Friday, January 16th
* Magic @ Lakers
* Hornets @ Cavs - I mean, this is a big matchup, isn't it? The Hornets are Conference-title worthy contenders, aren't they? Pfff. Their 3rd-best player is a disappearing violet (Peja), their center is an offensive liability, their bench is as thin as the paper it looks bad on. Am I wrong or is David West their only semblance of what might be mistaken for an inside presence? Chris Paul is truly a wizard, his play casting spells over some to make them believe his team is a top contender, his steals dizzying others into believing he is a strong all-around defender. Methinks James Posey could've chosen better. OK ok, I shouldn't be so hard on the Hornets; Paul and West are truly among the best in the league...I think this is a knee-jerk reaction to enduring their announcers. Please forgive me buzzers.
But with the slew of injuries that've hit them lately, their hold on a playoff position is about to become real, real shaky over the foreseeable future.
Saturday, January 17th
* Magic @ Nuggets - I fully expected a bit of a letdown from the Magic men this game. Coming off a hard-fought win vs. the Lake-show less than 24 hours ago, traveling to the Mile High City and its famously-thin air, a bit of sluggishness might've been understandable. No such luck for Chauncey and crew. After playing a close first half, the Magic laid some smack down in the 2nd half, showing both resolve and excellent conditioning.
* Hornets @ Pistons - You know, if you combined these two rosters, you might have a pretty good team. Rasheed, West, and Prince up front, CP3 and Butler/Stuckey at guard (with all due respect to the AI lovers, we've already seen what a nightmare two diminutive guards creates for a team's defense). Then you have scorers like AI, Hamilton, and Peja coming in off the bench, bruisers like Chandler, McDyess and Maxiell, and specialists like Posey and...and...well, Posey. OK, well, maybe not quite a title-contender, but it'd definitely be stronger than what either team is working with right now. Just flip a coin to see which city loses out and gets to start over with a bunch of draft picks. Or maybe they could share. New Orleans is used to sharing.
These two teams generate way more hope and print than their rosters would seem to dictate.
* Heat @ Thunder - What, a matchup of 2 of the 4 non-plural teams in the league isn't noteworthy? OK OK, I kid I kid. Sunday belongs to the NFL. Speaking of which, parity or no parity, there is something intrinsically wrong with a 9-7 team in the Super Bowl. Midnight is supposed to strike sometime before the big game. This is sports dammit, and there are rules to be followed. Kinda like the rule that says self-praise will usually lead you to embarrassment and humility...
* Suns @ Celtics - Following Sunday’s win over the Toronto Raptors, Amare’ Stoudemire, who had 31 points announced, “I’m about to get my gorilla game on”. Next game: 3 points, 0-7 shooting, 1 rebound, 4 turnovers, 1 block -- in 30 minutes.
Talk about your unintentional comedy. Does the Mike & Mike Show on ESPN Radio still give out the Just Shut Up award? Every time I look at STAT's stat line I burst out laughing. You can't make this stuff up.
* Cavs @ Lakers - Like two heavyweights slugging it out in the late rounds, the 4th quarter was definitely the most intriguing aspect of this game. Big run by the Lakers to put the game out of reach -- followed by a big run by the Cavs to render the first run obsolete -- followed by another run by the Lakers to clamp the door shut. Nice end to an intriguing weekend.
As a side-thought, what's up with my boy Andrew Bynum trading boards for scores? I suppose as long as he's playing good D, boxing out (Gasol and Odom seem to be picking up the loosies that Andrew's stopped getting to), and those defensive efficiency numbers stay looking good, it's not a problem. That is unless Andrew's on your fantasy team or something. Then you're free to curse and carry on smartly.