Comeback Kids

04.03.08 10 years ago 31 Comments

Whether he was just trying to build suspense or he’s been operating on J.R. Rider Standard Time, Gilbert Arenas‘ comeback in D.C. was plenty dramatic. After going M.I.A. for morning shootaround and pre-game warmups — even the actually beginning of the game — Gil strode out from the locker room halfway through the first quarter. Not exactly a Willis Reed moment, but huge nontheless for a Wizards team who could make a little noise in the East bracket if they’ve got all their guys. Arenas checked in almost immediately (commendable job by Eddie Jordan for not actually giggling on the sideline) and proceeded to drop 12 points in the first half as the crowd went nuts. Arenas ended up with 17 points, but his defense wasn’t all there (like it was in the first place) and he obviously isn’t 100 percent. But just having him on the floor improves Washington’s offense automatically, even if he’s just a decoy … Naturally, on the same day Gilbert comes back, Antawn Jamison (shoulder) and DeShawn Stevenson (ankle) get hurt and will get have to get MRI’s to see if they’ll miss time. Both of them were taken out right at the end of the game, after the Wiz had blown a 10-point fourth-quarter lead. Arenas made a pair of free throws with 15 seconds to go to put them back up one, but then Stevenson rolled his ankle, and right after that Jamison went into the crowd trying to save a loose ball and hurt his shoulder. The Bucks got the ball back with 1.1 remaining, and Andrew Bogut hit Ramon Sessions in the corner, who knocked down a 20-footer for the win … In Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki was back as the Mavs tried to stay in the Western Conference picture. Last night they had the Warriors on the schedule, but GS looked like San Antonio had taken all their energy the other night; aside from Baron Davis (20 pts) and Monta Ellis (27 pts) putting in work, everyone else pretty much played like crap. Dirk scored 18 and looked like he’d never been gone, but really didn’t have to do a whole lot since his team had it in the bag … It’s clear that the Mavs at least are over the mental/psychological hurdle that is/was the Warriors. Avery Johnson isn’t adjusting his lineup to suit Nellie‘s style, and even then Dallas — like the Spurs did — beat the Warriors at their own game … We don’t blame Josh Howard for taking advantage of his last game as The Man. He put up 25 shots and scored 28 points, including a reverse cram over Austin Croshere and Andris Biedrins. (How often must those two get dunked on in practice?) … You know, if Chris Webber had stuck around a little longer, last night’s game could have given us one last time seeing C-Webb and Juwan Howard on the same court at the same time. Of course that would require Juwan getting off the bench, which he didn’t do last night even in the blowout … The Lakers got Pau Gasol (10 pts, 6 rebs, 7 asts) back, but wouldn’t you know, Kobe stole the show. Mamba posted 36 points, 13 boards and 7 dimes. It’s easy to forget that he’s sticking all these jumpers with a bad pinky finger, too. Not sure if the digit still feel like a “noodle,” as Kobe kept saying when he first hurt it, but that can’t be easy to do what he’s doing when you’ve got two fingers on your shooting hand stuck together and don’t have much feeling in one of them … Pau looked pretty good, except for the time when Travis Outlaw palmed his face and crammed on him … Finally, Elton Brand played his first game of the season in a win over the Sonics. Now, rushing Dirk, Gasol and Arenas (and J.O., who we’ll get to in a minute) back from injury makes sense with their teams in the postseason mix. For Brand and the Clippers? The team really has nothing to play for, and Brand is playing with fire considering he could be a free agent this summer and might wanna go into the signing period healthy. But it seems like Elton actually has the purest of intentions; he wanted to come back as soon as he felt healthy enough to help his team, so that’s what he’s doing. The franchise invested a lot in him and he’s trying to give them what they paid for. You can’t hate on that at all. Brand scored 19 and gave Nick Collison buckets in the fourth quarter … So about Jermaine O’Neal. If you’re the Pacers, how do you handle this one? You’re hanging by a thread to your playoff chances, so it would help to start J.O. (a legit shot-blocker who demands a double-team on offense) and play him as much as possible. On the other hand, you’ve got about $44 million tied into Jermaine for the next two seasons; you don’t want to push him too hard right now and cost him games down the road. Last night Jermaine came off the bench and played 20 minutes, getting 12 points against the Celtics. The Pacers got blown out, which probably would have happened no matter how much J.O. played, so at least for a night it made sense to limit their star … In case you missed it yesterday, we posted the video of our Dime #40 cover shoot with Mike BeasleyStephen Curry was at the Bobcats/Cavs game rocking a pair of Air Zoom LeBron kicks. Hope that doesn’t turn into an issue like when O.J. Mayo popped up at a Lakers game earlier this year … LeBron scored 29, but he fouled out in the fourth. With Mike Brown trying to find anything at all in his playbook that doesn’t involve LeBron, Wally Szczerbiak, Big Z and Devin Brown (picture LeBron if he’d eaten a lot more fast food growing up) stepped up and carried the Cavs to the win … Tie-game between the Hawks and Raptors with 0.5 on the clock, Toronto ran a beautiful play to get T.J. Ford a look at the basket by back-picking Josh Childress. Perfect midcourt alley-oop on the inbounds from Carlos Delfino, and T.J. elevated to drop in a layup. However, he was juuuust a bit late. The replay showed the ball was on Ford’s fingertips when the backboard light went on. In the overtime, Josh Smith hit some big-time shots to give ATL the win … Did you see that behind-the-backboard shot by Rudy Gay against the Knicks? He drove baseline left and got bumped out of bounds, and in mid-air flipped a one-hand shot over the glass that bounced in. The Griz went on to dump 130 points on New York and Isiah Thomas, who found out yesterday with the Donnie Walsh hire that he’s doing the lame-duck thing for a while … We’re out like Zeke (eventually) …

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