Mike Back In Chi-Town
Jordan has been a magician for the Washington Wizards, helping the team reach the ranks of respectability. The Wizards are 19-18 for the season and third in the Atlantic Division. This may not seem like a big deal for most people, but we have to remember that last season the Wizards only won 19 games in total.
Jordan has been the X-factor for all the improvement. The 39-year-old still showed that he can play the game a bit in leading the Wizards in points scored with 23.8, and assists with 5.1. Jordan’s point total also ranks ninth out of all the players in the NBA and could likely be higher if he stopped spreading the wealth to his less-than-stellar teammates.
Saturday Mike returned to the Windy City, the place where he helped create so many memories. The performance itself was not pretty as the Wizards beat the Bulls 77-69 in a very ugly game. Jordan shot only 7-21 for the game, but still that was enough to beat the lackluster Bulls for the second time this season. At the end of the game he received a standing ovation from the Chicago crowd, all of whom probably wished that he still played in Chicago.
Melting The Ice
The Miami Heat are finally warming up, winning seven out of their last 10 games and keeping Pat Riley from dying of high blood pressure. The Heat are at the bottom of the Atlantic division with a record of 12-26, but have been showing signs of remarkable improvement.
The main problem for the Heat has been their offense. In the first 35 games of the season the Heat were not able to crack 100 points, but in the last ten games the Heat have reached the big dollar bill twice with a 102-96 win against the Lakers and a 100-88 win against the Indiana Pacers.
The increased offensive output from both Eddie Jones and Alonzo Mourning has been the primary reason why the Heat have been more successful as of late. In the Laker game, Mourning had a season-high 28 points. Additionally, other players on the team are making themselves visible on the offensive stat sheets. As the season goes on the Heat will become stronger and gain a lot of ground on the other teams in the conference in trying to make up for their 5-23 start.
If Shaquille O’Neal were a boxer, I am sure he would be undefeated. Nobody would be able to knock him out and he would never be able to hit anybody; all the matches would be a draw.
After Shaquille O’ Neal went after Brad Miller in the Lakers’ 106-104 loss to the Chicago Bulls on January 12th, he was suspended for three games and fined $15,000. O’Neal attacked Miller because he was frustrated by all the hard fouling that he endured throughout the game and maybe because that deep-dish Chicago style pizza wasn’t sitting so great on his stomach.
For most of O’Neal’s career he has been hard-fouled so that other teams could get him to the free throw line, where he is a miserable 52 percent lifetime. It definitely is a reasonable, if not entirely ethical or humane, strategy. Generally, O’Neal has been calm on the court, but he finally snapped on that cold Saturday in Chicago.
So how would the Lakers do without the most dominant center in the game? They ended up going 2-1, winning 120-81 against Memphis, losing by six to Miami and beating San Antonio by a score of 98-81. In the game against Memphis, Kobe Bryant poured in 56 points showing that at least one of O’Neal’s sidekicks can pick up the slack for their large center. It also showed the other NBA teams that despite lacking some bulk in the middle the Lakers are no pushovers without Shaq.
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