Week 7
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December 19, 2006 -- I wanted to write about Boston’s Paul Pierce this week. Really, I did.

I mean the heart and soul of the Celtics has been brilliant all season and has the C’s riding a five-game win streak and in first place (albeit with a 10-13 record) in the Atlantic Division.

But then Gilbert Arenas went off in Kobe Bryant's house. And as I tried to focus on Pierce, my thoughts kept going back to Agent Zero exploding for a Wizards’ franchise-record 60 points, including an eye-popping 16 in overtime, as Washington topped Los Angeles, 147-141 on Sunday.

Line of the Week
Gilbert Arenas (Wizards)
December 17 vs. Lakers
60 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists
17-32 FG, 5-12 3-pt FG, 21-27 FT

Arenas made 17-of-32 from the floor, including 5-of-12 from 3-point range. His all-around game was on display as he went 21-for-27 from the foul line and added eight assists and eight rebounds.

Kobe, who guarded Arenas at times, was no slouch. Two nights after torching the Rockets for 53, he lit up the Wizards for 45 points.

Still, this night belonged to Arenas, who broke his own career high of 47, which he set a little less than a year ago against Miami on Dec. 30, 2005.

The Wizards' previous franchise high was 56 set by the legendary Earl Monroe on Feb. 13, 1968 against the Lakers in overtime.

With dozens of family members and friends in attendance, it was obvious that Arenas wanted to do something special. While Kobe is known for his high-scoring exploits at Staples Center, it was Arenas, who set an NBA record with his 16 overtime points, who stole the show.

The ultra-competitive Bryant wasn’t impressed with Arenas’ outburst.

“First of all, he shot 27 free throws,” Bryant said. “We as a team shot 30. Think about that. But him individually, it's funny, he doesn't really seem to have that much of a conscience. I really don't think he does. Some of the shots that he took tonight, you miss those, they're just terrible shots, awful shots. You make them and they're unbelievable shots."

I love Kobe, but talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

Arenas is one of five active players who have scored 60. Sort of. Kobe is the only other player on the list that is currently in uniform. The other three are Miami’s Shaquille O'Neal (out with a knee injury), Houston’s Tracy McGrady (out with a bad back) and Philadelphia’s Allen Iverson (just out).

The Wizards are 7-3 over their last 10 games, with Arenas, the back-to-back Eastern Conference Player of the Week, leading the way.

Here are the player rankings for the week of Dec. 12 through Dec. 18.

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    Race to the MVP - Overall Player Rankings
    1. Steve Nash, Phoenix
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    19.8 3.2 11.4 0.9 0.1 .523 .916
  • Last Week's Rank - 1 | All-Star Game: Fill out a ballot daily
    It has been more than a month since Nash and Co. have lost a game. The Suns have matched a franchise record with 14 consecutive victories since a 120-117 overtime loss to Utah on Nov. 18.

  • 2. Carlos Boozer, Utah
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    22.1 12.1 3.1 0.8 0.5 555 .702
  • Last Week's Rank - 2 | All-Star Game: Fill out a ballot daily
    With more than a quarter of the NBA season complete, it is obvious that Boozer's run towards the top of the player rankings is no fluke. He was selected as the Western Conference Player of the Week for the second time.

  • 3. Yao Ming, Houston
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    26.7 9.9 2.3 0.4 2.2 .520 .859
  • Last Week's Rank - 3 | All-Star Game: Fill out a ballot daily
    With T-Mac out of the lineup, Yao has done exactly what an MVP candidate should do by stepping up his game. He has topped 30 points three times in a row and four of the past five games.

  • 4. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    24.1 9.8 3.3 0.6 0.8 .498 .891
  • Last Week's Rank - 5 | All-Star Game: Fill out a ballot daily
    Dirk looked like he was playing HORSE (you do know how to play HORSE, right?) in the fourth quarter Monday against the Kings, going 5-for-5 from the floor. His final stats looked typical: 29 points, 13 rebounds and a Mavericks' victory.

  • 5. Tim Duncan, San Antonio
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    21.0 10.1 3.7 0.6 1.7 .563 .635
  • Last Week's Rank - 4 | All-Star Game: Fill out a ballot daily
    The Spurs, who at 19-6 have the top record in the league, are 8-2 over their last 10 games, including four wins in a row. Duncan scored a season-low 11 on Thursday but bounced back with 21 points, nine rebounds and six assists two nights later.

  • 6. Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    28.7 5.3 5.0 1.5 0.3 .487 .843
  • Last Week's Rank - 6 | All-Star Game: Fill out a ballot daily
    No Lamar, no problem for Kobe and Co. KB24 (still feels weird writing that), has never been better than he was during the Lakers' most recent three games: 33 points, seven rebounds and four assists vs. Dallas; 53, 10 and eight vs. Houston; and 45, eight and 10 vs. the Wizards.

  • 7. Kevin Garnett, Timberwolves
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    21.7 11.9 3.8 1.5 1.9 .500 .823
  • Last Week's Rank - 10 | All-Star Game: Fill out a ballot daily
    Despite two losses in a row, KG continues to play at his normal high level. Garnett is first among all Western Conference forwards in votes received (453,536) after the first returns in the 2007 NBA All-Star Balloting program.

  • 8. LeBron James, Cleveland
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    26.4 6.8 6.7 1.5 0.8 .479 .716
  • Last Week's Rank - 7 | All-Star Game: Fill out a ballot daily
    Yes, his numbers across the board are outstanding, but is it me or did you expect a little more from LBJ this season?

  • 9. Dwyane Wade, Miami
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    28.6 4.9 8.1 1.8 1.1 .474 .807
  • Last Week's Rank - 11 | All-Star Game: Fill out a ballot daily
    Which performance in the two games since the Finals MVP had dental surgery was more impressive -- 41 points, seven assists and five boards in a win over Memphis or 29 points, nine assists, five boards and the game-winner with 1.3 left in a victory against the Hornets?

  • 10. Jason Kidd, New Jersey
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    12.9 8.8 9/5 1.6 0.3 .399 .827
  • Last Week's Rank - 14 | All-Star Game: Fill out a ballot
    Kidd has four triple-doubles this month and 81 in his career. With six triple-doubles this season, that is more than the rest of the league combined. It's not supposed to be this easy.
  • Close But No Cigar (season averages)
    11. Carmelo Anthony (DEN): 31.6 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 4.1 APG
    12. Gilbert Arenas (WAS): 29.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 6.3 APG
    13. Paul Pierce (BOS): 26.6 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 4.3 APG
    14. Zach Randolph (POR): 25.4 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 1.7 APG
    15. Chauncey Billups (DET): 18.8 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 8.3 APG
    16. Dwight Howard (ORL): 17.1 PPG, 12.7 RPG, 1.9 BPG
    17. Shawn Marion (PHX): 19.7 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 2.0 SPG
    18. Chris Paul (NOH): 19.0 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 9.0 APG
    19. Deron Williams (UTA): 17.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 8.8 APG
    20. Elton Brand (LAC): 18.8 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 1.9 BPG

    Running the Floor

    Anthony
    Carmelo Anthony is enjoying a career season, leading the league in scoring with a 31.6 average. It will be a while before the face of the Nuggets takes the court again after he was suspended for 15 games (six other players were also penalized for Saturday's Denver-New York brawl at Madison Square Garden).
    The Hornets' Peja Stojakovic, who had missed nine games because of back spasms, underwent surgery Sunday to remove a disc fragment in his lower back and is expected to be out two months.
    Welcome back Pau Gasol, who made his season debut Friday night for the Grizzlies, after breaking his foot this summer while starring for Spain at the World Basketball Championship.