Durant Breaks Out in Loss To Phoenix; McGrady Gets Loose For 47; Pistons Put Out the Heat
Phoenix 107, Seattle 99
Was I ever this quick? (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Kevin Durant got off and seemed a little more comfortable, but Phoenix prevailed behind 23 pts. and 11 boards from Amare Stoudemire. Durant is a star; there’s no question about it. You can see the focus and hunger in his chill swagger. He obviously has a lot to learn and must get more assists early in the season or his teammates will rebel. Grant Hill, playing his first game for Phoenix, chipped in with 13 pts., 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Steve Nash had 18 and 12 and hit the deciding three late. He also had some sick passes. Chris Wilcox is finally coming into his own. He scored 23 and had 11 boards. Expect big things out of the former University of Maryland star as the season progresses.
Houston 106, Utah 95
Could I be the MVP? (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
Athletes know when to say the right things. You sometimes can sense when they say one thing and mean another. Tracey McGrady took last year’s playoff loss to the Jazz personal and it showed in his stellar play Thursday night. TMac put 47 on the Jazz to spoil their home opener. In what definitely seemed like a statement–even though McGrady would deny it–TMac had a bounce in his step that anyone who has ever played sports knows very well. The Rockets just wanted this game more. Carlos Boozer with 30 points, 16 rebounds, and Deron Williams–18 points, 13 assists–couldn’t help the Jazz hold an early lead. The Rockets turned a five point first quarter deficit into an 82-66 advantage the rest of the way.
Detroit 91, Miami 80
Get Up Zo! (APPhoto/Luis M. Alvarez)
Shaq didn’t seem like himself tonight. Playing without Dwyane Wade (recovering from off season surgeries to his knee and shoulder), the Pistons double teamed Shaq every time he received a post pass. Without Flash to pass to out of the double team, Shaq appeared listless. He didn’t score his first point until the middle of the third quarter and ended with nine. On the other hand, Tayshaun Prince played like it was his last game. He scored a career high 34 in an array of dunks, drives, put-backs and three point bombs. He also had a NBA high of 12 rips. Chauncey Billups added 19 and 11. The Pistons played without Richard Hamilton–out on a family emergency–but never appeared threatened even though they didn’t pull away until late. Ricky Davis scored 23 for the Heat.