…while the other saw Victor Zambrano overtake Jorge Julio and Kaz Matsui as the new, most-hated-Met. But I digress…

Pacers 90, New Jersey 88

It’s a little simplistic to characterize this one as a struggle to see who would stop having a shitty game first, Jermaine O’Neal or Vince Carter. But the Nets’ brutal shooting from outside the arc (1 for 15) is the sort of failure that extends beyond Carter (whom, to be fair, might be concerned about that bulimic dog).

Suns 107, Lakers 102

We’ve all had plenty of time to adjust to Raja Bell and Boris Diaw’s career years, but who’d have imagined Tim Thomas (22 points, 15 points) matching Kobe’s point total and turning up as a major factor in Phoenix’s post-season plans?

Seriously though, Kobe’s cold-shooting aside, the Lakers were far more competent on both ends than I’d have figured. If they can hang around with Phoenix this well when Chris Mihm has a bad ankle, they should just go ahead and break the whole leg.
Pistons 92, Bucks 74

Detroit’s suffocating D and Milwaukee’s crap shooting (Ford, Redd and Bogut a combined 13 for 42 from the floor) are only half the story ; the Pistons starting 5 are so ridiculously balanced and intelligent when they’ve got the ball, it really feels like Larry Brown should’ve been sued for malpractice last year. Nothing has happened this weekend to make a Pistons/Spurs rematch seem any less inevitable.

Mavs 60, Grizzlies 48

One tough block by Shane Battier with less than a minute left in the first half aside, his Dirkness (19 points, 5 rebounds) is absolutely abusing Memphis. Conversely, a rattled Pau Gasol has yet to hit a shot from the field.

Sorry to bring up video games again, but I can’t possibly understand why Stephon Marbury didn’t make the cover for the sequel of Midway’s NBA Ballers. Just as I can’t understand why there wasn’t a bidding war between TNT and ESPN/ABC to hire Bryant Reeves as a studio analyst.

(“the dog’s bulimic! hoo ha!”)

In the heavy-rotation commericals, Vince Carter’s “that’s why we don’t feed the dog people-food” spots for T-Mobile are holding a slight advantage over Jaguar’s prominent useage of Spoon’s “I Turn My Camera On”. But it’s still early, and there’s plenty of time for more clips from “The Closer” designed to remind us that JK Simmons (above, right) can do, oh, so much more than rape Tobias Beecher.

Congrats to the Albuquerque Thunderbirds on capturing the 2005-06 NBDL Championship with yesterday’s 119-108 win over Fort Worth. If you can’t bring yourself to order another Duke Lacrosse shirt, T-Birds championship tees (above) are now on sale.