A multiple-time NBA scoring champ abruptly left his team in the middle of a road trip yesterday, amidst rumors that the longtime superstar and the organization couldn’t come to an agreement on his playing time and role on the court. No, this isn’t Memphis, and this isn’t Allen Iverson. This is about Tracy McGrady, who after being told he wouldn’t play in Houston’s two games this weekend (at Nets, at Cavs), left the Rockets and went home. Nobody affiliated with the Rockets has officially said whether this is one of those, “Call me when you decide to play me, trade me or buy me out,” situations, but it seems obvious enough, right? McGrady has been kept on a strict diet of 7-8 minutes a night since returning to the lineup a couple weeks ago, and while he was saying all the right things at first (“I’m just happy to be back,” etc.) predictably grew frustrated with such a minimal role. Do you think the Rockets are doing the right thing by letting T-Mac walk, or should they make some concessions and see what he’d do with more minutes? … With that backdrop of a story line, the Rockets went to New Jersey and went about their business of handing the Nets another loss. It was actually close down to the final minute, before Aaron Brooks broke a tie with a baseline driving layup with 37 seconds left, then hit four free throws down the stretch to ice it. Carl Landry put up 26 points and nine boards off the bench … Since Kobe seems bent on racking up degree-of-difficulty points now, we’re surprised he didn’t think of the fall-down-the-steps-at-home thing before Ron Artest, just so he could go out that same night and score 25 with a broken arm and an eye patch … In the third quarter of Lakers/Kings, Kobe took a shot to the funny bone in his right arm, and when he came back for the fourth, was playing mostly with his left; he actually tried to hit a game-winner on a turnaround left-hand jumper/hook that got rejected. (Never mind that Shannon Brown was wide-open within Kobe’s line of sight, and Brown would’ve been able to swing it an an open Derek Fisher.) Kobe did redeem himself by picking Tyreke Evans (18 pts, 9-23 FG) at the end of regulation … Kobe’s right arm regained its usefulness in overtime, where Pau Gasol‘s tip-in with 0.4 seconds left saved the day for L.A., who pulled away in double-OT when Kobe (38 pts, 16-30 FG, 4 stls) hit a couple threes despite claiming he couldn’t feel his right arm … Granted, Kings coach Paul Westphal had been away from the League for a little bit before this year, but somebody should’ve told him sticking Donte Greene on Kobe in OT wasn’t a good idea. The kid went in for reconstructive surgery after the game to have his face re-attached … You may find this surprising, but the Suns and Warriors combined for a ton of points and played, um, less than a ton of defense. It was 71-70 at halftime, 132-127 at the end, and would you believe that was with Steve Nash recording only nine assists, Amar’e Stoudemire getting only nine points, and Don Nelson sneaking only two beers during the game? … Monta Ellis (33 pts, 10 asts) went even-up Nash (36 pts, 9 asts) in their shootout, but Monta got a little more support and got the W. Monta actually went scoreless over the last five minutes while Nash hit a couple tough shots in the lane to get the Suns within two points in the final seconds, but after Anthony Morrow hit a free throw, Nash missed the potential game-tying three on the wing … But if you thought that game was a display of gunning, Monta, Corey Maggette and the rest had nothing on Jeremy Hazell. In Saturday’s only D-1 college game, Hazell, a junior wing at Seton Hall, took NINETEEN threes against 6th-ranked West Virginia in a wild overtime loss. Hazell dropped 41 points on 14-of-33 shooting, including 4-of-19 beyond the arc and a triple that forced OT with six seconds left — the capper on a Seton Hall comeback from 10 points down with one minute to go. The Mountaineers’ talent won over in the extra frame, though … Other big NBA stat lines from Saturday: Al Horford beasted the Pacers for 25 points, 19 boards and five blocks; Joakim Noah posted 17, 18 and four swats in Chicago’s win over the Hornets; Kevin Durant dropped 30 as OKC got past the Bobcats; Tim Duncan‘s 26 points helped the Spurs take out the Bucks; Jason Terry scored 23 in Dallas’ win over Memphis; Deron Williams had 27 points and eight dimes (including one half-court lob to Ronnie Brewer that Brewer finished with a reverse double-clutch dunk) in a win over the Sixers; and Corey Brewer scored 27 to lead the Wolves past the Wizards … And did you see what Ryan Hollins did in that one? Basic pick-and-roll in the fourth, Hollins got a running start at the rack and went airborne on Andray Blatche, putting his knee in his chest like Tom Chambers did Mark Jackson and cramming on him while almost looking down into the rim. One of the dunks of the year, one of the dunks where Blatche would have a hard time getting a teammate to look at him the next time he went to the bench. Just brutal … We’re out like Mac …
Smack / Dec 27, 2009 / 7:46 am
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