Marbury And Curry Benched: Despite a 40 point fourth quarter from the Miami HEAT, the New York Knicks
under Mike D'Antoni did what he was brought in to do. He won, in
entertaining, high-scoring fashion. The Knicks dropped Miami 120-115
and after the game virtually everyone was smiles - except for Eddy
Curry and Stephon Marbury who both received "DNP-Coaches Decision."
After the game D'Antoni expressed that he understood it was a delicate
emotional situation, saying he knew both were upset, he knew both
wanted to play and basically said that neither was in his plans going
forward. The Knicks had six players score in double figures, and several Knicks players
after the game said they felt positive about the new offense in New
York as they all started to see what players in Phoenix saw under D'
Antoni – there will be tons of shot attempts in New York. For Marbury
and Curry, both players dressed and neither was even considered as
options. Marbury told reporters after the game he was fine with the
decision. "This is a business... I understand the decision. If that's
the way they want to go, I'm fine with it." We'll see how long that
lasts. Steph put in a ton of work this off-season and is in great
shape, it would be surprising if he allows the Knicks to shelve all of
that work. Eddy Curry left the bench for the Knicks in the fourth
quarter to "ice his knees."
Pop's Joke On Shaq: Suns center Shaquille O'Neal has been very vocal over the past few days about how "cowardly" the Spurs, namely head coach Gregg Popovich, are for deliberately fouling him.
When asked last night just prior to the game against the Suns if he
planned to foul Shaq early. He said he wasn't sure, then a reporter
joked how about after the tip? Pop laughed and thought that was a good
idea. Imagine the dismay of the reporters when he did exactly that. Five seconds into the game, immediately following the tip. Spurs
guard Michael Finely wrapped his arms around Shaq drawing a whistle.
Shaq looked around puzzled at the call, only to find Greg Popovich
looking his way with both thumbs in the air smiling. Shaq smiled back,
the two had a good laugh about it, then Shaq went on to score 13
points, grab 15 rebounds and get the win on San Antonio's floor in a
convincing fashion. Guess Shaq got the last laugh, going 5 for 8 from
the free throw line.
How Bout Them Hawks?: Orlando Magic coach Stan Van
Gundy did his best to try and take the blame for the egg Orlando laid
last night in their opener. Claiming that he had no offensive plays in
the play book that could get the Magic offense going, and that in turn
forced his players to force the issue trying to make something work. It
didn't, and the Magic got waxed by the Hawks 99-85, which is about as
close as this game ever got with Orlando being down by 15 for most of
the night. Give credit to the Hawks - they have the Magic's number.
They give Orlando fits every time they play. The Hawks were in
mid-season form and absolutely focused on winning on the road,
something every player in the Hawks' locker room said was a goal for
this season. Orlando on the other hand looked dreadful in almost every
aspect of the game. The aggressive J.J. Redick who arrived in
pre-season didn't bother showing up last night. Redick was 0-4 from the
field, 0-3 from three-point range in 19 minutes of play as the first
guard off the bench. That same tentative "pass the ball-not shoot it"
Redick from seasons past was on the floor for Orlando. In an amusing
moment in the game J.J. Redick was brought in from the bench to guard
Atlanta's Flip Murray. Murray realizing Redick was checking in to guard
him got wide-eyed like a kid at Christmas, and started working J.J. to
the basket at will. A photographer sitting on the baseline captured the
look on Murray's face, which was priceless. After the game Flip sort of
dodged the question out of respect for J.J., but when told there was a
picture of the moment Flip kind of smiled and said he enjoyed the game
– he hung 14 points in 23 minutes of play. On a night when the Magic
were celebrating their 20th season in the NBA,
honoring their inaugural team during the introduction. Magic coach Stan
Van Gundy said he thought his team played with as much energy as those
long retired players who were in attendance would have played; they
clearly looked like an expansion team last night. The Magic will hold a
"spirited" practice today and head to Memphis this evening to try and
right the ship. A great start for the Hawks, a dreadful start for the
And Then There Were Two: Every team in the league has played a game except for the Charlotte Bobcats and the Dallas Mavericks. The Lakers already have two games under their belts, both of them convincing wins.
The Bobcats will see the Cavaliers tonight, after going winless in
pre-season. The Cavs dropped their opener to the Celtics and barring something crazy, will likely even things up at the expense
of the Bobcats. The Mavericks host the Rockets tonight in Dallas where
an official announcement regarding the 2010 NBA All-Star Game is
expected. The Rockets got their first win of the season last night
against Memphis, who actually outscored Houston in the second and third
quarters, but the Rockets bounced back to put the Grizz away 82-71.