This is going to be a rough weekend. The NBA All-Star break is here and all we have to look forward to is opening weekend at the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
Can there be any less enthusiasm about this once other-worldly event? When I was a kid, I remember Eric and Beth Heiden being big deals as was Dorothy Hamill’s haircut. My favorite winter Olympian was Franz Klammer simply because I loved the name Franz. And who doesn’t love the luge event? I’m still trying to figure what the skill for this sport is other than having a set on you the size of Pittsburgh to even attempt it. Does one practice by going for a closed MRI?
Remember how the country came together after the U.S. hockey team defeated the powerhouse Soviet Union in the ’80 semifinals? It was one of the most bone-chilling sporting events in the history of this nation, but it wasn’t until Balboa knocked out an overconfident Drago that we took control of the Cold War.
Point being, prepare to muddle through the next five days without any pro basketball. For those of you, who unlike me, have a shot to win your league, you have plenty to look forward to. Several big name players will possibly be returning from injury on Tuesday (Kobe, Andrew Bynum, Monta Ellis, Corey Maggette, Derrick Rose, Tony Parker, Kenyon Martin) and trade rumors are swirling.
There’s a scenario that has the Knicks taking on Tracy McGrady‘s cool but expiring $23 million and then shipping Al Harrington and his selfish game to Washington. The Wiz would then send the underachieving Caron Butler and the overachieving Brendan Haywood to Houston to finalize it. As a Knicks fan, I would do anything to get rid of the ever-selfish Harrington and I would literally eat at least half of Larry Hughes‘ absurd $13 million contract to exorcise him from the team.
Addition by subtraction alone, the Knicks would win a few extra games. Lord knows I’m no fan of McGrady, but I’d rather see him in control of the ball in the fourth quarter than anyone else on the current roster.
The Cavs are in the market for a spot-up shooting big man, namely Antawn Jamison or the oft-injured Troy Murphy. They have also been rumored to be involved in a three-team soiree with Detroit and Houston that would land them Richard Hamilton.
The Celts have joined the fracas with an offer of Ray Allen, Brian Scalabrine and J.R. Giddens for Jamison and Butler. Apparently, there is some legitimacy to this. Would we be looking at a Rondo, Pierce, Jamison, Garnett, Perkins starting lineup with Butler and Rasheed Wallace off the bench? That’s a host of big names in there, but it’s tough to throw a team together like that and expect big results.
I’ll stop blathering, but I do so because there were only two games on last night’s slate.
Cleveland 115, Orlando 106
LeBron‘s stat lines are starting to look silly. When 32, 8 and 13 barely gets any attention we’re talking Big O territory. The Cavs are now 43-11 and cruising towards home court advantage in the East. Solid youngster J.J. Hickson started, shot 9-of-14 from the floor and finished with 20 points in 28 minutes. He plays hard and if his minutes remain consistent he will be someone to consider. With Mo Williams still on the mend, Boobie Gibson started and contributed 11 points, five assists and knocked down three 3-pointers. There is not a better source of the long ball in the NBA than Gibson and you have about two weeks left to reap the rewards. Vince Carter was back to his post-30-year old self again, recording 14 points on 5-of-16 from the field.
San Antonio 111, Denver 92
The Nuggets were uncharacteristically steamrolled at home in this one as DeJuan Blair led seven Spurs in double figures with 17 points and nine rebounds. With Tony Parker a late scratch, George Hill moved back to point guard and added 17 points, six rebounds and four assists. Parker will return soon after the break, but Hill should remain in the starting unit and be a decent source of across the boards statistics. Nene led Denver with 20 points on 8-of-9 from the floor and grabbed nine boards. Malik Allen started in place of the injured Kenyon Martin, but only tallied six points in 24 minutes… stay away.
It’s going to be a rough three days for Jeff, Tom and me, but I guess that’s better than 20 million.