Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Nets may have lost to the T-Wolves, but Kidd ties Houston for 12th all-time in 3's

The Nets are certainly reeling after losing to the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves last night 98-95.

But like fine wine, Jason Kidd, 34, is only getting better and continues his march up a number of career statistical categories.

Last night, Kidd did it again.

But this time, it was from long distance.

After three consecutive three-pointers in the third quarter, Kidd tied former Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks guard Allan Houston for career three pointers made with 1,305.

Kidd actually has that many makes already...

He should break that in his next game.

Count on it!

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

My first NBA game at Madison Square Garden

January 21, 2008.

Thirteen games on deck in the NBA calendar.

But for me, none more important than the one here in New York City.

My first game at Madison Square Garden.

The 13-27 New York Knicks versus the 32-6 Boston Celtics.

Their records predict the most likely outcome. But then again, the Knicks had won 4 of their last 5 (against Detroit, Washington, New Jersey, and the equally hapless Miami respectively).

Maybe the Knicks could make a game out of it? Well, there was that hope.

But I was there to cheer on the Celtics anyway.

Even sported my Mitchell & Ness Larry Bird road jersey.

Truly, there is no such thing as a live experience.

Especially from my great seat. My vantage point.

Some of the highlights:

• With Kanye West's single, "Stronger" being used as the Knicks starting lineup theme music, he is probably raking in the Benjamin's during every home game at MSG.

• Malik Rose comes out into center court prior to the start of the Knicks and Celtics match up to pay tribute to Dr. King on his birthday. He also appeared on the Jumbo Tron. I assumed that was the extent of his participation that afternoon. Any you know what? I was right! These public appearances and pep talks. At least Malik his earning his paycheck.

• Kendrick Perkins was practically pitching a tent or setting up his apartment in the paint during the first quarter scoring on six straight field goals and finishing with 15. Perkins 15 – Knicks 23 after one. He ended up having a career scoring night with 24.

• The Eddy Curry line: Curry is certainly massive but not as tall as Kevin “KG” Garnett who towered above everyone on the court. Eddy takes up a lot of real estate and there was a point in the game when I thought he was going to land on all of the flat screen monitors in the reporters’ row. Scary moment!

• Knicks Head Coach (for how much longer? He was thoroughly booed during the introductions.) Isiah Thomas was right on the money when he described the Boston Celtics after the game: Thomas said, "Shit, they got Kevin Garnett." In the contest, KG was awesome. Poetry in motion. From his footwork to his post moves—it seemed like he was running rings around whoever Isiah put on him: Zach Randolph, Eddy Curry, David Lee, Jared Jeffries, and Renaldo Balkman (who guarded KG in the two minutes that he did get to play in the game). Later on, I found out that Garnett finished with his 18th double-double of the season with 20 markers, 13 caroms, and 7 dimes.

• As for Walter “Ray-Ray” Allen, he started slow but finished with 17 points and 8 rebounds (I saw him sneak in a steal a couple from KG). Ray hit two threes and an acrobatic lay-up which I really enjoyed. I’m really hoping that he eventually becomes the all-time leader in the former category.

• Rajon Rondo hit a buzzer-beater to end the half and Boston led by as much as 20 at one point. I was really hoping that the Knicks would make a game out of it and not lose by 45 again like they did up in Boston last November 29 (104-59; It was the Knicks third-worst loss in team history and their second-worst scoring performance of the shot-clock era). Now it wasn’t because I am a Knicks fan. But like one fan said behind me, “We didn’t pay to see you ref!” If the game ended up well out of hand (and eventually it did with the Celtics winning by 16), KG, Pierce, and Allen would have sat out the fourth—with these tickets, that’s not even an option.

• At one point in the game, $60 million dollar man Jared Jeffries (5-year $30 million dollar deal for him; $30 million dollar luxury tax hit for the Knicks—Go Isiah!) seems to have a clear path to the basket for a dunk or lay-up (his choice) after a botched Allen-to-Garnett alley oop play. He flubbed it. BAD! Which resulted in a Garnett dunk on the ensuing play. Jeffries heard it from the crowd. But he was not alone as there were several other occasions wherein the Garden faithful made their displeasure known to the Knicks. Going back to Jeffries, he played 24 minutes and missed all five of his shot attempts. Come to think about it, all he seemed to do on the court is foul and receive the inbounds pass, pivot, and give the leather to a guard.

• I’m a basketball guy. Not a football guy. So when Aaron Ross, Steve Smith, R.W. McQuarters and Plaxico Burress showed up on the Jumbo Tron during breaks in the game, the Garden’s atmosphere certainly changed. I’m pretty sure the Knicks wish they had that kind of support.

• Towards the end of the third quarter, I caught a glimpse of Knicks’ John Starks making his way to the exits. I was a fan of his back in his Knicks days and it was certainly nice to see him. It was also great to see 73 year-old Celtics legend Tommy Heinsohn who did the game for the C’s.
• Nate Robinson’s break away dunk looks a lot better live than it did in the Jumbo Tron replays. It didn’t even make it to ESPN’s SportsCenter’s top 10 plays of the day.

• Defensive play of the afternoon? Midway through the third quarter, Quentin Richardson takes out Paul Pierce in the span of 2 ½ minutes via disqualification resulting from double technicals. Pierce has 10 points and 7 dimes which Richardson had a big fat zero after his name in the box scores. ESPN.com’s Chris Sheridan has more on that matter.

• Offensive play of the afternoon? After the Knicks kept on going consistently to their two-man game/isolation plays for either the perimeter player (Usually Jamal Crawford) or post players (Either Eddy Curry of Zach Randolph who almost always went to his left). Talk about no imagination! However, there was one particular play wherein all the aforementioned players were on the right side of the court. Randolph had position some 13 feet from the basket and flashed to the three-point area wherein he received the ball from Crawford (who was also hovering around the three point area), pivoted, and lobed the ball to a cutting Curry. Now that was there the whole game. Why didn’t Isiah and the Knicks go to it more often?

• With the win, Boston Celtics Head Coach Glenn “Doc” Rivers is officially the Eastern Conference’s head coach for the All-Star game in New Orleans next month.

• It just occurred to me. At 13-28 (41 games), the Knicks have now reached the midway point of their NBA schedule.

• Funny moment: While watching ESPN SportsCenter the next day, there was footage of Kevin Garnett celebrating as he was heading to the Celtics bench after a time out. KG handed out high-fives and low-fives to coaches and teammates. By the time he reached the end of the line, he realized that he had someone’s gold watch in his right hand as its strap had broken off. It belonged to one of the Celtics assistant coaches.

• Finally, Memorable moment: My Hon and I are seen amongst the crowd in the Jumbo Tron during a break in the fourth quarter.

That was my adventure on this cold January day.

Thanks Hon for making this happen.

Dreams do come true.

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Kidd moves past Isiah Thomas for 5th Place on the all-time assist ladder

Noted. With the Boston Celtics (30-4) win against the New Jersey Nets (18-18) last night, they have matched their best start ever.

But their was other action aside from the Celtics win yesterday.

The Associated Press shared that Jason Kidd's assist on a Vincent Lamar Carter jumper with 8:07 remaining in the third was the 9,062 of his career, moving him past Isiah Thomas into fifth place on the all-time list with 9,065. Kidd now needs 823 assists to surpass the great Oscar Robertson.

The Celtics are also one of two teams that Kidd has yet to record a triple-double against. He missed it by a hair last night by one assist (Kidd's stat line: 11 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists).

The other team?

The New Jersey Nets.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Grant Hill injured. AGAIN!!!

Co-Rookie of the Year (along with Jason Kidd) in 94'- 95'.

Perennial NBA All-Star even after the plethora of injuries he suffered.

Truly, Grant Hill is special. But can he ever stay healthy since breaking his foot in the 2000?

I was hoping it would be this year.

Fate had other plans.

The Associated Press reported:

PHOENIX (AP) -- Suns forward Grant Hill was scheduled to undergo an appendectomy Wednesday evening and is expected to miss at least two weeks.(Reports now say Hill will be out for 2-3 weeks).

Hill felt ill after arriving at the US Airways Center for practice Wednesday morning, Suns spokeswoman Julie Fie said. At first, everyone assumed he had the same flu that teammate Raja Bell recently had. But after being taken to see a physician, it was determined to be more serious.

He was hospitalized and scheduled for surgery.

Hill signed a two-year deal with the Suns in July and hoped to overcome seven injury-plagued years in Orlando, where he played in about a third of the Magic's regular-season games.

He's been injury free since coming to Phoenix, playing in all 34 regular season games and averaging 15.9 points.

I do wish Grant Hill a speedy recovery from his emergency appendectomy. He will be out for two weeks...but likening the situation to Al Jefferson (then of the Boston Celtics, who went through a similar procedure a couple of years ago), who lost a lot of weight before his return to his team's lineup is any indication.

Here is hoping for good health.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Kidd has a chance to make history

His 10th triple-double three months into the young NBA season (His career high is 12 which he accomplished last season).

With 13 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists in a losing effort against the Charlotte Bobcats, Kidd posted his third consecutive triple-double and became the first player since Grant Hill turned the trick in 1996-97 season.


Now, after registering his 97th career triple-double...could #98 happen in the Garden State against Seattle.

A date with history?

We will know tonight.

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Friday, January 4, 2008

What the issue of trading means to some coaches

Sometimes it pays to make things work between a player and a coach.

Take for example the Chris Webber and Head Coach Don Nelson fiasco awhile back in GSW. Sure, Nellie is back as their Head Coach, but he no longer wields the administrative powers that he once did. As for Webber, well...let's just say that http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifthe sun has certainly set on his career.

Now what do some coaches think?

Philadelphia Daily News Phil Jasner wrote:

"I'm not in the business of wanting to trade players. I think it's better that they get a chance to learn each other," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said.

"We make mistakes with that. That's coaching. The game of basketball is a game of mistakes. Usually, the team that makes the fewest has a chance to win."

Sloan also told this story: "When I was in Chicago, they once traded a player for money. Coach [Dick] Motta took out a $1 bill and threw it on the court. He said, 'Money can't rebound for me.'

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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Jason Kidd provides some of his own Magic in Florida

A New Year and a couple of new milestones for New Jersey Nets point guard Jason Kidd.

Passed 9,000 assists (9,007).

Fourth place all-time in rebounds among guards (Kidd now has 6,566 rebounds, surpassing Earvin "Magic" Johnson's total by seven.)

All in a day's work for J-Kidd.

Associated Press Writer Travis Reed wrote:

January 2, 2008

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Kidd proved again why he is one of the NBA's most versatile guards, making a key defensive stop and nearly getting a triple double to lift the New Jersey Nets over the Orlando Magic in a 96-95 comeback Wednesday night.

He accomplished two impressive feats. Kidd entered the game one assist shy of 9,000 and three rebounds short of Magic Johnson for fourth place on the career list for rebounds by a guard.

He accomplished both in the first 5 minutes, but Kidd didn't want to talk about that. He was more interested in winning for Nets assistant Brian Hill, fired as Magic coach last season, and Darrell Armstrong, a veteran guard who got his start here.

"When my career is over I will have plenty of time to look at my stats and see hopefully that I can keep climbing up the ladder," said Kidd, who had 10 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. "Some of those guys are pretty good. I haven't really thought about that."

Nets beat writer Julian Garcia quoted Nets Head Coach Lawrence Frank:

“It’s unbelievable,” said Lawrence Frank. “It’s not to be taken lightly. He’ll probably deflect it, and all he cares about is the win. But from a individual standpoint it’s obviously beyond impressive. It’s remarkable. He’s still going strong. He still has a lot of tread left on those tires and he’s going to continue to move up the ladder in both those categories. But I think all he cares about is winning.”

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