by Craig Kwasniewski
The cold is starting to thaw, the trade deadline has passed, the All-Star Game is in our rear view mirror.... shhhhh can you smell it? It's Rivalry Week!!!
I hope y'all put up decorations and sent out cards.
Anyway, the NBA decided to put together some interesting "rivalry" match-ups this week. But seriously, are there any true NBA rivalries out there? I consider the Lakers-Kings a decent one because the people of Sacramento despise Los Angeles. Detroit-Indiana had potential until Artest was shipped out West.
Anyway, ESPN will carry two "rivalry" games tonight. Here's why you may want to watch them (all times are Pacific):
New Jersey @ New York 5:00 PM: This will be Stevie Franchise's Knicks debut. The honeymoon period begins as you will see both Francis and Marbury try extra hard to coexist. Several possessions will consist of both passing back and forth with the following exchange:
"Here you go Stevie, take the shot!"
"No, that's okay, you take the shot!"
"No, I insist, you are wide open, take the shot."
"No, no, no, I'm the new guy... you take the shot"
"Be my guest, I'll take the next one."
"Oh but I couldn't...." (BRRRRAAAAHHHHH - The 24 second shot clock expires, Jalen Rose is banging his head with Larry Brown's clipboard)
Actually, this game should bring back a playoff-type buzz to the old MSG. But remember, a few weeks ago Marbury claimed to be a better point guard than Kidd. Somehow I think the Kidd-Carter-Jefferson trio will win this game easily.
L.A. Lakers @ L.A. Clippers 7:30 PM: Injuries are taking a toll as the Clippers have lost five in a row. Having NBA Lottery withdrawal, Elgin Baylor, has made two very questionable deals in acquiring Vlad Radmanovic and Vin Baker. This will hurt the team's chemistry. With Maggette and Quinton Ross injured, coach Dunleavy is forced to start Shaun Livingston at small forward. This makes the Clippers weak at the defensive end of the court. Vin Baker DNPCD will make his Clipper home debut tonight.
The Lakers came off an impressive 106-85 victory over Sacramento last night. This was a huge victory as the Lakers, Kings and Rockets will all be competing for the eighth playoff spot in the West. They played their best defense of the season and Kobe dropped a season high 10 assists.
The Lakers are not a good team in back-to-back games and I see a potential letdown game after the Sactown victory. The Clippers need to win the game and they will.