Thunderous Throw down:
The Lakers began the first part of a back-to-back last night in Oklahoma City, taking on the Thunder in what was probably the most exciting game of this young NBA season. In a game matching the best player in the world Kobe Bryant up with the hottest rising young star in the League in Kevin Durant, we knew this game had the potential for fireworks. Durant dominated the first three quarters, scoring 28 points and helping the Thunder overcome an early 13-point deficit to take a three point lead into the fourth, for the most part out-shining Bryant. But as the game stayed close and things got tense down the stretch we saw exactly why Kobe is “The Closer” as he made tough shot after tough shot while Durant was completely shut down by Ron Artest. With the clock winding down in a tie game Durant airballed a 3-pointer and the game went to Overtime where Bryant hit big shot after big shot. On the other end Durant was held scoreless, capping off a horrendous fourth quarter and overtime with yet another air ball that could have tied the game late, and the Lakers held on for a thrilling 101-98 win.
Magic, Howard Pistoned Off:
What a shocker last night at the Palace as the under-sized, short-handed Pistons handed the Magic their first loss of the season, 85-80. The Pistons were without Tayshaun Prince and Rip Hamilton, yet got over 20 points from guards Will Bynum, Rodney Stuckey and Ben Gordon in a balanced attack for the upset win. The Magic got minimal production out of Dwight Howard, who was limited to 17 minutes before fouling out. Afterwards, Howard was clearly frustrated, and even hinted that he might go off on a ref soon if he doesn’t start getting calls for the beating he takes night in and night out. Howard re-injured his shoulder in the third quarter, but was able to return. This win was especially shocking because all of the three guards who lit up the Magic are under-sized, and even though Orlando is dealing with their own injuries, they still were considered to have a huge advantage coming into this one. The Pistons won their fourth straight over Orlando, continuing a dominance from last season that few people can figure out.
Scorching in the Desert:
The Suns went into Miami last night and walked out victorious in what was a battle of the surprising unbeatens. The Suns used a hot fourth quarter, out-scoring the Heat by 14 to run away with the win. Steve Nash had 30 and 8 for Phoenix, who move to 4-0 and are atop the Pacific Division standings. Although it won’t last, the fact that anyone but the Lakers is alone atop the division is surprising, especially since the Lakers lead from wire-to-wire last year. Blessed with an easy opening schedule (Clippers, Warriors, T-Wolves) Phoenix has taken advantage and are undefeated heading into a big game with the Magic tonight.
Heading into Game 6 tonight, the Phillies should be focused on fighting for their playoff lives. Instead it seems their focused on fighting each other. A story hit the news-wire yesterday that pitcher Cole Hamels and Brett Myers had gotten into a throw-down in the locker-room, but that was later said to be false. Hamels, for those of you who haven’t heard, was quoted as saying he can’t wait for the season to end, and many Phils fans and players alike were surprised by the statement, taking it as Hamels saying he had quit on the team. Hamels has since gone back on those statements, but it is definitely on the back of everyone’s minds, including players in his own clubhouse. We will have to see tonight if the Phils can extend this to a Game 7, or if the Yankees will be walking out with their 27th World Championship.