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Imran’s Eight: Top plays/performances for February

As February draws to a close, the best of the best plays have been hand picked and evaluated. Drum roll please.

8. Sometimes you just gotta’ give props to a phenomenal stat line. When players are able to play one heck of a game, people automatically think scoring a lot of points. In my opinion, it takes more. Being well rounded, not just scoring, but doing other things to help your team succeed is important. Ben Wallace was the man on Sunday night. He did something we don’t really see in a basketball game. First of all, he got a triple-double and that’s really commendable right there. But here’s his line: 10 points, 17 boards, and (not a typo) 10 blocks. Just to get 10 blocks is silly, but then 17 takes off the glass, and double figures for scoring.

7. I’m putting this at number seven because I was little mad about it. I wanted the Rams to finish their season with a storybook ending and have dominated and be known as this powerhouse team that was unstoppable. But I really have to hand it to New England. When they say nobody thought it was possible, they were probably exaggerating very little. It was a dramatic finish to one of the biggest upsets the NFL had ever seen. Well done Patriots, and nice choice with your QB Belichick.

6. Lindsay Yamasaki, if you haven’t heard that name then I’ll tell you who she is. Probably one of the best women’s basketball players I’ve ever seen play, and played with. She hails from Oregon City, where she won four state titles. She can do it all, from touching the rim, to shooting fade aways, to “three’s in your eye.” She’s 6-foot-2, cut and her coach can effectively put her at any position on the floor. You can’t do that with too many players. She’s led Stanford in scoring this season, averaging 18 ppg, and 4.8 rpg during Pac-10 action. The team’s record is 16-0 for conference and 28-1 overall. Although she’ll miss the Pac-10 tournament because of an appendectomy, she should be back to lead her team to the Final Four in March.

5. I do love upsets and it was the number one ranked team in college hoops that went down last week to third ranked Maryland. Maryland flat took Duke out of its game and ran the team on both ends of the floor. Williams and Duhon shot a combined 9-34 from the field and that just wouldn’t cut it, especially not from the best backcourt in the country against two of the other best guards in the nation. Maryland wins this one 83-73, so we’ll look forward to seeing what happens at the Atlantic Coast Tournament.

4. Tracy McGrady had the nerve to try something in the All-Star game that I had only seen in nine-foot backyard dunk games. He threw himself a lob off the board, caught it and whipped it down with one hand in traffic. I can honestly say that the crowd and all fans watching the game were so glad they had taken the time to watch the 2002 NBA All-Star game because of that one play. Thank you T-Mac.

3. One up on McGrady was Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin. Kidd thought he would try throwing a lob of the board in a regular season game. It’s not enough he is second in the league in assists, but he makes his passes look so good half the time. It wasn’t too risky of a choice because if you don’t know, Kidd has Kenyon Martin on his team, and Martin basically gets to anything thrown at him in the vicinity of the glass backboard structure. To sum it up: Kidd off the glass to Martin, two hands with authority over the top, 98-77 victory over the Nuggets, and maintaining a first place record in the East.

2. I love the Blazers. I take pride in not being a fair-weathered fan too. The Blazers are now on a six game win streak. I’m really hoping I don’t jinx their winning ways by noticing their exceptional play. Their last victory against the Sixers was a fun one. It was homecoming for coach Maurice Cheeks, Rasheed’s mom was in attendance and Pippen crossed a guard off the Sixers so bad I’m gonna’ leave his name absent. The Blazers’ record is now 32-24, and let’s hope it gets better, huh?

1. I like it when teams can break records and especially when it’s the teams I like. Last week versus Washington State, the Oregon Ducks broke a Pac-10 scoring record by putting up 115 points, the most the Pac-10 had ever seen in a game. They also broke school records for their three-point shooting. They’re ranked first in the Pac-10 with the best record standing at 12-4, 20-7 overall. Fredrick Jones is just fun to watch. He’s had some of the best throw downs in college basketball this season. I hope I don’t jinx them either because this is the best they’ve been in decades. Atta’ kid Ducks. The Pac-10 Tournament will be awesome, not to mention March Madness just around the corner.