|Shaq, Kidd lose in debuts with new teams|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 21 February 2008 01:23|
In his first game in nearly a month because of injuries, Shaquille O'Neal rumbled up and down the court in his Phoenix Suns debut and flashed some of the powerful moves that made him one of the most dominant big men in NBA history.
``I'm in better shape than I thought I was,'' he said after a 15-point, nine-rebound performance Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Lakers.
He couldn't deliver a win, though, as Kobe Bryant - despite his dislocated right pinkie - scored 41 points to help the visiting Lakers to an intense 130-124 victory.
``I know I've got a hip injury and knee injuries, but every loose ball I have to dive for I will dive for,'' said O'Neal, who came to the Suns last week in a trade that sent Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks to Miami. ``I just want to show them what kind of player they have in Shaquille O'Neal.''
Jason Kidd was also eager to play for his new team, but like Shaq, had his debut spoiled.
At New Orleans, Kidd, acquired Tuesday from New Jersey, looked out of sorts at times in Dallas' 104-93 loss to the Hornets. He committed six turnovers and was outplayed by Chris Paul, who had 31 points, 11 assists and a career-high nine steals for New Orleans.
``I caused a couple of breakdowns,'' said Kidd, who had eight points and five assists. ``We can build on this. ... I have some bad habits. I just have to make some adjustments and look at the game. I just need to keep getting the feel of everybody and go to practice tomorrow.''
In other NBA games Wednesday night, it was: Sacramento 119, Atlanta 107; Cleveland 106, Indiana 97; Philadelphia 124, New York 84; Toronto 127, Orlando 110; Milwaukee 103, Detroit 98; New Jersey 110, Chicago 102 in overtime; Golden State 119, Boston 117; and the Los Angeles Clippers 100, Memphis 86.
At Phoenix, Lakers newcomer Pau Gasol scored 29 points, including a breakaway dunk that put Los Angeles up 123-117 with 1:15 to play. Lamar Odom added 22 for the Lakers, who won their sixth in a row to move into a tie with Phoenix atop the Pacific Division.
O'Neal scored nine of his points in the final quarter against his old team.
``He did seem to get stronger as the game went on, which is incredible,'' Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. ``I did really think he'd run out of steam sometime in the second half, and he really didn't.''
Amare Stoudemire had 37 points and 15 rebounds for Phoenix, while Steve Nash added 26 points and eight assists.
``I think everyone was excited for the game and to lose is difficult,'' Nash said, ``but I think if you take a step back it's encouraging. I thought Shaquille was great, and I think the possibilities are very exciting.''
Paul's dazzling performance on both ends of the floor had New Orleans fans on their feet, raining down chants of ``M-V-P!'' for their own All-Star point guard while a banner offering similar sentiments flapped from the upper deck.
``It's fun to watch. I was getting pumped up,'' Hornets center Tyson Chandler said. ``Tonight was unbelievable. The guy was all over the place.''
Meanwhile, Kidd showed the effects of having just one full practice and one game-day shootaround with his new team.
``He made some great passes and some of the time guys weren't looking for the ball,'' Dallas coach Avery Johnson said. ``This is kind of like a mini-training camp. We just don't have a lot of time. But at the same time, we need every practice and every game for everybody to get on the same page and everybody to get used to playing with Kidd.''
Kings 119, Hawks 107
At Sacramento, Mike Bibby returned to the city he played the last six-plus seasons before being traded to Atlanta on Saturday. He had 17 points after receiving a warm welcome from Kings fans, but couldn't prevent the Hawks from losing their sixth straight.
Ron Artest scored 29 points and Kevin Martin added 26 for the Kings, who have won seven of eight at home.
Cavaliers 106, Pacers 97
LeBron James had his second consecutive triple-double, with 31 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists for visiting Cleveland.
It was James' sixth triple-double of the season and 16th of his career, and it helped the Cavaliers end a two-game losing streak.
Danny Granger scored 30 points for the Pacers, who lost their third straight.
76ers 124, Knicks 84
Willie Green scored 21 points, Thaddeus Young had a career-high 20 and Andre Iguodala added 19 for Phildelphia, which won its sixth straight at home while crushing New York.
The Knicks had turnovers on almost every possession in some stretches, took ugly shots and trailed by 46 points in the third quarter.
Raptors 127, Magic 110
Chris Bosh had 40 points - going 14-for-16 from the field and 11-for-11 from the foul line - and Jose Calderon had 19 points and 13 assists for Toronto.
Dwight Howard led visiting Orlando with 37 points and 15 rebounds.
Bucks 103, Pistons 98
Michael Redd scored 27 points and Andrew Bogut had 14 points and 14 rebounds as host Milwaukee snapped a four-game losing streak.
Rasheed Wallace finished with 21 points on 5-of-10 shooting from 3-point range.
Nets 110, Bulls 102, OT
Marcus Williams, in his first game as Jason Kidd's temporary replacement at point guard, combined with Richard Jefferson for New Jersey's first 10 points of overtime.
Vince Carter led the Nets with a season-high 33 points, though appeared to be grabbing at his hamstring as the game ended. Williams had a season-best 25 points, and Jefferson had in helping the Nets to their 13th straight home victory over the Bulls.
Warriors 119, Celtics 117
Baron Davis hit a 20-foot jumper with 0.3 seconds to play, and Golden State sent the NBA leaders to their second straight loss since Kevin Garnett's return.
Monta Ellis scored 12 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, and Davis capped his 29-point performance with his latest incredible late-game heroics.
Ray Allen hit six 3-pointers while scoring 32 points for the visiting Celtics, and Garnett had 17 points and 15 rebounds while playing 31 minutes in his return from a strained abdominal muscle.
Clippers 100, Grizzlies 86
Corey Maggette had 30 points and 10 rebounds and Los Angeles sent Memphis to its 11th straight road loss.
Rudy Gay led the Grizzlies with 21 points.