In this week's edition of the Friday 5 with Ken Berger, the CBSSports.com senior NBA writer talks the Battle of the Boroughs II, the uncertain future of Phoenix and Toronto, and of course, Rush. You can follow Ken on Twitter at @KBergCBS.
1. Knicks take Battle of the Boroughs 2: Electric Kidd-aloo. Is that a game Carmelo Anthony can stick on his resume for MVP down the line?
KB: No question. Not only did he go into a rival's building and drop 45, but he had the maturity to pass out of a double team leading to the game-winning 3-pointer by Jason Kidd. Which, of course, could've easily been waved off with an offensive foul call, but work with me.
2. Pressure's rising in Phoenix and Toronto. Who do you think winds up being the fall guy in those two situations gone bad?
KB: As for Toronto, the clock is ticking on Bryan Colangelo. And now that Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon are both hurt, the Raptors can't hit the reset button with a trade. In Phoenix, though my radar goes up when an owner gives his coach a vote of confidence, I seriously doubt Robert Sarver would pay two coaches when his team is drifting toward another lottery. I don't believe it's Alvin Gentry's fault, but I don't expect him to be back next season. I expect him to be on Mike D'Antoni's bench in LA. To me, it's only a question of how widespread the housecleaning will be.
3. Your Lakers question of the week, Ken. Let me know what percentage of the blame can be placed on 1) injury; 2) effort; 3) talent; and 4) execution. (Example 70 percent injury, 10 percent effort, etc.)
KB: Well, injury and talent go hand in hand, because 40 percent of the talent in the starting lineup is missing. But while key players being out is a mitigating factor, it's no excuse for lack of effort. I'm going to give you a new category: instability, and say that's 40 percent of the problem. This is what happens when an impetuous owner's son fires the coach after five games, hands it over to a new coach and says, "Here, fix this," without the point guard who made the coach and his system a success. After that, I'll say 30 percent injury, 20 percent execution and 10 percent talent.
4. Give me one player who isn't talked about very much who you've been impressed by lately.
KB: I don't know if this counts, since I suppose he's been talked about some. But Serge Ibaka's offensive game has really expanded. He's not a one-dimensional player anymore. What took him so long? He's 23 already.
5. Rush is announced to go into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Ken. What are your thoughts?
KB: Long overdue, and well deserved. Granted, Rush has been a niche band and an acquired taste and basically will always be. But in terms of musical talent, longevity and continually evolving and making new music rather than being satisfied with living off past accomplishments, few in music history compare.