Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday's Starting Five

1. Monta Ellis. The diminutive guard scored 39 points in a see-saw win over the Nets last night. Ellis and the Warriors rolled up 22 straight to overtake the white-flag waving Nets in the fourth quarter. Baron Davis also chipped in with a triple-double.

2. Novak Djokovic. The third-seeded Serb defeated Roger Federer at the Aussie Open at some point in the past day. He beat the guy who never loses and he did it in straight sets in the semi-finals at a hard-court Grand Slam tournament. Is this the beginning of the end of Federer's run of unparalleled dominance or just a little hiccup? It has been three years since Federer didn't at least appear in the Finals of a Grand Slam event.

3. Brian Leetch. The MVP of the 1994 playoffs and one of the best to skate in the Garden had his number retired by the Rangers last night. I happened to catch the beginning of his speech on the radio and my favorite part was when he was dishing out some obligatory thank yous. Right off the bat (or stick or whatever they use in hockey) he thanked Dolan for putting together the event. At the mere mention of his name the crowd immediately shifted from deafening, fawning applause to ravenous boos. Of course, Leetch won them right back, but that moment was pretty hilarious and worth having to move my car for street cleaning.

4. The Hoopcats. Arizona made non-Lute news for the first time this season by beating No. 6 Washington State last night in Tuscon. Chase Buddinger notched 22 and led the three-point onslaught that slayed the Wildcats in the second half.

5. Randy Moss. He'll be practicing with his team (and maybe with his QB) in the coming days rather than going back to Florida to deal with whatever he's got going on down there.

Benched: Dwyane Wade. He secured a starting spot in the All-Star game even though he's been hurt most of the season and his team has lost 15 games in a row? I think he is a great player and give him all the credit in the world for battling night after night when he is clearly hurt, but Wade is NOT a 2007-2008 NBA All-Star. He's just not.

Also benched: Jason Kidd. He seems to have resorted back to his pre-NBA Finals ways, back when he was gifted and difficult and the sort of player that you could reasonably trade straight-up for Stephon Marbury. Everyone who watches can see that he is mailing it in and last night he let two different guards go off on him, Ellis and Davis.

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