Posted Jan 31 2011 11:02PM
24 -- Put away the WD-40. Like Jerry West says, that's not the door creaking. It's the Lakers.
23 -- What are the chances the Nuggets could show up for Monday night's game at New Jersey bearing a large gift box wrapped in a No. 15 jersey and an apology for Mr. Prokhorov? And what are the chances that Mikhail Prokhorov locks the doors to the Prudential Center and doesn't let them in?
22 -- Give Larry Bird and interim coach Frank Vogel credit in the wake of Jim O'Brien's firing. There was none of the usual hemming and hawing, no begging for a period of adjustment. Vogel: "I've got a good deal of confidence this thing is gonna turn around right away." Bird: " I think this team should make the playoffs."
21 -- Derrick Rose and stomach ulcers -- isn't he supposed to be a giver, not a receiver?
20 -- After his explanation of what he really said to Charlie Villanueva earlier this season, don't you have figure that helpful Kevin Garnett was merely trying to show Channing Frye where he'd spilled Gatorade down the front of his shorts?
19 -- If their annual Rodeo trip is where the Spurs usually bond and come together, does it really mean they still have room to improve on their best-in-franchise history (40-7) record? The nine-game trip begins Tuesday night in Portland and will take them to L.A. (Lakers,) Sacramento, Detroit, Toronto, Philadelphia, Washington, New Jersey and Chicago. They'll play in three different time zones and have four back-to-back sets before it ends on Feb. 17.
18 -- Who among the big dogs -- Celtics, Spurs, Bulls, Mavs -- wouldn't take Rip Hamilton in their lineup? But nobody wants to trade for the $21.5 million guaranteed left on his contract. Best spot for him? Chicago.
17 -- What a coincidence. Kobe Bryant passed Hakeem Olajuwon to move into eighth place on the all-time NBA scoring list. And by losing at home on the same night to the Kings the Lakers looked like they were making a move on eighth place in the Western Conference standings.
16 -- When is the last time a team went from getting praise for a great attitude in rallying for so many late wins to falling off a cliff without a major injury like the Jazz?
15 -- When Warriors owner Joe Lacob raised the name of his standout second-year guard in trade talks, could he have simply been trying to order Beef Curry?
14 -- And next year the swimsuit competition? The league has announced that several players will wear skin-tight, muscle-hugging jerseys developed by Adidas at the 2011 All-Star Game in L.A. Just as long as they promise not to have our buddy Sir Charles model one on TNT.
13 -- Wasn't the idea supposed to be that the LeBron James-Dwyane Wade combo would given opponents an impossible choice and make the Heat formidable down the stretch? So even after winning a pair of close decisions against Detroit and OKC, they're 3-8 in games decided by five points or less and still have to figure out how to run those late-game half-court sets before the playoffs.
12 -- O.J. Mayo: "I had no idea that the over-the-counter supplement that I took was banned by the NBA." Halfway through his third season in the league, most observers were already in agreement over the first four words of the statement.
11-- Has catching an airball ever done more to change one man's perception? Ron Artest insists he has nothing to prove. Not until April.
10 -- It's not the notion that Paul Silas could return to Charlotte and have a positive impact almost immediately on the Bobcats that is a surprise. Isn't it the thought that a Larry Brown team wasn't playing the "right way?"
9 -- Too many opponents are taking too many cheap shots at Clippers rookie Blake Griffin and it's eventually going to get him hurt. Look, if you can't stop him legitimately, just get out of the way and let the rest of us watch the "Blake Show."
8 -- Change merely for change sake? That would be the Rockets, who'll battle to stay in the Melo discussion to the bitter end, but will move somebody, anybody, everybody ahead of the trade deadline because those middling crowds at the Toyota Center are not even angry, just bored.
7 -- Playoff preview No. 1: Hornets at Thunder on Wednesday night. OKC's temporary team and its permanent one could be on track for a first-round match in the 4-5 spots. And has there ever been a quieter 10-game winning streak than the one rolled recently up by the Hornets before it ended in Sacramento?
6 -- Playoff preview No. 2: Magic at Celtics on Sunday afternoon. Orlando won 4-3 in 2009 and Boston won 4-2 in 2010. It's 1-1 this season and you can only hope they're on another collision course this spring.
5 -- Is it possible that appreciation for what Chris Bosh gives the Heat goes up more when he's sidelined by injury than when he's actually on the floor?
4 -- Remember when the Trail Blazers were "one or two pieces" away from being a championship contender? Now they're just pieces.
3 -- Are there still any folks left in Minneapolis who'll admit they booed Kevin McHale for the O.J. Mayo-for-Kevin Love trade on draft night 2008?
2 -- Yes, we've got streaks. The question is which current streak is the most surprising: the Wizards opening the season 0-23 on the road? The Cavs dropping 20 in a row overall? Or could it actually be the 12-33 Kings winning back-to-back at the Lakers and then at home to snap the Hornets' 10-game streak?
1 -- If the NBA switched to the NHL format of having All-Star captains choose teams, how many Lakers do you think Capt. Kobe would be picking today?
Fran Blinebury has covered the NBA since 1977. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.
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