Sunday , Apr , 08 , 2007 Oly Sandor

NBA Wrap-up for April 07

Breaking down the 3 biggest stories for April 07, 2007. Find out about Kidd, Carter, and Curry bringing the NYC back, weigh in on Oden or Durant, and weigh in on the Lakers and Suns rematch, specifically the Kobe and Raja beef.

Top 3 Stories

1) New York Represents: Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, and Eddie Curry all have monster games
2) Who goes first overall: Kevin Durant or Greg Oden?
3) Lakers versus Suns. Kobe versus Raja

1) New York Represents: Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, and Eddie Curry all have monster games

What happened:
Kidd, Carter, and Curry posted impressive numbers for the Nets and Knicks, helping their respective teams win and remain in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Kidd and Carter both had triple doubles in an overtime victory against the injury-riddled Wizards. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were the last two teammates to record triple doubles in the same game.

The win also helped New Jersey move just 3 games behind Washington for the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Curry shot a blistering 17 for 20 from the floor, including a game tying three-pointer, to lift the Knicks to a 118-113 win over the Bucks.

The official line:

Jason Kidd: 10 points, 16 rebounds, and 18 assists.

Vince Carter: 46 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 rebounds.

Eddie Curry: 43 points, 13 rebounds, and 2 steals.


Reaction of Vince Carter
on comparing his and Jason Kidd’s triple double to Jordan and Pippen’s:
 “You can’t beat that one. That’s nice company. ”It’s a special night. I’m not used to it. I was just trying to do whatever I needed to do for the team. For me, I wanted to help on the boards and make plays because guys were hitting shots.”  (ESPN.com)

Reaction of Jason Kidd on Carter’s performance:
“He was aggressive. He found the open guy and made all the right plays. That’s what Vince does. Tonight he filled up his stat sheet. I wish I could have a triple-double like that.” (CNNSI.com)

Reaction of Eddie Curry
on his hot shooting:
 "It was one of those nights where the shots were falling. My teammates did a good job looking for me.” (ESPN.com)
 ”He asked me if I had one in me and I said, ‘Yeah. It felt good leaving my hand. (Dan) Gadzuric challenged the shot so I couldn’t see the ball. So I stepped to the side and saw the ball go through. I really couldn’t believe it, man. It was incredible.” (CNNSI.com)

Reaction of Isiah Thomas on Curry’s three-pointer:
“It was designed for Eddy. I didn’t think that they would guard him. I’ve been telling him the whole season I was going to design a play for him to shoot a 3 and win a game for us. I took a timeout and said, ‘Now’s the time.’ We drew it up and he knocked it down." (CNNSI.com)

My take:
“The Nets can smell blood and are making a real hard push to overtake the Wizards for sixth in the Eastern Conference. If New Jersey finished sixth, they would match up against Toronto. You guessed it. Vince Carter would return to his old stomping ground north of the border in Toronto.”

“It was nice to see Curry have a big game. Marbury was out with an injury, so it was the perfect game for Curry to go off. At times, he’s been lost in the offense, not getting enough shots. Last night, he was on fire, but still only had 20 attempts from the floor.”

“The Knicks have an outside shot at the final playoff birth in the Eastern Conference. But they need to play perfect basketball from here on out.”


2) Who goes first overall: Kevin Durant or Greg Oden?

What Happened: 
Word has broken that Kevin Durant, the NCAA player of the year, will apparently leave college after his freshman year and declare for the draft. It also seems that Greg Oden will declare for the draft.

Who do you select first overall: Durant or Oden? Do you take the athletic small forward or the classic, low post back center?

The Reaction of Steve Greenberg, Sporting News:
“If both Oden and Durant turn pro this year, the question of whom to draft No. 1 goes on the front burner and stays there until June 28. Oden will be considered the likely choice because he is a great center and great centers win championships. He is the safe pick and the smart pick.”

“Still, jump into a time machine and put Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and, heck, LeBron James in the same draft as Oden. Who goes No. 1? Probably the big guy.”

Reaction of Chad Ford, ESPN analyst, on Greg Oden:
"The best big-man prospect to enter the draft since Tim Duncan. He’s the favorite to be the No. 1 pick as long as he stay healthy.“

Reaction of Chad Ford, ESPN analyst, on Kevin Durant:
"He might be the most talented prospect in the draft. He has it all: size, athleticism and a beautiful jump shot. Right now he’s the consensus No. 2 pick in the draft behind Greg Oden."

Reaction of Draft Express on Greg Oden’s recent NCAA performance:
"While the Buckeyes wouldn’t end up cutting down the nets, this type of performance was certainly a personal victory for Greg Oden. The timid, raw, step-slow freshman is gone. In his place is a truly dominant force, absolutely everything that was advertised when he first broke onto the scene. Greg Oden has made his case for the #1 pick in the draft."

Reaction of HoopsHype describing
Kevin Durant, their #2 prospect:
 “Super productive perimeter oriented combo forward with excellent athleticism and terrific range on his jumper. Incredibly long and lanky, Durant is as smooth, silky and talented as they come. Breaks players down off the dribble and pulls up fluidly off the dribble with superb body control. Not a great defender or ball-handler in the half-court at this point. Could stand to improve from 15 feet and in. Young for his class, adding bulk to his skinny frame will be a necessity. Had possibly the most impressive NCAA freshman season of all time, and is certainly in the discussion for going first overall.”

Reaction of Lance Walton, Hoopsvibe Draft Analyst:

“By now as most people know the debate has been if Kevin Durant and Greg Oden come out who would be number one. If both come out how can you not take Oden number one, he is too rare to pass up.”


3) Lakers versus Suns. Kobe versus Raja

What happened:
On Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Phoenix Suns in a rematch of last year’s Western Conference quarterfinals. This means Kobe versus Raja.

The Reaction:
Did you forget last season’s drama? Bryant referring to Bell as "that kid" and questioning whether he was hugged "enough as a child." Bell responding by telling the media that "he didn’t respect Bryant."

Then came Bell’s infamous WWE arm drop straight to Kobe’s dome. This drew a one game suspension from the suits at NBA head office. And after the Lakers choked in game seven, Mrs. Bell, Raja’s mom, found Bryant outside the locker room and dropped a classic line asking Kobe if "he could use a hug."

Still a bit foggy? These entertaining links should refresh your memory:

 -Kobe versus Raja set to melodramatic opera music.

Jimmy Kimmel, the late night talk show host, weighs in on the Kobe and Raja beef.
 
Ernie, Charles, and Kenny from TNT discuss Kobe and Raja.

-Here’s a brilliant 4 minute clip that recaps last season’s epic series.


My take:

“There’s a whole lot of hate going on. Kobe Bryant and Raja Bell hate each other. And the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns hate each other.”

“Both team’s coaching staffs have a healthy distain for each other. Zen-master Phil and his assistants don’t respect the Suns style of play and roster. Last year, word got out that they wanted to play Phoenix in the first round. Mike D’Antoni and his crew took offense to that.”

“Everyone wants to see Phoenix and Dallas in the playoffs. That should be a great series. But I also want to see L.A. and Phoenix. Last year was amazing. This is one of the best rivalries in sports.”

Come back tomorrow morning for another edition of the NBA Wrap-up, featuring Oly Sandor’s cutting-edge analysis. Got a comment or question? Use the comment box or email Oly at olysandor@hoopsvibe.com