Um, yeah, sorry about that. It's a good thing no one's life depends on this getting updated every day, or someone would be dead. Then again, judging from the comments it seems like the only "people" reading this are out to sell me something anyway. Sigh.
So, for the past two weeks I've been off doing this, that and the other thing (mostly the other thing), with trips to Oakland and Oklahoma tossed in (not just because they sounded alike). Caught NBA games in both cities, as well as Thanksgiving with the family in Norman, OK. It's also been in the 60s here (and 70 in Oklahoma), so I've been trying to do stuff outside—yeah, global warming's a myth Michael Crichton, you gangly bastard.
If you follow SLAMonline.com at all, you'd have seen my dispatches from Oakland and Oklahoma on The Links. Which is another reason why I haven't been posting as much here. Not much of an excuse, I know, but sort of one? I mean, it's not like I didn't have Internet access on the road. (I do need to get that Apple AirPort setup so I can be wireless, though. Maybe this week.)
Anyway, here's 10 things I like about the NBA right now:
10) Jeff Van Gundy running the Rockets into the ground: With Yao rested and the Stro Show in town, the Rockets were supposed to be second only to the Spurs in the West—especially with Amare Stoudemire sidelined with Penny surgery. Instead they're what, 3-11, on an eight-game slide. T-Mac's back is acting up again, Yao has some sort of a weird neck beard, and Charlie Ward retired. My big hope is that Van Gundy gets fired and replaced by assistant coach Patrick Ewing.
9) Chris Paul is gangsta: While I detest George Shinn and Byron Scott, I have nothing against the Hornets players, and Chris "CP3" Paul is one hell of a player. If I lived in Oklahoma City—well, I'd move, but if I HAD to stay there, I'd definitely get season tickets, and Paul would be the number one reason why. Baron Davis has been killing it in Golden State (I'll get to him), but the Hornets did just fine. (Andrew Bogut has been ill, too, as far as rooks go.)
8) The Clippers are better than the Lakers: Who knew? Actually, everyone should have known that the Lakers would suck (and Kobe would be taking all the shots), but the Clippers being this good? With Sam Cassell running the show? There's obviously plenty of time for this all to blow up, so enjoy it while you can. The Lakers will probably stay a mess, though—wonder what Phil Jackson will call his next book? "Zen And The Art Of Kwame Brown Maintenance"?
7) The Warriors might be the best team in California: What? When was the last time that happened? (Maybe sometime during Run-TMC post-Magic.) But with the Lakers plodding, the Kings imploding and the Clippers—well, the Clippers just CAN'T be the best team in Cali—it's all up to the Warriors. The late season trade for Baron Davis added swagger, and lottery pick Ike Diogu (once he recovered from his broken hand) added strength. Jason Richardson is one of the L's most athletic 2s, and Troy Murphy is a hell of a shot for a big man. Plus, college transplant Mike Montgomery can actually coach in the pros! Oakland, stand up.
6) Where in the world is Latrell Sprewell?: To be honest, I keep thinking I'm going to see him behind a Starbucks counter, or driving a cab. I mean, he needs to feed his family, right? It's obvious that he could be helping out somewhere, but after being "insulted" by the Wolves offer of a three-year, $21 million extension, it's likely he's going to need to take the veteran minimum somewhere to prove he's not a bad guy. Um, except for the whole coach choking thing. The only downside to Spree being out of the League is that KG looks absolutely MISERABLE in Minnesota. Sorry, Ticket.
5) Ron Artest's hair: Just when you think he can't get any crazier, he goes and gets all Anthony Mason/MC Serch on us. Ron's the best.
4) The ongoing success of the Detroit Pistons sans Larry Brown: Flip Saunders might not be the defensive genius LB is, but he's taken the shackles off the offense, and the Pistons look like they're having a hell of a time out there. Time will tell whether they'll have the same intensity in the playoffs, but as of right now they're the team to beat in the East.
3) LeBron James: Leads the Cavs to eight straight wins, including one where he went for a 30-plus point triple-double. Kid's 20 and he's already the best in the L, or at least right there with them. If he doesn't peak until 28 or so, I'm terrified to think how he's going to rewrite the record books.
2) The Knicks: What's not to like? The terrible start, the "trade Stephon" rumors after four games, the emergence of rookies Channing Frye and Nate Robinson as key components of a Larry "I Hate Rookies" Brown-coached team, the predictable injury-riddled pivot combo of Eddy Curry and Jerome James, the inevitable retirement of Allan Houston. Can't wait for the trades to start—as well as the inevitable power struggle between Isiah and LB.
1) Pau Gasol's beard: How do you say "Grizzly Adams" in Spanish?