In his "Weekend Review," CBS Sportsline's Mike Kahn does his weekly rundown and gives his choices for the All-Star team. For Pacer fans there is one very notable exception, as Ron Artest is left off. I, of course, completely disagree.
[size=18:89f77041d7]Weekend Review: Here are the true All-Stars[/size]
Feb. 2, 2004
By Mike Kahn
SportsLine.com Executive Editor
Tell Mike your opinion!
With the NBA All-Star Game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles just two weeks away, fan voting is complete for the starters and the coaches soon will fill out the rosters -- with no doubt some injuries to factor in before anything is absolute.
This provides us with ample opportunity to show you who is starting, who should be starting and who we hope will be on the complete rosters for the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference.
Let's start in the East, where the injury-prone and unpredictable Vince Carter remains the fan favorite.
The East starters
* F -- Vince Carter, Toronto Raptors
* F -- Jermaine O'Neal, Indiana Pacers
* C -- Ben Wallace, Detroit Pistons
* G -- Tracy McGrady, Orlando Magic
* G -- Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 76ers
Who should start:
* F -- O'Neal
* F -- Kenyon Martin, New Jersey Nets
* C -- Wallace
* G -- Baron Davis, New Orleans Hornets
* G -- Jason Kidd, New Jersey Nets
The West starters
* F -- Kevin Garnett, Minnesota Timberwolves
* F -- Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
* C -- Yao Ming, Houston Rockets
* G -- Steve Francis, Houston Rockets
* G -- Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
Who should start:
* F -- Garnett
* F -- Duncan
* C -- Shaquille O'Neal, Los Angeles Lakers
* G -- Sam Cassell, Minnesota Timberwolves
* G -- Bryant
The more interesting perspective would be the backups to complete the 12-man rosters.
[size=18:89f77041d7]In the East, that means adding Martin, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Jamaal Magloire and Carlos Boozer up front, with Davis, Kidd and wild-card rookie sensation LeBron James.[/size]
In the West, Shaq should be joined by Peja Stojakovic, Dirk Nowitzki, Zach Randolph and Andrei Kirilenko up front, with Cassell and Andre Miller shoring up the backcourt.
Jazz out of tune
For many years, a trip to Salt Lake City to watch the Jazz play has been entertaining -- not just from the vantage point of John Stockton and Karl Malone always leading them to the playoffs and coach Jerry Sloan extolling the virtues of extraordinary effort.
Their boisterous fan support has ranged from hilarious to vile and even borderline racist -- including shocking commentary from a former president of the team directed at opposing players.
But what they did this week at halftime with a mock tape over the public address system of a local personality imitating Malone, plus taking a cheap shot at Kobe Bryant in the process, was way out of line. The league has fined the organization an unspecified amount and Malone is justifiably outraged.
In the process of this, perhaps the league should also take a look at the horrendous music many home courts are now blasting while the opposing team has the ball. The entire "entertainment" atmosphere promoted by the league during games has become a pathetic distraction to the many who would prefer just to watch basketball.
Ah, if only they would turn down the lights in the stands, forgo any on-court entertainment during timeouts and just have the lights over the playing floor -- stage-like -- as it used to be.
Then again, I guess I'm showing my age.
Shots from the perimeter
* After missing the first 44 games with a knee injury, All-Star forward Jamal Mashburn played three games for the New Orleans Hornets from Wednesday through Saturday, averaging 20.7 points. That's the good news. The bad news is Baron Davis aggravated his ankle injury and didn't play Saturday night again. The Hornets dropped into a third-place tie with the Milwaukee Bucks in the Central Division after scoring a season-low 70 points in a 24-point loss to the upstart Miami Heat.
* Speaking of the Heat, they are 16-12 since their 5-15 start (including 0-7 from the outset). Lamar Odom has scored in double figures 21 consecutive games, and their victory over the Hornets moved them to within half a game of the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.
* The Bucks continue to be one of the surprise teams in the league, led by the emergence of Michael Redd as one of the most explosive scorers in either conference. But they couldn't have shot much worse than the 7-for-30 (.233) they did in the first half of their 93-83 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday. The only reason they weren't blown off the floor was making an unlikely 21 of 22 free throws before halftime.
* All that concern Sacramento Kings coach Rick Adelman harbored heading into his club's six-game road trip can be put to rest. The Kings wrapped up their travels with a 4-2 mark following a 110-103 victory at Seattle on Saturday. The return of knee-challenged Chris Webber continues to be a mystery. "We don't know," Adelman said. "We don't want him playing until he is 100 percent ready to play. When that will be, I don't know."
* The Sonics have lost 8-of-11, including the past three to the Kings, Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks -- all of which they had a chance to win in the fourth quarter. With starting point guard Brent Barry out for six weeks after surgery to repair a fractured finger, Antonio Daniels has become the starting point guard. Part of their inconsistency has been the inability of star guard Ray Allen to develop shooting rhythm, as he's shooting .343 from the field the past seven games. Shooting .430 for the season, it's his worst shooting percentage since his second year in the league -- 1997-98 -- when Allen made just .428 of his shots.
* The Portland Trail Blazers, with rumors that will persist around Rasheed Wallace until a deal is made or the Feb. 19 deadline (whichever comes first) -- have their first four-game winning streak of the season. They smacked the Chicago Bulls 102-95, despite a 15-point deficit, Saturday night. Wallace had 29 points to lead both teams. The latest deal being considered is with the Golden State Warriors that would bring injured and high-priced point guard Nick Van Exel and center Erick Dampier. Chances remain strong Wallace will not be traded, however, and he'll have the option to sign a three-year extension or walk away in July.
* The Warriors aren't even close to being healthy. Troy Murphy, who has played in only 11 games, is out again with an ankle sprain. Van Exel has been out with his surgically repaired knee still acting up, and now they don't know the status of Mike Dunleavy. The second-year forward sprained his left ankle this weekend and is questionable for Monday's game at Memphis. The Warriors, still hanging around close enough to make a push for the bottom of the playoff rung, have cut their defensive scoring average eight points from last season. Now, if they could just get their best players healthy ...
[size=18:89f77041d7] * Ron Artest masterfully filled out the box score to lead the Indiana Pacers to their third consecutive victory -- a 99-88 decision over the sliding Boston Celtics. Artest had 23 points, eight rebounds, five steals and four assists for the Pacers, who ended the weekend with an Eastern Conference-best 35-13 record. Meanwhile, the Celtics now have lost four consecutive and eight of 10. They are 0-3 since coach Jim O'Brien quit Wednesday and assistant John Carroll took over.[/size]
* The Philadelphia 76ers just can't seem to get on track, blowing an 18-point lead at Minnesota to fall 106-101 Sunday to the Timberwolves. Kevin Garnett came within a bad bounce of a triple-double, pouring in 32 points, with 13 rebounds and nine assists. Allen Iverson was superb for the Sixers as well, as the league-leading scorer had 28 points, nine assists and six rebounds. The Sixers now have lost 5-of-6 and 8-of-10 to drop to 20-28.
* The Los Angeles Lakers finally got Shaquille O'Neal back from a strained calf, during which time the Lakers were 5-8. O'Neal -- who left a game in Seattle on Jan. 2 and didn't play again until the Lakers beat the Sonics on Wednesday night -- had a season-high 36 points Sunday in an 84-83 victory at Toronto. It's the first of a seven-game, 11-day road trip for the Lakers. Kobe Bryant, who required 10 stitches after putting his hand through glass in his garage, might not play at all on the trip. Karl Malone won't be back from his knee injury until the middle of March.
* The Raptors, meanwhile, have lost 7-of-8, coming off a 90-89 loss to Detroit on Friday night. To lose twice by a total of two points is indicative of how this team just hasn't caught a break, sliding to three games below .500.
* The Detroit Pistons had a successful weekend on the flip side. They blew an 11-point lead in the final three minutes Saturday night, only to pull out an 80-78 victory over Memphis on a dubious call that gave Chauncey Billups a pair of free throws with .4 of a second left. That came after a spectacular finish Friday night when Ben Wallace blocked two shots in the final five seconds to pull out a 90-89 victory over the Raptors. The wins allowed the Pistons to retain the second-best record in the East.
* It now appears Grant Hill will indeed play at least some games for the Orlando Magic before the season ends. Hill, who had major reconstruction done in the fourth surgery on his shattered ankle, could play 10 games. He has been given the go-ahead to push it, but insurance will cover 80 percent of his $13.279 million salary only if he plays 10 games or less. Considering the Magic have the worst record in the league, what's the point of spending $10 million for no rational reason?
* The Phoenix Suns released Scott Williams, and the Dallas Mavericks quickly gobbled up the 6-foot-10 veteran for some interior help. The Mavs won nine consecutive before losing a tight game at Utah, then blew a 20-point lead in the second half at home to the Denver Nuggets. Led by rookie Carmelo Anthony's 28 points, the Nuggets scored 70 points in the second half for their 10th road victory in 23 games and retained the sixth seed in the West.
* How much better are the Nuggets? They won just 11 road games the past two seasons combined.
* The Suns, meanwhile, continued to slide. They blew a 15-point lead Friday night in the fourth quarter of a five-point loss at Washington, then ended their road trip 1-6 with a 110-105 loss at New York to the Knicks. And just to rub it in, Stephon Marbury lit up his former teammates for 35 points. The one shining light for the Suns is young guard Joe Johnson, who tied his career high with 28 points Friday, then eclipsed it Saturday in Madison Square Garden with 31 points.
* The Nets seem to have gotten back on track this past week, despite the firing of coach Byron Scott and hiring of assistant Lawrence Frank. Including Scott's last game, the Nets now have won four consecutive -- topped off by an 11-point victory at Houston. Kenyon Martin had 21 of his 27 points after halftime, while Jason Kidd had 21 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds. The Nets have a seven-game advantage in the loss column over the four teams below them in the Atlantic Division.
* Redemption was sweet for rookie LeBron James over the weekend. On Friday night, he was 7-of-25 from the field, had five fouls, five turnovers and missed three free throws with 41 seconds left in a six-point loss to Milwaukee. But Sunday afternoon, he poured in a career-high 38 points in a 104-100 victory over Washington. The Cavs now have one more win than they had all of last season.
* Unless the NBA Finals go to a full seven games, expect the expansion draft for the Charlotte Bobcats franchise to be June 22 and the draft June 24. Should the Finals go to seven games, the expansion draft would then be June 23. Each of the existing 29 teams may protect eight players on their roster, and the Bobcats may select no more than one player per team. They will pick fourth overall in the draft of college players.