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Tag:Tim Duncan
Posted on: February 2, 2011 9:02 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2011 9:08 pm
 

All-Star Debate: How much does legacy matter?

How much should legacy or prior career achievements factor into a player's All-Star selection? Our NBA crew debates that question. Posted by Ben Golliver.
aldridge-duncan

All-Star reserves will be announced on Thursday, and par for the course, the coaches have some tough decisions. We'll be debating the merits of each choice the coaches will have to make. These debates don't necessarily reflect the actual opinions of the writers. Think of it as opposition research, only if we opposed everyone. Our third debate? How much does a player's legacy influence his potential selection and how much should legacy influence the selections? Should guys get in on past accomplishments or should the coaches reward the younger guns?

Legacy isn't that big of a deal, and that's a good thing

by Royce Young

The All-Star Game rewards players for having fantastic individual seasons. For having excellent statistics and playing terrific basketball. I think players like Tim Duncan and Shaquille O'Neal have indeed earned something over their careers. They've worked their way into immediate Hall of Fame induction and greatest ever discussions. So in a game that awards that sort of excellence, a player's legacy certainly has something to do with it. If nothing else, it's a pretty good trump card to have.

Overall, I don't think either things should matter all that much. If you're good and you're having a great season, you deserve All-Star consideration. If your team stinks and you've got no legacy, it shouldn't matter if you're an All-Star. That distinction should be earned over the first half of the season, not over 15 years prior. 

Legacy matters a lot, but it shouldn't

by Matt Moore

I think it's pretty clear that legacy is the overriding factor in a lot of coach's decisions. This sport revolves around respect for those who have consistently been great, and is tough on accepting those who have not gone out and obtained such success this season. I think when you look back at so many of the decisions being made out of respect for previous accomplishment, Allen Iverson, for example, versus current role, abilities, and performance, that's pretty clear. But is it right?  I tend to think it's a silly waste of a mark of recognition that could go to someone else. It's one thing if it's someone like Tim Duncan, who's team is the best in the league right now, and while his production doesn't mirror that of his past All-Star seasons, he's still a huge focal point and able to put in a great night's work. But someone like Shaq, or Vince Carter in year's past, where his performance really doesn't have that much of an impact on the game? To include those players over someone younger, who's carried his team this season and performed at a star level I think misses a great opportunity to expose the fans to guys they may not have heard of. 

We've got enough opportunities to lavish over historic legacies. But younger, hungrier players are trying to make a name for themselves now, and in ignoring their efforts, you're downplaying what matters most: what's happened on the court. I look at a guy like LaMarcus Aldridge, or even a less obvious pick in Rudy Gay, whose contributions have meant as much to his team as many of the reserves, and I see a wasted opportunity to really shine a light on guys having a phenomenal season. Oddly, the East seems much more ready to simply accept the work done, with guys like Al Horford and Gerald Wallace selected last year. The typical response is "Those guys are All-Stars?" They are, and they should be. It's time we stop treating the game like an annual repetition of a lifetime achievement award. 

Legacy matters a lot, deal with it

by Ben Golliver

Pardon me for always playing the role of the cynic, but we can agree that the NBA All-Star game is a popularity contest. The easiest way to win a popularity contest? Have an established track record of being popular, of course. Name recognition and star power count a lot; That's just life in a league where the super-duper stars that cross over into "household name" status are 10-100 times more well-known than up-and-comers that haven't tasted true national popularity yet, even if they're better players over the first half of the NBA season.

Does it bother me that young guns occasionally get left out of the All-Star game to pay homage to an elder statesman? Sure, it does. But I tend to look at the cream of the crop NBA talent as a giant warehouse, with new models being introduced to an existing inventory and old models eventually becoming obsolete. There's an assembly line process feel of it, and the coaches do a solid job of making sure deserving players get a crack at some national publicity while the truly deserving players come back year after year. 

To boil it down: I'm cool with the current "you have to really, really prove it" system for young guys to make it. Every year, someone (Kevin Durant, etc.) rises to that standard and it makes the accomplishment that much more special. And, every year, we get a final look at some oldie classics (Tim Duncan, perhaps). I just don't see any perennial, big-time losers in the current set-up.

Posted on: January 14, 2011 4:28 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2011 4:30 pm
 

Rudy Gay's 'most interesting man' All-Star video

Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay has released a spoof on the "Most Interesting Man In The World" commercials as part of his NBA All-Star campaign. Posted by Ben Golliver.

NBA players campaigning to make the All-Star game on the internet is about as corny as it gets (leave it to the fans, media and teams), so when they do go out of their way to try to drum up support it's always best executed with a tongue-in-cheek flourish or a self-deprecating self-awareness. 

Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay shows the world how that's done, with this successfully executed self-promotional All-Star campaign video that plays off of the famous Dos Equis "The Most Interesting Man in the World" television commercials. If you've been living under a rock for the last three years, the character in the commercials is basically Casanova crossed with Chuck Norris, in that he is alluring to women and able to do all sorts of impossible things simply because of his cool aura.

The plot is the same in Gay's spot, dubbed "The Most Interesting Man in the NBA," as he sits at a swank restaurant table surrounded by attractive females, swirling wine in a glass as a narrator lists off his humorous accomplishments. "Rudy once missed a dunk just to feel what it was like," the narrator says. "When Rudy shoots a three, he actually scores four points. His charm demands it." And then, "He slept through a game and scored a triple double."

The spot concludes with Gay stating, "I don't usually vote for All-Stars, but when I do, I vote for Rudy Gay. Keep voting, my friends."

Here's the video.


Hat tip: Pro Basketball Talk.

Honestly, Gay needs to campaign, as he's trying to make the game at the league's most stacked position: Western Conference forward. He's going up against the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Pau Gasol, Blake Griffin, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Lamar Odom, LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love. Here are the latest returns.

On the season, Gay is averaging 21.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game, and the Grizzlies are 18-21.
Posted on: January 13, 2011 12:02 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2011 12:04 pm
 

Game Changer: Clippers drop Heat in a wild one

LeBron James and the Miami Heat finally lose, Elvis Night in Detroit, Blake Griffin throws down a double-pump dunk past Dwyane Wade, and the San Antonio Spurs run a gorgeous play for a big basket. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer. 

THE BIG ONE: MIAMI HEAT FINALLY LOSE

The numbers were starting to get ridiculous. Nine straight wins. 13 straight wins on the road. 21 wins out of their last 22 games. Finally, karmically, the Miami Heat lost a game on Wednesday night, dropping a thriller in Los Angeles to the Clippers, 111-105.

The pre-game scene was reportedly a circus, as LeBron James provided a wishy-washy explanation for a tweet seemingly directed at his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. And while James, his teammates and his coach tried to play it off, the Clippers were busy playing out of their minds, running out to a 44-26 first quarter lead. 

The Clippers' energy on both ends was something special, and they were able to maintain it for 48 minutes, avoiding a late collapse like that one that befell the Portland Trail Blazers earlier this week. The Heat mounted a late push, but James was slowed by a sprained ankle (video here) suffered midway during the fourth quarter, and was noticeably dragging through the game's final minutes.

Clippers forward Blake Griffin has had about 238 coming-out parties so far this season, but Wednesday night was another one, as he rose to the challenge against marquee competition, finishing with 24 points, 14 rebounds and six assists. Griffin got into a heated exchange with Heat point guard Mario Chalmers, which drew a technical, but he responded to the emotion of the moment in the best way he knows how: throwing down a ridiculous double-pump dunk that sent the Staples Center into a tizzy (see below for video). And let's not overlook his gorgeous turnaround jumper off the glass that made him look more like a two guard than a four or his continued ownership of the backboards. He's an All-Star, case closed. 

It wasn't just Griffin, though. Baron Davis was rising up to dunk too, and laying it out to dive on the floor for loose balls. Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe had a number of nice defensive plays and dimes, including an exceptional swat of James (see below). And Eric Gordon, perhaps the most unheralded scorer in the NBA, quietly put up 26 points, five rebounds and six assists to almost single-handedly offset 27 points from James. Put it together, and this was about as entertaining and theatric as January NBA basketball gets.  

GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT:

So, so many ridiculous stat lines last night.

Zach Randolph: 34 points, 17 rebounds, two assists, one block, one steal in 46 minutes in a Memphis Grizzlies road win over the Detroit Pistons.

Dwight Howard: 29 points, 20 rebounds, two blocks, one steal in 48 minutes in an Orlando Magic road win over the New Orleans Hornets.

Russell Westbrook: 23 points, 8 rebounds, 13 assists and two steals in 37 minutes in an Oklahoma City Thunder road win over the Houston Rockets.

Steve Nash: 23 points, seven rebounds, 16 assists and one steal in 42 minutes in a Phoenix Suns home win over the New Jersey Nets.

Kobe Bryant: 39 points, six rebounds, four assists, three steals in 36 minutes in a Los Angeles Lakers road win over the Golden State Warriors.

Blake Griffin: 24 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, one steal, one block in 43 minutes in a Los Angeles Clippers home win over the Miami Heat.

D.J. Augustin: 22 points, three rebounds, 12 assists in 39 minutes in a Charlotte Bobcats home win over the Chicago Bulls.

DON'T MISS:

WHIMSY:

The Memphis Grizzlies came to town so it was "Elvis Night" in Detroit. Oh, dear.
elvis-night

HIGHLIGHT REEL PART ONE:


Here's Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin throwing down a double-pump dunk to avoid Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade and electrify the Staples Center crowd.



HIGHLIGHT REEL PART TWO:


Here's Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe getting way up to swat a layup attempt by LeBron James. via YouTube user thehoopscene.


FINAL THOUGHT:

It wasn't flashy like the Heat and Clippers, but it was oh so effective. You really must take a look at this inbounds set play, charted by NBAPlaybook.com, from the San Antonio Spurs, which brilliantly uses misdirection, confusion and multiple screens to free up Tim Duncan for an uncontested dunk.
Posted on: January 4, 2011 11:04 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2011 11:31 pm
 

Bizarre coaching events abound

Strange coaching occurrences in New York, Miami.
Posted by Matt Moore


Two strange pieces of coaching news occurred in the NBA Tuesday night, one in Miami where two techs does not equal an ejection, and one in New York, where the fat lady didn't sing, but it was over anyway apparently.

The Heat came back from a halftime deficit, again, to beat the Bucks 101-89. Scott Skiles was whistled for your run of the mill technical foul for getting all Skiles-like on the sideline in the first half. In the second half, Skiles accidentally made contact with a player on the floor, earning him a second technical. So two techs equals an automatic ejection, right? Except the officials ruled that the second technical was not on account of "unsportsmanlike conduct" which is requisite for an ejection, and therefore Skiles got to stay. Very strange all around. Not as strange as the continuing collapse of the Bucks after such a great 2010 season, but still pretty odd.

Even more bizarre, however, was Gregg Popovich's decision to pull his starters with 3:13 remaining in the 4th down by only 10 to the Knicks. The Spurs' defense was horrific all night to be sure, allowing over 100 points in three-quarters. But the Spurs were still hanging in a very Spurs way, when suddenly, apparently Popovich had seen enough from his team and pulled Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Richard Jefferson. The Spurs' offense featured Chris Quinn, Gary Neal, and Ime Udoka down the stretch. In shocking news, the Knicks hung on over that mighty lineup, 128-115 .

Some speculated that Popovich was merely resting his starters for Wednesday night's game against the Boston Celtics.  But judging from the behavior of Manu and Parker on the sideline, Pop was making a point. I guess at 29-45, Pop felt he could spare a win in order to make a point. Either way, New York managed to hold on against a playoff contender at home.

In other news, Kevin Durant missed a three-pointer to tie, the lion laid down with the lamb, and a bad moon is rising. Run for your lives!
Posted on: December 30, 2010 2:02 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2010 2:09 pm
 

The best in Texas right now? A Maverick answer

The Spurs are great, the Mavs are better this season. Here's why they're the Best in Texas. 
Posted by Matt Moore




Who's the best in Texas? The Dallas Mavericks, that's who. 

Let's start by admitting that this is largely like asking what's better, pancakes or waffles. Done right, they're both pretty awesome with syrup. The Spurs are a deep, talented team that executes with consistency and is led by a smart, capable head coach and an all-world power forward. The Mavericks are a deep, talented team that executes with consistency and is led by a smart, capable head coach and an all-world power forward. Both teams are top teams in the league, both teams are capable of beating anyone on any given night, and both teams are reasonable in having championship aspirations at this point. 

That said, while the Spurs currently entertain a 2.5 game advantage over the Mavericks, it's been the Mavericks who have staked their claim as the best team in Texas this year. Consider this: The Spurs are 6-3 against teams in the top ten in point differential . The Mavericks are 9-2, an absolutely ridiculous mark , including wins over Miami, Oklahoma City, Orlando, and Utah. They swept the Heat in two meetings. They have beaten the Celtics. Now the Spurs have also beaten the Heat, have beaten the Lakers, have beaten the Jazz and the Thunder. But the Mavericks have been just slightly better against elite teams, including ... a November 26th 103-94 win over San Antonio. 

So how did Dallas get this good? Consistency and depth. The Mavericks, more than any team in the league, including the Celtics, Lakers, and Spurs, have played consistently well quarter to quarter. With the improved depth at center as Tyson Chandler turns back the clock, and with a four-guard rotation that will only improve with the return of Rodrigue Beaubois, the Mavericks have solid depth at nearly every position. Jose Juan Barea is always surprisingly good, the annoying player you can't believe is sticking you with daggers. Jason Kidd is still incredibly talented even at his age. Have you ever taken a look at how fast he is in transition? Unbelievable at age 37. Jason Terry is still lighting it up. And DeShawn Stevenson is a well-rounded shooting guard who amazingly isn't a liability under Rick Carlisle's tutelage. 

Small forward, though, may be the best situation for the Mavericks. They're able to combo with Caron Butler and Shawn Marion (who's having a renaissance year).  Marion's physical athleticism and Butler's precision makes for a great matchup combination. Being able to adjust his lineup to whatever the opponent throws at him is a considerable asset for head coach Rick Carlisle. At power forward, Marion is a capable small lineup option, but we all know the real answer is Dirk Nowitzki (who's a gametime decision Thursday night). Nowtizki has played at an MVP-level this season, rebounding well while continuing to be an absolute monster from the elbow down the stretch. Dirk has the ability still to pump-fake and drive, keeping opponents glued to their stance instead of bodying him, and when that big frame rises up at the elbow, it's nearly impossible to defend. The Mavericks only go as far as the Big German takes them, but he's got a track record of going pretty far. The knock on Nowitzki has been about his playoff performances, where he's a career 46% shooter, averaging 25 points and 10 rebounds per game. That he ran into Dwyane Wade going Nova in '06 and a disastrous matchup advantage for vintage Don Nelson in '07 should not confuse the greatness of his career. 

And center has been a huge upgrade with Tyson Chandler playing at a tough level for any Western center. Having Brendan Haywood as your starting center is okay, not great, but having him as a backup is a boon, even if he is struggling this season. That's six more fouls the Mavs have to throw around a night, and that size has been missing for years in the Big D. Redefining the Mavs as an offensive juggernaut that can also defend (currently 6th in defensive efficiency ) changes the game for Dallas, and that's what's happened this season.

The Spurs are a great team and a legitimate championship contender. They're also the last team to knock off the Mavericks in the playoffs. But right now, with the Spurs having some inconsistencies game to game, and with Duncan having a bigger drop-off than Dirk, the Mavericks are the best squad in the Lonestar state. We'll find out if that's true heads-up Thursday night when the two meet.

Yippie-kay-yay.
Posted on: December 30, 2010 1:36 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2010 1:54 pm
 

The best in Texas right now? Has to be the Spurs

Posted by Royce Young

If you want to just do this all simple like, start with the standings. San Antonio is 27-4, which is the best record in the league. Dallas, while owners of a very nice 24-6 record, is two and a half games back of the Spurs.

So we're done here, right?

Actually, there's a lot more to it.

No doubt the Mavericks good. Really good. Forget that loss to the Raptors without Dirk. Every good team loses to someone they shouldn't. And when you're missing your very best player, you've got a good excuse too. But what separates San Antonio from Dallas right now is that the Spurs don't have a Dirk.

Wait, I know what you're thinking. That should make the Mavericks better , right? Not having a great, MVP-type player like Dirk Nowitzki is what makes San Antonio better than Dallas? Does not compute, right?

But it does. Because the Spurs are 27-4 despite not having a guy score 20 points a game. The Spurs are 27-4 with Tim Duncan averaging career-lows all over the place. The Spurs just whipped the defending champion Lakers with Duncan scoring two points and grabbing four rebounds. Tim Duncan, two points, four rebounds! Can you ever imagine the Spurs beating a good team five years ago with Duncan playing like that?

The Spurs are 27-4 because of Gary Neal. Because of Richard Jefferson's rebirth. Because of DeJuan Blair. Because of Matt Bonner. No team understands the role player concept and how each guy has value more than San Antonio. That team works completely in unison. It's like an engine on a 2001 Honda Civic. Nothing all that spectacular, nothing all that flashy. But everything works perfectly together.

Not to say the Spurs don't have some serious players though. You could make a legitimate case for Manu Ginobili as an MVP candidate. He's been the glue for San Antonio the past decade and when he's healthy like he is currently, he one the biggest X-factors in the league. Tony Parker is healthy again and playing at an All-Star caliber level. George Hill is one of the most underrated combo guards in the league.

And then there's the trump card for the Spurs. It starts with a "g," ends with two more "g's" and a frown. Rick Carlisle is a nice NBA coach, but he's not Gregg Popovich. Coach Pop is one of the few NBA coaches that you really know makes a difference with his team. Phil Jackson, Jerry Sloan, Vinny Del Negro (just kidding)... only a handful of coaches genuinely make their team better despite who's on the roster. Popovich is the leader of that pack. His team's are always ready, always prepared and always focused. Look at the Spurs' home record this season (18-2 and undefeated in December). That shows that his team is never not ready.

Popovich wasn't afraid to make a subtle switch either. San Antonio is running more than ever despite that not being the ideal game for Duncan. But it works for the other pieces and Duncan has adapted. The Spurs are averaging almost 106 points per game, which is fourth in the league. Their point differential is an impressive +8.4 compared to the Mavs' +5.6.

Those things are tangible parts to settling this debate. But it's not always about what meets the eye with the Spurs. They're the league's best and by default, Texas's best, because they march to the company line that's carried them to four titles. There's a reason they're great, even if it's not painfully obvious.
Posted on: December 28, 2010 11:25 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2010 12:11 am
 

Spurs take down Lakers; is it worry time in L.A.?

Posted by Royce Young



From the opening tip, you could feel the intensity. This might've been a regular season game on Dec. 28, but it sure seemed like something you'd see April 28.

Two titans of the postseason were playing and even though it's just one more of 82, anytime the Spurs and Lakers hook up, pleasantries don't stay in the arena very long.

Kobe Bryant and George Hill tangoed in the first half, pointing fingers in faces and saying, um, stuff to each other. Ron Artest roped Tony Parker on a fast break for a hard foul. Andrew Bynum clothes-lined Tiago Splitter on the inside. Richard Jefferson and Derek Fisher had an exchange with Fisher picking up a technical after chasing Jefferson down to bump. Hard fouls, technicals, trash talk -- this one just had that extra umph.

But just like a classic Spurs playoff win, San Antonio used stifling defense, smart offense and big plays from role players to overwhelm the Lakers in the fourth quarter, beating the defending champs 97-82 in front of a sold-out AT&T Center crowd.

And here's where we go one of two ways: Is the story how well the Spurs are playing or if the Lakers officially in crisis mode?

Let me hedge here and say both. The Spurs are playing wonderful basketball. They're undefeated at home in December, own the NBA's best record and get something from everybody that steps on the floor. Tim Duncan was just 1-7 from the floor and scored only two points. Manu Ginobili went just 3-12 from the field. So naturally, since this is the Spurs we're talking about, someone stepped up.

DeJuan Blair was a complete difference maker scoring 17 points while also grabbing 15 rebounds. Gary Neal -- who you can just picture becoming Robert Horry in the postseason -- hit two huge fourth quarter 3-points to give the Spurs some serious breathing room. George Hill was entirely terrific on Kobe in the fourth quarter, frustrating the Laker star into turnovers, bad shots and some serious barking at the officials. And of course one of the San Antonio stars played big with Tony Parker pouring in 23 including 14 in the first half.

On the Laker side, things never really looked good. The Lakers almost seemed like the team desperate for energy, frantically looking for a spark. It was almost like they were rattled. Offensively, there was never any kind of rhythm. Especially in the second half where L.A. scored only 38 points total.

The Lakers shot 35 percent for the game and the man leading the charge there was Kobe. He went just 8-27 from the field for 21 points. Pau Gasol was 3-8 for only nine points. Lamar Odom was 3-9 for nine points. Really, L.A.'s best offensive player was Matt Barnes who went 3-4 from the field.

So again, good Spurs or bad Lakers? From my perspective, it looked like a game where the Lakers self-combusted a bit as Kobe kept shooting and shooting while a very good team in San Antonio took complete advantage of it. Take this game for L.A. and put it against Sacramento and the Lakers probably win ugly. But against the Spurs? You lose by 15.

That's not something that should sit well with the Lakers. Kobe has been pretty honest with his appraisal of the team, feeling at times that they don't seem interested or committed enough. And that's what really showed against San Antonio. Kobe tried to do way too much, the offense never ran through Bynum or Gasol and defensively, there wasn't ever any kind of urgency.

This makes three straight losses for the Lakers, all coming by double-digits. And while it seems like this might be a time to scratch your head, keep in mind, this is December, even if the game felt like it was in April. It's not time to worry... yet.
Posted on: December 13, 2010 9:11 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:33 pm
 

The Game Changer: Amar'e owns the Big Apple

The Knicks triumph over Carmelo Anthony and the Nuggets, Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs reaches a milestone, the Oklahoma City Thunder get highlights from their players and a fan during a blowout win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, and plenty more. Posted by Ben Golliver

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: CAN I PLAY ON YOUR TEAM?

After Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets finished their date with the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden, it felt like, maybe, the tables have finally turned for the home team.  The Knicks narrowly prevailed in a shootout, 129-125, but they won the war of the words after the game by a landslide, when it became known that Anthony has his heart set on joining MVP candidate Amar'e Stoudemire in making New York his next basketball home. For the Knicks, it must feel like a quick reversal: so much winning so soon -- they have taken nine of their last 10 games -- and a new role as hot spot rather than also-ran suitor of top talent.  The 16-9 start for New York, which has them just four games behind conference-leading Boston, may have Knicks fans reevaluating their "get stars at any cost" strategy. A bird in hand (especially one that wins and plays exciting basketball) can be worth more than 'Melo and CP3 in a bush next year, with a potential lockout making it difficult for teams like the Knicks to bank on anything in the long-term future.  Now that it is clear that Anthony wants New York, it is negotiation time. How much of their current roster and future assets will the Knicks feel comfortable parting with? Names like Wilson Chandler, Danilo Galinari and Landry Fields are often tossed around, and while each presents reasons for Knicks fans to want to keep them around, this is a great example of how outside eyes are able to more clearly evaluate players' worth. The Knicks should feel no hesitation in trading any of those players for Anthony, and that includes Fields, the steal of the 2010 draft and one of the best values in the NBA. Hot streaks have the tendency of making the players involved look better than they are over the long haul, and 82 games of Stoudemire and Anthony makes New York a more fearsome, dynamic team, not to mention a force in the playoffs, as both players can parade to the free throw line. Falling in love with role players (Landry Fields is untouchable!) and counting eggs before they hatch (we'll just sign Carmelo this summer!) are two of the easiest ways to lose sight of the big picture when it comes to roster building. Do what it takes to secure Anthony now, and then get to work on filling in the smaller holes that a trade for him would create.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT:

Raymond Felton: 19 points, 17 assists, three rebounds on 7-15 shooting in 45 minutes in a New York Knicks home win over the Denver Nuggets. Carmelo Anthony: 31 points, 13 rebounds, three assists on 11-27 shooting in 37 minutes in a Denver Nuggets road loss to the New York Knicks. Devin Harris: 16 points, eight rebounds, 10 assists in 37 minutes in a New Jersey Nets home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Blake Griffin: 27 points, 16 rebounds, five assists, one steal, one block in 42 minutes in a Los Angeles Clippers home loss to the Orlando Magic.

DON'T MISS:

DOMINANT DUNCAN:

The San Antonio Spurs rolled off a methodical dismantling of the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday, pulling away for an easy 95-78 home win. There wasn't much unusual about the event: the Spurs played tight, aggressive defense and they moved the ball well, supplementing their team-first attack with some points in transition. It was so thorough a victory that the Spurs were able to rest franchise big man Tim Duncan late, a nice cherry on top of San Antonio's league-leading 20th victory of the season. Duncan hit a milestone on Sunday, playing in the 1,000th regular season game. And in quotes from MySanAntonio.com, he sounds a bit wistful in his old age when he was made aware of the feat. “I would rather not be told that," Duncan was quoted as saying. "I’ve played for a long time and I’m getting really old. I wish I’d only played 10 (games) and still have 1,000 more in front of me.” The rest of the league shudders at the thought of Duncan playing another 1,000 games, given that he won 707 of his first 1,000 games, an astonishing total. While his production has declined ever so slightly in recent years owing to fewer minutes -- this could be the first year of his career that Duncan doesn't average a double-double and he's averaging a career-low 28.8 minutes pr game -- the wins continue to pile up. The Spurs are shaping up to be a serious contender, health permitting.  Not bad for a team lead by a really old guy.

WHIMSY:

New York Knicks superfan Spike Lee is the happiest man in the world: the Knicks are winning, Carmelo Anthony wants in and MSG is rocking like the good old days. spike-lee

WELCOME TO MY POSTER:

Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden catches Cleveland Cavaliers forward J.J. Hickson about as flush as it gets. Harden throws down a vicious left-handed dunk right on Harden's head in transition, earning the and-one in the process and causing teammate Russell Westbrook to geek out on the sideline.

FROM WAY DOWNTOWN:

Oklahoma City Thunder fan Robert Yanders hit the shot of the weekend, nailing a halfcourt heave between the first and second quarters of OKC's Sunday win over the Cleveland Cavaliers to win $20,000. Turns out Yanders is a bit of a ringer, but still an amazing shot.

PARTING THOUGHT:

Former Chicago Bulls star Scottie Pippen is the only NBA player to win more games in his first 1,000 than Duncan. Pippen won 715, barely besting Duncan's 707. Via MySanAntonio.com.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com