Dwyane Wade scored 36 points on 12-of-26 shooting (including three 3-pointers) with 10 rebounds, seven assists, a steal, and a block in the Heat’s 108-102 overtime loss to the Orlando Magic on Thursday. He is playing like a man possessed lately, averaging 32.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 7.4 assists, and 2.2 steals per game in the month of March.
Elsewhere around the NBA:
Orlando: Dwight Howard got his 15th technical foul of the season, and played just 31 foul-plagued minutes on his way to 10 points on 3-of-9 shooting with 11 rebounds, one assist, and four blocks in Thursday’s win over the Miami Heat. One more technical foul for him and he will be suspended for a regular season game, which only serves to put owners on edge for the rest of the season, since it’s unlikely he’ll be on their benches unless his free throw woes and/or turnovers are proving to be too meddlesome.
Orlando: Matt Barnes logged 40 minutes against the Heat on Thursday despite his sprained toe, and finished with 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting (including a three) with nine rebounds and three assists. Surely the Magic didn’t want him to have to play this much, but with Mickael Pietrus (ankle) out for at least a week they don’t really have a choice. Barnes defended Dwyane Wade for much of the game, illustrating how much Orlando needs him, and luckily for him his next game isn’t until Monday.
Charlotte: Peja Stojakovic (groin) said Thursday that he still doesn’t have a timetable for his return as he has hit the halfway point of his original two-week projection. “It has improved,” said Stojakovic. “But I wouldn’t say a great deal. I’d say it’s better this last week, since we started the road trip. It’s getting better.” These are not words that fantasy owners should be counting on, as it’s looking like he’ll be back for just a handful of games.
Oakland: Kelenna Azubuike said Thursday that he is leaning towards taking a $3.3 million player option available to him for the 2010-11 season, which is the last year of his contract. “I’m leaning toward a certain way – coming back,” said Azubuike, which is a welcoming piece of news for the Warriors.
Washington: Andray Blatche (sprained left ankle) said that he will play Friday against the Portland Trail Blazers, but coach Flip Saunders has been a bit less optimistic saying he is 50-50 to play. “It’s a little tender. I’m going to try to play – no, I’m not going to try, I’m going to play,” Blatche said. “I’m just going to work through it.” He also added, that “the pain, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being worst, it’s probably a five.” This will be a case of a player’s heart versus a coach’s mind, and owners would be wise to heed Saunders’ assessment of “50-50.”
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