The RCBL's early Thursday game appeared to be a mismatch. The 1-7 Knicks were scheduled to take on the 8-1 Warriors. It began the way it appeared. After the first 12-minute quarter the Warriors were already 20 points ahead, 48-28. But the next three quarters were competitive. In fact, the Warriors lost two points of their lead, to finish 18 up, 110-92.
Photos by Ralph Stewart
No doubt there was a certain amount of coasting by the Warriors. But James Holenko's game-high 40 points were earned, not given, and the addition of Chris Joyce to the Knicks lineup improved the team's board strength and gave them an added 3-point threat. Suffice to say, despite their dismal record, the Knicks should not be taken for granted.
Tim Scott (22) and Matt Rivers (21) were high for the Warriors. Pat Rolston (17), Jade Cash (17) and Monte Bizzarro (12) also made it to double figures.
The second Thursday game between the Bulls and Heat promised a close contest and it delivered. Sterling Bishop (26) and Sandy Fisher (24) paced the Heat attack, Sandy finding the range with seven treys. Bishop was a constant and potent force on the boards.
Will Burney's 24 was high for the Bulls, though all but matched by Jason O'Donnell's 23, 18 from long distance. Clark Agnew added 17.
The score was tied at the half, 33-33. The Bulls sprinted to a 63-47 lead after three quarters. The Heat warmed to the task in the final frame, but fell short of catching the Bulls. Final: Bulls 80, Heat 75.
Monday evening opened with a Heat versus Lakers game won by the Heat in a runaway, 120-84.
Damon Mello (31) and Jason Dyer (30) provided half of the sizzle. Dyer found it difficult to miss from beyond the arc, collecting eight treys. Mello's liquid motion earns him lay-ups in a crowd. Also in double figures for the Heat were Vic Cruz (19) and Nick Viera (18).
Top scorers for the Lakers were Albie Robinson and Jeff LaBell, both with 13, and Heath Estrella with 12.
The Heat's edge at the half was nine points, 46-37. They did most of the damage without super star Sterling Bishop, who arrived late, played sparingly, and scored just two points.
Which raises the question, "What's wrong with the Lakers?" Not much, one would think. They have speed, experience, size, proven shooters, and players who can be counted on to show up. Thursday they had a full team on the bench, and they are not plagued with prima donnas. Each time they take the floor they appear (to me) to be likely winners - with the possible exception of games with the Warriors - but, as a matter of fact, the Lakers are the only team to have beaten the Warriors. That's how good they can be!
Monday's second game pitted the Bulls against the Knicks.
The Bulls led 23-16 after the first quarter, then pulled away in the second to lead at the half, 61-35. It didn't get better in the second half and the Bulls finished ahead, 123-86.
Jason O'Donnell led all scorers with 29 points. Also in double digits: Kris Lukowitz (19), Ryan Murtha (14), Clark Agnew (14), Mike Manfred (12), and Mike Joyce (11).
Ryan Kurth led the Knicks with 26 points.