Saturday, February 12, 2011


Not very much was gained from the two meetings between Boston and Los Angeles this year.

Boston won the first game in Los Angeles, and Los Angeles won the second game in Boston.

On the positive side for Boston, they were able to beat the Lakers when the Lakers had all of their key players available.

On the negative side, they were able to trim only one point off of a four-point deficit while Kobe Bryant sat on the bench for the first half of the fourth quarter in their defeat on Thursday night.

And Boston is 5-5 in its last 10 games and no longer the top team in the East.

It's hard to cover the Jerry Sloan resignation without getting into the whole Sloan-Deron Williams feud. And I don't work for TMZ, so I really don't want to get into it.

From a basketball perspective, it's hard to imagine Tyrone Corbin being the equal of or an upgrade over Jerry Sloan.

But you never know. Stranger things have happened.


When I wrote about the best point guards in the NBA earlier this season, Derrick Rose wasn't included with the top point guards in the game.

He was quickly becoming one of the best but wasn't there yet because he hadn't shown the court vision and didn't execute Chicago's offense to perfection in his first two years in the league.

But fast don't lie.

Without question, Derrick Rose has elevated his game and is one of the best point guards in the NBA. I can't say which one is best, but no one is better than Rose.

There may not be a player at any position better than Rose.

He makes passes now that remind me of Chris Paul and Andre Miller. A defender has to be only one step out of position for Rose to zip a pass to his man and make him pay for slipping.

And his silly handles and ridiculous athleticism make his all-around game so sensational that even his toughest critics turn into adoring fans.

Rose does something awe-inspiring almost every night and makes the Bulls appointment viewing when he plays with Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer.

And behind all of the crossovers, shakes and hanging, double-clutch, reverse layups and three-pointers is a will to win matched by few in the NBA.

Using a little trick I learned from reading Zach Lowe, I was able to use Basketball Reference to provide the list of others who averaged at least 24 points and eight assists in a season, starting in 1960.

Hint: It is very exclusive company.

Derrick Rose is almost beyond description.

Note: Marc Stein did a similar comparison of Rose through the first 10 games, when he was averaging 25 points and eight assists.


David Aldridge came up with one of the stories of the season when he wrote about how Richard Jefferson worked with Gregg Popovich and other San Antonio coaches to improve his game.

Because I am a big Jason Kidd fan, I've been watching Richard Jefferson since he came into the league as a rookie with the New Jersey Nets in 2001.

And all the way back then, he still couldn't shoot.

But it really didn't matter because all you wanted to see was him catch an alley-hoop off of the backboard anyway.

But by the time the 2010 playoffs rolled around, Jefferson, with his absentee jump-shot, was getting old.

I mean, damn.

How many years is he going to miss these shots?

It was getting ridiculous.

That's where Aldridge and his story pick up, one of the greatest stories in the NBA this season.

There is nothing greater than a player who gets better, and the home improvement by Richard Jefferson and the San Antonio coaching staff has helped lead San Antonio to the best record in the NBA.

It shows that you don't always have to get a lottery pick, make a big trade or sign a big-money free agent to improve your team.

Sometimes you can take what you already have and make it better.


The race for the final playoff seeds looks like it is going to be a dog-fight from now until the end of the season.

In the West, only five games separate the No. 5 New Orleans from the No. 10 Phoenix, with Phoenix and Memphis coming on strong.

In the East, six games separate No. 6 New York from No. 10 Milwaukee.

Frank Vogel has Indiana playing inspired ball, and Doug Collins has had Philadelphia balling (small-balling) for months now.

Current playoff teams Utah and New York are struggling.

The dark horses in the West are Houston and Golden State, and in the East it is Detroit. The teams in the East seem to change places daily.

Players possibly returning from injury who could lead their teams into the playoffs are Emeka Okafor, Brandon Roy, Marcus Camby, Michael Redd and Drew Gooden.

These races will be closely monitored and updated until the last day of the season, which is how long it may take for all of this to be settled.

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