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Thursday, Nov. 21


A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

Remember on Tuesday when we said NBA.com's Click and Roll would be published weekly on Tuesdays?

Well, as a public service, we'd like to inform you that we'll be published weekly on Mondays. We figured why wait a day, let's give them Click and Roll right away!

So, with that in mind, we won't change our minds again. Come back Monday for the final results of our best player in the NBA and your comments as to whether the Lakers will be among the top four seeds in the Western Conference.

And in the meantime, we'll give you some links, like this one that says golden oldies Stockton and Malone would ensure gold in 2004. (FoxSports.com)

Meanwhile, Vince Carter's is finding that it's gettin' hot in herre. By the way, I don't agree with the writer's assesment of Nelly, who has one of the smoother flows in hip-hop. (Toronto Sun)

Tuesday, Nov. 19


YEAH, THEY'RE GOOD

COUNTDOWN TO 70:

Bibby
As we keep track of the Kings' and Mike Bibby's quest to win 70 games this season, we must note the Kings have been injured. Still, we're going to hold them to it, especially since the Mavs are off to a 10-0 start.

Win No. 7: 101-99 over Magic
Loss No. 4: 111-97 to Sonics
Wins needed to reach goal: 63
Games remaning: 71
Bibby's line: On injured list
Yee-haw! Everyone's talking about the Mavericks' hotter than a habeņero start. At 10-0, the Mavs are five wins short of tying the 1993-94 Houston Rockets' and the 1948-49 Washington Capitols' (coached by one Red Auerbach) NBA record of 15 wins without a loss to open the season. (Dallas Morning News)

(Want to know the best starts in NBA history? We know you do!)

And while their new commitment to defense and the zone has been the focus of the streak, other teams are willing to try new things. (Dallas Morning News, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

I love that the Mavs haven't sacrificed their offense to do so. Dallas is second in the league at 103.5 points per game and have won their games by an average of 14.4 points. Not too bad.

How good are the Mavs, really? Lakers' coaches are predicting the Mavs will win Tuesday night's game by 30. (L.A Daily News)

The winning is making people dizzy down in the Metroplex area. One writer thinks 16 wins to open the season is a lock! (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

Another headline writer states the obvious. (San Antonio Express News)

If the Mavs win on Tuesday, it would be win No. 11, but also it would drop the Lakers to 3-8. Sheesh! It's early, but can the Lakers still break into the top four seeds of the Western Conference? And do you think homecourt advantage matters to L.A.?

Let us know. Send your reasons to NBA.com's Click and Roll and we'll print the best responses.

DOUBLE DRIBBLE:
"America is ready for this."
-- Kenny Smith on Charles Barkley paying off a certain -- ahem -- debt. (Houston Chronicle)

YAO AND AGAIN

Yao Ming, (Maybe you've heard of him?) had a game that befit his stature on Sunday. He was perfect from the field (9-for-9) as the Rockets stepped on the Lakers, 93-89.

While his impressive performance has many Rockets fans giddy with excitement, Yao's large game may have unexpected national repercussions.

Earlier this year, TNT's Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley made a bet. Now, because of Yao's game, they will take the concept of a peck on the cheek a bit too far. (Houston Chronicle)

HATS IN THE RING

"As I was saying, Aristotle's definition of the soul ... Yeah, I'm ready to coach in the Athens Olympics."
Jennifer Pottheiser
NBAE/Getty Images
You would think that after this summer, no one would want to coach the U.S. in the 2004 Athens Olympics. But the jockeying has begun as to who would coach the U.S.A. Men's National team in Greece. (Washington Post)

Four coaches have been nominated: the Sixers' Larry Brown, Miami's Pat Riley, Utah's Jerry Sloan and the Lakers' Phil Jackson. (ESPN.com, Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, L.A. Daily News)

BIG PUN

Since we're getting close to Thanksgiving, we thought we should serve up a story about a player from Turkey. Yes, that was bad I know. (Detroit News)

From the "This wasn't my idea" file. Hey, here's a bit of four-shadowing.

(Rob's editor: Stop it, Rob! Rob: OK, OK, I will!)

Lakers fans are already trying to think of the catchy new slogan if their beloved purple and gold win their fourth in a row: Quat-row. Like quatro, the number four in Spanish. Get it? Sigh! (L.A. Daily News)

Kevin Willis has hit the big 4-0. But he's still hangin' in there. (San Antonio Express News)

More old news: Hey, the Wizards are worth watching! (Philadelphia Inquirer)

ACHES AND GROWING PAINS

Two towns, two papers, one story about the Timberwolves trying to find the right mix. Which story on team chemistry is better? You decide.

St. Paul Pioneer Press: Wolves seek right mix
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Crowd of newcomers hinders Wolves' quest for chemistry

The Pacers are on fire, but will they have to pay the price for success? (Indianapolis Star)

Eric Snow loves this game! So much so, he doesn't have time for the pain. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

WE GOT THE POWER
Once again, we present power rankings from across the Web. Like we said, these are opinions, while the standings are the cold, hard facts.

Still, you can use power rankings as your argument as to why your team, though in last place, isn't really a last-place team: "See, if so-and-so wasn't injured, they'd be in first place. At least that's what these power rankings say. See?" (Lakers fans, you know who you are.)

Here they are. Argue amongst yourselves:
NBA.com
ESPN.com
CNNSI.com
CBS Sportsline
Sporting News
InsideHoops.com

These are not the opinions of NBA.com's Click and Roll. If you don't like the rankings and want to complain, write to the guys and gals who compile them.

Unlike most of his time on the court where the talk is non-stop, Gary Payton suffers in silence. (Seattle Times)

As much as we try to ignore it, Allen Iverson was a big story this past summer. Now, he's talking about the experience. (Philadelphia Daily News)

Jalen Rose returns to L.A. for the first time since his last trip, which wasn't so good. (Chicago Sun-Times)

LAST RANDOM THOUGHTS

1) If I listed every trade rumor in every New York paper, I'd need another column.

2) I know web sites need to pay the bills, but these pop-up ads for a coat of arms. Who needs a coat of arms?

3) Caught L.L. Cool J's new video on MTV last night while I was writing this and, goodness, has he been working out with Barry Bonds? L.L. looks like he could bench press a Volkswagen.

Which brings us to this: call it a comeback! (ESPN.com)

READER RESPONSES

When I said last week "this reporter" said Tracy McGrady was the best player in the league, I was referring to the gentleman who wrote the article and not me.

But now that I think about it, after watching the first three weeks, I would have to say McGrady is the cream of the crop. And if you can't beat him, beat him up (a little). (Sacramento Bee)

Yet, I shouldn't waste my breath. Last week we asked you who is the best player in the NBA. It was like we waved smelling salts under your noses. NBA.com's Click and Roll received more than 500 e-mails since Thursday from as far as China and New Zealand, letting us know who you think the best player in the league is. Heck, I think we had more people "vote" on this than we had people vote in the last election!

We received so many responses, I'm printing the 10 (plus a bonus response) to start, and then next Monday, we'll have the complete results.

Here they are:

EJah from the Bronx: "The best player in the NBA has to be Tracy McGrady. Allen Iverson has the potential to be the best, but he takes and misses too many shots. Granted Iverson draws the double team and penetrates the big men and goes to the basket, but McGrady has that outside shot that has Iverson beat. McGrady has the speed and dunk over the big man and has great size which is another thing that he has over Iverson. So I would say that McGrady is the best with Iverson very close behind him.

Michael from Dallas: "T-Mac is no doubt the best player in the game today. He is the total package. Inside, outside, rebounds, assists, blocks, you name, he can do it. On top of that he makes it look so easy. He doesn't take a lot of bad shots, unlike Kobe Bryant. Kobe is a good player but I've seen T-Mac block Kobe's fadeaway. Twice. T-Mac gets my vote."

Jonathan from Parlin, N.J. "I've heard lots of debate about Tracy Mcgrady and Kobe Bryant being the two best players as of now. I can type all day on stats, but nowadays, that doesn't seem to matter since Allen Iverson has been scoring champ for awhile and hardly anyone cares.

I personally think Kobe Bryant is the best player PERIOD! NOT McGrady, not Shaq. Kobe makes everyone in his team look good. Shaq said it himself. Kobe can pull the stats, he has more energy and he seems very emotional to the game. And Trust me, If I was as built as Shaq and tall, I would be knocking down dunks and five-footers all day long.

McGrady is good, but not the best. The only reason the Lakers are not winning is cause they need another marquee player. Just like Jordan had Pippen to help him win the champions. Fox isn't doing anything. Horry only shoots "A" three at the end of game but he doesn't do much during the whole game enough to support Bryant. Fisher isn't doing anything either. They need another marquee player! Hopefully, they give the ball more to Bryant while Shaq can control under the rim from any stupid defenders that think they can mess with Shaqzilla.

Sherri from Richmond, Va.: "If it had to be up to me, it would be Mike. He's not letting the young guy's shake him down. He's always on fire!"

Damien from the Dominican Republic: "I believe Tracy McGrady is the best player in the league. He can do everything!!!! He's a multi-dimensional player. He hurts you inside, from the outside, rebounds, passes, steals, and blocks occasionally. Plus, he's so smooth and makes scoring 40 points looks so easy unlike some other players I know (won't mention any names)."

Matt from Andover, Mass.: "I think Antoine Walker is the best player in the league right now. What doesn't he do? He can pass, shoot, play D. He's one of those players who can score two points and totally dominate the game. If I remember correctly [Scottie] Pippen is one of those players too and he's one of the 50 greatest. Walker does it all!!!!! Best player in the league now."

Jesse from South Hadley, Mass.: "Jason Kidd. A natural manager who has cultivated his teammates into stars, and also happens to be a brilliant clutch performer. More than any other player, he takes his (limited) athleticism and the limited talent around him and wins."

Michael from Germantown, Tenn.: "What? What? Kobe Bryant is the BEST player in the league? YES. Kobe does everything with skill and plenty of flash. T-Mac rocks too, but who is a triple champion? I doubt Shaq could carry the team without Kobe; he'd do good, just not THAT good. Kobe = THE MAN. Peace out, NBA."

Bo from Livonia, Mich.: "Kevin Garnett is the best player in the league right now. He is an excellent defender and can defend all five positions. He can play all five positions if he wanted to. He one of the leaders in scoring while leading the league in rebounding and also one of the leaders in steals and blocks. He also gets a lot of assists for a forward. He shoots a high percentage but not right now just a slow start. HE can do everything and excels at everything."

Endrit from Tirana, Albania: "The best player in the NBA not named Shaq is .... DIRK NOWITZKI. Maybe he is not that flashy like T-Mac, kobe or AI but there isn't a single thing he can't do. Now he is also defending and has become a leader of the unbeaten Mavs. He scores around 24 points per game when he has to share the ball with Nash and Finley and gets 10 rebounds per game even though he Bradley is also on the court. One of the top pure shooters of the game who can also post up and can raise the level of his game when it's needed. (Remember playoffs or WBC this year?) I rest my case."

(Editor's note: Hey, that's pretty close to "enough said!")

Dan of Merritt Island, Fla.: "Allen Iverson is the best player in the league. Why? Because not only is he tough and have super human healing, he gives hope to the entire city of Philadelphia every time he steps on the court. It's not just about shooting percentage or thriller dunks, it's about the love someone brings for the game, and he's one of the reasons the younger generation is into basketball."

Rob Peterson, NBA.com