February 2007 - Posts

Indiana Pacers

The Suns looked pretty bad throughout the first three quarters of the game against the Indiana Pacers.  Fortunately, the Pacers slacked off a bit and Phoenix was able to run away with the victory, 103-92.

Led by Steve Nash's 25 points and 11 assists, the Phoenix Suns rallied for their 4th straight victory.  Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion supported the cause w/ 23 and 22 points, respectively. Stoudemire also pulled down 18 rebounds for the suddenly streaking Phoenix team (yes, again).  If Phoenix can reach 12 in a row, they'll join the Mavs as one of only a handful of teams to have won 12 games in a row 3 times in the same season... The teams that have done it in the past have won championships, so it will be interesting to see how it turns out if both the Suns and Mavs do it.

Steve Nash, Shawn Marion & Leandro Barbosa celebrate - (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

The Suns comeback started late in the 3rd quarter, as the Suns - without Nash in the lineup - rallied to come within 6 points at the end of the 3rd.  The game continued to sway in the 4th quarter w/ the Pacers struggling mightily - hitting only 5 baskets in the first 10 minutes of the 4th quarter.

The win gets the Suns one step closer to sweeping the Eastern Conference on the road this season.

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Boston Celtics

The Phoenix Suns are starting to put together another run of victories; their latest coming against a pretty sorry Boston Celtics squad. In the 118-108 win, Phoenix got good contributions from just about everybody in the team. Five players scored in double figures, led by Amare Stoudemire's 32 and Leandro Barbosa's 26, including 6-7 from 3-point land.

Boston had three players score over 20 points and were very close until the last 2 minutes; the Suns persistence and some timely shots by Barbosa preserved the victory for the Suns.

Still nursing a sore shoulder injury, Steve Nash was limited to 34 minutes on the court; he played 27 against the Clippers the night before.  While this might seem low or cause for concern, I think this is the actual amount Nash should be playing every night to ensure a good postseason push for the Suns.  They're still relying too much on Steve, so the injury and the games he missed have been good learning lessons for the rest of the Suns players.  Despite the lowered minutes, Nash has still been effective in his time on the court, reaching 12+ assists in each game since he's returned.

Forward Boris Diaw is still out w/ back spasms and will likely miss the Suns four game road trip, which starts Friday in Minnesota. Their next games will be against Atlanta (who defeated them Feb 9th), Indiana and Philadelphia.  Phoenix should win all 4 games and return on a 6-game winning streak.

NBA Injuries

Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat - In the 4th quarter of a loss to the Houston Rockets, Wade attempted to deflect a ball from Shane Battier and injured his left shoulder. You could tell the injury was serious, as Wade was visibly shaken up and in tears. The trainers and medical staff wheeled him off the court in a wheelchair and he was to stay at a Houston hospital overnight. Early prognosis is that he has a dislocated shoulder, but the full extent of the injury is not known yet.

Dwyane Wade shoulder injury video

NBA Trade Rumors

Numerous players are involved in heavy trade discussions as today's trading deadline approaches (3pm EST).  Jason Kidd, Pau Gasol, Mike Bibby and Vince Carter are the biggest names being shopped around right now, but I wouldn't be surprised to see an “out of the blue” type of trade involving another NBA superstar - it almost always happens. 

The Indiana Pacers should be looking to dump both Jamaal Tinsley and Marquis Daniels now that they've been indicted for their role in a fight earlier in the season.  I can't imagine they'll find any takers, but I'm sure they're looking hard.

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2007 NBA All-Star Game - Las Vegas, NV

NBA All-Star Weekend has come and gone... There were some interesting things that happened, as well as some not so interesting things.  I tried to watch each of the weekend's events, but a sick girlfriend and a 7 yr old to entertain derailed my TV time just a bit (no complaints however).

Celebrity Shootout -The West team won 40-21... Twenty-one points - are you kidding? Who cares.

Charles Barkley vs. Dick Bavetta - Old Chuckster won the 3 1/2 court sprint w/ referee Dick Bavetta, including a running backwards moment that almost cost him the race.  It was entertaining at least.

NBA Shooting Stars - Boring... Some controversy gives the win to the Detroit team.

Skills Challenge - Wade beats Kobe, repeats as champ.

Three-Point Shootout - This was probably the most entertaining event of the weekend, and the one with the most intensity (ok, still not much).  After begging to be in the contest, Jason Kapono didn't disappoint. Gilbert Arenas scored 23 in the opening round to advance w/ Kapono and Dirk Nowitzki, last year's winner.  Dirk stunk it up in the final round (9 pts) and Kapono pretty much iced the victory w/ 24 pts - Arenas went afterwards, but didn't come close.

NBA Slam Dunk Contest - Personally, this is usually my favorite event to watch every year, besides the All-Star game itself.  There are a lot of people out there saying the dunk contest is fading/gone, but I really wish the NBA would take a look at making it like it use to be.  Inviting only 4 players to participate is a shame in my opinion... I know there are more players than that willing to show off for their 15 minutes of fame. 

If the dunk contest does disappear soon, I'm going to put the whole thing on Nate Robinson (fault).  After requiring more than 10 attempts last year to make 1 dunk and somehow winning the damn thing (poor judges IMHO), he took 9 attempts in the 2 minutes alotted to him this year and another 2 attempts after that.  The contestants should have 4 attempts at most.  Robinson's continued attempts really took the contest down a few notches.

Congrats to Gerald Green from the Boston Celtics for the win... his highlight dunk was in the 1st round jumping over Nate Robinson, who replaced a cardboard cutout of himself that Green was going to use.

NBA All-Star Game - The game included many great highlight dunks, passes and plays overall.  Kobe Bryant scored 31 pts to lead the West team to a blowout win over the East.  The effort resulted in Kobe receiving the MVP award, though he did take 9 three-pointers (for what?).  Amare Stoudemire was awesome off the bench for the West, scoring 29 pts and narrowly losing the MVP to Bryant.  There was a scary moment when Lebron James attempted to alley-opp himself off the backboard; I guess he forget to tell the defense he was going to do it and was nearly injured as he fell to the ground.

NBA Trades & Rumors
The major trade news swirling around today is the possibility of Jason Kidd joining the L.A. Lakers.  Rod Thorn of the Nets says there's only a 5% chance Kidd will move anywhere, including to L.A.  New Jersey is trying to get a 3rd team involved so they can get something better in return than the Lakers are offering (expiring contracts, draft pick).  Kobe and Kidd in the same backcourt would certainly be a sight to see and make them contenders in the Western Conference.

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Phoenix Suns News:

  • Steve Nash still out with shoulder inflammation. Don't expect to see Steve return to the court until the middle of next week - at the earliest.
  • As if losing Nash wasn't bad enough, the Suns are now without their 2nd playmaker, Boris Diaw, who's got back spasms right now.
  • Some good news... Kurt Thomas has returned to practice, so he should start seeing some minutes after the All-Star break. His inside presence, defense, and overall basketball IQ will be greatly utilized on the court as Phoenix prepares for a long, healthy playoff run.
  • The Suns are on a streak right now... it's just not the type we'd all prefer.  Phoenix has lost it's last 2 games without Nash (the last w/out Diaw), and are now 3-3 in the month of February; this after a 15-1 January record and 13-2 December record.
  • Tonight's game - The Suns face a tough challenge tonight against the Seattle Supersonics, who have played Phoenix very well this year (and last). Their games have been some of the best in the NBA this year.  Late in the 1st quarter, the Suns are down 22-12.

NBA News:

  • The Boston Celtics broke a franchise worst 18 game losing streak tonight against the Milwaukee Bucks. Led by Paul Pierce's 32 points & Gerald Green's 21, Boston handled the Bucks easily enroute to a 117-97 victory.
  • Pat Riley returning to Heat bench after All-Star break. After having two surgeries, it appears Riley is ready to take over the coaching duties once again... The timing couldn't be better - Miami is playing well right now w/ Shaq back in the lineup and w/ most of the team healthy (& winning).
  • More All-Star replacements... Jason Kidd is the latest player that will miss the game on Sunday. Joe Johnson was appointed by David Stern as Kidd's replacement.  Johnson is excelling this year in Atlanta, despite the team's poor record.
  • With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, rumors are flying around w/ some of the top players in the NBA's names on them.  The Lakers are reportedly pursuing a trade for Jason Kidd, while the situation in Clipperland just continues to boggle most fans; coach Dunleavy and Corey Maggette butted heads last week (Maggette missed 2 games). I can't imagine the team wants to keep this situation throughout the season... they're already struggling significantlly, so making a trade could save their season.  Still no word on Kevin Garnett - it appears he'll stay in Minnesota and they'll continue to suck.  The Knicks could be pursuing the Cavs Drew Gooden (why?) - they're willing to part w/ just about everyone on the team except for Eddy Curry.
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2007 NBA All-Star Game - Las Vegas, NV

NBA Commissioner David Stern has chosen the replacements for this Sunday's All-Star game in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Ray Allen (Sonics) and Memhet Okur (Jazz) were selected to replace Steve Nash and Allen Iverson in the annual free-for-all game.

Ray Allen is an obvious choice, as I've suggested he'd get picked several times (see previous posts).  He's been the lone brightspot on a terrible Supersonics team.

Memhet Okur is a bit of a surprise, but he is still deserving.  While I thought Stern might pick Zach Randolph or the Jazz's Deron Williams, he ended up going a different route w/ the Okur pick.  Utah has the 3rd best record in the league and w/ Carlos Boozer already out of the All-Star game, the Jazz were looking like they'd have no players representing them in the game.  Stern made it clear that a team's record does have an impact on who goes to the game and who stays home.

What do you think?
Should the NBA All-Star Game feature the league's most exciting players (fan vote) OR should it feature the best players on the best teams (coach's vote)? Or should it be a mixture of both like it is now?
(Send me your comments and I'll post the responses)

David Stern also named Steve Nash's replacement in the Skills Competition - Chris Paul (Hornets) will replace Nash and go against Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant.  Wade won this competition in 2006, while Nash took home the honors in 2005. The Skills Competition is looking like a must-watch - the Slam Dunk contest looks like it's going to be a yawner.

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2007 NBA All-Star Game - Las Vegas, NV

More bad news for the Western Conference All-Stars... superstar Allen Iverson has announced that we will skip the All-Star Game to rest his ankle.  Iverson will reportedly return to the court on February 20th against San Antonio.

Iveron's announcement is the 2nd in as many days.  Yesterday, the Phoenix Suns announced that MVP Steve Nash would skip the weekend events to rest his sore shoulder.

The announcement by Allen Iverson certainly clears the way for some other worthy player to make the roster.  The West had many players that could've been selected to the team, but there simply weren't enough open spots for them.  Some lucky players will probably make it to the game now; hopefully David Stern picks a non-guard for at least one of the replacements.

This latest injury brings the total number of players missing the game for the Western Conference to 4 (players).  Yao Ming and Carlos Boozer were the first two to be replaced, and how Nash & Iverson will be as well.  A recent injury to Elton Brand and Baron Davis will probably remove them from consideration, so Ray Allen, Zach Randolph and Deron Williams are probably the front-runners.

More info on this story from FoxSports.com

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2007 NBA All-Star Game - Las Vegas, NV

The Phoenix Suns announced today that 2-time MVP Steve Nash will skip this weekend's All-Star game and Skills Challenge to rest his injured shoulder.  NBA commissioner David Stern will pick a replacment for Nash (think Ray Allen, Elton Brand or Zach Randolph).

By skipping the game and skills challenge, Nash will be getting nearly 2 full weeks of rest for the shoulder that's kept him out of the last 3 1/2 games (the Suns are not faring well in his absence).

More info on this story from FoxSports.com

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2007 NBA All-Star Game - Las Vegas, NV

NBA All-Star News
NBA Superstar Carmelo Anthony and budding star Josh Howard were selected as All-Star reserves by NBA commissioner David Stern. After some controversial debates about whether Anthony deserved to be selected, because of his role in the Garden Brawl, Stern appointed him as a replacement for Yao Ming for the Western Conference.

NBA Injury Updates

  • Steve Nash, Suns - Nash has been bothered by a sore shoulder since last week.  He has now missed the last 2 1/2 games, including the game tonight against the lowly Atlanta Hawks. Leandro Barbosa is starting in Nash's place and playing very well - he scored 25 pts in the last game.
  • Paul Pierce, Celtics - Pierce participated in Boston's shootaround this morning and has played in tonight's game against the New Jersey Nets. Based on his line (4-16 FG, 9 pts & 4 rbs), he probably should've waited another game or two.  The Celtics were lucky to reach 78 pts in the game, so you have to wonder how big of a distraction Pierce's return is.
  • Allen Iverson, Nuggets - Iverson returned on Wednesday night, but is now second-guessing that decision because he re-aggravated the injury.  Now, Allen is hinting that he might skip the All-Star game to rest his ankle - he has a decent point though... he's started 7 straight All-Star games and won two All-Star MVPs.

Other NBA News

  • The New York Knicks' Eddy Curry publicly stated this week that he would request a trade if Knicks management fires Isiah Thomas is fired at the end of the season.  Curry has played better this year, but one year doesn't make you an NBA superstar worthy of demanding a trade.  He's finally earning the money the Knicks ponied up in 2005 to get him and he should be grateful... Sounds like a little brainwashing by Thomas, or at least some trash-talking about management.
  • Former NBA player John Amaechi has announced that he is gay.  Amaechi is the first NBA player to make such a claim; other sports have had players come out, though all were after their playing careers were over.  I don't think that's a coincidence either... announcing your gay would probably be career suicide for any major league athlete in today's society.  I'm not saying it's right/wrong, but that's the way it is right now.
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Portland Trailblazers

Last night's game against the Portland Trailblazers marked the 3rd time that the Suns have played without 2-time MVP Steve Nash in the lineup this season.  Fortunately for them they had a good replacement in Leandro Barbosa.  After squandering lead after lead and letting Portland stay in a game they didn't belong in, Barbosa scored 23 of his 25 points in the second half & overtime to help the Suns win their 6th straight game against the Blazers.  At 39-10, the Suns are only 1/2 game behind Dallas for the Western Conference's #1 playoff seed and the league's best record.

Amare Stoudemire was a monster (again) for the short-handed Suns, leading the way w/ 36 pts and 9 rebounds - 1 rebound shy of getting his 4th straight double-double of the season.  His hustle and hard-work paid off well for the Suns throughout the game.

Nash is out w/ what's being called “shoulder inflammation“ that started last Thursday when he woke up.  Mike D'Antoni should be wary of the injury and start giving Nash more breaks during the games when he returns.  Barbosa and Marcus Banks are adequate replacements, as they showed last night.

Portland was led by Zach Randolph's 33 pts and 10 boards, and rookie Brandon Roy's 27 pts.

Phoenix's next game will by Friday against Joe Johnson and the Atlanta Hawks, followed by a visit from the Chicago Bulls on Sunday.

Other NBA News

  • Tyrus Thomas Fined - The Bulls player was fined $10k for his reaction to being selected for the NBA Dunk contest; he said he was going to show up and collect the free money.
  • Paul Pierce Hospitalized - Just when it looked like Pierce would return to the court this week, doctors discovered that Paul had an infected elbow. Pierce will be in the hospital for at least 2 days and Celtics coach Doc Rivers says that he likely won't return until after the All-Star break.
2007 NBA All-Star Game - Las Vegas, NV

The league's coaches have voted, and now we have the All-Star reserves for the 2007 All-Star Game in Las Vegas.  Each NBA coach had to vote for two guards, two forwards, one center and two flex players (any position).  Fortunately for the Western Conference's top players, Suns coach Mike D'Antoni wasn't able to vote for his own players (no coach can vote for their own players)... otherwise we might have the Suns starting five on the bench in Vegas.  Ok, maybe D'Antoni's not that greedy, but you have to admit that the Suns/Mavs each deserve a few All-Star players.

NBA All-Star Jerseys and Apparel are now available - Click here to order

The big winners were Phoenix, New Jersey, Washington, Houston, Miami, San Antonio and Detroit for getting 2 or more players on the All-Star team (starters or reserves).  The Phoenix Suns led all teams w/ 3 selections, while each of the other teams were awarded w/ 2 All-Star.  The Suns had the best record, so it's no surprise to see the players rewarded w/ an All-Star selection.

Your 2007 NBA All-Star Reserves, as selected by NBA coaches:

2007 NBA All-Star Reserves - Western Conference

Western Conference

  • Shawn Marion, Suns
  • Amare Stoudemire, Suns
  • Steve Nash, Suns
  • Tony Parker, Spurs
  • Carlos Boozer, Jazz (injured, to be replaced)
  • Dirk Nowitzki, Mavs
  • Allen Iverson, Nuggets

Eastern Conference

2007 NBA All-Star Reserves - Eastern Conference
  • Dwight Howard, Magic
  • Jermaine O'Neal, Pacers
  • Jason Kidd, Nets
  • Vince Carter, Nets
  • Richard Hamilton, Pistons
  • Chauncey Billups, Pistons
  • Caron Butler, Wizards

All-Star Snubs...

  • Carmello Anthony - NBA's leading scorer not selected... probably the 1st time this has ever happened.  It seems the coaches didn't appreciate Anthony's role in the Garden Brawl.  He still has a chance to make it if commissioner Stern selects him.
  • Other Western Conference snubs... Ray Allen, Elton Brand, Zach Randolph and Marcus Camby.
  • Eddy Curry - The resurgent Knicks F/C deserves a spot there, above Jermaine O'Neal or Chauncey Billups.
  • Other Eastern Conference snubs... Antawn Jamison (now injured 3-6 weeks), Michael Redd (injured), Joe Johnson (better player than Hamilton & Billups, but bad team record), Chris Paul (injured).

All-Star Replacements

  • Carlos Boozer and Yao Ming will be replaced w/ 2 other players (see snubbed players above).
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