Despite the Spanish cross-promotion that gave us “Los Spurs” versus “Los Suns” yesterday, Phoenix at least gave us a glimpse of something of what they could be when they made the trade for Shaquille O’Neal and held a team to under 90 points for once. If you’re getting 14 points and 16 boards from Shaq, he’s doing his job. Let’s face it: the Spurs’ Big Three didn’t have a great shooting day, but always give credit to a defense when a team doesn’t shoot well. For Phoenix, it’s somewhere to start.
Chicago is crumbling faster than a cheap Subway cookie. At least 7 points to the Pistons is a close loss, but when Chauncey Billups is torching you for 34 and you can’t put a body on Tayshaun Prince (15 points in the last 17 minutes of the game), you’ve got problems and you’re not getting in the playoffs this year. John Paxson may be trading his way down into the Bad GMs Club.
The Pau Gasol trade didn’t negate one thing about the Lakers: if Kobe Bryant isn’t having a good night shooting (at least in terms of accuracy, if not number of shots), they can lose to bad teams, and a one-point loss to Sacramento in this manner stinks. Beno Udrih (25 points, 10 assists) sunk two free throws to get the lead with 4.6 seconds left, then Kobe missed the fadeaway at the last second. Gasol had 25 points.
Florida’s officially off the powerhouse list for this year — hell, it might have been declared earlier — but that’s way too much turnover for Billy Donovan to handle, and they lost to a Kentucky squad that not many thought would make the NCAAs when they struggled out of the gate. Now, they’re pretty much a lock.
Drake is a fun team to watch. Even in a complete blowout of Illinois State in the MVC tourney final, they were fun — hitting shots all over the place. Get a team that’s weak on defense in the tourney and these guys will drill them. I would like to give major credit to Illinois State’s Osiris Eldridge, who possessed a bitchin’ mohawk and “O”‘s shaved into the sides of his head.
There’s absolutely no reason Indiana should lose to Penn State except for the team being aimless and more troubled by the Kelvin Sampson fallout than what was originally let on.
Ohio State just resurrected its tournament hopes by upsetting a much better Michigan State team. Maybe Tom Izzo should kick his players out of the locker room again.
I’m not sure if Saint Mary’s just played itself out of a bid by losing to San Diego in the WCC tourney semis (the Toreros will play Gonzaga, who beat Santa Clara) — if they do get in, they’ll be much lower than they were expecting.
Photo: Ross D. Franklin/AP
Filed under: Above The Rim, college basketball, NBA Tagged: | Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, Drake Bulldogs, Florida Gators, Illinois State Redbirds, Indiana Hoosiers, Kentucky Wildcats, Los Angeles Lakers, Michigan State Spartans, Ohio State Buckeyes, Penn State Nittany Lions, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, San Diego Toreros, Sant Mary's Gaels