This Sunday, a day ritually reserved for football, belonged to basketball. The TV scheduled proved such.
1. The two powerhouses of the ACC, Duke and North Carolina, ran into each other again. This time with the conference title on the line. Again.
2. The revealing of the brackets and the subsequent arguments about teams who were snubbed.
3. The “Fab 5” documentary on ESPN, which, might I say, more than lived up to its billing.
And sandwiched somewhere in between was the NBA and their lone televised game of the day, the Orlando Magic traveling to Phoenix to take on the Steve Nash-less Suns.
Orlando Magic Vs. Phoenix Suns
Pre-Game Hype: Here’s a fun fact: Dwight Howard had just received his learner’s permit the last time the Magic won a game in Phoenix. Well, to be quite honest, I’m not sure if D12 had it or not. I just know Orlando hadn’t won there since their franchise center was 15 years old. To be quite honest, that was about the best story line heading into the contest because the game itself was on the backburner due to the aforementioned events. Unless Earl Clark making his long awaited return to the team that drafted him 14th overall in 2009 got your blood boiling. Or Vince Carter getting the chance to extract revenge on the team that traded him. Yeah, you’re right, I’m reaching.
Post Game Reality: Man, listen. Having hopes this game would reenact the Magic’s weekend thriller against the Golden State Warriors were dashed long before the fourth quarter came around. Monta Ellis and company had 21 three pointers in a game that combined for 36 on Friday. But you see, I’m getting sidetracked already. Suns/Magic, like I said before, was without Steve Nash. The two-time MVP missed the game due to “pelvic instability.” That just screams Quagmire from Family Guy. Seriously though, here’s to a speedy recovery because it could possibly be something really serious and I don’t want to look like an asshole for trying to crack an otherwise lame joke. His replacement, Aaron Brooks, filled in notably after being given the ultimate green light to “shoot as much as he wanted” by head coach Alvin Gentry. And shoot he did.
The former Rocket had 19 points (on 8-10 field goals) and seven assists in the first half, but disappeared in the second. Dwight Howard was just too much for Robin Lopez and Hakim Warrick. Earlier in the season, I had some not-so-kind words for the big man mainly because I believed he was better than what he often showed on the court. I stand corrected. Ever since ol’ boy cussed his teammates out awhile back, he’s been a totally different player and deserves to be in the MVP discussion. He finished with 26 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks in what are “normal” numbers for him (sick to think about, right?). If Dwight ever gets this free throw thing settled and keep the technicals to a minimum, my gracious, my gracious man. That’s about all I can say when painting a mental picture of a fully-recognized-potential Dwight Howard. I’ll say this. Lakers fans are going to absolutely love him alongside Pau Gasol as their front line in a few years. Or in a few months if they package Bynum in a Carmelo-to-the-Knicks like deal next season. Oh yeah, Howard also passed the 10,000 career points mark, but apparently didn’t give a damn.
See, I’m doing it again. The Magic beat the Suns senseless by a score of 111-88 setting the stage for an uncharacteristic anticipated Monday night of professional basketball. David Stern’s mama ain’t raise no dummy so he made sure he scheduled his “marquee” match ups for the day after the NCAA brackets were disclosed. The Magic travel to Dwight Howard’s future home – I’m sorry – to play the Lakers in a rematch of the 2009 Finals (which should have been the Cavs Vs. Lakers anyway; I’m sorry, for real. I am.). The Heat also look to avenge their 30 point loss to the Spurs in South Beach in the opening game.
We’re going to go ahead and end it here mainly because nothing else needs to be said. That and I’m sure the majority of us are racking our brain attempting to figure out who will be this year’s “Cinderella” team in the Tournament. Stay classy, TSS. Stay classy.