Da Bulls’ Ben Gordon was scary-good against Phoenix tonight, hitting (Chris Russo voice here) shots in big spots, over and over again en route to a 41 point total. That said, Gordon was powerless to deport stop Leonard Barbosa (above), whose three-pointer with 1.5 seconds remaining gave the the Suns a 97-96 victory.

In Sacramento, the hot hand of Jamal Crawford and competent drumming inside presence of Eddy Curry has the Knicks hanging around (well, trailing 69-61 in the third) with the Kings. The petulant Brad Miller was just tossed with his 2nd technical of the evening, while the Tru Warier has 19 points.

With the Nuggets trailing 106-93 to Philly
and 1:41 left, a visibly frustrated Allen Iverson managed to collect his 2nd T of the night. Prior to that point, A.I. had tallied 31 points and 9 assists, but as he probably told the Sixers once or twice, he can’t do it all by himself.

With Phoenix and Sacramento in mind, here’s an excerpt from the currently unemployed Paul Shirley’s piece for Esquire last November, on the subject of postgame fornication in the NBA (or the lack thereof).

The players often don’t like one another that much, destroying the pack mentality that would seem to increase the hookup chances for everyone. The days of a table for twelve at the nearby steak house followed by a team visit to a local club are either over or never happened. Many NBA players are like corporate entities all to themselves. They have their minions (posses), handlers (agents), and bosses (wives).

Postgame is a time to analyze the night’s work as it applies to potential shoe deals, not to fraternize with the idiots who didn’t pass them the ball. Third, and most important, NBA teams fly to the next city”or return home”immediately after a road game. Yes, it’s possible that some hijinks can break out when the team arrives the night before a game. But most professional athletes do attach some importance to the concepts of rest and preparation, especially one who needs to maintain his 17.9-points-per-game average in the hopes that the owner will turn a blind eye to the weapons charge and sign him to a six-year contract next summer. As such, many players are unlikely to give the average groupie the attention she needs with a game waiting the next day.

Don’t get me wrong: NBA groupies do exist. They’re just not as omnipresent as one might think, nor is the methodology as coarse as legend has it. Players cultivate these “relationships” over months, even years. It could take an entire career to build up a stable of reliable contacts in each city. Except for Sacramento. No hope there.