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Tuesday, Feb. 18


By Rob Peterson, NBA.com

YAO V. SHAQ, PART II

M E D I A W A T C H
"Byron, I don't mind teaching you the Princeton offense, but I can't concentrate. Your tie is giving me a headache." (Doug Pensigner/Getty Images/NBAE)

TAKE IT TO THE MAGAZINE RACK
Ah, Princeton, home to great minds like Woodrow Wilson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Brooke Shields and John Nash of "A Beautiful Mind" fame.

This past week's Sports Illustrated, which puts Michael Jordan on his 52nd cover, looks at another beautiful mind and his beautiful game: Pete Carril's Princeton offense.

In a prime example of what's old is new, more teams on every level are using the complex old-school offense to bring more player and ball movement -- therefore more excitement -- to the game.

According to SI, four NBA teams -- Sacramento, New Jersey, Milwaukee and Minnesota -- use principles of Carril's offense. Byron Scott, who was an assistant in Sacramento with Carril, loves it.

"It's good fundamental basketball," Nets coach Byron Scott told SI. "But it's different, and that's why it's special."

It is fun to watch, and it's only a matter of time before the offense helps a team win an NBA title or NCAA Championship. According to Carril's Princeton predecessor Butch van Breda Kolff, you can have the offense, but you need the people to run it.

"It's not what you do," van Breda Kolff said, "it's who's doing it."

Don't look now, but Yao vs. Shaq, Part II is turning out to be a "no go" as the Rockets visit the Lakers on Tuesday (10:30 p.m. ET, TNT).

It seems as if the Big Aristotle's big toe, and now, his knee, has Shaq tottering. It appears the big man will miss Tuesday's game. (L.A. Daily News, ESPN.com)

And while Yao may not get a chance to stop Shaq, which Rocket -- or Rockets -- will try to stop Kobe Bryant? No one can, it seems, as he's the hottest player in the league at the moment. After scoring 11 points in a home loss to the Nets on Jan. 24, Kobe Bryant has averaged 42.0 points over his last nine games and has scored 40 or more points in the last five. (Memphis Commercial Appeal)

Then again, this game is more than principals involved. Come for the matchups, stay for the playoff implications, as the Rockets are a game ahead of the Lakers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. (NBA.com)

Meanwhile, the Rockets' two All-Stars, Yao and Steve Francis, need a boost from the other 10 Rockets if the playoffs are to become a reality. (Houston Chronicle)

If you need a quick refresher on the first meeting, NBA.com's own Bryan Williams takes a look back at Yao v. Shaq, Part I. (NBA.com)

HOT SPURS

The Spurs have won eight of nine games -- including the final eight of a massive nine-game, 27-day road trip -- proving that the Spurs don't stink, but after hosting the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo for two weeks, their arena may. (San Antonio Express-News)

Such proficiency did not surprise the Mavericks, who expected the Spurs to make a run at the Midwest Division title. (Dallas Morning News)

The Spurs return home Tuesday to face the Nuggets and then head back out on the road to face the Mavericks on Thursday. A win over the Mavericks would be muy impresionante for the Spurs. (Dallas Morning News)

TIP-INS

Michael Jordan isn't the only original Dream Teamer to turn 40 this week. Charles Barkley hits the big 4-0 on Feb. 20. Happy Birthday, Sir Charles.

Charles Barkley films a commercial with Sixers GM Billy King and ALF.
NBAE Photos
How does Michael Jordan turning 40 relate to an Arctic clam or a 177-year-old tortoise? Read Sally Jenkins to find out. (Washington Post)

Are the Pacers getting a bad rap or a bad rep? As usual, it depends on with whom you talk. (Indianapolis Star)

When players talk about getting into a "zone," this is what they talk about. Allan Houston couldn't miss against the Lakers when he scored 53 points on Sunday. (New York Times)

You've heard that practice makes perfect. You've also heard that a perfect practice make perfect. Then, what does a bad practice make? It makes Sonics coach Nate McMillan mad. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

We know Dirk Nowitzki can shoot. Now, we're learning he can pass. (Fort Worth Star Telegram)

As always, Peter May's notes column is fun. (Boston Globe)

Hey, look, it's Tyson Chandler. (Chicago Tribune)

He's short. He's quick. Mike Wilks gets the job done. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Seems like the Pacers are losing some steam on the road. (Indianapolis Star)

Is Milwaukee Bucks owner Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) having seller's remorse? (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

The Sixers' Derrick Coleman is healthy. (Philadelphia Inquirer)