Now this will be a game to watch. Following a Lakers win without Kobe Bryant that snapped an 8-game winning streak for the Spurs, they returned to the Staples Center and returned fire, crushing them 112-91. Tony Parker had a field day on Ramon Sessions, scoring 29 points and dishing out 13 assists. The series returns to San Antonio, in a matchup we may very well see in the playoffs. Kobe is finally returning, and everyone knows how much he wants this game. I fully expect the Spurs to win, especially considering how good they have been at home this season, but the Lakers can make quite a statement with a win tonight.
It truly is a shame of how far the Magic seem to have fallen. Just when the city was given hope with Dwight planning on returning next year, he goes down with an injury and puts his post-season in jeopardy. Let’s face it, the Magic are just not a good team at all without Dwight, and without him in the playoffs, they are going to get mashed. I had high hopes for the Magic, especially considering I reside in the Tampa area (in which Orlando is our closest venue), but they just are not going to make any noise in the playoffs barring a miracle. Even with a healthy Dwight, I wasn’t much of a fan to begin with. This franchise just seems destined for darker days, and a ring nowhere in sight.
Who would have thought? The Knicks bring in Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Amare Stoudemire, JR Smith, Baron Davis, and Mike Bibby, and who turns out to take the spotlight? Steve Novak. Although he’s not a nightly horse, he was an absolute monster tonight, shooting 8-10 from three-point range and scoring 25 points. Don’t get me wrong, JR Smith was also huge, shooting 7-10 from long range and scoring another 25 points, and the combination of Carmelo and Tyson scored another 55 points. But Novak hit some clutch ones down the stretch, and was really a momentum killer. I blogged earlier in the week about Kyle Korver being a difference maker with his shooting, and I think the same can be said about Novak. If the Knicks can keep up their play into the playoffs, they could really make a push, especially with Amare Stoudemire returning to the lineup and Novak shooting the way he did tonight.
You know, something tells me Korver could possibly be a big factor for the Bulls down the stretch. He is actually 10-15 from behind the arc the past three games, but 15 of 22 from the field. But when Korver is on, he is one of the best three-point shooters in the NBA. The question with the Bulls is not their defense, which has been great all season. But scoring-wise, after Derrick Rose, their are many question marks. Luol Deng is solid, but he is not really a creator and can’t take over a game; C.J. Watson has been showing flashes of brilliance, but I’m unsure how much I buy into that; Hamilton is old, and will have serious trouble verse a good defender; The big men (Boozer, Noah, Gibson) are good, but not great scoring options, and may get knocked around by the dominant bigs of the NBA like Tyson Chandler. If Kyle Korver can stay hot headed into the playoffs, his ability to turn the game around with a few big threes is monumental. Don’t sleep on him, he can be a serious difference maker.
I don’t know the names that have been thrown around for Coach of the Year, but Vogel seems to me like the favorite. The Pacers have been excellent this year, sitting in third place in the East and only seven and a half games back. I think people recognized that they would be good, but believing they would be this good may not have been a common belief. I’m not sure what kind of noise they can make in the playoffs, but they deserve some serious recognition for the year they are having. Who better to reward than the head coach.