There were just two games played in the NBA last night. There was big news out of one of them, and a little disappointment in the other.
Shaq came out of the game after 29 minutes played with an ankle injury. ESPN is now saying that he'll be out 2-4 weeks. I'm not big on feeling happy about guys getting hurt, but I don't know how sorry I feel for Shaq "I'm Unfamiliar With That Name" O'Neal. Anyway, Miami will of course need Dwyane Wade and Antoine Walker to step up. Wade's probably a given to drop 30 a night until Shaq comes back, but I wonder whether Walker can help carry the team. He's only 29, but he looks like an old man out there sometimes. Even if Walker steps up, it'll be interesting to see how he handles stepping back down again when Shaq comes back.
Meanwhile, Miami out-scored Indiana by eight in the fourth quarter, but still came up short, losing by three. Jason Williams's 1-8 effort, with just two assists, didn't help matters for the Heatians.
The disappointment came as the Suns beat the Lakers by ten. As Phil Jackson said, the Suns are a better team than the Lakers right now, but regardless of expectation, a loss is always disappointing. Anyway, Mamba (see Bill Simmons for the story) Bryant scored 39, Smush Parker added 21, and Lamar Odom had a great game, with 23 and 16 rebounds. Three good offensive games, but the team couldn't stop anybody. The Suns had six guys in double figures, including the immortal Eddie House. When you let Eddie House score 10 points in nine minutes, you're probably not going to win.
I did like the starting lineup for the Lakers, though. With Shawn Marion playing the power forward for the Suns, there's a greater need for the opposing team to play a lineup with speed and length than one with big bodies. Thus, Devean George started at small forward, pushing Lamar Odom to the power forward spot; compare to the night before, when Chris Mihm started at the four and Odom was the three.
The Lakers don't have the talent to force the other team to react to them. It's easy to start Karl Malone at the power forward and say, "You adjust to us" but when you're talking about Chris Mihm, you've got to be a little more creative. It's good to see that necessary mixing-and-matching early.