Chris vs. Deron, Yao vs. Oden, Jason Kidd vs. Air & Opportunity

04.06.09 9 years ago 50 Comments
Jason Kidd, Dime #40

Jason Kidd, Dime #40

Behind Amar’e Stoudemire‘s eye injury and the inevitable yet-to-be-played game when they officially become a Lottery team, yesterday the Suns suffered one of their defining losses of the season, getting destroyed by Dallas on national TV in just a sorry-ass defensive “effort.” ESPN’s Jamal Mashburn said it best: The Suns, like the Pistons, are now in rebuilding mode — or at least they need to be if they know what’s good for them. Not saying there needs to be a total overhaul, but after years of selling draft picks and acquiring older guys, it’s time to shift the focus. Build around Amar’e, start grooming Steve Nash‘s eventual replacement, and consider trading Shaq (’cause he might force your hand anyway) … On the way to hanging 140 around Phoenix’s neck, the Mavs slapped up 81 points in the first half after Josh Howard beat the second-quarter buzzer with a 75-foot heave … That shot also went down as Jason Kidd‘s 16th assist. Kidd finished with 19 points and 20 dimes, and passed Magic for 3rd on the all-time assists list. Sure, the Suns’ D was no better than if the Mavs had been scrimmaging the Fort Wayne Mad Ants at half-speed, but it was cool to see one more vintage J-Kidd performance before he likely moves into the Ring-Chasing Backup portion of his career … Cavs/Spurs was also a blowout, albeit a less-expected one. With Tim Duncan (6 pts) and Manu Ginobili (4 pts) off their games offensively, the Spurs got cracked by 20 at the Q … Like he usually does when an elite scorer is involved, Pop dusted off Bruce Bowen for this one. But at this point, it’s clear Bowen is simply too old to do anything with LeBron (38 pts). And the crazy part is that it was only two years ago (’07 Finals) when Bowen could go out there and give ‘Bron a battle … Yao vs. Greg Oden was the marquee big-man matchup of the night: Oden is still coming off the bench, though, so wasn’t much of a factor (11 mins, 4 pts, 0 rebs). But in his limited time on the court against Yao (21 pts, 12 rebs), he struggled to score and got dunked on at least once. We like Yao’s mean streak and it seems to rear its head more often, but that movie-villain mustache needs to go … (And did you catch Von Wafer‘s reverse dunk? Straight nasty.) … The marquee little-man matchup was Chris Paul vs. Deron Williams. You know the script with those two: Similar stat lines — CP had 19 points and 12 dimes, D-Will had 21 and 11 — and Deron’s team gets the win. Even with the Jazz struggling on the road and generally looking bad over the past two weeks, they still went into N.O.’s gym and won easy, dropping 41 points in the first quarter …

Chauncey Billups (photo. adidas)

Chauncey Billups (photo. adidas)

Other big stat lines from Sunday: Will Bynum put up 32 points (26 in the fourth quarter) in a win over Charlotte; Kelenna Azubuike put up 30 points and 15 boards in a win at Sacramento; Chris Bosh had 31 and 14 in a loss to the Knicks; and Troy Murphy posted 22 points and nine boards and went 6-for-6 beyond the arc in a win at Oklahoma City … And the Nuggets/Wolves game contained the single most improbable moment of the NBA season: Not only did Chauncey Billups catch a dunk — his first of the season and only the 23rd of his career — but he did it while Mark Madsen was chasing him down. (Chauncey even said afterwards he wasn’t sure about the dunk because he was worried about Madsen taking him out.) So you’ve got a Chauncey dunk and an on-court cameo from Mad Dog; What are the odds of those two events happening at the same time? … At least one Louisville team fulfilled their Final Four potential. The women’s team beat Oklahoma in one of Sunday’s national semifinal games, behind All-American forward Angel McCoughtry‘s 18 points, 11 boards and five steals. Louisville barely escaped, though. Up by two in the final seconds, UL missed a free throw and Oklahoma’s Nyeshia Stevenson had a look at a three that hit every part of the rim before falling out at the buzzer … A lot was made about Courtney Paris‘ promise that she’d give back her scholarship money if OU didn’t win a national championship during her career. While it was a big storyline, don’t you think it was an a**hole move by ESPN’s sideline reporter to ask Paris (16 pts, 16 rebs, 4 blks) about the scholarhsip thing on the court immediately after the game? The girl was still crying from a Final Four loss and had just ended one of the greatest college careers EVER, regardless of gender. That wasn’t the right time nor place for that question … First impression of the women’s Final Four: The St. Louis arch painted on the court is ugly. It reminded us of back when the Rockets had that “rocket launch” streak on their court in the mid-1990s … In the other game, UConn kept rolling, almost 20-piecing Stanford to set up the championship game … Meanwhile, some of the Dime crew in Detroit for the men’s Final Four hit up ex-NHL player Chris Chelios‘ sports bar last night. Michael Jordan walked in at one point, led and followed by a mass security force … We’re out like the Suns …

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