Grant Hill Passes 16,000 Career Points in Suns Win Over Blazers
"It's certainly special -- is it 16? I thought we just did 15,000," Hill said. "It feels good, especially just to be able to continue to play after a lot of injuries and still be out there. You know, sometimes I get depressed, I think I could have had more, but I'll take the 16. I won't be greedy."
Hill returned to the Suns starting lineup after missing the team's two previous games with a right knee sprain. He showed no lingering effects of the injury, looking as quick and agile on both ends of the floor as he has all season. It was his ninth 20-point effort in 36 games this year, after going over that mark just five times in 81 appearances a season ago.
Hill could have played even more than the 36 minutes he logged in this one. When asked if it was nice to see the bench finally be able to hold a lead to start the fourth quarter with the starters resting, he responded:
"Selfishly, no -- I wanted to be out there, I was feeling pretty good."
The list of active players Hill just joined by achieving this milestone is an impressive one, and includes the likes of Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, Ray Allen, Tim Duncan, Paul Pierce, Jason Kidd, and LeBron James.
Pietrus the Prankster
The Suns have been experimenting substantially with their player rotations for the last month or so, ever since they made the deal to acquire Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, and Mickael Pietrus from the Magic. On this night, Pietrus was the odd man out, logging under eight minutes of court time while picking up just a single rebound and a personal foul.
Pietrus didn't contribute on the court, but he did attempt to contribute in the chemistry department. He has a great sense of humor, and is constantly joking around to keep the team loose in the locker room.
Before the game, as the Suns huddled in the tunnel preparing to take the court, I happened to be standing next to Bruce Bowen, who was in the building as part of ESPN's broadcast crew. Just as the team began the jog onto the court, Pietrus broke ranks, ran over to Bowen, and spent a couple of seconds pretending to straighten his bowtie.
Pietrus didn't stop there. As he emerged from the showers after the game, he carefully placed a paper cup full of water on top of the door that separates the locker room from that area. The media were being urged over to speak to Vince Carter, who uncharacteristically was ready to talk before showering, but we were slow in moving because we wanted to see who would be the victim of Pietrus's prank.
It was Robin Lopez.
Lopez came through the door, and the cup fell on his head before hitting the ground. It didn't look like he got too wet, but he was certainly startled, and a bit confused. Pietrus pretended not to notice while this unfolded, as Lopez slowly walked to his locker. The two shared a chuckle and a fist bump once Lopez had figured out exactly what had just happened.