During the season, NBA.com editors Darren Misener, Martin Sumners and Jim Reilly will be keeping you updated on all the best news and content from around the 30 team sites in the Conference Call Blog. East, Week 1 | West, Week 1 | East, Week 2 | West, Week 2 | East, Week 3 | West, Week 3 | East, Week 4 | West, Week 4 | East, Week 5 | West, Week 5 | East, Week 6 | West, Week 6

Darren Misener

Hustle Back to the Cleve
Last season LeBron James strapped the Cavs on his back and took them to the NBA Finals. After dispatching the Wizards and Nets, Cleveland toppled the favored Pistons to claim the Eastern Conference crown. But take a look at the standings now and not only are the Pistons at the top, the Cavs can't even crack No. 2 in their division (that belongs to Jim O'Brien's Pacers).

James has missed his last four games with a nagging injury, and when the King is out, it affects everyone on the team, as Cavs.com's Joe Gabriele reports. But haven't we seen this before? Obviously Cleveland is a better team with LeBron in there, but they've won before without him, in fact going a strong 9-3 in James' absence previous to this season. That's been the tough part for coach Mike Brown.

Obviously if LeBron plays, were a lot better team -- he does a lot for us, said Brown. I know for a fact that weve won ballgames without LeBron. Do I want to be without LeBron for a long time let alone one game? No sir. But LeBron is human; hes got to rest, and if hes out, weve got to at least fight. Against Boston I thought we fought. Against Toronto we didnt defend. Against Detroit I thought everybody came out in the second half and tried to do it on their own.

When it comes to giving the Cavs a bit of fight and attitude, help is most certainly on the way. Not only will James be back before long (in fact if these were playoff games, he'd probably be in there now), but Cleveland just brought back a little of it's heart and hustle when they matched an offer sheet for Anderson Varejao.

A slightly bulkier Varejao was at the Cleveland Clinic Courts on Friday afternoon and walked through some scripted plays and played three-on-three with coaches and staff after practice. But anyone who's watched Varejao play knows it's not so much his practice skills as his attitude and hustle that he brings to the wine and gold. Im very happy to be back in Cleveland, smiled the Wild Thing. I saw all my teammates and I saw a couple fans yesterday (at the airport). Im ready to move on. Im here and Im going to try to help the team as much as I can.

Varejao wasn't the only one happy about his presence in Cleveland. Were excited to have him back, definitely, said James, following practice. Ive been quoted since opening day how I felt about having him on this team, so Im excited that hes back; I know hes excited to be back with the team, so now Im just looking forward to getting him on the court.

With the Wild Thing's heart (and hair) back on the court, the Cavs might just look a bit more like that team that was playing for the Championship last year.


Tinsley Incident
The Pacers were a mix of emotions after a very scary incident involving Jamaal Tinsley this weekend.

Honoring Donald Marbury
Emotions were just as high in New York last week, following the death of Stephon Marbury's father Donald. Stephon wrote a note sharing his thanks for the support to the fans.

What's Up Doc?
Might have been tough to guess coming into the season, but with the Celtics burning up the hardwood, Doc Rivers earned Coach of the Month honors for November.

The Last Word
Lang Witaker of SLAM and Hawks.com checks in again to answer the question are the Hawks any good this year?

All the Way to the Year 2000...
Pistons.com's Keith Langlois reports on how Detroit is about to get a look to the future of the NBA, with three young teams visiting the Palace in December.

Did He Need a Hall Pass?
Michael Redd had to face the heat from a bunch of 5th graders, as they asked him questions on Bucks.com.

Put Me In, Coach?
Magic GM Otis Smith weighs in on whether he could still don the uniform and get out on the court for the Magic.

Roster Re-Set
The Bulls made a couple roster moves last week, including adding Demetris Nichols (6-8, 215) comes to Chicago after spending time with New York and Cleveland earlier this season.

Shakin' it Off
Nets.com examines what it's like to get out to a slow start and what New Jersey must do to shake it off.

Nickname Game
Raptors.com's Chuck Swirsky checks in from Boston with some thoughts on a nickname for Jamario Moon.