NBA Roundup: Flying Too Close To The Suns

Notes from Monday's games in the National Basketball Association ...

Napoleon Rallies The Troops. Ha, we wish we could have been there. It seems that Steve Nash — injured in the first half and unable top play — gave the Suns a Knute Rockne speech at halftime of their game with the Nuggets, which they were losing. Result? Phoenix 113, Denver 108. "During the first half they roughed us up, knocked us around and we didn't stand up to them. Steve had a talk at halftime and we played with a little bit more oomph in the second half," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. Nash aggravated his injured right shoulder in the first half. The Nuggets were missing Allen Iverson and Marcus Camby, but Carmelo Anthony had 31 points. The Suns' Amare Stoudemire scored 36 points and had 13 rebounds. Nuggets fans aren't exactly giving their team a pass due to all the injuries, by the way.

Shaq Is Back, Pretty Much. Shaquille O'Neal has officially returned for the Miami Heat; his 22 points helping the Heat beat the Bobcats 113-93. Dwyane Wade had 27 points as the Heat won their fourth straight. O'Neal had missed 32 games.

In Mehmet We Trust. If you're like us, there is only one player that you are pretending to be with the clock ticking down in that imaginary game of Nerf wastebasket basketball. Yes, Mehmet Okur. It's good at the buzzer! Okur scored 12 points in the fourth quarter in Utah's 100-95 win over Chicago on Monday. The Jazz are 3-1 since losing Carlos Boozer to injury. Okur finished with 20 points.

The Butler Did It. With Agent Zero malfunctioning, it was up to Caron Butler, who responded with a career-high 38 points in Washington's 118-108 victory over Seattle on Monday. It was the SuperSonics' franchise-record 15th consecutive road loss (cue wah-wah horn sound effect). Gilbert Arenas had 16 points on 4-for-14 shooting.