NETS TO YOU
Maybe you haven't noticed (Then again, if you did, I wouldn't be able to point things out to you and I'd be out of a job. So, please, even if you do notice, act like you haven't so I can continue putting food on the table. Thanks!) but the Nets have the second-best record in the East.
While the Mavs were off to a hot start, the Lakers stumbled and Indiana emerged in the East to capture everyone's attention early, the Nets have gone 22-9 through Monday, to lead the Atlantic Division. They have also fashioned a league-best 17-1 mark at home.
Too bad no one is going to see them. (New York Times)
Still, Byron Scott thinks the Nets have gelled in the past month, not bad for a team that's without two starters right now (Dikembe Mutombo and Kerry Kittles). (New York Post)
Well, make that one -- maybe. Lucious Harris is playing so well (he torched Ray Allen on Friday -- I was there. I saw it with my own eyes.) that Nets coach Byron Scott may keep Harris in the lineup. (New York Post)
"I've said on numerous occasions it's not my job to keep guys happy. My job is to win," Scott told the New York Post.
Ah, if only everyone were so honest.
Speaking of honest, we'll see the Nets' true character in the next few weeks as 10 of their next 13 games are on the road.
After being thumped by 22 in Milwaukee on Friday the 13th, the Portland Trail Blazers dropped to 10-11 and it looked as if the bottom was ready to give way.
Alas, the bottom didn't fall out as the Blazers have been as red-hot as their new alternate jerseys (more on that later), winning seven in a row through Monday.
The Blazers have had talent like owner Paul Allen has money, but for some reason (or many reasons), they have never been able to put it together. Now, they're starting to do so and for that, some of the credit goes to head coach Maurice Cheeks. (Chicago Sun-Times)
For others, it's putting aside the ego.
''We're just playing unselfish ball,'' Scottie Pippen told the Chicago Sun-Times. ''Everybody has looked into the mirror and asked, 'What can I do to help this team?' Everybody is accepting their roles now and guys are coming off the bench and we're keeping our rhythm."
This week, the whole country will get a chance to see the Blazers, as they head to Boston to take on the Celtics, Friday, Jan. 3 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).
Well, I guess the Kings exacted some revenge on national TV when they popped the Lakers on Christmas.
One columnist (from Rochester, N.Y.) suggested the Lakers trade Shaq. Maybe that's why the columnist is in Rochester. Maybe he was mad he wasn't invited to Shaq's wedding. (ESPN.com)
Still, the Kings failed to emerge unscathed. Bobby Jackson, who filled in admirably while Mike Bibby missed the first third of the season, will be out six weeks with a broken hand after Shaq clobbered him in a manner in which Shaq is often clobbered. (Sacramento Kings)
That, and Chris Webber's knee hurts. (Sacramento Bee)
DISHES AND DRIVES
We don't comment on trade rumors (the reasons are too long to list). But, we are allowed to point out when people are refuting them, like this Vince Carter rumor, er, rumour. (Toronto Sun)
Quickly, a couple things about "new/old" uniforms. How sweet are the Lakers' white uniforms? Extremely. I know there's a great tradition with the yellow home uniforms, but the white ones they broke out on Christmas Day should be their home uniform permanently.
Then, there are the Blazers' red uniforms. Not bad, though I've never been much of a fan of red uniforms. Still, it was a nice change of pace.
It's a bird. It's a plane. It's the Suns' Amare Stoudemire turning more heads in the got milk? Rookie of the Year race. Plus, the notes column is pretty good, too. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
Speaking of notes, Stephon Marbury thinks Stoudemire is an All-Star. (The Arizona Republic)
Columnist J.A. Adande wishes it could always be 2002 for Los Angeles sports fans. (Los Angeles Times)
Remember Slick Watts? He was bald before Mike. (Seattle Times)
Peter May's notes columns are always fun to read. (Boston Globe)
Grant Hill still isn't at full health. When will he be? Even the doctors are baffled. (Orlando Sentinel)
Also baffled are those in Utah who wonder why it's take everyone so long to give Jerry Sloan the credit he deserves for being a good coach. (Desert News)
In one of the more bizarre incidents in recent memory, the Jazz encountered a true gym rat. (Desert News)
Could this edition of the Pistons be tougher than the championship "Bad Boys?" (Detroit News)
The Knicks are having trouble with back-to-back games. (New York Daily News)
One Orlando columnist is waiting to hear from George Karl, in any form. Well, here you go. Karl has admitted to some mistakes this season with the Bucks. (Orlando Sentinel, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Meanwhile, you can get to know Karl's former assistant, and new head coach of the Hawks, Terry Stotts, with this Q&A. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
You can also get to know Mike Wilks, the Hawks' new starting point guard. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Yao Ming is a pro on and off the court. (New York Times)
Then again, sometimes, it's not easy being Ming. (Houston Chronicle)
Finally, even Allen Iverson is practicing. (Philadelphia Daily News)
And with that, Click and Roll wishes you a Happy New Year!
Rob Peterson, NBA.com