Craw Daddy of Them All
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SECAUCUS, N.J., Jan. 27, 2007-- You know when you're shooting around with your buddies and you hit four or five shots in a row and suddenly their crisp chest passes become wobbly bounce passes targeted about four feet from where you're standing?

If you continue to hit despite their fickle feeds, you feel like the man, and rub it in their faces.

Makes you wonder how good the Knicks' Jamal Crawford felt on Friday night after hitting 16 straight shots en route to a career-high 52 points in a 116-96 dismantling of the Heat.

That's sixteen straight from all over the floor, with a halftime break in between (after making eight straight) and with Dwyane Wade's defense up in his grill.

Crawford went off for 20 points in the second quarter and 23 in the third.

After starting the game missing his first four shots, his final line was 20-for-30 from the field including 8-for-10 from three.

Stephon Marbury said after the game that it was the best that he's seen at the Garden since Michael Jordan. I say I need to hit a few more than five shots when shooting around with my buddies now before feeling proud of myself.

And now, these are the 10 things I learned from last week ...

1. Welcome back, Melo

We all waited with baited breath for the Allen Iverson-Carmelo Anthony show to start, and so far it has not disappointed.

Not since the Texas-USC Rose Bowl has a sports story so hyped lived up to my every expectation.

Melo has gone off for 28, 34 and 37 points in the three games since he's been back and Denver won two of them. The only loss was a close one in Utah to a team that had something to prove after letting a win slip away to the last place Grizzlies on Wednesday.

Iverson scored 23, 21 and 33 in the same stretch but his statistic to keep an eye on is assists -- A.I. has 23 of them with Anthony as a running mate so far.

2. Super roommate

Add Flip Saunders and Tony Dungy to the list of famous college roommates along with the duos of Steve Mariucci and Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan) and Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones (Harvard).

Saunders and Dungy spent their days as college students at the University of Minnesota and while Flip's Pistons still have to prove that they can contend for a championship with Chris Webber filling the spot that Ben Wallace used to, Tony's trip to the big game is right around the corner.

3. Listen up, Dirk defenders

I love all of you who read and then write in. Notice I said read first.

If you read The McTen last week, you know I introduced our Hot Zone feature on NBA.com where you can see a player's shooting percentages from different spots on the floor.

In the intro I threw Steve Nash's name out there as an example of what a good Hot Zone would look like.

This caused 11 readers to write in and point out that Dirk Nowitzki's was better.

It wasn't a competition. I wasn't anointing Nash. It was an example.

It would be like if I said that steak and potatoes was a good meal and a dozen of you wrote in saying that chicken and pasta is better.

They're both good.

4. Just Joshing

Katie in San Diego wrote: "You never seem to McDish anything about the Mavericks. Seeing as they have the best record in the league, I was wondering why not?"

While I have mentioned Dirk's brilliance several times this season, I realize that was pretty much the extent of the McTen attention I've given the Mavs.

For a team at the top of the Power Rankings, they certainly deserve more than one player being mentioned.

So let's talk about Josh Howard.

He is the like the fifth Beatle of the 2003 Draft class.

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh get all the credit for the deepest draft since '96, but how can you forget J-Ho and his 19.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game averages this season?

Howard scored 25-plus points in Dallas' four games - all wins - from Jan. 16 to Jan. 23.

The 6-7 swingman out of Wake Forest should be an All-Star this year.

5. My All-Star reserves

Pretty good segue, right?

Now that the starters have been announced, it's time to open up the debate as to who should be named the reserves for the 56th NBA All-Star Game in Las Vegas.

I'll give you my 15 (seven in the East, eight in the West assuming Yao isn't back from his leg injury).

Eastern Conference
Guard Jason Kidd, Nets
Guard Richard Hamilton, Pistons
Forward Caron Butler, Wizards
Forward Jermaine O'Neal, Pacers
Center Dwight Howard, Magic
Wild Card Eddy Curry, Knicks
Wild Card Ben Gordon, Bulls

Western Conference
Guard Steve Nash, Suns
Guard Allen Iverson, Nuggets
Forward Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks
Forward Shawn Marion, Suns
Center Amare Stoudemire, Suns
Wild Card Carlos Boozer, Jazz
Wild Card Carmelo Anthony, Nuggets
Yao's Spot Josh Howard, Mavericks

6. D-League's Da Bull

The Austin Toros of the NBA Development League made national news last week when their mascot, "Da Bull" had a little mishap.

Da Bull stormed the court and jumped up and hung from the rim to celebrate a late basket by Austin that gave them a four-point cushion over the Colorado 14ers with 0.4 seconds left to play.

The only problem with this fervent display of cheer was that while dangling from the iron, one of his fuzzy hooves collided with a Colorado player and the contact caused his mascot head to be jostled and fall to the ground.

Austin was assessed a technical foul for the distraction and Colorado made the free-throw, setting up a chance for a game-tying three in a game that should have been over and done with.

Fortunately for Austin, Colorado missed the 3-pointer as time expired. Da Bull would have been an even bigger goat had they made it.

This has to be the worst decision since Tom Cruise thought to himself, "Should I jump on Oprah's couch to prove how much I love Katie? Sure, why not, people will think it's cute. Besides, the bottoms of my shoes are clean."

7. Kobe's anniversary

Monday marked the 365th day since KB24 scored 81 points as KB8.

Kobe had to work on the anniversary, there would be no candlelit dinner with him and Jalen Rose to exchange paper gifts, but he had a pretty nice encore anyway.

Bryant ended up with a little bit more than half of his 81 points (he finished with 42) and added eight rebounds in a 108-103 win over the Warriors -- L.A.'s only W in its last four games.

8. Add RJ to the list

The injury bug continues to flutter around the league as New Jersey's Richard Jefferson is now expected to miss at least six weeks after having surgery on his right ankle on Monday.

The injury occurred just when the Nets seemed ready to take control of the up-for-grabs Atlantic Division.

Toronto is 22-22 and leads the Atlantic, 1.5 games ahead of the 20-23 Nets and 3.5 games ahead of the up-and-down 19-26 Knicks.

9. Desmond Mason from the line

He is shooting 68 percent from the charity stripe this season and 76 percent for his career, so he is certainly getting his job done, but Desmond Mason's free throw might be the least aesthetically pleasing sight in all of basketball.

It catches you off guard because he looks so graceful when he dunks, but on his free throws Mason's shooting form is about as herky-jerky as Elaine dancing in Seinfeld.

Not to beat it over the head, but watching him shoot freebies is like that scene in Misery when Kathy Bates pulls the blanket down to reveal James Caan's mangled legs -- you want to look away.

10. No 40's for LeBron

Dengate called it the biggest surprise of the first half of the season, and while I think that might be a little dramatic, the following fact certainly does raise an eyebrow:

LeBron James has no 40-point games so far this season.

LBJ got to the cusp on Wednesday, scoring 39 in a double-overtime loss to Philly but then missed Friday's game with a toe injury.

The 40-less streak continues...

Have a question or comment for The McTen or care to share what you learned this week? Get at me.