Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday's Starting Five

1. Dirk Nowtizki. Remember when he crumpled to the floor not too long ago? When the knee/ankle injury pairing was rumored to be far worse than anyone was letting on? When everyone wrote off the Mavs? Remember all that? Well, even if you don't it seems like Dirk does. And he's pretty PO'd about it. Continuing his heroic return from injury he scored 32 points and knocked down a buzzer-beating three last night to defeat the Utah Jazz and clinch a playoff berth for his team. And, he did this just seconds after Deron Williams banked in a miraculous three-pointer at the other end that seemed certain to send the game to overtime. Perhaps the running-away-with-the-regular-season-Mavs weren't that interesting but I can't help but root for the Injured-Dirk-hitting-playoff-clinching-buzzer-beating-threes-Mavs. And, I normally don't really like Germans.

2. Allen Iverson. In an even bigger game than the one Dirk played in, AI led the Nuggets to a (seemingly) season-making win over the Warriors. He scored 33 points, dished out 9 assists and committed three steals in the win that puts Denver in the driver's seat heading for that final playoff spot. His team has a one game lead in the standings which is essentially two games as last night's win also gave Denver the season series over the boys from Oakland. And, to top it all off, he stepped up and gave his uncounted MVP vote for Chris Paul. Nice.

3. Nathan Gerbe. In a classic Frozen Four performance Gerbe and the BC Eagles blitzed North Dakota, 6-1, en route to the National Championship tomorrow night. The 5-foot, 5-inch Gerbe, a Hobey Baker finalist, had a hatrick and an assist in a dominating performance.

4. George Karl. Who would have thought that a game between the Nuggets and the Warriors would have been decided by defense? Not me. But, it was. I swear. It happened last night. Nuggets Coach Karl had his players switch to a zone defense against the fast-breaking Warriors after his team fell behind, 22-37, after the first quarter. It worked. The Warriors didn't top 23 points in any of the three remaining quarters and settled for way too many outside jump shots.

5. Scott Schoenweis. Yep. I just did it. I put Scotty Show in the Starting Five. I put the least-liked Met since Rey Ordonez in the Starting Five. And, he deserves it. He took the mound in the top of the 11th in the rubber match against the rival Phils with two on and one out. He induced an inning ending double play (sort of like he almost did during the home opener when Delgado pegged Utley with his throw to second). The Big Scho then came back on in the top of the 12th and retired the first two batters before Geoff Jenkins reached on an error by Easley. He was pulled for Jorge Sosa at that point, who got the third out. The Mets won in the bottom half of the inning. And, Schoenweis was the MVP. It might never happen again. But it did happen last night.