Thank Dwight Howard for holding up every trade and every GM at this year’s trade deadline. But he was so good in Orlando’s 107-94 win over Indiana (three missed shots, 30 points, 13 rebounds) that you can see why every team in the league wants to take a shot at acquiring him before doing anything else. Howard was a complete monster on the high screen-n-roll, so good that he even turned J.J. Redick into a playmaker (he had nine helpers), and so forceful that we thought he might turn Roy Hibbert into a panini (the other “All-Star” center had 10 points and two rebounds) … There’s no doubt in our mind that Ersan Ilyasova is going to swing a fantasy league or two this year. He blew up again for 31 and 12 in Milwaukee’s 105-99 W against the Raptors. Never in a million years did we predict Ilyasova (who we still can’t spell his name right without looking it up) would be rocking stat sheets while Stephen Jackson would be contributing about as much as a lawn chair … O.J. Mayo‘s (22 points, eight dimes) triple with about a minute left was wet in Memphis’ 94-91 win in Denver, and it seemed like it was a game-ender. But because no one on Memphis could get a free throw rebound, the Nuggets stayed close and eventually had a possession to try to tie it. Then Andre Miller just completely lost the ball. Did we mention this is one of the weirder subplots of the season? Why does he keep getting the ball during crunch time for Denver? … Josh Smith continued his ridiculous run with 28 points in the Hawks’ seven-point win over Sacramento … And it was Golden State surprising the Clippers, 97-93 as Monta Ellis had 21 and 11 … Remember how Allen Iverson first made the arm sleeve popular, and then eventually (like now) dudes wear them with all kinds of stupid designs on them. What are the chances the clear facemasks Kobe and CP3 (23 points… wearing the mask because of a nasal fracture) are rocking become fashion statements? Rip Hamilton is already down. You could sell them as protective gear that doubles as something that makes you appear like a legit tough guy. No you say? Okay never mind … The NCAA brackets were unveiled last night with the four top seeds going to Syracuse, Kentucky, Michigan St. and North Carolina. No surprises there. But there were a few teams that didn’t get in that have to be tripping out today. U-Dub screwed themselves over by not being able to make a free throw, but what about Drexel and Mississippi State? We understand the Bulldogs slowed as the season went on, but you can’t tell us they aren’t one of the nation’s best 68 teams … No matter what, all roads must go through Kentucky. They’re by far the best team in America – even if they fell asleep drooling on themselves in their conference championship loss to Vandy. One team to keep an eye on: Memphis. They might play competition fit for a JV team, but you could argue they’re playing as well as anyone is right now. All week we’ll be giving you the 411 on everything you need to know for March Madness so stay tuned … And as for the actual college ball yesterday, Michigan State secured their No. 1 seed by beating Ohio State and UNC fell to another tournament dark horse, Florida State … We’re out like Knick defense.
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