Hey, good news, Miami! Dwayne Wade's back! Now it'll be just like you said! Everything's back to normal!
What? You lost to who? By how much?
But hey! Wade's back! You know! From Robbins, Illinois! Dwayne Waaaaaade! Right? Guys?
You poor bastards.
15 Reasons to Watch Tonight's NBA Games:
1. Two Games. Four Teams. Well, 3.5 Teams. Okay, 3.25 Teams Minimum. : Suns. Spurs. Mavericks. And... what's left of the Bulls. Tonight's the big time on TNT. These are the money games. Or they're supposed to be. Except the Bulls are sucking so bad, Skiles is considering doing some shakeups on the lineup. And this team doesn't get very good the deeper it gets. But hey, the idea of Aaron Gray going up against Amare is pretty amusing.
2. Hey Look At That, Only $37.5 Million To Move Him To Starter: We here at the Paroxysm have an affinity for the "hustle" players. The sixth men. The guys that do the "little things." The best part about the NBA is that these guys are rewarded. The worst part of the NBA is that these guys are rewarded to such a ridiculous degree that they instantly go from underrated to overrated. Such is the case of one Mr. Andres Nocioni. Last year? Great spark off the bench, solid shooter, avid defender, talented on the break and in the post. This year? The walking definition of a $37.5 Million contract extension. That's a lot of money. But Andres may be getting to earn his paycheck, though. With the Bulls shooting/dribbling/passing/playing like ass, General Skiles has vowed lineup changes, including the possibility of moving Andres into the starting spot. Originally, the thought was to move him into the 3, and put Gordon on the bench where he's had success, but now it sounds like he'll be taking over Tyrus Thomas' spot. Because, you know, when your only win comes off of when Thomas has a good game, you want to go ahead and take him out. Dunks and rebounds are totally overrated when compared to "the little" $37.5 million things.
3. (Lone)Star Cross'd: Two teams, both alike in dignity. In fair Central Texas, where we lay our scene. From ancient grudge break to new mutiny. Where regular season blood makes playoff hands unclean. Dallas and San Antonio meet again tonight. The storylines are terrific, as always. The teams are playing great, as always. And you really don't know who will win, as always. You've got the razor sharp shooting and intensity of JET and Howard vs the slashing, gentle consistency of Parker and Ginobli. Dirk's
4. Francisco's Going Dutch To This One: So I decided to do a little research into the lesser known Spurs players, to try and get to like them, and maybe not want them to catch chlamydia, since it's spreading and all. Turns out Francisco Elson is Dutch, which is kind of cool. He speaks three languages, which is also kind of awesome. He's got a house in Amsterdam, so in a way he's like Vincent. That's cool, too. But then, I remembered, he's a homophobe. And that is not cool. Of course, he could always play for Phil Jackson.
5. It'll Make Your Ballsweat Smell Like Red Bull: Oooh, Kobe Bryant for Ben Gordon is not a fair trade! Kobe's a much better player! Gordon is not even close to enough! Well, does Kobe Bryant have his own sports drink? I didn't think so. Sprite's not even Kobe's anymore. So let's just cool it with all that thought of Kobe being so damn superior. Last Thursday in the Detroit game, I noticed something staggering. Gordon can't run an offense. I mean, can't run it at all. Hinrich takes a bunch of sh*t for not producing more, but he manages the offense. With Gordon running point? It's like watching a gazelle run head first into a giant train covered in antlers laced with adamantium. On fire. And yet he ends up running it a lot. It seems pretty obvious given his TO ratio, but that's just me, that he should be just shooting the ball. But hey, Skiles' bench Thomas plan is much better.
6. Jub-Jub Better Tape The Ankle: Our boy Jub-Jub is averaging 27 points per 48. That's some fine scorin'. Unfortunately, you know what means. Sweeney Bruce Bowen will be slicing and dicing tonight. Hide those tender ankles, Jubs! Sweeney Bruce is just lookin' to make an Achilles pie.
7. Hungry Hungry Aaron Gray: As Sham Sports points out in their awesome player profiles...
Fun Aaron Gray fact: Modern day science suggests that he actually has less mobility than an overweight hippo. That has no legs. Which is dead. And has been stapled to the ground. And encased in concrete. And dumped in the North Sea. Twice. Maybe.
And just think, boys and girls, he'll probably see significant minutes against a Phoenix team that might be faster than that chick that had the nose piercing in 8th grade. So pretty much expect the Sportcenter highlight package to look like this:
Clip 1: Marion on the break, big dunk.
Clip 2: Amare on the break, big dunk.
Clip 3: Brian Freaking Skinner on the break, big dunk.
Clip 4: Steve Nash on the break, ... layup.
8: I Feel The Need. The Need For An Inability To Score In The Paint: This Suns-Bulls game should be really fast paced. Both teams feature great athletes that can run the floor. Unfortunately for the Bulls, this year the Suns have exhibited that useful talent for being able to actually do something with the ball at the end of said running. Conversely, the Bulls can't score inside. The Suns can't defend inside. So either Tyrus Thomas is going to have an awesome 7 or 8 minutes and Ben Wallace is going to have career highs, or the Suns defense is going to be having a night that resembles the night my wife wanted to watch an actual NBA game naked while feeding me sirloin. That is to say, a complete and total freaking dream.
9. Practice. Man, He's Talking Bout Practice. Practice. Man, Practice (Via The Corndogg): As much as AI disagrees with it, this is exactly what this game should be for the Suns. I can't think of a better time than to put in your back up guys and give them a shot at creating cohesion. The Bulls have shorts who play great D, mids who play great D, and bigs who, well, play great D. Except, not this year. So, instead of leaving in the 7 man rotation in Phoenix, why not dig into the bench more tonight and give Banks, Marks and Skinner more minutes. Like I assume you do in practice? These guys need to learn how to play against one of the better defenses in the league (when operating effectively) to get their preparation started for post-season. Because (and I may be wrong about this), you might need more than 7 guys to win the title. Maybe. Do you guys WANT to win a title? Giving your 8,9,10 guys some reps against a desperate Bulls team, instead of scrub time, might actually be beneficial Then again, Steve Nash's mullet might be beneficial, too. So what do I know?
10. So, My Girlfriend Walks Into The AT&T Center...(Via The Corndogg) :Yes, its true. I hate to break the news to you, female readers of HP, but I am taken (Ed Note: In the medical field, they refer to this as "infection containment." -Matt). However, I am very lucky to have a woman who will drive down to SA and check out the Spurs and give me some actual insight on to what is shaking in Alamo City. Or, at least I thought so. She sits through an entire game and all I get is how ridiculous she thinks Matt Bonner is. Yeah, thanks. Oh, and she hates Manu's hair . Nothing about how to properly defend Tony Longoria or even how Elson and Oberto fit in with the offensive/defensive schemes. Not even a report on how useless Eva was now that she has no job. But hey, if she thinks Bonner is a boner and wants to rip out Manu's eyelids, I love her even more. Thanks for being the best girlfriend ever. Again, I apologize to all the HP groupies.
11. The Cat's Diaw: Boris has had a rollercoaster ride the last few years. He came over in the Joe Johnson trade, and blossomed in relief for Amare when he was out with the knee injury of doom. Then last year he regressed heavily, seemingly having issues coming off the bench. He's started to rebound this year, both figuratively and literally, coming in at around 9 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds per game. He's playing particularly well with Amare on the floor, which is a good sign. He's still got to become more involved in the offense and crash the boards more, but Diaw's one of the guys to watch tonight as he goes against the Bulls interior players.
12. Your Ridiculous Salaries Of The Night, Brought To You By Sharper Image (Not Really. At All.): Let's start off with the relatively lean Bulls, and poor ol Adrian Griffin. This entire season? No games, no points, no nothing after a preseason back injury. Last season? 2.5 points off of a 10 minute average. All for the cheap price of $1.6 million dollars. How about Marcus Banks for the Suns? A rare slip up by the Colangelo clan led to this dude hanging around, getting 10 minutes a game, getting 4 points, and less than 1 assist and less than 1 rebound per game, and getting $4 million dollars a year. Geez. The Mavericks are actually pretty lean and the only glaring problem on the Spurs is previously mentioned Matt Bonner and Robert Horry. But, you know, when Horry's not knocking down game winning three pointers, he's clotheslining the other team's leaders in a cheapshot that leads to the reasons they win the series. So I figure he's worth the money.
13. I Thought They Weren't Supposed To Care About The Regular Season: The Spurs are disgustingly good. Absurdly good. Not Celtics good. But just and extension and evolution of the same efficient, intelligent, disciplined designed they've mastered over the last few years. Their ability to turn it off and finish teams at will is like they're playing with a GameShark attached. How good are they? They've gotten Matt Bonner into one of the top +/- 5 man lineups in the league. You realize that's the basketball equivalent of cold fusion? Popovich should be given the Nobel Prize for basketball dominance for excellence in mundane superiority.
14. Through The Looking Glass: The Mavericks and Spurs are both shooting 47%, the Mavs slightly better by .2%. They're 6th and 7th in FG%. Interestingly enough, they're tied with the Celtics for the least offensive rebounds. So they don't really need that whole "second chance" thing. Just once will do fine, thank you. No surprise, they're 1 and 2 in offensive efficiency in the West. They're fast, they play smart, they shoot well, and they get back on defense. It should be a joy to watch. Especially with Jub-Jub. (Thanks to DougStats and KnickerBlogger.net for the stats).
15. I Will Gladly Pay You Next Year For A Superstar Today (Via The Corndogg): As great as the Colangelos are, they have totally screwed the Purple Wonders in the recent drafts. Shuffling off stupid trade after stupid trade so they could get a trade exception and see players like Rajon Rondo head to championship caliber teams. They have also passed on the opportunity to get guys such as Andre Iguodala, Josh Smith, David Lee and others. But tonight, Phoenix gets to stare across the court at Luol Deng, who they drafted with the 7th pick in 2004, only to send him to the Bulls for a conditional first rounder. OK, maybe they didn't believe in Deng then, but why do all that wheeling and dealing, just to stay under the cap and not use any leverage to make a blockbuster trade for a true winner like El Tigre Monstruoso? I love the Suns and all, but they are idiots when it comes to preparing for the future. Not only are they playing against another lost opportunity tonight, they get to watch the two best teams in the league right before they hit the hardwood, witnessing the dominant squads they have culled after years of shrewd moves. Get your act together Kerr, the Suns need it.