What Happened To Our Beloved Suns?
SAINT ANDREW'S NET: HOORAY FOR STRIPPERS!

Mad Men

By 11.13.08
Rafer AlstonRafer Alston, Dime #34

Replace the key participants with some other players around the League, or replace the two teams altogether, and last night’s Rockets/Suns “brawl” could have been much, much worse. As it was, though — 78-pound Rafer Alston bucking up on Pharrell‘s roadie Matt Barnes, crash test dummy Steve Nash escalating the situation before T-Mac jumped in with his shoulder brace and ailing knee, and other not-so-notorious thugs like Yao and Barbosa in the mix — the incident ended up somewhere between one of those Major League Baseball stand-and-stares and an average night of being guarded by Bruce Bowen. We heard Ron Artest was gonna get involved, but the chip David Stern had implanted in 2004 activated and temporarily paralyzed him. (The same thing happened when Stephen Jackson was watching the fight on TV and started to jump up off the couch.) Put the blame on Barnes for this one. He went off on his own agenda in the middle of a play to go headhunting after Rafer and started the whole fracas … As for the game, the Rockets won convincingly as T-Mac broke out of his mini-slump with 27 points, Yao put up 17 and 15 boards, and for like the eighth game in a row we were more impressed with Aaron Brooks (19 pts) than Rafer … Shaq had 18 points, 13 boards and four blocks, and in the process passed John Havlicek for 10th all-time on the NBA career scoring list. Is it possible Shaq has been underappreciated all this time? One of our writers thinks so … Lakers/Hornets was hyped as a potential Western Conference Finals preview, but if that’s gonna be the case, Chris Paul and crew need to get their weight up before next spring. On the road, the Lakers came out of the gate looking like they were gonna rout: everyone was sticking threes, they always seemed to find the open man inside or out, Bynum and Gasol were outplaying Chandler and David West, and Vlad Radmanovic looked surprisingly competent for a few minutes. L.A. was working on a 20-piece meal in the first half, but of course CP (30 pts, 13 asts) led a rally; N.O. got to within three in the fourth quarter when Kobe — who we figured had something in store for James Posey — threw in the dagger on a three with about a minute left to essentially end it. “I just wanted to shoot it in his face,” Kobe (20 pts) said afterward … You think the Hornets might be going for the family-friendly PR angle? For the on-screen player intros, like the ones on Monday Night Football where the players say their name and their college, the Hornets starters said their names and then their parents’ names. For example, “David West, son of Harriet and Amos West.” Next time they’re gonna show a picture of each guy’s childhood pet … We’re feeling this Celtics/Hawks rivalry. The two rosters match up just right to make for close games, and there’s a clear air of hostility, established via Paul Pierce‘s dramatic reading from Colors and the KG/Zaza battle in last year’s playoffs. Last night it was more of the same — one time Garnett (25 pts, 12 rebs) got a dunk on Randolph Morris and was barking something nasty at the kid while Morris looked more confused than anything … Joe Johnson (28 pts, 7 asts) and Pierce (34 pts) traded big plays down the stretch, and after JJ dimed Marvin Williams for a go-ahead baseline jumper with seven ticks left, Doc called the “Get the Ball to Paul Pierce and Get the Hell Out the Way” play (so said KG in the post-game). Matched up on Al Horford, Pierce nailed a fadeaway J before the buzzer to win it …

Dwight HowardDwight Howard (photo. Mannion)

Dwight Howard got his first career triple-double (30 pts, 19 rebs, 10 blks) against the Thunder, while Robert Swift unveiled his new haircut (THANK YOU!) and his revolutionary “Stand There” defensive style. Seriously, the highlight reel consisted of Dwight dunking and Swift standing there watching … Another great Blazers finish, this time down in Miami. Portland was up four with less than a minute to go when Rudy Fernandez (25 pts) hit a sweet jumper from the top of the key after a spin move. When the cameras showed Portland’s bench after the ensuing timeout, Joel Przybilla was looking like an overgrown Ralphie from A Christmas Story, a silly grin plastered on his face while he eyed Rudy like he was The Lamp … On the next possession D-Wade (36 pts, 8 asts) blew past Travis Outlaw and dunked on both he and LaMarcus Aldridge with two hands (Mark Jones went a little corny/overboard on the call: “He took him to the spa! He’s giving him Noxzema! That was a FACIAL!”), but needing a stop on the Blazers’ next trip, the Heat let Steve Blake get open in the corner for the dagger three. Did you notice how on that Portland possession the clock seemed to be moving real slow? It even stopped for a beat at the exact 20-second mark … Avery Johnson put it best about Greg Oden‘s game: “[Portland] has to consider this a win. Greg Oden played 16 minutes and didn’t get hurt.” And he wasn’t even trying to be funny … Jones described Mark Blount as “a good pick-and-pop” player, which is a nice way of saying he avoids the paint like Dick Vitale avoids quiet places. Blount was jacking every time he got the ball, which included taking some threes. He’s like a less-likable and less-interesting version of Rasheed … Congrats to the Wizards on their first win, which they got home against the Jazz. Caron and Jamison did their thing, but we were real impressed with JaVale McGee. The rookie’s arms are like nine feet long and he was trying to dunk or swat every ball that got within his reach. He’s possibly already better than Andray Blatche … We’ll give Tim Duncan three more games before he says “F*** it” and takes those kids on his team from the adidas commercial onto the court with him instead of what he’s got to work with in San Antonio. While Duncan was busy giving the Bucks 24 points, the other starters — Roger Mason, George Hill, Oberto and Udoka — COMBINED to score 14 points. Fourteen. Combined. Did we mention they were playing the Bucks? It’s to the point where some guy named Anthony Tolliver was getting major minutes for the Spurs. We cannot stress how awful it was. San Antone would be better off bringing Avery, Sean Elliott, Vinny Del Negro, The Admiral and those guys back until Tony Parker and Manu get healthy. What’s Iceman up to, anyway? … We’re out like Barnes for a few games …


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