Week 3: Fortune Teller
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SECAUCUS, N.J., Nov. 20, 2007 -- I watch as many games as possible on television, read every article and column that I can get my eyes on and study box scores with the same intensity as a straight ďAĒ student attacking a text book in an attempt to be as accurate as possible in the Race to the MVP.

And depending on who is looking over the player rankings, I either remind them of the Patriotsí Tom Brady (always on target) or former boxer turned comedian punch line Mike Tyson (need serious help).

Line of the Week
LeBron James, Cavaliers
Loss vs. Magic, November 14
39 points, 13 rebounds, 14 assists

If I write:
Team records weigh heavily in the order of my rankings. With that being said, if LeBron James keeps playing like this, I donít care if the Cavaliers win another game this season - he is a bonafide MVP candidate. What more can you ask from this guy? In just 10 games, he has notched two triple-doubles and fallen short of two more by a single assist. The current scoring leader has reached the 40-point mark twice and his averages of 29.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 8.0 assists are staggering. It is hard to believe that for all of his on-the-court brilliance, Clevelandís record is just 5-5.

Readers will respond with one of the following:
A) Dude, you rule. LeBron is the man and he is carrying the Cavaliers.
B) About time you got it right. LeBron should have been in the top 10 all season.
C) Hi, Iím a 12-year-old from Cleveland and LeBron has been my favorite player my entire life.
D) Whoever hired you Brooks, should be fired. Everybody knows Kobe Bryant should be No. 1.

If I write:
Through the first few weeks of the season, Orlandoís Dwight Howard has been the leagueís MVP. No sarcasm here, Iím being serious. The Beast of the East has posted 10 double-doubles in 12 games and has led the Magic to a 10-2 record. He is the unquestioned leader of his squad, which, by the way, knocked the mighty Celtics from the ranks of the unbeaten on Sunday. Although being an MVP candidate is about more than just statistics, how can you ignore his 57 percent shooting, 2.4 blocks, 22 points and 14 boards a contest?

Readers will respond with one of the following:
A) Mo, youíre losing credibility here. There is no way you can have Howard lead the R2MVP.
B) One week Howard is ninth, the next week he is first. Címon.
C) Thank you. Finally someone is giving the Magic props. By the way, I read your stuff every week.
D) Whoever hired you Brooks, should be fired. Everybody knows Kobe Bryant should be No. 1.

If I write:
Yes, Kevin Garnett has been great, but donít sleep on Paul Pierce. The Truth is averaging a team-best 22.7 points along with 4.9 rebounds and 4.7 assists on 50 percent shooting. So much for the theory that having Garnett and Ray Allen as wingmen would mean a reduced role for Pierce. Also, when the game has been on the line, the Celtics have turned to Pierce. He made the winning layup against the Heat last week; he missed an off-balance jumper in the closing seconds of the Magic loss Sunday.

Readers will respond with one of the following:
A) I see you finally woke up and gave Pierce his props. Heís been doing his thing for the Celtics for a long time and no matter who they bring to Boston, that isnít going to change.
B) Where is Ray Allen on your list?
C) How ironic Maurice. You decide to write about Pierce two days after he missed the shot that ended our eight-game winning streak.
D) Whoever hired you Brooks, should be fired. Everybody knows Kobe Bryant should be No. 1.

If I write:
Although he will never be asked to have his jumper filmed for an instructional shooting video, Sacramentoís Kevin Martin has game. For proof, ask the Knicks after Martin dropped a career-best 43 points on them on 11-for-21 shooting from the field. Unlike rapper Special Ed, who Martin looks just like, he is not a one-hit wonder. On the heels of last seasonís career year, Martin has been even better, averaging 27.3 points and 4.6 rebounds a game.

Readers will respond with one of the following:
A) Ha, youíre right, he looks like Special Edís twin brother.
B) I canít believe he is second in the league in scoring this season, one place behind LeBron and one place ahead of Tracy McGrady.
C) When Mike Bibby comes back from injury, the Kings are going to be real good.
D) Whoever hired you Brooks, should be fired. Everybody knows Kobe Bryant should be No. 1.

  • E-mail your feedback or talk about it in the R2MVP open forum.

    Race to the MVP - The Top 10
    1. Dwight Howard, Orlando
    22.2 14.3 1.7 0.6 2.4 .575 .626
  • Last Week's Rank - 9
    According to our good friends over at STATS, as of Monday the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week has more dunks (39) than 23 other teams in the league. He's already unstoppable now and he doesn't even have a jumper.

  • 2. Kevin Garnett, Boston
    20.8 13.3 4.3 2.3 1.3 .563 .833
  • Last Week's Rank - 1
    KG had two below-average showings last week and that was enough to slide him out of the top spot. He is due for a big game after scoring just 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in a loss to the Magic.

  • 3. Allen Iverson, Denver
    24.8 3.0 7.6 2.6 0.2 .460 .830
  • Last Week's Rank - 5
    Memo to all Philadelphia sports fans. Don't be upset at Iverson for climbing the R2MVP ladder or the fact that the Answer was just named Western Conference Player of the Week. We must learn to let it go. Besides, the Phillies' Jimmy Rollins won the National League MVP today.

  • 4. Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers
    26.3 7.1 5.0 2.3 1.1 .464 .814
  • Last Week's Rank - 6
    Sure KB24's scoring is down (nothing a few 50-point games can't fix), but the Lakers are winning and that is all that matters.

  • 5. LeBron James, Cleveland
    29.2 7.8 8.0 1.8 1.7 .472 .673
  • Last Week's Rank - 11
    The King is the only active player with two games of at least 30 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists in his career.

  • 6. Steve Nash, Phoenix
    19.4 3.7 10.4 0.9 0.0 .550 1.000
  • Last Week's Rank - 10
    Nash has handed out at least 10 assists in seven of 10 games this season. If you want to know how to become a two-time MVP, watch this video.

  • 7. Carlos Boozer, Utah
    24.6 11.1 2.5 0.8 0.8 .545 .779
  • Last Week's Rank - 2
    After a red-hot start, Boozer finally cooled off last week, grabbing just 10 rebounds combined over the past two games.

  • 8. Tracy McGrady, Houston
    26.8 5.1 5.1 1.1 0.2 .468 .758
  • Last Week's Rank - 3
    After missing two games with an injured elbow, it appears McGrady will be back in the lineup on Wednesday for the Rockets, who sorely miss him after dropping four straight.

  • 9. Chris Paul, New Orleans
    19.5 4.4 10.8 3.2 0.0 .507 .905
  • Last Week's Rank - 4
    Paul, who is leading the league in steals and assists, has been sidelined the past two games with a sprained right ankle. Hopefully he is healed in time for his Friday showdown with Deron Williams.

  • 10. Tim Duncan, San Antonio
    17.6 9.5 2.2 0.9 2.1 .500 .717
  • Last Week's Rank - 7
    For a second, I actually considered dropping Timmy out of the top 10. Don't blame me, blame the five-point, five-rebound game he had last Tuesday against the Lakers for his low ranking.
  • On the Outside Looking In (averages - last week's rank)
    11. Carmelo Anthony (DEN): 25.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 5.3 APG - (16)
    12. Dirk Nowitzki (DAL): 19.8 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 4.8 APG - (13)
    13. Manu Ginobili (SAS): 20.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG. 5.1 APG - (17)
    14. Yao Ming (HOU): 22.0 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 2.9 APG - (8)
    15. Shawn Marion (PHX): 17.7 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 1.4 APG - (18)
    16. Deron Williams (UTA): 17.8 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 8.4 APG - (12)
    17. Paul Pierce (BOS): 22.7 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 4.7 APG - (NR)
    18. Chauncey Billups (DET): 17.3 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 7.3 APG - (15)
    19. Rashard Lewis (ORL): 21.2 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 2.6 APG - (NR)
    20. Jason Kidd (NJN): 10.8 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 10.3 APG - (19)
  • Dropped out: Richard Jefferson (Nets), Chris Kaman (Clippers)

  • Running the Floor

    It looks like they have something special brewing down in Charlotte. Quietly, Emeka Okafor and the boys have compiled a 6-4 record. With a nucleus of Jason Richardson, Gerald Wallace and Raymond Felton along with Okafor, is this the year that the Bobcats contend for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference? Yup.