As another week in the NBA gets rolling, here are 24 thoughts to ponder and discuss:
24 – Coincidence? The NBA and Marvel Comics – Spider-Man,The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, etc – announce a new joint line of clothing at just the time when Superman & his friends are fading in Orlando.
23 – Based on the All-Star rosters, Dirk Nowitzki should be leading the MVP race by a landslide. Of the teams with the four best records in the league, the Celtics have four stars, the Spurs two and the Lakers two. So doesn’t Lone Star Dirk get credit for doing all of the heavy lifting by himself?
22 – Using the Kepler telescope to probe Milky Way galaxy, astronomers are now speculating that conditions might be right for the existence of life on 54 new planets … and in Indianapolis.
21 – Aaron Brooks goes from Most Improved to Most Impudent in the space of 10 months, literally walking out on his Rockets teammates in the middle of the fourth quarter against Memphis. Way to make the case that you deserve a big contract extension when you can’t handle the heat of competition from Kyle Lowry.
20 – Forget the Alamo if you’re the Lakers. That horse is likely out of the barn. The real challenge over the final 2 ½ months of the regular is to finish ahead of Dallas for the No. 2 spot in the West and home court in a potential second-round series. The last time the Lakers won a playoff series without home court advantage was the 2004 Western Conference finals against Minnesota.
19 – Who’s going to beat out Tom Thibodeau for Coach of the Year? He started the season without Carlos Boozer. Now the Bulls are minus Joakim Noah and each week they’re looking more like the team nobody will want to tangle with for best-of-seven in the East.
18 – If it’s true that Dwight Howard is ready to bolt for the Lakers or Knicks unless Orlando can win a championship this season, after Sunday’s latest beat-down by the Celtics, he’s got to be getting estimates from moving companies.
17 – Welcome back to the top of the Broadway marquee and the land of MVP candidates, Amar’e Stoudemire. Hope you enjoyed your time away.
16 – Nothing against a Blake Griffin dunk, a Dwyane Wade crossover or a LeBron James drive. But personally, there’s not a sweeter sight in the NBA than seeing Ray Allen raise up with that perfect form and let fly with another perfect 3.
15 – Sure, Allen could break Reggie Miller’s career 3-point record on Thursday night against the Lakers and that’s an achievement. But really, how many of those did he make while taunting Spike Lee?
14 – As soon as word comes from Regis Philbin and Donald Trump, it will mean that everyone in New York will have officially entered the pursuit of Carmelo Anthony.
13 – Break out another yardstick. How much progress has been made by Miami since those two early seasons whippings by the Celtics? We find out Sunday in Boston and this time the Celts have Kendrick Perkins back, too.
12 – Howard has 14 technical fouls on the season. Just two more until league rules say he has to take a night off. In other words, be like many of his Magic teammates.
11 – Will they call it spring break and send them to Cancun? The technical foul race to 16 and the mandated one-game suspension is on with Howard and Stoudemire tied for the lead, but with the always excitable Stephen Jackson closing on the outside with 11.
10 – Punxsutawney Phil failed to see his shadow, which is supposed to mean an early spring. Tyler Hansbrough fails to see Jim O’Brien’s shadow and that means he’s been sprung.
9 – You’ve heard the old saying about the immovable object meeting the irresistible force? Well, the schedule could serve up the exact opposite of that on Saturday night. That’s when the Wizards could be taking their 0-25 road record into Cleveland against a 27-game losing streak by the Cavs. Of course, the Cavs would have to lose at home to both the Pistons (19-32) and Clippers (19-31) before that.
8 – Don’t pencil in Rick Adelman as an automatic to return to the bench in Houston next season. His four seasons with the Rockets have been marked by injuries, turmoil and frustration with a roster that now merely aspires to be mediocre.
7 – Who lasts longer in his untenable situation: Hosni Mubarak or Rip Hamilton?
6 – The amazing thing is that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich continues to insist that Lakers are the team to beat while managing to keep a straight face.
5 – While watching Eminem’s 2-minute Super Bowl TV commercial about surprising comebacks by once-proud entities in Detroit, I kept looking for a glimpse of the 2011 model Tracy McGrady.
4 – Agent Zero. Remember when it was Gilbert Arenas’ nickname and not his point total in the box score against the Celtics? Yet the more troubling zeroes for the Magic are all those attached to the $60 million and three years left on his contract.
3 – Not all of the bad news was on the scoreboard when the Hornets fell to the Timberwolves for their third straight loss. Since the city wide campaign to avoid triggering an out-clause in the arena lease ended, New Orleans has had crowds of less than 14,000 for two of its last three home games.
2 – It’s definitely time the All-Star rosters were expanded to 15 players, the number each team can carry during the season. Not to knock Blake Griffin or Kevin Love. But LaMarcus Aldridge, Lamar Odom and Zach Randolph – what they do for clubs in the playoff race – all have better arguments to be on the 12-man West team.
1 – So what’s the difference between Frank Vogel and Red Auerbach as a coach? Vogel has a better winning percentage.