wild night in the NBA on Monday. Dwyane Wade had a game for the ages against Chicago. The double-overtime thriller featured a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Wade at the end of the first half, another trey to tie the game with 11.4 left in regulation, and then the capper, a steal that led to a running three-pointer as time expired in the second OT to give the Heat the win. Wade finished with 48 points on 15-for-21 shooting, including 5-for-6 from behind the arc, while dishing out 12 assists to boot. The Bulls kept it interesting behind Ben Gordon's 43 points, as well as an unexpected 29 points and eight rebounds from John Salmons. But the game will be remembered for Wade's heroics.

2. Monday was also the day the Lakers-Blazers rivalry officially came back. Portland was taking L.A. apart with seconds to go in the third quarter when Lakers defensive stopper Trevor Ariza went a bit overboard trying to stop a Rudy Fernandez layup, taking a wild swipe that knocked Fernandez to the ground, where he laid for the next 10 minutes before being carted off on a stretcher. (He's OK, apparently.) The hack led to a confrontation that resulted in technical fouls on LaMarcus Aldridge and Travis Outlaw. Ariza was ejected for the foul, deemed a flagrant level 2 by the officials, and Lamar Odom may have to sit out the next game for L.A. after leaving the bench. The Blazers proceeded to finish off a 111-94 shellacking of the Lakers for their 12th straight victory at the Rose Garden, and now sit tied with Utah for fourth place.

3. Forget returning to a bench role. Maybe the best thing for the Pistons is to tell Allen Iverson to just stay away. They're 5-1 without him, including three wins against division-leading teams after beating Orlando 98-94. The Pistons played well even without Rasheed Wallace, who left the game with a strained left calf in the first quarter. Richard Hamilton scored the last seven points for Detroit and played the distributor throughout the night, dishing out 14 assists to go with a total of 29 points. Tayshaun Prince added 20 points and Antonio McDyess was dominant on the boards with 18 rebounds to power the Pistons. Even Kwame Brown got into the mix, inexplicably hitting five of six shots for 10 points while going up against Dwight Howard in 26 minutes of action. It also helped that Hedo Turkoglu had only two points in 20 minutes of play for Orlando, which lost all three games to Detroit this year. The Pistons now has a glimmer of hope that they may get back to the Eastern Conference Finals this year if they make it through the first round and can match up in the second round with the Magic, a team they own.

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