Posted Jan 3 2011 11:43AM
24 -- LeBron James says he wants to take part in the slam dunk contest at this year's All-Star Weekend in L.A., but might have to back out because of the wear and tear on his body. Probably from carrying all those talents to South Beach.
23 -- All right, not calling timeouts during a game is one thing. But Phil Jackson not having his head explode while letting the Lakers figure things out in their latest slump is amazing restraint.
22 -- So maybe somebody should ask the Thunder if Tim Duncan has lost his mojo?
21 -- Joakim Noah, Greg Oden, Brandon Roy, Yao Ming, Brandon Jennings, all key injuries. But any with more long-term effect than Caron Butler's potential loss for the season with a torn knee tendon when the Mavs were looking maybe better than the 2006 Finals team?
20 -- Most everyone figured the Rookie of the Year race would be a two-man affair. But who picked Blake Griffin main's competition to be 39th pick Landry Fields?
19 -- Yes, he's still living down the trade that sent Luis Scola down Interstate 10 to Houston, but the Spurs have the best record in the league and a boatload of depth because GM R.C. Buford reeled in 2010 rookies Gary Neal, Tiago Splitter and James Anderson to go with DeJuan Blair (2009) and George Hill (2008).
18 -- Blue Christmas: Mark Heisler of the L.A. Times points out that the Celtics have a 94-14 record from opening night to Christmas Eve over the past four seasons. That's a 71-win pace. But from that point on the past three seasons, they were just 84-54 when injuries piled up. Now it's happening again and Boston is 2-3 since Christmas.
17 -- Add Kevin Garnett to the list of wounded that at some point this season has already included Kendrick Perkins, Delonte West, Shaquille O'Neal, Jermaine O'Neal and Rajon Rondo and ask yourself if there's a coach in the league you'd rather have steering the ship when injuries hit than Doc Rivers?
16 -- OK, you want another prime candidate for keeping a leaky ship afloat? Try Rick Adelman, who's been more frantic than a one-armed man juggling chainsaws since arriving in Houston.
15 -- Now that GM Otis Smith went out and got his All-Star center all of that new help for the Magic, it might be a nice return gesture if Dwight Howard (12 technical fouls) could control himself enough to avoid suspension and stay around for all of the games.
14 -- If Smith coaxed Rasheed Wallace out of retirement, would it be more to boost Orlando's depth at power forward or depth at all those techs?
13 -- Let's get this straight. Phil Jackson says he's definitely done with coaching after this season. A year ago, he said winning another title would make it more likely for him to return to pursue another three-peat. But winning three straight wouldn't make it tempting to try for four in a row? That's something only Red Auerbach has done and Jackson did not in Chicago with Michael Jordan.
12 -- Isn't it finally time to recognize Jerry Sloan with a Coach of the Year Award? In his 20th season with the Jazz, he lost nearly a third of his offense when Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver and Wes Matthews left, yet still has Utah on top of the Northwest Division.
11 -- Some thought the versatile contributions of Lamar Odom were lost in favor of Kevin Durant's scoring when it came time for the MVP voting at last summer's World Championship in Turkey. Will Odom's willing move back to the bench be overlooked again if the Lakers pull it together?
10 -- There are likely to be dozens of things that Miami's Supremes accomplish over the next decade that will boggle the mind. But when we're looking back one day, don't overlook that perfect 10-0 road record in December. It was historic.
9 -- With Derrick Rose zooming to the front of the MVP race and the Bulls winning 13 out of 15, it could be reason for Chicago to be happy with things as they are. But if the Bulls thrive without Joakim Noah, wouldn't they change their minds and deal him to add Carmelo Anthony to the picture?
8 -- Mark Cuban doesn't like it when Charles Barkley declares his Mavs are the best team in the NBA, because he doesn't want them getting too cocky. Seems the Bucks (two wins over Dallas in 19 days) took care of that.
7 -- There are always disappointments in the league every season and Sacramento has become a regular. But with the antics of rookie DeMarcus Cousins and the dropoff in production by Tyreke Evans, the Kings seem to have cornered the market in irrelevance.
6 -- The Spurs take the league's best record (29-4) on the road for its first real challenge in a three-game trip to New York, Boston and Indiana. Let's see if the test-drive goes better than that little spin over to Orlando two weeks ago.
5 -- Give Jazz rookie Gordon Hayward credit. Since the start of the season he's gone from being chewed out on the court by Deron Williams and getting benched to fighting his way back into the rotation and making key plays.
4 -- Can the atmosphere get much worse in Phoenix than when you have Steve Nash saying he'd like http://forums.realgm.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=1079921&p=26199037?
3 -- Seems that in addition to learning to become true playoff contenders, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and the young Thunder players also have to brush up on the game's unwritten rules.
2 -- Sending out an SOS: Here come the emergency sirens and the dreamers as teams can begin signing players to 10-day contracts on Wednesday.
1 -- LeBron James says he wants to take part in the slam dunk contest at this year's All-Star Weekend in L.A., but might have to back out because of the wear and tear on his body. Is that what they call it when Blake Griffin dances on your head?
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