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IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Posted by Rob Peterson on Dec. 21 2004 3:30 p.m. ET

MERRY CHRISTMAS, NBA FANS!

Ah, Christmas. As in, I'm dreaming of a white Christmas. As in, chestnuts roasting on an open fire. As in, the Miami Heat vs. the L.A. Lakers (3 p.m. ET on ABC, in case you hadn't heard -- Ba-boom, baboom!)

Say whaaaa? Yes, in addition to the family, the food and the festivities, the NBA (that's us) gives two great gifts, er, games on Christmas. First, you have the Pistons visiting the Pacers (12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). Can someone jog my memory as to what happened the last time these two teams met? Ah, yes, the Pacers won by 15.

Meanwhile, this columnist in Utah has a cheeky take on the Christmas double-dip.
-- Salt Lake Tribune

Us? We left our cheeky days behind us in college. As for this Saturday, let's take a quick look at how the Heat and Lakers are doing right now.

In a nod to Micheal Ray Richardson: The Heat be hot, winning nine of their last 10, including eight straight. The Lakers? Not so much. They've lost two in a row at home.

Still, are people talking about how the two teams are doing? Hmmm... no. It's all about Shaq and Kobe.

ESPN has devoted significant segments of SportsCenter to examining where the Shaq-Kobe pairing went wrong. The Miami Herald also has a five-part series on the subject.
-- Miami Herald (Registration required)

We can only assume this is in the Christmas spirit, but Kobe says he's tried to reach out to his former teammate, but couldn't get a hold of him.
-- Orange County Register (Registration required)

Well, we can see why Shaq's hasn't called back. He's been out shopping. Apparently, all Shaq wants for Christmas is a Corvette.
-- South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Oh, and where did Shaq learn about Phil Jackson being dismissed from his Lakers' gig? "The NBA's website" the Associated Press reported. Hey, AP, it's NBA.com, for future reference.
-- ESPN.com

(By the way, thanks for reading, Big Fella. We're going to send you a year's subscription to Click and Roll, absolutely free!)

Meanwhile, columnists love Shaq. Fans still love Kobe.
-- Arizona Republic

Still, everyone on both teams can say it's not a distraction, but look at how Heat prez Pat Riley looks at the game. It is.
-- South Florida Sun Sentinel

Regardless, the Heat-Lakers game should make for interesting viewing on Christmas Day.

VINCE IN A NEW JERSEY

As soon as the trade was announced, many of us at NBA.com headquarters got together and had visions of sugar plums, er, Vince Carter dancing in our heads.

"Could you imagine him and Richard Jefferson on the break with Jason Kidd?"

Jaws dropped. Heads nodded in agreement. It could be truly awe-inspiring. After all, my boss (Randy aka "Nails") and I had attended the 2000 All-Star Game in Oakland. We were there for the greatest dunk performance ever in NBA slam dunk competition history.

Oh, to have Vinsanity in position to catch some oops from Kidd? We shudder in anticipation. Opponents shudder at the thought.

All of that flashed through our heads when we found out the Nets acquired Vince Carter for three players and two draft picks.
-- New York Daily News, Toronto Star

Really, all Vince wanted was some consistency.
-- Toronto Star

Some were sad to see Vince go. Others found his parting to be a relief.
-- Toronto Sun

For the Nets, it was a gamble, but one they had to take.
-- New York Times (Registration required)

THE TEARS OF A CROWN

To all those people who wrote in last week as to why Dallas and, especially, Sacramento, weren't in my list of those teams that are really, really good, well, sorry, I'm not completely, completely convinced yet.

Mavs fans who want to argue further? Just ask Dirk.
-- Dallas Morning-News

As for the Kings, at 16-7 as of Tuesday, I know they're good. But I can't help but go back to Game 7 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals. That team was truly stellar, yet they let a trip to the Finals slip through their fingers. Is this edition of the Kings better than that one? I'm not convinced yet.

If they do end up greater than I expect them to be (reaching at least the conference finals) I will dedicate a complete Click and Roll to the Kings, no questions asked.

SNOW GO IN CLEVELAND

What caused the normally mild-mannered Eric Snow to jaw with Paul Silas last week? No one knows and don't ask Silas, who had a classic-post game presser.

"Am I speaking Chinese?" Silas bellowed when asked again about a subject he didn't want to talk about.

(By the way, don't mess with Paul Silas. During one of the NBA's yearly rookie training seminars, Silas said he had one goal when he was in the NBA -- "To whoop butt." Though, he didn't say butt.)

The Cavs suspended Snow for last Saturday's game against the Celtics. Missing the game (and watching the Cavs lose) was tough. Admitting his mistake to his son was tougher.
-- Cleveland Plain-Dealer

TIP-INS

One of the stranger non-stories of the year here.
-- Seattle P-I

And more on it here, as well.
-- New York Daily News

Don't look now, but the Bulls have won four straight and have actually looked good doing it.
-- Chicago Tribune (Registration required)

Meanwhile, Sam Smith continues his weekly attempt to get Eddy Curry off the Bulls.
-- Chicago Tribune (Registration required)

Kevin Garnett gives his stamp of approval.
-- Akron Beacon Journal

What makes a team stink? Brain farts.
-- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Scoring's up across the (score)board and the Celtics are getting into the act.
-- Boston Globe

If I were a Warriors fan (and there are many and it's an underrated and loyal group), I don't know how I'd feel about the result of this game.
-- Washington Post (Registration required)

Isiah's been on the job as Knicks GM for a year. Many have weighed in. I give you one link. (Just because I have a ton of candy doesn't mean I need to put it all out, do I?)
-- New York Daily News

AND FINALLY...

We at Click and Roll wish you and yours a very safe and very happy holiday season. May all your wishes come true.

Kobe and the Daddy in happier days.
(Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)

AN ASIDE
Big guys, enough of the power dribble when you catch the ball. Make a move, don't pound the ball to the hardwood. One of the best plays I saw all week was the Bulls' Kirk Hinrich float an entry pass to Eddy Curry, who caught the ball above his head, pivoted and slammed it home for the easiest two you could imagine.

Young big men out there, never put the ball on the floor in the post unless absolutely necessary. Keep it away from where everyone can reach for it. You'll thank me later.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Phoenix's Quentin Richardson after tipping in the game-winner against the Nuggets on Monday:

"The game was like Hamlet. It was a suspense thriller, and I killed them at the end."

So sweet. I would have never thought of Hamlet as a "thriller," per se. This site says it's more of a rumination on anger, loss and the murky emotional depths of revenge, so give Q his props for approaching it from another angle. Anytime someone works Shakespeare into a quote about an NBA game, we're all for it.

2004-05 ARCHIVE
Dec. 21 -- A Wonderful Life
Dec. 14 -- How Good is Good?
Dec. 7 -- Getting Medieval
Nov. 30 -- LeBron vs. Dwyane
Nov. 23 -- Playing Good Ball
Nov. 16 -- SuperbSonics
Nov. 9 -- Hitting the Blue Note
Nov. 3 -- Bling, Bang, Boom
2003-04 -- Archive

GI-NORMOUS PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
Make that two, please. A.I. went for 50 in back-to-back games against the Bucks and the Jazz.

Since he can put points on the board, maybe he can play receiver for the Eagles. (Sorry, 'bout that crack.)

GI-NORMOUS GAME(S) OF THE WEEK
Really now.