24 – There have been innumerable emotions and opinions spent since the bombshell was dropped in Utah, but here’s a fact: the Jazz have not yet begun to miss Jerry Sloan.
23 – Well, Paul Silas did say recently that 47-year-old Michael Jordan could suit up right now and get 20 in a game. Of course, that’s the only explanation for what happened to the Lakers Monday night in Charlotte, right?
22 – Nah, LaMarcus Aldridge doesn’t carry a grudge. Sure, he’s already forgotten the All-Star snub. But just in case you did, too, he scored 36 or more points in three Portland wins and shot 63 percent from the field to get named Western Conference player of the week.
21 – Never mind the repeated run-ins with Tyreke Evans, the blow-up with Donte Greene and the temperament of a 12-year-old. There are at least a dozen teams who’d line up to take DeMarcus Cousins and all of his problems off the hands of the Kings.
20 – How much in extra baggage fees do the Wizards now save by not having to carry the 800-pound gorilla of that 0-for-the-season road record after the breakthrough win in Cleveland?
19 – For planning purposes: At their current rate of one-win-every-27-games, the Cavaliers will likely be a handful for the Pistons on April 11 at The Palace.
18 – If perception, as the saying goes, is reality, then Deron Williams has no competition among players for heaviest burden to carry the rest of the season. Of course, Magic Johnson’s rep recovered from a similar hit in 1981. All it took was four more championship rings.
17 – Somebody better tell Phil Jackson that his Lakers didn’t need to see a sports psychologist before visiting Boston. But they definitely need someone to work on that Bobcat phobia.
16 – He scores 50 points one night and 42 the next, hits long jumpers and goes strong to the hoop. But you’ve got to admit that Carmelo Anthony’s most impressive move of the season is reaching over his shoulders to pat himself on the back: “I take my hat off to myself for dealing with all this stuff that’s going on and still be able to go out and play at the high level.”
15 – If ‘Melo winds up staying in Denver, the biggest scorer to change teams before next week’s trade deadline is likely to be Zach Randolph. There would be a number of takers, but maybe nobody more desperate than the Magic.
14 – How many times does Otis Smith have to reshuffle the deck before he deals himself a hand as good as the one he had in 2009?
13 – Aw, everybody knows that ex-GM Jerry West – the guy who couldn’t bear to watch Lakers’ playoff games live and often went out and drove around in his car to listen on the radio – is nothing but a joker. So, of course, he was kidding when he said the Lakers were too old.
12 – You have to wonder if Ben Franklin and William Penn were good at calf roping, too. For all the success the Spurs have had through the years on their annual Rodeo Trip, the City of Brotherly Love has been a place where they always seem to get thrown from the bull. The best-in-the-NBA Spurs have lost nine of the past 11 seasons in Philly.
11 – For all that he’s done to lift the Bulls into the elite conversation in the East, the talk to anoint Derrick Rose as the leader in the MVP race might be a bit premature. The two-time reigning MVP, LeBron James, is ahead of Rose in points (26.3 to 24.7) and rebounds (7.3 to 4.4), is close in assists (7.3 to 8.1), and hasn’t exactly fell to Earth even though he’s had to share the ball in Miami.
10 – Is Jerry Sloan still happy he pushed so hard for Deron Williams (No. 3) over Chris Paul (No. 4) in the 2005 draft?
9 – And by the way, what about Atlanta, which made Marvin Williams the No. 2 pick in the same draft and just sent him to the bench a couple of weeks after his two-game suspension for hitting Shawne Williams?
8 – Even though they might be headed toward another 50-win season, isn’t it time that the Hawks hit the panic button? They’ve lost two home games by 30, have been passed by the Bulls in the East hierarchy and can only fantasize about getting out of the second round. Maybe the first.
7 – Could Steve Nash wake up one morning and discover that even his own agent is tired of the Suns and has traded him out of Phoenix?
6 – Two-thirds of the way through the season and the biggest question with the Heat isn’t about how they’re going to find a way to eventually beat the Celtics. It’s still figuring out who’s going to take the last shot of a playoff game out of a set offense.
5 – Maybe the next time Rajon Rondo tries to sneak into the Heat huddle, they should give him a jersey and let him stay to run the offense in the final minute.
4 – Three rickety old relics that Jerry Sloan outlasted – the Berlin Wall, the Soviet Union and Dikembe Mutombo.
3 – Isn’t New York supposed to be the home of some of the toughest people on the planet? So Raymond Felton whining that all the talk about a Carmelo Anthony trade is bothering him and coach Mike D’Antoni pleading with the fans not to chant Carmelo’s name because it distracts his team has got to at least put a dent in the street cred of the Knicks.
2 – He’s not going to make up for the loss of Caron Butler, but the Mavs, with 11 wins in their last 12 games already, are getting for the return of Roddy Mania.
1 – They might need to shore up the wing position if Marquis Daniels is lost for the season. But right now, in a best-of-seven series for the rings, I want the Celtics.