At the quarter mark of the 2003-04 NBA season, all players seem to have a variety of bumps, bruises, and a variety of sprains but there are a few high profile players struggling right now to get/stay healthy.
In Philadelphia the 76ers have done a great job over the years winning despite injuries, allot of the credit went to coach Larry Brown, but now under Randy Ayers the 76ers continue to overcome injuries. First trade acquisition Glenn Robinson missed nearly all the season (save about 10 games), Derrick Coleman has had his usual injury bug, and now NBA leading scorer Allen Iverson has been down for a few games and talk is he might be down till January. For most teams in most divisions this would mean trouble, but for this resilient team and in this weak division Philly should be able to hold the fort down to the return of “The Answer”.
The Big “D” has big problems with Dirk Nowitski’s ankle. After injuring it playing for his country (Germany) in the off-season, the ankle has been a problem through the season causing him to miss a game here and there, but now after limping badly through the loss in Boston, this Dallas team can’t afford with their current road struggles to lose their best and most complete player for any amount of time. Unlike the 76ers the Mavs don’t have the advantage of a weak division in fact the Midwest is the most competitive division in the league with even Utah (13-12) playing good ball.
Ray Allen has not played one game yet this season, yet the Sonics have been able to hold themselves up thanks to Rashard Lewis, and the spectacular play of Ronald Murray. Murray is the perfect example of someone taking advantage of playing time thanks to an injury, but the Sonics recent skid (5-10 last 15 games) shows that this team needs Murray and Allen both out their playing well. Allen not only being one of the better shooters in the game, also would allow the Sonics their best line-up with him, Murray, Lewis, and Vlad Radmanovic all on the floor at the same time, the Supersonics would truly be what Nate McMillan wants them to be, a up-tempo, high scoring team, relying on mismatches and turnovers.
Ricky Davis and Paul Silas are now 2-for-2. They’ve been together as player and coach twice; Davis has now been traded twice. Everyone is saying the right things, how this was done to get in more defensive players (Williams, Battie, Brown) and it’s Lebron’s team now anyway and Ricky couldn’t take it. In the end though it all comes down to Ricky Davis was not getting the minutes he deserved, being benched as soon as he made one defensive lapse or turnover, while James is allowed 5+ turnovers a game, and gives up multiple easy baskets. Ricky was frustrated and unfortunately he took it with him out onto the court and it affected his tremendous offensive game. Silas saw it as his chance to rid the Cavs of Davis and GM Jim Paxson dealt him, but now the Cavs lose a top scorer, and are depending on Dajuan Wagner to come back from injury soon and put up Ricky Davis like numbers, ironic huh. Also watch out for the Cavs to deal Zydrunas Ilgauskas, because of his contract, and Silas doesn’t like his defense either, coach Silas seems to point that finger at his players quite a bit for a 6-19 coach.
— Well all that and the Cavs still have lost 34 straight on the road. Though games at Philly and Chicago have Cavs hopeful it will end this weekend, stay tuned.
— Antoine Walker returned to Boston scored 8 points total, none in the 4th and missed a potential game winning three. Pierce had 11 in the fourth and dropped 25 in the Celtics win.
— A whole week without a coach being fired??
— Oliver Miller is back in the league as a Timberwolf.
— Need proof Denver is for real? San Antonio has won 8 in a row yet still trail the Nuggets.
— Big Friday schedule, Detroit at Indiana and Midwest leading Denver at Pacific leading LA Lakers