LATEST COLUMN
Ten to Watch in 2008-09 (August 6, 2008)
It's hard to narrow the 1230 games in the NBA schedule down to just 10, but if I was to present you with a list of 1-1230, I doubt many of you would make it past game No. 712.

RECENT COLUMNS
Rookie Photo Shoot 2008: Live Blog (July 29, 2008)
For the collection of 30-plus rookies here at the MSG Training Center, a.k.a. the Knicks practice facility about 45 minutes north of Manhattan, today is all about smiling for the camera while wearing a legit NBA jersey for the first time (except for OKC's Russell Westbrook and D.J. White, who are rocking practice gear).

U.S.A.’s ’Practice’ Near Perfection Against Canada (July 25, 2008)
With two men who symbolize what the American dream is all about – Bill Gates and Warren Buffett – sitting courtside, the latest incarnation of the U.S. Men’s Senior National “Dream Team” kicked off its quest for the gold with a dominant 120-65 rout of the Canadian Men’s Senior National Team at the Thomas & Mack Center on Friday.

USA Basketball: Casey at the Zone (July 25, 2008)
Former NBA head coach Don Casey once started a blog entry off in 2006 (he was ahead of his time) with the headline “RILEY PLAYS ZONE! I Repeat: RILEY PLAYS ZONE!” Yes, seeing guys in the NBA play an area rather than a man on defense, really gets him going. Like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had the sky hook, MJ had the fadeaway and Dikembe Mutombo has the finger wag, Casey has the coaching of zone defense.

USA Basketball: Emptying the Notebook (July 24, 2008)
A tip to my readers: I read the comments you leave and I open the e-mails you write.

USA Basketball: Summer Commitment Leads to Team Continuity (July 22, 2008)
Forget family car rides to go fishing at the lake, trips to the shore or spending time at home to work on putting the finishing touches on that new deck out by the pool. The last three summers, three players – Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and LeBron James - have anchored their NBA off-season around sweating it out in a gym as a member of U.S.A. Basketball.

USA Basketball: The (Defensive) Pressure Is On (July 21, 2008)
Following the Lakers’ loss to the Celtics in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, Kobe Bryant tried to make sense of the series that his team just dropped 4-2 and was able to glean a little bit of wisdom from what transpired. “I think if we’re going to learn anything from this series is that we can’t expect to win a championship by focusing on the offensive end,” Bryant said. “We have to be able to hold people down as well.”

Las Vegas Summer League Blog Ramblings (July 16-20, 2008)
Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday

Q&A with the Las Vegas MVP (July 20, 2008)
Just like Gilbert Arenas before him, Portland combo guard Jerryd Bayless wore No. 0 during his days as a Wildcat at the University of Arizona.

Rail-Thin Randolph Has Robust Game (July 19, 2008)
He’s the kind of thin that makes a writer break out similes and the thesaurus to properly describe him. He’s the kind of thin that makes you think of pipe cleaners, Calista Flockhart and M.C. Hammer’s wallet.

Greene Growing as a Rocket (July 19, 2008)
Before the Rockets’ summer league game against the Nuggets on Friday, Houston rookie Donté Greene was engaged in a playful game of one-on-one with a ball boy that couldn’t have been more than 13-years old. The 6-11, 226-pound manchild is only 20-years old himself and looked just as joyful to be playing with the kid as the kid was to be mixing it up with a legitimate professional basketball player.

Bayless and the Numbers Game (July 17, 2008)
There are a plethora of numbers that jump off the page when you look at Portland rookie guard Jerryd Bayless' stat page through his first three games at the Las Vegas Summer League.

Thornton Cruising with the Clippers (July 16, 2008)
Everybody searches for that one moment in their life when they become the person they’re destined to be and they rise to new heights. It could be Abe Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address, or John Carlos and Tommie Smith raising their clenched, black glove wearing fists, or Michael Jordan coming up with the steal and shot sequence against Utah that defined him as the best ever. Clippers second-year forward Al Thornton, just 24-years old, has already had a moment like that.

In Case You Missed It ... Orlando Pro Summer League (July 11, 2008)
A week ago the stars in the sky were outshined by bursting fireworks across the United States and seven days later, NBA fans have a better idea of what rookies have a chance of outshining the current stars of the league next season thanks to the Orlando Pro Summer League.

Having a Gaye Old Time - USA Minicamp Notebook (June 28, 2008)
Everybody knows that Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are on the U.S. Men's Senior National Team about to compete in the Beijing Olympics, but did anybody expect that Marvin Gaye would be a surprise member of USA Basketball this summer?

USA Basketball: The Journey Begins (June 27, 2008)
Michael. Magic. Larry. Charles. Patrick. They are men who need no further nomenclature in order to be immediately identified as true legends of the game. You hear that succession of names and you never think: Adams, Orlando, O’Bannon Brothers, O’Bryant. You just don’t.

Rookie Rankings -- Draft Night 2008 (June 26, 2008)
It’s 14 days until the start of the Las Vegas Summer League, 105 days until the Heat and the Nets tip off the NBA preseason in Paris and 127 days until the 2008-09 regular season begins, but what better way to recap the Draft than by churning out the first Rookie Rankings of the season?

Mayo, Love & Basketball (June 25, 2008)
The first time O.J. Mayo played against Kevin Love, the two were rising eighth graders competing in an AAU basketball national championship on the edge of the East Coast in Orlando.

Lakers Have No Answers (June 17, 2008)
When was it over? It could have been when Kevin Garnett converted a falling-to-the ground, double-clutch, banked-in, and-one shot in the lane with less than a minute to go in the second quarter that put Boston up by 21.

Game 6 Keys for the Lakers (June 17, 2008)
The Finals extending to Game 6 may translate to excitement to the fans, but it means 14 days on the road and living out of a suitcase for yours truly. Just like I’ve had to start “recycling” my boxer briefs and socks, the keys I’ve identified for the Lakers in tonight’s Game 6 aren’t all that different than what they were for Games 1-5 …

The 'Young, Dumb' Survivors (June 15, 2008)
Just about 180 minutes after arguably the greatest individual athlete of any solo sport today, Tiger Woods, holed a 12-foot putt to force a playoff on Monday in the U.S. Open, 120 miles up Interstate 5 from there at the STAPLES Center, perhaps the greatest individual athlete of any team sport today, Kobe Bryant, came up with a clutch steal followed by a breakout dunk on the other end to assure his Los Angeles Lakers team would live to play another day in The Finals.

Game 5 Keys for the Lakers (June 15, 2008)
Tonight is do or die for the Lakers. It’s either win or stay home. A loss would mean title No. 17 for the Celtics and an all-time franchise mark of just 14-15 in The Finals for L.A.

Lakers Cancel Practice (June 13, 2008)
A throng of about 60 media members converged on the Toyota Sports Center on Friday, expecting to survey the wreckage after last night’s devastating Game 4 for the Lakers the way that a family returns to its house after it’s been burned down in hopes of salvaging anything they can.

What Happened?!?!?!?!? (June 12, 2008)
Once upon a Thursday night, somewhere on the East Coast, there lived a hypothetical transplanted Lakers fan who was exhausted from a long day of work and felt safe going to sleep at 9:31 p.m. ET with his team up 21 points at the end of the first quarter.

Game 4 Keys for the Lakers (June 12, 2008)
The Lakers are back in the series thanks to Kobe Bryant’s inspired 36 points in Game 3, but if L.A. can’t replicate the success in tonight’s game that they had on Tuesday, they’ll be in an even worse situation than they were when they left Boston down 0-2.

How Odom Can Improve (June 11, 2008)
Slumps happen to shoulders, baseball batters and the economy. Slumps don’t happen to forwards with Stretch Armstrong reach, a point guard’s court vision and the ability to finish with both hands around the rim like Lamar Odom.

Lakers Ugly, But Effective (June 10, 2008)
You don’t want to date ugly and you certainly don’t want to marry ugly, but sometimes winning ugly is where it’s at.

Game 3 Keys for the Lakers (June 10, 2008)
If the 2007-08 L.A. Lakers are going to join the ’05-06 Heat, ’76-77 Trail Blazers and ’68-69 Lakers and become just the fourth team in NBA history to rally from an 0-2 series deficit to win The Finals, it’s going to have to start with a win tonight.

Momentum Shifts Too Late for L.A. (June 8, 2008)
Boston had Game 2 closed up in a Ziploc bag and just as it was applying the yellow plus blue makes Celtics green seal, L.A. almost pulled off a great escape.

Game 2 Keys for the Lakers (June 8, 2008)
Despite playing mediocre at best, the Lakers found themselves down by just four points late in Game 1, with the opportunity to steal a game on the road. The Celtics held L.A. at bay (or should I say, "at harbor", seeing as we're in Boston and all) and escaped with the 98-88 victory. The boys in purple and gold will give it another go in Game 2 to try to draw the series to 1-1 before heading back to Hollywood for three straight games. Here are five keys for the Lakers in tonight's Game 2 ...

It’s Gotta Be the Shoes (June 7, 2008)
When Ronny Turiaf entered the league three years ago as a lowly second-round pick he approached Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant with a question. Instead of asking him, “Can I have your autograph?”, the request was more like, “Can I wear your signature?” As in Bryant’s signature sneaker, the Nike Zoom Kobe.

The Busted Bench Mob (June 6, 2008)
It’s their secret weapon, their ace in the hole, their unexpected cameo appearance that makes the movie. The second-string contingent of Luke Walton, Sasha Vujacic, Ronny Turiaf and Jordan Farmar – affectionately known as the “Bench Mob” – has been all of those things for the Lakers all season long, but in Game 1, that ol’ bench magic just wasn’t there.

No Offense, But Lakers Blame Themselves (June 5, 2008)
If you choose to believe Kobe Bryant, the reason he missed 17 of the 26 shots he attempted in the Lakers’ 98-88 Game 1 Finals loss wasn’t the Celtics’ all-league defense designed to stop him, but rather it was just a matter of the way the cookie crumbled. Or, more like, the way the rim rattled.

Lakers Remember Finals Loss ’All the Time’ (June 4, 2008)
After NBA Finals newbie and Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers was asked a series of questions about the significance a title can bring to a player’s legacy during Wednesday’s media availability session, the normally verbose communicator cut straight to the point. “Bottom line is,” Rivers stated, “you’re only going to remember the winners.”

A Historic Eight Months (June 3, 2008)
With all of the historical implications this Celtics-Lakers series is drenched in, it seems like writers around the country are bringing up the past more often than savvy divorce court lawyers.

Drive to the Finals Expert Picks (April-May, 2008)
Chris Bosh | Jason Kidd | Zydrunas Ilgauskas | Jameer Nelson | Richard Hamilton | Derek Fisher

The Ultimate Kobe Page (May 31, 2008)
Kobe Bryant began his NBA career 12 seasons ago back in 1996-97, the same year the league was celebrating its 50th anniversary. In those first 50 years leading up to Bryant's rookie season, NBA fans got their fix from newspapers, magazines, television, VHS tapes (anybody remember Come Fly with Me?) and the occasional basketball video game for Sega Genesis. (NBA Jam was awesome!)

Lakers-Spurs Playoffs Blog (May 20-29, 2008)
A running blog of the Lakers-Jazz Western Conference Finals playoff matchup.

Leave All Electronic Devices at the Door (May 20, 2008)
About an hour before any member of the Chicago Bulls organization knew that their franchise beat the odds to nab the No. 1 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, a member of the Chicago Blackhawks' public relations staff found out first.

Now He's a Role Model (May 20, 2008)
What Charles Barkley said so many years ago in a Nike ad campaign – “I am not a role model” – doesn’t jive with what he did last night. And actions speak louder than words.

Lakers-Jazz Playoffs Blog (May 4-16, 2008)
A running blog of the Lakers-Jazz conference semifinals playoff matchup.

Why Chris Paul Is So Good -- an Interview with Idan Ravin (May 9, 2008)
If you were asked who Chris Paul's, Carmelo Anthony's and Gilbert Arenas' coaches are and said Byron Scott, George Karl and Eddie Jordan, respectively, you would only be partially correct. Even though they're on different NBA teams, Paul, Anthony and Arenas, as well as players such as Elton Brand, Jerry Stackhouse and Rudy Gay, all share the same coach, Idan Ravin.

Q&A with the Rookie of the Year (May 1, 2008)
Kevin Durant was named the T-Mobile Rookie of the Year on Thursday, receiving 90 out of 125 possible first-place votes to eclipse the Hawks' Al Horford, who came in second. Durant came into the season with the high expectations associated with being the No. 2 pick, and delivered. His 20.3 points per game average was the third highest scoring clip of any rookie in the last 10 seasons. He augmented his stat line with 4.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.9 blocks per game averages.

Winning is Never Overrated (April 27, 2008)
The DeShawn Stevenson-LeBron James feud has reached a new level. After Stevenson called on Soulja Boy to bring a Superman-sized lift to the home crowd in Game 3 on Friday, LeBron got a little boost from his good friend Jay-Z before Game 4.

Lakers-Nuggets Playoff Blog (April 19-28, 2008)
A running blog of the Lakers-Nuggets first round playoff matchup.

The Jet Knows More About Fantasy Hoops than The Sports Guy (April 18, 2008)
You know Kenny Smith as Hakeem Olajuwon's outside help, Charles Barkley's bantering buddy or the creator of one of the most underrated slam dunk contest attempts in the history of the competition (1:49 mark). Now you can add "fantasy basketball guru" to that list. Smith won the NBA Cares Celebrity Fantasy League this week, beating out ESPN.com's Bill Simmons in the finals.

Final Rookie Rankings -- Week 24 (April 16, 2008)
Kevin Durant started the season with the rest of the rookie pack in his rear view mirror and ends the year the same way, only now the objects are a lot closer than they appear.

Rookie Rankings -- Week 23 (April 9, 2008)
Since there’s so much ground to cover and it could get pretty tedious to run through the 50-plus rookies and break down each of their seasons game by game, I’m going to do this Senior Superlative style. You know how you get your high school yearbook and there’s the part everybody flips to first to see who was named, “Best Smile,” “Biggest Flirt” or “Most Likely to Succeed”? Let’s take the same concept and apply it to the rooks.

Rookie Rankings -- Week 22 (April 2, 2008)
If you score 30 points in a regular season game as a rookie, you helped out somebody's fantasy squad. If you score 30 points in a playoff game as a rookie, you helped out your legacy in the history of the game. Just ask Daniel Gibson. So, in the spirit of Boobie's out-of-nowhere breakout last spring, I'm offering a ranking within the rankings this week: The Top 10 Rookies Most Crucial To Their Teams' Playoff Success.

Meet the Heat Rookies (April 1, 2008)
I pride myself in being able to recognize faces. I've been in the cereal aisle at the grocery store straight up staring at the dude to the right of me putting Cap'n Crunch into his cart, trying to place where I know him from. Finally I have the Aha! moment, he was the guy working the toll booth who I paid $8 dollars to before driving through the Lincoln Tunnel to New York a few months back.

Rookie Rankings -- Week 21 (March 26, 2008)
This week we’ll start the rankings with a mailbag. I know the two are usually separate, but if Smucker's can put peanut butter and jelly in the same jar, I think I can get away with combining the mailbag and rankings one week.

How Their Family Members Fared in the Tourney (March 24, 2008)
Three of their brothers and five of their sons competed in the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament, and only one brother and two sons will be playing come Sweet 16 time.

Rookie Rankings -- Week 20 (March 20, 2008)
Once upon a time there were two very tall young men. One was from China. One was from Texas.

A Little Man, A Giant's Heart (March 19, 2008)
Outside of the Wachovia Center there’s a statue of Sixers great Wilt Chamberlain and on the base of it, chiseled in bronze, is the quote: “The true measure of a man is the size of his heart.” When the Big Dipper uttered those sentiments, he assuredly wasn’t talking about Allen Iverson.

Iverson's Top 10 Philly Moments (March 19, 2008)
Allen Iverson's Top 10 Moments as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Where Are They Now? ... Carlos Rogers (March 18, 2008)
Carlos Rogers played seven seasons in the NBA with five different teams, and while nobody will remember him for his career averages of 7.4 points on .536 shooting and 4.3 rebounds per game, you might recall him for something that happened off the court.

Conference Challenge: SEC in the NBA (March 14, 2008)
The current crop of Southeastern Conference players in the NBA is at a crossroads between "those who were great" and "those who are yet to be."

Rookie Rankings -- Week 19 (March 12, 2008)
When you're writing 30-50 words about the same group of 10-20 guys for 19 weeks straight, sometimes it's difficult to keep things fresh.

Welcome to Kobe Bryant Blog Day (March 11, 2008)
Twenty-four blog posts about Kobe Bryant in 24 hours.

Rookie Rankings -- Week 18 (March 5, 2008)
They say that when one door closes another one opens and in the NBA that statement is twice as true. When the regular season comes to an end on April 16, two more seasons begin: the postseason and awards season.

Korver : Hornacek :: Pupil : Teacher (March 4, 2008)
I came up with the five former player-current player combinations that should be the inaugural participants in the McMenamin Mentor Program:

Rookie Rankings Notes and Mail -- All About Carl (February 29, 2008)
My delusioned male ego rarely permits me to announce that I was wrong about anything without putting up a fight first. I could be driving with my girlfriend in the car headed for Manhattan, New York and end up in Manhattan, Kansas and rather admitting my poor sense of direction, I would probably say that I was just jonesing to make a pit stop at the American Institute of Baking.

My Bad, Hakim Warrick (February 28, 2008)
This post started back on December 5th when I published my All-BIG EAST NBA Team. I IM'd the link to the article to my buddy from college, Hakim Warrick, to show him that I included him on the select squad and put Melo in the starting lineup. Here's the conversation that ensued:

Rookie Rankings -- Week 17 (February 27, 2008)
Shaq, J-Kidd and Pau dominated the conversations being had, articles being written and new jerseys being purchased after last Thursday's trade deadline, but there were another group of players that were swapped like Topps cards in recent weeks: Rookies.

Trade Deadline Analysis: All 30 Teams (February 21, 2008)
After the most fervent trade season in the NBA in recent memory that witnessed two of the best players of their generation (Shaquille O’Neal and Jason Kidd) dump their ailing girlfriends back East for a shot at the hot chick out West, not to mention a couple of All-Stars (Shawn Marion and Pau Gasol) changing addresses, it’s time to analyze all 30 NBA teams for the moves they made (or didn’t make, or should have made) before the deadline.

The Mayor of New Orleans (February 17, 2008)
Chris Paul deserves a nice big bowl of gumbo after the performance he had in the East's 134-128 victory over the West in the 57th NBA All-Star game.

Happy Birthday, Mike (February 17, 2008)
On February 17, 1963, the greatest basketball player in NBA history was born. And today, he turned 45-years old. Happy Birthday, Michael Jordan.

Kapono Lights Up Saturday Night (February 16, 2008)
Jason Kapono’s jumper was falling and so too were records in the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout. He wasn’t just in the zone, "the zone" might as well been his jersey because that's how fully submerged in it he was.

A Different Dude (February 15, 2008)
Sean Williams doesn’t just march to the beat of a different drummer, he sings to the tune of a different vocalist, strums on the guitar of a different bassist and grooves to the steps of a different dancer, too.

All-Star Rookie Practice Notebook (February 15, 2008)
What was Hornets assistant coach and rookies head coach Darrell Walker’s plan for the morning shoot around in preparation to become the first rookie team since Jason Richardson and co. in 2002 to defeat the sophomores? Shoot. Shoot a lot. And shoot some more.

McTen: Thursday Edition (February 14, 2008)
I’ve been trying to figure out the blogger code of conduct that states “Thou shall not report from the press box or cultivate thine sports opinions based on any activity that resembles the limitations of traditional sports journalism.”

Rookie Rankings -- Week 15 (February 13, 2008)
In two days, the best of the best of this year's rookie class (or at least the nine guys selected by the league) will square off with nine sophomores in the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge. The game will probably feature a lot of points, not a lot of "D" and not much of a chance for the rookies to win (the sophomores have won the game the last five years).

57 Memorable All-Star Moments (February, 2008)
1992, 1997, 1998 | 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007

Rookie Rankings -- Week 14 (February 7, 2008)
The rankings pretty much speak for themself this time around. Even though 10 guys are dissected, analyzed and ordered here every week and 10 more are listed alphabetically below them, hoping to vault into the top 10 and thus truly enter the Rookie of the Year conversation, it's really only been about two guys. Kevin Durant vs. Al Horford.

Pau and the Lakers Offense (February 6, 2008)
Surrounding Gasol before the game, there was a mix of about 70 percent English-speaking reporters and 30 percent Spanish-speaking reporters. When a question was asked in English, the Spanish-speaking reporters would withdraw their recording devices from the circle. When a question was asked in Spanish, the English-speaking reporters would pull their recorders away. "You put your recorder in, you put your recorder out, you put your recorder in and you shake it all about ..." It was the Hokey Pau-key!

Saluting the General (February 5, 2008)
It came as a shock to me that Coach Bobby Knight resigned from his post at Texas Tech yesterday, passing on the head coaching responsibilities to his son, Pat Knight. I precede his name with “Coach,” not because that’s what the Associated Press style book says to do, or because his tenure at Indiana University came to an end after an incident involving a co-ed addressing him without the “coach” title, but more as a show of respect.

Rookie Rankings Notes and Mail -- The Snubs (February 1, 2008)
All I can say is, thank God that Smash Mouth isn’t popular anymore.

Rookie Rankings -- Week 13 (January 30, 2008)
Greg Oden has been missing from the Rookie Rankings this year sort of like how the Winslows' youngest daughter, Judy, was mysteriously omitted from the last five seasons of Family Matters. While Judy was written off the show, Oden hasn't been written into the rankings because after the No. 1 pick underwent microfracture surgery back in September, there hasn't been much to report. Rehab is pretty mundane stuff.

East Reserves: Who Should Be Going to New Orleans (January 24, 2008)
The East is in good hands with the five starters the fans voted in. Jason Kidd, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard should bring the firepower necessary to make three wins in four years well within the reach of the boys reppin' the Right Coast. I'm curious to see if the big-man duo of KG and Dwight actually bring the defense to the table (a rarity in All-Star games) and the inclusion of Kidd ensures that everybody will get their touches. (If Kidd takes two shots the whole game, it will be one too many.)

NBA.com/ESPN.com Chat: McMenamin and Thorpe (January 23, 2008)
Thanks to David and the good people at ESPN.com for inviting me to the chat. Radiohead's "In Rainbows" is playing on my computer (I only paid five pounds for it!), and fortunately there are eight states down the coastline between me in New York and Coach Thorpe in Florida, so Thom Yorke's voice doesn't have to compete with Thorpe's opera.

Rookie Rankings -- Week 12 (January 23, 2008)
We're in All-Star mode here at the NBA, eagerly anticipating the starters for the 57th mid-season festival to be announced Thursday night on TNT. While it's unlikely that any rookies will participate in the Sunday night portion of All-Star Weekend (unless Yi Jianlian receieved one heckuva online push as a write-in candidate from his fans in China before voting ended last Sunday), the first-year players will get into the mix on Friday and Saturday.

Rookie Rankings -- Week 11 (January 16, 2008)
On the day of the NBA Draft Lottery back in May, the Memphis Grizzlies and Boston Celtics had the best statistical chance of any team in the NBA of landing either the No. 1 or No. 2 pick.

Rookie Rankings Notes and Mail -- What About Baby? (January 11, 2008)
Trust me, I haven't forgotten about Glen Davis. C'mon, how can I miss a 6-9, 289-pound mass of a man playing on the 31-4 Celtics, the team with the highest profile in the league right now. Give me some credit.

Rookie Rankings -- Week 9 (January 2, 2008)
As I mentioned before in this space, I do a lot of thinking about my writing when I'm driving and every morning when I manuever my way out of Manhattan headed through the Lincoln Tunnel to NBA.com headquarters in New Jersey, my last glimpse of New York is a billboard for the movie The Bucket List.

What's Up with the Cavs? (December 20, 2007)
Only two teams that made The Finals in the last 20 years failed to make the playoffs the following season. Those two teams – the 1998-99 Chicago Bulls and the 2004-05 L.A. Lakers – could blame the loss of Hall of Famers (Jordan, Pippen, O’Neal) as the cause of their rapid decline. The 2007-08 Cleveland Cavaliers are threatening to become the third.

Rookie Rankings -- Week 7 (December 19, 2007)
The Hawks are 6-3 in the month of December and would be the No. 7 seed in the East if the playoffs started today. What is the main difference between this year's Atlanta team and the one that went 97-231 (.295) over the last four seasons combined? The answer isn't new blue and red jerseys replacing their old red and yellow ones.

2008 Ballot Breakdown: West Guards (December 17, 2007)
Today's Ballot Breakdown covers the Western Conference guards, ranked statistically (by the sum total of their scoring, rebounding and assist averages). The stalwarts (Kobe, A.I., T-Mac, Nash) might have to make room for some newbies (CP3, D-Will, K-Mart) as the competition is looking tough. You can control the outcome by voting daily to select the starters for the 2008 All-Star Game on February 17.

Just Another Night at the Garden (December 13, 2007)
Had to go to the Garden last night to check out Kevin Durant’s pro debut at the Mecca. When I say had to I don’t mean it in the way where your mom said you had to eat your broccoli if you wanted to have dessert. I say had to in the way a true gamer had to get the new Madden on the day it dropped or a true sneakerhead had to get the Air Jordan XIs when they were re-released.

Bivins On Boston (December 13, 2007)
If you go to Michael Bivin's MySpace page the song "Poison" by his group, Bell Biv DeVoe, plays in the background. Part of the lyrics of the song, "It's oh, so beautiful, relationships they seem from the start," can be applied to the Boston Celtics, Bivins' hometown team that has opened up to an 18-2 start under the Big Three era of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce.

Rookie Rankings -- Week 6 (December 12, 2007)
It's never too early to start thinking about the 2008 All-Star Game in New Orleans.

1984-85 Rookie Rankings (December 10, 2007)
It appears that the only person in this world able to hold Chicago's Michael Jordan under 20 points per game was his old skipper at the University of North Carolina, Dean Smith.

Rookie Rankings -- Week 5 (December 6, 2007)
I can't drive anywhere these days without hearing Kanye West's "Good Life" on the radio. It's not a bad thing, but I do a lot of thinking about my columns when I'm in the car headed to work and the last couple times I've heard the song, my rookie-obsessed mind has contorted the tune to the point where I hear T-Pain croon in accompaniment "Welcome to the Rook Life" instead of "good life."

Conference Challenge: BIG EAST in the NBA (December 5, 2007)
BIG EAST Commissioner Mike Trangehese oversaw a conference realignment in 2003 that resulted in Boston College, Virginia Tech and Miami bolting for the Atlantic Coast Conference and Louisville, Cincinnati, South Florida, Marquette and DePaul joining the fold from Conference USA. Little did he know the impact it would have four years later on NBA.com.

Rookie Rankings -- Week 4 (November 28, 2007)
Pop quiz: What rookie has the two highest single-game scoring totals this season? Here's a hint, it's not Kevin Durant. Give up? It's OK, so do defenders when they're closing out on the perimeter and see Juan Carlos Navarro ready to unleash another 3-pointer.

Miller on Decision to Nix Comeback: ’It’s Tough at Times’ (November 28, 2007)
If you looked at this season's NBA schedule in August and saw that the Knicks were playing the Celtics in late November, you would have thought that you'd get the chance to see Reggie Miller and Spike Lee refresh their repartee on the basketball court. Well, that dream is not to be as Miller decided to remain in the broadcast booth with TNT and Spike Lee went ahead and scheduled a movie shoot in Europe for the fall. I caught up with Miller to discuss Thursday's Knicks-Celtics game in Boston (8 p.m. ET, TNT) and get the former great's thoughts on both teams, their off-season moves and his decision to stay retired.

Rookie Rankings Notes and Mail -- Three's Company (November 25, 2007)
On the surface, the bond seems a little bit strange. What's a three-time All-Star doing hanging out with two rookies? Why would somebody about to enter his seventh season in the league embrace two guys with as much NBA experience combined as his jersey number – zero? But the Washington Wizards' Three's Company triumvirate of Batman in Gilbert Arenas and two Robins in Nick Young and Dominic McGuire makes a whole lot of sense when you look at the three as three guys with a shared passion for hoops rather than as one bourgeoisie and two proletariats on the NBA superstar scale.

Rookie Rankings -- Week 3 (November 21, 2007)
What's so hard about being a rookie anyway? Why can't everybody step in from jumpstreet and put up the same numbers that they did in high school and college? What's the secret?

Garnett to Join Jordan, Olajuwon? (November 19, 2007)
Twenty years ago this spring, the great Michael Jordan became the first player in the history of the NBA to be named Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season.

Rookie Rankings Notes and Mail -- J.C. or Juan Carlos? (November 17, 2007)
A couple of rookies had very good nights on Friday as Memphis’ Juan Carlos Navarro tied Jason Kidd’s and Chris Duhon’s rookie record of eight 3-pointers in a game en route to dropping 28 points, (the highest scoring output of any first-year player so far this season) and Kevin Durant nailed a game-winning three at the buzzer to lift Seattle over Atlanta, in double overtime (I knew there was a reason I kept him No. 1 last week).

All-Star 2008: 10 Who Could Be First Timers (November 15, 2007)
You don't have to be Nostradamus to have confidence in penciling in the likes of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Yao Ming as 2008 All-Stars. After all, the only person in the world more popular than those three with their fan bases is probably Tim Gunn with the Bravo programming executives. (I mean seriously, Gunn is pulling a Regis Philbin from the late '90s when Reege was on like eight shows at once.)

Rookie Rankings -- Week 2 (November 14, 2007)
I figured Raptors rookie Jamario Moon would have a coming-out party at some point this year, I just didn't think it would be this early.

Rookie Rankings Notes and Mail -- It's Early (November 10, 2007)
The season started less than two weeks ago. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. I took some flack this week for my Rookie Rankings: Week 1, but you all need to learn to pace yourselves. There will be plenty of time to blast me on as the season wears on.

Rookie Rankings -- Week 1 (November 7, 2007)
What do you do when the No. 3 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft is in your office and you write the Rookie Rankings for a living? You stop adding artists to your Pandora playlist and go interview him, of course. So, before we get into the first official rankings of the season, here's an interview I had with Atlanta's budding big man, Al Horford, on Monday...

Rookie Rankings Notes and Mail -- Welcome to the Durant Era (November 2, 2007)
Go ahead, call Kevin Durant a bust. I dare you. If the 45 points he scored over his first two games – against Denver and Phoenix, playoff teams from a year ago – didn’t convince you of the greatness that’s in store for the 6-9, 215 pound supernova 19-year old then there might be no saving you.

What Kind of Year Will Jamal Crawford Have? (October 26, 2007)
At Henry Abbott's TrueHoopapalooza on Tuesday I met Jordan Brett, a guy with an endless supply of the best seat in the house, I guess, because his blog is named From Courtside. I was just checking out his post today about the "Players Ready to Break Out!" where he calls out five players he thinks will make like acne on my 18-year old brother's face this season.

Talking to Mr. Smith (October 26, 2007)
Since I'm captaining the Rookie Rankings ship this season I figured I'd use the opportunity to chat with one of the Sixers' trio of rookies, Jason Smith. Smith was selected No. 20 by Miami and traded on draft night to Philadelphia for Daequan Cook.

Rookie Rankings -- Preseason 2007 (October 24, 2007)
The 2007 NBA Draft class has already been more celebrated by the media than Terrell Owens treats his touchdowns. It's already been mentioned in the same breath as 2003 (LeBron, Dwyane, Carmelo), 1996 (Kobe, Nash, A.I.) and 1984 (Jordan, Olajuwon, Barkley) before any of its players have even played a game. Now it's time for the rookies to live up to the hype.

TrueHoop -- In Living Color (October 23, 2007)
Let me let you all in on a little secret: NBA.com hearts TrueHoop. In the online basketball world that me and my colleagues at the league Web site live in, we check Henry Abbott's basketball blog during the work day about as often as first-time parents check on their newborn when it first starts sleeping on its own in the crib.

Where Are They Now? ... Darius Washington (October 19, 2007)
The headline on our "In The News" section on NBA.com caught my eye: "Washington Leads Spurs Past Warriors" My initial reaction: "Washington? Who is that?"

Kobe's Last Stand in La La Land? (October 17, 2007)
Before we get into any plausible trade scenarios or examine Kobe Bryant's 11-year career with the Lakers in a post-mortem fashion it's important to put all the facts out on the table.

Things I'm Looking Forward To (October 16, 2007)
Last season we did a little feature on NBA.com called 61 Things that laid out a little over five dozen different reasons to get juiced for 2006-07, the 61st brilliant year of the NBA's existence. I thought about breaking that out again this year, but now that we have this handy blog to not only write in, but get feedback from our readers in, I figured it was time to switch up the feature.

Europe Live: 'Wave' Goodbye to London (October 10, 2007)
All you need to play a basketball game is 10 players, a leather ball and an iron hoop suspended 10 feet in the air. But to conduct an NBA game, (not play, conduct) so much more goes into it.

Europe Live: Reunited and It Feels so ’Different’ (October 9, 2007)
The Timberwolves and Celtics are sharing the same hotel out on the East End of London, across the Thames River from the state-of-the-art O2 Arena, where they will play a preseason exhibition in front of a sold-out crowd on Wednesday and for the second straight day, the teams shared the court for a portion of the practice session.

Europe Live: London Blog (October 8-10, 2007)
A running blog of Europe Live 2007 in London with the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Europe Live: Big Three, Bargnani Star at the PalaLottomatica (October 7, 2007)
On July 31, Boston pulled the trigger on one of the most significant trades in NBA history, bringing Kevin Garnett over from Minnesota in a five-for-one deal (seven-for-one if you add in the two future draft picks involved). For 68 days the basketball world patiently awaited the Big Three era in Boston to begin. They saw KG throw out the first pitch at a Red Sox game, officially welcoming him to the Beantown faithful. They furiously clicked through photogalleries on NBA.com depicting the trio all wearing Green and White. They adjusted the rosters on their basketball video games to simulate having them play together. The waiting ended yesterday and for the Celtics fan contingent of the basketball world at least, it was worth every second.

Europe Live: Internationally Known (October 6, 2007)
Take a look at the "From" column on the Raptors training camp roster one player at time and its like flipping through an atlas. Andrea Bargnani is from Italy and this trip has been a homecoming for him. Jose Calderon and Jorge Garbajosa both hail from Spain, so the next leg of Toronto's European trip, Madrid, will be a homecoming for them. Keep going down the list and you get Carlos Delfino from Argentina and Rasho Nesterovic from Slovenia, plus add in the fact that Maceo Baston and Anthony Parker both played overseas before settling down in the NBA and that the Raptors' Vice-Prseident/Assistant General Manager Maurizio Gherardini in Italian and you get the picture.

Europe Live: Celtic Sight Seeing (October 5, 2007)
Sure, the Boston Celtics are in Italy with the primary purpose of playing basketball, but to spend a week in Rome and to not check out the piazzas, architecture, statues, fountains and historic sights would be like going to Disney World with the purpose of having your kid meet Mickey Mouse and neglecting to go on any of the rides. Four Celtics – Esteban Batista, Scot Pollard, Leon Powe and Brian Scalabrine – took advantage of their surroundings on Thursday and went on a guided tour of one of the world’s most illustrious cities.

Europe Live: Rome Blog (October 4-7, 2007)
A running blog of Europe Live 2007 in Rome with the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics.

10 Things You Need to Know About EuroBasket 2007 (September 21, 2007)
It's been five days since EuroBasket 2007 ended in Spain, but the tournament is worth revisiting. Sixteen teams squared off in the two-week long competition creating thousands of basketball memories in the process. Since your brain is too crammed with ATM pin numbers, email passwords and phone numbers as it is, I've taken the liberty to shrink everything that went down into a succinct top 10 list to cram into your hippocampus.

Rookies Play Hooky from Progam, Help Kids (September 20, 2007)
Sixty rookies took a break from the Rookie Transition Program – a week-long education in the way of NBA life run in conjunction by the league and the Players Association - to head up to Public School 83 in Harlem and hang out with youngsters who were learning the ins and outs of the ABC’s rather than the C.B.A. (Collective Bargaining Agreement).

Oden Not Alone: Other Injuries to No. 1 Picks (September 13, 2007)
News broke today that Portland's No. 1 pick, Greg Oden, will likely miss the 2007-08 season while recovering from arthroscopy and a microfracture surgery. This certainly takes some of the wind out of Trail Blazers fans' sails, but it's no reason to hit the panic button. Portland isn't the first franchise to have its top selection miss a chunk of his rookie season due to injury. Since the Draft Lottery era began in 1985, six out of the 22 top picks have gone on to miss a significant amount of games (14 games or more) because of various health reasons in their inaugural campaigns. Oden makes it seven for 23.

Pop-A-Shot Culture References (September 6, 2007)
Thanks to Google, YouTube and IMDB -- the online Bible, Qu'ran and Torah for pop culture worshippers - I believe I have compiled the ultimate list of NBA stars and their crossover projects.

Q&A with Morris Almond (August 30, 2007)
College basketball games are 40 minutes long. NBA games are 48 minutes long. If Utah's Morris Almond was able to average 26.4 points per game in his senior year at Rice University (good enough for third in the country), how many will he pour in for the Jazz?

Chasing the Ring (August 9, 2007)
This summer the Celtics have already traded for two sure-fire Hall of Famers in Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. Could they be adding a third in Reggie Miller? ESPN’s J.A. Adande reported on Wednesday that Boston’s general manager Danny Ainge and head coach Doc Rivers have reached out to Reggie about having him join the Celtics for one last hurrah and playing “15 minutes a game” in a reserve capacity.

Green Making It Easier for Sonics Fans (August 6, 2007)
Jeff Green might not have the "ceiling" factor that his fellow lottery picks do, but that's only because he's already shown what he can do. He's a proven commodity after scoring in double figures all three seasons he played in the rough-and-tumble Big East Conference and leading Georgetown to the Final Four in April.

Q&A with Demetris Knick-ols (August 1, 2007)
There are two things you need to know about the No. 53 pick in this year's draft before reading any further:
1. People don't know his name. His first name is Demetris, not Demetrius.
2. He knows the Garden. He played 19 of the 123 games in his collegiate career in MSG, averaging 11.2 points per game in those contests overall and 16.4 points on 41 percent shooting from three over his junior and senior seasons.

Hanging With the Rooks (July 31, 2007)
When I was a kid, picture day on the first day of school meant I'd be wearing an uncomfortable, mold-green colored suit and leather shoes that hurt my feet when I ran around at recess for the day. Philadelphia's Herbert Hill remembers rocking a "Bill Cosby" sweater for a few of those days.

Nothing Mini About It (July 25, 2007)
It may have just been dubbed a "mini-camp," but last weekend's get together for Team USA was a huge step toward the U.S. returning to a first-place finish next month and eventually gold medal glory in Beijing.

Team USA: Durant Better Than Advertised (July 22, 2007)
His name already belongs in the same conversation as LeBron James, Frank Robinson and Wayne Gretzky as being considered one of the most dominant teenage athletes of all time, but when it's all said in done, we might be mentioning Kevin Durant with the likes of Bobby Fischer, Mozart, Will Hunting and Doogie Howser as perhaps one of greatest prodigies to ever live.

Team USA: Fierce Competition in Day 1 (July 20, 2007)
At first thought, you couldn't be blamed for comparing Team USA's first day of mini-camp on Friday with this past season's NBA All-Star Game ... The truth is Friday was absolutely nothing like the All-Star Game.

Team USA: Seventeen Players for Twelve Spots (July 19, 2007)
When training camp opens up in Las Vegas on Friday, Team USA officially enters into year number two in the three-year plan that Managing Director of the U.S. Men's Senior National team, Jerry Colangelo, laid out in the spring of 2006.

Scanning the Summer Rosters (July 12, 2007)
Before I knew it, I was scanning through every roster from the Las Vegas Summer League and the Pepsi Pro Summer League in Orlando. It was like a can of Pringles, once I popped I couldn't stop. As I unearthed all of these hidden gems and experienced so many, "So that's where that guy is!" moments in a row, it really felt like Christmas in July and I even started humming the prelude to "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer."

Feeling a Draft (June 28, 2007)
What's the NBA Draft like? Picture a packed high school auditorium on the last Friday afternoon before summer vacation. Everybody is hot and restless and anxious. Now add two dozen near 7-footers in expensive suits and beer vendors ...

Life as Cushman's Little Brother (June 28, 2007)
When Greg Oden, Kevin Durant, Mike Conley Jr., Al Horford, Joakim Noah and Corey Brewer all went to ESPN Zone for a two hour marathon session with all of ESPN’s many media tentacles (ESPN NEWS, Rome is Burning, True Hoop, The Hot List, ESPN Radio 1050, etc.), the six of them were given a VIP room to lounge out in when they weren’t doing one of the various interviews. And in that private space, up on the fourth level of the restaurant with a glass wall looking down onto the off-the-street patrons at the bar below, I was the fly on the wall.

New York State of Mind (June 27, 2007)
I know what you're thinking. This is a draft blog, right? What is Gilbert Arenas doing here? Consider Gilbert being in NYC during Draft week like John Goodman stopping by the set of SNL for a guest appearance. Meaning the show is not about him, but he is a welcome addition for comedic relief.

He'll Be Back (June 14, 2007)
It happened to great players like Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler, Shaquille O'Neal, Isiah Thomas, Gary Payton, Julius Erving and Elvin Hayes. Their first trip to The Finals ended in loss, their lust for Larry O'Brien left unfulfilled. But, as the saying goes, "If at first you don't succeed in the NBA Finals, try, try again."

Tale of the Tape Man (June 13, 2007)
You've all seen it on the jumbotron before when your team is down by a few buckets in the fourth quarter and a timeout is called. It's a staple of the NBA experience: The motivational highlight package featuring big shots and spectacular plays by your favorite players spliced between clips from movies like Gladiator, Miracle, Hoosiers and Any Given Sunday all set to an inspiring tune such as the theme from Rocky.

Cleveland Struggles in the Clutch (June 12, 2007)
They say in life that timing is everything. For the 2007 Cleveland Cavaliers, a team that reached the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history just about a week and a half ago, the problem with that saying is that timing seems to have left them. The sense of the moment has momentarily escaped them. There seem to be no more daggers left in their sheath.

Cavs Search for the Silver Lining (June 10, 2007)
Cavs forward Drew Gooden said during Friday's media availibility that he was optimistic about the rest of the series because he felt that Cleveland had played at its absolute worst in Game 1 and still only lost by nine. Turns out he was wrong, the Cavs were capable of worse.

The Man Behind the Mop (June 9, 2007)
His mop and his flops. That's all the casual fan knows about Anderson Varejao. The casual fan recognizes the Cavaliers' second-year forward's curly mane that looks like God used Varejao's head as a notebook and kept drawing squiggly lines and circles to get the ink flowing from His pen.

Cavs Notebook: June 8 (June 8, 2007)
Forget the "Are you happy to be here?" questions. The Cavs now have to answer the tough ones like "What happened on the boards?" and "What's with all of these third-quarter collapses?"

Faison & McHale on The Finals (June 7, 2007)
Actor/comedians Donald Faison and Joel McHale called up NBA.com for a barbershop style conversation regarding The Finals.

LeBron's Learning Curve (June 7, 2007)
James learned quickly that life isn't fair.

For Ilgauskas, Finals are well Deserved (June 6, 2007)
Big Z has been from A-Z getting to his first-ever Finals appearance.

The Luckiest Man in the Room (May 22, 2007)
Brandon Roy started his Tuesday by buying a house and ended it by bringing the Portland Trail Blazers something that money can’t buy – the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft Lottery.

Drive to the Finals Expert Picks (April-May, 2007)
Antawn Jamison | Allen Iverson | Stephen Jackson | Jason Kidd | Matt Harpring

Pistons-Cavaliers Playoff Blog (May 21- June 3, 2007)
A running blog of the Pistons-Cavaliers Eastern Conference Finals playoff matchup.

Suns-Spurs Playoff Blog (May 5-19, 2007)
A running blog of the Suns-Spurs second round playoff matchup.

10 Questions: Suns-Spurs (May 4, 2007)
Now that the No. 1 overall seeded Mavericks and their 67 regular-season wins are out of the playoff race, the 61-win Suns and the 58-wins Spurs are the next best squads remaining. Time to decide who is better. Phoenix and San Antonio are set to square off in a second-round matchup with the feel of a championship bout. As the two winningest teams left in the posteason prepare to play, NBA.com poses 10 questions surrounding the teams' second-round meeting.

Season Review with Stu Jackson (May 3, 2007)
NBA Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Stu Jackson sat down with NBA.com to go over the PowerPoint presentation he gave at the annual Board of Governors Meeting where he conducted a season review, officiating report and D-League update for those in attendance.

Suns-Lakers Playoff Blog (April 22 - May 2, 2007)
A running blog of the Suns-Lakers first round playoff matchup.

Race to Sixth Man (April 18, 2007)
A good sixth man is to a team as a good change of clothes is to an awards show host. The same way that new digs can give the host a new look, a quality sixth man can breath new life into a team and bring a facet of play to the court that the squad doesn't have at the opening tip.

Race to Most Improved Player (April 16, 2007)
Look at the career of a star NBA player like the alphabet. When he comes into the league he is at "A". Being selected to the All-Rookie team puts him at "E." Making the All-Star team is somewhere around "N." First-Team All-NBA is at "R" or "S." An MVP award puts him at "X." The Hall of Fame is "Z." Now that you know your NBA ABC's, you don't have to sing with me, but rather answer me this question: Is it harder to make a big leap from "A" to "M" or a smaller, more advanced one from "N" to "O"?

This Is Why He's Hot (April 14, 2007)
Dwyane Wade, you're just the coolest. Let's take a look at eight things that automatically catapult you into the George Clooney level of coolness:

Race to Defensive Player of the Year (April 13, 2007)
The days of the defensive stalwart in the middle are over. The reason being, there is no more middle anymore. Well, it's still technically there. The basketball court still has the painted key, it's just that teams don't like spending as much time in it.

Race to Coach of the Year (April 12, 2007)
There are two roads you can take when it comes to voting for the Coach of the Year.

Feeling a Draft (April 4, 2007)
My life became eerily similar to a SportsCenter commercial yesterday. As I plugged away on my computer in our makeshift WNBA office trying to educate myself on the potential draftees (my favorite was easily Ole Miss guard Ashley Awkward, she is just a Saturday Night Live skit waiting to happen), I took a break to crack my neck and a couple of seats away from me, there was Rebecca Lobo, all 6-6 of her, taking notes for her interviews as the roving reporter for ESPN’s draft coverage.

A Day in the Life of a First-Round Pick (April 4, 2007)
It's 11 a.m. and in less than three hours, Kamesha Hairston is going to go from college senior to pro sports rookie. In the same amount of time it takes to watch Lawrence of Arabia, all of the work that went into becoming A-10 Player of the Year at Temple University will be rewarded with a brand-new challenge of finding a niche on a WNBA roster.

Side Dish of Cinnamon Apples (March 31, 2007)
Kobe Bryant has now scored 344 points over his last seven games (49.1 ppg) and I was at the STAPLES Center last night to see numbers 292-344. I was giddy from the start. When Kobe started off with eight points on 3-for-3 from the field in the first four minutes, I immediately signed off of IM so I didn't miss anything and started doing the whole, "eight points over four minutes calculates out to 96 points over four quarters" routine.

NBAE Super Saturday Blog (March 31, 2007)
Welcome to the NBA Entertainment League Championship Game blog. I'm here at an undisclosed location outside of Los Angeles (undisclosed so the paparazzi don't make the gym a regular spot on their rotation) blogging from a table that they put a nice blue table cloth on just for me. I feel so honored.

The Best Week Ever (March 25, 2007)
It was a good week for me. I found out that I'd be getting a couple hundred dollars back in my tax return, I went 6-for-11 from 3-point range in two intramural games and Antonella Barba accepted my friend request on Facebook. But none of that can compare to the kind of week that Kobe Bryant has had.

Bryant Amongst the Scoring Elite (March 22, 2007)
By scoring 60 points in a 121-119 win over Memphis on Thursday, Kobe Bryant became the first player since Michael Jordan in April of 1987 to score 50-plus points in three straight games. At this rate, Bryant has a chance to become the greatest scorer the NBA has ever seen. Let that marinate for a minute.

Sixty-Five on the Mind (March 17, 2007)
Just when you thought it was safe to write off the Lakers, Kobe goes out and puts up a thoroughly dominant 65-point performance Friday against the Trail Blazers in a 116-111 overtime win, and everything changes.

Change of Fortune (March 10, 2007)
I met an optimistic Celtics fan last night named Paul. Paul's team had an 18-game losing streak this year, saw Paul Pierce waste a season in the prime of his career missing 24 games with a stress fracture in his left foot and said goodbye to legends Red Auerbach and Dennis Johnson. All that didn't stop Paul from breaking out a knowing smile that made him look like he had the unclaimed Mega Millions lottery ticket tucked away in his sock drawer as he talked about Al Jefferson's potential.

Get Well Soon (March 3, 2007)
If Dr. Frankenstein was looking to create an updated monster for the new millennium, the last place he would look for body parts is the NBA this season.

The New Testament (Feb. 24, 2007)
Last week, I decided that the triumvirate of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony needed a nickname. If they were going to be doing their thing and taking over the league for years to come, they needed a calling card worthy of their performance. Plus, I was getting tired of typing L-E-B-R-O-N, C-A-R-M...

The Big All-Star Entertainer (Feb. 20, 2007)
Shaquille O’Neal needs to be in the All-Star Game. Every year. The fans got it right voting him a starter. So what if he only averages 13.5 points and 5.8 rebounds in the 13 games he’s played this season. Shaq is to the All-Star Game like Ari is to Entourage; he makes you want to watch.

Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout Preview (Feb. 14, 2007)
Gilbert Arenas, Damon Jones, Jason Kapono, Mike Miller, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry all probably know the value of a good coupon. Instead of "buy one, get one free" these six shooters abide by the "shoot one, get one point free" bargain. That is to say, why get two points for a jumper when you can make one that's worth three?

The Laker Bunch (Feb. 11, 2007)
Sung to the tune of The Brady Bunch theme song: Here’s the story, of the man called Kobe. Who is sitting on three very lovely rings. All of them with the purple and gold, and The Daddy. Five years since L.A. was king

In The Matrix's Defense (Feb. 03, 2007)
The Suns' Shawn Marion is known for his defense like Paris Hilton is known for her voice. As a vital part of Phoenix's 111.4 points per game show, the signature image of Marion is "The Matrix" throwing down a Steve Nash pass, not Marion providing help-side defense when Nash gets passed by his man. Maybe that should change.

Who Was Overlooked? (Feb. 02, 2007)
Snubbed. Shafted. Overlooked. Forgotten. Dissed. Call it what you want, but whenever an All-Star team is selected somebody worthy is going to be left off. That's just the nature of the beast. There are only 24 spots available for a league with 450 active players so unless your player is in that top five percent, we probably heard from you in our mailbox.

Craw Daddy of Them All (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.

2007 Mid-Season Awards -- Kobe Bryant for MVP (Jan. 24, 2007)
To fully understand why Kobe Bryant should be the MVP this season you really ought to go to a Lakers game. But make sure you get there early. See, if you’re not there to watch the pre-game shoot around you’ll miss Kobe play one-on-one with reserve forward Ronny Turiaf.

Arenas and Everything After (Jan. 20, 2007)
Yup, he did it again. Gilbert Arenas did the Jazz on Monday like he did the Bucks on Jan. 3 -- another game-winning three as time expired. Forget Agent Zero, a more appropriate moniker for Arenas is Zero Doubt. As in there's zero doubt in my mind that in the waning seconds of a close game Arenas will come through with a big shot.

Climbing Mt. Mutombo (Jan. 13, 2007)
It's the signature quip of 76ers' radio play-by-play man Tom McGinnis while calling Sixers games for WIP in Philadelphia: "Are you kidding me?!" McGinnis said it often back in 2001 when a veteran center was helping Philly to The Finals with every swat, deflection, carom, tip, graze and rejection that his long arms produced. Appendages only about as lengthy as his name: Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean Jacque Wamutombo.

That's Entertainment (Jan. 12, 2007)
“Yo, NBA.com dude, check it out!” Breckin Meyer, who I expect to see wearing jeans, a t-shirt and a zip-up hoody from watching Road Trip about 702 times, (just like you’d expect to only see Homer Simpson in blue pants, black shoes and a white polo), is resplendent in a fresh pair of adidas kicks, full New York Knicks official warm-ups and a bright orange NBA headband sagging around his neck.

Q&A with Marcus Camby (Jan. 11, 2007)
Marcus Camby is in his 11th season after being drafted No. 2 by the Raptors in 1996. The player picked before him that year, Allen Iverson, is now his teammate after all these years. Camby hooked up with NBA.com to talk about A.I., the Earl Boykins trade and the impending return of Carmelo Anthony.

All-Star 2007 Ballot Breakdown: East Guards (Jan. 11, 2007)
Today's Ballot Breakdown covers the Eastern Conference guards, ranked statistically (by the sum total of their scoring, rebounding and assist averages). D-Wade has been hot, Gilbert has been even hotter (daresay "Hibachi" temperature), but hear the case for all the guards in the East before you vote daily to select the starters for the 2007 All-Star Game on Feb. 18.

Finals Examination (Jan. 8, 2007)
The NBA season is more than 40 percent complete. Is it too premature to ask, "Who in the heck is going to The Finals?" Last year the Pistons got off to a historic start and were coming off of two straight trips to the championship round. When people asked me who the favorites were, it was easy to point to Detroit's balance and experience and be done with the question. Can't do that this year.

The Man Behind the Mask (Dec. 30, 2006)
Richard Hamilton wearing a protective facemask when he plays these days is about as necessary as Dick Vitale keeping a bottle of Pert Plus in the shower. Hamilton first donned the Phantom of the Opera look in the 2003-04 season after fracturing his nose twice, but his shnoz has since healed and now the mask is for familiarity rather than function.

Use It or Lose It (Dec. 23, 2006)
Andrea Bargnani got me thinking about my mom's special Christmas hand towels in the bathroom ... Just like perfectly fine towels remaining dry at my mom's house, a perfectly fine No. 1 pick in Bargnani remained dry (from lack of sweat) up in Toronto as he didn't play more than 13 minutes in the Raptors' first nine games.

All-Star 2007 Ballot Breakdown: East Forwards (Dec. 20, 2006)
Today's Ballot Breakdown covers the Eastern Conference forwards, ranked statistically (by the sum total of their scoring, rebounding and assist averages). LeBron might seem like a no-brainer, but scan who else is out there at forward before you vote daily select the starters for the 2007 All-Star Game on Feb. 18.

Spuriffic (Dec. 16, 2006)
It was about time. Every week I scribble a list of the things that I notice and the top 10 make my column, while the rest that didn't make the cut get moved to the top of next week's list. "Nobody is talking about San Antonio" has now been recycled three times and I can't ignore it anymore. Forget Phoenix and Dallas' win streaks. Forget Utah's fast start. Forget Orlando leading the East. Let's talk Spurs basketball.

All-Star 2007 Ballot Breakdown: East Centers (Dec. 14, 2006)
Today's Ballot Breakdown covers the Eastern Conference centers, ranked statistically (by the sum total of their scoring, rebounding and assist averages). So check out what Dwight, Big Ben, Shaq and company have been up to, then cast your vote and help select the starters for the 2007 All-Star Game on Feb. 18.

Say It Ain’t So, Allen (Dec. 10, 2006)
It appears that the City of Brotherly Love is going to be losing one of its most beloved brothers. Allen Iverson demanded a trade on Tuesday and on Friday, Sixers Chairman Ed Snider said that Iverson had "probably" played his last game in Philadelphia.

L.A. vs. L.A. : Round Two (Dec. 2, 2006)
Call it fashionably on time. It was a game so big that the L.A. fans actually got to their seats before tipoff. The Lakers and Clippers met for their second matchup of the season, this time with the Lakers as the "road" team, but the result was the same as the purple-clad squad trumped the white-wearing contingent 97-88 on Saturday.

Orange Eyes are Smiling (Nov. 25, 2006)
Cleveland's throwback uni's are the best thing to happen to mesh since Beyonce performed at the 2001 NBA Finals. The orange on LeBron's uniform was so eye-popping fresh on Friday night that I couldn't help but be swept away into a daydream imagining Mark Price, Brad Daugherty and King James all suiting up against Michael Jordan when he hit "The Shot" back in 1989.

Call Me Colin Powell (Nov. 18, 2006)
I think Kobe spoiled me. I feel like the kid whose Driver’s Ed. instructor taught him in a Benz and then when it was time for him to get his license, his whip became his parents’ Buick. 57 in a loss barely makes me raise an eyebrow. Kobe had 81 in a come-from-behind win. Redd missed the chance at 60 and the W with an errant 3-pointer down the stretch.

11/11: Make A Wish (Nov. 11, 2006)
Just like the rooks who are patiently awaiting their playing time, so too have I been sitting at my desk, cracking my knuckles in excited apprehension for that first big writing assignment to come my way.

NBA Milestones 2006-07 (Oct. 15, 2006)
Another season, another chance for a current NBA player to catch an NBA legend on the all-time leaderboards. The Miami Heat's veteran triumvirate of Shaq, GP and Zo have many records within their sights -- not surprising considering the trio account for 43 seasons between them. Also, there are 11 players primed to enter the 15,000 points club and 14 more awaiting entrance in the 10K club. And while P.J. Brown will play his 1,000th game, Scot Pollard might -- might -- earn his 100th start. Find out what stats (and players) could make history this year...

Q&A with TNT's Doug Collins (Sept. 28, 2006)
Now an analyst for TNT Sports, Collins is able to sit at center court for the NBA’s biggest match-ups and offer his thoughts imbibed with the passion and experience of a man that has been married to the NBA game for 33 years. NBA.com’s Dave McMenamin caught up with Collins at the NBA Entertainment Studios in Secaucus, N.J., where the former coach was on hand for the 2006 NBA Broadcast Meeting.

Connecticut's Douglas Named All-Star MVP (July 12, 2006)
She wasn't even supposed to be in the starting five. But, at the finish, she ended up as the No. 1 performer. Connecticut’s Katie Douglas, originally named a reserve, found herself in the Eastern Conference starting lineup on Wednesday, and her 16 points, five rebounds and four assists earned her the 2006 WNBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player in the East’s 98-82 victory over the West.

South Beach Showtime (June 1, 2006)
You can’t blame Pat Riley if his Heat making the NBA Finals caused him to feel a little déjŕ vu. A 37-year-old Riley coached a 23-year-old star guard and a 35-year-old veteran center to The Finals in 1982. It’s 2006, and while Riles might have a little bit of gray adorning his slicked-back coif, he once again has a 24-year-old star guard and 34-year-old veteran center on a team of his that is playing for the Larry O’Brien trophy.

The Storied Six (April 18, 2006)
Dominique Wilkins, Charles Barkley, Joe Dumars, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen and Reggie Miller could be summed up as a dunker, a rebounder, a leader, a pick-and-roller, a defensive specialist and a 3-point shooter, respectively, but that would do a disservice to these all-time greats. A quick summation doesn’t describe 52 combined All-Star bids, 14 appearances in the NBA Finals, eight rings and three league MVP awards.

The Other L.A. Story (April 12, 2006)
It could be said the Clippers got their first win of the 2005-‘06 season way back on June 27, 2001, when the franchise dealt Brian Skinner and the draft rights to Tyson Chandler to the Chicago Bulls for the night-in, night-out 20-and-10 services of Elton Brand.

Around the Association (2005-06 Season)
Dec. 12 | Dec. 26 | Dec. 27 | Jan. 2 | Jan. 7 | Jan. 22 | Jan. 27 | Jan. 28
Jan. 29 | Feb. 6 | Feb. 12 | March 6 | March 17 | March 19 | March 21
March 23 | April 10 | April 16