Rockets 44, Grizzlies 34 (:34.4 left in the 2nd quarter)

(Yao explains to Mike Miller that the Shark Fin Soup is off the menu)

The aspiring law firm of Ming, Battier and McGrady are abusing the Grizzlies tonight, so much so that I don’t think the Czar can afford to wait for Pau Gasol’s leg to mend. Yes, I am predicting that Christian Laettner will make a heroic move from the owner’s box to the Memphis frontlines, just as soon as he’s done text messaging K-Fed (it’s been a rough day for the latter, apparently).

Pacers 90, Sixers 72 (4:35 remaining)

Jermaine O’Neal’s suffered no ill-effects since emerging from that magical soda machine in the hallway (16 points, 11 boards, 4 blocks). AI is having his usual miss-a-ton-of-shots/take a ton more kinda night, and Chris Webber appears far better suited for the role of a 6th man. In the NBDL.

Hornets 52, Warriors 43 (halftime)

It’s the 4th game in 5 nights for Golden State and if the physical fatigue hasn’t set it, the mental strain surely has. Along with some dopey shot selection (hello, Bobby Jackson), the Warriors are getting killed on the boards, the Hornets’ end especially. Chris Paul is on pace for a double-double, while if Mike Dunleavy was any quieter, they’d rename him The For Carnation.

Cavs 84, Hawks 81 (2:01 remaining)

Much like the above game, dominance on the offensive boards is what’s kept Cleveland ahead in this one. Eric Snow (above, middle), David Wesley, Damon Jones, Shannon Brown and Anderson Varejao are a combined 1 for 14 from the floor. Which is to say, it’s kinda like having Channing Frye’s production spread across 5 players. Snow’s done a decent job containing Joe Johnson (15 points, 5 for 14), but the Cavs have to find a way to get some consistent scoring out of someone other than the LeBronster.

(UPDATE : Johnson just hit a 3, his first basket in about 2 hours, 84-84, 1:24 left)
(UPDATE DOS : Larry Hughes sinks a three pointer for Cleveland, Cavs lead 87-86, :34 seconds remaining. That LeBron’s one hell of a decoy. Tyron Lue fails to get off a decent shot in traffic, and a pair of Drew Gooden free thows later, Cleveland have a 3 point advantage with :14.3 to go in regulation.)
(UPDATE III The Reckoning : a couple of Tyrone Lue layups were the bread ; LeBron missing the 2nd of two free throws was the meat that sent this to OT. A little bit of jawing from Lue after soaring over James to tie the game — tough talk from a guy whose crossover move is awfully close to traveling. If I didn’t know better, I’d think Lue has someone at home taping the game.)

Far be it for me to think of anything nice to say about John Mellencamp. But compared to Toby Keith’s new Ford ads, JCM might as well Darby Fucking Crash. I’m tempted to say that publiction of ‘The International Jew’ is now the second worst thing to be done in the Ford name, but that would be unhelpful hyperbole. So let’s just leave it at Toby Keith being The Worst Human Being Alive.

Sonics 85, Heat 82
(2:41 remaining)

The relatively fleet of foot Luke Ridenour, Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis present all sorts of transition headaches for Miami, while the Heat have to try and get as much as they can out of ‘Zo and Dorrel Wright with Shaq taking the night off. Combined, D-Wade and Gary Payton are hitting fewer than a third of their shots from the field. I think Mark Foley is digging his courtside seats, so it isn’t all bad news.

(UPDATE : Ray Allen missed the 2nd of 2 free throws with 34 seconds left and Seattle up by 2. On the ensuing possession, James Posey drained his 2nd 3 of the night, putting Miami ahead, 88-87. Damien Wilkins fell down running the baseline, then lost the resulting tip to Udonis Haslem. Flash hits his foul shots, THE END. Heat 90, Sonics 87)