SECAUCUS, NJ, Jan. 24, 2006 --
Time to celebrate. We have reached the midway point of the regular season, a perfect time to honor the best of the 2006-07 campaign to date. NBA.com's experts expound on their mid-season picks for the six major awards, as well as another eight "best of" categories.
At this point last year, it would be very tough to vote against Mr. 81 in this category. And if it weren't for that particular game, Gilbert Arenas' 60-points on the same floor might be a unanimous choice for Best Single-Game Performance.
Steve Nash is changing the way the game of basketball is played. From clutch jumpers, to pin-point passes, he is the standard. The Nets found that out the hard way on Dec. 7 when he exploded for a career-high 42 points, including an overtime-forcing 3-pointer, and gave out 13 assists. >>
I love scoring just as much as the next hoops fan, but I long for a dominant inside presence who can control the paint and wipe the glass. Enter Dwight Howard, who, on Jan. 10 vs. Golden State, scored a season-high 30 points and pulled down an astonishing 25 rebounds – nine coming on the offensive end. It was the youngster’s third 20-plus board game of the season, making this scribe think we might be witnessing the next dominant big man, following in the footsteps of Shaq, Wilt and Russell. >>
No one steals the spotlight from Kobe. No one --- yet Gilbert Arenas did –and in L.A. >>
Gilbert Arenas had roughly 75 friends and family members in the stands at the STAPLES Center on Dec. 17 and he nearly scored a point for every one of them. He only scored 60, so a few of them had to share. Arenas put on a show going head-to-head with Kobe Bryant and dropping five three balls including two in overtime when he scored 14 points in a row for Washington en route to a 147-141 road victory. The game epitomizes the season Gilbert has had thus far, one he calls “The Takeover,” all the way down to the Wizards wearing their flashy gold jerseys and Arenas bowing at center court after his masterpiece.
Gilbert Arenas has called this season "The Takeover" and no game better epitomized Gilbert's takeover than his 60-point outburst against the Lakers in L.A. on Dec. 17. The Wizards needed every one of Gilbert's 60 (the only "three score" performance in the league this season) as they defeated the Lakers, 147-141. As I watched Gilbert score on an array of shots, I thought, "Damn, Gilbert's out-Kobe-ing Kobe on his home floor." Not many players can claim that.
We all got a little jaded after Kobe’s 81 a year ago, but 60 points is still an insane single-game total. Never mind Gilbert Arenas’ 17-of-32 shooting that night or his eight assists or even his eight rebounds. Just focus on the 60. Until someone surpasses it, the points stand for themselves.
I find it tough to vote for a performance I didn't see in this category, so with my apologies to Agent Zero, I gotta go with Triple-Double No. 82. Sure, Jason Kidd put up better numbers in the double-OT classic vs. Phoenix, but it was his will and determination in the Jan. 11 TNT game in Chicago that makes it my choice. With the Nets down 18 early in the third, Kidd simply took over ... on both ends of the court. He finished with 23 points, 14 boards and 11 dimes while completely shutting down Ben Gordon in the second half, leading the Nets to their best victory of the season. >>